I wrote this last year, just before a trip to Toronto. Reading it now makes me cry and I’m sorry if that makes you uncomfortable and you wish I’d just stop already. Shut it down, go ahead, give me that”special look”or that rude signal you use when you’ve had enough and think everyone else has too… maybe that will work, just cut me off….shut me down.
I’m sorry this makes you so uncomfortable that you can’t just let me be and feel the pain.
……but I’m sure you know or suspect that I’m not really sorry I’m just saying it to make you feel better in your assholery. I’ve come to understand emotion is necessary to a healthy, happy life and I’d like to have a wee cry about my Dad right now if you don’t mind, thank you very much.
A Life of memories stored in a mind almost gone now. If you have questions for an aging relative or friend best to ask and get answers now before it’s too late.
My Dad was very proud of me, I know that. As an immigrant to Canada, he came from humble beginnings, a skilled tradesman, a millwright who worked hard at his trade, for his family, in the end managing massively complex robotics and industrial mechanical implementations such as printing presses for major newspapers and robotics for automotive assembly lines while also looking after us, his family. The responsibilities and pressures he must have felt stagger me now to think about.
All three of us kids would watch from the window in our family room for his car lights hitting the neighbors windows as he wound his way down our street, driving home late from work. We knew it was him by the way the lights hit the Dunford house at the beginning of our street. Sometimes he came home with his flask filled with smarties and mini chocolate bars for us, his kids.
His father, a retired military man, my grandfather, worked as a runner for Nesbitt Thompson. He was so proud when his daughter, me, became a Vice-president at Nesbitt Burns some 20-30 years later. Imagine that.
My Dad’s descent into dementia began about 10 years ago and started slowly before gaining relentless momentum. There are questions I have for him now, questions I couldn’t have asked him 5 or 10 years ago, but that I want to ask him now, about life, love and his wild days as a merchant marine. Maybe my Mom can help shed some light on this man, father, husband and his deepest feelings. I am very sad that I can’t have these conversations with him directly anymore. That I didn’t have the time or inclination years ago when he would have been able to answer coherently in his own words. Now he just mumbles and smiles.
Getting old and the illnesses, diseases and such that attack us at the very core of ourselves are heart-breaking. I visited my Dada couple of times on visits back home these past few years and am heartbroken at what remains of him. He is looked after very well and seems happy, and when he smiles at my Mom, and it’s from his eyes, but since my stroke, I wonder what he thinks and feels at his core, if there is a piece of him looking out at us wanting to say things and he just can’t figure out how to through the increasing fog of his disease.
I’m back home now and I did spent time with him,my, Mom, Aunt, brother, sister-in-law and nephews. My Dad is well looked after and seems happy, especially with us all there. He wears the Man United scarf I sent him for Christmas. He has lost most of his teeth now but still has a cheeky smile. He was a handsome young man and we still see that young man in his sons and now grandsons. Despite everything, my Dad has aged well.
So go give your Mom, Dad, loved one a great big hug. Make it special and memorable. I can’t remember the last one I had with my Dad before he “went away”.
Today’s feature image is my young , handsome father with his mother and father along with me in front and my sister in back. We are at Centre Island in Toronto.
OK I think I’ll stop crying now, but only because I’m finished for the moment and feel better.
I am strong. I am beautiful.
And I miss my Dad.
I am awesome
And so is my Dad and so are you!
Try to stay awesome!