To My Dad Two Years After You Passed Away, You Would Be So Proud Of Me

To My Dad Two Years After You Passed Away, You Would Be So Proud Of Me

730 days too long.
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Today marks the two-year anniversary that my dad passed away. Things have been hard, there have been ups and downs, but here we are. Today, tomorrow, and the next day, I will always be upset about the situation, and upset that I lost one of the best people in my life. This just about wrenched out my heart, but it made me think of all the great memories we had together. Here's a little something to make up for some lost time.


Dad,

It's been two years since we heard the news. I remember the day so clearly still, and some days I cry because it still feels fresh. My heart still hurts, and I miss you more than ever. But, what I can say, is life is going okay.

You would be proud of me, and our family.

Mom is doing well, Allegra is abroad and still taking photos, and Gabby is grinding on architecture, working hard on cool projects. Grandma is well, peppy for the most part. We are all closer than ever, we all get along very well. Not that we didn’t before, but we are really strong together.

Life isn’t the same, at all. We have adjusted to changes, and have grown stronger because of it.

I’m really happy. I have a great group of friends, summer is in just a few weeks, I have a killer job, and the sun is starting to come out, even though snow sometimes sneaks into the weather forecast.

My headspace is clear. My mind is positive, and I focus on loving every aspect of life. I have realized that it is so much harder to be mad and think negatively than think happy, and have a positive mindset. This is something you taught me but didn’t really kick in until about a year ago.

I go to the gym a lot now. More than I ever did when you were here, but I do it for myself now. My personal best was running nine miles, something I would have never dreamed of years ago. I don't play tennis too often anymore, I wish you were around because we had our matching tennis rackets.

I wake up some days thinking that you are still here, hoping to be one phone call away to tell you about the wild night I had, or boy problems that you might understand and comprehend, or a cool job opportunity that I was just offered. It’s so hard without you, and I wish I could tell you everything.

I went to prom. It was a blast. I went with Boston. The boys had a baseball game that same night, and so we took photos before their game, watched the game, had an impromptu pizza dinner, and then went to prom and danced as hard as we could. It was a night to remember.

You were right about loving college.

School is good. So good. It is everything I ever wanted. Committing to Washington State in the airport that one day with you and mom was exactly what I wanted to do, and was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I thrive here. I've met my favorite people, my classes are great, and the football games are some of the best things I have ever experienced. I go home every dads weekend, it's too hard without you, but I know we would have had a blast. I have to be honest, sometimes I want to drop out, and say I could do fine without a degree, but then I think back to everything you wanted, and everything I want in my future, and realize I could never. I love school, and I have found what I am good at.

I joined a sorority last year, my second semester. It was another great decision I made for myself. I love it so much. I have met some of the best people I could imagine, and its made college so much more do-able. I have a leadership position. I am our Vice President of Public Relations (VPPR) and it's what I am good at. I love my position and it's given me a better perspective, and leadership skills I need for my future. I live in the house, and this house has become a home.

I gave back, and my heart was full.

I know you hated social media, but I am actually very good at using it and marketing for others. Anyways, I raised over $200,000 for St. Jude this past holiday season. It was super special. I got to talk to Michael Strayhan and Robin Roberts on Good Morning America; I wish I could have told you what it was like. Breathtaking. But I know this is something that you would have loved me doing. You might have said, “Danni, what the heck were you thinking?” but as you know, and as you taught me, I follow through, and put my best work forward.

Mom and I tried to do what we used to do.

Mom and I tried going to a Seahawks game. It was fun but weird. We didn’t get our Beecher's mac n’ cheese like we always do or the halftime snacks. I remember those games that would be pouring down rain, we would be completely soaked by the time we were in our seats, freezing cold. I miss that. You would do your hawk dance as we went to our seats, watching people laugh and have their faces decked out in the green and blue paint. We lost some of our favorite players – Richard Sherman was a real bummer. I got to meet Jermaine Kearse though at the golf course one day I was working, that was awesome. It was one of those days I wish I could have told you about. A few days ago, mom sent me a photo of her with a couple of the Hawks, and I wish so badly you could have been there with her.

For my spring break this year, Mom and I went back to Hawaii. Same thing, great, but weird without you. We stayed somewhere different this time, which was nice. I think you would have really liked it. Good food, nice beaches, and sunshine, with a splash of adventure. It made me think of all the family trips we took and we would ride on your back when you were pretending to be a turtle and we would yell, "surfin' USA". We brought your ashes with us, leaving a little piece of you in Hawaii. Everything about that trip made me want to go back, wishing you could be there with us.

This summer, like last summer, I’m going to be working at Newcastle golf course and for Issaquah Parks and Recreation, kindercamp. People up there knew you or had heard your name before. Last year, when the sun was rising or going down, I always knew that you were looking over me, almost being re-assured that there was a new day ahead or the day was beginning, and that life was so beautiful.

Michael is doing really well. He is still one of my best friends to this day, even though we don't talk too much anymore. He is doing everything he wanted to do, is going to college, and is running his own successful business. Dad, you would be so proud of him.

I still think about my wedding.

Don’t worry, no guys yet. How I would love for you to have walked me down the aisle. I know everything I want to happen and play it out perfectly. You always knew my wedding I was planning was going to be killer. We got time, and I won’t let you down.

A lot has happened in the past two years. I know I am missing so much that I wish I could call you up and tell you about, but in short, this is what you have missed. You are what I have missed.

I miss you more and more each day. I will always put my best foot forward, and try to make you proud even if you aren't here to guide me along. I didn't exactly see it when you were here, but we are so very similar. I carry your heart in mine when I am with people, and I carry your mind in mine when I make decisions. It's those super beautiful moments in life now, I wish I could share with you, but I know that you see them with me. Its those super wonderful people that I meet now, I wish I could introduce you to, but I know that you already know them. I love you dad.

Can't wait to see you again one day.

With love,

Danni

Cover Image Credit: Madonna Messina

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To The Grandmothers Who Made Us The Women We Are Today

Sincerely, the loving granddaughters.
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The relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter is something so uniquely special and something to be treasured forever.

Your grandma loves you like you are her own daughter and adores you no matter what. She is the first person you run to when you have a problem with your parents and she never fails to grace you with the most comforting advice.

She may be guilty of spoiling you rotten but still makes sure to stress the importance of being thankful and kind.

Your grandma has most likely lived through every obstacle that you are experiencing now as a young adult and always knows just exactly what to say.

She grew up in another generation where things were probably much harder for young women than they are today.

She is a walking example of perseverance, strength, and grace who you aim to be like someday.

Your grandma teaches you the lessons she had to learn the hard way because she does not want you to make the same mistakes she did when she was growing up.

Her hugs never fail to warm your heart, her smile never fails to make you smile, and her laugh never fails to brighten your day.

She inspires you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

You only hope that one day you can be the mother and grandmother she was to you.

A piece of girl’s heart will forever belong to her grandma that no one could ever replace.

She is the matriarch of your family and is the glue that holds you all together.

Grandmothers play such an important role in helping their granddaughters to grow into strong, intelligent, kind women.

She teaches you how to love and how to forgive.

Without the unconditional love of your grandma, you would not be the woman you are today.

To all of the grandmothers out there, thank you for being you.

Sincerely,

the loving granddaughters

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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11 Pieces Of Fatherly Advice Everyone Needs To Be Reminded Of

The greatest man in the world is bound to give the greatest advice.

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Months and months ago my father wrote down his favorite quotes and pieces of advice for himself after reading my favorite book, "Tuesdays With Morrie."

He has always given me stellar advice about love, loss and self-worth. Now, I will share it with the world.

This one is for you, Dad.

1. Be bold but not aggressive

This is a personal favorite of mine, especially as an extrovert. I sometimes worry that being the open person I am that I come off too strong or too abrasive.

With this piece of advice though, I remind myself not to "overdo" it. Just be natural.

2. Be confident with room for humility

If there is one thing I have learned from my father it is humility. A sense of humbleness.

I am proud of the person I am, but I have learned to never think I am above anyone else or that I am more important.

3. Love others with all your heart and family with all you are

We are loving people in this household and this piece of advice proves just that.

Despite who you are or what you come off to be, it is important to love friends and lovers with every part of yourself to ensure you did everything you could.

It is important to love family with all you are because lots of the time they made you who you are in the first place.

4. When it comes to dating, even if you don't love them make sure you at least respect them

Not every person you date is "the one." Not every person you date you are going to marry.

Even so, at least respect that person you are seeing. Be polite, be courteous, be kind — be respectful to their needs even if you can't love them.

5. Be patient when it comes to true love, it is rare but so fine

My parents have a love like no other.

They are true loves, soulmates and life partners, BUT it also took time for them to get married.

6. Reserve the harshest judgement for yourself

Tough love is normal. Critiquing is normal.

What is not normal is being cruel and inconsiderate. Leave the harshest judgment for behind closed doors, in a mirror — not towards others.

7. Be tolerant but not submissive

Be patient and kind, to a point. Do not settle for something you do not deserve. Be grateful for what is fair.

8. Don't sweat the small stuff — everything is small stuff

This piece of advice speaks for itself. Do not stress the things that are out of your control. Do not get upset over little things.

In a short period of time, you won't even remember it.

9. Live with passion

Be motivated in your work, in your love, in your friendships and yourself. Living life to the fullest with joy in your heart makes for the best life.

10. Treat the elderly with honor and respect

My dad says that time is a teacher and knowledge is acquired. If it weren't for our elders, we wouldn't learn from the past.

11. Have courage and be kind — remember all your grace

This has become my motto in life. I think it means to be fearless, do things that scare you and stand up for yourself while still being a good person and better yet a KIND person.

It is important to know yourself and be true to you.

So, thank you, dad, for all your words of advice. I couldn't have lived this beautiful life without you.

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