They sometimes say that we never really grow up fully until our parents leave us. But actually your father hasn't left you, and neither has mine. They are inside us and they made us what we are.
I remember when my father died I used to have a lot of dreams. In my dreams I knew that he was dead, but he didn't and I wanted him to go to his rest. After some time the dreams became less frequent. But one day when I was in the supermarket (and awake) I had a rather strange experience. I had a sort of image or photograph come into my mind and I have been able to bring that image back into my mind whenever I want. I saw my father and behind him was my brother-in-law who had died. Standing in front of my father was my step-daughter who had died when she was just 13. My father had his arms around her, she was looking up and him and he was looking down at her. They were both smiling beautifully at each other.
I am a couple of years older than your father was when he died. Please do not be afraid of growing older. Life is good. There is a lot to keep learning, a lot to be grateful for and lots of experiences ahead. I don't feel any different now than when I was 25 - or 15 for that matter. Love is still wonderful, music stirs my soul the same and the sunsets are just as beautiful. But in a way life is easier because I am less anxious than when I was younger. Life has thrown a lot at me and I am getting more skilled at catching the ball and throwing it back.
Our fathers are still walking with us - walking inside us. We have to lead good lives for as long as we are spared so that we can make our parents proud of us. The wounds of loss do heal.