On November 24, 2013 we lost my father, Wayne Devere Martinsen to Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He was diagnosed in August and told he had 2 weeks to 4 months left. He was a trouper and did well for almost two months, but the chemo-therapy he tried actually did more damage and he suffered in pain for the last two months of his life. He left behind my mom, Henrietta, my siblings, Rodney, Suzanne and Joelle – 26 grand children and 5 great-grand children.
While reflecting on my Dad’s life I remember so many things about him that make me want to emulate his life and his example to everyone about how to live with honor and integrity and how to love unconditionally.
My father was always generous with his time and talents, and he could do ANYTHING. Whenever something broke, he could always fix it. He was never afraid to get his hands dirty and there was no project that was beneath him. As the saying goes, he would “give the shirt off his back” to anyone in need. He taught me woodworking, auto mechanics, home building and restoration, and instilled in all of his children the sense there was no challenge we couldn’t tackle if we just put our mind to it.
At the age of 51 he single-handedly built his dream home. A 2,200 square foot log cabin on 80 acres he purchased from his brother, Lynn. And until just weeks before his passing he was on his computer sending emails and surfing the world wide web for news and answers to questions. I enjoyed weekly face-time conversations with he and Mom through Skype.
Dad taught us how to survive in the wilderness and how to fish and hunt for our food if necessary. He took us camping for a week every summer in the High Uintah’s. We hiked miles to find some of the most beautiful untouched fishing holes and with his expert fly fishing skills he taught us how to catch enough for dinner that night. I was never jealous of the kids at school who told stories of going to Disneyland and other exotic places because I got to tell them about our fun on the Mountain.
He had the greatest sense of humor, but never at the expense of anyone but himself – and taught us how to laugh at obstacles and things we couldn’t change. Just two weeks before his passing he was helping us laugh at his illness. When he was first diagnosed with cancer and given only short time left to live he said, “Well at least I beat Alzheimer’s disease!”
I miss he and mom coming to Napa to help us make wine. Over the years they participated in every aspect of our wine making operation from harvest, through crush, racking, bottling, labeling, and capsuling. They loved coming each year to participate. We even named one of the first vintages after he and mom “Winetta” a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Syrah – a delightful wine the entire family loved.
Thank you, Dad, for helping me to be grateful for everything that comes to me in my life, and for teaching me how to solve any problem I face. I love you forever and will talk with you soon. May I follow in your footsteps and be a shining example of unconditional love to all I meet and know in this life and beyond!