The Kofford Family relocates to Colorado after 40 years as Californians. In December of 2007, Grandma Lorraine is diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. Sadly, she passed away on Dec. 26th, 2008 after a year long courageous battle. Follow our journey as we keep Lorraine's memory alive, and as we learn to appreciate that each day we are given, is a gift to be enjoyed!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~Maria Robertson

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Dad

Today my dad would have celebrated his 70th birthday. He passed away on Oct. 31, 2006, and I miss him greatly. There is so much that I want to tell him, and so in his memory, I am going to post a tribute that I wrote several months ago on the anniversary of his passing.

If your dad is alive, give him a big hug today if you are able. Tell me something about him, I'd love to hear your special thoughts and memories. If he lives far away, call him today, even if there doesn't seem like much to say. Call him...for me, since I can no longer speak with my dad. I promise you won't regret the time invested in connecting with him...

If your dad has passed, please tell me something about him, and how long he has been gone. Do you have any special traditions that you do on your loved ones birthday or other special occasions? I am still coming to terms with my parents both being gone now, and what I can do to honor them on special days throughout the years.

Whether your dad is living or gone...remember him today, and I will too.

This was my Dad. (Written Oct. 31, 2008)

He died two years ago today.
He lived life fully on the day he died.
He flew his airplane, exercised, and talked on his ham radios.
He called a day that included all of the above a perfect day.

The last time I saw my Dad alive was two weeks before he passed.
He and my mom had just returned from a fantastic trip to Japan.
They went on the trip with his sisters and brother in law.
They made many memories, and were all grateful for that time with him.
He was in a great mood the last time I saw him.
He watched his grand kids head off to school.
He sat in our big comfy chair and visited with me, in no hurry to leave.
He gave me a big hug and told me he loved me.
He and my mom drove home, and I never saw him alive again.

My Dad was 67 years old the day he died so unexpectedly.
Life can change in an instant.
We had just come home from taking the kids trick-or-treating.
I got a call from my mom I'll never forget.
He didn't come home for dinner that night.
She worried.
She called the airport hangar where he had been that day, having flown earlier.
He didn't answer.
She drove out to the hangar.
She found him in his office.
He was on the sofa, as if he had just fallen asleep.

My Dad was a tall man standing at 6' 6" tall.
He was happily married to my mom for 41 years.

He was a talented man.
He accomplished everything below in 67 years.
My Dad was a magician.
He was on a ski patrol.
He brought injured skiers down from Mt. Lassen.
My Dad was also a pilot.
He was a business owner.
He was a police officer.
He was a special ed teacher.
He was a middle school and high school teacher.
He was a teaching principal.
He was a basketball coach.
He was an elected airport commissioner.
He was elected as a school board member.
He was an officer in the US Army.

He wanted to make a difference in people's lives.
He did.

He held my hand when I needed stitches.
He taught me how to jump rope.
He walked me down the aisle at my wedding.
He held our children when they were babies.
He came to their birthday parties, and performed magic tricks.
I admired him.
I still do.

He was always concerned for my happiness.
He was one of those people who asked meaningful questions,
and truly listened to my answers.
He used to ask me as a little girl, "Oh by the way, did I ever tell you I love you?"
He would ask this question several times in a day, and each time,
it confirmed that love to me.

As I got older, we didn't always see eye to eye.
We argued.
We disagreed.
Even if we had words with one another, I never doubted his love for me.

He was so happy to have a son-in-law, a grandson, and nephews.
He loved having 'boys' in the family.
He loved my mother, me, and his granddaughter.
He loved his sisters.
He was so happy to have Steffi, our German exchange student, become a part of the family.
He believed in surprising us all with generous deeds.

He loved animals and always had a soft spot for them.

He loved the snow and would have loved Colorado.
He would have appreciated that we have big tall doorways.
Being so tall, he always had to duck underneath standard ones.
He would have been happy looking out our windows at the mountains, as he called the mountains "Gods Country."

He would have been so proud that his grandchildren can play musical instruments.
He would have been pleased to see us happy.

My Dad was a wonderful man.

I would give anything to see him one more time, and tell him so.

Just a few old time photos...My Dad and me (on the right) during a dinner party.

Dad with his new puppy "Sargent."

Four generations of Johnsons. I am the only one still living. I remember my Dad, Grandma and Great Grandmother vividly. Each one of them had a fascinating story to tell.

My dad and I during my junior year in high school...

Our little family of three on the day Tom and I married.

So very many memories, so little space to journal a life well lived...
Remembering my Dad today


Beth said...

Hugs to Denise! What wonderful tribute to your dad. My dad died when I was 15 and I never got to put the memories together. I miss him and ofter wonder how my life would be different...not that I would want it drastically different...just some things... My dad was a great man, too!

Anita said...

Denise, this one brought tears to my eyes. Your tribute to your dad is wonderful, I know he is proud of you, I know he and your mom are watching over you and knowing that you are carrying on all the good that they gave you.
My dad is 84 and is still loving and jovial but much different than the man who raised me or even the man he was 5 years ago. Age and Parkinson's Disease have changed him dramatically.
My dad was a joker, he would get us kids going and probably drive my mom crazy. He gave me my love for old movies and for travel. You asked me what states I'm missing in seeing, those would be Alaska and Hawaii, and my parents have been to both since my dad retired.
I will call my daddy today, and I will tell him how much I love him!

Lucy Marie said...

This brought tears to my eyes, Denise. What a beautiful tribute. It is evident through reading about both of your parents why you are the way you are - they sound like spectacular people who raised a spectacular woman.

The thing I love the most about my dad is that I am still his baby girl. No matter what, he's there to take care of me! He has taught me many important lessons through his career as a business owner - how to be responsible, a good steward of what the Lord has blessed me with, how to stay organized and the list goes on....I'm going to call hi today. Thank you for this.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Denise, what a lovely tribute to your precious dad! He sounds like an A-1 guy! Loved reading this.

My father died when I was 19. He was my best friend in the world. I loved him so much, but I carry him with me in my heart so I feel he's always close. He died a long agonizing death from cancer and some other debillitating diseases at the age of 64. He never complained once. He was a just a trooper. He was a farmer, a state legislator, and the head of a state agency. He taught me an appreciation of literature, history, and being responsible. He taught me that there were things you might not want to do but because they were the right thing to do, you did them and didn't complain. I'm still working on the last part. LOL! He was funny, he was smart, He was the quintessential gentleman, but most of all he was Daddy. And I'm so thankful I will see him again in Heaven. :-)



ShutUpandRun said...

This is such a wonderful tribute to your dad. My dad also turned 70 recently. He is still with us, as you know. I see him several times a week and you have helped me appreciate him more than ever. What do I love about him? He is the funniest person. Hysterical. Crazy. Would do ANYTHING on a dare. I also love how he is with my kids. So caring. His health hasn't always been the best, and I never know how long I might have with him. I appreciate him everyday.

Jennifer@3sonsandadaughter said...

What a lovely tribute!
My Dad woke up on the morning of Father's Day in 2003 telling Mom he didn't feel well. 40 minutes later he sat down in his chair and had a massive heart attack. It was very unexpected and very traumatic.
I am so thankful that he and I spoke just two days prior about some pretty deep stuff. He was so cute, at 55 years old and just learning how to instant message. We chatted for about an hour. It was a fun and good chat and the last time I "spoke" with him. I miss him terribly but I can miss him without being angry to too sad. I still get weepy but mostly because of what he is missing. I had a baby 5 weeks after he died and another a year and a half later. He would have had fun with all of these grandkids. I still think of things I need to call him and tell him about it. Or, I'll see something in the store that he would love and want to get it for him. His life was way too short but it was a good life and he was a good Dad. I love him and I miss him. He does pop by in my dreams every once in a while just to say "hi". :-)
Take care.

Lorri said...

Denise, I just have to say how much Kyle resembles your Dad! I miss your Dad with you, thanks for sharing him with us today. Love, Lorri

glitzen said...

OH Denise, what a wonderful way you have of expressing your heart. I am so sorry your time with your dad was less than you would have wanted. So happy for you, that your last memories are good ones, with no regrets or harsh words.
My Dad means the world to me too. I still call him Dadddy. I dread the day he is not in my world. I have learned so much from you, you will never know. I'm going to call him right now. He will say "Yellow" when he answers the phone (because he says hello that way) and I will answer in my usual way by saying "Blue! Green! Orange!" Our silly weird way of greeting each other.
I wish I had known your dad, he is an amazing person. He accomplished much in his too short time on earth. I love the pics. Your wedding day pic is so beautiful. I can tell you are surrounded by the most important people in your life up to that date!

Donna said...

Hi Denise,

You and I have never met but I have been reading your posts from time-to-time especially when your mom was so sick. I am Beth and Ken's aunt Donna. After reading your tribute to your dad, I felt I just needed to write to you and mention my dad too. Well, he passed away on Oct. 21, 2001 and I miss him everyday. The stange coincidence is that my mom passed away on Oct. 21, 1997. Could it be he really wanted to be with her? Every year on each of their birthday's, I go to the cemetary, flowers in hand along with 3 balloons, arrange the flowers, sing "Happy Birthday" and release the balloons. It is just my little way of remembering their birthdays. Your tribute was awesome and just keep remembering that now you carry your parents love in your heart.

Tricia Anne said...

Dear Denise,
Your post for your dad is precious. What a special man he is in your life. My dad passed away last year on the 25th of May. We shared the same birthday and even though I moved 2000 miles from home, he always called. Actually it was a bit of an inside joke between the two of us, who would call the other one first. I called on his bday last year and knew he was in the hospital, but had to just let him know (via step mom) that I am thinking of him and love him. It has been a tough year in my heart. Many memories have flooded my mind.
I adore the pictures of the two of you. I was wanting to do something similar on the 25th of May. My mom has been gone since I was 3 1/2. You are right, it is a very big adjustment.
Thank you so much for sharing your heart.
Sincerely ~ Tricia Anne

Faith said...

What a precious post in memory of your dad. I love the sweet things you listed about him and the pictures you shared. Thank you so much for sharing him with us =)

Lazy Mom Leslie said...

What a wonderful memorial to your father. My dad taught me to expect respect from boys at a young age. I was always confident in high school even though I didn't date as much as some girls. I never allowed a boy or man to treat me with disrespect thanks to my father. I would see how he treated my mom and me and expected nothing less from the boys I dated. I am thrilled that my husband is doing the same for our daughter.

Kim said...

Denise I am with all your readers today echoing how poignant and touching this post was. I was reading it with eyes full of tears. Thank you for sharing and seeing the replies makes me think you also gave opportunity for others to remember their dad's today as well. Mine is in Hawaii this week and I'm so glad I have him to hug when he gets home!

Lazy Mom Amanda said...

What a special tribute to your Dad. Thanks for sharing with us. I'm still blessed to have my Dad around, but we live 9 hours apart. We still talk several times a week and he's still my number 1 guy!

Shannon said...

What a beautiful tribute to your dad. I loved reading that.

My parents are still living but I miss them everyday since they live 3 hours away. We don't get to see eachother as often as we would like but when we do it is always a wonderful time.

DeClercq said...

What a wonderful response you got back from all your readers on this post. Dad's mean soooo much to us! Your dad sounded like a marvelous man! He did so many things and I'm sure touched many lives.

As you might remember my dad died when I was 19 from Leukemia at the age of 59. Of course I have many fond memories of him as well. He was an Airplane Mechanic at the Alameda Naval Air Station. He also received the purple heart when he served in the army. He enjoyed collected coins and collected and restored old Slot Machines after his retirement.

Here's to our Dad's!!!


Sue said...

I love this, Denise. I lost my dad when I was 13... I believe he was 41. The last memory I have of him is a good one though... standing at the bottom of the stairs as my mom was taking him to the hospital. I told him I loved him, and he told me he loved me too. He passed on New Years Day 1977 making that day a bittersweet day to me. But it's not about me. It's about my dad... I loved him so much and am sad that he never got to meet my girls. He'd have loved them so much. One day we'll be together again though... what a day that will be.
Thank you for the beautiful memories of your dad.


Melissa said...

Thanks for the reminder to cherish our parents. My dad has been helping us put in our new back yard and it has been fun to have that to talk with him about. I always enjoy doing a project with him!

Kim said...

I loved this, as it brought tears to my eyes at the same time! I loved your dad! Very special, indeed. He did ask meaningful questions. :)

Although my dad and I don't always get along either, I feel deeply grateful to God every day for him. I think it all the time! oh! I have to go get a tissue, darn it!
Love, Kim L.
And Happy Birthday to your dad, too! Belated!