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The snow falls, reminiscent of the last day you knew this earth. It’s been four years, this second day of February. I can still replay that morning, and my body knows too well the feeling of those emotions. I remember the last time you were at our house and the last phone conversation.

So much has changed in four years. Marriage, new business, and now a beautiful baby boy. I have no doubt you’d be proud. You always were. Always supportive. Full of love.

Existence is a gift – I keep trying to remind myself. For all of the joys of this earth, your absence will always make the days feel imperfect. Your existence will forever be a part of my memory; although, I fear what I may have already forgotten – holding fast to what I do remember. Symbols trigger memories. Emails I hesitate to read. Your voice, I’ve kept from the caller ID.

I miss morning phone calls from you as I would be walking to work, usually telling me to come home to visit. You’d offer to pay for gas when (we) would. I miss your big hugs that would about break my neck. I respected your advice (in later years). You always seemed to have a good answer, or if you didn’t, you were honest. You were one of the few people I trusted with my whole heart and felt safe.

“I’ve always said if you’re not happy where you’re at to not complain but do something different. That’s what I’ve always done or else be your own boss in your own business!! The only drawback to that is being self-employed has no benefits!!”

We’re all still trying to keep moving forward, but in all honesty, it’s still really hard. The holidays come and go. They feel disjointed. You always made them feel whole and brought life and laughter. They’re too quiet now.

Your eyes had a sparkle and smile of their own; even dressed up as Santa, I knew it was you as a kid. You were the grill master and cooked up the bacon and cheggs (cheesy eggs) on the weekend. Thanksgiving, there was the cookie turker (you’d never let mom live that one down). Christmas, you knew the lines to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Many times, we watched Chris Farley on Saturday night live; you knew the lines then, too. Out in the garden, you had your silly hat on, planting the rows of corn with Jessica. You only knew Chloe when she was a pup, but you saved her life when she jumped into the pool (your phone in your pocket didn’t get so lucky).

You were an example of a hard worker. Always kept busy. Beads of sweat would roll down your face sometimes while just eating dinner. You’d go at everything like you were killing snakes. Yet you were such a kind and compassionate man. If someone was in the ditch during a snowy day, you had a wench on your truck to help pull them out. Always the first to help. Took good care of our dogs and helped deliver Chassey’s litters of puppies. Anywhere you went, you usually knew someone. Even just a quick stop would turn into a full conversation. On the road playing softball, seems like every vehicle we ever had knew to turn into a Sonic for a burger, tots, and cherry limeade. You treated us the best. We never went without. You always wanted to be involved. Coaching, going to pitching practice, you name it.

You always tried to cheer us up and look at the positive side. I’m missing my #1 cheerleader.

“Anyway get your happy face pic back on Facebook as the current one doesn’t look like you!! Keep your chin up and don’t let anybody get you down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep warm and have a Great day!!!!!!!!!”

I still need a swift kick in the butt from time to time to get straightened up.

You enjoyed the great outdoors, fishing, hunting, camping. Loved the mountains and Colorado. Always wanted a log cabin out there. I didn’t understand at the time, but I do now.

Others grow up without their grandparents; I feel so fortunate to know mine, but now I feel the pain of Carson not having the chance to know you. I can imagine what he’d look like in your arms and the love you would share. His cheeks are so soft and kissable, and he has the sweetest smile. I know that what characteristics Carson carries from me are, in fact, also part of you. I can only imagine that he would have loved to learn to fish and hunt from you. I remember you sitting with me during hunter’s safety class and some of the times we’d go out in the blind or on the water fishing. It was peaceful, and I felt “big” getting to go do things with you or be your helper on the Frito Lay route and get a cappuccino.

For as many of the times we’ve all cried over the past four years, I know we’ve laughed many times more because of you. For that – your lasting impression in our hearts is one of love and laughter. Seeing pictures of you just makes me want you here even more. You were gone too soon, yet the more I think about it, any length of time wouldn’t have been long enough. I have a feeling you’re really not missing as much here as it feels like, but we’re missing you.

Love Ya Lots

my dad

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