Tuesday, April 29, 2014

5 Years Ago Today

Five years ago today, on April 29, 2009, my father, Jan Albert Iverson, passed away.

In August of 2007, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He hadn't smoked during his life. The cancer was a result of years of acid reflux problems.


On September 9, 2007, we traveled up to Oakland, California where my dad would have surgery to remove the cancerous tumor the next day.

We took this family photo the day before his surgery in Oakland. One of my sisters-in-law couldn't be with us. From left to right: my husband Brent, myself, my brother, my dad, my mom, my brother and his wife.




My dad's surgery took around 10-12 hours. The surgeon removed the cancerous tumor which was in the lower part of my dad's esophagus. After the surgery, my dad had radiation and chemotherapy treatments. He also had a feeding tube inserted in his stomach. During my dad's struggle with cancer and the complications associated with it, he lost about 100 pounds. He also seemed to age 20 years. A once active, vibrant man had become so frail. But, my dad was an inspiring example of enduring to the end. He patiently and bravely faced the trials he was going through.

These two pictures were taken only six months after my dad's surgery. We were celebrating his 72nd birthday.





This photo was taken on September of 2008, one year after my dad's surgery. He was hugging one of our sons.



I took a photography class in the fall of 2008 at a local junior college. As part of an assignment, I took this photo of my dad and mom. This was also taken in September of 2008. How much my dad's appearance had changed in just one year!



My dad became weaker and weaker over time. I stubbornly refused to believe that he he was going to die. I thought he would regain his strength when he was going to physical therapy. But, he was wasting away before our eyes.

I took a beginning Photoshop class in early 2009 at the same junior college I had taken the photography class. My dad passed away near the end of the semester. This was my final assignment for that class. It's titled "Broken Heart." I know it could have been much better, but I was just learning Photoshop at the time.


Broken Heart

Because my dad was a Korean War veteran, he was buried with military honors.







We all miss my dad very much. But we know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we will be able to see and be with my dad again. Our family can be together for eternity. What comfort the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings. This life is not the end. We can see and be with our loved ones again. That knowledge is what helps with the grief and sadness of missing our family members when they pass away.

To end this post, I'll leave you with a few pictures of my dad from happier times before his cancer diagnosis.


This was taken in March of 2006 at a local restaurant. We were celebrating my dad's 70th birthday.



Here's a photo of my dad goofing around with his one of his brothers. My dad is the one sitting in the chair.



These next three are photos of my dad with some of his grandchildren when they were little kids.







My dad loved his family and we love him.

Thanks for reading!


© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

26 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry for your dad's passing, Jana -- and so thankful for the blessings of the gospel. You've shared a beautiful tribute to him. Blessings to you and the rest of his family.

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  2. This is a wonderful and touching tribute to your father. It's so special that you have such nice photos of him with you and your family members, to remember the happier times. My sympathies!

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    1. Thank you so very much Melanie. It is a blessing to have these photos of him from happier times.

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  3. What a loving, heartfelt tribute to your dad and a life well lived, Jana. So sorry for your loss. It's good that you have such a supportive family to help you remember the good times you shared together. I hope that brings some comfort to you now.

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  4. Jana, I know that time must have been so difficult for all of your family. Thank you for sharing such a touching tribute of your father.

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    1. Hi Jacqi,

      Yes, it was a very difficult time for us. It was terrible to see the toll cancer and the accompanying complications took on my dad. But, he was amazingly patient and endured his trials with grace. Thank you for stopping by.

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  5. Five years goes by pretty fast, doesn't it. I'm sure your dad's face, and voice, and personality are just as vivid to you today as 5 years ago. I'm glad you shared these photos of your dad.

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    1. Thank you Wendy. Yes, in some ways, the five years since he passed away has gone by fast. So much has happened with our family - all of our children have grown into adults, our two youngest sons are serving LDS missions, the wedding of our oldest daughter took place and now one of our sons is getting married in the near future. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  6. Jana, very sorry of read of your loss. It is great to have happy memories to focus on. Writing about him may be painful but will let the future generations know how special he was & continues to be in your heart.

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    1. Thank you so much Colleen. I do hope my descendants will read this and know what a wonderful father and person my dad was. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Jana this is such a sweet and tender post. Thank goodness for the gospel perspective that helps us face such hard things. This was a beautiful tribute to your father.

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    1. Thank you Michele. I'm so very thankful for the gospel in my life, and for the comfort it brings. Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. It must have been very difficult to see your father deteriorate so drastically

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    1. Hi Carol, Yes, it was so very difficult to see my dad deteriorate so quickly. But, it's comforting to know that he's not suffering anymore and that our family will be able to see and be with him again someday. Thank you for stopping by.

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  9. Thinking of you Jana and sending {{hugs}}.

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    1. Thank you Gini. You're very sweet!

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  10. What a touching story you've written to honor the anniversary of your father's passing, Jana. He lives on in your heart and in your family.

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  11. Oh, Jana....what a tender and beautifully written tribute to your father. I love that you've included photos of the happy memories you and your family shared with him. May God bless him and your family.

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    1. Thank you very much Linda. I wanted to end on a happy note. And it's comforting to know that we will be able to see and be with my dad again someday.

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  12. You marked the anniversary of his passing with a beautiful tribute. Love shines through in all of the pictures you included.

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