|Dad at age 92|
My father is gone.
He has been absent for four years. He left in 2008. Since his departure, May 1st each year marks his final day on earth. I’m not playing with you here. My father passed away, passed from this life, died, on March 1, 2008. There is in my life a profound and thoughtful impression that he is gone. I do not expect my children and grandchildren to share this. My two brothers own this awareness yet each of them recall our father with a filter fashioned from their individual experience of him.
I am the eldest of this sibling trio. I knew Dad when he was a younger man. I knew him briefly when he had only me. I knew him when my mother was young and dark-haired and slim. As time moved forward my experience of Dad included the way he related to each of my brothers in their infancies and boyhood and adolescence. I knew Dad when his 5 foot six inch frame was strong and his thin mustache suave. I knew him always as a good man, a gentle man, a gentleman.
My brothers Murray, five years junior to me, and Neale, eleven years younger than me, processed their experience of Dad as he changed through the years, some for which I was not around. I was first away at college and home in the summers and then married and finally working in other cities. When both Murray and I were away from home, Neale had some years alone with Mom and Dad before he himself was married. In the last years, Murray, who lived near Dad and Mom became the exemplary caregiver to our aging senior parents. In the last years, Murray almost daily went for a chat and a coffee with my father and I lived four provinces away. Words fail to express the admiration I have for Murray. He served my father and he served us all in his loving care of my folks.
My activities, my gestures, my handicaps, my habits, and the way I appear to myself when looking in the mirror, often evoke memories of my father. I am not my father but I subtly resemble him. In many ways I am very different from my father and yet sometimes I think that I now know how he felt about life and relationships as he was aging. I myself am in my sixty-ninth year and clinging to it as on September 13th I become a 70 year old man.
My father set a good example for me. I believe that like him I have been a good man, not inherently good but because of what each of us have believed God has done for us. I believe that I have been a hard worker in an altogether different occupation from my father. Each of us put our faith exclusively in Jesus Christ. I believe that like him, I have been a decent dad. I believe that I have been a loving and devoted husband. This year, Christine and I will treat July as our reunion month as we travel back to Ontario to be with family friends. We are celebrating the year of our 45th wedding anniversary, my 70th birthday, Murray’s 65th birthday and Christine’s brother Robert’s 65th birthday. We will find many other reasons for celebration I am certain.
My father lived until he was 93 years of age when his mind, heart and body cooperated to let him leave. He had lived for six months without Mom (Tina) who predeceased him, and for several more years earlier when she was not altogether there mentally and was in a nursing facility. He was independent, courageous, patient, easy-going, tender-spirited, uncomplaining and content.