Monday, February 21, 2011


2011 was supposed to be a better year. But some of 2010 seems to be lingering and I hope it goes away soon. On Saturday, February 12, 2011, my father passed away at Strong Memorial hospital in Rochester, NY while waiting for a liver transplant. I guess we are supposed to expect this. When you know someone is in the end stages of liver failure your mind should think the worst and it probably was in the back of my mind. But if I'm going to be honest, I really thought he'd get a liver in time. My sister and I weren't really prepared for anything else. We never heard someone say that it might not be possible. So, in less than 9 months time, we got into the car for a second time to make the 800 mile trip to attend another funeral for one of my parents. That trip ending at the home where my sister and I grew up and me dreading it's emptiness. I breathed a sigh of relief when we pulled into the driveway to see my sister, Shauna, and cousin, AJ, coming out to greet us.

This was a hard time for everyone. Not only because we had lost my mother not long ago, but also because we were just starting to be able to look forward to the person my Dad was hopefully going to become. In August Dad made the decision to quit drinking after a long battle with alcoholism. My sister and I were hoping Grant would be able to enjoy the "old Dad". The one that we can still look back and see. Of course, we weren't the only ones who lost someone. If the amount of people at the visitation is anything to go by, my Dad will be missed by many people.

One of my favorite pictures of my Dad. I took this while we were on a boat ride in 2005.
 As my cousin AJ pointed out to me, my Dad valued humor. He frequently walked the line between funny and inappropriate (something I seem to have inherited). So I thought a good way to honor his memory would be to tell some short stories and share some pictures and memories.
  • My Dad's birthday was December 30th and he loved to leave the Christmas tree up for his birthday. He took pride in his Christmas tree. So my logical explanation for this picture is that he must be going out for his birthday. We call this picture "Dad the Christmas Pimp"
  • Dad loved to dress up. He dressed up even when no one else did. But he also loved to wear Hawaiian shirts on Christmas eve and declare it a "Don Ho Christmas". I wish I had a picture of him in one of those shirts. 
In his tux before my wedding

Dressed up at Boldt Castle for my friend Jen's wedding

  • Dad was kind of crazy. He did crazy things. Like the time he built ornamental deer from birch wood and put them out front of a neighbor's house with a "No Hunting" sign on them. Good thing he had crazy friends. That same neighbor wired together those two deer in mating position and put them in our front yard. My mother was not amused (they lived on a busy road).
  • Or the time that an argument broke out during Easter dinner involving - as usual - my Mom, aunt Bonnie, and Gram. They were all talking loudly so as to be heard over eachother about who knows what. The last thing we heard was my Gram yell "Nobody ever cares about my feelings!" and then my father grabbed one of our hollowed out colored Easter eggs and smashed it on my Gram's head and then proceeded to sing "Feelings" as my Gram cried.
  • For Thanksgiving we always had turkey and ham. And my Mom made ham gravy for the ham which was, in my opinion, a vile substance. Apparently, my Dad thought so too. It was also roughly the same color as turkey gravy and Dad mistakenly put it on his turkey. He said grace like he always did and we barely had our first bite in our mouth before we hear "DAMN IT!" and my Dad's plate hits the wall. "I put f-----g ham graving on my turkey! Oh my God!" and he threw the whole plate in the trash (it wasn't a paper plate but it was apparently contaminated).
Those, of course, are not my only humorous memories of my Dad but they are definitely some of my favorites. This past week has made me think about a lot of things I hadn't thought about in a while. Like the time he had my Mom drop the three of us off at one end of the lake with our ice skates on because he always wanted to skate the whole lake. And he did but it would have taken a lot less time if he'd managed to stay upright more often (coordinated on skates he was not). Or how he made me believe that it was illegal to drink milk when I ate pizza so I would always tell the waitress at Pizza Hut that I had to have Pepsi or the police would come.

Dad & Mom at their wedding reception

Dad & Mom at my rehearsal dinner
Dad walking me down the aisle

Father & Daughter dance at my wedding. He picked "Tiny Dancer"

Dad & Nate decorating for our reception
Dad & Me at Boldt Castle after Jen's wedding

Dad & Mollie. She has been a very sad pup lately.
There are many more pictures I wish I had to share and lots of stories I'm forgetting at this moment. But you at least get the idea of who my dad was and why we'll miss him so much.


  1. Tara, I'm sorry to hear about your father's passing. What a great tribute you've posted here! I was laughing at the "Dad the Christmas Pimp" and the smashing of the egg. I think I would've liked him very much. I hope you take care and have comfort with those happy memories.

  2. Tara, I agree...this is a really great tribute. I was laughing as I read your stories...more because you have told them to me in person & you are such a funny story teller! I especially loved the one where your Dad sang "Feeling"s. Of course, that song CRACKS ME UP whenever I hear it. Sorry about your Dad & I know the fond memories posted above (& all your others) will keep him forever alive in your heart.

  3. hey tara. AJ is showing me how to check the innernet. It is CARAZZZY~! Where is the Innernet? It's gotta be somewhere!! Anywhoooo...i'll be checking this often, so make sure that I am!! Love you


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