Dyan
1979 – 2019

As the year comes to a close I remember those that have taken the last exit. Dyan was my eldest daughter. She moved on after a year-long bought with cancer. I miss her, and think of her every day.

Your first born is special in a way that no other child is. As the one that introduces you to parenthood, they suffer the most from your learning experience, and Dyan taught me a lot about being a father. She taught me patience, to allow her to grow in the way she wanted; acceptance, in loving her for who she was, and that love, even when it seemed to be broken, lived much deeper than the surface.

I didn’t get to see her much as she grew older and followed her path, a path filled with animals. They were her first love, and I witnessed this directly with Jenga, her first dog. Her attention and training took a bright lab mix to a very intelligent and obedient canine.

She loved horses, and kept them until a month or so before she died. When I talked with someone who knew her well and worked with her at one of the stables she worked, I found that there was nothing she wanted to do more than be around horses.

The last six months of her life were the most precious to me as I spent more time with her, helping her by massaging her ankles, bringing her food (which my wife cooked) and smoothies, and just sitting with her. I didn’t have to say much. I listened to her when she talked, or kept a hand on her arm or leg. Gave her ice water when she needed it or just sat in the room with her watching tv.

I don’t pretend that her leaving had the same impact on me as it did others who were more involved in her life, who had bigger voids to fill than I will. And as much as you can rationalize it in your head, the loss still hurts and brings sadness. But I don’t dwell on what could have been. I focus on what was, in the end, a great re-connection with my child.

No matter how old they become, how much they grow up, they are still our children, and the love we felt for them when they first introduced themselves to the world with a little cry, only grows stronger over the years. A love that grows without regard to how frequently we see them. A love filled with joy at all their joys and accomplishments. A love that grieves with all their sadness and grief.

I loved you every day of your life, and continue to love you forever.

Dad