Weekly Wrap-Up #171 – May 26th, 2024 – Losing My Stepdad

Posted May 26, 2024 by Lisa Mandina in Uncategorized / 30 Comments

Flaming margaritas in Branson with dad in the past year

This past week was really hard. I have over the past few years realized how lucky I have been that all of my parents are still alive. Both my mom, dad, stepdad, and stepmom. Monday I lost my stepdad. I don’t often say stepdad, often he is just my dad, because he married my mom when I was 3, and I don’t remember a time when he wasn’t my dad. He was a great second dad. And he shared parenting so well with my dad and neither let the other one feel like they weren’t just as important to me as the other. If I had ever gotten married, they knew I wanted both of them to walk me down the aisle. That’s the one regret I have, that I never got to do that.

Dad holding me up to pick an apple

He was almost 77 years old, and he had a long life. He’d been fighting prostate cancer for almost 12 years. In 2020, we’d thought he’d kicked it. A little over a year ago though, they found it was now in his liver. So first they tried chemo. Of course chemo can be hard since it affects all the cells and not just the cancer ones, so they had him start a new treatment earlier this year. Unfortunately while it may have affected one of the cancers, it allowed another one to began to grow more. And after only two treatments, he was in liver failure. Last Thursday they had told us he had probably 2 months left. But by two days later he had already gone downhill so fast. Sunday he was mostly out of it, never left the bed, but at least was aware enough and awake enough to talk to everyone one last time, including my niece and nephew. We decided to wait to bring their dog back until Monday morning, but kind of wish we’d gone ahead Sunday night. However all morning Monday he hadn’t opened his eyes, just slept. As soon as I brought their dog in, he opened his eyes though, not long, but it felt like he’d waited just long enough to see her.

Me and dad at the lake

My mom, brother, sister-in-law, and I were all there with him when he passed. I’m so glad I took Monday off to bring their dog home earlier and got that chance. Now we are working on how we move on. We spent Tuesday together planning a small graveside service for family only for the burial. But we will have a celebration of life for all his friends and other family in a few weeks.

Throughout the week I just kept remembering and thinking of all the ways he influenced and made my life wonderful, things I might not have thought about in a while. He’s the reason my family had dachshunds since when I was little, so probably why I’m obsessed now. I remember when he bought me what we called at that time a “ghettoblaster” when I was in middle school. One time we watched a show on tv where they had a big cake fight at a wedding, and when I said that cake sounded good, we drove to the grocery store and bought one. He was into music, and I know he is part of the reason I got to see Michael Jackson in concert twice.

When I was little and we went to Branson every year, I fished because he liked to fish and we’d get up early in the morning to go fishing. My favorite fried chicken will always be from Chicken Mary’s in Pittsburg, Kansas. The story he always liked to tell about how my preschool teacher pulled him aside one day when he came to pick me up to tell him that I’d been making up stories about flying to Texas the night before. And he told her I didn’t make it up, since my mom had been working, and he’d had to fly to Texas to deliver some equipment, I’d gotten to ride in the plane with him! I’m pretty sure it was his idea for me to get the chance to go work on a dinosaur dig for a week the summer I graduated from college from a story he read in the newspaper. Even last year it was thanks to his excitement in me planning my trip to Scotland for my Outlander tour, that he helped me be able to afford my expensive plane ticket.

He always was the captain of the boat when we had our Memorial Day weekend family trip to Branson.

Thursday night my mom and I went through the drawers full of photo albums in the basement to try to find both pictures for the celebration of life in a couple weeks as well as I wanted to find some of me with him from when I was younger to share in this post and also just to have for myself. Of course since he was usually the photographer at events, there aren’t many of us together, or that many with him until later years when he became a grandpa, or Papa as my niece and nephew call him.

Royals game

Friday was the small graveside service for just family, followed by a time to sit and chat at my brother’s house. My dad’s sister had a few pages of memories she wrote down to share at the funeral. It was nice to hear memories from before we knew him, I mean before I was even born. My aunt’s boyfriend also wrote down a couple pages of memories, which were funny and perfect for him to share. Back at my brother’s house, my sister-in-law had quickly had pictures printed out at Walgreen’s to put on the tables, seeing as how these days we rarely print pictures. One thing I noticed and loved seeing so much was his smile in every picture where he was holding or doing something with his grandkids. The smile on his face was just so proud, so happy. He was just such a great Papa.

Trip to Disneyworld when my niece was 5 years old

We’re still working on how to live in a world without him. Obviously I didn’t see him every day, but I knew he was just a few miles away, any time I wanted to go visit, or I could call or text him. So many times I will think of him when I see something around my house that he fixed or made for me. While I can’t credit him with my love of books, as a kid he always was on me to put the book down and do something productive, he wasn’t a reader. I do remember shortly after I’d moved into my current house, and since my front room is my office/library, he saw the books I had. I remember he looked around and asked if I’d actually read all those books. I told him other than the one book case of my TBR books, the other 6 bookcases full were all books I had read. He seemed surprised, and a bit impressed.

His 75th birthday party in 2022

I will miss him so much. And as sorry that I am that we didn’t get the two months we thought we’d have with him, I’m also glad that he didn’t have to spend two months suffering and not enjoying life. His last year had not been the best for him health wise or enjoying a lot of stuff. I’m happy he and my mom were able to get a little cabin in Branson that they could go down and enjoy.

If you’ve read all the way through, thanks for taking the time to read about my stepdad. This post is mainly for myself. But sharing him with the world is great, as he was always there to help anyone who needed help, and was a friend to each and every person he met.

His obituary: https://meyersfuneralchapel.com/richard-viets-sr-gladstone-mo-05-20-2024/

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30 responses to “Weekly Wrap-Up #171 – May 26th, 2024 – Losing My Stepdad

  1. I’m sorry Lisa but so glad you had him in your life. He really sounds like he was wonderful for your family. Gah you’ve gone to the summer header. The weather here is that, the past week and for another day or two. Then the humidity will drop and hopefully we will get 5 days right around 80 with low humidity which is perfect.

    Anne – Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

    • Lisa Mandina

      I needed some kind of change, and school is done for the year, so I decided it was time for the summer header! lol We’re starting to get the heat and humidity too.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. What a lovely tribute to your dad – I loved seeing the photos and reading your memories of him. Sending my best to you and your family.

    • Lisa Mandina

      Thanks, we are getting along. It’s just so much to realize the change with him gone. My mom especially who has never really lived by herself completely.

  3. danielle hammelef

    This is a beautiful remembrance of your dad, Lisa. It’s clear how much he loved you and how much you loved and admired him. Sending you a big hug!

  4. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful memories and photos. I lost my dad 8 years ago this coming July and sometimes it still seems like yesterday. This post was beautiful and brought a tear to my eye. Hang in there!

    • Lisa Mandina

      It’s like I will feel like I’m used to it, then something happens and all of a sudden it’s like I’m remembering as if it just happened. Which I guess it just did.

  5. So sorry for your loss, i lost my mom to a sudden heart attack she was 85 and we did not talk hardly at all. Both my husbands parents we lost to cancer shortly after we moved closer to them. My dad was when i was very young. So i understand the loss but sounds like he had a good life and your there for mom and can enjoy the happy memories. Big hugs.

    Jan farnworth recently posted: Sunday Post 629: Off to The Dump
    • Lisa Mandina

      As sad as I am, I also am relieved that he is not having to suffer anymore. And I’m hoping my mom will be able to move on eventually and work on making her life something for herself now.

    • Lisa Mandina

      Thanks. Yeah, it was so quick, we expected at least another month or so. But in a way I’m glad it was quick so he wasn’t suffering and we weren’t having to watch him suffer and feel bad that we couldn’t make things better for him.

    • Lisa Mandina

      Thanks. It is knowing he had a long and wonderful life with us that makes it easier to let go now I think.

  6. Lisa, I am so very sorry. Thank you for sharing him with us, he seems like such a wonderful man. I am going through something very similar right now with my own dad, so if you ever want to talk, please don’t hesitate to reach out. It is so horrible, and awful, and I am just so sorry to you and your whole family, and so very glad that you had him in your life. Sending you so, so much love.

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: May 2024 Wrap-Up Round-Up
    • Lisa Mandina

      I’m so sorry to hear that you’re dealing with the same thing right now. It is so hard to deal with. And the same goes for you if you need to reach out at any time just even to talk to someone who understands it. It is just so strange to think of life without him.

  7. I am so sorry for your loss. I am sad you didn’t have those two months you thoughts you had. I haven’t been following your blog for that long so I didn’t realize he was your dad for so long as he married your mom when you were 3. Or that he had been sick for so long, that sounds really tough. I do think it’s wonderful to read all these nice memories you have from him and I think looking back and remembering is such a great way to keep the memory of a person alive. I wish and your family the best through this difficult time!

    • Lisa Mandina

      Thank you. Right now it is the memories and seeing pictures of him that both helps and sometimes makes it sad though.

  8. Suzie B

    Im so sorry for your loss ♥ He sounds like he was a pretty amazing man to have as a second father in your life! Big hugs

  9. Oh, I’m so sorry you lost your dad. It sounds like he is leaving a big hole behind. Thinking of you. I believe our loved ones live on in the memories we have of them, the keepsakes, the smiles of those who loved them, the sun and wind and rain everywhere around us. As long as you remember them, they’re not truly gone.

    • Lisa Mandina

      I agree totally. That’s why I did this post, just for myself, so that I will always have it here to go back and look at any time. Thanks for your thoughts too!

  10. Melanie B

    I’m so sorry for your loss; your stepdad sounded like a wonderful man to know and be around. You have wonderful memories of him that I’m sure you’ll remember and cherish always.

    • Lisa Mandina

      Thank you. It is just hardest when something pops up that I think I will tell him about and then have to kind of remember all over again that I can’t anymore.

  11. Lisa – I am so, so sorry for your loss. What an amazing bonus dad you had. And you obviously have many wonderful memories of him. I lost my dad in 2018 and I understand your loss so well. I also know that it’s difficult to sometimes shelve your own grief while you act as support for your mom. That can be tough. You’re very much in my thoughts. {{hugs}}

    • Lisa Mandina

      It’s tough to see my mom grieving because she’s always been the strong one. But I know it is important for her to be able to talk and get out what she needs as well. Thanks for your thoughts and virtual hugs.

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