"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:38

My dad is no longer in pain.

This is something I have to remind myself as I reflect on the loss of my father.

I knew this day would come, but for some reason I never thought it would be so soon— or so sudden. When you lose a family member (especially when it comes unexpected) you reflect on your final conversations with them. Was I there for him when he needed me? Did we end on good terms? Does he know he much he really meant to me? Did I tell him I loved him?

It’s hard not to wish you said more, did more, and, most importantly, loved more.

Even though parents fall short, they are the people that love you more than anyone else. They are the ones who love you unconditionally. Being a new father myself, I am now experiencing this more and more everyday with my own son.

So as I reflect on my own father I want to highlight the good. I want to remember the ways he shaped me into who I am today and the positive impacts he had on my life.

Everyone will have different memories with him, but here are just a FEW of the highlights with my dad:

My dad loved the water. Especially salt water. Salt water was the cure for all things in life. Sore throat? Gargle with hot salt water. Foot infection? Soak it in salt water. Those things make sense. But sometimes it went way beyond that… Nightmares keeping you up? Salt water. Lost the championship game? Salt water. HA!

But in all seriousness, he loved the water so much I think he would have permanently lived on it if it were up to him. Several different times in life he lived on a sail boat out in the water. We he moved on shore and bought a house in Weaverville (where he practiced dentistry) he bought a ski boat which we took out to the lake.

My memories out on the lake our some of my favorite of all time. I loved boating! Tubing, knee-boarding, skiing, fishing, or just exploring the waters. The photo above is me performing a “whoa baby” jump and staking claim on what I saw as a newly discovered island. After we moved from Weaverville it would be years before I got to go back out on the lakes and rivers again (Thank you Erickson family!).

Growing up I wasn’t the most athletic kid (I think Knute, Teagan, and Brayden got those genes), but my dad never gave up on me. We tried various sports until we found one that I thrived at— hockey. I remember roller-blading around the whole neighborhood with my dad or working on in the garage with him on my wrist shot. We practiced and played together until I became the lead scorer in my league. That was a proud moment for me. At the time I thought he was proud of my success, but now looking back, I realize he would have been proud of me no matter how I performed. He was just happy to see me trying my best and having fun.

I loved growing up in Weaverville. As a kid, you don’t need “things to do” like you complain about as a teen or an adult. You just need places to explore! And Weaverville has plenty of that. The population of Weaverville is probably less than the amount of people at Coronado Beach on any given Saturday. There was so much wilderness to explore and all the neighbors had animals everything from goats and pigs to parrots and chinchillas.

I don’t know if this is because it was back in the 90’s or because it was out in the sticks, but I remember how everyone burned most of their trash in what we called “burn piles”.  My dad taught me a lot about fire and how to be a pyro. Don’t know if most people would consider that good things but it sure was fun… until Teagan burnt our trampoline down :(

My dad was really handy. My 2 favorite things he built while we lived in Weaverville was our go-kart and our backyard tree fort. This was the most legit tree fort I have ever seen. It was three stories high with various ways to get up and down including nets, ropes, and stairs. This made for the perfect play place for any kid who dreams of being a super hero (isn’t that every little boy?).

After meeting spider man and introducing me to the world of super hero comics he taught me how to climb all the walls of our house like spider man.

One Christmas my dad surprised us we woke up to quads! I didn’t even understand what a cool Christmas present this was at the time. To be honest, I think I was more excited about the micro-machines and Hotwheel tracks I had received the night before. But regardless of my comprehension, this would change family reunion vacations forever!

As we acquired enough 4-wheelers all the cousins learned to ride and soon this became one of my favorite activities I have ever taken part in! My dad also used these quads to help teach us boys responsiblity. After we rode he had us wash and put them away properly. He taught us how to change the tires and repair the parts that we were capable of.

My favorite house we have ever had growing up was the one we lived in when we moved to Redding.

My dad really wanted a pool and I’m pretty sure we spent every single summer day in it. At this house there was acres and acres of undeveloped land that we rode quads around all the time. Between the quads, pool, and family I really do believe these years of childhood are hard to rival. I have VERY fond memories of my childhood at this house.

After he taught me how, my dad would let me put up the Christmas lights each year. My dad was never afraid to teach me new things, (even things that now I look back on and think “whoa, scary, would I let Bryer be up there by himself??).  

I remember the first winter he took all of us kids up snowboarding for the first time. Anyone who has been snowboarding knows how frustrating it can be the first day. But somehow he got us all down the mountain in one piece (he even got Natalie boarding and I don’t even know he young she was… If I was 12, she had to be under 7).

My dad also taught me how to workout. Pushups, pullups, and weights, he showed me how the ropes of fitness.

I’m thankful that my dad was able to make it to my wedding…

And attend bible studies at my first home!

And I loved watching how much he LOVED Warren! He was always healthiest, happiest, and at his best whenever Warren was around.

My favorite memory of my dad was how he instilled within me faith at a very young age. I remember how he used to tuck me in each night as a kid and pray with me. That is something I will always cherish and hopefully will continue to do with my own son.

I am thankful for the parents God blessed me with.

All of us have things in life that we struggle with and some more than others. Some of us struggle with things openly, while others internally. But regardless, our struggles do not define who we are.

Our identity comes from Christ, and from Christ alone.

I don’t know how people go through life’s heartaches and maintains their sanity without the peace and love of knowing the Lord.

I know that when I meet my dad again, he will be restored. He will be everything he was meant to be. This brings me comfort, peace, and joy— the joy to celebrate the everlasting life made possible by our Savior.