Ever since I was a little girl I can remember all the camping trips my dad would take my little sister and me on. We didn’t have much money back then but he made the best of it. Once I got older (going through that stage of not wanting your parents around) I would camp with my friends… until one day I decided to ask my dad to come. A little unsure of what to except my dad ended up being the life of the party. Him telling goofy stories and just being himself my friends just loved him. From then on it was our annual event… every summer he would come camping with us.
Our favorite place to camp was Mardon Resort over by Moses Lake, WA. We camped there for about 7 years straight in August. Right on the beach with the water right in front of us. It had the best sunsets (and best views of the ladies my dad would say). We would decorate our camp spot to perfection. It did not have electricity but we would have so many battery operated lights and have tiki torches everywhere. People would come over to our camp spot just to admire our site.
I remember out last year there. It was like I knew for some reason that would be the last time my dad would ever see Mardon. I never would just take pictures of just my dad but I was taking lots of them. I remember just sitting there sunbathing and watching him fly a kite and thought to myself that this is my happy moment… and I knew this was his. He had his two children and two grandchildren and his favorite place to camp. He couldn’t do much cause of his heart problems he had been having but he had no problem playing with the grand kids. On our last night there sitting down for dinner I handed my dad his salad with his favorite blue cheese salad dressing. I knew exactly what he was going to say before he said it… “you know… this salad would taste so good with sunflower seeds on it”. He always would say (to me funny) things like that. I chuckled and said “oh dad…”. That’s what I always said to him.
The next morning we packed up. I looked over at him and watched him looking over at the water with this stare of thoughts. I wondered what he was thinking about but I let him be in his thoughts. Now thinking back I am wondering if he was saying good bye… or if he was praying to come back. I will never know. All I know is that he was in heaven when he was camping there with us… never seen him so happy.
As we drove away it was quite sad and I had no idea why I was so sad. Six months later I am using those photos I took of him there camping for a slide show at his funeral. Flying his kite, fishing, playing with his grand kids, living life…
You never know when a loved one is going to leave you. I always told my dad, my best friend that I was going to leave him first cause I could never imagine living with out him. I have to keep on living though… I have 2 wonderful children and an amazing husband. They have kept me going through this tough time of losing my daddy. But I am so thankful for all the wonderful memories I have had with him and photographs to look at whenever I want to. Because he will always be talked about and remembered in our family and a wonderful father, friend and grandfather.