On June 22nd, 2006, my dad passed away after an 18 month battle with prostate cancer. He died peacefully, with dignity, lucid, and happy. He had made peace with both of his children, his wife and two ex-wives (including my mom), and I hope, himself.
Dad and I – he had fallen and bruised badly and was swollen from the cancer drugs. His gums were hurting, too, so he didn’t smile much for this picture. He elected to discontinue cancer treatment at this point, and died a happier man shortly afterward.
Not a day goes by when I do not think of my dad, and how Kale, whose middle name is my father’s, will never know my dad. My dad was not a storybook father. He spent many years as a drunk. He was sometimes emotionally distant and I remember he worked a lot and was not necessarily there for me as a child and teenager. But when he died three years ago, he was my friend, and the past was in the past where it shall forever remain.
A classic 70s family photo:
My dad had a great sense of humor, was a remarkably good dancer, lived a hard working life, and was respectful of the outdoors, especially the water. The jobs he held at various points in his life amaze me. Some of my fondest memories are either camping or boating. Dad had a heritage of mixed race – he was part Metis and part Caucasian, and as genetics would have it, so are my brother and I.
Jim and I July 8th, 2006 – the day we (and many friends) scattered Dad’s ashes in a special spot Dad had selected himself, off the shores of Nanaimo. You can’t see it, but I’m holding a Lucky Lager. Jim and I felt it was fitting that we buy a case for the boat ride and “pour one out for Dad”. He was a fan of Lucky Lager and it meant something to my brother and I to do this silly act.
A number of years before Dad was even diagnosed with cancer, he and his wife sold everything and retired to Costa Rica. My dad was the happiest I had ever seen him in his entire life, and it is in this frame I have memorized everything about him in my heart. He unexpectedly had to return from Costa Rica when his wife got ill, and it is a testament to his good nature that he simply returned, found a job, and came out of retirement to put food on the significantly more expensive table in Canada.
I miss him every day, but since Kale was born I miss him harder. Sometimes I forget he is gone and I think passingly to myself that I should call him and tell him about whatever milestone Kale has passed and tears well up when the logical part of my brain reminds me that he’s gone. So I tell him with my heart, and know that he’s with us.
I miss you, Dad.
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PS: Ironically, it is also Mooki’s birthday today. She’s 10. She’s currently snoring on the bed, on Ross’ pillow, as I type this. She looks good for an old lady.