Nov. 8th 2008 a day I’ll never forget.

8 Nov

Nov. 8th, 2008

I’ll never forget 11/8/2008 it was a Saturday morning and my family and I had packed the SUV to travel down to Iowa bright and early in the morning. Shannon and I were dropping off our daughter Bella at my parent’s house while we travel over to Iowa City for the football game. As we made our way down I35 we got a call from my aunt who said that they had taken dad into Hospice and he was not doing well at all. The feelings rushing through me as I drove to Des Moines were crazy. We arrived in Des Moines and were greeted by my family and brought up to speed on what was happening. I went in and saw Dad he was not looking good. As we spent time with the family trying to figure out dad’s state the thought of that Iowa football game raced through my head. I looked at dad and he said go to the game, mom said go to the game you’re dad would. So Shannon and I raced over to Iowa city as fast as we can ran to the stadium and our seats and watched one of the best football games I’ve ever seen. Iowa was playing at the time undefeated and #3 in the nation Penn State. It was a tough hard fought battle of a game but with a last second 31 yard field goal by Daniel Murray the Hawkeyes won the game 24-23. This would be the final game my dad was alive for. My emotions were crazy I was scared and sad because I was losing my father, I was pumped with excitement and joy over winning the game it all just messed together. Shannon and I blazed out of the stadium and back to Urbandale and the hospice where dad was. I sat up that night with my mom right next to dad’s bed holding his hand, talking to him and crying. Early that morning of Nov. 9th 2008 my father passed away. This was the hardest moment of my life.

Iowa football has been a huge part of my life since I was born. My father was a huge Hawkeye fan he would yell and scream at the TV when they played he wore his Iowa clothes proud and the two of us never missed a game. When I grew older and moved away to Minnesota and dad and I were not together to watch the games we would call each other before, during and after the games talking about each play. The call would always start with me saying “How bout them Hawks” and dad replied “What about them Hawks”. I remember my first trip to Kinnick stadium as a boy with my dad it was 1986 and Iowa played Texas El Paso. That same day before the football game the Iowa basketball team was holding a practice and dad took me to that and I was able to get autographs of Iowa basketball players BJ Armstrong, Roy Marble and some others. I still have the cover of that program with those autographs hanging in my office today.

It’s memories like this that fuel me each and every day, memories of my father that help me during long workouts and races. When I’m in a marathon and things are getting tough pain is setting in and I’m looking for power to push me through I look to the sky and think of dad and relive a moment, hear his voice speak to me and use that as motivation to power through. I remember my first Triathlon and dad was there at the finish line now I was not blazing fast but I did it and I remember that hug dad gave me the tear in his eye and how proud of me he was. I remember my first marathon TCM 2007 the weather was blistering hot, dad was not in good shape and feeling well but he was waiting for me at that finish line again with the proud look. That would be my last event I would do that dad would see me compete in.

I now run, ride, swim everyday and every day I do I look to the sky and talk to dad sometimes I cry as I run down the road and it’s hard but these are my moments with him and moments I love! Losing something that means a lot to you is hard but it can also be used as fuel to help you through tough times. That hospice where my father died I also lost two grandparents in the same place a few years earlier. And I was very close to both of them, that was hard but nothing like losing my father.

So when you venture out for your next run, ride, swim, walk or whatever and things are getting tough you need some motivation something to push you through and help you finish. Think about a loved one, maybe someone still alive, maybe someone you have lost. Use the power that can bring you to push yourself and carry yourself to finish and to stay strong.

Every time I run dad is with me, and his power brings me lots of strength to complete anything I set out to do.

So this Saturday Nov. 12th when I’m at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City with Shannon (her birthday) and the 3 year anniversary of when we put dad to rest and those Hawkeyes come running out of the tunnel to take the field I will look to the sky and say “How Bout them Hawks” and shed a tear for dad. It will be emotional day for me like every year and if we get a Hawkeye victory it will be a great day! I think the Iowa football team has a pretty special angel looking over them on that day one that I like to call DAD.

I love you dad and you will be forever missed.



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