Dear Dad

Dear Dad:

You wouldn't believe what life is like. Well, you just might. I know you were a very busy father, doing shiftwork, playing Mr. Mom to us while Mom also did shiftwork. You took me to soccer, to birthday parties, and loved your steak and potatotes like no man I have ever met. It seemed that though you were born in Montreal and moved to Winnipeg, you were never truly at home until your feet landed in Alberta. And while I knew Winnipeg and Alberta, I wouldn't land until my feet touched the East Coast. I think you always knew the ocean would call to me and I would feel at home here. Settled. And now playing the Dad role that I could have only got from you.

You took care of your family, protected them, made sure they had all they needed, most of what they wanted, and weren't going to be in financial hardship, even though you had no idea you'd be the victim of Leukemia in your 55th year. It was then, perhaps, that your true strength became evident to me, as you fought through all the treatment so that you could attend the wedding of your first-born. We saw how it broke you down, and we saw you bounce back up again, if only for a few glorious months of being a "survivor".

You'd like your grandkids. What am I saying? You'd love them. They're handsome and goofy and just ill-behaved enough that you could rib me about my own childhood.  You'd be embarrassed and honoured all at once that we gave your name to our first-born, since you missed meeting him by only a few months. And now there's another one on the way. You'd probably feel bad that you only have two knees on which to bounce kids, but I know you wouldn't let that stop you. I think Mom tries to make up for it. She's doing okay, you know, though we're feeling the distance a lot lately. We'll get to see her more when the baby arrives. She'll bring with her all those stories about me and my brother, and almost always those stories end with some reference to you.

Today you would have been 63, but you probably already know, you didn't get to see past 56. Since I can't pick up the phone and talk to you, I'll light a candle and find some Canadian Club to recognize you today.

Happy birthday, Dad.

Posted bythemikestand at 10:21 AM  

8 stepped up to the mike:

mmmmmpig said... 1:50 PM, March 31, 2010  

You are a very sweet man, and I say that with great affection and no sarcasm, which, truth to be told, is out of character.

Lauren Hewings said... 3:06 PM, March 31, 2010  

this is lovely Mike

bethany actually said... 4:59 PM, March 31, 2010  

Mike, you made me cry. Your dad sounds like he was a lovely man, and I bet you take after him a lot. I can't imagine what it would be like being a mom without my mom around. I'll say a quick prayer for you and your brother and mom today as you're missing your dad!

tina said... 6:46 PM, March 31, 2010  

mike, you made me cry, too. this is such a beautiful letter. thank you for sharing it with us. a big happy birthday to your dad. i'm so sorry he can't be around to celebrate with you and your lovely family. by the way, today is my dad's birthday, too.

Vicki said... 6:50 PM, March 31, 2010  

It will be 11 years on May 7th for me.. and dad's bday was Mar 3 He would have been 68, I cried reading my thoughts on your blog... xo Thanks Mike!!!

Jessica said... 2:01 PM, April 01, 2010  

Positively beautiful, Mike.

Here's to your dad...

Steph said... 10:29 PM, April 01, 2010  

Tears. That's all I have.

Sandy said... 5:30 PM, April 13, 2010  

Mike, I love you! Love Mom

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