August 24, 2011

Guest Post Series ~ Post by, Shannon Szemenyei of Sweet Stellas

My Dad
Meaningful Person Guest Post by, Shannon Szemenyei of

I’m not really sure where to begin with this guest post. When I saw the tweet from Bellflower Books that they were looking for guest bloggers to write about influential people in their lives, I immediately thought of the most influential one in mine; my Dad.
Writing about my Dad is difficult. You see, he passed away very suddenly in 2005 from a massive heart attack. My boyfriend at the time (who later in life became my husband and the father of our gorgeous son) and I were at a Halloween costume dance with my best friend and her boyfriend at the time when I got the news from two police officers. (a story for another day…)
So…when I think of his influence, it hits my heart and soul in a very very meaningful way. I think of the times when I was a child and I would absolutely give up on sports. He would encourage me to try again, but knew that at the heart of it…I just wasn’t into it. I was content to sit and draw, or write poetry and stories. When he saw how happy it made me to engage in the more artsy things, he tried his best to foster that love in me.
I recall many Thursday nights when my mom was off at choir practice for church, and Dad would go to the basement, strap on his ear phones and drum. He was the type of musician who could play by ear, not by sheet music, and it was such an incredible experience for him to give me the nod to join him. He had this special attachment that would split the earphone jack into two so we could both listen. What a sight to see we were; both hooked up to headphones, him drumming and me singing! He taught me to love music…to feel it, and to let it guide me wherever I go.
Then came my high school years and the challenges with math and science. I wanted so badly to be a biological oceanographer (ie: marine biologist) and our dream was to get a boat and study orcas and bottlenose dolphins off the coast of British Columbia. Dad was going to be my undersea photographer. I think he really just wanted to swim with the whales. When I hit a road block in grade 11 with math and really really struggled, he encouraged me to try again. I did…and it didn’t go well. My brain just doesn’t work that way; it’s wired too creatively for trigonometry!  Recognizing that, my Dad sought to again, foster that love of the arts in me.
He certainly was a proud Poppa when I graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a double degree in Fine Art and History in June 2005. He even yelled “Way to go, Beans!” when they announced my name. In an arena of some 10,000 parents and loved ones, there was my Dad, yelling at the top of his lungs. It is a moment of pride that I will never ever forget.
He passed away a few short months after my graduation, but that moment will forever be etched in my mind. He was my biggest fan, and the works of art that were his absolute favourite under the sun, were created by me. How amazing is that?! Those are works that I absolutely will never part with because he is a part of them.
Five years later, when I look back on the last moments that I had with my Dad, I recall sharing ice cream sundaes, going for movie dates to see Shrek, and him being there on every step of my journey to become who he always imagined that I would be. He believed in me, heart and soul, and I truly believe that he guides my hand with every brushstroke that I make and every piece of paper that I cut.
To learn more about Shannon and her beautiful work, please visit her blog:
and her website:
Comment from Bellflower Books:   This post is very close to my heart.  I too have an absolutely amazing and supportive father who I am incredibly close to.  I am very fortunate that a couple of years ago my husband and I moved our family back to our hometown so that we could be closer to our parents. I see my dad everyday and everyday I am appreciative of the time we spend together.  I admire Shannon so much for writing this post.  It made me cry just to read it, so I can only imagine how difficult it was to write.  It is a nice way to remind those of us with excellent fathers how very lucky we are! 

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful post! Your father(s) sound like amazing people! It makes me want to be more thankful for the time I still have with my parents!


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