Three Years Ago Today

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.

From Family

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:

From Family

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.

From Family

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.

From Family

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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.

9 years ago

4 Comments

  1. Very nice Jen. Your dad was a good sport and the funniest story I can remember was at Jamie’s first wedding and he spent (Jamie) many hours on the seating arrangements so that the Ex-wives would not have to be near one another, but true to our lives where did we all end up. In the pub upstairs all of us. Wife # 1 , #2, and #3 Your dad my current husband and we got started comparing notes. What a hoot. Rick said he was feeling sorry for Fred as the wives were picking on him (In fun) then the infamous Ken arrived and the laughter continued with more tales. Poor Fred. I too think of him. He is in a better place.

  2. Thanks for posting this Jen!!

    Last week was my Mum’s birthday (17th) and your post really rang true with my feelings.
    I know how it feels to want to call your parent up and tell them the milestones, or ask questions and what they would do.
    It’s difficult, but thankfully my sister had my Mum’s guidance raising her first child, so I can tap in to her.

    My Mum too had peace with her cancer and knew she would be happier in the end when she was no longer suffering. It was easy for her to accept it but has been hard for us. When someone who is a guidepost to the entire family leaves, there is a real disconnect, and we’re still all struggling to find our way.

    I too miss her everyday but I know she is here and watching over us all. I wish Aidan could have met her but I do believe he did before he was given to us.

    I’m sure your Dad is right there with you experiencing all the milestones as well. 🙂

  3. lovely tribute, Jen. I get the sentiment – the closeness even with someone who wasn’t perfect. It’s almost like the bond is stronger because you both had to overlook or overcome something to get there.
    thanks for sharing.

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