Saturday, June 22, 2013


Today marks five months since my dad passed away.

I try really hard not to dwell on it, and not to let it overcome me, but the 22nd of every month since January has been more than just a normal day.

It's a reminder of what we lost, and conversely how far we've come.

For those of you who have been affected by cancer, you know how much it sucks.  You know how hard it is to watch someone you love be torn apart physically, emotionally, and psychologically by the disease.  Being part of the "I've Lost Someone I Love to Cancer" club isn't something I ever thought I'd have to live with.  Luckily, everyone in this "club" is so loving and caring that it makes it that much easier.

I was being bored a few weeks ago and searching through my old emails, and I found this gem from my dad.

My dad and I emailed each other often, mostly because I was in school and we had completely opposing schedules (he'd be getting home from work and I'd be going to the gym, and by the time I got home he'd be in bed) and so we just constantly emailed and wrote letters.  I don't remember what the context of this advice was- probably feeling bummed out from a bad grade- and he always had the best advice, even if it was something so little.

Since he died, I've done a lot to help with my own 'well being'.  I've changed majors (and haven't felt so happy about a decision this big in such a long time), found out the people who matter most, and just taken small steps to find overall happiness.  I don't want to sound na├»ve by thinking this... but in times of hardships, we really realize who we are, and where we want to go from there.

If you are sad, be sad.  If you are happy, be happy.  Don't let anyone tell you how you should and shouldn't feel.
Don't feel like you have to stick to something if it doesn't feel like the right thing to do.
Have the conversations you want to have, while you can.
When people ask "how are you doing", don't feel obligated to say "fine". It's okay to break down and cry.  The people who love you won't care.
Do the things you want to do while you have the chance.
It's okay to smile when the whole world thinks you should be sad.

I suppose I'm lucky to have learned all of this at the age of nineteen.
Thank you, dad, for teaching me these.

What I want, more than anything, is for my dad to be remembered not as his disease but as the person he was. 
How he had the ability to light up the room.  
How he could play 'blackbird' on guitar over and over again and no one would get sick of the sound. 
How he was always happy to come home from work and see his family.  
How he could make anyone laugh with the silliest joke, or a word he made up on the spot.
How he would get up early every Sunday and make me his famous French toast and take me to a movie.
How he would ask me a million questions when watching Doctor Who because he failed to watch the most recent episode.
How he would let me lie my head on his belly and listen to the funny noises it made when I was little and we were watching Saturday morning cartoons (especially Rocko's Modern Life, because it was his favorite).
How he would let me skip school almost every Friday during my senior year because I hated my class.
This is who my dad is.
And this is how I choose to remember him.

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