The Finality of Life: A Tribute to Oren

orenLife is finite. That is a fact. But coming to that realization is difficult.

In late October of 2013, Ben and I had just started doing our podcast, The Poppin’ Bottles Dad-Cast. Shortly thereafter, we were introduced to the guys at Life of Dad. They quickly invited us to join a Facebook group for Dad Bloggers. Little did I know at the time, but that group was about to become a major piece of my life.

The man who started that group in 2012, Oren Miller had this idea “so crazy it might just work” to bring dad bloggers from across the globe together, as one. What started small is now a group over 1,000 men strong. It’s a place for dads of all backgrounds to come together, work on our craft, hone our skills, find support, vent, and almost anything else under the sun. It’s a place for debate, for friendship, for fatherhood. It is because of the members of this group–and part of Oren’s brainchild–that the idea of the modern father is shifting. The bumbling, hapless dad is being kicked to the curb–hopefully for good.

Why am I telling you all this? Last May, Oren let us know that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. He penned a post while in the hospital that was so beautiful, so inspiring, and so breathtaking that it brought me to tears while I sat at my desk reading it. At that point, his fight was just beginning. At that point, we as a group wanted to give Oren and his family one last vacation before his treatments began. The goal was to raise $5000. As I sit here right now, we’ve raise over $35,000 for Oren and his family. If you’d like to help them, visit here.

Fast-forward to two days ago. Many of the members of the Dad Bloggers group had just returned from attending the Dad 2.0 Summit–a place where an announcement was made that the scholarship to help fund dads in need attend the summit was renamed in Oren’s name–to hear from Oren that his fight was over. There were no treatments. Chemo was doing more harm than good. This was it. Days, maybe weeks were left for him. It turned out to be five days. Oren passed on Saturday, February 28.

I’ve been sitting here since Oren broke the news to us, not knowing what to say. I’ve never met Oren Miller in my life. I’ve spoken to him online, plenty. I read his posts. He’s read mine. We’ve conversed many times in the Dad Bloggers group.

I’m filled with so much sadness for him. For his wife, Beth. For his young son and daughter. His kids are around the same age as Sophia and Maddie. Oren isn’t much older than I am. I keep trying to put myself in those shoes. And I can’t do it. The pain is difficult to fathom. Oren has seemingly handled it with such grace that it leaves me in awe. I don’t want to say goodbye. Selfishly. I don’t want to see Oren’s name stop showing up in comments. I don’t want to see the beautiful words that he writes go away.

Thank you, Oren, for starting something that means so much to so many. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it. And thank you for letting your words when you were diagnosed resonate with so many. You’re going to be missed more than words can ever describe, but the legacy and community you have built will live on forever. We’ll see to that, my friend.

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