Monday, July 25, 2011

To My Dad: the hardest goodbye

To actually sit and write this blog brings me to tears. Two weeks ago, I received a phone call from my sister that no person ever wants to receive. The voice on the other end told me something was horribly wrong and when the news was finally broken and the words Dad died crossed over the phone lines…my world completely shattered. I hate to remember that exact moment because it was the worst possible pain you could ever feel. All strength left my body and I just laid in a crumbled mess on the floor. It was impossible to wrap my head around the magnitude of the situation. It was hard to grasp the concept that my Daddy was gone forever. All I kept saying was What? Why? I thought of the pain my Mom must be feeling. I wanted to be home that instant to swoop her in my arms. I thought of my sisters and younger brothers. I just kept thinking about how broken and devastated we were as a family.

 I shook with pain and the tears were endless. My Dad was my hero. He was the life of the party. He was my buddy, my friend, my courage. He was the perfect Dad, a man so selfless and so full of life. I was broken. Mikey had to swoop me into his arms and calm me down but there were no words that could make the situation better…it was just nice to know he was there. Sleep was impossible that night wrought with beautiful memories and painful recognition that there will be no more. The journey home that next morning was slow and agonizing. My world was spinning in slow motion. My world was destroyed.

Seeing my family for the first time broke me down even further. I have never seen such pain nor have I ever experienced it firsthand. My sisters and I embraced in a long tearful hug…no words exchanged. Nothing could be said. Nothing could be fixed. I just wanted my Dad back, to walk through the front door and give me one of his loving bear hugs and a smack on the forehead. I wanted one more hug. I wanted one more conversation. I wanted one more good belly laugh. I wanted him to be at one more race. I wanted to him to hold my new little baby. I wanted him to be Papa to my kids. There is absolutely no replacing my Dad. He was one of kind. A man who truly, above all loved his family and made sure to always brighten the world of those around him. The last vivid memory of my Dad was a few weeks ago…

I was up at my parents cabin and strong storms were rolling in and out. I was determined to get some running miles in but I was playing with lightening so I wanted to be somewhat safe. Finally, there was a break in the clouds. I said, “I’m outta here”. I threw on my shoes and mentioned to my Dad where I was running just in case it got ugly. So, I started my little slow jog and at about 2 miles out a storm erupted above me with a solid crack of thunder. Oh Boy, baby buttons and I were going to have to do a little sprint workout home but, you know who I see coming up the road? -- good ole’ Dad to the rescue. He was grinning ear to ear knowing he was a very loved man at the moment. He always was super excited to save me whether it was a broken down bike, a bonk on a run, or pregnant me stuck in a storm. I’ll miss those rescues. No one saves me better than my Dad. He even would throw in one of his little silly dances because he got so excited about another successful save. His smile is still so clear in my mind. The feel of his warm hugs still perfectly remembered. I don’t want to ever forget how it feels but I’m honestly not sure how I can make those feelings last. 

Ironman Wisconsin last year...a moment I will never forget.

We lost a beautiful man. My family is broken but we are strong. It will always hurt though we are lucky to have each other and the wonderful memories with our Dad. My mom and his love will never die…married for 32 years, together for 37. That strength, bond, and commitment is instilled in each and everyone of us kids. Laughter still resonates through the house because that’s the way my Dad would have wanted it. Jokes and smiles are still abundant because that is the legacy my Dad left behind. My Dad ignited a fire in each of us and mine, I will make sure, will burn even stronger and brighter. In a sad way, my Dad’s death will make me stronger…it will make me love deeper. It makes me want to be a better person, a better wife, a better mother, a better athlete. A few years ago, my Dad’s death may have destroyed me yet now, it will strengthen me because I know that’s what he wants. He wants to see all of us take life by the horns and not let go. He wants us to all laugh a bit louder, love a bit deeper, and always enjoy the simplest pleasures in life. My Dad was a simple man but his simplicity was what made him extraordinary.

Dad, you will always live in my heart. You will never ever be forgotten. I will think about you each and everyday and live my life in your honor. I know you are proud of all of us and I will always continue to live my life to the absolute fullest. I love you so much…your Kates.

My Dad rescuing me last year after my cable snapped 50 miles from home

Dad always putting up with my over abundance of energy


Anonymous said...

Kate, you really have a beautiful way with words and don't think you could have said it any better than you did. I think you and your siblings are the perfect example of what a great father your dad was. He left an imprint on everyone he met and won't ever be forgotten.

Lots of love,