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A Day to Celebrate

Written by my daughter Tristan xx…

This year marks 12 years of my Dads terminal cancer story. Here’s to a day to celebrate what those years have meant to my family and the lessons my Dad has passed on.

Recently my Dad said to me that he is not sure what is next for him. He has spent the better part of 30 years being a full on, every day Dad and now the four of us are grown and don’t ‘need’ him in the same way. He is freed up in a way he is just not used to, his focus can shift and he’s not sure what that means for him. What’s going to be next.  I feel like that could be a scary (or maybe exciting) moment for a parent, when they are no longer ‘needed.’ I certainly don’t feel that way and although life is moving forward I will always need my Dad.

A day to celebrate DADS : 12 Lessons my Dad has taught me | www.lynneknowlton.com

A month ago my Dad lost his Dad, I was reminded there is never a moment when you are ready to lose a parent.

There will never be enough time or a good time to say goodbye.

My Dad said he could imagine what it would be like to lose a parent but until it happens you just don’t know that feeling of true loss. A piece of you is no longer here.

No matter my age I will need my Dad for..

Helping me to accept change.

My first call when I am panicking. Dad – “are you safe? o.k hang up the phone and call CAA.” haha classic.

Grocery store choices. Do not choose the sugary cereal.

A big hug.

Someone to see me for who I want to be, not just for who I am being.

For long drives when I need the company.

To support me when I need to take a leap. Sometimes I feel the courage to do something just knowing he’s in the background cheering me on.

To say the classic lines when I need to hear them…

“There is no such thing as a wrong decision, just make the decision you made the right one”

“Well, life’s not fair”

“You just need to believe”

“You are safe, you are happy and you are loved”

A day to celebrate DADS : 12 Lessons my Dad has taught me | www.lynneknowlton.com

It’s been 12 years of my Dad’s cancer journey. 12 years of wondering if there will be another Christmas or Father’s day I am going to like (do you like special holiday’s when they are no longer here to celebrate with you?). That’s 12 years of gratitude that my Dad is here, with “his feet above the daisies” (yes, those are his words LOL.)

This is our journey and how we find light in the darkness of cancer.

A day to celebrate DADS : 12 Lessons my Dad has taught me | www.lynneknowlton.com

A day to celebrate DADS : 12 Lessons my Dad has taught me | www.lynneknowlton.com

So today is for him.

A day to celebrate DADS : 12 Lessons my Dad has taught me | www.lynneknowlton.com

Lessons my Dad has taught me


That everything I couldn’t, I could.


It comes down to awareness and choice. Having more awareness gives you more choice. 


Failing to plan is planning to fail.


Be there and listen. Influence by listening not by speaking. Be curious. Be authentic. You are enough, you don’t need to prove yourself.


Mind over matter. You just have to believe.


Lead with kindness. Always. How you treat your waitress matters just as much as how you treat your boss.


Your key beliefs about yourself can be your biggest barriers AND your biggest strengths.


To love without expectation.   The small things you do for someone when they aren’t watching. That’s love.


When someone enters the room stop whatever your doing and acknowledge them. Make time for it. It’s important.


Be open minded, seek first to understand and then to be understood.


You cant talk yourself out of something you behaved yourself into.


Life is not fair but its miraculous and beautiful.

A day to celebrate DADS : 12 Lessons my Dad has taught me | www.lynneknowlton.com
A day to celebrate DADS : 12 Lessons my Dad has taught me | www.lynneknowlton.com
A day to celebrate DADS : 12 Lessons my Dad has taught me | www.lynneknowlton.com

To all of you that have lost your Dad… I am so sorry. That loss must feel unbearable. I am here sending you love and light.

I am trying to appreciate every day I get with my Dad. Trying not to think about the days that he won’t be here and just enjoy the moment, right here right now. It is harder said than done, especially when scary medical results come in. Cancer can be like rollercoaster. Sometimes things get scary really really fast and then there are other times that we just coast and enjoy. There are beautiful moments and sad moments, often at the same time. Just being together. As a family. Learning to appreciate all of it. Each and every time when moments have got hard my Dad has found a way to bounce back.

A true walking miracle!

For all of you still have your your Dad in your life… Love on them hard. Today and every day.

To my Dad ..

Here’s to 12 more years together

With love,


PS. What lessons has your Dad taught you? Is it anything like : “You are safe, you are happy, you are loved. Now go clean your room.”? hahaha

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  1. Victoria says:

    What a beautiful love letter to your father you have written! I have not met you, but have certainly heard a lot about you from your mom and dad. I know they are very proud of you and your brother! Your dad is a pretty great guy and everything you have written resonates with the person we are just getting to know. The thing is, you are indeed fortunate to have such a man as your father. I lost my father when I was 13, and yes, it’s tough not having a dad to go through life with. On Father’s Day, I remember him with love and just love on all the other dads that I am very happy and grateful to have in my life. I guess your dad is one of them!
    Every nugget of wisdom you have here is great, but my favorite is , “Be openminded; seek first to understand and then be understood.” So good, so true, sometimes so hard to do.
    I wish you love, my dear and may you have many, many more years with your dad!❤️

    • Thank you for your sweet words Victoria. 13 is way too young to lose a parent, my heart is breaking for the young version of you. You must still miss him so much. I love that you can still find room on father’s day to celebrate all of the other Dads in your life. That takes a really strong person.
      That line is so good “seek first to understand and then be understood,” I hear it over and over in my head in tough conflict moments. Thanks for appreciating it as much as I do! Sending you love and light ! – Tristan

  2. heather reid says:

    You elevate many people Tristan and now you have again with this wonderful post of your DAD, love you so much xoxxxx

  3. Jessica Allossery says:

    Awww so sweet! What a beautiful tribute to such a special man. Happy Father’s Day Dad #2!!!!!! 😂

    • Thanks Jessica!! This is Tristan. Found my Mom rewatching the the cancer video the other day, with big big crocodile tears. Gets us every time. xox Thanks for helping us share how special he is with the world.

  4. Julie says:

    Beautifully written. My dad passed away 17 years ago and in some ways it feels like forever and some ways it feels like yesterday. They say it gets easier, but I think what really happens is you don’t break down crying in Home Depot when the salesperson asks what size toilet you need and you realize you can’t call your dad to ask. I do still cry and I miss him like crazy. I like to think he’s watching over all of us and I just wish he was here to spend time with my boys as they all would have had such a great time together. Enjoy every moment with your dad <3

    • Hi Julie! I read this and then had to take a walk because it just gave me the biggest lump in my throat. Your comment is all so real. I am so sorry you have lost your Dad. I like to think that all of our passed on loved ones are near by too. My parents keep saying that on days you miss them you can still call – it’s just a long distance call. Thank you for taking a few minute to leave me this note. Sending you lots of love and light. – Tristan

  5. Susan Preston says:

    “Up here for dancing” (tapping his head) ‘down there for dancing” pointing to his feet 🙂
    “Without money in the bank you’re just 70% water”
    My Darling Dad passed away 21 July 1991 – I miss him every day.

  6. What a beautiful post Tristan! Those are the best lessons. You’re Dad sounds like a very wise man. Having lost mine when I was 15, and after all these years, I can easily say, you are right, you will always need him. Although mine is no longer here physically, I know though he is always there with me, I just have to listen differently. Recently I read that one should celebrate Father’s Day and Birthdays as if they were here. So this year I will. I will celebrate Father’s Day by making his favourite meal. For all of us. Here’s to 12 and many more years for you with your Dad.

  7. Denise says:

    Tristan, beautiful sentiments and since I know your Dad, I quite agree. I lost my dad when I lived in Canada and you were, however, old you were in 1997. It was a shock because it was an accident. I remember spending Christmas with your family a couple of weeks after he died, curled up on a bed in a room and crying. It’s been 22 years and still, hardly a day goes by that I don’t think about my Dad and what I would like to tell him about my life. My dad taught me to be curious and embrace adventure. I know I’ve accomplished all that I have in part due to his positive attitude and constant encouragement that I could do whatever I wanted to accomplish. Thanks for igniting the memories! And congrats on joining the Design The Life You Want to Live team!