King of the Wild Frontier

29 06 2012

Today marks the 9th year since my dad died.  It’s always a weird day for me, the first few years were really hard, I couldn’t get past the overwhelming sadness of the day.  Gradually it’s become less sharply painful and more like a dull ache.  Today will most likely be fairly unremarkable.  I’ll go to the gym, go to work, go to a cardinals game, come home and fall asleep.  Remarkably similar to what I would have done 9 years ago if things had gone differently. I’ve struggled for the last few years to figure out how I should feel and observe these miles stones: his birthday, my parent’s anniversary, and the anniversary of his death.  Spending the day sad, or grieving is not how my dad would have wanted me experience life.  Those first years I was still raw and grieving and not acknowledging those milestones made me feel like I was losing him all over again.  One night, when I was living in AK after college and my mom and I had been spending lots of time going through his things, I was talking to one of my friends about how hard it was to let go of this stuff, even though I knew we’d never need or want it and other people would.  He said to me, letting go of things can be hard because we feel like we are letting our memories go with them, but no one will ever take those away from you; you’ll never forget your dad.  It seems obvious, but I can’t explain the profound effect those words have had on me over the years.

So today I will remember, but I will also live my life and celebrate all the ordinariness of it, because too often we forget that a plain old non eventful day is a blessing.  I will live, love, laugh, watch some baseball, and think about going fishing over the weekend.  I think he’d approve.


King of the Wild Frontier

29 06 2010

Today marks the 7 year anniversary of my dad’s death.  I’ve been debating about posting something,  because, well this is a blog (an inherently impersonal medium) and this day is alway very personal for me, so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share it will all my billions of readers.  But I obviously have decided to share it, so here is it.

It seems impossible that it has been 7 years, and for contrasting reasons.  On the one hand, time has gone by somewhat quickly.   I can’t believe I’m old enough to have attended my 5 year college reunion, it seems like I just graduated.  On the other hand, there is so much that has happened in the last 7 years that he hasn’t been here for, I have become an adult (well at least something that is much closer to an adult that I was at 20), graduated from college, traveled all over,  started a master’s program, and bought a house.  All of that makes the 7 years seem like such a long time.

Usually, I spend a portion of June 29th reflecting about what was so awesome about my dad, and things he taught me.  I’d like to share some of them with you all.

  • He loved Harry Potter, which is exciting to me since I introduced him to the series.  I think that was good payment for him reading to me as a kid. (He did the character voices- tweety bird and sylvester were my favs)
  • He could always start a campfire, but would always let me try first.  He was patient and eventually, under his tutelage, I was able to get almost as good.
  • He believed I could do anything.  Whenever I doubted myself he would say, “you can do it, daddies know.”  And he was right, I was always able to do it.  He taught me how important it is to believe in yourself, and how vital it can be to share how much you believe in someone else.
  • He was all about dreams and goals.  He loved fishing, and one of his dreams was to fly fish at Christmas Island.  When he got sick, he worked his butt off to get better.  He wanted to go to Christmas Island and after we finally found out his diagnosis and he spent a year doing chemo and stem cell transplants he worked very hard in cardio rehab and then pushed himself even more to get back to a place where he could enjoy life again.  He was able to go to Christmas Island and set and reach a whole new set of dreams and goals.  He taught me how to dream big, and work hard to make them come true.

He was a fantastic dad and I miss him tons.  If you wanted to do something for me today, you could tell you parents and/or child(ren) that you love them, K?

Dad achieving one of his dreams- Marlin on a fly rod (I think, it might be a sailfish).

Dad helping me release the greyling

Dad’s retirement party