On September 24th, 2021, at about 11:30 at night, I sat with my mom and sisters, and held my Dad’s hands as he took his final breaths. Its been just over a month now, and it will probably never stop hurting. It hurts to walk into my parents house, and not be able to walk down the hall to hear the hairdryer blowing on his hands as he starts telling me about this new photography or website project he’s been working on. I didn’t hear him call me Meggie enough. He was the only person that I ever allowed to pronounce my name with the E sounding like an A…. and as much as I hate hearing that pronunciation, I miss it. I miss the deep bass to his voice when he was making corny jokes. I miss how excited he got when I would tell him about new projects. I miss him, and I wish I had gotten to thank him for so much more.
It was no secret to most that knew us, that my dad and I were more often than not, conflicting storms. We were too alike, but I thank him every day for passing on his love for creativity and wonder.
In the days following my dad’s passing, we had to have a lot of difficult conversations while making arrangements. One of the topics, of course, was if anyone would speak at my dad’s memorial. I knew it wouldn’t be right if none of us said anything… Dad always loved listening to me tell stories, so I decided that I would be the one to speak.
I’d like to share what I wrote/said at my dad’s service on October 1st, 2021. Dad had a huge impact on a lot of different communities in his 71 years of life… some of them from all over the country, or the world even. If you’d like to see his celebration of life, we arranged for it to be live-streamed for the friends and family that couldn’t make it to Michigan. You can see that here. Please note that if you get to the part in which I speak, I’m a blubbering mess. You’ve been warned.
Below is what I had typed up to read that day. I like to think Dad was laughing from wherever he is now. So thanks, Dad <3
I think I decided last weekend that I wanted to get up here and share with you all today. But a few good memories or a story just didn’t seem like enough… If we’re being honest, I probably wasn’t the easiest kid to deal with when I was younger. I mean I’m probably not the easiest to deal with now at age 30, but I DEFINITELY wasn’t back then. Mom can probably vouch for that. I’m stubborn, hard headed, difficult at my best, and I’ve got a temper. Mom will tell you that I got all that from Dad, which is probably true. Its no wonder why we butted heads all the time. I probably never said it back then, but Sorry, Dad. Dad and I were constantly at odds over one thing or another. When you’re a kid, you never understand why your parents are the way they are. I didn’t understand it for years; why my dad was the way he was. And I definitely didn’t understand why it felt like he just didn’t understand me. As I got a little older, and I moved out, Dad and I got along better. We had actual conversations about a lot of different things. We talked about photography, website design, plants, video games, you name it. I don’t think I really started to understand Dad until a few years ago... While mom is probably totally right, and I did inherit my stubborn attitude and my temper from Dad, it wasn’t all bad, and I inherited a whole lot more than that. Having Dad’s temper might mean I’m a*little* hot headed… but it also means he taught me to fight for what I believe in, and to stand my ground. He taught me that I may not always be right; and if I’m not, learn from it, grow from it, and change for the better. Dad teaching me to be stubborn meant he taught me how to be determined, how to not give up even when things got hard and how to work through whatever obstacle might be in my way; he taught me how to be a problem solver, and I think I learned from the best, there. I may have gotten my temper and my stubbornness from Dad, but that also means I got my passion from Dad. For my projects, for the people around me, and for life in general. Dad gave his all everywhere he could, and he impacted SO. MANY. PEOPLE. Because of it. Through the Diecast Pub he created a community. He made a huge impact on an entire hobby, and made friends in every corner of the US and even other countries. Reading all of the posts from the people he met over the years showed me just how much he put into the hobby, and how grateful people were for that. He got to share his photography with not only his hobby friends, but with his family and friends here, too. He took a bunch of our senior photos. And if you have the time to look through the photography albums we brought, and he was SUCH a talented photographer, you’ll see just how much passion and energy he put into every snap of the lens. When I was younger, I went through high school with just about every hair color I could convince my mom to do for me, but the one that I always came back to was purple. Dad often voiced that he never understood why I wanted to have purple hair. That was one of the things I gave up when I tried to do the whole “adulting” thing and fit in better. I may have thought for years my dad never really understood me, but I realized he probably did all along, and really just didn’t know how to show me. Last fall, I finally convinced myself that I could be an “adult” and still be ME, so I showed up to their house one day, with freshly dyed purple and blue hair, and fully expected a comment from my dad about how he didn’t understand why I would want to have purple and blue hair. Instead, when I walked into the office and said “What do you think?” He thought for a moment, looked at me and said “I always thought you looked the best with your hair like that.” I may have inherited Dad’s hard-headed attitude and his temper, but it means I learned from the best how to have a passion for life. And I am so very thankful for that.