The Life of Bon: Dad

Friday, November 18, 2011


Two years ago today my dad died.

There's a lot that I could say that would probably be too personal.
There's a lot that I could say that would probably be too sad.

So I'll just share some thoughts from the heart and try to keep it simple.

My brother, Dennis broke the news to me that my dad died.   It was 7:20 in the morning and I was doing my student teaching at Timpview High School.  I could hear my phone vibrating off the hook in my purse.  I knew something was wrong.  Anytime your phone rings ten times at 7 am, you know something is wrong.  I stepped out into the hallway to return the phone calls.  I'll never forget how Dennis's voice cracked when he told me.

I left the school right away and rode down to Price with several of my siblings.  That day is a complete blur of food, neighbors, hugs, and tears.  But there's one part that is remarkably clear to me.  Around four in the afternoon, I couldn't be in the house anymore.  I couldn't feel the heaviness.  Couldn't take one more tear.  Couldn't see one more person look at me with that face that said, "I feel so sorry for you."

So I went for a run.  I hate running.  But there was something about the run that was almost cathartic for me.  A great release of emotion and sorrow.  I ran and I ran and I ran.  It was cold outside, but somehow the cold numbed the pain.  I ran past the spot where they had found my dad, I ran along the trail where he always went on his bike, I ran up dirt hills I'd never seen before, I ran without stopping, I ran until finally I came to a gate and a fence that would let me run no more.

And then I collapsed.  I fell on the rock hard Carbon County dirt, and the tears came hard and fast.  I pleaded with God.  "Please don't let this be real.  Please let me go back in time 24 hours.   Please let me wake up from this nightmare.  Please.  Dad, come back.  I'm not ready.  I need you.  Don't leave."

It's difficult to know what to say about such pain.  There's nothing to compare it to, because the pain of unexpected and untimely death is in a league all of its own.  I'd always been a daddy's girl and I loved him so much and no one had even bothered to ask if it was okay with me that he left.

I would have said no.

The funeral was beautiful.  I'll always be grateful to my friends who travelled to the obscure town of Price to be with me that day.  From Salt Lake, from Provo, even from Phoenix, Arizona.

Elder Hales spoke at the funeral.  It is one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had.  He told us that my dad was prepared to go.  That it was never in the plans for my dad to live longer than this.  He told us that the veil was thin and that we could talk to dad at any time.  That now us kids had two fathers in heaven.

Since that time, there have been many times when I have felt my dad's presence strongly.  When I have felt his love, his support, his approval.  When I have witnessed for myself that the veil, indeed, is paper thin.

The strongest and most powerful experience was the day of my wedding.  From the second I entered the temple that morning, I knew my dad was with me.  His presence was so strong that I was almost surprised I didn't see him right there, shyly grinning from the back row.  During the sealing, tears rolled down my cheeks for the entirety of the ceremony.  My dad was there. Everyone there knew it.  The feeling was so strong it was almost tangible.  He was sending me his love, his approval, telling me he was proud of me for everything about the decision I was making- the time, the place, the man.

There's so much that could be said about my dad and my relationship with him.  The things he taught me, the example he was to me, the bond we had.

But I'll just share this one memory and then I have to stop.  The summer I turned 16, I accompanied my dad down to Emery county every Tuesday afternoon to work at his podiatry clinic.  I would change out his rooms, organize files, and get the patients ready to see him.  For my strenuous labors he'd pay me $8 an hour.

I was learning how to drive a stick shift that summer, so I would drive to Emery and back, my dad in the passenger seat coaching, "Second, second, put it in second!"  "Don't ride the clutch!" and  "Bonnie, slow down! The speed limit's 50!"  

Every week, without fail, we would stop at B.K's Stop and Shop on the way home and dad would buy a big cherry coke for us to share.  I had both hands busy at all times, trying desperately to maneuver the ever-difficult stick shift, so my dad would hold the cup for me and move the straw to my mouth so I could have a taste.

And that's how we spent every Tuesday evening of the summer, driving home from Emery with a stick shift and a cherry coke.  And for some reason, this is the story about my dad that I love the most.  I don't know why exactly, but I guess it's because it just doesn't seem like there's anything in this world quite as tender as a girl shifting and clutching and steering while her dad, sitting shotgun, holds up a straw to her mouth so that she can get a sip of cherry cola.


  1. This made me cry. What a beautiful thing to experience on your wedding day too.

  2. beautiful. thanks for sharing.

  3. This was so sweet Bonnie. Definitely made me shed a tear or two. Your Dad was such an amazing man. His funeral, and your wedding, were both so beautiful and made me even more grateful for the gospel and our Savior.

  4. Bon,
    I've been thinking about you all day today. I've said it before: even though I only met your dad once, I could instantly see what a sweet man he is. What a great memory of your dad. Thanks for sharing. Te quiero mucho che!

  5. Wow I have the chills, this was so incredibly sweet & I cannot even begin to imagine all that you have gone through. Thanks for sharing such a special memory. Makes people realize how thankful they should be for what they do have at all times! I'm sorry you had to go through something so tough :(

  6. Thank you for sharing this, I think I was meant to find this post today... Last night I came upon an old picture I hadn't looked at for a long time of my dad and I my mom took when I was about 13 without us knowing, we were sitting on a log at the beach watching the sunset and looking at each other laughing, and it made me miss him so much and happy to know that he is with our Father. My dad passed away when I just turned 17, I am 24 now so it has been longer for me to heal, and it does get better, it is never easy, and I would be lying if I didnt say that I don't cry about it still prob once a month or so when a song comes on on my way home for work or something makes me miss him, and it seems unreal even after all these years. But the story of you running, I lived that same exact, I mean exact moment. I wasn't a runner but after my dad passed away I ran like it was all I could do. It was the middle of winter in Idaho and it didnt matter, if anything it made it better, to be able to feel that cold air in my lungs, to feel something other then the sadness. On one of my runs about 3 months after he passed away I passed the boat dock where his boat still was (his favorite place to be) and I finally stopped running and pleaded like you did, cried, fell down, and mostly said I was sorry, and begged for forgivness (I was hurt that he had left when I was 17 as you know from teaching 17 year olds, I wasn't at my best) it is what I needed and it felt so good to let it out. I better go I have a knot in my throat and wrote a novel, but I wanted to thank you for sharing and making me feel not alone in all this, and I wanted you to know that you aren't alone either. Thank you

  7. A beautifully written post. My Dad died 8 1/2 years ago. There's no doubt that it's terribly difficult. I wrote about it on my blog once.

    Anyway, I was going to say when I was sealed to my little family in the temple I'm positive my Dad was there with us too. Such a blessing, eternal families.

    New follower!

  8. This is a lovely post. The emotion in this is raw at its purest form and I thank you for sharing it. I almost lost my dad 2 years ago and I thank God every day that he is still with me. Unfortunately, he has been fighting for his life every day since then as he battles cancer.

  9. This was beautiful. And what a memory of your dad! I could feel it and it made my heart ache.

  10. Your words are so beautiful! I felt so much love, joy and emotion. I love it. Thank you for sharing such a personal and intimate story that you cherish of your dad. There is something really special about your memory. I can picture it so well. You are amazing! It brings me back to some of the special things I've done with my father and the special memories we will always have. I absolutely love this post. So tender and so dear.

  11. Oh Bon, so beautiful, so so beautiful.

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  13. I found your blog through reading your guest post on Story of My Life (which I really enjoyed). I am enjoying your blog and will be back to visit again. You talked about being relatable in your writing, and I think you do a really good job of that. I started my blog a month after my daddy passed away (in April), and I so, so understand everything you described up there. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Thank you so much for this. You are such a great writer.
    My dad passed away suddenly last year, and this post totally explained things I didn't know how to put into wor

  15. Thank you for sharing so eloquently. I am so moved. My husband's father died suddenly, and oh boy, it is a daily challenge....but when the moments of joy are there, how deep they are! I loved your special memory. It reminds me of my dad and me. I look forward to reading more! xo

  16. This had me in tears the entire time. I just lost my mom this year and I know the heartache and pain, I know those looks that you spoke of, I know the pleading with God and the need to get out. This post touched my heart so much, and I just wanted to let you know. Even though I know it's an old one, I just felt compelled to tell you thank you for sharing. And what you said, about the veil being so thin? I love that. So much. And we do have our angels, watching down on us from heaven now, and it's so hard to grasp, but so beautiful at the same time. Hugs to you. <3


  17. Hi Bonnie - just wanted to let you know that we found your blog through your guest post on Across the Pond. & we're now your newest followers on GFC! We'd love it if you popped over to our blog to check ours out, as well.

    This post really resonated with us - we lost our dad a little over three months ago & something I always think about is what both of our wedding days (we're twins) will be like without him. It's nice to know that we're not alone.

    xo, B

  18. So beautifully written. x