MONUMENT, Colo. (KXRM) — Dennis Driml attempts to go fishing at least once a week. Sometimes, it’s to escape life’s stresses. Other times, it’s to reminisce on the people who have impacted his life.
“Five years ago, this guy kept coming up to me,” Driml said. “He was really intrusive on my fishing area. He came up and said, ‘Did you catch anything?’
“He got real, real close. I looked, and it was my brother (Mike). That was the last time I’d seen him until I picked him up in a box.”
In the last few years, Dennis not only had to say goodbye to his younger brother, but also his older sibling, Craig.
“Both my brothers died homeless,” Dennis Driml said. “I couldn’t find them. That hurts.”
When Dennis casts a fishing line on the water, he does so in memory of his brothers, but also his late daughter, Melissa, who passed away in 2001. She spent most of her life in a wheelchair, battling moderate to severe brain damage and cerebral palsy.
Dennis and his wife, Kim, will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary on June 2. He credits his better half for allowing Melissa, who would be 41 years old today, to have the most beneficial years toward the end of her life.
“I can still feel her,” Driml said. “It’s been 20 years. I can still feel her laying on my chest. Trying to explain to her little brother, who was only 2 at the time.”
“‘Where’s Missy,'” he asked his father.
“She went to heaven to help. Then, 9/11 happened. That’s why they took the angel. (They knew) something was about to happen.”
Driml has also recently had to battle his own health. With nine surgeries, he jokes that the hospital will give him his own kitchenware to keep in the building.
“It got to a point where I’d ask the hospital, ‘Where’s my coffee cup,'” Driml said. “Yeah, the one with my name on it. They actually made one with my name on it.
“It was rough. I crawled to the bathroom one day. I couldn’t walk, so I called for the bathroom. That was about a year and a half ago. I couldn’t do it. I had my wife help me.”
His son, Cody, and grandson, Jak, now keep him company on the water, which has also inspired him to write a book, just in case he forgets how to fish.
“I told myself I’m still going to go fishing. This still brings my reality back. Between all the surgeries, the MRSA infections, the colostomy bag and all the bologna I went through, I got five master angler awards.
“I just want to let people know, man. You don’t lay on the couch. You get out. No matter the condition, no matter what your condition, call me. I’ll help. I’ll take you fishing.”