8 years ago today I lost my dad to cancer. I can’t say he lost his battle with cancer because he didn’t. Cancer never got the better of him. He maintained his courage and larger than life optimism to the very end. I watched this man go from “if I need to move this car, I’ll just pick it up and scoot it over…” to “I’m so sorry I can’t help you change your breaks. I just can’t catch my breath.” The journey from “I’m going to beat this,” to “I’m not praying to get better anymore” was fraught with ups and downs. Tears and laughter. Extreme gratitude and the utmost pain.  

Every year on May 23 I take a minute to remember everything I love about my dad.  What he taught me.  The person he helped be become and the better person he knew was inside me.  With father’s day around the corner my thoughts always turn to him.  

  • His trucker hats perched way too high on his head.
  • The way he would curse when he dropped his screwdriver.
  • The way he would exhale in exasperation when he was frustrated, especially at his kids.  But more so the way he could wrap you up in his enormous arms and make you feel how special you really are.  
  • He could always see the very best in everyone he interacted with and make you want to truly achieve your potential.
  • He was absolutely the most generous, and genuinely kindhearted person I’ve ever known.

As part of my day of remembering dad I always have to enjoy a root beer float.  My dad kept a very special place in his heart for root beer floats.  He was a hard working, salt of the earth kind of guy.  He didn’t allow himself many luxuries. But a root beer float was something he could always find a good reason to have.  So today, in honor of my dad, I, my six siblings, our spouses, my mother, and all 20 grandchildren will raise a mug filled to the top with memories, the deepest love, root beer, and vanilla ice cream.

I miss you more than words can say dad.  Thanks for everything!