For a little while….

For a little while, I think I’m going to be writing about how I feel about my dad’s death.

I learned of his death on Tuesday, the second of November.  My niece sent me a facebook message, asking me to call her.  Fortunately, I have my FB set so that I receive an email alert anytime someone messages me, so I got this message soon after she wrote it.  We played a little bit of phone tag… and then we spoke to each other on the phone.


I did not see this coming.

My dad was 64 years old, and as far as I knew, HEALTHY!  He was an active man.

He was on vacation with my mom, and he was scuba diving.  When the group was resurfacing, something went horribly wrong for my father.  It turns out, he had what was probably stage IV stomach cancer, and the best guess, as I understand it, is that some cancer cells broke free and traveled to his brain stem, causing a very sudden and quick death.  As I understand it… and hope to be true….  he probably did not suffer much, if at all.

My dad loved to learn new things – was adventuresome – was INTERESTED in LIVING…  He had recently built himself an electric-assist bicycle (summer 2009) and proceeded to ride this bike all around.  He was ecstatic to be using a greener form of transportation and really felt like the electric-assist made bicycling viable for him.  He seemed to be having FUN!  Loads and loads of fun!  We had many many emails during this time – he would write about all his different options and ask my opinions… and he e-introduced me to his cycling buddy, Tom (aka – Tom the biker dude).  I think it’s fair to say that cycling helped save our relationship.

I had been out of contact with my dad for a few years.  He and I slowly started to get back into contact, and his bicycle project really provided a safe topic for us.  I’m very passionate about bicycles (I’m sure this surprises people… /sarcasm).  And my dad became very passionate about it as well.  We started talking about other topics – only staying away from one very difficult area – anything having to do with my mom.  I feel like I was slowly but surely getting to know this man who was my father.  Sometimes I would get annoyed with his politics… or his preachiness about his politics (I – of course – am NEVER preaching about my own politics / sarcasm).  Most of the time, and I really mean MOST OF THE TIME, I really valued our emails with one another.

To make a long story short, my childhood was not pretty.

To make another long story short, my adulthood has pretty much been amazing.

The transition between the two?  A mixture of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I’m sooooo lucky to be living with the love of my life and my awesome and amazing eight year old son.  How did I get to be so lucky???  Add to that, I’m a chemistry professor, and I get to ride and race bikes relatively often.  Life is seriously good.

I am GRATEFUL that I was able to be on the up and up with my dad.  I’m so grateful that he didn’t die during a time of zippo in terms of contact.  And I freaking miss him!  I really really do.


About rleepenn

I'm a mom and a chemistry professor, and I love to ride bikes! On July 29th, 2011, I received the news that I have breast cancer. This is my blog....
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