The day he lived.

10 days ago my dad lived.

My dad, with his beautifully raspy voice, his strong, callused hands, his passion for this landscape and the creatures that exist here. My dad who loves unconditionally and laughs with a promise that things will be ok.  My dad who’s given the shirt off his back, the boots from his feet and all his heart to those he loves or those who need him.

Our dad who knows things. Takes care of things.

Takes care of us.

The weather report warned us that the early January thaw was about to turn treacherous, sending snow blowing across slushy roads, turning them to ice and dropping the temperatures to dangerous lows. But it was warm that early Friday morning when Pops struggled to find the phone to make a call that would save his life.

That evening as Husband drove us home in that mild winter air I was uneasy. There was no reason for it really. We had just finished a nice dinner with my family, celebrating my mom and little sister’s birthday. We laughed. We ordered steak. We watched Little Man move from lap to lap around the table. And then we all said goodnight and happy birthday.

But on the road that night as the tires hummed along the highway I looked up at the stars with a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach and asked my husband if he ever feels lonesome for something. Something he can’t describe.

He said he thought so. He said he understood.  Then we pulled into the drive, trudged up the steps and tucked ourselves in safe and unaware that in a few short hours, at 2 a.m. the phone would ring in the darkness, threatening to change the comfortable and blessed life we take for granted.

The hours that followed are indescribable, a nightmare that threatened to paralyze me and send me gasping for air at the sound of my father’s voice asking for help and the sight of him lying helpless on the floor. But deep down under the fear that percolated and boiled up in my throat was an untried and reassuring belief that this was only an obstacle and not the end.

The stars spun in the warm January night and under those stars our neighbors responded to the call, loading up in the fire-trucks and an ambulance, asking their God for strength to make the miles in time to help a suffering friend laying too far from town, too far from help.

And so how do you thank that God for second chances? My dad looked up at me from the floor of the home where he raised three girls and loved one woman, the walls that absorbed the sound of a family’s laughter and arguments, the notes of his guitar, the smells of supper warming on the stove and a life well lived and he told me he was dying.

I held his hand, looked him in the eye and without a waver, without a tear, I said no. No, you are not.

But he was. I didn’t believe it then. I didn’t know it then, but he was.

That big strong heart of his, the one that taught us – showed us – compassion and patience, bravery and tenderness, was torn and leaking and poisoning his body.

And with each passing minute, each hour it took to load him in the ambulance, to get him to town, to test, to poke and prod and diagnose and medicate, to plead with the nurses and doctor, to fight to make him comfortable, to hold his hand and ask him where it hurt, where is it…what is it…what can we do…do something…help him…the odds fell quickly and silently away from his favor.

“Dissection of the Aorta,” the doctor said. “We’re calling an airplane. There’s no time to talk now…”

My mother’s hand went to her mouth. My sisters gasped. The temperature dropped outside where the wind blew chilled rain across the plains and I ran out there to stand in it, to come to grips with the idea that we might go on living in this world without my dad.

But I could not accept it. This wasn’t our story.

I pushed down the fear and walked back inside where we hugged him goodbye for now.

“See you in the big town,” I said.

“Are you sure you want to drive those roads? The weather’s getting bad,” he told us. “I’ll be ok, really. You don’t have to come all that way.”

Just like dad to worry about us.

Silent and shaken we crawled in the pickup, 180 miles of daunting highway stretching before us under the darkening and freezing winter skies.

And up in those skies they flew him, my dad, on the wings of the plane and some merciful angels, to get to where he was going in time to be saved.

Who am I to give words to the feeling of moving through those miles in the dark, uncertain and silent, mind wandering to a future you can only will and pray for. Who am I to tell you how my stomach knotted with each ring of the phone, what it was like to watch my mother and sisters suffer with worry? Who am I to describe the relief we felt when we got word he made it to the hospital where staff and surgeon were waiting to perform one of the most difficult procedures of their careers?

How can I tell you what those hours were like, waiting with my family while my father was in another room with his chest cut open, his big, strong heart exposed and open to the uncertain world?

How can I describe what it meant to us that you drove all those miles behind us in the storm, neighbor, to sit with us and ease the silence while we waited hours for news of his life as the earth froze over?

What words do I use to thank the doctor who walked into that waiting room with news that he saved him? The nurses who cared for him? The family and friends who sent prayers and positive thoughts into the universe, begging for mercy for a man we still need with us here, while all around the world people with much better odds of living were being taken up into those spinning stars.

Ten days ago my dad lived. The earth froze solid while he slept. 60 below zero the weatherman said and we were frozen too with fear of the unknown. We touched his hand while he slept and told him we loved him.

Two days after that he breathed on his own and the air warmed up enough to let the snow fall. In the dark of the night we took turns sitting with him in that room in that city full of lights and unfamiliar noises as he healed, passing one another’s footprints in the snow on our way back and forth from the hotel to his bedside.

Twelve hours later he was walking down the hall of that hospital aware of his mortality, grateful for his saviors, both unseen and on this earth, and planning his escape back to the ranch where there is so much more work to be done, more people to love and more life to be lived.

“I almost died,” he said as the drugs wore off and he came back to us.

“But you didn’t dad. I told you you wouldn’t,” I said.

“You know why I didn’t?”

“Why?”

“Because I’m a son-of-a-bitch.”

Maybe not a son-of-a-bitch, but the strongest man I know.  How comforting that his sense of humor was so quick to reappear.

And with each passing day that laughter eased our worries, the temperature warmed and the earth thawed out as we all learned to breathe again.

Our dad is a miracle. Doctors and nurses got word of his survival and recovery and stopped by to see him, to tell him he’s an anomaly.

I could tell you the odds. I knew them all along, but it doesn’t matter now. He was meant to stay with us.

Because ten days ago, in a world that worked to freeze up, crush us and break our hearts, my dad’s heart, big and strong and open, against all odds in a world that can be cruel and forgiving all at the same time, kept beating.

Ten days ago he lived.

 

169 thoughts on “The day he lived.

  1. Jessie, Jessie, of all the beautiful words you have written and sung, and I have read and listened to most, the five words, ‘the day my dad lived’ are the most beautiful of all! Without a doubt what was the darkest, scariest and ugliest moments were beaten by the man you all love so much! He beat the odds! And the man that we were all so scared we could have lost, most seemingly has more work to do, somewhere for someone and somehow. And I now know with out a doubt what a walking miracle looks like! Gene Veeder! And I know that since that day your dad lived, we his friends will all look at life a little differently. Thank you and your family for showing us what the TRUE meaning of a loving family is. Your love and devotion fueled his will to live.
    Thank you,
    JoLynn

  2. Goose bumps all over my shaking body, tears in my eyes and gratitude in my heart – as I read this I could only think “No! No!” – not because I know you, your family, your dad, not really. But I feel I do after reading your blog for the past year or so. I know what it’s like to lose someone you love, but before my husband died on Christmas Day 2013, we’d had years after his diagnosis to prepare, and the past 2+ years were so bad I’d prayed that God fix it or end it. We’d had time to prepare. You did not. And so I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to read that he made it – how thrilled I am that your dad lives on and you do not have to deal with that loss. Hug each other every day, at least once, more is better and say “I love you”. Because we never know what’s next.

    • Jesse & Family and everyone that loves Gene for so many reasons… I am a relative of Carols and it was you, Jesse that made Carol and I connect several years ago. She suffered the long awaited loss of her husband that she wrote about on Christmas Day, of all times to lose a loved one. She, so bravely wrote to me with this news and I haven’t had the guts to respond to her email until I read your
      blog today. She also has a blog, as she stated and that is how we connected for the first time, maybe in my whole life! Reading your blog today has given me the strength to finally respond to her. I will write that today, so thanks for that, Jesse.

      Now to your Dad… I got the news from our good friend, a mutual friend who is a
      musician that plays with Gene and I. I should say, I play with them. Regardless,
      I got the news early in this “process” & my faith in my God made me focus on he
      and God. I sat on my couch and prayed and when that wore out, I walked around my place praying. It was something I had to do, no matter what else I was driven. I had to do it – God made me. I’m sure many others “had” to do this too. I don’t know anybody else that has more friends than Gene, let alone the
      strength & cohesiveness of your family. I have always admired that, you know.
      I’m sure that it is these things that brought him thru this ordeal. He is an anomaly, in more ways than one. Is that possible? If so, that’s Gene! I am so
      thankful that all the prayers were answered from so many people and places…
      He’s not a Son of a Bitch, he’s just strong enough to beat the odds. He is lucky, too. Lucky enough to have the right surgeon when he needed one! Bless that
      guy, in particular!

      We’re all glad to have you back, Gene. You are an anomaly!!! Just stay that way. Hey, we’ve got a gig this weekend, so heal up Buddy!

  3. Jessie what a blessing you are, as a parent you long for your child to grow up in a painless world. But you know that is not a reality. So we teach them that when those moments come, they grab God and faith by the hand and walk on. We are so grateful that Gene is a miracle. From this moment on, each thing that takes place in your life, you will live, feel, love and enjoy more deeply. Nothing will be taken for granted anymore. Hugs and love to your family. You are a blessing in our little valley. We thank God for your family.

  4. Tears falling, not so silently, down my face. I didn’t want to welcome you into the club. The club of Daddy’s girls’ who don’t have their dad here on earth anymore club. My dad 19 years ago on January 6th. And I really want to give him, and your dad, a big ol’ hug.

  5. Tears of gratitude, that he’s still here and for his wonderful loving family who never left his side…
    Jessie, you are an excellent writer- and the love you have for your family shines through all you do and say. Hope you, your sisters and Mom are blessed to have another 40 years with the old ‘SOB’. We classmates are Very happy that the music will play on.

  6. Tears in my eyes I forced myself to read the whole story – so glad the ending was met with tears of joy instead of sadness. Love your Dad! So glad he’s going to be OK. He most likely does not remember me, our meetings were few and many years ago but he has been in my top 10 list of ‘inspiring people’ ever since our first meeting. My prayers go out to you and your family for a long life for your Dad.

  7. Jessie – I’m so glad to hear your dad is on the road to recovery. What a harrowing experience for you and your whole family. Truly God had more plans for him yet, on this earth. By his Grace, (and your father’s will to live), he is still with you today.
    I read your blog all the time, and have seen you a couple times when you’ve come to Fargo. Keep up your writing & singing. You are a very talented women – someone I’m proud to say is from North Dakota! You and your family will be in my prayers – God Bless.
    Terr

  8. So scared to read your post; so glad to read the ending with your dad still here. I still have tears. Sending prayers for continuing healing and for thanks!

  9. I’m so happy that your dad is recovering and that he pulled through. I had tears in my eyes and lump in my throat the whole way through your post… This is so beautifully written and such a testament of the love your family has.

  10. Jessie, I am so glad to hear that your Dad is recovering. His story is a good one, an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this and please give your Dad our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  11. Jessie…he is a son of a bitch..and one the kindest genuine men I have ever known! I knew this would be a doozy on your part. Package is in the mail for Pops!!JS

  12. Jessi, your words are so beautiful and they exactly what we could have said when our granddaughter Paige Thompson had her brain injury. Gene and Paige are two miracles from God.

  13. This is so beautiful and heartfelt and amazing!!! The strength of love…it is a miracle! So happy for you and your family that your dad is here to live and love…for many years to come!

  14. Heh Jessie…what a stirring post. I felt like I was standing behind you as you described the events as they unfolded. As a Father of two I could feel the emotions that you were pouring out onto the page. Tears were dropping on my pants as you led me from start to finish. I shouted out a laugh when your Pops said he was a “SOB!”. I believe in Karma and you and your family have earned some good news this past two weeks. Thanks for sharing. Rich

  15. In all the years I worked with Gene at the court house, he was a “hands off” man. He would not allow anyone to give him a hug….until my farewell party…..then he said “Yeah okay, you can give me a good-bye hug!” Well Gene, if I could reach out across the country, I would be so happy to give you the biggest get-well hug possible I am so thrilled you made it through all this. Thank God!! Jessie, your story is so awesome…made for many teary eyes. Nancy Wisness

  16. Jessie, I’m so glad your dad is recovering. I lost my dad 2 years ago, a man very much like yours although he was a wanna-be rancher. He worked hard every day and came home to change sprinklers, fix fence, build things and tend to the 6-12 head of cattle, plus horses and other critters(including kids) we had on our small acreage. I miss him and his huge heart every day, and I am so very happy that you have yours for more years to come.
    Take care of yourself too.
    Sandi Brown

  17. BEAUTIFUL blog!! Made me cry! How is your Dad related to Wade Veeder? They look a lot alike! I went to college …. Back in the day …. With Wade & Judy.

  18. Oh boy .. I so didn’t want to page down. So grateful for how things turned out. He’s one tough hombre. I know you are right there with him, counting every breath.

    (( hugs ))

    MJ

  19. Beautifully said! So many prayers have been answered. I don’t even know where to start, but to say “thank God.” And I can’t shake the feeling that somehow, Pete & Edie were there the whole time: comforting him, watching over him and you and the doctors & nurses in those critical hours. They just knew… we still needed him here. Love you guys so much, and have been thinking about all of you every day.

  20. Thanks for sharing your beautiful love story. I was one of many that asked Jesus Christ and the holy spirit to wash over your family. My strong husband, a leader to some, was brought to his knees. Your Daddy will never be the same. When a person is leaving to return, it forever changes them. They see things differently, almost like an unveiling… I know. Gene has always done great things but his imprints on this earth are not yet done and their is a master plan that has not yet been completed. His story continues… onward!

  21. oh….what a compelling story. Thank you for sharing your family love. I am so glad he lived……and am sure each of us was able to connect with you and then of the loved ones we care about and feel grateful for it all.

  22. I lost my Dad 11 years ago in February. I miss him so much and hurts still like it was yesterday. Take this second chance and run with it!

  23. Jesse – Have been thinking of you, your family and your dad every day. Prayers were answered. We all need to live each minute of every day and be thankful for every new sight. (by the way – he IS a tough S.O.B. !) God Bless. Mark Norby

  24. So happy to hear that everything turned out beautifully! Glad you can all have many more years of happiness together. Your writing is wonderful and I look forward to more. God bless you all!

  25. I am so happy for you and your family. Working in the ICU, I know that his chances were extremely slim. He is truly a miracle. God is very very good. I wish your dad a good long life. He is surrounded by angels.

  26. Jessie, I prayed for your dad when I first saw your updates. This blog post is the most moving tribute I have ever read. It’s authentic to your voice and I still every time I read it which is several times now. Thank you for taking the time to capture it all in honor of your dad, the medical staff that helped, for you and your family and thank you for using your beautiful words to capture the rawness of this hard time. Still praying!
    Katie in Wishek 🙂

  27. Thank you, Jessie, for sharing yourself and your family. I had tears as I read and share the gratitude of others that your dad is safe and sound. This is about all the kinds of heart we encounter as human beings. I have more than once been astounded by the openness of your heart. It is no surprise…look from whom it came.

  28. Anyone who has known the terror of the red light circling in the darkness, anyone who has heard the plane take off with a sick loved one inside, anyone who has taken up space in a prayer filled waiting room knows your feelings of helplessness and fright. God had your back that night and your readers are all grateful. We have come to love your Dad too. Blessings to all

  29. How events like this make us see the fragility of this life and the marvellous love we have for each other. The message is that we really don’t know “when”, and should treasure each moment together and leave nothing unsaid. I am happy for you as I know you know all this and more …

  30. Jessie-thank you for your beautiful expression of your feelings and emotions regarding your dad’s health crisis.Your dad and the entire family so strong and met this challenge head-on.Sounds like your dad was in great, caring, skillful hands.Sending prayers for Gene’s continued healing.Miracles do happen.

  31. Thank you Jessie, your writing is so eloquent, so vulnerable, so tender. We are all grateful for all the angels that had a hand in this amazing journey.

  32. Wow, Jessie. I stopped breathing for a moment when I started reading this post. I had to scroll down quickly to make sure he was okay before I could go back to the beginning and live those moments with you. I am so relieved and grateful that he made it through. I don’t know him firsthand but have learned a great deal about who he is through your loving portrayal of him. And I have always celebrated your closeness as father/daughter. Who doesn’t want that? You are blessed! And so are we that you can share so eloquently straight from the heart. May the miracles continue as he heals. Love is the best medicine and sounds like he’s stocked up!

  33. Wow, Jessie. I stopped breathing for a moment when I started reading this post. I had to scroll down quickly to make sure he was okay before I could go back to the beginning and live those moments with you. I am so relieved and grateful that he made it through. I don’t know him firsthand but have learned a great deal about who he is through your loving portrayal of him. And I have always celebrated your closeness as father/daughter. Who doesn’t want that? You are blessed! And so are we that you can share so eloquently straight from the heart. May the miracles continue as he heals. Love is the best medicine and sounds like he’s stocked up!

  34. You don’t know me, but 5 years ago, my father, a dairy and hog farmer and the father of 3 girls, suffered a torn, leaking aorta on a cold October morning after tending his hogs. He was rushed to the hospital. My sisters and I came from our jobs and lives to the hospital, where we were told his prognosis was grim and his survival chances less than 6%. Hours later the surgeon came to speak with us, his scrub pants covered with my father’s blood. We waited anxiously for him to wake up long into the night. As the hours allotted for usual wake up time passed by our worry grew to unimaginable heights. Finally, early the next morning nearly 24 hours after his aorta burst, he awoke. He was ok and his mind was not damaged. It took nearly 6 months before he could milk his cows again and a full year before he was back to normal activity. He still tires more easily, but I have my dad and my kids have their pap. Coincidentally, my son, his only grandson, was 5 months old at the time this happened. When I read your blog post, shared by Dairy Carrie on Facebook, I sobbed. It all came crashing back to me like it was yesterday. My prayers for your family. Thanks be to God that your dad survived. My dad told me in the days after his surgery, “God saved me, because God’s not finished with me yet.” God is not finished with your father yet either!

  35. Thank you for sharing. My hubby has had six heart attacks in twelve years. I know these feelings all too well and wish I didn’t.
    I cannot accept that next time may be a different outcome. I just cannot do anything but believe and pray.
    You put into words what I have not been able to. I’m so glad to read this and thankful your father is with you.

  36. You have a remarkable family and friends…treasures in a world usually painted in shades of selfishness and indifference. I am so happy for you and your family. For your Dad who will continue to build upon the love he so richly pours upon those he loves. And happy for those of us who were fortunate enough to share this incredible tribute through WP, putting our own misfortunes and fears into much needed perspective. Thank you.

  37. I read this post yesterday but didn’t have time to post a comment. Then I checked out Freshly Pressed just now and saw your eloquent, moving, beautiful post right at the top of the page. I am so glad your father is okay and I wish him all the best for his recovery.

  38. Wonderful writing.. So glad to hear he is on the road to recovery to enjoy many more days with his loved ones.. My father did not live,(he had the same thing) but yours did and from one daughter to another that makes me very happy..
    Congrats on the Freshly Pressed!

  39. Beautiful story..encounters like that, always make me see it as though God is saying, ‘I’m not done with you, you still have more work to do,’ and it is always encouraging, most encouraging, to love others, more.

  40. thank you for your bare knuckled honesty and the beautiful way you opened your thoughts and emotions to strangers like me. my heart was in my throat from the moment i read “ten days ago my dad lived”. you have a gift. God bless you and your family and especially your Dad.

  41. So beautifully written, and your gratitude is both palpable and understandable. I’ve lost a parent in an unanticipated, unpredictable way- so I can relate about the shock, the disbelief, the unwillingness to accept what is happening because you keep telling yourself, no this isn’t how the story ends. Sadly, for us the help came too late – and there isn’t a day I don’t wish I could go back. There were no words as one of the people responsible for putting me on this earth slipped away, the medication taking away any chance for last goodbyes. Thank you for showing the depth of your gratitude so profoundly – so many take for granted what some of us have lost and would give anything in the world to get back…

  42. Wow! What a wonderful post. It was one of the first things I read this morning when I checked Freshly Pressed. It’s also the first post I’ve read on your blog in years since I used to follow it (I used to have the blog Living As Herby). I’m sharing it with all my friends as a reminder to appreciate everyone in your life.

  43. How lucky you are. My father didn’t live. In fact it is the anniversary of his funeral today. It sounds like you have got the insight to know how to use this harrowing experience to build your family even stronger. Blessings to you and your Dad.

  44. Few things I watch or read ever make me cry. This made me sob. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this with us. Although the situation is different, I have been with my mother were you were with your dad. Thank you.

  45. I was so shocked to hear what a close call your dad had and so relieved to read about the miracle of his survival. Your beautiful writing and pictures touched the hearts of your many fans as is obvious from the comments above. May he continue to recover from this ordeal. I look forward to hearing you sing with your father again soon.

  46. As much as I enjoyed the writing, I really enjoyed the ending. My own father died suddenly, days before I was to turn seventeen. I know how tough this can be.

    Congrats on your good fortune!

  47. Can I just sit here and cry too? What an amazing father. Well, and amazing family. Thank you for speaking like this and cradling these memories in your hands for us like water. Oh goodness. Blessings, wishing you all a safe warm night, M

  48. This is an amazing story and I love it! My dad passed away almost three years ago and whenever I see Dad stories I have to read them and hear about the awesome details that made everyone’s dad so special to them. Very touching story. I love the last picture…the black and white looks great. Feels like I catch a glimpse of who he was to you.

  49. I have never experienced the near death of a loved one. I often contemplate the likelihood that I will go through that experience with my parents at some point. It’s great to be reminded that there are sometimes happy endings and that God can use these experiences to bring people together!

  50. This is a beautiful, beautiful piece affirming the incredible power of love, prayer and sheer passion for life. Thank you for sharing so openly and so eloquently such a personal miracle. Blessings on you and your family, Harula xxx

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  52. Such a beautiful piece of prose. Well done, and I’m so happy your father made it through. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  53. What a journey! Thank you for sharing it with us, and so eloquently to boot. I am so happy for your family and this happy ending. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for your dad and his great heart.

  54. So Glad your father is ok. I worry about my dad constantly as he is my only family. Just the two of us facing the world. I hope and pray every day that he lives a long time still and that him being such an active and social man, keeps him living and healthy for as long as possible.

  55. This was so beautiful! I was expecting the worst and was pleasantly surprised, I’m so happy for you and your family, we all know that comforting feeling of our Dad being there for us, they are one of the few people who really care about you and would move heaven and earth to do anything for you in a time of desperation. Dads are so precious, and you learn just how precious they are to a family as a whole when their life hangs in the balance.

  56. Absolutely, positively one of the most impressive things I’ve read in a long time. My family is from a ranching community in Eastern Montana. I didn’t grow up there, but three generations before me did. I felt your words and the imagery you included, as if I was a part of your family. Give your dad a big hug. He just help make his daughter one of the best writers to come along in a long time.

  57. I was on tenterhooks reading this… best wishes and prayers for his continuing recovery. I miss my own dad so much at times, I have a sense of what you were going through, it’s surreal when it is happening. Thankful he is doing well. xo

  58. I literally got a lump in my throat, because I could relate it with my life. A similar thing happened with one of my really close relative. He was critical, and the doctors had given up on him. We had called nearly all the relatives at home. His condition was extremely severe, and he literally cried due to pain. But then, he got better. It was really like a miracle. And today, he seems o be fine. I can imagine what you would’ve felt at that moment. But, all’s well that ends well… Best of luck for your future posts… and keep writing..!! 🙂

  59. A great story. Being a dad I can relate. Nothing is so hard as standing by and being able to do nothing. I felt that way when I learned my Grandson, Michael, had brain cancer. He too survived but I felt the pain of standing by and not able to do anything but pray.

  60. You have such a beautiful way with words.
    This really touched me, I shed a few tears and gave thanks for all I have.

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  62. I saved my father’s life once, begging, crying, anything it would take to get him to allow me to bring him to the hospital on, of all days, Father’s Day. My son was six months old and we were all gathered together in one place. He lived through the quadruple bypass surgery and recuperated well. He came home on July 4th, fitting, Independence Day. He suffered two more heart attacks and great depression after that that he could not overcome, not with medication or therapy. My father died before he was dead, at least to me. He had lost his soul and spirit way before he actually died. I miss him every day. I write about him a lot in my blog: hibernationnow.wordpress.com It’s been 12 years. It gets easier but on some days the pain feels the same, raw and cruel. I loved your blog for it’s sincerity and the feeling of your dad. Please, for me, give him an extra kiss on the cheek from me or at least a hug. That feeling of not having a dad never goes away. I am so happy for you!

  63. Wow…this was amazingly poignant and so beautifully expressed. I miss my own dad, who died after collapsing into my arms on our way to dinner one evening. In October, on the fourth anniversary of his passing, I found myself writing about the pain of missing him still every single day. Sending blessings and all good wishes to you and your Dad for many more healthy years ahead.

  64. That last picture of your dad reminds me so much of mine. What a wonderful tribute to him. I also loved the pictures all the way through; I really felt like we were getting to know him. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed, but also, congratulations to your dad for making it, and to all those who helped him along the way. How wonderful that you get to keep him for a good while longer 🙂

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  66. My heart caught with each word and tears slid down my cheeks. And beyond the words, the photos added such poignancy. Your dad looks like such a loving, rugged, wonderful “son-of-a-bitch,” playing music for his girls, riding his horse. Cherish him now, as I’m sure you all are. God bless your family.

  67. Your love emanates from every word … thank you so very, very much for sharing, and for showing me what a daughter’s love for her father can be. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that so clearly and beautifully demonstrates that love. My father died when I was six. I am so happy for you that you have gotten to have your father in your life, and that you so deeply appreciate him.

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  70. I’m so glad that your dad is okay and beat the odds. My son also beat the odds he was born at 23 weeks weighed 1 pound needed 7 surgeries and doctors said he wouldn’t make it he is two now wiith no complications or problems

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