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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Remembering Dad

"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me."

Here it is--Father's Day. Every time this special holiday rolls around I find myself in a half-funk missing my Dad terribly. My father, Coach Duane Hartman, passed away at 60 of stomach cancer 7 years ago now.

As heartbreaking as losing him was, I had the priviledge of being at his bedside during the last weeks of his life. While it was the most difficult thing I ever had to do, those little moments in between morphine and illness were filled with love and grace. And acceptance of all that we cannot control in this life.

Every Father's Day since his passing (and really, everyday), I think about how much I miss him and how much he's missed in my life. I have a son now. My own business. I am stronger than I was back then. And I am much more resolute in living the last words that my father quietly whispered to me before going to the light: "Take care," he said to me. "Be Happy."

Dad, I am happy in so many ways, and I have you to thank for setting the example of how to live a positive, gratitude-filled life.

While I can't send you a card or host a barbeque in your honor or give you some tacky little gift anymore to show you just how much I appreciated your love, warmth and unconditional support, I can honor you by living up to your dying words. I can continue to live the words you left me with. I can continue to strive to be happy and take care of myself.

For those of you who have fathers still here on this planet, give them a hug and tell them thanks. They did their best, even when it may not have always produced the best outcome. They loved you in their own ways, even though sometimes that way was difficult to understand. They are proud of you, even if they never say or said it.

Today I'll be thinking of my father and thanking God that he was in my life for as long as he was, and even after all these years that he's been gone, I'll probably shed a tear for his leaving so early.

And I will raise my voice to the sky and say, Thanks Dad. You were the best Dad that I could have ever wished for. I miss you. Happy Father's Day.


  1. Awww, that is so sweet! I am sorry to hear about your loss. Even though it was seven years ago I know that sometimes it can feel like yesterday. I am blessed to still have my father here with me but my husband lost his dad very unexpectedly just over 4 years ago. We were definitely missing him yesterday.
    Have a great week!

  2. I stumbled upon your link after another. Your work is beautiful. This was such a touching post about your father...what a wonderful daughter you are. Thank you for sharing and for reminding us of how wonderful Dads are!