Had a Dad. #1

December 3, 2010 | Skip To The Comments (17)

rob brink had a dad

December is my father's birthday month. Unless my math is wrong, which is highly likely, if he were still alive he'd be turning 64.

I've always wanted to write something about him. A book, perhaps. But not necessarily in traditional book form.

After nine years of pondering it, experimenting, being afraid, busy, and insecure—as well as dealing with the evolution of the Internet as we currently know it—I think I have the concept down.

This is the first bit of many bits. But not necessarily the bit that the book will open up with.

It's nice to sit down and write for myself for once. It's nice to sit down and devote concentrated chunks of time to thinking only about my father. Not that I don't think about him every day anyway.

This is the beginning of a new project for me. And it's a work in progress. It's for you too. And it's for anyone who has lost someone or watched someone they love wither away from cancer or any other horrible disease, right in front of their own eyes.

Some of you won't relate just yet, but it'll come one day. Brace yourself. It's a wild ride.

I named it "Had a Dad." Sorry for the long intro, I did it so won't need to say it all again on future pieces. Thank you for reading.


He knelt in the dirt. I stood beside him. His bald spot was yellow. Beaded with sweat.

“Can you give this a try?” He said as he dropped his trowel. “It’s in there pretty good.”

Standing, I leant down and grabbed the shrub tightly with both hands, about to give it all I had, when it cracked and uprooted.

Dead and dry and without a fight.

We didn’t even look at one another.

“Thanks,” he said. “I must be getting weaker.”

“Nah. I’m standing. More leverage.” I told him.

For 25 years I never beat him in a foot race, checkers, bowling or an arm wrestle.

I always wished I was stronger than my father until the moment I realized I was stronger than my father.

I kept my mouth shut, walked the roots to the trash and tried not to think about jaundice.


  1. This is moving and well written. I'm so sorry for the loss of your dad. Cancer is such a beast and the thought of it fills me with anger. But what a blessing it is to be able to write - it's an amazing, cathartic way to process pain. I want to read more.

  2. I have, probably tee-ball team, pictures of us and your father, our coach. I remember him just as the photo above... I am truly sorry for your loss, time heals but doesn't comfort- family/friends do that. Thanks for sharing & reminding me of some good times, too.

  3. Wow, this is both moving and brave.

  4. Totally made me tear up... It made me think of the time my dad had his stroke. I mean, no one ever wants to witness the decline of their pillar of strength. Thanks for sharing, keep posting.

  5. This rocks and I can't wait to read more! The story is human and powerful without being preachy or stating anything outright. I guarantee if I show this to my mom she'll want to forward it to all of her work friends. lol

  6. Wow...very moving. It took my breath away. Valentines day will be 12 years that my dad has been gone...he was 43 when he died...seems like it was yesterday. Thanks for sharing and I hope you keep posting.

  7. You have such a way with words...you evoke such emotion... I'm certain it will touch anyone who reads it since we all experience a loss at one time or another...a great birthday gift for your Dad...I'm beaming with pride

  8. Rob, you are a great writer and your dad sounds like he was a great man. Being a dad myself, I know he would be very proud. Keep writing about him and he will live on forever. Inspiring...in an unconventional way. thank you for sharing.

    Tom Selementi
  9. Wow...this takes me back a couple of years. My mom was very sick and I had to help her and a friend move her stuff. My mom was so weak at the time, I literally had to lift her in my arms into a U-haul truck seat. Life comes around full circle...Rob, you do the best interviews, thanks for all your work.

  10. Oh, Rob. This is just beautiful. I am beyond inspired, touched and pride you on your strength and eloquence in sharing such tender moments with the rest of us. Judging by the comments, you have certainly moved many people with this post, and I hope to see more of them in the future. Your ability to write is shining through magnificently in this post. So happy that you're doing this.

  11. As someone who lost his Dad to cancer just this year this hit me hard. In a good way though.

    "I always wished I was stronger than my father until the moment I realized I was stronger than my father."
    ...is the perfect sentence in the story. As I'm sure you knew when you wrote it.

  12. I lost my father and miss him dearly. This was so well written and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

  13. This is beautiful Rob.

    Dana allen
  14. Watched my dad succumb to MS. You are very inspiring and I look forward to reading your book.

  15. This is bold of you to share. Private thoughts. But I am happy to see it well recieved.

    I was bedside in the hospital for my friend's father's last breath. It was very difficult and had an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.

    It did change my views of life. From "Who Cares, punk rock BS" to every minute counts.

    Thank you for sharing your words.

    Very thoughtful and kind.

  16. What a great way to honor your father. Whatever moves you, inspires you - keep chasing that. Keep writing.
    Love & Light

  17. Lost my father in my mid 20's to cancer, right when I was getting my shit together life wise. I also remember the moment when the man who dominated my life became physically weaker than me, had always wanted to be stronger than my father...until it happened. Its never easy, but for me there is something about the father son relationship, the need not only to be stronger but to prove your self, through your career, family, actions. It's tough to tell yourself "they would be proud". Thanks for sharing Rob, there are many of us who can relate.


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