David Bloom’s three daughters were all under 10 years old when they saw him for the last time before his tragic death in 2003, but they can still remember the poignant moment in their family home.
Twins Christine and Nicole Bloom, 29, and their sister, Ava Bloom, 23, were there to say goodbye before Bloom, a beloved NBC News correspondent, headed off to cover the war in Iraq.
The girls shared the last time they saw their father in an interview with NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander on "TODAY" to mark the 20th anniversary of Bloom’s death.
“We were all huddled in our in front entryway of our house and we all held hands in a circle and said the Our Father,” Christine Bloom said. “He hugged us all goodbye, and then he got in his black town car and drove down the street.
“After he passed, I had like recurring dreams that he was coming back down the street in that town car and he was coming home again.”
Bloom was 39 when he died on April 6, 2003, when a blood clot in his leg traveled to an artery in his lungs to cause a fatal pulmonary embolism, as a result of a condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). His widow, Melanie, has since become a leading advocate in raising awareness about DVT, as the clot in Bloom’s leg was likely brought on by spending long days and nights cramped inside armored vehicles.
The twins were 9 when he died and Ava Bloom was 3, and they cherish the short time they were able to spend with their doting dad. While he was known for a boyish enthusiasm that carried him through momentous reporting assignments like the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq, his girls remember him as a loving and devoted father.
“He would carry the three of us up the staircase with a twin under each arm and me on his shoulders,” Ava Bloom said. “He would pretend to lose his balance. We were screaming and laughing.”
They can still remember his last message to them.
“So when you’re missing me as I am missing you, remember to say a prayer for all the other boys and girls who are missing their mommies and daddies, too,” Nicole Bloom said he told them. “And yes, my dear sweet girls, when I’m a little bit scared, I promise you I will remember you and your mom, and I will know in my heart just how much you love me to the moon and back, right? Love, daddy.”
“I’m so grateful that he was able to talk to each one of the girls within 24 hours of losing his life,” Melanie said. “It’s so nice to know he heard each one of our voices.”
Bloom’s daughters also are thankful for a memento given to them by their father’s former NBC News soundman, Bobby Lapp. He returned to Iraq and brought home a bottle of sand from near where their father had died.
“A moment in time that really changed our family, and having a physical piece of that is really meaningful,” Ava Bloom said.
Alexander also gave them a firsthand look at the famed “Bloom-mobile,” the one-of-a-kind armored vehicle Bloom helped design as a mobile news unit that helped him report from the war’s front lines.
Even after death, Bloom has remained a vibrant presence in his family’s lives.
“After he passed, I used to keep a diary that I would write to him,” Christine Bloom said. “Random, but I would say, instead of, ‘Dear Diary,’ I would say, ‘Dear Daddy.’
“And if I was struggling with something, I’d be like, ‘Can you please help me, and kind of like reaching out to him up in heaven.”
The three women are now an actor, paralegal and a graduate student who wonder what it would be like if their father was here. Nicole Bloom figures he would be “going to the most dangerous parts of the world, still seeking those stories.”
Melanie, who has since remarried, shared what she believes her husband would think about the women his daughters have become.
“I think, looking down, he’s got to be so proud of the young ladies that they’ve become,” Melanie said.