I heard a moving story on the radio show Sunday Morning about Father’s Day. It was about AJ Croce, a singer and musician, who has suffered much loss in his life.

Just before his second birthday, his musician father died in a plane crash. In the next few years, his mother’s boyfriend physically abused him and caused him to become blind. His family home burned down when he was fifteen and his wife recently passed away of a rare heart condition. Lots of tragedy.

Although his father died when he was incredibly young, he said the feeling of a warm embrace and safety comes to him when he thinks of his dad. Although AJ started singing, playing piano, and writing songs as a child, made records and garnered success including being the opening act for singers like Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, James Brown and Ray Charles, it took him many years to sing his father’s songs.

You may have heard of some of them? His dad, Jim Croce, wrote: Time in a Bottle; Bad, Bad Leroy Brown; and I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song. Songs embedded in many of our memories.

It really struck me that although he knew his dad for such a brief time, he never forgot the way he made him feel. And after all the tragedies he has weathered in his life, AJ still shares joy through music and now does sing the songs his father wrote, keeping his legacy alive.

As poet Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

May we strive to make people feel accepted, loved, validated and safe, whenever we can on our journey.