If you don't learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it.
Kenneth Cupps

My father, Kenneth Cupps, died on Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 3:20pm.

He’d had a long fight with cancer, and kept beating the odds and pushing back the clock. He had been declared terminal early in 2005 and given three months by the doctors. He kept going, not defiant, but determined to get as much life out of his body as he could.

We’ve considered that year a blessing.

Everyone who knew and loved him had a chance to talk with him, and say their goodbyes, so when he died there were no regrets, no ‘if onlys’.

He was able to see my boys grow up a bit more, especially Ander, who he watched grow from a cooing baby to a tootsieroll-toting toddler (Dad’s candy of choice). He got a glimpse of the men my boys would grow up to be.

He was around to witness the birth of Samuel, my brother Dan’s first child.

He was aware and although weak and tired from the drugs, vital and ‘Dad’, living at home until the week before his death, when he grew fragile to the point where we needed to place him in Hospice in Ames. There they respected his dignity, and cared for him as the great man he was.

Dad was well-known for turning every moment into a teaching moment. He shared a final lesson with us a few minutes before he passed that I would like to share.

His breathing had become weak and staggered-each time he’d stop we’d pause at his bedside, wondering if this was his last, then he would take another breath. Finally, he stopped and didn’t resume after what we’d come to consider the normal delay. We all sighed and through tears, my sister signaled for the nurse to come. Then Dad took another breath. Out of nowhere we all burst out laughing…the nurses entered and wondered what was going on….we just laughed some more.

A few moments later, Dad finally passed, but he left us with one final, joy-filled moment with him that has a very simple, yet very profound message: Treasure every moment. Even in the darkest times you can find something to laugh and be joyful about, and that will help pull you through.

I love you, Dad. I know I’ll see you again, but until then say ‘hi’ to the family over there, and I’ll enjoy the moments I have here until we meet again. I hope I’ll have some wonderful lessons-learned to share.

Memories of Ken

Oct 9, 2011

He was a great dad