August 13th 1949 – November 14th 2013
This blog post is dedicated to my Dad. It’s his birthday today, and every year I want to always take the time to celebrate the life he had here on earth.
For those of you who don’t know, my Dad died two and half years ago, after all of a sudden finding out he had a very aggressive and rare, already stage 4 pancreatic cancer. It was 90 days from first hearing that there ‘might’ be a problem to his death in Willen hospice.
I think I could write about my Dad for months, how much I loved him, how much I miss him, his life here on earth and still never be quite satisfied with the end result because words aren’t enough. So I will attempt to write a few things down about the kind of man he was and the legacy he has left.
❤︎ My Dad was an incredible man of faith.
❤︎ He was known for being a man full of integrity.
❤︎ Dad always laughed at his own jokes.. even when a tumbleweed would roll on by and the crickets started chirping.
❤︎ He was honestly the best Dad I could have ever asked or hoped for. I wish I could do that statement justice by explaining in words, but I can’t.
❤︎ Dad always taught my brother and I, that bad money spends bad so no matter the kind of price tag on a deal or a situation, always do the right thing.
❤︎ When my Dad was 4 years old and living in Germany where he was born, after World War 2 had ended the government gave my grandparents a choice whether to go the USA or Brazil to start a new life. I am SO glad they made the right choice ? although if they had picked Brazil I could have been a little more naturally tanned and not looking so much like a snowflake. ?
❤︎ I shared his love for computers, he would teach me at 7 years old how to write in DOS. The struggle was real.
❤︎ I also infected his PC with viruses every now and then when I would try and download cyber/vitural-pets of any kind. But I was also the one to fix the computer when it happened.
❤︎ He made me feel beautiful and loved every single day of his life.
❤︎ I’ve always had small hands, and when I was little, his hands were wayyyyy too big to hold mine so he always gave me 2 his fingers to hold. That may not mean anything to anyone else but it was and still is such a precious memory in my mind.
❤︎ He also always let me dance with him while my feel stood on his shoes.
❤︎ Every time we’d go back to the America and make the mandatory Walmart trip, we would lose him for hours as he filled his cart with anything and everything on sale. And I’m talking about ANYTHING. Mom would have to purge the cart before checkout.
❤︎ He loved buying the most random presents for us, and most of the time it would be some kind of cooking utensil!
❤︎ My Dad had this annoying of habit of always using ellipses… you know – the “…” In every single email or text, you’d probably find a dozen in the space of a few lines. It would drive me absolutely crazy. I tried to put a ban or at least a limit on using them… but it never worked, he just loved them. ?
❤︎ My Dad not only had an engineering degree but he did a Masters in Theology while working full time, having his own business and being a Dad & Husband. He was also working on his Doctorate in Theology. We always shared a passion for academia.
❤︎ My Dad for a season was also a Pastor, and he got to enjoy using his gift and passion of teaching.
❤︎ We both share the same kind of humour. Mom, Grandma and Nick all have their own, so I end up telling my jokes to Rose now.
❤︎ My Dad was terrible at accents… even though he thought he was amazing at them. I remember one particular time (out of MANY), where we went to France and he did his breakfast order in the most offensive French accent ever. It was hilarious because he thought it was so on-point. To this day we’re all pretty sure the dude spit in all our coffees…
❤︎ He was always an amazing example of what a Father and a Husband should be. Of course he wasn’t perfect, and he’d be the first person to admit that, but I wish he knew what an incredible job he did and is still doing now.
❤︎ My Dad at times had such questionable taste in music…seriously. Lord only knows why but He loved cringey pop. I don’t even want to speak out some of these examples. But to be fair, he also introduced me to some oldschool bands like Boston.
❤︎ People called him snake hips because he would never miss an opportunity to get on the dance floor and school everybody around him with his John Travolta moves.
❤︎ Dad could eat any and every kind of food, including his favourite fried breakfast with potatoes, eggs, and pickles.. and he would NEVER put on weight. Nick has inherited this particular quality.
❤︎ My Dad would always call me his “Favourite Daughter” even though I would always remind him I was his only daughter. It was one of our own private jokes.
❤︎ My Dad and I could just sit and talk for hours. On a regular basis, I’d go up to his office and borrow a stapler, and we’d end up having a 3 hour discussion while I was standing there about God, Theology, Politics, and everything in between. I miss that.
❤︎ He was probably the only person who really understood me and how I worked. Like how I thought about things or reacted to something, or why I did this and that, because we were so similar in that respect. If I acted out or got upset about something, he’d always come into my room and sit and talk with me, and he understood every single time why I felt the way I did or what my mental process was in how I got to that place. I probably miss this the most. But please don’t misunderstand, when I was wrong he would tell me and discipline me but I always knew it was because he loved me.
❤︎ He was obsessed with planners and planning, just like his daughter!
❤︎ My Dad used to work for the government and he even gave a press conference once in the same place and the same spot you see the President and Speaker of the House address the media on TV sometimes.
❤︎ When we first moved to England, my Dad was separated from us for 14 months, and the reason…. because Bill Clinton couldn’t keep his trousers zipped up. Seriously. The US Government shut down and would not release my Dad until things with Bill were sorted.
❤︎ We had to invoke mandatory Obama-free days in the Brinner household, because my Dad would go IN on that whole mess in America. We would all have finished dinner before my Dad could take his 3rd bite mid conversation. My Dad would literally be speechless to know Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump are running for president this time round… Thank you Jesus he doesn’t have to witness this train wreck.
❤︎ One of my Dad’s best friends was an incredible guy called Danny Martin. Dad had so much respect for Danny, he always spoke so highly of him. They both would do anything for each other, Danny was incredibly generous. Mom and Dad, and Danny and Pam always had a special relationship, which as a child I admired and hoped one day I would also have something similar.
Sadly, a few years ago, Danny got really sick all of a sudden. It was discovered he had cancer and he died within a few days. I know now they are both walking around Heaven together, catching each other up on everything.
❤︎ One of the things I loved most about my Dad is how he always held Nick and I to a high standard, always. We learnt from an early age the importance of striving for excellence and not using excuses in life. When I became an adult, I realised what a priceless lesson this really was.
❤︎ My Dad was a very successful businessman, he worked very hard his whole life, but he always wanted Nick and I to surpass him, and be even better and more successful then he was.
❤︎ He always told me and made me feel like I could do anything and everything. He affirmed me every single day of my life.
❤︎ When he got sick, he chose me to fill his very big shoes in the business world and be a business partner with my mom. I felt incredibly humbled that he felt he could entrust such a big thing to me, something he had been working on his whole life.
❤︎ My Dad was an incredible writer. He has actually written books (some of which we will be publishing) and he also started his very own blog just before he got sick. I always felt he should have pursued this gift of his far earlier in his life, and he’d probably agree. So he’s passed the baton to me.
❤︎ During his last couple weeks on earth when he was in Willen Hospice, cancer had ravaged his body and he was in so much pain… but he never. ever. complained. He was always saying that God was so good to him, and he chose to praise God despite going through one of the worst and most painful cancers you can get. This would be the biggest lesson my Dad would teach me. He never got angry at God or blamed him for getting sick, he never broke character. He left this earth praising God. The last Bible passage he read to us was this one and it will forever stay in my heart:
“But The Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.” (Psalms 33:11, 18-22 NLT)
We may never quite understand why things happen the way that they do, but we can trust that God is never shocked or surprised by anything and that He is never shaken. For those who love and fear God, we are promised that He will never leave or forsake us. We just have to trust Him, even if life doesn’t make any sense.
❤︎ This last picture, is not to be morbid. This gravestone is a reminder of the person my Dad was on this earth.
Not only was he a loving husband and Dad, but he was also always so passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to whoever would listen. He wouldn’t want a pity party on a gravestone, he would want this beautiful memorial, to make anyone who reads the verse, think about Jesus and the life awaiting them on the other side of eternity if they believed. He would want the place where his earthly body was laid to rest, to be a place that always pointed back to his Saviour Jesus.
Even though this is not a complete list of all the things I loved about my Dad, the kind of person he was, and even some funny facts about him… I just wanted to jot down a few and take a moment on his birthday to celebrate his life and the kind of legacy he has left here.
Dad, I honestly still can’t believe when I wake up you’re no longer here. Life will always feel like something big is missing and I know there will be moments where it will sting even more, like when I get married, when I start a family.. but one thing I do know is that your legacy will continue to live on in this earth through myself and my children. One thing that keeps me going is knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will get to see you again one day and throw my arms around you once more. Even though separation is a painful feeling, I know there’s eternity with you to look forward to just beyond the veil.
Thank you for being the best man in my life. Thank you for introducing me Jesus. Thank you for being the best Dad ever and teaching me such priceless life lessons. Thank you for never making me doubt how much you loved me.
I love you and miss you more than I can say. ❤️