I have avoided writing a post about my Dad for sometime now.  I always feel like my words just won’t do him justice at all.  But I can’t put it off any longer.

Today would have been his 69th birthday but he passed away about 6 1/2 years ago.  I spent a lot of time today thinking about him.  I don’t cry anymore when I do, which is a relief because I don’t like to cry.  That probably sounds terribly insensitive but I think it has to do with the condition he was in when he died.  My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease when I was pretty young, I think before I was baptized.  A large tire fell on him at work and caused some damage to his brain which caused a very early onset of Parkinson’s.  For years he and I would joke about his shaky hands, he had a great sense of humor and a wonderful laugh.

I so wish that we could go to a Seahawks game together now that I live in Seattle.

After I had been married a few years my dad’s mental health really started to deteriorate.  It wasn’t all that noticeable till we started looking back.  He eventually developed Dementia and by about 2000 was only partly living in the real world.  His physical health slowly deteriorated as well and he caught Pneumonia and died.  By the time he passed it felt like such a relief to know that his spirit was free from his crippled body.  However for sometime after, all I could see when I thought of him was that shell of a man that wasn’t completely my dad.  I think that is what would make me cry the most.  It was difficult to remember him otherwise.  Slowly though, those memories faded to the back of my brain, only to come out if I bring them, like now.  Now I remember my dad as the playful, joking, kind-hearted man I grew up with.  And that doesn’t make me sad because that’s who I know I’ll meet when I cross the veil someday.

This picture is one that I love and hate.  It was during an unfortunate period when I decided to see what peroxide would do to my hair, but this scene was a daily ritual in our house.  You couldn’t pass my dad in his chair without being grabbed and tickled.

I wish that I had inherited my dad’s temperament. He was incredibly easy going.  I can only recall being spanked once growing up because I had dumped my mom’s cleaners into the little outside pool to make bubbles.  When he would get angry he would just ball up his fists, clench his teeth, suck in his breath and shake.  At least that’s what I remember, I’m told he was a little harder when the boys were little.  He rarely acted out of anger.  He never lost his cool, not even when he found out I had spent one summer smoking with a friend.  He took me to his room, asked me if I should be doing something like that to my body, told me he was disappointed, then told me that if I never did it again, he would never bring it up again.  And we both held to that bargain.  I can probably name many more instances but that was one of the most poignant for me.  He didn’t freak out, fly off the handle, ground me or forbid me from hanging out with that friend again.  He just asked that I never do it again, very calmly and with all the love in his heart.


Other favorite memories that don’t make me cry, just smile:
Sunday drives up on the mountain
secret ice cream cones by Becker Lake
racing me home from Granny’s house (and he didn’t let me win either)
dressed up in his Scout uniform with that cool OA sash across his chest
him and Hayden watching rodeos together
his Dutch-oven cooking when we’d go camping (the only time my dad EVER cooked, my mom must have loved it)
him wrestling Odie, the pit bull, on the trampoline
the smell of diesel on him even after a shower
listening to country music in his truck (even thought I probably couldn’t stand it now)
the spider
snicker bars and some sort of caffeinated drink that we would sneak sips out of (why for do you drink my drink?)
ice cream after dinner every night that he could get away with
John Wayne, Bill Cosby, Wings, Dallas, eventually Seinfeld (gasp)
resident hippy


Yes I miss my dad TERRIBLY!!!  And yes I cried a little while writing this.

Celso Madrid jr 
Jan 13 1941 ~ Jun 6 2003


5 thoughts on “JR

  1. Keli, your dad sounds like a wonderful man. I so admire how he could keep his cool; for me that is one of the hardest things about being a parent and it is a huge compliment to him that you can say that he always kept his. This post is such a wonderful tribute. I’m sure he is watching over you from heaven. Hugs to you! :)

  2. Keli-
    Thanks for sharing these memories. You made me cry. I too have a wonderful father who taught me so many things. And sometimes it is really hard to sit and think of him and why he had to leave this earth so soon! I too will be so happy the day that I can see my dad again and have him wrap his big arms around me and squeeze me tight. We were born of great heritage and have been taught by wonderful people that have shaped our lives into who we are. Thanks again for these memories.
    Love, Becky Wiltbank Randall

  3. That was so beautifully written! Those older pics are exactly how I remember your dad.

  4. What a beautiful tribute to your dad! He sounds like an amazing man. It was fun to see some pictures from your childhood. :)

  5. You did an amazing job with this post. I don’t know why it is so hard to write our feelings about our loved ones when they die. I guess because there is really no way to express all of the feelings we have about people. Our relationships and connections just go way to deep and there really are no words for them. However, you wrote something very beautiful and I am sure your dad is proud of you. I cannot say that I know what you are going through, but I do know that I watch Jared and I notice that he’s a little quieter since his father has passed and I can tell when he is thinking about his dad because I can see the sadness in his eyes. But, I know that there is some comfort in knowing that we will see these loved ones again. Thanks for opening yourself up and sharing this.

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