08/04/1951 – 02/06/2019
When thinking of what to write for the memory wall, I couldn’t quite sum up the words that would fit my dad. It’s difficult to put into words how much he meant to our family, especially because he was called home a little over two months ago. He told us that he was going to pick his “own day” when he was called home. This day happened to be not only the anniversary of his diagnosis, but the anniversary of him signing an all-state football contract at a military academy he attended.
I wrote a memoir for dad after his final brain surgery. I was able to read him the rough draft during a father-daughter moment that we shared after finding out the news that his cancer was no longer treatable. Though there are so many moments that are still hard to put into words, I wanted to capture my dad for the man and father he was. I wanted him to know how proud of him we were and still are.
Below is the final draft of his memoir:
My Dad. The Protector.
The one who would chase away monsters from under our beds at night.
The one who would let me and Dylan sit in his “donut hole”, As he laid on the couch watching movies with us.
The one who defended and stood by his castle,
along with mom.
The one who worked countless hours to put food on the table to make sure his children were taken are of.
My Dad. The Wise One.
The one who would talk about life lessons and talked to us about history.
The intelligent and quick with numbers guy.
The one who knew everything.
The one who continues to teach us life lessons,
Even the life lessons we don’t want to know.
My Dad. The Story Teller.
The one who would tell stories from his past.
The one who shared old memories with us,
while creating new ones.
The one who told the same story a million times and it never got old.
My Dad. The Sentimental One.
A best friend and a favorite parent.
The one who saved letters from a 3 year old; wrote 20 something years ago.
The one who created traditions, including Village Inn Wednesdays.
We always got a Chef Salad and our free pie.
The one I called every day, even just to say hi.
My Dad. The Honest One.
The man who would tell you like it is, with an especially gentle heart.
The one who made sure every word was crafted lovingly and carefully.
He always spoke with a gentle heart.
My Dad. The Family Man.
The one who raised up five children and loved them all equally.
He loved us regardless of our differences.
The one with a gentle heart and dedication for my mother.
My Dad. The Man.
The one who taught me how to love and never settle for less.
The one who taught me how a man should treat a woman.
The one who loved unconditionally.
February 6, 2017. The Evening I’ll never forget.
The evening I woke up from a dormant sleep.
A missed call from my mom and the news I already knew.
Melanoma. The Unknown. My Dad.
My Dad. The Hulk.
The one who fought a battle bigger than he had to
With his family and a team of doctors.
The one who walked three miles in a relay on Father’s Day.
He still handed out sunscreen and
Melanoma Awareness Stickers after the race.
The one who earned a Team Spirit Award for the love and support.
My Dad. The Believer.
The one who found his faith in God.
The one who got Baptized with his soulmate.
A moment when faith and love was the only thing you could hold onto.
The one who spread God’s Word and sang his way into Heaven.
My Dad. My Angel.
The one who will always guide me through life.
The one who I’m proud of and gives me faith to walk through life,
Even when he’s not here on Earth with me.
He will always be watching over us.
Dad, please wait for me at Heaven’s Gate.
Until then, I’ll be seeing you in my dreams.
I love you.
Haleigh Groves, Your Daughter