Friday, July 11, 2008

Who's Your Daddy

Today marks 8 years since my dad died. I've been thinking about him a lot lately and wondering if and what I should post about him today. A lot of things have come to mind...a lot of memories, a lot of his traits and talents, and a lot of things both he and I have missed out on over the last eight years. My strong and always classy mother posted about how life moves on and about the things she has accomplished since my dads death, rather than dwell on it. (Though she can cross grand kids right off her list...I was the one who carried them 9 months...she just gets to enjoy them.) I'm not as strong as she is. Today, all I can think about is how my kids and my dad missed out on that great relationship. He would have loved playing with my three crazy boys. And they would no doubt love him, too. As would Spencer...who has never met him. He died just weeks before I met Spencer.

He was just 42 when he died. The older I get, the more I realize just how young he was. I have friends that age. I think about where Spencer and I will be at in our lives when we reach that age...and it's not that far away anymore. I hate to think about it. I realize even more how amazing my mother is...something I couldn't quite appreciate before I had a husband and even more so...children. She pushed us all through this very well. I remember just days after his funeral, when all the company had left, she took Jeff and I to spend a day at the beach (Mike was on his mission). Life felt so normal for those few hours...and I had one nasty sunburn to remind me of that normalcy.

I have a million good things to say about both of my parents. A million things I planned to write about my dad. And today, I am not up for writing anything sentimental. The day of his death isn't usually a rough one for me...I tend to miss him more when I'm home or on holidays or when something important is going on that I want him to be at. (I realize he's watching over those things, but I mean I'd physically like him to be there.) I think it's just a rough day because I'm sitting down to write about him and not because it's the anniversary of his death.

So I will write no longer...I'm posting pictures. I'm sad to say, I have very few pictures of my dad. I'm sure he wasn't in pictures all that often, but the ones he was in are in the family photo albums at my moms house. All I have is a small stack of reject pictures...the ones that weren't good enough to make it into the family album. Just a warning.

OK, so this one isn't a reject...this is my parents right after I was born. Are they cute or what?

My blessing day...Grandpa Whipple, Grandpa Benson, me and Dad, Great-Grandpa Stowell.

(I'm the only one still living.)

This one is obviously a reject picture...we were on a drive to Utah for a wedding and I was so excited at the sight of snow that my dad pulled over so we could play in it on the side of the road.

I got roller blades for Christmas...Jeff got a scooter, but Dad commandeered it to chase me down.

My Baptism
The next two are Primary daddy-daughter activities...he didn't have a mustache. Drawing a mustache on your dad was one of the activities.

My dad was all about computers.

My dad took us on the best trips...he traveled all over the U.S.for business and knew what to see in any state. By the time I graduated high school, I had been to somewhere around 30 different states (and D.C. and Canada and some more than once) on random family trips.

This was the face my dad always made in pictures...My mom however, never made that face. Sorry I posted it Mom. Good thing it's small.

This was on a trip, too. I don't remember where.
This is Dad and I on a ski lift for the alpine slides...I think this one was Colorado.
This was goofing off in a hotel somewhere.
This is my high school home coming game. I was up for homecoming queen. It didn't occur to me until years later that my dad may not have wanted to be the center of attention in the middle of a high school football field during the half time show at the homecoming game. He was just so supportive, it wouldn't have occurred to me.
The next two pictures were at Christmas time just before he died. It was the last time all five of us were together. Mike left on his mission shortly after that. I'm sad that these are the last family pictures we have. I'm not a fan of either of them. I look at least ten years older than I really am. I was just 18 when he died...I am younger than Mike, yet I easily look like the oldest. What was my problem? Actually, I still have that problem.

I'm not feeling nearly as bad as I was when I first started typing this post. (Kids will do that to you...meeting the demands of three whining children while trying to get something done can spoil any mood.) I may now be regretting the pity post I wrote at the top. You don't have to feel sorry for me...I'm feeling much better. But since I have more demands to meet and no time to re-write, I'm going to click "publish post" and I will hopefully get something more positive up real soon.


Lauri said...

Yeah, I'm feeling it more too this year for some reason. SO...I made a cheesecake last night and have almost eaten the entire thing. And I feel a lot better:)

Lauri said...

One more thing...From the time you kids were born, dad started talking about being a grandpa. I know he would have had a blast with your kiddos and he would have spoiled them!

Kelly said...

Ok, I know this wasn't a sympathy post, but HOLY MOLY! I've never cried reading a post yet, until today. And then your mom's last comment about how your dad always talked about being a grandpa. I agree, he would have been an awesome one! And the memories I have of your dad are all good ones as well. He truly was an amazing man who raised an awesome daughter! I really don't know what I would do without my dad. You and your family really are so strong and you've done so well since your dads passing. All I can say is good job and I miss seeing you!

Kelly said...

That was so heart warming, and sad at the same time- I feel like I know him- he seems fantastic- I am love the resemblances all three of you have from him and your mom- seriously, that is amazing. I love that your dad cherished you so much and allowed you fun experiences, like stopping for snow and fun adventerous trips- memories that will last you a lifetime and support you on the hard days with out him. Your boys will undoubtedly inherit those traits from a man they do know and love, even though he is not here, but someplace we dream of. I hope you know how loved you and your family is- glad your day is better already!!

Genn said...

I am with Kelly on my comment here. I too, have not cried reading a post, but I did just now. I know you aren't the type to post in hopes for a bunch of sympathy responses. But I do want to say how amazing you all are. And even though your boys never met your wonderful Dad, they will probably grow up with some of his personality traits, and even his looks!
I can't imagine how hard losing him must have been. That day at the beach with your mom and Jeff sounds so nice. Normalcy is what we need, especially when things seem the least normal. Your whole family is now stronger people for all that you have endured. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and pictures! They were too good ones! I love the one of you on your Dad's back at the daddy daughter event, and at homecoming. Those are such sweet memories.

trentnjeanmorello said...

What wonderful memories! Sounds like you were really blessed with a wonderful father!

Autumn said...

Katie I very much enjoyed that post-thank you! Though it may seem crazy, I've always been so curious about your dad. When you first briefly mentioned that your dad passed when you were a teenager I was just stunned. I simply couldn't-and can't-imagine that happening so young. I've been anxiously awaiting to hear details about him, knowing they'd come sometime. In the back of my head I've often wondered when it crosses your mind, how you deal with it, if you talk with your mother/siblings about it, if you look at pictures, on and on and on. I thoroughly enjoyed every single one of your thoughts.

In many pictures of your Mom I've seen in various posts (hers and yours), I see you. But I think you have his smile? I wonder what you think? From the pix I've seen of Jeff he looks so very different than the last pix of your family together. I have a hunch he too isn't a fan of them. I have the same "problem" of looking 10 years older all the time too. Don't like that, though I don't know if I think you look older than Mike or not. Older looking than you were or not, you still look pretty that's for sure.

I imagine there are many hard things about a parent passing at such a young age. And I think missing out on seeing your parent turn into a grandparent has to be a constant reminder. I can't help but say I'm sorry. I'm very afraid of saying the wrong thing but I am sorry.

I don't know your mom too well of course, but from every bit I gather about her, I am amazed to see her move on with life so gracefully without her husband. Again, I can't imagine. All I can say is what a woman!

I love your cute comment about it not occuring to you about your Dad maybe not wanting to be the center of attention. :) That's so cute. I love it that he pulled over to let you play in the snow. I couldn't help but think this is something I'd very much picture you doing.

Thank you for every bit you shared. I can't help but say: love ya.

(And thanks for remembering me-yes, it was today, I'll probably write about it tomorrow.)

Kris said...

That was a sweet and heartfelt post about your memories of your Dad. Yes, I cried, but reading it through, the main thing that came to my mind was how proud he would be of you!!!! And of course, your Mom and brothers too. Life has a funny way of marching on, and the memories are oh so sweet.
Hugs to you tonight.

The Cochran Family said...

Although short, he seemed to live a full life! He was the kind of person who stopped to enjoy the roses, to make memories and thanks goodness. How ironic, befcause you didn't have as much time as you'd hoped. I'm sorry you had that challenge in you life to go through death of someone close so early in your life. I hope it made you feel better to vent and it's great too to share your memories for your boys...way to go. I'm SURE your dad is sooo pleased with you and what you've done with your life and how good of a mother and wife you are!

Eric & Jen said...

I remember meeting him in the hospital our freshman year, you and your mom sang cute silly songs for him. I think he's there supporting you though everything, your wedding day, your children (he's just not the center of attention like at homecoming). He's probably enjoying being a grandpa with all the children you and your siblings are yet to have.

Traci Elizabeth said...

I know this may sound wierd, but your fathers death really affected me. He was the first person I really knew who passed on. I remember everything about it, from the first time you told me he went to the doctor to the funeral.

Our last apartment we lived in was just down the street from his burial place. I drove past it all the time and always thought about your family.

Cameron will start patroling the streets of Santa Ana in about 5 weeks. I often think about what I would do if he was to not come home one night. Your family is such an example of strength, and I think of your mom and all that she has accomplished and overcome. And althought it would be the hardest thing ever, I know that families are forever and life goes on. I love your family and was very fond of your father.

Now that that is over....nice bright pink plaid shorts that are almost up to your chest, you always were a trend setter! =)

Valarie said...

What a wonderful man! It is so nice that you have so many great photos of him and so many wonderful memories. I am sure he is watching over you and proud of the family you have built and the amazing person you have become.

Amanda B. said...

Katie, I can not imagine the pain you have felt the last 8 years and I am sorry. I know you didn't want a pity party, but I just want you to know you are loved and if we could take away the pain we would. I can see how wonderful of a father he was and how happy he was with you. You are adorable as well. :) You are an incredible person. Like you said, I know he is watching from above, but I am sure that is no consolation now- of course you want him here physically. I would too! My heart goes out to you.

jeanine said...

I was about to say "I never knew your dad had a mustache!" and then I kept reading! Ha!
Your dad was a great man... and I think you and your family are remarkable for handling it all so well.

Erin said...

The Benson Clan was and always will be such a great example for me. I remeber `sitting by you at graduation, and how proud he was of you on that night! You make him proud everyday, keep up all the great living!

Jeffrey Benson said...

That's funny.I usually do notice it, but this year it passed by with nothing. I didn't realize it was the anniversary until you posted this. It seems so recent but so far off at the same time...

Sheryl said...

You are an amazing combination of your dad and mom. Your dad packed so much into your young lives, what amazing gifts he was able to give you, his loved family. He didn't have to work hard at being a great man, he just was. It was a blessing in my life to see your family interact, and to see how much he loved you until he had to say goodbye for now. So greatful to know that as your arms are feeling more empty today, he wrapping his around you. Love you!

sharon kaye said...

Thanks to you and your mom for writing about your dad. He was a wonderful man. I don't think I ever saw him without a smile on his face. He always was so upbeat and positive. We all miss him. Thank you for sharing your memories.

Kipn n' Sarah said...

I obviously never meet your dad, but from near the beginning of me knowing Kipper I have appreciated your dad.
When Kip and I first started dating he told me that he was not the quickest to jump out into the mission field when turning 19. He also told me that your father and experiencing his death played a Major role in getting him on his mission.
I just turned to Kip and asked him exactly what it was about your father's death that made him make that decision to go on his mission. He told me that he was close to your father and respected him very much as a friend and as a Young Men's Leader. When he died Kip realized that he did have a testimony of the gospel and truly did believe that there was much more beyond this life. This is when he truly realized he believed strongly in this gospel and had the desire to go out and teach what he had just learned.
I thank your father for the impact he had on my now husband as a child. He influanced Kip to do something that has changed him forever as well as the lives that Kip came in contact with on his mission. I hope your dad always knows what he did and what his life ment to those around him.
Thankyou to the life of a man I never had the privlege to meet.