As some of you may know, I lost my dad earlier this month. All of the support that this community has shown has been so comforting and I am blessed to have all of you here. You have all sent so many sweet messages, gifts, flowers, and it has truly brightened up a very difficult time. It has been one of the hardest things I’ve experienced in life. I couldn’t have asked for a better dad and wanted to share some of my favorite memories with all of you and talk a little bit about experiencing loss since I know many of us go through this.
My dad was the most loving and hardworking person I’ve ever met and always was so supportive of me. He owned his own business and he instilled in me that success is a result of hard work and I always admired his work ethic. Even though he was incredibly busy, he always made time for our family and coached me and my brother for many years. He never missed a game and became like a second dad to many of the other kids he coached. He was a jack of all trades and taught me so much. I’ve helped him pour concrete, run machines, build many things, plant flowers, and so much more. I will always value all of the skills he taught me and that he was never afraid to try anything.
As a family we spent a lot of time together at our cottage by the lake and I’m so excited to spend a lot of time there this summer. When my brother was younger my dad had an amazing Jeep Wagoneer that unfortunately started on fire one day so he didn’t keep it. Years later my dad and I wanted to find another 1989 just like the one he had and were able to make it happen during the pandemic. I can’t wait to fix up the Wagoneer this summer and will always think of my dad while driving it. We also run a small greenhouse which is another one of our happy places. Even though my dad was such a tough guy always covered in concrete and mud from work, he was also incredibly caring and a gentle soul. He loved to garden and definitely had a green thumb. One year I was admiring all of the cut flower gardens online and showed my dad all of the beautiful flowers people were growing. Within the next few days he cleared a huge amount of land and we began planting every flower I could imagine. We didn’t use any sort of pest control so many of them got eaten, but any flower that made it was incredibly beautiful. Showing you a bouquet below!
My dad didn’t spend a lot of time online and was only on his phone to make the countless phone calls he made each day. I remember when I was younger he never wanted me to have a smart phone and would always tell me that if I had one he didn’t want me spending all of my time on it. When I finally got an iPhone I started my blog quickly after. In the beginning I don’t think he understood what I was doing documenting everything online, but even then he was always so supportive. One day he brought home a big Milwaukee Tower Light meant for a job site and told me it would be perfect “for my pictures and stuff”. It’s the construction version of a ring light and was such a sweet gesture.
I get a lot of questions about what made me decide to become a teacher and it really was my dad. For years he always told me that I’d be a great teacher and encouraged me to go to college for education. Of course at that time I had no interest in becoming a teacher, but after completing my undergraduate degree and seeing the opportunity to teach subject matters that really interested me I decided to take the leap. I knew that if I truly didn’t love it I could easily pivot. As always, my dad was right and I love being a teacher. It gives me a sense of purpose and leaves me feeling fulfilled.
After college many people expected me to move to a bigger city and I probably would have if my dad wasn’t sick. I am so glad I decided to stay home and live with my parents. Time is something that you can never get back and I have so many wonderful memories with my family everyday. We are all very close and the little moments like playing Jeopardy as a family every night are ones I remember so fondly. In the summer my entire family would spend so many days at the beach, at the softball diamond where my dad still played this past summer, and dancing to my dads favorite rock and roll music at beach bars. I truly have a different outlook on what is important in life and many of my previous ‘problems’ seem so trivial now. Being healthy and spending time with the people you love is the biggest blessing.
My dad battled cancer for a few years and it was becoming very hard on him for the last month or so. Watching someone you love suffer has to be one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced. Throughout his entire life and especially the past few years I always admired how my dad remained incredibly optimistic and never complained. After loosing my dad, I really realize how much his positive energy impacted all of us and I hope to be more like him and become the light that everyone needs. I’ve experienced loss before, but never like this and know it will take a long time to feel any sense of normalcy again. There are days where I feel good and others that I feel incredibly sad and unmotivated. I’m normally a very strong person but right now I am realizing that it’s truly okay to not be okay and expressing how I’m feeling is healthy. I’ve been in therapy for a while now trying to prepare myself for this time, but truly nothing can prepare you for such a devastating loss. I am so glad that my dad was able to see me become a teacher and I know he was so proud of my new job. I look forward to continuing my blogging and teaching careers, growing flowers in the greenhouse, and carrying on his legacy as a joyful person and friend to everyone he met.
When I shared about my dad on Instagram, many of you sent messages letting me know that you were experiencing the same thing. There are no words that can make you feel better, but I want you to know that if you ever need a friend I am here for you. Some days it can feel lonely and that you don’t want to burden those around you with any sadness but please know I am always here. Feel free to message me on Instagram, email me, comment, whatever you need.
Thank you all for being such wonderful friends, I don’t know what I’d do without you!
In memory of the best dad, love and miss you always.