From the Passenger’s Seat

“From the Passenger’s Seat”  by Megan Brehm
Megan Brehm and her father Pete Brehm talk about their relationship and what Father’s Day means to them.
My dad is my hero.
He didn’t have the perfect childhood and came from less than ideal circumstances but he didn’t let that define him.
He built a career for himself and a family and made the best of it.
He coached me in sports growing up and always pushed me to do my best.
When I got older and played sports, he never missed a game. I can’t think of a single game, dance recital, school function, or life event he hasn’t been at.
He always took my sister and me on adventures – fishing, hiking, camping, trips to the beach.
My dad has been my rescuer a few times as well – times where I needed saving he was right there to do the job.
I have gotten my love of birds, Jeeps, and whiskey from my dad.
He is everything a father should be and more—the person I can go to.
I think when you do everything “right” in regards to your health—eat well, exercise, stay in shape—like my dad did, it seems impossible for cancer to even be a thought.
So when the diagnosis came, I think it was just such a shock.
I remember my stepmom telling me we needed to be strong for him, and I totally agreed because he had been strong for me all his life.
I think my dad was so used to always being active and doing projects around the house and going to the gym, that when he started on chemo and couldn’t do those things, it was very hard for him.
He is a doer, always on the move and always getting things done. And he no longer had the energy to do that the way he used to.
My dad has tried everyday since June 26, 2017 to show cancer that it will not define him and will not be his keeper. He says “F you” to cancer every day and doesn’t allow it to dictate what he can and can’t do.
Beyond that, he has taught me to be positive about everything.
There are some things that are outside of our control, and he has taught me to just roll with the punches, don’t sweat the small stuff.
He has taught me that not everything is going to go your way, and that’s okay.
He is the man that all other men have been compared to and will be compared to forever.
Father’s Day is a day where you get to express the gratitude you feel every day. Sure the cards and gifts are nice, but it’s more about sharing the day with one another.
I don’t necessarily have a favorite memory with my dad as it is a place—the beach.
The beach has always been a place where my family goes to forget about the “real world”—the stress of work and errands and chores.
We go to the beach for hours a day, and only leave to eat lunch. We play games at night and drink and eat good food and just enjoy the company of our family.
One year when I was about 7, it was just my dad, my sister, and me. And I think that was one of the best vacations I’ve ever been on.
We didn’t have a schedule or anywhere we needed to be, it was just about the three of us being together.
I think the diagnosis made us closer. You start to think about things differently when the future is so uncertain.
I previously used to go to Cancer to 5K meetups sporadically, but then registered myself as a Sherpa so I could see him at least twice a week every week and share that experience with him.
Life is busy but I think as a family we started making more time for each other and communicating more.
I have been more open with my dad about what he means to me and how he has impacted me.
When I was younger, he came up with a phrase: CCNT.
It stands for cancel, cancel negative thought. It is the best advice he has given me.
My dad has always had a positive outlook on life and has always taught me to do the same.
I would not be the positive person I am today without his guidance.
Read Pete’s story below.
From the driver’s seat


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