Oren Miller, a stay-at-home dad who chronicled his life with his family on the blog A Blogger And A Father, and founded a Facebook community for his fellow dad bloggers, died of lung cancer on Saturday, February 28, 2015. The Maryland father of two was 42 years old.
In a blog post that ran here on HuffPost Parents last year, Miller wrote about receiving his diagnosis in May 2014, and finding "Heaven on Earth," as he called it, as a parent to his children, Liam and Madeline.
The piece, which resonated widely across the web, described a 2010 trip to the beach during which he had a life-changing epiphany. "I realized I had been experiencing the biggest tragedy of human existence: I was having the time of my life, and I didn't even know it," he wrote. "That was a good day, since once you make that decision, man... You're in Heaven every single second of your life."
Miller "found heaven" in long car rides with his kids, on the floor of a basketball court where he played with his daughter, and in buying his dream house with his wife Beth just three months before he was diagnosed, he wrote.
"It's the house where my kids will grow up, and it breaks my heart," he explained. "I don't care about myself, I really don't. I've had the most amazing life anyone could ever wish to have, but there's one thing... There's one thing I would give anything for: watching my kids grow up."
Miller's powerful words made an impact on parents across the Internet. On the HuffPost Parents Facebook page, reader Greg Millette wrote, "This man has just made me a better father to a 6-year-old son who seems to greatly resemble his own son."
Aaron Gouveia, who blogs at The Daddy Files, told HuffPost Parents about the significance of the Dad Bloggers community Miller founded on Facebook. "It's a place to vent, brag, cry, ask questions, and get support. It's become an invaluable part of life for more than 1,000 dads, all because of Oren," he said.
Miller's close friend Brent Almond, who blogs at Designer Daddy, delivered a eulogy at the funeral touching on Miller's passion for uniting dads. Almond told HuffPost Parents that Miller was truly an incredible father himself. "I've never seen someone command such respect while simultaneously showing so much compassion. And all while keeping his cool. Being a dad was his super power," he said.
Following the 2014 news of Miller's diagnosis, the dad blogging community came together in support of the family, and they have so far raised more than $36,000 to help out with medical expenses.
Since Miller's passing on Saturday, the outpouring of support in a different form of currency -- words -- has also been enormous. Using the hashtag #Dads4Oren, fellow parents have been posting tributes on Facebook, expressing how Miller made such an impact in the community.
"He was a proud stay-at-home dad, who embraced his role, and was on the forefront of fighting to have it recognized as a valuable contribution for any man to give to both his home and society," wrote The National At-Home Dad Network.
CJ Marshall added, "Oren was a man many strive to be like. A blogger, a husband, and an amazing father. His passing strikes the heart of thousands; literally. He built a community and developed a bond between men of every race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, and belief system. He loved everyone and wanted nothing more than to make life better for others."
Another hashtag, #LoveWalkForOren, created Monday, has inspired parents to go outside, take a moment to honor Miller, and post images of these memorials on Facebook. Here's dad Tommy Riles' #LoveWalk:
"Oren's made a genuine difference in the lives of many people, and his was a voice of reason that carried weight," Gouveia said. "His battle with cancer was absolutely awe-inspiring, because he somehow managed to focus more on life than impending death. He reminded us all to focus on our kids in the moment and be more mindful parents."'
One thing that is abundantly clear is how much Miller loved his family. "I'm the luckiest sonofab*tch who's ever walked this earth, and we know I will be loved until my last moment by people it has been my utmost privilege to know: by a wife I adore and two kids I'm in awe of every single moment," he wrote. At a Dad 2.0 summit, he talked on camera about the best parts of being a dad; here, in his own words, is what he loved most about being a father:
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