a birthday.

Today is my dad’s birthday. He would have been 56. And yesterday was his Deathiversary. Yes, he died the day before his birthday…30 minutes before, actually. This first week of March is usually a rough week. Lots of memories.

My dad was first diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in 1999, when I was 13 years old. It’s a death sentence. First he lost his speech (bulbar form), then he couldn’t walk, and by the end he was on a feeding tube completely dependent on care. It’s a truly horrific disease.

He entered Hospice in February of 2003…I don’t think I fully understood what that meant at the time. We missed a lot of school that month. We’d go and read to him, and I’d paint his toenails, and we’d watch TV together. I guess we just tried to surround him with love, while trying to maintain some sense of normalcy. I just can’t believe it’s been 10 years, even though it does feel like a lifetime ago. I was 16.

He was a great storyteller. He was a former Navy Seal (Frog Man), and a great lawyer (asbestos litigator). He loved the Green Bay Packers, and sports in general. He would read to us every night before bed, even when we were older…the books grew with us. He had a sense of humor. He loved going to movies (one of his favorites was The Fifth Element). He was my biggest fan at my soccer games. And he would play four-square with me in the driveway. He was a great dad.

We went on vacations to Mexico or Jamaica at least twice a year, and I am lucky to have amazing memories of both my parents. For that I am very grateful. But I just can’t help but feel cheated. I lost both my parents by the time I was 24.

Anyway, I was going through a bunch of pictures, and I found these gems. I loved reminiscing, even though it made me bawl like a baby (hubbs can vouch). These darn pregnancy hormones are getting the best of me today. Sheesh.

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Me & my dad, circa 2000.

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Mom, me, Dad, and my sister. Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica.

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Isn’t this epic? Awesome 70′s photo. I think it was his senior picture.

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Me as a newborn. September 1986.

Becca - March 6, 2013 - 2:24 am

I also remember it like it was yesterday; I just cannot believe it has been 10 years. I wore the one shirt I have of his today, and of course I watched the slideshow dvd from him funeral yesterday as I do every year on his deathiversary. He was indeed a great man, and he touched many lives. Happy birthday M.V.! You are still loved just as much today as you were ten years ago! Love you Niki and Jesse!

Liz @ TheLambentLife - March 6, 2013 - 6:04 am

I’ll be thinking of you this week. What wonderful memories you have :)

bornbyariver - March 6, 2013 - 8:37 am

I’m very sorry for your loss. I hope you can feel his presence with you today.

Jesse - March 6, 2013 - 11:31 am

I don’t think I even have any of his shirts any more! Every time I watch that DVD I bawl. Love you bex, I ate an extra slice of cake for you yesterday =)

pintofgoals - March 6, 2013 - 7:17 pm

Ugh – this is a rough week for you. A child should never have to lose their two parents so young and so close to each other. I hope reminiscing with the pictures gives you some sense of comfort.

Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog - March 9, 2013 - 5:51 pm

Great photos, Nicole! What a cute little newborn you were. :)

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