Monday, June 24, 2013

It's not too late

My dad passed away on Father's Day. I'm still trying to process; it just feels like he is on a long business trip. Every once and a while, it hits me that he really is gone. It's hard to handle.

1958 ~ 2013
Michael W. Devine, 54, passed from this life, with his wife by his side, to return to Heavenly Father on June 16, 2013. He succumbed to injuries sustained in an automobile accident while on business in San Diego.
Mike was born to David R. Devine and Billie Ann Smith Devine, December 20, 1958 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
He enjoyed his childhood years in Nevada, graduated from Reno High School. He was proud and honored to serve as a missionary in the Switzerland Zurich Mission. Mike married Rita Cromar in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. They would have celebrated 30 years of marriage in July.
After graduating from BYU, Mike attended London School of Economics where he and Rita were blessed with three beautiful children. The Devine family returned to the United States and Mike received his Juris Doctorate from Georgetown Law School. Mike began his law career in Salt Lake City and also worked tirelessly for his family's business. He spent the last decade of his life following his passion by working with Native American tribes.
Mike loved the Lord, and enjoyed serving and teaching in his LDS ward. He knew how to make all those he came in contact with feel important and appreciated. He was creative, artistic, and a lover of knowledge. Fun-loving, witty, and generous to a fault, Mike's greatest joy was his family.
Mike is survived by his wife Rita Cromar Devine; his children Gretchen, Christian and Jeremy; his mother Billie Ann Devine; his sisters Stacy Devine, Kristin (Richard) Hart, Erin (Shannon) White; His in-laws; Dale and Hevia Cromar, Ken (Barbara), James (Esteban), Rick and his many nieces, nephews, and loved ones.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 22nd at 11:00 a.m. in the Federal Heights LDS chapel at 1300 East Fairfax Road, Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to the service, the family will greet friends beginning at 9:30.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the American Indian Services Scholarship Fund (801-375-1777).
The Devine family thanks the staff of the Sharp Memorial Hospital for the exceptional care given in Mike's last moments.

My dad and I had a lot of things in common. We both loved learning new things. We both had quirky interests. We both loved traveling, trying new foods, and reading. We were sometimes awkward with people, saying the wrong things at the wrong time, or telling jokes that were too obscure. We were opinionated and wanted to be well-informed. We traded NPR podcasts and New York Times articles.

But we were also very different.

My dad embraced his eccentricities. I do everything to hide mine. My dad seemed like he was never embarrassed. I am always on edge, trying not to say or do the wrong things. From chatting up Mitt Romney on flight back from D.C., to having too-long conversations with the cashier at the gas station, my dad loved to talk with anyone and everyone. I usually choose to keep quiet instead of say something wrong, even with dear friends and family. My dad was open, loving, friendly, and genuine. I don't know how he kept up that sort of vulnerability. Too me, it sounds exhausting. My dad was also often too generous, too trusting. I've rarely made those mistakes.  All the things I avoided (small talk, conversations with strangers, getting to know new people), he loved.

For the past while, I've been irritated by the choices my dad had made. He was far from perfect, (P.S. so am I) and to deal with that, I chose to keep my distance. So among all the emotions I've felt over the past week, the worst has been regret. Why couldn't I just call him up every once and a while? Or just sit with him on the couch when I came home on the weekends? Or just be patient when he messed up? I consciously chose not to spend time with him; my rejection was deliberate. And it makes me so so sad.

Now I'm looking up articles about regret and moving forward, listening to TED talkstrying to get perspective. I don't want to get stuck. All I can do is take the good things I learned from my dad, the example he set, and try and be more like him. I can honor his memory by being more loving and kind.

I just really miss him.

My mom and I talked about how my dad was such an optimist, and we like to think of ourselves not as cynical, but realistic. Now it's time to adopt my dad's outlook on life. Despite all my regrets, I guess I should be grateful that there is still time to become the person I want to be. It's not too late.


  1. I only had a few encounters with your dad, but I will always remember him as fun-loving, friendly and generous. He certainly left a legacy on this earth. What a wonderful opportunity to have grown up with him as your father, and for him to have you as his daughter.

    1. Thanks Allison. You're a sweetheart.

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Gretchen. To be honest is brave. I too have had these sort of feelings in different relationships in my life lately. It's hard not to sometimes. However, thank you for the wake up call. I need to be better at embracing and appreciating differences.

    I can't tell you how much we love your family. We have been thinking and praying about you daily and continue to do so. What a gift it is to have the Gospel. Although that doesn't always seem to make things clear when we're in the midst of so much sorrow, it gives us hope that all will be made right in time.

    1. We love you guys too! I'm glad I got to see your family for a split second last week.

  3. oh Gretchen, i am so sorry! I hope things get easier for you and your sweetest family! I will keep you in my prayers. xo!

    1. Thank you Jessie. Glad to we ran into each other a few weeks ago. Hope it happens again sooner rather than later.

  4. Thanks for inspiring me to live better. And thanks to your dad for living well in so many ways. That you are this far in processing and willing to share is incredible. You're right. It's not too late. I needed to hear that too.

  5. this is really a beautiful post, Gretchen. YOU are inspiring to me. love you!