My father, Kennedy Watson, was a heck of a guy. He was the type of guy who smoked a cigar, had a joke for just about every occasion, had a nickname for just about everyone, loved a strong cocktail with his steak, and had a heart of gold. He also was a Marine, so he could be as tough as nails when he needed to be. He could string together a sentence with more foul words than one could imagine, if he felt the situation called for it. He owned his own business, and worked 6 days a week, starting each day by going to Catholic mass with my Mom, then going to his office, coming home for dinner at 6 on the dot, then going back to work after the meal was finished for a few hours.
He was diagnosed with melanoma during Christmas break of my senior year in high school, while I was away playing in a national indoor tennis tournament. He fought an amazing fight, flying around the country visiting dozens of specialists, trying any & every treatment they thought would work. He was surrounded by his 4 kids and my mom when he died. He fought till that very last breath. It was just too soon for him to go. He had many more things to accomplish, many more jokes to tell, many more laughs to have.
Being with my dad when he died was a defining moment in my life. There has not been a day that has passed since then that I have not thought of him in some way. The above photo is on my bedside table, and I see it each day. It was taken on his last trip to Seattle when I lived on Lake Washington. It serves as a daily reminder to cherish each day, to live in the moment, and to let those you love, know how much you love them.