It is with much sadness but also some relief that I must announce that my father, Ivan Trowbridge, passed away at approximately 5 PM central time today (Wednesday: April 13, 2016) at the family home. Dad was surrounded by his wife of 40 years, my mother Marie, all of his children, his grandchildren and his three sisters.
In early 2015, dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent radiation treatment. While he was able to defeat the prostate cancer towards the end of his treatment it was discovered that he had a rare form of liver cancer for which there was no cure. Dad fought bravely against cancer for over a year. The fact that he has now passed on does not mean that cancer was victorious. Dad beat it with his bravery and determination.
Things started heading south Last week when dad was taken to Sioux Falls via ambulance. Before he even got into the ambulance he asked to see each of us kids in his room. When I went in, I made sure to tell him everything I wanted him to know while I still had the chance. I wanted to make sure that if he passed suddenly that I would have let him know all of the things I wanted him to know and what he has meant to me.
As I told my father that morning, a lot of people think I’m a nice guy, an honest guy and a good guy. To the extent that it is true, I owe it to his example. He taught me to be a man by the example that he set for me. He taught me to treat everyone with respect and with decency but to also make sure that nobody ever walked all over me. I have learned many valuable lessons from both of my parents.
We also had a lot of fun. I love sports because my father loved sports. I’m sorry we never got a Raiders/Vikings Super Bowl because that would have been fun. Dad was there for me a lot growing up because when I was young my mom worked evenings which meant that she would go to work when I came home from school. So dad did a lot of the cooking and taking care of us. Dad was the one who woke me up early mornings to get me ready for debate tournaments. I remember one of those early mornings I needed a haircut first and then we had breakfast.
When I was growing up he would bring me home Hardees every Friday night. I had so much fun eating my Hardees and watching TGIF on the little black and white TV in my parent’s bedroom. That was of course when dad and I weren’t watching basketball and playing cards out in the living room.
My parents complimented each other perfectly in their relationship. My mom has an incredibly strong work ethic but my dad knew how to have fun. This is not to suggest that dad didn’t have a work ethic or that mom doesn’t know how to have fun it is just that that’s what they are known for. I like to think that I got the best of both worlds. I can definitely say that I inherited my sense of humor from my dad.
Last week when we got dad to the hospital and he was in his room, I took a phone call. It was my friend Mia and so I was talking to her while sitting in the room. I was telling her where I was staying and trying to explain South Dakota geography. I was talking about driving from one place to another when my dad, who’s voice was pretty weak at the time piped up. He reminded me (as if I needed to be reminded) that I can’t drive. Mia heard it through the phone and started laughing her butt off. She said that she liked my dad already. My dad knew how to crack wise and I knew how to crack him up.
In this entry, I mentioned that we had gotten a piece of news while he was at the hospital that I was holding back. I wanted to hold it back until I was absolutely sure that everyone who needed to hear it in a more personal way did so instead of having them find out about it on my website. The news was that last Friday one of the doctor’s came in to his room and told him that he probably had about six months to live. When I was told this news, I knew there was no way he was going to make it six months since he was no longer receiving chemo treatment. I didn’t necessarily think it would be 5 days but I knew the end was going to come much sooner.
The volume of support I have received has been overwhelming and appreciated. I’ll answer the question I get asked the most right here. How am I doing? I am hanging in there. Right now, I don’t know that it has really hit me since after he passed I immediately started making phone calls and sending texts getting the word out. Once I have written this and emailed a few more people I will have a chance to sit back and take it all in.
But one reason that I think I am doing okay so far is that I started making preparations for this day last summer. It was last June when I raged against the machine so to speak. Of course, today is not easy for me and you can never prepare yourself entirely but the fact that I made an effort to come to grips with this earlier helps.
There will be tough times ahead. There will be dates when it is particularly hard, holidays, their anniversary, his birthday and others. If I ever get married he won’t be there to see it and the same is true if I ever have children. But my heart is full of all the wonderful memories that we did share.
At 10 AM tomorrow morning we will head over to the funeral home to start making arrangements. I suspect that the funeral will be in the middle of next week. I will post the obituary and other details here when they have been finalized.
At the beginning of this post I mentioned that it was a sad day but that it was also somewhat of a relief. It is a relief that his struggle is over and that the pain is gone. Cancer made it hard for my dad to do a lot of the things that he loved like bowling but it never robbed him of his sense of humor or personality. So thank you dad for shaping me into the man I am today. Rest in peace, Ivan Trowbridge 9/10/1947-04/13/2016. Don’t pester the Lord too much and wish everyone on the other side my best. I Love You!