This is the comic I always knew I’d have to make but never wanted to.

After almost 4 years of fighting stage 4 Kidney Cancer, my Dad passed away last week.

I’ve had a long time knowing this was going to happen but you’re never really ready for it. You have ideas and plans of how you’re going to handle it but it all kind of goes out the window when it happens. I’ve thought about what comic I would make when it happened, but this right here didn’t come to me until afterward. I had all kinds of ideas on what to put in. Maybe a collage of my favorite moments with him growing up. But trying to distill what someone meant to you in just some panels is impossible the same way a 10 minute eulogy will never do a person’s life justice. People are too complicated and life is too full. I figured I’d just focus on one memory that I think will always stick with me. So here’s the story.

As a graduation present for high school when I was 18, my Dad organized a family vacation to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. He liked the national parks. He liked to explore, and when I was a kid he’d take me hiking and such in nearby parks. I was incredibly excited to see Yellowstone. I didn’t care about seeing the Tetons as much. But we got two weeks in Wyoming and it was great. Yellowstone is a crazy place. Hot geyser basins look like mars. Bears and wildlife roam the plains. It rains like every day towards the end thanks to the lake being big enough to generate its own weather. After a week in Yellowstone we drove south to the Grand Tetons and I was blown away. As impressive as Yellowstone is, the Tetons are a majestic range that isn’t comparable.

We spent some time doing stuff around Jackson as a family. Went up a gondola to the top of a mountain. Explored the town. Did a little morning sunrise hiking. Eventually, probably the last real day of the trip, we split up. My mom took my younger sister to ride horses somewhere, and Dad and I went hiking.

It was a trail to a place called Inspiration Point. We had to drive to Jenny Lake, take a boat across, then climb to the lookout. The boat ride was beautiful, Grand Teton right in view the whole time edging closer. The hike to Inspiration Point was great, as you climbed along this blasted away cliff on natural rock steps. Soon enough you get one hell of a view. The lake and the flat plains lay out in front and the majestic valley behind you. We sat on a rock and laughed because there were tons of little chipmunks coming right up to us to try and take our food. They stole a bag of peanuts from one lady.

The trail headed west, into Cascade Canyon. Most of it was sparse glimpses of the surrounding mountains but after a couple of miles the trail views opened up and the scenery remains some of the best I’ve ever seen. We stopped close to a huge waterfall, sat on a rock, and ate our lunchables. Whenever we hiked together, we always ate a pack of lunchables. It was our thing.

We sat on the rock for a while and didn’t talk much. When we did, it was about my upcoming time at college and my soon to be first job waiting for me when I got home (Stocking shelves at Office Depot). College was an important time in Dad’s life and I think it changed him a lot, because he always got kind of a wistful look in his eyes when he spoke about his time there. I know there is so much about his time that he just never told any of us. After a bit of quiet he said something like “When life gets bad or you’re having a hard time, just think about this place. You’ll be okay”. I don’t remember the exact words, it was the sentiment more than anything. My Dad was never one for nuggets of wisdom so maybe that’s why this is the only hiking conversation I’ve ever really remembered. Maybe that’s why this hike has stuck with me more than the countless other hikes we’ve done.

Dad seemed the most at peace with life when he was out in the world by himself with only his thoughts. He’d bike to escape, he’d hike, he’d drive occasionally. I think he did his best to try and pass that sense of solitude and peace on to me, and I think he was successful. I’m most often my happiest and my most at peace when I’m way off on my own personal adventure for just a few hours, either on the road on my bike or deep in the woods on a hike. I’ve never had a problem being alone, and I seek it often, or at the very minimum someone who will appreciate it the same as I do.

I’m probably going to be thinking about that moment in the Tetons a lot this coming year.

I’ll miss you, Dad. Thanks for everything.


I want to say thanks to everyone who wished me well on the little information I gave last week. It’s going to take me probably another week before everything is settled in and routine as normal.  I know a lot of fun stuff has happened but I hope you can understand it’s kind of difficult to feel funny during a time like this. I will for sure be resuming the comic after the Wildcard Round begins. I might update before then but I’m not sure. I think I’ll need the time. Thank you for reading and your patience through this, I love all of you. If you have a dad who is still important in your life, call them. Just give them a message, even an email or a text, saying hello. You don’t know when those opportunities won’t be available anymore.