Posts tagged Dad
Happy Birthday, Dad: An Open Letter To My Dad Who Lost His Battle to Colon Cancer at 25

When my larger-than-life dad was 25, colon cancer got the best of him. In the past 25 years, I’ve transitioned from the girl who misses her dad, to the girl who wants to know her dad, to the woman who understands how truly lucky she is.

We’re all thrown a few lemons in life. Not a human on this earth is going to make it to their last day without the option to make a few pitchers of spiked lemonade, but, unlike most, I was introduced - at an early age - to the reality our days are not promised.

We’re deserving of nothing, yet I’ve received everything: I have a strong family, a pack of alpha friends, a masters degree, and a business card listing me as the CEO of my own small business.

This week, as I celebrate my dad’s birthday, I’m grateful for a man who should have had more time on this earth, who fought like hell to stay, who adventured hard, and gave me some pretty tremendous chipmunk cheeks.


Ron Isley was diagnosed with colon cancer on October 27, 1991 when he was only 23 years old. He passed away March 11, 1993.

Ron Isley was diagnosed with colon cancer on October 27, 1991 when he was only 23 years old. He passed away March 11, 1993.



To my dad on what would be his 50th birthday

Happy birthday, Dad!

Today, you turn fifty. FIFTY. Five zero. You’re old, man.

In a lot of ways, I can’t imagine not wishing you were here, but I also know I’m okay even though you’re not. In your wake, you left a tribe of hall-of-fame humans who have supported me through every school play, graduation, adventure and heartbreak.

I tried to call you once. Maybe it was the rocks kicking up on the mud flaps, maybe it was the pause between songs, but for a moment I wasn’t the girl missing her dad. I picked up the phone and pulled over on that dirt road as crocodile tears fell into my steering wheel. You weren’t going to answer because I tried to dial a phone number you’ve never had. You weren’t going to hear about the simple, normal day that took a hard left when I learned I’d be in Oklahoma State’s Homecoming Royalty. But, maybe you already knew.

You’re real to me. As real as you ever were.

Whether intentional or not, the relationships you cultivated created ripples that have been steadily growing and increasing in intensity. Sometimes I’m not sure where my memories stop and where others’ memories begin. I hear your laugh rustling every time Sammy Kershaw comes through the FM speakers and wonder if mine sounds the same.

As I watch my friends bring new humans to the world, the realness of your love has amplified. Through them I see how much you didn’t want to leave. As my best friend cried her way through a terrible movie because she couldn’t imagine a world where she wasn’t here for her kids, I told her, “they’d know. We’d all make sure they know.” And, they would.

Because I know.

I know as I stand on a ledge at the Grand Canyon, as I make another pass on I-40, as I watch the sun set on another adventure. I know.

I’m good. I’m really good.

Love you.


P.S. Mobile phones are computers connected to the internet now. I know, weird.


Final paper from Comp 1 at IUPUI, Fall 1992.

Final paper from Comp 1 at IUPUI, Fall 1992.

The Ron Isley Birthday Challenge 

If you loved my dad as much as I still do today. I have a few favors.

  1. Do something adventurous. Go on a hike. Starch those jeans and take ‘em for a spin around the dance floor. 
  2. Donate to Fight Colorectal Cancer.
  3. Get over yourself and get screened if you need to. Sure, it’s your butt. Everyone has one. (I got tested at 19. You’re fine.)
Ron Isley Colon Cancer
Dreaming of a Grand Canyon Adventure
Photo:  Mary Kate Pedigo  

A long time ago, back when ripped jeans, A&F hoodies, trucker hats, layers and layers of tank tops were in style my dad and I started joking about riding mules into the base of the Grand Canyon and camping overnight. Well, I was joking. He was dead serious.

My dad is a denim-on-denim, cowboy-hat-wearing, John-Wayne loving man of America. He was born to do things like ride mules into the Grand Canyon, and I was genetically modified to seek adventures. 

That conversation has been buffering for quite some times. That's what happens when you graduate from college and enter the workforce. Your PTO becomes a hot commodity and you'll protect it with your life. 

Last night while enjoying an Oregon Pinot (a celebration for finishing a 21-day food challenge), it occurred to me there was no reason this couldn't' happen. 

Text dad.
Send screen shots.
Consider Dave Ramsey's budget concerns.
Text dad.
Cross fingers you can get on the waiting list. 

Turns out, there's a 13-month waiting list for mule excursions. It's a thing, people. 

This is happening. 

Crossfit & Cupcakes.

This isn't a sappy blog post, promise; however, if you're feeling a little emotional today - stop reading - this post isn't for you. I'm a grown woman. Well, most days. I've gone more days on this earth without my dad than I have with my dad. I believe with all of my heart I'm going to see him again, so this isn't a sad post. With that said, today would be his birthday.

Every year this day has affected me in one way or another. Last year, for example, I realized I was about to be the same age he was when he left this earth for the big pearly gates. That was weird. 

Of all the things I remember about my dad, I remember going to the gym with him the most. It was his thing. At 6'8" and more pounds of muscle than necessary - he was a beast.

Today, I'm not sad. I may have only knew him for a few short years, but I learned a lot - probably. Mostly, how to talk to strangers, how to utilize my big brown eyes, how to live life like it might not be here tomorrow...

Ironically, today, I'm starting Crossfit. Fitting that I would start it on his birthday, don't you think? Yeah, you heard me - Crossfit. Let's just hope that my genes are made for this stuff.

Then, I'm going to eat a cupcake.

Because, that's what you do on birthdays.

Denim Throwback.

Today's throwback inspiration came from my dad. He answers to Joe, but his real name is Bobby. That's a legit dad if you ask me. He wears a lot of denim. For the longest time I hated it. But, now, I just love it. It's who he is. He's also on the phone a lot. So, let's just say I get that habit from him, too.

Not often enough he'll take me to lunch when he's swinging through OKC for a trip to CAT, John Deere or Peterbilt.

When he's not on the phone he listens as I talk too quickly, he makes me blush by asking embarrassing boy questions and he tell's me I'm ridiculous.

Oh hey 1987. It's good to see you again. Just look at that denim... those big brown eyes.

This, world, is why I haven't entered that other world. The world just can't handle a Brooke Jr.

Oh, we're not done yet! Twenty-something years after that little gem was taken I'm still wearing denim. I've upgraded to BCBG from Osh-Kosh, but the idea is still there.

Hope y'all have a great weekend, creepers.