Remembering…Missing…Dad…

Hi folks.

Today marks 5 years since my Dad passed away. It feels like a lifetime. Then there are days it feels like it happened yesterday. Loss is like that. Some days you move through life unburdened by it. Other days it cuts you to the core and the memories are strong.

I’ve written about my father before. You can read about how I took care of him and our final moments together in my post from last year, Father’s Day Dinner and Memories of Dad. My father passed away from lung cancer in May of 2007. He had a very short battle with the disease. Looking back I think it’s almost better if it takes you swiftly. The pain it causes, and the heart ache, takes such a toll on the person and those around them. My heart breaks for anyone battling cancer. It also breaks for everyone who loves someone with cancer. It will touch your life, change your life and make you appreciate life in ways you never did before.

For me I had to decide early one whether I was going to become bitter or better for going through it with Dad. I chose better. I wanted to feel it, learn from it, and grow because of it. It’s not easy to open yourself up to the experience but if you can it will make you a stronger version of yourself. It was not easy, not by a long shot. My father was a difficult man, he was angry, often mean and very bitter. He was not easy to spend time with. We had a very combative relationship prior to him getting sick. But when he called me to ask for help I figured I could either let it go or let it control me. It was easy to decide to let it go. It is amazing what happens when you make the decision to let the past go. Not just say you’re going to but really do it. The world is a different place. We still had our moments and it was a difficult 8 months but I got through it and learned to love and appreciate my father more than I thought possible.

I am grateful I went on the journey with him. I learned so much about him. We had lots of time to fill, so we talked about life, childhood, love, everything under the sun. I found out things about him I did not know. Things I didn’t want to know some days. But I am thankful now I had that time to really get to know him and understand him. It is easy to see why he was the man he was after learning more about his childhood. He did the best he could with the tools he had and in those moments of understanding any shred of leftover bitterness over our childhood melted away. It was nothing compared to what he’d been through.

While our childhoods were difficult at times we also had tons of fun. My Dad always made sure we took a family vacation every year. I’m grateful for those memories. They are plentiful.

I remember him eating ice cream almost every single day.

I remember him teaching me how to fish.

I remember him teaching me how to canoe.

I remember him and I going hiking alone one day and having so much fun just being together.

I remember him always trying to get me to laugh for the camera.

I remember him writing “no wee wee in the waa waa” on our pool deck in bold paint and thinking he was the funniest person on the planet because of it.

I remember him teaching us how to shoot pool.

I remember him getting so excited every time we would see a wild animal on our camping ventures.

I remember him talking his whole life about retiring and buying an rv and travelling everywhere, in particular Alaska. He made that trip when he retired just like he said he would. He was gone a whole year and had the time of his life.

I remember him crying only a handful of times in his life. The worst was the day he told us my Mom had died. He picked us up from school with my uncle and told us in the car in the school parking lot. I remember being so stunned by his emotion because he always seemed so emotionless. After that I didn’t see him cry until he got sick. Even then he was strong and only broke down three times during that year. I was honoured to be with him when he did, it bonded us, made me realize my tough father was human.

Dad and Mom a little loaded at a wedding!

 

Dad and his best buddies!

 

Dad, I still remember this outfit to this day.

 

Crazy runs in the family!

 

One of his fave past times!

 

Told ya crazy runs deep in our family!

 

One of my fave photos of my Dad!

 

This was our first trip after Mom died. Dad was trying to help us feel normal. *yes that's young me*

 

The man was like a little kid when it came to gifts.

 

Love this photo!

 

Another fave past time!

 

Isn't this fabulous!

 

Dad, one of my aunties, and me!

 

Me and Dad on my wedding day!

 

Dad on his dream vacation!

 

One of my all time fave shots of Dad! It's amazing how many photos we have of us sitting on the edges of cliffs and mountains. We're lucky to all be alive!

 

Dad and my Uncle Mike. He loved hanging out with Mike doing "guy stuff".

 

I am telling you now I am probably going to be haunted by this man tonight. He was not a fan of the “evil internet” and did not care for private things being put on it. So I would guess he’s preparing to scare the living bejesus out of me tonight for this one. I bet he had no idea his daughter would grow to share her whole life on the internet. It’s okay Dad, I did not share any embarrassing ones or any of you while you were sick. I was going to but I knew you would stalk my ass till the end of time if I did. Hoping this will just get me haunted and stalked a smidge.

I always loved my Dad but I think it took him being sick for me to understand and like him. I am ever grateful to him for pushing me, challenging me, testing me, and loving me. He had a weird way of showing love but once I finally understood he was terrified of being vulnerable so he hid it deep within himself, then I finally got it. I got him. And everything made perfect sense. He kept every card we every gave him, every note we ever left him, every gift we ever gave him. He held onto them liked prized possessions, kept the cards and notes in binders as a diary of his life. I had no idea how sentimental he was until he was gone. Now I flip through those binders on occasion to remind myself of who he was and what we meant to him. It’s a nice keepsake to have.

So for all of you who still have your Dads around, give them a hug. Appreciate them. Let stuff go. Take pleasure in the little things. You will be grateful one day you did. My Dad taught me to live life with no regrets. I hope one day when I look back I am that comfortable in my own skin that I can honestly say I have none. What a concept. He gave me this advice one day when we talked about his life and how he felt about nearing the end of it, “Do what you want, when you want to do it and live your life the way you want to live it. And to hell with everyone who doesn’t like it.” My Dad rocked at owning it, long before the days of Dr. Phil. I hope I can own it Dad. The good, the bad and the beautiful!

Toodles and smoochies! xx

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Comments

  1. says

    I will admit up front that I didn’t read this. I’m sorry. My dad is 85 and he’s my hero. I’m totally a daddy’s girl and embrace it. The thought of losing him raising a lump in my throat that I can’t breathe around. Reading about those who have lost their fathers breaks my heart.

    So, I’m here to give you a virtual hug and to just be here in that way. Hugs, my Lunatic friend.

    • Kim Bee says

      Aw, it’s okay. I figure this is one only some people can read. But I wanted to put it out there. Thanks for the hug. I appreciate it so much. xx

  2. says

    Beautiful post, Kim. I can’t imagine seeing my dad suffer in that way or getting to know him that personally…I love him dearly and know he loves me, but something like this changes all that to so much more. I’m glad your memories now are mainly fond ones. {hugs}

    • Kim Bee says

      Thanks so much Anna. It means a lot to me. You are lucky you have a good relationship with your Dad. Life is short, hug him lots. xx

  3. says

    Beautiful post, Kim! He lived well. I love the stories, the pictures and the lessons in this post… a lot of food for thought! Hugs to you, my friend!

    And ‘No wee wee in the waa waa’? I see where you get your awesome sense of humor! :)

    • Kim Bee says

      Thanks Marsha. Means a lot to me. I always feel the need to honour my folks on their special days.

      Lol, he had the same sarcastic bite to his humour. I hated it growing up but now I can appreciate it as an adult.

  4. says

    I love your strength and your honesty about your life, and the people who have affected your life. Your dad sounds like a wonderful man! I love the family photos, the stories, the memories. Thoughts and prayers going out to you today as you remember him.

    • Kim Bee says

      Aw, thanks. I tend to be pretty straight forward and open. Much to the horror of some of my family I suppose. Lol.

      Thanks so much. I appreciate the support more than you know. xx

  5. Rebecca Walker says

    Loved all the photos and the obvious joy you took in selecting and sharing them. I’m glad for you that you and your Dad found some peace and rapport. My Dad is 77; he and my Mom live with us and there are moments when they both drive me nuts. It’s complicated and difficult to watch your parents age daily. But I love him and am grateful for his presence. Your thoughts encourage me to appreciate him, and I admire your courage in still dealing with the loss of such a pivotal person in your life.

    • Kim Bee says

      Oh Rebecca I hear you. Don’t get me wrong he drove me nuts. I was lucky to have friends to vent to. And a cancer counsellor who helped me in the beginning. It takes so much patience to deal with that shift in the parent/child relationship. Never feel bad if you get frustrated or mad, it makes you human. I learned so much through it and continue to learn from it. It’s a tough thing to lose both parents. I feel like an orphan at such an old age. It is so weird how it plays with your mind like that. Thanks for the support. And on that note thanks for your continued support on the blog and fanpage. It means so much to me that you take such an interest in my story. I appreciate it very much. xx

  6. says

    I do feel very lucky to still have my dad around. It is heart wrenching to be close to someone that has suffered such a loss. My husbands dad passed away and it has been about 4 years. The other day he told me that there is not a day that goes by in which he does not think of his dad. This tells me that the bond will always remain. Remembering the special moments spent with your dad time is a great way to honor his life and my prayers are with you as you continue to deal with his loss.

    • Kim Bee says

      It’s been 28 years since my Mom passed and I think about her every day. Not a day goes by she doesn’t pop into my head. My Dad does often too. It’s hard to explain to people. I love to honour them on their days then move on. If I dwell on it I get bummed beyond hope. So I do this and visit them so I can move forward. Plus I hope it helps others dealing with loss. It’s the thing that unites us all for sure. Thanks so much for your support. You are so sweet. xx

  7. says

    What a beautiful post and tribute to your dad! So true what you say about taking pleasure in the little things. I am fortunate that both my parents live close by, so I see them every week. When I was growing up, my dad travelled a lot, but when he was home he was always playing a game or sports with me. He even went on all the camping trips with my Girl Scout troop. Great memories! So good for you that you were able to let go of the past, and enjoy the time wih your dad.

    • Kim Bee says

      Thank you so much. I am so glad you have your folks nearby. I think I get sad mostly for my kids. Particularly not ever meeting my mom. She would have been an awesome gramma. My dad was difficult but the kids loved him. Most of the time. Lol. It’s so nice to look back and remember the good times. I feel blessed to have had parents who went above and beyond for us kids.

  8. Charlie says

    Kim:
    My heart and prayers are with you today!

    My Daddy will be gone 2 years the end of June.

    Lovely tribute!

    Have a Joyful Day

    Charlie

    • Kim Bee says

      Aw thanks Charlie. You are just the sweetest person. I am sorry about your Daddy too. It is so hard to lose someone you love. I was 38 when I lost my Dad but just 15 when I lost my Mom. But I feel lucky to have had them as parents. Good or bad, you still just love them so much. Thanks for always being so supportive Charlie. You are a gem and I appreciate it so much. xx

  9. says

    Beautiful post and honest, loving tribute. If your dad comes back to haunt you, he might just be trying to say, “Thanks and I love you too!”

    • Kim Bee says

      Thanks so much Stacy. I hope that’s what he’s doing cuz I’m a bit worried. The man despised the internet. Lol.

  10. says

    It’s really difficult to remember someone just to end up missing them. I was reading your blog and I couldn’t help to feel a little lump in my throat. My dad passed away and we didn’t get to say goodbye because heart attack took him away from us. Your dad bravely went through it and it became the way of spending the time needed to express the love and good memories between a father and his beloved daughter. This is a beautiful tribute to your dad, Kim.

    Take care,

    ~ ray ~

    • Kim Bee says

      Thanks so much Ray. I am so sorry for your loss as well. It is so hard to lose parents. I also lost my mom when I was 15, to a heart attack. Was the hardest thing in the world to deal with. Not saying goodbye is so difficult. I miss her every day. With dad I got to say goodbye but I also watched him suffer. It’s such a hard thing to do. But being able to talk and make things right is a gift you have to utilize when given the chance. So glad I was able to do that. I am so grateful you left the comment and took the time to share your story with me. It means the world to me. xx

  11. says

    Very touching, Kim. I’m glad you found peace with your dad and are able to appreciate the happy memories. I’m a little bit jealous of the photo of him escorting you on your wedding day. My dad died when I was still in college so I missed out on so much.

    • Kim Bee says

      Aw thanks so much Anita. I was lucky to have my dad at my wedding. But my mom had passed so she wasn’t there. It made for a difficult day. I hope you were able to have someone else important to you stand in for him. I had my mom’s sister sit with my dad at the wedding to try to honour my mom a bit. We also had a candle lit for her. Not that it helps much but I felt like she was there in spirit.

  12. says

    Kim, I’m moved by your tribute to your dad and hard to read when you mentioned about your dad crying when your mom passed away. It was so emotional. My parents are still alive but I am very scared of losing them as I live far away and I feel like I don’t spend time with them enough. Stories like this always remind me how precious your family is. We take it for granted sometimes and regret that we don’t spend enough time. I’m going to give a call to my parents today. :-)

    • Kim Bee says

      Aw thanks Nami. I think it’s good to keep in touch with them as often as life allows. You can be close to someone and not be near them. Me and my sis are like that.

  13. says

    Kim, I’m so sorry for your loss–I can’t imagine how difficult it is not to have your dad around. What a lovely remembrance of him!

  14. says

    My dear Kim… this was truly a touching post and tribute to your Dad. I really loved all the pictures… he seemed like a jolly and fun man to be around. You have some lovely memories to cherish…. and I’m sure he’s looking down on you and thankful for all the wonderful times you shared together. Sending you a hug! ~ Ramona

    • Kim Bee says

      Thanks so much Ramona. I appreciate it. I am so glad for the memories and the time I had with him. xx

  15. says

    I had to stop halfway through, reading this post hit way too close to home for me. I’ve written about my dad on my blog a handful of times, I miss him so much. I also lost him in 2007. I was 19 and studying abroad and it came out of nowhere :( My heart goes out to you, lady. It is so hard to lose someone so close and so special.

    • Kim Bee says

      Aw I am so sorry to make you sad. Not my intention at all. It is difficult to lose parents at any age. I lost my mom without warning when I was 15 so I’ve lost one without being able to say goodbye. Then with my dad I had warning but watched him suffer. I don’t know which is worse. They are both horrible and painful in different ways. Now I just try to remember them with fondness.

  16. says

    Kim, this is such and honest and touching post. Some wounds never completely heal, Adam’s father passed away 11 years ago and he still has hi moments when he tears up with missing him. It’s usually something small and unexpected that reminds him of his Dad. God bless, Kim and thanks for sharing your heart with us.

    • Kim Bee says

      Thanks so much Cheryl. I get like that too. Some days it’s just the smallest thing that sets it off. So random most days. Much love to you and Adam. xx

  17. Melody says

    I can’t say that I didn’t cry reading this one….My dad and I aren’t the huggy type and the lectures…But I remember the camping trips in the Pop-up, the furniture and the paneled walls, this sure brought back memories….Love your blogs.

    • Kim Bee says

      My dad only hugged me about twice in my life so I can relate. Memories are so wonderful. It helps heal things. Thanks for reading. I truly appreciate it.

  18. says

    This was such a beautiful post. I loved all the pics of your dad, especially the ones of him fishing! He certainly brought you into nature as much as possible, eh? You are a wonderful daughter to continue honoring him.

    • Kim Bee says

      We really did get to experience so much travelling and nature and culture. I think we saw most of Canada and the States. Lovely memories. Thanks so much for being sweet. I appreciate it so much.

    • Kim Bee says

      Thanks so much Jennie. I have lots of great memories. And thanks to my brother sending me photos I also have some great photos.

  19. says

    Beautiful post. Even though you put your Dad out there on the evil internet, he would no doubt appreciate all the kind memories about him you shared. It is never easy caring for an ailing parent and to be able to take the better of the 2 routes is truly a gift. Take care and give yourself a huge hug for me.

    • Kim Bee says

      Thanks Stephanie. We had a love/hate thing but in the end you let it go. Which is the best gift you can someone I think. Forgiveness in the end is amazing. So freeing for everyone.

  20. says

    Twin, all I can do is give you a big hug. My dad passed away in April of ’06 so I know exactly what you’re going through. I took care of my dad for the last 7, almost 8 years of his life. it took his old age for me to learn to like him so I can empathize there. Hugs to you, dear twin.

  21. says

    Lovely tribute to your dad and hard to read. Both my parents are gone. And my boyfriend loss his dad a week before Christmas 2010. Thanks for sharing this post and the photos.

    • Kim Bee says

      Thanks so much Christine. It’s hard losing folks. I lost my mom when I was 15 too. And all my grandparents are gone. Feel a bit like a orphan. But life moves forward and I cope as best I can.

    • Kim Bee says

      Thanks so much Marina. It helps me to share pics and stories. I’ll take that hug and send you one back. xx

    • Kim Bee says

      Once a year I get nostalgic. Then I bounce back. Then Mother’s Day hits and I get that way again. Then bounce back. Then Father’s Day hit and I get weird again. It’s a never ending cycle. I miss them but it’s been long enough that I cope okay. Just get sad for what could have been. I like to honour them with posts too. It’s just a nice way to pay tribute. I’ll take that hug and send one right back to you. xx

  22. says

    we have the same story my father also died in lung cancer that was 15 years ago…until now his memory of fun and love he gave to us still remain…we need to appreciate every people around by saying that we love them…sigh…

  23. says

    ThiS is such a tender hearted bio of your dad. It brings tears to my eyes. I wish my dad were still here as well. It’s funny I looked at your photos with captions and the photos were great but only you understood what each look and grin and moment was all about. That’s what makes them so special.

    My dad died one month before my daughter was born almost 23 years ago. It was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through. To this day I love looking at his photos and videos but have to ration them. I get so blue but most of all I miss lying my head under his arm or on his tummy while he would stroke my head. I wish he was here right now to comfort me.

    We are fortunate to have fond memories. I know too many that don’t at all. I find that hard to believe.

    Enjoy the rest of your day!

    • Kim Bee says

      I am the same way with photos of both my mom and dad. I can only take so much at a time. I love looking at them but there are days I can handle it and days I cannot. I am so sorry for your loss as well. Much love. xx

  24. says

    I just lost my dad on February 13th of this year. It’s probably the hardest thing that I’ve gone through. I still have days that are really dark and bad. I’m happy for you that you were able to get to a good place with your dad. If I had not been in a good place with my dad I think this loss would have even been more difficult. I think the hardest part of losing my dad was the unexpectedness of it. He had been healthy, but simply went to bed one night and didn’t wake up the next day. He was only 66, just 2 days shy of his 67th birthday. He had cheated death in ’04 and had a heart transplant in ’05, but there was no reason to think that he wasn’t going to live to an old age. I really do understand the pain that you must feel for the loss of your father and I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • Kim Bee says

      Oh Lisa I am so sorry for your loss. That is so awful. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I too know about unexpected loss, my mom died in the night from a heart attack when I was 15. So I’ve lost one parent without warning and one. I honestly don’t know which is worse. Losing someone you love and not being able to say goodbye, but knowing they had no pain. Or losing someone slowly and watching them suffer but being able to say all the things you wanted to. Both are difficult in different ways. I just think losing a parent no matter how or what age you are stinks big time. It hurts and it scars you and you are never quite the same. All I can say is I feel so much empathy for you. If you ever need to talk hit my email. I’m a good listener. xx

  25. says

    Kim, I am so sorry for your loss. I couldn’t imagine having to deal with the loss of my parents. You truly are a strong woman. Thank you so much for sharing such wonderful memories with us and I hope you always keep them alive in your heart. Hugs to you, my foodie friend!!

  26. says

    I read, and hung on to, every single word. So beautifully well said. I know what it is like to lose your Dad to cancer. I have tried to work up the courage to write about it. You have totally inspired me to go for it. Thanks for that !!
    I love your outlook, and the pictures were FAB ! Keep writing, keep blogging. You rock. xx

  27. says

    Kim, I really love learning more about you and your family. Both of your parents sound like such amazing people. I’m so glad that you do these posts!

  28. Colleen says

    Love the pic of your dad sitting on the cliff w/ the caption, “It’s amazing how many photos we have of us sitting on the edges of cliffs and mountains. We’re lucky to all be alive!” It’s funny to look back at pics of yourself as a kid and wonder, “How did I survive my childhood?”

  29. says

    I was searching for the history of fathers day as we celebrate it on the 1st Sunday of September (tomorrow) in Australia and I stumbled across your blog and it kinda blew me away.

    My father passed away on the 7th May 2007 from Cancer, he was my mate and friend as well as my dad. This year marks 6 years and I still kinda wish that I would wake up and Fathers Day was yesterday not tomorrow. Doing our family tree there is so much that I have found out that I wish I had of known when he was alive – now it is too late. RIP Dad

    His brother my uncle lives in Canada as do my cousins albeit one lives in Yellowknife.

    Anyway good blog, keep it up.

    Cheers Leigh

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