Celebrating Dad

On Sunday night, February 3, dad was welcomed to Paradise with Jesus.

We celebrated his life earlier this week and it could not have been more beautiful and perfect just for him. The night before the service mom gave us letters dad had written to each of us, along with matching necklaces for his girls to wear to his service. It was an emotional and beautiful surprise which really showcased the thoughtful person dad was.

The service was held at my parents church, where they got married 26 years ago and we grew up attending. At the front of the church were two of dad’s surfboards, decorated with the most gorgeous floral wreaths, and in the background played his favorite music (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jimmy Buffet and more) as guests arrived and signed the “guest book” — dad’s favorite longboard surfboard. His childhood friend and retired preacher officiated the service, during which he read letters that we wrote to dad. It was an absolutely beautiful celebration which ended with a BBQ lunch for all of the guests. Afterwards, we kept the party going well into the night back home, sharing stories, laughter and tears.

A Tribute to Dad

It’s hard to condense 33 years of memories into just a few paragraphs, especially when one of the gifts that dad passed on to me is long drawn-out storytelling. Both of us have a tendency to make a short story very very very very long.

Dad taught me so much. He taught me how to scuba dive, how to cast a fishing rod, how to grill a steak, how to surf and how to drive my first car – a red Chevy S10 stick shift pick-up truck. He also taught me how to be strong, self-sufficient and independent. In fact, I am pretty sure I am the only girl to go to college with her own tool box, which I still use to this day. And yes, the hammer is hot pink.

Dad could build anything. He built many huge state of the art structures where tons and tons of families now live. He was very proud of his accomplishments. However, his greatest contracting feat and my personal favorite was the epic tree house he built by hand in our backyard. At first it was going to be a modest tree house, still one that all the kids on the block were going to love too. But then Dad being Dad, those modest plans were tossed to the wind in exchange for the mecca of all tree houses. It became a gorgeous two story playhouse. The first story served as a garage for our bikes. The main headquarters was accessible only by staircase and protected by a secret password, which I am still not permitted to reveal to anyone. The second floor headquarters was decked out with luxury amenities like heating & cooling, windows, rooftop shingles, cable TV and more. Dad spent months perfecting this hideaway for us. We anxiously counted down the days until it was finished so that we could fulfill every kid’s dream of sleeping in our very own backyard tree house. When the ribbon-cutting day finally arrived we spent hours loading up our little sanctuary with sleeping bags, pillows, snacks, flashlights, toys and more. We were the luckiest kids alive. Later that night, we were all tucked in by mom and dad. Sadly, and not too surprisingly if you know me, Lindsey and Ian, we only lasted about an hour before the first loud noise sent us screaming and running back inside to our beds, never to be repeated again. Dad wasn’t mad. He halfway expected this, but it was the joy and excitement in our faces that made the months-long build worth it.

Everyone who knew Dad knew he had an incredible sense of humor. I’ll never forget the night I begged my parents to let me park my truck in the garage so it would be safe from Senior Step-Up Day, which was a tradition in high school in which the graduating seniors would trash the rising seniors’ cars. It took a lot of convincing but I was relieved when they finally agreed to let me park in the garage, safe and sound for the night, or so I thought. The next morning I was flabbergasted when I opened the garage door to find my truck completely trashed, covered in shaving cream and rolled with toilet paper. And a few feet behind me stood my parents, laughing their faces off and proud of their midnight antics.

Dad embodied the saying “work hard, play hard.” Dad was one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known. He wanted great things for our family, and he worked hard so he could provide for us, oftentimes leaving before the sun came up and arriving home well after it set. I don’t know how he did it for all of those years, but he did, and we’re all grateful for it. Even though he was a hard worker, we all know he played pretty hard too. Dad was always having fun and could frequently be found skateboarding with my brother and his friends on skate ramps he built for them, flying or driving mechanical toys, surfing, surfing, surfing, and more surfing. He would even turn the bedtime routine into a game where he would chase us with nerf guns and we could stay up for as long as we could dodge his bullets. He called this game “whoever gets tagged goes to bed.”

Dad was really good at so many things. He gave the biggest bear hugs where he would squeeze you so tight you’d lose your breath for a second. He had a knack for organization and his tool sheds always looked straight out of a Home Depot catalog. He was really good at falling asleep sitting up and he could turn any cardboard box into a hat. He could fix anything – except cars or plumbing, and probably detangled over 1000 knots in my necklace chains. He was also really good at picking out awesome moms which I am forever thankful for. The second one even came with a fantastic bonus brother.

Dad relished the good things in life including a perfectly cooked medium-rare steak, Jimmy Buffet, corny jokes, and of course, an 8 foot glassy wave. He loved his family hard and specialized in spoiling his granbabies. He leaves behind an amazing legacy, 4200 cartridges of bullets, 7 storage containers of survival gear for the apocalypse, 3 dozen pocket knives, 65 packages of surf wax, a 3 gallon Zephry hills container of pennies and his incredible humor which will live inside us forever.

Dad, I love you so much and I can’t wait for my next bear hug when I see you in heaven.

 

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41 Comments

  1. Morgan
    February 14, 2019 / 1:51 pm

    You have such a way with words, which it sounds like you surely got from your father. I have tears in my eyes reading this beautiful tribute. Love and light to you and your family during this difficult time.

  2. Alexis
    February 14, 2019 / 1:52 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope there is comfort in knowing his suffering is over. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Katie
    February 14, 2019 / 2:11 pm

    This is such a beautiful tribute. I smiled through tears reading about your amazing father and your memories of a great life lived with him. What a wonderful legacy he has given to you! Praying for you and your sweet family as I can’t imagine how much you miss him and will continue to miss him.

  4. abbie hawks
    February 14, 2019 / 2:46 pm

    Such incredible words to describe your dad!! Your family is in my thoughts and prayers!

  5. Nicole Tomasovich
    February 14, 2019 / 3:01 pm

    What an amazing tribute to your dad!!! Clearly he was a beautiful soul. Prayers for you and your family

  6. Savannah
    February 14, 2019 / 3:14 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to your Dad! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Kelly
    February 14, 2019 / 3:44 pm

    Beautifully written Christina. You’ve been in my thoughts and will continue to be

  8. Sharyn
    February 14, 2019 / 3:50 pm

    What a wonderful family you have, led by an incredible man. It sounds like he lived life so well!

  9. February 14, 2019 / 4:00 pm

    What precious memories and a beautiful tribute to your amazing dad. I know how proud of you he must be — that rainbow just says it all. So very sorry for your loss.

  10. February 14, 2019 / 4:01 pm

    In Judaism when someone passes away we honor them and say “May his memory be a blessing.” I will be thinking about your family. He sounds like he was an amazing dad, role model, and person!

  11. February 14, 2019 / 4:17 pm

    So sorry for your loss but so happy that you celebrated his life – he was surely smiling down. 🙂 Hugs

  12. Mandy
    February 14, 2019 / 4:36 pm

    Such a wonderful tribute!

  13. Melissa
    February 14, 2019 / 4:45 pm

    Thinking and praying for your sweet family. Can’t wait for you to be with him again one day. He’s smiling down <3

  14. Alex
    February 14, 2019 / 4:48 pm

    Absolutely beautiful. Your dad is so, so proud. xo

  15. Maureen
    February 14, 2019 / 5:07 pm

    So sorry for your loss.
    A wonderful tribute to a man who meant the world to you.
    It was a few months ago that I lost my father.
    A father is a special person to a daughter and you express it so eloquently.

  16. Sam
    February 14, 2019 / 5:13 pm

    A lovely, touching tribute. Thinking of you and your family.

  17. Marian Emch
    February 14, 2019 / 6:29 pm

    So sorry for your loss😞. Your beautiful words about your father’s life is such a beautiful tribute to a great man. Prayers and hugs for all of you!!

  18. Kelly
    February 14, 2019 / 8:37 pm

    What a beautiful tribute I am so sorry for your loss. Thinking of your family during this time.

  19. February 15, 2019 / 6:27 am

    I can tell how amazing he was. You two were so lucky to have each other. Now you have a guardian angel at all times. How great it is to know that you will see him again one day <3

  20. Paula B.
    February 15, 2019 / 7:19 am

    What a lovely tribute to your dad and a life well lived. Sending my condolences and prayers for you and your family.

  21. February 15, 2019 / 7:25 am

    Beautiful tribute. I am so sorry that goodbye has come on this side of heaven. There is hope in knowing that the goodbye is only until we meet again and yet there is a missing piece of our heart here on this side. Hugs!

  22. Faith
    February 15, 2019 / 7:37 am

    This was such a beautiful tribute. You can see how much he was loved and what a great life he lived. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  23. Jen
    February 15, 2019 / 8:07 am

    An amazing tribute! So sorry for your loss

  24. Toni :0)
    February 15, 2019 / 8:12 am

    Beautifully written and what a tribute to your incredible Daddio. I can tell he was a special guy and lived a good life and passed that on to you. Still praying for you and your family. Big hugs for strength and support.

  25. Deanna
    February 15, 2019 / 9:16 am

    what an amazing tribute to your dad!! you are so blessed. I am so sorry for your loss. It’s hard, I know, but we also know they are no longer in pain. He lived a beautiful life and passed that on to you. Love to you all!

  26. Sarah
    February 15, 2019 / 9:38 am

    Christina- What a beautiful tribute to your dad. He was clearly a very special man, amazing father, and loving husband. My father passed away on Feb 3, 1990, what a strange coincidence.
    Much love to you and your family.

  27. Kheira
    February 15, 2019 / 9:45 am

    Your dad sounds like a wonderful guy. I smiled and cried throughout your beautiful tribute, thank you for sharing. Prayers and hugs to you and your sweet family.

  28. Jennifer
    February 15, 2019 / 10:15 am

    What a wonderful tribute. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  29. LaToya
    February 15, 2019 / 10:47 am

    Christina – My heart breaks for you and your family but the Lord truly has opened His arms to receive your dad and for that we are grateful! If we can only be blessed to see our King one day! I pray that God gives you and your lovely family peace and comfort during this time and that His mercy and grace be sufficient!

  30. Cheryl Matheny
    February 15, 2019 / 10:58 am

    You are amazing with words and I know your sweet daddy is smiling down on you all right now. You have made him proud no doubt. What an absolutely beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. Thank you for sharing your precious memories with us. Prayers for peace and comfort going up for you all.

  31. Brittney
    February 15, 2019 / 11:37 am

    I’m so sorry Christina. What an awesome tribute to a great man. I’m so glad you have all the wonderful memories of your dad to look back on.

  32. Brandi Patton
    February 15, 2019 / 11:39 am

    Oh my! What an amazing tribute to you dad with this post and celebration of life. The surfboards were a beautiful touch! A perfect way to remember him.

    So sorry for you loss – but I know you will see him again!

  33. February 15, 2019 / 12:28 pm

    Wow this is completely beautiful and so well written. Your dad sounds like an amazing man. Sending you prayers and hugs.

  34. Heather Graham
    February 15, 2019 / 2:57 pm

    What an amazing tribute – I am so sorry for your loss, and hopefully the memories will keep a smile on your face until you meet again. Your Dad sounds amazing, and I found myself smiling reading this. Love you sweet friend!

  35. Heather
    February 15, 2019 / 2:57 pm

    What an amazing tribute – I am so sorry for your loss, and hopefully the memories will keep a smile on your face until you meet again. Your Dad sounds amazing, and I found myself smiling reading this. Love you sweet friend!

  36. Tracey A.
    February 16, 2019 / 9:52 am

    I am so sorry of your Dad’s death. I am saying prayers of comfort and asking that many signs may come your way. You have seen a beautiful rainbow, so I need not mention to you that is ONE of the signs, but feathers, birds, his songs on the radio, coins, of course dreams, and scents are some of their angel messages sent to us as comfort. You will definitely KNOW when YOUR message has arrived! I have had MANY messages and signs of comfort and what a blessing to me!

    I loved your words and stories of your Dad. I just was picturing all of his tributes and antics in my head. You have a gift of words and gab and that is something we all need. I also pray for comfort for your Mom and family. It is such a difficult time and a very hard process to go through, even though we know that our loved ones are just dancing, jumping and laughing in heaven. OH, and don’t forget surfing! Much surfing going on in heaven.

    Know that he is looking down on you and smiling with much happiness and pleasure, he is so proud of his little girl.

    Much love,
    Tracey

  37. Diane
    February 16, 2019 / 11:04 am

    Wow—what an inspiration for each of us to leave such a legacy for our families. Sending prayers and hugs from
    this Grandma in Waco, TX.

  38. Mandy
    February 18, 2019 / 12:11 pm

    Beautiful! You are so lucky to have such amazing memories to carry you through. Hugs!

  39. February 18, 2019 / 12:53 pm

    What a man, what a life, what a legacy!!! Such a moving tribute. Keeping y’all in my prayers and thinking of you as you transition into this new season of life.

  40. February 19, 2019 / 2:30 am

    I am new to your blog, but your dad sounded amazing!!! I so wish I could have had a tree house like that!! I’m so sorry for your loss.

  41. February 24, 2019 / 9:08 pm

    Sending you so much love, Christina. Your dad sounds like an incredible man, and I know he was because you have such a beautiful heart. I hope that you’re finding comfort and solace during these difficult days. <3

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