Sunday, March 8, 2009


Today, March 8th, would have been my Dad's 57th birthday. He was born and raised in a farm community in Ohio. It was in Ohio where he met and married my mom. They then went on to have my sister, Charity, in Ohio before moving to New York two years later, where I was born. A move to Floridia when I was 2 1/2, another sister, Grace, and then a final move to CA where my brother, David, and sister, Faith were born.

My dad was self-employeed for many years, owning his own computer business. He worked very hard to provide for us, send us to private school, and keep us happy. He worked LOTS of hours, but all to provide for his family. He did what he had to do.

I believe that one of my Dad's greatest moments was when he became a papa. He was so proud of his grandsons. Only two out of his thirteen grandchildren would be fortunate enough to meet him. Jacob, now 10, and Andrew were the light of his life. He loved to pick them up and take them to the park or to McDonald's for a happy meal, singing made up songs the whole way there. He would do anything for those boys!

Around March of 2002, my dad started getting very ill. The doctors could not figure out what was wrong with him and just kept running test after test. It wasn't till the end of May that they discovered that he had primary liver cancer. We were told that there was nothing they could do for him but make him comfortable. I will never forget the day that we found out this awful news, May 27, 2002. Dale (who was just my best friend at the time), Andrew, and I were on our way home from celebrating Andrew's 3rd birthday at Disneyland. I knew when my mom asked me if I was the one that was driving that the news was not good. They told my dad that he had about a month to live, so my dad choose to go home instead of spending his last days in the hospital. Hospice would come over daily to check on my dad and answer any questions that my mom had.

I was living about 100 miles away in Redlands, teaching 5th grade, when all of this was going on; so I went down on the weekends to spend as much time with him as I could. It did not know that I would only have one weekend to spend with him before things went down hill very fast. By Wed, June 5th, I was getting a call at work to tell me that Dad had less then 24 hours left. I quickly left work (thank you to the other teachers who covered for me), grabbed Andrew from day care and flew down the freeway faster then anyone should ever drive. By the time I got there he had already slipped into a semi-coma, saying very few words if any.

That night, at 11:00 p.m., all of his sisters and brothers flew in from Ohio to see him one last time. He acknowledged their presence and then slipped deeper into a coma. All night long my brother and I took turns sitting by his bedside. I cherish these last moments even though my dad was no longer able to speak. I held his hand, talked to him, cried, and knew he was listening when he would gently squeeze my hand or a tear would roll down his cheek.

The next day was more of the same, sitting by his side and knowing that the end was soon. It was shortly after 2 on June 6th, when a hospice nurse was there to take his vitals, that he took his last breath as my aunt and I walked into the room. That was the hardest moment in my life. I lost a huge part of me that day. I was a major Daddy's girl!!! and life has not been the same since he left.

It is hard to believe that less then 7 years ago my dad passed away from liver cancer. I miss him VERY much. His fight with liver cancer was relatively short but very painful. I know that he held on long enough to say goodbye to everyone. He also knew that there was nothing to do to cure his cancer and did not want to prolong the pain for all of us around him. I wish more then anything for him to be here today, to see how blessed I am with a great husband and three wonderful children. I know that he would be very proud of all of us.

So, today we make cupcakes and sing "Happy Birthday" to my dad. WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH!!


  1. Joy,
    I am sitting here crying reading this blog. I remember his days at the end from my mom, aunt and uncles perspective. Unfortunately our life here on earth is too short. Uncle Dave was such as great guy. He is truly missed by all in the family yet today. I enjoyed my time with him when I would come out to visit or when he came to Ohio. I remember some funny jokes or things that he would do growing up (Sorry, I can't share with all, they are not all postable.) I know that he is looking down on all of us. He would be so proud of all of his kids and grandkids. Take care and god bless.

    Your cousin,

    P.S. I enjoy reading your blog and I like the new view.

  2. Aw Joy, what a beautiful tribute to your dad. From reading this I can tell he was a great man and will be forever remembered. So neat that you guys all got to be there with him before he slipped into the coma.

    Where in NY were you born? My husband was born/raised in upstate (near Syracuse).

    In regards to the photo stuff, I do it all at It is totally free! It's really fun, you should go check it out. I think it is easier to use than photoshop!

  3. What an absolute beautiful tribute to your dad!! I am sitting here with tears as I read it, it is so similar to losing my ad to bladder cancer in January 2002.

    Love you girl!

  4. I was catching up on your blog, and was very touche by your memories of your dad because it reminded me of my dad. He too was an amazing grandpa, I remember him playing Inspector Gadget with my girls and having a great time! When I was growing up, even after I married, he'd surprise me with little gifts or notes with his famous "stick figure duck" drawings. I miss him every day, and it's been 9 years since he passed away from lung cancer. I have a feeling our dads may be together, chuckling over the antics of their grandkids and bragging about whose are better! Love goes on.