My Dad

I haven’t blogged about him much, but sometimes I feel more sad about losing my dad than I do about my husband’s death. I usually only cry about Mike’s death when I think about the impact on my kids. But with my dad… I cry at the thought of him and that he’s gone.

My dad holding Ethan for the first time. He called E his “little buckaroo.”

I was always very close to my dad. He was a terrific father, an incredible role model, a loving (but demanding) husband, and an unbelievable friend. He was so smart – he was full of facts on an incredible array of subjects. He was the funny one, the guy who would light up a room just by being there. His wit was quick and he had a great laugh. God, how I miss his laugh. (SIDENOTE: I make myself think about his laugh and the way he said, “Jackie’s home!” several times a week. I don’t ever want to forget the sounds.)

He had his flaws, but he was the most incredible man I’ve ever known. He loved Mike, taking my husband under his wing and acting like a father-figure to him. He adored Ethan, spending hours with my son teaching him about fishing and tractors. He loved my mom with an incredible passion.

But I was his favorite.

Many times, I would be the one to have the “tough” conversations with him. My mom would tell me about something that she couldn’t address with him (usually because she knew if she brought up certain topics – like his health, he would not be receptive, and they would argue). But I could talk to him about anything – and he would listen.

From the time I started college to the time of his death, we talked everyday. Sometimes we talked for hours about politics or family drama. Sometimes we talked for five minutes (“Hey, turn on this random TV show – you won’t believe it!”). Sometimes we talked five or six times a day. But we talked. Often. About everything and anything.

The last six or seven years of his life were difficult. A couple of heart attacks and two strokes made him move a little slower. He didn’t want to be as social as he once was. He didn’t leave the property as much. But he was still very much my dad.

My dad died suddenly, in his sleep, at a relative’s house. He and my mom were staying overnight with family, and at some point, a blood clot traveled from his leg to his lungs. He probably went very quickly, which is a relief.

I’m thankful that he got to “meet” Lauren. I’m thankful that the kids and I stayed with my parents for a week before he died and that we created some new memories while we were there. I’m thankful that he died peacefully. I’m thankful that he didn’t know about Mike’s drinking – it would have broken his heart.

But I hate that he’s gone.

My dad and Ethan picking wild berries on their last adventure together. My dad would die three days later.

EDITED: As expected, I cried through writing this entire post. I’ve gone through four tissues and I think my makeup is unsalvageable at this point (awesome since I don’t teach until 2 today…) I miss my dad…