Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Missing Home, Missing Dad

When Dad was in Extended Care Unit, he loved to get out to the pub.  This was his last outing.
Today, I am back in Paris after a whirlwind visit to London with my friend, Janet.  It is forty years since Janet travelled around the world ending up in London,  where much has changed.  I am eager to visit some Paris sights on Janet's last two days but I am missing a very important event in Canada.

Today will be the official ground-breaking ceremony for an affordable seniors' housing tower that will be named after my dad. My mother and siblings will be attending. My father has been gone only three months tomorrow. I found this photo of his last outing on my computer. Dad loved it when we took him out of the hospital setting. The gardens near a waterfall were his favourite place. We ended up at the pub although, in the latter days, he ate and drank very little.

My dad involved himself in projects with a spirit of dedication and a lack of self-interest. He joined the housing society when he was in his forties and continued to work on it until he was older than most of the residents. He dealt with employees and tenants and meetings for more than thirty years.  He would have been sad to see the demolition of the old bungalows but realistic about the need for a different sort of seniors' housing. Today, he would have been  proud that one of the towers will bear his name.

My father worked in vocational rehabilitation but he didn't just "get people jobs". He helped clients to apply for grants, scholarships and bursaries so that they could be successful in building new lives. Our
"extra" brother was a client who dad encouraged to get a Master's degree and who came to visit in  the hospital regularly and to help with feedings when necessary. The day after dad died, his family brought us samosas and told us the details of how dad had helped them to be successful despite an injury and racial barriers.

My dad walked on the dyke almost every day for the twenty-two years that he was retired.  He used to walk for miles but as the heart gave out, he walked alone a short distance with his walker, always ending at the same spot for a "coffee with extra hot water."The coffee shop people knew him and he recognized the students that I had taught in much earlier days. He made friends with a younger man with MS who regarded him as an inspiration and who travelled with his caretaker every Monday to visit him in ECU.

My father was just "my dad." He didn't talk a lot about what he did because he didn't like "blow-hards".  He was an old-fashioned "male chauvinist" who believed that wives should stay at home and look after the children. Ironically, it was my graduation picture from the Sorbonne that held the position of honour over his hospital bed. My dad and I probably came to know each other  and to realize that we were a lot alike when he was very sick. I shall be thinking of him today and hope that my sister will send me some photos of the ground-breaking

3 comments:

  1. What a lovely tribute! Your dad sounds like a wonderful, thoughtful, kind, and very reliable father -- you will surely miss him for a long, long time.

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  2. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. Glad you are enjoying your trip to Paris

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  3. Fathers and daughters. Complexity and love. Great post. I hope you get some photos from your sister.

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