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19.6.11

Fathers day seemed like a an appropriate time to explain my Father situation... This handsome young man with his arm around my moms waist is my Dad, Paul. My dad was diagnosed with cancer when I was 7 and passed away when I was 8. I have vivid memories of him sitting on the end of my bed playing his guitar and singing "Ode to big blue" or a Gordan Lightfoot song while I fell asleep. Of him chasing me around our yard playing tag only to catch and throw me so high in air I was convinced he was the strongest man on earth. Or sitting on his lap on the riding lawn mower. Or sitting in church and he would stop singing the hymn to listen to me sing. Or him surprising me and picking me up from school to take me to "the city" with him for work. These are the memories I hold onto, the ones I play over and over in my head. They are the only ones I have of him. They are the only ones I get. When he baptized me, 8 months before he died, I remember standing in the font and he stopped speaking, I looked up at him with his chemo-bald head and realized he was crying. I remember when his hair started to fall out and my mom (accidentally) shaved his head, he sat outside before church one morning to try to get some sun on his white scalp. I remember the last thing he ever said to me, which is too special to say. I feel like it's my little goodbye that I've only told a few people. I remember sitting around my grandparents kitchen table, saying goodbye to him. I remember the day he died. These are memories I'll never forget, they are bittersweet. I didn't have him growing up, not like I should have. I felt him often but oh, how I would have loved to talk to him as an adult. I would give almost anything right now to talk to him. He was an avid journal writer, and right now I have his journal from his first few years of marriage, I love to read it. I love to understand a bit of who I am in the pages. I miss him every single day. I am so eternally grateful that I know I'll see him again. Happy Fathers day, Dad, I love you.

Side note: Doesn't Joe (my brother) look so much like our Dad? It's crazy.

This cute guy with his arm around my sisters waist is my Pops, Elden. Elden and I both agree that we don't like the term "step-dad" so Pop's it is. Would you like to hear the best story ever? Okay. Elden and my mom were high school sweethearts, she Dear John-ed him for my Dad and he married a beautiful woman named Danelle. Years down the road and a few kids later, we lived in Maryland and moved to Arizona when my Dad passed away. Danelle was diagnosed with MS. Elden took care of her for years. I can't imagine how hard it would be to watch your spouse get so horribly sick. He moved to Arizona and a few years later his wife passed away. Connect the dots and here we are. A crazy, loud, funny blended family, not without our struggles, but we've definitely made it work and there is a lot of love. Really, the situation couldn't be more perfect. Elden is the kindest person I have ever met. Truly. He is the town optometrist and you wouldn't believe the things he'll "trade" for. He is loving and interested and is so good for advice because he'll tell you like it is. He is also the most sarcastic person I've ever met. Truly. Here is a Elden tip for those of you who know him: don't take anything personal, if he likes you, he teases you. If he loves you, he relentlessly teases you. Last August (a healthy) Elden had a stroke. We we're living with them at the time and I was working for him. There was a day or two that things were pretty scary. It was so awful. I realized how much I loved having him in my life. He had filled a void I hadn't realized. As he was laying in the hospital bed I said "Don't you go dieing on me" and he said "Right when you started to like me, huh?" (Typical Elden) Needless to say he is doing great now (and lost 25 pounds! Look at you, hot stuff!) It brings tears to my eyes to think about how happy he has made my Mom. Happy Fathers day, Pops! We love you. (Elden, whose we pale face?)

Side note: Working this summer a patient realized Elden was my Dad and said "You look so much like him!" haha, nice try.


I feel so lucky for the Fathers I have. I missed out on a few things, but gained a lot of things.

...and how could I not give a shout out to my someday baby-daddy?! Love you Landito, can't wait until you can celebrate Fathers day for reals.

22 comments:

ashley in wonderland said...

this was such a beautiful post kate! The best one i've read all day. thanks for sharing <3

Tahnee said...

That was seriously beautiful! Gave me chills :)

The Webbs said...

i always love the conversations we have had about your dad.. i know he was amazing-and of course by the end i am in tears. youve got me cryin again here kate!

how lucky to have a wonderful pops around like elden-i am so happy he is there to love your mom.

and a very happy fathers day to landon!!!!

Mallory Camille said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful story, it fills me with hope, and makes me wish we could still talk about serious things while eating burgers and cupcakes.

Autumn said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm grateful for a God that looks out for us even though it doesn't mean things are always the easiest.

communikate. said...

What a beautiful post, Kate! I always think of you having your dad's college sweater. What a great tangible memory to have.

carla thorup said...

i remember when you first told me this story, and it's even better written down with all the details.

happy father's day to all the padres in your world!

Traci Butler said...

I love to see pictures of your Dad. He is so handsome! I always think of you on Father's Day knowing you are missing your Dad. What a nice tribute to both of your Dads!

Liz-a-nator said...

Thank you for this uplifting post. It's funny...when my parents divorced, my dad eventually married his high school sweetheart too. =) I'm really grateful for your beautiful example of family love. Thank you.

Ashlee's Annals said...

You're wonderful and charming and simply delightful. I loved this, and I love that you shared it.

laurice romney. said...

Tears. I loved it.

lauren said...

you are the most beautiful writer. do you know that?
thanks for sharing this (again). you are a delight and someone to look up to. i love your attitude and the way you love your family.
hope you're doing well!

robin said...

what a remarkable post. you had me in tears. i couldn't help but think about my own children (parker being almost the age you were when your father passed away) and how it would be for them to grow up without him.

thank you for sharing...

mindy said...

You need to write a book kate. You are such an incredible writer..just pulls your readers in and we can all feel what your writing...you are incredible!! Love you

Liz said...

*Crying* I love this post so much. I hope I can get to know Elden more one day!

abby said...

this made me cry. they both sound like such great dads. jamie's dad died when he was a baby and he wishes he had some real memories of him. but like you, he reads his journal and loves it.

Julie said...

What a beautiful post. It definitely speaks volumes to the value of journaling. Thank you for sharing your story.

Chelsea said...

ohhhh. I love everything about this post. I am always amazed at how vivid you (and Bekah's) memories of your dad are. I believe that is a special blessing and a tender mercy from both your dad & Heavenly Father.

Super love the story of your mom and Elden. What a happy ending for them both. They seem just perfect for eachother.

Ezra, Kian & Eden said...

It sounds like your sweet Dad's are just as lucky to have you around as you were/are to have them around. Beautiful tribute Kate.

angela hardison said...

kate, i loved reading this. that is all.

Mandy said...

So glad you got a somewhat happy ending. I really loved this father's day tribute.

jilliann said...

kate! I always knew about your dad but reading your story brings tears to my eyes because it is so similar to my husbands story, of his dad. he too was only eight years old when he lost his dad to cancer and not one day goes by that he doesn't mention him. this post was so special. thanks for sharing!