In Memoriam

Today would have been my step-dad’s 61st birthday. But he died 11 days ago. I keep saying I lost my step-dad, but in reality I lost my Dad. My closest friends know that my biological father bailed when I was 6 and has shown no interest since then in doing the dad thing. At least not with me. He has some other kids and I hope he’s a better person in their life, but that’s neither here nor there. 

My mom has been married 4 times. Her second husband did a little of the raising me part when I was a kid, but he’s gone to ride motorcycles in the sky too, many years ago. And I haven’t seen him since I was 17. He never met my kids and he never got to see me as a grown woman. But Ron did. He’s been in my life for over 18 years. He was my kid’s Grandpa. He danced with me at my wedding. And he taught me to be brave and patient when they thought I might have Lymphoma when I was 20. He was the only one that could get my son to stop screaming when he was 3 months old and had colic.

The part of me that goes outside and walks around in the grass with bare feet when I’m stressed is his. The part of me that loves watching the wind in the trees and listening to the sound of the rain and finds all of those things to be what de-stresses me is his. When things get hard, I still look around and find joy in the simple stuff and that’s because of him.

When I was 20 I had a growing mass on my the side of my neck. It was a really scary time and one of the things on the table was Lymphoma. Ron had survived his first bout with Cancer then and he gave me the ability to be brave and strong and patient. He was the calmest, most serene, peaceful person I had ever met and that came from him finding his way through his cancer. What he gave me then still lives in me and has gotten me through 5 more surgeries and some really scary tests. He gave me the ability to just breathe and let go of the little things.

The Father-Daughter dance at my wedding was with him to Louie Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” because he taught me so much about seeing the beauty of creation and the ability to immerse yourself in the everyday miracles when the rest of the world is kicking your butt. It wasn’t your typical ‘I love my Dad’ wedding song, but it was perfect for our relationship.

In my early twenties, before I met my husband, I dated a couple of guys and one night one of them decided to throw a fit over me dancing with somebody else and left me at a club 45 minutes from my house. I called home at 11 o’clock at night and asked may I please be picked up. Ron didn’t even hesitate. He grabbed a shirt and jumped in the car and came and got me. Instead of making it into a thing, he just joked with me on the way home and we ran through Jack In The Box for a midnight snack. That’s one of my favorite memories of him.

He taught me to drive a stick. He carried me into the ocean (against my will) when I cut my foot and taught me that Hawaiian ocean salt water can cure almost anything. He took my kids to fly kites when they were little. He taught me how to make really good huli-huli chicken and an amazing Ginger Stir Fry. Those recipes will live on and get passed down to my kids.

And his favorite meal in the whole world was poi with sardines and dried shrimp (it’s a Hawaiian thing). When there was a poi shortage in Hawaii, I figured out where to get him poi when he wanted some. That was one of our things.

He was my Dad and I will miss him so much.

Rest in peace, Kumu. I hope you’re surfing in Heaven now.

*post note: Ron’s funeral will be the 11th and he will be buried in Temple Valley that afternoon.

4 responses

  1. Wow, beautiful memories! Uncle Ronnie was such a wonderful man and we all loved him so much! Our trips to Hawaii were always so special because of your Mom and Ron! My heart goes out to everyone who new and loved him, he will be dearly missed! Sending our love, Craig, Reba and Hailey Bower

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  2. I am so sorry for your loss. You had rough beginnings with dads' but you found a diamond in Ron. You have such beautiful memories and are a fortunate woman indeed. May you find peace in your grief and know God has taken him into his embrace.Sending my love,”mom” ❤ ❤ ❤

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  3. Thank you so much. Reba, I know your family is missing him too and my heart has been with all of us that lost a friend and a Grandpa.
    Thank you Mumma….I was indeed fortunate to have known him and I am better for it. I hope he is playing on the beach somewhere and happy and healthy now.

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  4. […] was also the day that my Dad died 3 years ago from […]

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