Happy Birthday, Dad

March 2, 2010 at 9:44 AM 34 comments

Today would be my dad’s 65th birthday.  Sadly, he did not make it to this day.  My dad passed away last March 29 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  I am deeply saddened that I cannot pick up the phone and call him and wish him a happy birthday.  I long even more to be in California today giving him a birthday hug.  I would give up anything if there was some way I could have him back on this earth.

But this is not a reality and so my family and I must soldier on without our leader.  He led us in so many ways.  Every day I strive to follow in his footsteps.  Every day, I try to laugh deep, gutteral laughs.  Every day, I try to think positively about where things are going in my life.  Every day, I try not to sweat the small stuff and I try not to sweat the big stuff either.  Every day, I try to express my love to those who mean the world to me.  Every day, I try to do something goofy that may be just a bit outside my comfort zone.  Every day, I try to work hard at what I do and I feel blessed that I can do what I love for a living. Every day, I try to put my family above and beyond anything else going on in my life.  Every day, I try to sing parts of songs as loud as possible without rhythm. Every day, I try to reflect in my journal.  Every day, I try to get into a bit of trouble.  Every day, I try to follow my dreams.  This is how my father lived his life every single day.  Life was not meant to be taken seriously, rather it was meant to be seized with joy and appreciation.  I miss you dearly, dad, every day.

Entry filed under: Life Lessons. Tags: , , , .

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34 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Don Imwalle  |  March 2, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    Thanks for the beautiful words kate. you really captured how he lead us to live and totally screwed up the ink on my notebook with tears. we’ll miss you tonight at dinner. Love the pictures too.

    Reply
    • 2. katecollinsinteriors  |  March 2, 2010 at 10:31 AM

      Thank you, Donald! I wish I could be there at dinner tonight.

      Reply
  • 3. Anna Pepper  |  March 2, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    What amazing photos Kate, they are priceless. I especially love the one of your dad in the red socks with you on a chair, and the look you are giving the camera in the photo with the wig, I think I have given a few of those (I am so embarrassed) looks before too. Soon it will be our turn to embarrass and it will be our children giving us the same looks. Happy Birthday to your dad, and all my love to you.

    Reply
  • 4. katecollinsinteriors  |  March 2, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    Thank you, Anna. The picture with the red socks was taken in Switzerland. It was my 8th birthday and I was reading the book, “Heidi.” I wanted to wear a “Heidi” dress and so my dad said that he would get a Swiss outfit as well. The wig…I was so embarrassed…that was the story I told at his funeral. He loved to embarrass me which took me a long time to appreciate. One day we will get a kick out of embarrassing our own children!

    Reply
  • 5. Miles Imwalle  |  March 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    Kate — beautiful words, and thank you for leading by example in living in the spirit of dad. We’ll miss you tonight. Love you, miles

    Reply
  • 6. patrick germon  |  March 2, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    A truely amazing man! Had some great talks and laughs with him. You were very blessed to have such an incredible man in your life. Keep making him proud and enjoy his memory on his Birthday. I will tip my drink to you Don, out of love and respect. Thanks for showing us all your ways along our own little way of life!

    Reply
  • 7. Kathy Imwalle  |  March 2, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    Kate this is a wonderful tribute to Dad and all the wonderful times we have had. Have as good a day as possible in his name.
    Love, Mom

    Reply
  • 8. Cheryl Deegan  |  March 2, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    I looked up to the heavens and said “Happy Birthday Boss” this morning before I drove into the office. And we will be having his favorite eclairs to celebrate this day…..we miss his antics dearly! Beautiful post Kate and great pics. Do something silly in his honor today – he would appreciate that!

    Love to you and Graham-

    Reply
  • 9. Joe Comartin  |  March 2, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    What a good reminder of all the positive ways that your Dad touched everyone in his life! It is a needed reminder of what everyone was feeling the day he died and the pledges everyone no doubt made to themselves about how they would change their own lives to better follow the example set by your dad when he was remember at his funeral.

    Reply
  • 10. Susan Gatto  |  March 2, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Hi Kate: I loved your posting and the pictures are great. Today we are having chocolate eclairs at the office in memory of your Dad’s birthday. That was his favorite. I think of him often and speak to family and friends about his love of life and his wonderful family always. Have a good day.
    Love,

    Susan

    Reply
  • 11. Mary Dowley  |  March 2, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Kate,
    That is so beautifully representative of what your dad gave to all of us.
    We so miss the joy that he brought to every event. Thank goodness that you have picked up the baton.

    Mary.

    Reply
  • 12. bridget dolfi  |  March 2, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    lovely words kate and you really did capture don’s attitude towards life and reminded me to work harder at following that example. all we can do know is be the person our parents always had faith we would be and to be happy because we know that is what they would want. keep doing it and inspiring the rest of us. we’ll miss you this evening but we know you’ll be there, right along with don. love you! b

    Reply
  • 13. Jaclyn  |  March 2, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    This is such a touching and inspiring post.

    Reply
  • 14. Glynnis  |  March 2, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    You are a tribute to your Dad and I’m sure he’s proud of you. How fortunate that 65 years ago today, all the stars lined up just right and put him into the world. How fortunate so many were to travel the path with him and learn from him. You were one of those.

    Reply
  • 15. Dave Prindiville  |  March 2, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    Kate,
    I loved your words and pictures of your father. He was a special friend to me.

    You haven’t loss him, you just don’t see him. He is in your pocket. I can hear him from here.

    Dave Prindiville

    Reply
  • 16. katecollinsinteriors  |  March 2, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    Thank you for all of the kind comments and support. My dad and family are blessed with wonderful friends. I can feel him all around us, in spirit.

    Reply
  • 17. Uncle Hank  |  March 2, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Kate, You’re dad and I usually played golf on his birthday. This morning it was raining and I was thinking would he want to play in the rain or not? My guess is that he would have. But this afternoon is partly cloudy with some sun. I think that he had something to do with the sun! Happy Birthday little brother. Love you Kate. Please give Graham a hug from me. Uncle Hank

    Reply
  • 18. Marty Imwalle  |  March 2, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Beautifully said!! What an awesome individual.

    Reply
  • 19. Tim Duus  |  March 2, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    Well said Kate. Don was an original, and a role model. I can truly say that a lot of things I try to model my own family after, I learned from watching him. I am a better husband and father for having known him.

    Reply
  • 20. Karen Miller  |  March 2, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Kate,
    You honor your father’s memory in a way that is personal, kind, thoughtful, fun, and offers a bit of a challenge along the way too. Thank you, and bless your heart!

    Blessings,
    Karen

    PS-The pictures are wonderful–you sucked your thumb too??!!

    Reply
  • 21. Katy  |  March 2, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    I love the photos! They’re all so fun and full of the love he always showed for you and the family. Love to the Imwalles!

    Reply
  • 22. Kenny Fox  |  March 2, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    I listed my name as Kenny as that’s the name Don or Donny as I used to call him, called me. Your dad was one of my biggest mentors and I treasure the time spent with him. Your words hit a cord and are inspiring, just the way your dad lived his life. What a freind.

    Reply
  • 23. Susie Capriola  |  March 2, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    I was thinking of your Dad this morning driving into work and even though I had tears in my eyes I had a big smile on my face. Such wonderful memories. He showed such love, true interest and playfulness to all of us. I’m so fortunate to have had such an Uncle. And I really strive to be more like your Dad and your Mom and to really enjoy life and the living of it.

    Love – Susie

    Reply
  • 24. joanie  |  March 2, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    I love these photos Kate and I can hear you speaking the words the same as I can hear Uncle Don’s laugh. Thank your mom for sending us all the link and thank you for sharing your dad’s birthday with us.
    Joanie x

    Reply
  • 25. Gretchen Mair  |  March 2, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    Dear Kate,

    What a touching tribute to your father. He would have loved it. We have been thinking of him all day. He was such a good person and a beloved friend. We are happy that you and your family have the most wonderful memories of your time together.

    Love,
    Jim and Gretchen

    Reply
    • 26. Terry Reeder  |  August 25, 2011 at 4:44 PM

      Gretchen,

      If you knew the Childers family from Hawaii, in the sixties, please email me at VFWAptos@jps.net

      thanks,

      Terry

      Reply
  • 27. Kit Gallagher  |  March 3, 2010 at 1:31 AM

    Kate,

    Thank you for allowing us to know more about your Dad through your eyes and heart. Some of us knew him as Donald Emwalle, such a strong man but to see and feel what a dear and nurturing father he was is truly inspiring and such a lovely tribute to his memory.

    I enjoyed seeing your pictures, they really were serious back up to how he was all things: happy, strong, loving and FUN. I mean, really, a mud bath? So awesome. – true blue dad, he was!

    Happy Birthday Don.

    Auntie Kit (Reiter)

    Reply
  • 28. katecollinsinteriors  |  March 3, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    Thank you for all of the beautiful comments. They were all so touching to read! I love to hear the positive impact my dad had on your life. Thank you.

    Reply
  • 29. CHUCK STEGNER  |  March 3, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    DEAR MUNCHKIN: A VERY NICE TRIBUTE TO YOUR DAD. THE PICTURES TELL IT ALL. THE ONLY THING YOU MISSED WAS HIM JUMPING WITH THE NATIVES IN AFRICA. WE ALL MISS YOUR DAD HIS ANTICS , HIS SMILE, HIS WIT, HIS GENEROUSITY, HIS GOOFINESS, HIS STORIES, AND YOU OF COURSE WERE VERY SPECIAL TO HIM AS HIS NUMBER ONE DAUGHTER.ON HIS BIRTHDAY THOUGHTS OF EATING PUFFY ECLAIRS FROM PETERS BAKERY DANCED IN MY MIND. I WISH DON WERE HERE SO I COULD WATCH HIM ENJOY THEM, PERHAPS THEY HAVE THEM IN HEAVEN WHERE HE WOULD BE EATING ONE WITH THE WHITE FILLING ON THE END OF HIS NOSE. KATE WHEN YOUR DAD LEFT IT WAS LIKE SOMEONE TURNED OUT THE LIGHTS, WE CAN STILL SEE BUT ONLY DIMLY. LOVE CHUCK AND IRINA

    Reply
  • 30. Barb Lessing  |  March 4, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    Kate,
    What a wonderful tribute to your Dad. I loved looking at the pictures, what fun it must have been to grow up with such a crazy fellow – looks like the perfect Dad.
    We often think of him and smile, he added much to all our lives, a true inspiration.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Hugs
    Barb

    Reply
  • 31. Julie Young  |  March 4, 2010 at 11:14 PM

    Dear Kate Your tribute for your dad was so touching and beautifully written. He truly was a very special man and father. What a lucky girl you are to have had him for a father. It sounds to me like you are so very much like him. I know he is up THERE looking down and saying You Go Girl!!! Keep up your beautiful ways. I love your blog. Hugs, Julie

    Reply
  • 32. Pete Imwalle  |  March 5, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    Very well said Kate. The last year has made me think about so many of these things. Your Dad really had his priorities right. Family and fun always came first. Like Susie, I find my self with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face whenever my Uncle Don comes into my head. Already planning to expand this season’s vegetable garden. Lindsay and I are even thinking of planting some grapes down the canyon. We’ll see.

    Claire got in last night on her Spring break visit. She is happy to be out of the cold for a couple weeks. Tonight we’ll think of all of you while we toast Uncle Don. I may even need to go buy a bottle of Old Crow for the occasion.

    Love you all, Pete

    Reply
  • 33. Christine Nam Pobke  |  March 10, 2010 at 7:31 PM

    hey kate… i finally realized you had a blog and had to come check it out. and while i was mesmerized by your design talents (OMG!), my heart stopped while reading this post. i’m so sorry to hear about your dad’s passing, and am overwhelmed with sadness after reading your beautiful words. just wanted to say that i’m thinking of you… thanks for sharing your thoughts, and wishing your dad a happy birthday. xoxo

    Reply
    • 34. katecollinsinteriors  |  March 11, 2010 at 9:11 AM

      Thank you very much, Christine. Your words mean so much to me.

      Reply

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