Saying Goodbye to a Great Man

Pretty sure we were supposed to leave for Switzerland on June 26, weren’t we? Well… unfortunately, the day before Andrew and I were supposed to depart my father back home in Virginia suffered a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (a major blood clot in his brain). I flew home from SF to Virginia on a redeye flight on Thursday June 25 and Andrew followed on Friday evening. I made it in time to spend the day with my father in his last moments before the doctors had to declare his medical brain death. The brain swelling and pressure in his skull due to the thrombosis had been too much for his brain to handle. Following his wishes, we decided to have his life support removed the evening of Friday June 26. He passed away within minutes in the arms of my mom, me and my sister, surrounded by loving family and friends as Pink Floyd’s Great Gig in the Sky played.

A funeral wasn’t up to Dad’s ways, so we held a Celebration of Life at Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, Virginia on the covered patio deck. We had an incredible turnout, with well over 100 people in attendance from all walks of Dad’s life – his former co-workers, rock climbing and backpacking buddies, fellow Potomac Appalachian Trail Club members, family, friends and neighbors. It was an emotional day, but such a wonderful occasion to celebrate his life and share memories of him together. This past Tuesday, my family did a hike up to the Big Schloss near Woodstock, VA to scatter Dad’s ashes at the location he had specified to be his forever resting place. At the same time, we scattered our lately departed golden retriever Dory’s ashes, so he has an eternal canine companion 🙂

Here he is! My Dad, Owen Howard Griffing. Born August 6, 1958 and left us on June 26, 2015. Loved this man and I’m proud to carry on his legacy!
A view from the top of the Big Schloss on the Mill Mountain Trail, near where we scattered Dad’s ashes.
A view from the top of the Big Schloss along the Mill Mountain Trail, near where we scattered Dad’s ashes.

This has by far been the most difficult time in my life so far and there has been much sorrow. But in light of the sadness, and lost hopes for what may have been, I know that I have a lot of great things in my future and a life changing move coming up. I’m moving to Europe for two years! And Dad shared my excitement for this move and supported me whole heartedly. I am so thankful that I have had time to be home with family in Virginia before we leave for Switzerland. KPMG has been flexible with our timing, and so Andrew and I have delayed our start date with KPMG Switzerland until Monday July 20. Our original flights we booked were, thank goodness, fully refundable. Everything has worked out, and we’ve been able to spend the last two weeks in Virginia sorting out my father’s affairs and spending time with family and friends, and even fitting in some time at the family beach house in Maryland and a day in Dewey Beach, Deleware. We rescheduled our flights, and we’re flying out tomorrow (!!!) Friday July 10 and arriving in Lausanne on Saturday July 11. While I have been hit with the loss of my father, I am still excited for what the future holds and I can’t wait to get to Switzerland and climb the Swiss Alps in honor of my Dad!

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