I walked into Grammy and Pops’ back yard one afternoon and I see Kate, standing on a step stool, holding a squeeze bottle full of paint. Below her is a tarp with a canvas on it, and to the side, Pops, encouraging Kate to wildly, and with abandon, create a masterpiece. They are both beaming.

We come to Grammy and Pops’ house for dinner, and Pops excitedly shows Kate and Beckett the new parfait cups he has purchased, specifically for them. He then pulls out a container full of pieces of angel food cake he had painstakingly cut into perfectly round pieces that fit, just so, into the cups. He shows them how to make a perfect strawberry shortcake parfait and they are all laughing, shoving cake, strawberries and whip cream into cups, into their mouths, making such a lovely mess.

Beckett is throwing a tantrum, insisting on using the Ironman Slip ‘n’ Slide despite the icy temperatures. Pops patiently sets up the water slide and then grabs B’s hand and helps him, grinning, slide through the freezing water. “IRONMAN!” Pops shouts and we all laugh as Beckett grins and giggles and slides and tiptoes off sheepishly as he confirms that it is, in fact, too cold to Slip ‘n’ Slide.

They sit on the couch. Kate and Beckett in Christmas jammies, snuggled up with Pops as he reads them ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, the book he read to me each and every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. This is warmth, happiness, love.

Pops is on all fours on our floor, growling and swatting the air with his hands, chasing the children as they shriek and scurry. “The Bear!” they both shout, screaming and running in circles. Unable to stay away, they keep coming back for more until the bear groans and rolls on his back with his arms and legs in the air. Kate and Beckett sense weakness and pounce, a wrestling match that ends in snuggles.

Pops is sitting on the ottoman in my living room, holding my hand. He is getting ready to start the fight against the cancer that will, in five months, take his life. And he says to me,

“You are the light of my life. I love you more than I love myself.”

I love you too, Daddy.

And I will miss you, every day, for the rest of my life.


9 thoughts on “Goodbye

  1. Carrie Zimmerman says:

    Liz – this is so beautifully written. With each story you told I thought of my own stories of my mom and dad. I lost my mom this year and my dad 10 years ago. You’re right – you’ll miss them, every day, for the rest of your life. But their life, their stories, their love, their memories! You’ll treasure those every day, for your rest of your life, too. Keep writing.

  2. Emily Strong says:

    So so sorry for your loss, Liz. Know you will never stop missing or longing for him, but may sweet memories like above help ease your pain.

  3. Nicole says:

    Of course I’m in tears reading this my sweet friend. My heart hurts so much for you right now. Your Dad was such a special man and although he may be gone, he will never be forgotten. He will remain in your heart and in the hearts of Kate & Beckett forever.

  4. Heather Scott says:


    My heart breaks for you and your family on the loss of your sweet dad! Thank you for sharing these precious moments with us! It sounds like he was one special man! You’re in our thoughts and prayers!

  5. Ann Weatherly says:

    Liz, your tribute to your dad is but one example of the legacy he leaves behind. I will continue to be proud that I was afforded the privilege of his friendship. I will hold in my heart a special memory of that forever smiling face of his. Know that we will be there for your mom in the days, weeks and years to come and as I told others, we will be stewards of his friendship.

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