A Daughter’s Tribute to Her Father

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My father passed away a few days ago due to complications from multiple myeloma.

Daddy's Girl

Daddy’s Girl

He was diagnosed just a year ago, and now he’s gone. For the past several days, I’ve been by his side, helping to ease his pain. On Saturday, after the doctors broke the news that there was nothing more to be done, we brought him home.

Even in the midst of tragedy, Dad kept his sense of humor. He said he wanted to finally get that tattoo he’d always wanted but been too chicken. He told me other things too. That he was proud of me. That I had to take care of Mom. That he wasn’t scared.

Mom, Dad and the kids

The Huleens 2013

It is quite a thing to watch your father quickly decline, to witness an outpouring of love and admiration from others that he touched, to align your heart with others and wrap that communal love around him as if to protect him and usher him on to the next life.

I had my arms around him as he took his last breath. Mom held one side while I held the other and my brother pressed his hand to Dad’s chest. He was surrounded by love. Moments after he passed, the pain on his face was gone. Every wrinkle was erased. He looked as handsome in death as he had in life.

Sun Valley circa 1981

Sun Valley circa 1981

Dad taught me many things. Most importantly, he showed me that I was important. He gave me a sense of purpose that what I do in this world matters. He taught me that life may be short, but we can live well. He taught me to seize every moment, to care deeply for others, to cry openly, to love wholeheartedly, to laugh, to dance, to ski.

I will miss him.

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27 responses »

  1. Ah, Kim. This is so lovely. I admire your strength in writing it and am awed by the love you share! Your dad was a lucky man, and you are a lucky daughter. So glad you were there for him in the end, as he was there for you at your beginning. Sending virtual hugs.

  2. So sorry to hear about your loss Kim – such a terribly difficult time for you all. I’m sure in time you will be able to take much comfort from having had such a unique bond but for now, it must feel unbearable. Much strength and love to you

  3. Beautifully written, touching, poignant. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my father some years ago, and even though it was expected, my reaction was visceral. The loss of a parent is nothing you can prepare for. How wonderful that you had such a strong bond with your father and he imparted so much love and strength to you. And what a way to go, surrounded with such love. Condolences.

  4. Kim, your post means more to me than you might expect. Your ability to balance loss with gratitude reflects the experience I’ve had since my mom died this year. A few people have been thrown off by my equanimity, wondering how I could feel grief without falling apart. I hoped I didn’t seem unfeeling: Mom and I simply had a complete relationship. Thanks to you and your inspiring father for reminding me that it is not abnormal but fortunate for grief and peace to go hand-in-hand.

  5. Kim, I’m so sorry for your loss. What a lucky man to know that his daughter honors him every day with the way you live your life.

  6. My daughter IS amazing. As her father once told her ” I couldn’t have done it without you.” She is a rock and I am so lucky to be her mother.

  7. Oh Kim. That was beautiful. I have been thinking about you so much during this time. Please know that you are loved. John was an amazing man and I’m very sad he won’t be with us anymore.

  8. So saddened to hear of John’s passing. What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man, he will be so missed. Will there be a memorial service? There are a lot of us who worked for John who would like to pay our respects.

  9. Oh, Kim and Clare, I’m so sorry. My father passed away over 30 years ago from cancer. I remember him every day, and everything he taught me.

  10. Kim and family, I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my mother last Nov to cancer just before her 90th birthday, I miss her every single day. Family is everything.

  11. Kim: I met your dad a couple of times….he was a man of good spirit. I remember being very comfortable in his presence. Your writing honors him.

    • Oh, Kim, thank you so much. I know your Dad is so proud of you and sees your tears. Actually, sometimes I think I can feel him wipe them away. He loved your happy face more than anything.
      Love,
      Mom

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