Tomorrow, September 2015 will be my Dad’s birthday. Usually this would be a cause for celebration; but for my family and I it is a day to contemplate a life ended too soon and a reminder of just how big of a hole he left in our hearts the day he left. I am not writing to expect or ask for sympathy…I am writing as a way for me to share the love that I got from someone I was so blessed to call my Dad. I am writing, because I wouldn’t be who I am, where I am today, or striving for the goals I’ve set without having him in my life.
There are very few people I can say that I have truly loved and feel like I have been truly, unconditionally, whole-heartdely been loved in return. Jim Gillet did that for me. Without going into much detail, Jim was not my Dad by blood, but married my Mom when I was just a babe and took me under his wing as if I were his own. Growing up I never once felt that I wasn’t anything other then his daughter. I have so many fond memories of him that it would be exhausting, (and hard to ask you to sit through) to try to write them here….I suppose the take away from that comment is that life with Jim Gillet, as his daughter, was nothing short of a gift.
Our bond was unique and specific to just us, as was the bonds he shared with my other family members. I loved that what we loved was ours alone..I had the honor of not only calling my Dad, Dad…but I also got to call him coach. Growing up ski racing he took on the position as assistant ski coach. I had a personal cheering crowd every night waiting for me at the bottom of Afton Alps, (awe, Afton!). His presence made me want to always try my hardest and do everything I could to make him proud of me. He always felt proud, never had any expectation other then for me to be happy, and I will forever miss wiping the snot drip, (a side effect of his nose + cold weather) off the end of his perfectly, imperfect nose, (which was too big and crooked to most, but endearing and made him 10 x’s more handsome in my eyes). I still carry around my “coach” with me on runs these days; my goal never changing from what he would have asked of me…to finish whatever I am doing with a smile.
Food and cooking was another passion of ours. I remember my sister and I hanging around his dinner plate like vultures, taking bites off his food…because somehow his love for food, (and us) just made the food taste so much better. His love for cooking and food I think really helped me find strength and healing in food later in life after I had battled anorexia nervosa. I learned how amazingly transformative food could be on your health and I learned to make it taste good so that eating healthy was never a chore. I ache for the days of my Dad hanging out in the kitchen leaning over my shoulder saying something like, “mmmmm, somethings smells good! watcha cooking?!” The recipes I post will always have him as a source of inspiration. I find myself constantly saying, “My dad would have loved this!”
Writing was another passion of ours. I am by no means Hemingway…but you would have thought that if you asked my Dad how he felt about what I wrote. Again, he just had this amazing influence on me that made me love what I was doing. My Dad was an awesome writer too! He was an extremely passionate man about all things healthy. I swear if he were around now he would be blogging it up in to all hours of the night. That man loved his research and loved to inform others the importance of taking chard of ones’ health.
Every post I write now…I think, “would Dad like this?” Ryan, my husband, does such a great job filling that void. I think he got how much that meant to me to have my Dad critique my writing and he has adopted my Dad’s enthusiasm; thank you Rye.
Unfortunately my Dad was not able to be with us the length we deemed appropriate. After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, within 2 months, he was gone. I find myself still in shock over the whole thing. It’s hard to believe that a man filled with so much love and goodness could end in such a painful manner. I suppose it is not our job to ask why…I just try to focus on the time that I did have with him and remind myself that it was a love worth losing, because the idea of never having been able to experience it at all is inconceivable…..but, let’s be honest….it still sucks; always has and always will.
I can never do my Dad and his memory justice in a blog post. However, I hope that the love that I share with you for running, eating good food, and being a mom can help honor what it is he tried to give to this world through his own love of being active in the great outdoors, his love for food and cooking, and his love for being a father.
Jim Gillet, I miss you. I will always miss you. I will always want to talk with you one more time to tell you about how much you mean to me, to tell you about your grand babes, hear you cheering me on at a running race, or happily dancing in your seat while eating food I’ve cooked. I know you’re not gone, but selfishly it is the physical you that I crave the most. Happy Birthday Dad. You will always be my Dad and you will never be forgotten, not even for one second.
Love, your little girl
I apologize for the lack of flow to my writing….Like I said, this is still something I am processing. I just want my blog followers to understand how truly great a man my Dad was.