There’s no preparation I had as a kid for thinking of a Father’s Day without Dad around, prepping his barbecue for grilled steak even on his own day. I had no world without thinking of him in it.

Then you grow up, supposedly.

That photo was on the last birthday I celebrated with Dad, it taking place in the hospital in May, 2001. Two months after seeing a doctor about bad stomach pain, we learned it was invasive cancer around all his organs. Nothing could be done.

Eighteen years ago.

Even then he sported his self described “shit-eating grin.”

I need to work on my own version of that.

As I mull over what we’d talk about now. He’d want to know about life in Canada, he’d say how happy he is that I found Cori. We’d talk about the landscaping we are doing, he’s share his own yard adventures. He’d mention reading my blog. He read every single post I wrote. That’s what Dads like him do.

So I just try to listen for the echoes of his voice, his laugh. His quiet gentleness, his always being there Dad-ness.

That’s why it was extra special to have a visit from Cori’s Dad, Albert, today, we got to show him and Cori’s mom all the crazy things we are doing to our yard, turning it from a suburban expanse of boring lawn grass into an oasis of trees and native shrubs.

Albert is beyond legendary, his grace, can do attitude, things he overcame, and the way he gave everything for his family is a level of Dad-ness we can all aim for.

One is never Dad-less and one always can strive for a higher level of Dad-ness.

This I know.

Featured Image: Last Birthday with Dad, May 2001, in the Fort Myers Hospital.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Awww…great grin, even in the hospital. To say he loved your blog is an understatement. Remember we found that he had printed every page and put them in a notebook!
    So glad you’re not dad-less in your new loving family!

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