Archive for the ‘memories’ Category

14 White Plates

April 22, 2016

I will have been married 34 years this June 1st. For special and marginally special occasions, I use the same white dishes that I registered for when I was a wee 20 years old. My mother suggested I choose a white pattern; I wasn’t sure I wanted white. My older sister had registered for some really pretty square dishes with seafoam green and mauve and some other fashionable color that escapes me now. My mother and she had disagreed about the wisdom of getting dishes that would be out of style in a few years. My sister won but my mother was right. (Those are some hideous dishes.)

This relating pattern was typical. My older sister pressing for what she wanted. Me rarely ever pushing back. I don’t know if it was because I learned from watching my older brothers and sister in their battles, or if I had no self confidence from my older siblings pushing me around. When it came to wedding dishes, I knew that maybe someday something would be worth the fight, but I didn’t think what I put on the dinner table was. So I allowed my mother’s wisdom to prevail. If she said I’d be glad one day, that these would never go out of style and that I’d always enjoy them, then I believed her.

I registered for 8 place settings because that’s what she said I should do. I don’t think I took my fiancé with me to make all the house stocking decisions, but rather, my mother. She’d raised 5 kids, worked multiple jobs, entertained and knew more than a thing or two about dishes and about life.

After I was married, my mother would scout the sales. I remember her telling me that my china pattern was going to be discontinued and she was concerned I didn’t have enough. 8 seemed like more than plenty, so when she rustled up 6 more dinner plates, I was amused. “Mom, when will I ever need that  many plates?!”  She told me she knew that I couldn’t imagine ever needing that many, but indeed one day I would. I don’t know how she knew, but she knew.

My husband was in grad school for 5 years and the dishes were stuffed in our small apartment. When he took a job in Omaha, NE, we packed up our few belongings and our 14 white Noritake Swan Lake dinner plates and the 8 place settings and headed northwest.

I have used those dishes for nearly 34 years and as she predicted, have never gotten tired of them. They go with everything. Pottery Barn, Pier 1 and Crate and Barrel sell white dishes galore and none of them are as pretty as mine. Not too masculine, not too feminine, but just right.

I threw a baby shower for a friend today and pulled out the white dishes. They looked lovely stacked on the blue table cloth surrounded by white serving pieces of a variety of designs. Guess how many guests we had? 14.

FullSizeRender

Mom, you were right. You were always right.

Thank you.

I love you.

I miss you.

In awe,

Your grateful and impressed daughter,

Kris

September Sorrow

September 11, 2012

Yesterday, 9/11/12, was a day of remembrance for our nation. Eleven years ago our country experienced our most egregious attack and thousands of people mourned the loss of loved ones, stolen from their lives forever. Our losses and their effects have forever changed our lives.

September is annually a time of grief for me for another reason. It was 19 years ago this month that my mother was taken from me, my family, my children and our lives, forever. The cost of this loss of her precious life is incalculable, and try though I may, I will never get beyond the heartache of life lived without her.

Monday night, I attended a class of a group of women who have met together monthly for a year, learning and preparing to help navigate women through the maze of information and procedures involved with breast health and breast cancer treatment. The program is the Community Breast Health Navigator and Cancer Support Program.

We were sharing stories of women we’ve spoken with, advocated, navigated, and encouraged. Sadly, nine times out of 10 it seems, regardless of the information given them, these women opt for a mastectomy even though in most cases the much less invasive lumpectomy would take care of things. We were discussing two causes for their poor decisions: Fear and Ignorance. Ignorance not only on their part, but quite often on the part of the doctors these women choose.

These are topics for future discussion, but what struck me last night was the heart ache that we all carry, but seldom reveal.

I was chatting with a friend I was sitting next to, I’ll call her Sue, and casually asked her about her mother. Sue shared how her mother had fought and won a battle with esophageal cancer. Stupefyingly, in the myriad of doctors appointments this woman had, no doctor ever checked to see if she’d had a mammogram. So at the age of 69, sixty-nine, she got her first mammogram. And wouldn’t you know it, there was a lump which later she learned was breast cancer. In less than a year, Sue’s mother had died. This is a tragedy of negligence in medical care – slipping between the cracks. A hero who fights and wins an impossible nearly incurable disease, falls prey to a very curable one afterwards. It was September when she died.

I asked my friend if she feels the grief every September. She said she didn’t think so, but that every time she heard the National Anthem sung, she’d lose it. Her mother had a beautiful singing voice, and was always the one asked to sing the anthem at various events. As my friend told me this, her eyes welled up with tears and she said maybe it effects her more than she realized. September is a difficult month for her, and hearing a song sung that used to bring her delight, now brings only sorrow and the reminder of her loss. Untimely, wrong, death by oversight.

Another friend was standing across the table from us. She said September is a very difficult month for her, and it showed in her face. She told us that her mother had died of breast cancer at the age of 39. Unbelievable. That’d mean my friend, let’s call her Jill, was probably in middle school. There were 4 sisters, all left without a mother. Sadly, that’s not the whole story. These girls grew up motherless, yes, then one died of cancer, young. This prompted Jill to find an excellent doctor who encouraged her to get genetic testing. All the sisters were tested. Jill was the only one who tested negative for the gene. Unfortunately, Jill’s sister didn’t have as good a doctor. He wasn’t as aggressive or quick to respond. Her sister listened to his advice and died of breast cancer within the year.

Jill told us how she’d teach Monday through Friday then catch a plane to spend each weekend in September caring for her dying sister; her eyes welled with tears, but she held them in check. This is the second September since the death of that sister and she grieves her colossal loss. She’s angry, and rightly so. She’s angry at the disease, and she’s angry at the lackadaisical ineptitude of some doctors, particularly the one treating her sister. With hardened face and red-rimmed eyes she swore under her breath as she walked away from us. “Damn waste.”

My mother died at the age of sixty. She’d gone to the doctor several times over the course of a year complaining of a ‘fullness’ in her abdomen. Her doctor told her to lose some weight. He told her she was imagining it. He finally relented and ordered a test – by that time the tumor on her ovary was the size of a grapefruit. During surgery, they accidentally broke it open, spilling the toxic waste throughout her entire abdomen. They ‘did their best to get it out’ and sewed her up. Rounds of chemo and hours of pleading with God for her life, she made it through – for almost five years. Another situation with that doctor finally motivated my mother to find another doctor who mis-interpreted her scan results. She picked them up and took them to a third doctor who gave her the news she’d suspected. Yes the cancer was back, and it was bad. Too little, too late and a husband and five children and 8 grandchildren were left without the warmth and love of the only wife, mother and that special one-of-a-kind grandmother they’d ever have.

My son had just turned 5 and my daughter 1 when we attended my mother’s funeral.

I think about the twinkle in her eye they’ll never see again and the warmth of her soft skin that they’ll never feel and I ache.

If all the stories of bad medical care were recounted, we’d have a murderous mob rioting at hospitals around the country. But most of us suffer our sorrows silently, doing nothing to promote change.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m extremely thankful for medical professionals. I’m indebted to a great many myself. If only every doctor was like the excellent ones I’ve found throughout my own cancer journey. Kind, compassionate, extremely intelligent, full of integrity. It isn’t these doctors I have a problem with. It’s the ones who are proud, ‘comfortable’ underachievers, willing to continue practicing using an outdated formulaic approach. The status quo is their friend.

I have met three doctors in my 50 years that I would nominate as “Best” doctors. Dr. Edibaldo Silva, Dr. Nagi Ayoub, and Dr. Jimmy Khandalavala. They don’t have an attitude of arrogance or complacency. They are learners. (To be a learner, one must be humble, because wanting to learn automatically expresses the acknowledgment that they know they don’t know everything there is to know. I’ve met some who actually believe they do know it all and I should feel lucky to be in their presence!) Best doctors are always reading, studying, keeping current on the latest studies and procedures, pioneering new methods and treatments. That’s the reason they get amazing results. These doctors are continually striving to improve, to hone their skills, perfect their practice and challenge the status quo. If only all doctors could be so excellent.

That’s why the medical profession is called a practice. It’s a place where they are learning and growing and practice is supposed to lead us toward perfection. Sadly, many doctors, once they get their credentials rest on their laurels. The women who go to them for treatment don’t receive the best care and consequently don’t experience the best outcomes either.

That’s why my friend ‘Jill’ is angry. That’s why Sue is sorrowful. That’s why we are a part of this fledgling group trying to advocate for women and bring about positive change.

We want to educate women before they find a lump. Before they’ve made up their minds (because of fear) to ‘just get them cut off and be done with it’. Our country has a campaign encouraging women to regularly examine their breasts and get a mammogram, but what is a woman to do once she finds a lump? Subject herself to an unknowledgeable or unscrupulous surgeon who will be happy to remove those problem breasts?

There are new procedures. New options! Mastectomies aren’t even necessary most of the time any more!!

I have said it before, and I will say it until I have no more breath. THE RIGHT INFORMATION + THE RIGHT DOCTORS = THE BEST OUTCOME!

Please, tell the women you love, think before you cut. Become informed, ask questions, challenge your doctor, and get a second opinion, or a third if necessary! It’s their life at stake. And it’s your future, spent enjoying the women in your life, or grieving their loss.

And stay tuned in here as we will bring articles and information that will empower you and those you know to make the best decisions and receive the best care possible.

home

October 27, 2011

I absolutely love the Switchfoot song This Is Home and could listen to it over and over. (Sometimes I do!) It touches something deep inside my heart. I mean, just the word ‘home’ unearths memories and feelings. It’s fraught with an immense gamut of emotions. It’s my guess that we all long to experience ‘home’ in the best sense of the word.

I think that’s why, especially over the holidays, we can get so emotionally conflicted. We find ourselves grieving at a time when everyone (it seems) is celebrating. We long for home while at the same time knowing ours wasn’t really a place of love or safety, or perhaps it was but we’ve moved across country or our parents are divorced or no longer living. We long for home to be static, to be permanent, yet it is neither of those.

Our hearts long for home regardless of our age or gender. Not necessarily our home, but a home to go home to, to be welcomed in with open arms and hugs and aromas of favorite foods made especially for us. We ache for a home that isn’t filled with anger and resentment, that isn’t pocked by emotional scars left by prior fights and arguments. If we do manage to go home, we tiptoe around to avoid setting off any land mines that might ruin another visit.

If that isn’t our experience, perhaps we wish our family was home long enough all at the same time to actually be together. We long for parents who aren’t so busy in their own worlds that they notice us, make time for us and value us. Maybe we yearn for what used to be but is no longer.

Inevitably, eventually our earthly home will be invaded by loss of some kind. Whether by growing up and moving out, job changes, aging parents, health issues, death or divorce, families change. Home changes. Nothing stays the same. If we could freeze a frame from our life to go home to it’d probably be a favorite Christmas or birthday or family meal of some kind that made us feel special.

my childhood home

Home is supposed to be a place where we are safe, accepted as we are, loved, cherished, nurtured, enveloped and valued. It’s supposed to be a place where our needs are met, our presence is enjoyed and our dreams are fueled and fulfilled. It’s supposed to be a haven, a refuge, a place of rest and refreshment and recuperation. In Isaiah 32:18 God says, “My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” Doesn’t that sound incredible?! I think this is God’s ideal for our homes: to be places that are safe, secure, peaceful and restful. Ahhhhhhh. Home.

I don’t need to point out the discrepancies between the ideal and reality. And, despite all our best efforts to hold those longings at bay, to tell ourselves to be logical and analytical, we still find our hearts wistful.

We’re on the brink of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years. We’ll be making or feeling the pressure to make trips back to the homes in which we were raised or to attend meals with family. These activities have the potential to be catalysts for reopening old wounds or creating new ones. This time of year inevitably focuses our attention on what we feel should have been yet isn’t and perhaps will never be. It yanks our hearts back to aching for Real Home.

The other day I came across these verses in the Bible. Psalm 90 verses 1-2. Moses was talking to God. “Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God.”

The very next psalm begins this way: “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” (Ps. 90:1-2.) Here’s a verse to hang onto as well, Malachi 3:6 says, “For I the Lord do not change.”

I have said before that the only thing in my life that never changes is the fact that nothing ever stays the same! But there is one other reality. God never changes. He is the same yesterday as He is today and as He will be tomorrow and forever. There is a home that is perfect and will never change!  That encourages me! God is my safe place. As I put my trust in Him, as I believe that He is my Ultimate Home, I will experience home even though my home of origin is no longer in existence. My parents and oldest brother have died. The home pictured above is inhabited by another family. I have memories but that’s all that remains of my childhood home. I know you can relate in some way yourself.

I have a little framed print that says, “Home is where your story begins.” I love that saying and I look at it pretty much every day. I love it because I think of my precious children, now adults.

Our home is where they found their beginning. It wasn’t a perfect one, although we tried and gave it our absolute best. But the beautiful reality is that word ‘begins’. Their stories began in our home, but they aren’t set in stone. The same is true for me. I had a good home, yet I suffer the effects of life begun in an imperfect one. But my story isn’t over either! It is still being written! And the best part of the story is that my home of origin is not my final home. God is my safe place, my Home. I am safe in Him. In Him I am secure, loved, cherished and nurtured.

Ultimately, heaven will be my final destination and it will be Home like God intended from the very beginning.

In the words of Switchfoot:

“Created for a place I’ve never known, this is home . . . I’ve got my heart set on what happens next . . . it’s not over yet  . . . Oh, this is home, now I’m finally where I belong, where I belong, yah this is home, I’ve been searching for a place of my own, now I know this is home. . .”

i’ve lost a friend

August 4, 2011

When I started this blog 19 months ago, I didn’t know Nick Ryan. But as I began my quest for fitness and health, he became my trainer and eventually my friend.

Two and a half weeks ago he and some friends were hiking up in Montana. As their yearly trips went, this was not even dangerous, yet his amazing life was cut short from a fall.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this. It’s one of those inexplicable tragedies in life that seem so absolutely wrong.

Over the last few days, my husband and I have been watching Shark Week on Discovery Channel. The people in these shows are risking life and limb, literally, to film, and yet aren’t killed by their serious risk-taking choices. Nick, on the other hand, was just out with his friends hiking one minute and gone the next.

I’ve wrestled with God and asked questions about the seeming lack of fairness of it all, yet have to quiet my heart, and say, “You are God and hold our lives and times in your hands.” My heart aches, not only for my loss, but for Nick’s wife and two little girls who have lost a terrific man, husband and father.

I wasn’t able to attend Nick’s funeral, so wrote a brief tribute to honor him and his impact on my life. Here it is:

A Tribute to Nick

I first met Nick in January of 2010.

A friend of mine had begun working out at Fitness Together in October 2009, and I saw such changes in her that it gave me my first glimmer of hope in nearly six years.

I’m a two time breast cancer survivor. The second cancer experience left me physically very weak with a serious lack of balance, in addition to 50 extra pounds due to many drugs and lack of activity. I didn’t look like myself to me and I didn’t feel like myself either. I had become so discouraged with my situation, I thought, “I fought off cancer twice to live in a body that was hi-jacked by cancer and now doesn’t even look like the me I remember before cancer?!”

Dieting and exercise didn’t effect much change for me and I lost hope that my body could ever become strong and active. My heart was damaged by the chemotherapy and my lungs were damaged from the pneumonia. My balance was off for 7 long months from some unexplained inner ear malady that left me unable to drive or look at any movement without feeling severe nausea.

My upper body lacked physical strength from lack of use, but also from my chest muscles being “messed with” due to my radical bilateral mastectomy. I was in terrible shape and I felt old and worn out and weary.

That’s the Kris Beauchamp that walked into Fitness Together seeking help in January 2010. Although looking back, I was hoping for a miracle but Nick wasn’t going to promise me one! I was hoping I could get in and outta there in 2 or 3 months. He was gracious not to laugh or roll his eyes, but he told me realistically that it was going to be a longer commitment than that.

I remember feeling embarrassed and ashamed of my fat body and horrified that he had to weigh and measure me. If it hadn’t been for my friend’s success I might never have gone back after those numbers were written down!

I’d go in, very quietly and do whatever was asked, thinking I was going to pass out from oxygen deprivation or hyperventilation, but he always pressed me just to the point I thought I couldn’t achieve and right before I’d pass out he’d let me stop! Nick got me to do more than I thought I could; more than I would have ever done on my own.

Nick was positive and encouraging. Always ready with a bright, friendly smile.

He took me where I was – didn’t make me feel ashamed for letting my body get in the situation it was in and looked at the facts and asked me where I wanted to be in 6 months or 12 or 24!

Initially I wanted to be able to enjoy life with my family. I wanted to lose some weight to feel comfortable again. I wanted to be alive for my future grandkids and be able to get down on the floor to play with them and be able to get back up again afterward too! Seriously. Once down on the floor, I couldn’t get up again by myself! That’s how weak I was!

I progressed ever so gradually, but Nick was always ready with praise for even the smallest increase of strength. I’d downplay it because of embarrassment and he’d remind me how far I’d actually come. No progress was too small to celebrate.

I’ve gone back and reread several of my blog posts about working out at Fitness Together and was reminded of just how monumental my progress actually was.

I remember telling Nick that I was out walking with my husband up a hill and I could feel a shift. All of a sudden I could breathe deeply, all the way in. I could fill my lungs and it was the best feeling ever! It was the first time in 3 or 4 years that I could completely fill my lungs with air!

I’m not sure, but I think I may be the only person who would ever leave a workout with Nick by thanking him. But I did. Yes, I paid him to work with me and it wasn’t cheap, but I still thanked him for making me a better, stronger, healthier, happier me. He’d tell me I was the one doing the work, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him.

At my last workout with Nick, I told him that I’d lost three pounds since my last weigh in (which amounted to a measly half pound a week in my mind). He turned sideways and looking over his left shoulder at me from across the room he grinned, saying with exuberant conviction, “Kris! You are doing it! If you keep doing what you’re doing now, you will reach your goals!”

Nick and I would discuss things I’d blog about relating to weight loss, fitness or nutrition. He’d challenge my thinking and press me to see a different perspective.

One day I wrote about a quote by Horace Mann:

“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”

I know I’m just me, not a great person in the whole scheme of things, but I’m sure if you asked others, they’d feel the same way: Nick was a person who won a victory for me. He helped me conquer the ravaging effects of cancer in my body to become stronger, healthier and happier. His death is untimely for sure, but there is no shame in it. Nick won a huge victory for me by helping me find my way back to myself, back to even a better place of health and wellness than I ever thought I could.

Nick, I’ll do my best to carry on your legacy of winning some victory for humanity in my world. I’ll miss you, but I’ll do you proud.

Kris

lilies

May 7, 2010

Yesterday morning I walked around the front corner of my house, past the “Cousin It” tree (my descriptive name for our Weeping Fruitless Mulberry), under the red plum tree and over to the water spigot.  As I reached down to turn on the water, my eyes beheld a nearly hidden treasure.

Several slender stalks bent by the weight of tiny white bells had emerged from the green undergrowth beneath the red plum tree. I quietly gasped at their beauty and instantly thought of my mother.

Lily of the Valley was her favorite flower. She carried a bouquet of them in her wedding. These particular flowers under our tree, Les had carefully dug up and placed in plastic containers for us to transport all the way from my parents’ cabin in northern Michigan to our home here in Omaha, NE. We wanted a tangible memory of her and our times spent together up at Hubbard Lake. That was 17 years ago this August.

Yesterday, May 6, was my mother’s birthday. She would have been 77. Of course that wasn’t on my mind when I went walking across the front yard to turn on the water. But that visual instantly brought her to mind. I decided to take a photo of the little flower and as I went into the house to get my camera, a song my mother used to sing popped into my head.

My mother was an elementary school music teacher and she knew every song that was ever written, it seemed to me! We’d be having a conversation while driving in the car and she’d start singing a song with lyrics that matched the topic! We’d pass a train and hear “Little Red Caboose” with chug chugs and all!

That was fun when we were little, but fell into the ‘most embarrassing’ category once we were a bit older!

I smile as I recall her sense of humor and teasing delight as she knew it horrified us to have her sing that way, especially if our friends were around! She didn’t let us squelch her fun! She just chuckled and sang louder!

I could still hear my mother’s lovely voice in my mind singing this song to me, and now I was singing the song with her under my breath as I took the pictures posted here.

“White coral bells, upon a slender stalk

Lilies-of-the-Valley deck my garden walk.

Oh, don’t you wish, that you could hear them ring?

That can happen only when the fairies sing.”

I don’t believe in fairies any more than I believe in the Easter Bunny, but I do love this song and the magical feeling it stirs in me. For to look at the tender little shoots laden with delicate bells is to look at beauty perfected. It is to see the hand of God, who created the universe, yet took the time to determine every minute detail, down to the tiny scalloped edges.

I don’t believe in coincidences either. I woke up yesterday knowing that it was my mother’s birthday. I honored her in my heart by thinking about her and savoring memories of her beautiful life and her legacy that lives on in me. It wasn’t a coincidence that I’d notice these lilies and be blessed with another treasured memory of her on the day of her birth, in May. Memories of my mother line the walk of the garden in my mind. They are the lilies in my life. The song in my heart.

snippets

April 18, 2010

afternoon phone call
“Our dear daddy has died…”
“No…really?”
“Yes…” silence

I’ll never hug him again
never smell his neck
never feel his enveloping hug, my face pressed in his chest
I’ll never hear his voice say my name

I have memories though
sweet treasures of time spent together
quotidian moments have suddenly become golden
‘still-framed’ forever in my mind

his huge hand envelopes my tiny one
his giant stride forces me to hop, skip, jump to keep his pace
I watch in wonder as he directs the marching band
I beam in pride because he is my dad!

we plant tulips together in our triangle garden
we clean the attic together, sorting through boxes, the air hot and stuffy
I learn stories from his life as we work side by side
going out for ice cream later to reward our hard work

early mornings I wake and wander
down to where I see lamplight
he sits, the Bible open on his knee
my heart is imprinted early to the importance of reading God’s word every day

Saturday morning errands include a trip to Ace Hardware
and culminate in a much anticipated trip to the bakery
the treat, a small white nickel-bag of brownie crusts
which we share on the way home, our little secret

he studies music with deep concentration
inhaling sharply at certain points of intensity or change
he helps with my instrument practice, whistling the correct note from the other room
he sees it as helpful, I see it as annoying!

we work together at the music camp he pioneered
helping kids become better at their passion
the real reward comes later in the week
eyes teary at the mention of a child giving his life to Christ

he works diligently at several jobs to pay for 3 weddings in 9 months’ time
college profs aren’t paid much, yet he earns his Doctorate of Fine Arts
Dr. Joseph Parker, perfectionist, hard to please
when you hit the mark it is bliss

Saturday mornings he sits at the kitchen table, shoe box out, paying bills
“Sylvia, have you been writing checks and not recording them?”
“They’re recorded . . . on the back of the check pad . . .” Sigh
money was never his strong suit, but he tried

wheelbarrow rides at the cabin
running around the yard carrying us on his shoulders
and years later he lifts our kids
“Oh no! Where’d you go? As he holds our ankles and drops us head first behind his back
giggles abound as we yell, “Do it again, do it again, Dad!”

he sings Pony Boy and Pony Girl to his grandchildren
bouncing them on his crossed leg, ending with a “giddy-up whoa!”
delight dances from their eyes
his sparkle as they laugh together

installing a garage door opener at our very first home
he runs to Kmart for parts
gets locked out of our old beat-up blue Horizon in the day before cell phones
his 6’6″ frame presses through the hatch back and wrestles into the driver’s seat

I don’t know how he manages that!
he tells the story after his frustration has partially waned
his mussed hair draped over an eye tells all
exasperation mixed with humor and we share a laugh

trips to Hubbard Lake
deer rides, trips to the dump
we beg for him to stop at Gillard’s store for penny candy
happily he always acquiesced

he anguished while our mother suffered
dying his own death as he watched her go
experiencing a depth of soul-sorrow none of us could know
just wishing it was a bad dream

he meets a lovely woman
she brings laughter and sunshine back into his world
he loves her deeply and is so grateful
he has a friend who brings zest to his life and revives his soul

phone calls span the miles, making them disappear
how are the grand kids?
I can see his eyes shine as I tell him their latest accomplishments
he’s so proud of who they’ve become

there are many more memories bubbling up in my heart
treasures to savor in the days ahead
there will be tears and longing and aching to come
but such is the bitter-sweet nature of life and of love

who really knew the man we knew as dad,
husband, father,
co-worker, friend?
I know I tried

to me he was a good dad
the perfectionist who was far from perfect
but he was my dad
and I love him still