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I miss my dad

Yesterday I got that call that I knew would happen someday, but could never prepare for. My father had passed.

Dad was always supportive of my passion for cartooning. When I was still in high school he became good friends with a zen master – Rev. Don Gilbert. Rev. Gilbert was as a magazine cartoonist in his earlier days and later wrote and illustrated books on zen humor in the latter. Dad introduced me to Rev. Gilbert who turned into my first mentor. Rev. Gilbert took me to the art supply store and went up and down the isles buying me pens, nibs, ink, brushes, paper, a reducing glass – much of this stuff I still have. He told me I’d have to ink the equivalent to a football field before I could say I was a master of inking.

Here’s dad (right) with Rev. Gilbert (left). Please excuse the quality – I’m taking photos with my phone of photos dad has on his office walls.
Dad with Rev. Gilbert

Years ago I started developing a panel cartoon. As an attorney, I thought dad would appreciate the humor of this cartoon (below), so I gave the original to him for Christmas. I was happy to see yesterday that he still displayed the original in a frame in his home office.

My cartoon for dad

He was 75 years old. Much too young in my opinion.

I’m stepping away from the blog for the next few days to be with family. Please call your loved one and let them know you love them. I was in a meeting the last time my dad tried to call me and I let it go to voice mail. There was no way I could have known it could have been the last conversation we’d have. I’m trying not to beat myself up about it, but what I wouldn’t give to pick up the phone and hear his voice. One last time.

Community Comments

#1 Stephen Beals
@ 8:33 am

My thoughts are with you, Alan. Having a supportive parent makes all the difference in the world and it looks like you had a great one.

#2 Mike Lynch
@ 8:35 am

Deepest condolences on your loss, Alan.

#3 Samantha Wikan
@ 8:36 am

Bless your heart. I lost my dad 12 years ago when he was 65. Still think about him quite a bit. You and your family have my deepest sympathy.

#4 Terry LaBan
@ 8:38 am

What sad news. Condolences to you and your family.

#5 Sandy Debreuil
@ 8:46 am

Really sorry to hear that, sounds like your dad was a great guy. Hope you’re holding up okay.

#6 Paul Combs
@ 8:50 am

So sorry to hear this, Alan. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

#7 mark mason
@ 8:55 am

I echo Stephen’s comments. You were blessed to have had a father who was supportive of your gifts. May you find the comfort you seek in the love of your family.

#8 Sandra Bell-Lundy
@ 8:56 am

Please accept my condolences, Alan and give my best to your family.

#9 Donald Rex Jr.
@ 8:57 am

So sorry for your loss Alan. I lost my father in 2009, and I think of him every day. I am glad that some years before he passed I realized the event was on the horizon, and I made special efforts to spend short, pleasant times with him as often as I could. I do the same now with my mother, and I urge all to think doing the same while we may.

#10 Mike Thompson
@ 9:03 am

Alan, that’s horrible news. My deepest condolences.

#11 Michael Pohrer
@ 9:17 am

Condolences my friend.

#12 Brian Powers
@ 9:19 am

Sorry to hear this Alan. I’m going to call my dad today. Thanks for all that you do.

#13 Piers Baker
@ 9:25 am

So sorry Alan.

#14 Mike Cope
@ 9:27 am

Very sorry for you loss, Alan. Take care.

#15 Pedro Molina
@ 9:32 am

Sorry for your loss Alan.

#16 Tom Racine
@ 9:52 am

Deepest condolences, my friend. It is the lucky artist, indeed, who had such a great supporter and influence in a father. He leaves a brilliant legacy.

#17 Keith Brown
@ 9:57 am

Sorry to hear this. I’m lucky and I’m gonna go see my dad after work.

#18 Paul Tubb
@ 10:00 am

Very Sorry to Hear that…

My Sincere Condolences…

#19 Susan Camilleri Konar
@ 10:09 am

I hope memories of your dad will give you peace, Alan. He sounded like a wonderful man.

#20 Nathan J. DiPerri
@ 10:19 am

I’m sorry for your loss, Alan. Thank you for sharing your memories on the website. Best to you and your family in this difficult time.

#21 David Jones
@ 10:34 am

I am so sorry for your loss Alan and I will keep you and yours in my thoughts prayers.

May God send you his Blessings.

#22 Jimmy Delach
@ 10:42 am

As a fan of this blog, I send my utmost condolences to you and your family.

#23 Jeff Payden
@ 10:42 am

I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of your father, Alan. I lost my mom four years ago and know how much it hurts to lose someone who is so loving and supportive. Treasure the wonderful memories you have of him. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

#24 DJ Coffman
@ 10:58 am

So sorry for your loss :( sounds like he was a good man!

#25 Anne Morse Hambrock
@ 11:05 am


So very sorry to hear of your loss. Our thoughts are with you. I almost forgot to call my dad on his birthday this year, you know the drill, just sooooo busy. I’m glad I remembered and, thanks to you, I’m going to take the time to call him again today.


#26 birdie Birdashaw
@ 11:10 am

My condolences
the ones who matter the most
are always with us

#27 George Ford
@ 11:14 am

So sorry to hear about your loss, Alan. You have my condolences.

#28 Erin Tselenchuk
@ 11:16 am

My condolences and thoughts to you and your family during this difficult time. Thank you for posting such touching memories and personal thoughts as they put into perspective what is important in our lives. The support from a father or parent in what you love most is one of the most valuable things in the world. Take time for yourself and know your blog readers are also your supporters, always here for when you return.

#29 Maria Scrivan
@ 11:17 am

Alan, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My deepest condolences.

#30 Howard Cruse
@ 11:23 am

My condolences, Alan.

#31 Graham Nolan
@ 11:26 am

It’s never easy losing your Dad. My deepest condolences to you and your family, Alan.

#32 Frank Pryor
@ 11:26 am

I can certainly understand how you feel. I lost my father as well
who was also my biggest fan. Just know that he will always be right by your side.

#33 Charles Goll
@ 11:32 am

My condolences for your loss.

#34 Andrew Farago
@ 11:55 am

My deepest condolences to you and yours, Alan.

#35 Joe Groshek
@ 12:07 pm

My sincere condolences to you and your family, Alan.
I hate the thought of us all getting older and knowing I may lose mine one day. My parents are in WI, I’m in FL, and I know I need to spend more time with them and call them more often. God bless you, and keep you strong through these tough days.

@ 12:13 pm

My deepest condolences, Alan. God bless you and yours.

#37 Terri Libenson
@ 12:15 pm

My deepest condolences, Alan. My dad was also taken early, I understand your loss. All the best to you.

#38 Lucas Turnbloom
@ 12:18 pm

Deepest condolences, Alan.

#39 Bob Weber Jr
@ 12:38 pm

So sorry Alan. My deepest condolences.

#40 Richard Thompson
@ 12:39 pm

My deepest condolences to you and yours, Alan.

#41 Mike Lester
@ 12:42 pm

Heartfelt sympathies.

#42 Tom Richmond
@ 12:43 pm

So sorry to hear that, Alan. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

#43 Drew Litton
@ 1:06 pm

Alan, So very sorry to hear about your father. If you are any indication, he must have been one very amazing man. You are in my prayers.

#44 Frank Mariani
@ 1:12 pm

May the good memories of your Dad sustain you now and in the days ahead.

#45 Mark Anderson
@ 1:13 pm

Oh, Alan, I’m so so sorry. Hang in there.

#46 Norm Feuti
@ 1:21 pm

My condolences.

#47 Scott Metzger
@ 1:59 pm

Heartbreaking news. I’m sorry for your loss, Alan.

#48 John Read
@ 2:09 pm

My condolences to you and yours, Alan. As someone who only recently lost his dad and best friend (and thus became an orphan), I feel your pain.

#49 Eddie Pittman
@ 2:16 pm

So sorry for your loss Alan! Praying for you and your family.

#50 Kerry G. Johnson
@ 2:18 pm

Through your thoughtful words, I truly feel the love and affection you have for your father. I’m so sorry for your loss. I will pray for you and your family.

#51 Phil Judd
@ 2:50 pm

Hi Alan. My deepest condolences. Sorry to hear of your loss. Thanks for sharing your story. It is wonderful to see his legacy in what you do now and the great gift in cartooning we see in the work you’ve shown. All the best to you and your family at this difficult time…

#52 Christopher Weyant
@ 2:50 pm

All of my best to you and your family, Alan.

#53 b.j. dewey
@ 4:03 pm

Alan, how fortunate you were to have a supportive father and, yes, 77 is too young. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

#54 Wes Rand
@ 4:36 pm

Very sorry to hear that, Alan. My deepest condolences. And thank you for sharing your father’s support for your cartooning career. 77 is too young.

#55 Dan Bielinski
@ 4:50 pm

Alan, so sorry about your loss. He sounded like a great father.

#56 Anton Emdin
@ 4:59 pm

Sorry to hear the news, Alan. All the best to you and your family.

Take your time. The internet can wait.

#57 Nate Fakes
@ 5:08 pm

So sorry to hear, Alan. All my best.

#58 D. D. Degg
@ 5:51 pm

Join the rest in offering my sympathies, Alan.

One who died is only a little ahead
of the procession all moving that way.
When we round the corner, we’ll see him again.
We have lost him for only a moment
because we fell behind,
stopping to tie a shoelace.
—J. M. Barrie

#59 Mike Rhode
@ 7:28 pm

My condolences, Alan.

#60 Bearman Cartoons
@ 7:44 pm

Thoughts and prayers go out to your family Alan. It was obvious your dad was proud of you.

#61 Mike Peterson
@ 8:02 pm

I remember, when my dad died, a sense that there was now nobody standing between me and eternity. It was kind of scary, but then, over the next few years, I realized how well he had prepared me to stand alone.

Sounds like your dad did the same for you. It’s a gift.

#62 Anna Martina
@ 8:50 pm

I’m really sorry. Your father sounds like a good man.

#63 Doug Bratton
@ 9:19 pm

My deepest condolences to you and your family, Alan.

#64 Rich Diesslin
@ 10:46 pm

Very sorry for your loss. Death continues to suck, but savor the good times, forget the bad, and stay in dialogue with his memory!

#65 Pete McDonnell
@ 11:01 pm

Sorry for your loss, your father sounds like a really good man. Best wishes to you and your family.

#66 Joe Engesser
@ 11:01 pm

A parent’s love is truly remarkable beyond any circumstance. How blessed to have such an inspirational and awesome dad! Sending heavy-duty prayers your way, Alan.

#67 Marc Davidson
@ 11:56 pm

Thank you for publicly sharing this private and painful time with your readers so we could grieve with you. You could have easily said nothing and just stepped away for a few days without letting anyone know.

Your anecdote about your father being supportive of your cartooning was touching, but I most admire you for reminding those of us who still have a parent or parents not to take ordinary events (a phone call, a promise to have a meal together, etc) for granted.

#68 Carlo Jose San Juan
@ 1:30 am

I’m so sorry to hear about your father’s passing, Alan. Please accept my condolences.

Take all the time you need with your family.

#69 Tim Green
@ 4:32 am

That is much too young, Alan. May God comfort you and your family.

#70 Dave Astor
@ 6:59 am

Very sorry to hear about your father’s passing, Alan. The best of luck to you and your family over the next few days and weeks.

#71 danthompson
@ 7:57 am

My condolences to you and your family, Alan.

#72 Jim Borgman
@ 8:18 am

Alan, we all hurt for you. My family will keep yours in our thoughts during the grieving and healing days ahead.

#73 Dan Collins
@ 8:47 am

So sorry to hear of your loss.

#74 Samuli Lintula
@ 10:43 am

My condolences, Alan.

#75 Steve Skelton
@ 11:15 am

My condolences, Alan…He sounds like he was a great guy and the bond you two had was special. My Dad has been gone for 17 years, and I still miss him dearly!

#76 Stacy Curtis
@ 11:39 am

Our deepest condolences to you and your family, Alan.

Don’t beat yourself up over that last phone call, Alan.
Your dad knows you love him, that’s what matters.

#77 Ed Held
@ 12:53 pm

Sorry to hear about your loss, Alan.

#78 Jeff Darcy
@ 12:57 pm

You and your family our in my thoughts and prayers these dark
days. It appears that without the influence of these two men
in your life we wouldn’t have this great blog that you’ve shared with everyone. And they’ve left me smiling with that lawyer
cartoon you posted.

#79 Rob Tornoe
@ 1:13 pm

So sorry to hear about your loss, Alan.

#80 Ed Power
@ 1:46 pm

I’ve been there, sir. To be blunt, it’s a horrible thing to have to go through and I’m very sorry you have to..

Best to you and your family. You’ll be in our thoughts.


#81 Bill Kellogg
@ 2:35 pm

Very sorry for your loss, Alan!

#82 Steve Greenberg
@ 3:54 pm

Sincere condolences, Alan. I lost a parent a year ago, and while one can never really prepare, I hope his memory will be a comfort to you.

#83 Tom Falco
@ 4:53 pm

Very sorry for your loss.

#84 Andy Anderson
@ 8:19 pm

So sorry for your loss Alan.

#85 Brian Ponshock
@ 8:54 am

So very sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts.

#86 Michael Cavna
@ 1:16 pm

Deepest condolences, Alan. Nothing like a parent wise enough to have supported your passion.

#87 Daryll Collins
@ 7:43 pm

So sorry for your loss, Alan.

#88 Frank M Hansen
@ 10:29 pm

That was a wonderful post. Condolences to you and your family. Take care.

#89 David Paccia
@ 6:19 am

I am very sorry for your loss Alan. My wife and I offered prayers for you and your family yesterday morning.

#90 Milt Priggee
@ 8:21 am

Sorry to hear the news Alan….your father will live forever in your love for him.

#91 John Auchter
@ 9:17 am

I’m so sorry Alan.

#92 Rose Croke
@ 10:22 am

Alan, I am so sorry to read this news. I hope memories of your Dad bring you comfort during this very sad, difficult time. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

#93 Charles Brubaker
@ 10:34 am

Sorry for your loss. My condolences.

#94 J Mahood
@ 10:51 am

Sorry to hear this Alan. All the best to you and your family

#95 Mike Keefe
@ 4:49 pm

My condolences as well, Alan. My dad has been gone for 32 years yet I still revisit him in cherished memories almost daily. That’s a good thing.

#96 Gary Brookins
@ 5:44 am

I’m so sorry for your loss, Alan. May God bless you and your family during this this time of loss and grieving.

#97 Gerry Mooney
@ 8:34 am

Alan, my deepest sympathies. My dad passed on in 1990 and my mom in 99 and I still think of them both every day. They’re always with you.

#98 Vickie & Tony Cochran
@ 7:04 pm

So sorry for your loss. May good memories bring you peace.

#99 T. Brian Kelly
@ 7:43 pm

I’m really sorry to hear about your dad, Alan. You know how proud he was of you and your work here, as a cartoonist’s dad always is. May he rest in peace now and watch over you forever.

#100 Will Wilson
@ 7:01 am

Very sorry to hear that news Alan. All the best to you

#101 Andrew Caddell
@ 10:49 am

Sorry for your loss. I had an argument with my Dad this morning. I arrived at work and called him up to apologize. Thanks for putting things in perspective Alan. God bless.

#102 Tom Heintjes
@ 2:08 pm

So sorry to hear this, Alan. Like many others here have said, I lost my dad more than 20 years ago and I still miss him every day. But the pain you feel will subside with time, though it doesn’t seem that way now, I’m sure.

#103 Patti Hart
@ 5:38 pm

Oh, Alan … I’m just now reading this ….. I’m so sorry for your loss!

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