Most of the pictures I have with my dad are from when I was little. I don't have many in the years leading up to his passing because I was a teenager that thought taking pictures with parents was lame, and he usually never pushed it. If I only knew then what I know now.
I still have the memories though. Going for walks, hikes, going kayaking, teaching me how to do laundry and how to cook. Teaching me that everything you want shall be earned, not given. Teaching me to check my oil and change a tire, and that there's NEVER a bad time to jam out to AC/DC.
He always had constructive criticism even though sometimes it didn't feel that way. He was strict, but I know that's because he wanted the best for me.
It used to kill him to see me struggle with me weight and I remember him saying he felt responsible because I ate just like him. He felt as though I was "digging my own grave with a fork"
I know that if he were still here, he'd be proud of me for taking my life back. For doing something about it. For no longer using his death as an excuse to stress eat and sit on my butt and do nothing all the time.
I think mostly he'd be proud that my coping mechanisms (mostly, I'm not perfect) have shifted from food to nature. Hiking in the woods is where I feel most at peace and most connected to him. He was an outdoorsman through and through.
I was lucky enough to get 19 amazing years with my dad. Although I didn't always appreciate him at the time, I'm grateful for what he taught me and the life that he gave me.
I miss you every day, dad.
I'm going to do my best to make you proud.
I'll love you forever, until we meet again. 💕💕