Its been 22 years and still, July 31 is a hard day for me. Really, the whole month of July is hard, especially the second half between the 17th and the 31st.
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Dad had open heart surgery in 1992 and the next year the replaced valve got infected.
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He went into the hospital and died at the end of the second surgery on July 31. Only two weeks after he turned 46.
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I love having all these old pictures to go through. I stroll down memory lane seeing dad, all of us as kids and the house we grew up in.
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And the vacations. I don’t even remember where they all were, except the obvious ones like Washington, D.C.
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We went to a couple oceans, but I don’t remember which one this is.
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I thought of Dad a lot last summer as we drove all the way down to Panama City Beach. We drove all over the country on our vacations.
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I was looking through pictures tonight to pick some for this post. I ended up picking a bunch. But that’s OK.
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I think my favorite pictures are the ones from Vilas Zoo. It looks largely the same these days and I love that I am taking my kids somewhere my parents took me as a kid. I remember thinking a trip to the Vilas Zoo was such a big deal! It actually kind of surprised me to go as an adult and find out how small it really is! But its perfect for young kids!
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One of our most prevalent memories is this paisley shirt of Dad’s. It was all thin and worn and he wore it all. the. time. And it shows up in many of the pictures here!
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I discovered this one of Dad with all that hair! Doug calls him Grizzly Adams in some of these pictures. He looks so young here. My brother Justin looks a lot like him, I didn’t realize until I was looking at this picture. This was my first Christmas.
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And there’s that shirt again!
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And the Vilas Zoo, and me with my ultra-cool glasses and hiked-up shorts!
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When I was looking through pictures, I was telling Allie about Grandpa Dennis.
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She said “we haven’t saw him in a long time.” And I told her, no, because he died a long time ago.
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Allie said, “he had a broken heart and he died.” Pretty much, yeah. Wow. She must remember that from when we went to the cemetery last summer.
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I didn’t think to mention to the kids that Peyton is named after Grandpa Dennis. I guess I’ll mention that when we go to the cemetery on Sunday.
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A few years ago I was worrying that I was forgetting him. But really, I am not. I remember Vilas Zoo. And the paisley shirt. And the surgery scar. And the vacations. And him working for Chrysler and his love of cars… we have a Dodge vehicle. And my son is named after him. He has TWO grandchildren named after him. I’m not forgetting him. He’s never met his grandchildren in person, but he knows each and every one of them. He is still very much a part of us and we are part of him.


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