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.

Gotta Grow a Mo – Join The Movember Mustachio Bashio!

Last year, I joined the Movember party late. Judging from the sweet stache I had by the end of the month, I’d say I arrived fashionably late. Oh, you don’t like my mustache? Well, get in line with every lady I’ve ever met. Ever. Including my wife. Including my daughters. Ok, well only Sophia can voice her displeasure with it, but I’m pretty positive Maddie isn’t a fan either, judging from the looks she’s been sending my way.

Am I rambling? I do that, sometimes. I was pretty sure I had a point to this whole post. Ah, yes, Movember. In all seriousness, folks, I’m not just growing this amazing mustache for all the weirded-out looks I receive. I’m doing it for a reason–I want to help change the face of men’s health. I want you to join me in my fundraising efforts I know, men’s health is an all-encompassing phrase, but there are many aspects to it that need to be talked about, that need to have attention raised for. I’m 32-years old. In the not-too-distant future, I’ll be walking into the doctors office for a prostate exam–and presumably walking out a little uncomfortably. That honestly terrifies me. Prostate cancer terrifies me. Did you know that prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men? Because it is. In 2014, more than 233,000 men alone will be diagnosed with it. If you want to know more about prostate cancer, please go and read about it.

Testicular cancer terrifies me. One of my high school buddies, who was a whopping two days younger than me died from testicular cancer not long after graduating college. Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in young men ages 15 to 35. I’m almost right in that wheelhouse.

There needs to be more research on every aspect of men’s health. Men–we need to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us. I know, going to the doctor sucks. I hate going. If I have a cold, I’m not going to the doctor. If I have the flu, chances are I won’t be going to the doctor. Although now that I have kids, the chances of me going to the doctor have risen. That’s not really the point, though. We need to, not only take care of our bodies and our minds, but we need to listen to them. Something small could wind up turning into something large. And you very well could catch it if you have yourself checked by a healthcare professional.

Look, I’m not a doctor–I just play one on TV–but this is something we should all pay attention to. I need to do a better job myself. That’s the number one reason that I’m growing this mustache that will soon have me banned from my own bed.

Please, do me a favor and help support me and my fellow men that are growing these sweet, sweet Mo’s for our health. Check out my fundraising site at Every dollar helps. If you don’t, I’ll never shave this mustache, and that’s just bad for everyone.