When Life Happens To Your Parent
Stunned and yet, not.
There were indications; there was misplaced and irrational anger at things that really, to us, were not a big deal. To him, it was frustration with not knowing what something was or how it worked anymore. Emotional swings. My Dad would suddenly cry at the smallest of things. This seemed odd to me and out of place with the strong proud confident man he had been over the years.
He will be 85 this summer and would be the first one to tell you he has lived a good life.
He has remained active and “working” up until just a couple of years ago. He kept himself busy in retirement (although never really retired) with things like delivering papers to rural boxes for the Ottawa Citizen. He delivered library books from one rural location to another and drove neighbors for cancer treatments and Dr’s visits. One farmer had a fire and lost his horses, my Dad started fundraising for him to help him in any way he could. He was instrumental in starting the Hays West program years ago when there was a drought in Alberta & Saskatchewan.
This is a man that I never thought for a million years would end up being taken from us in this way.
He fishes every morning and was an incredible fly fisherman. I am thankful he still has this.
He quite driving on his own, voluntarily. He knew things were not going well. He has said he is scared watching his world shrink but seems happier now that everyone knows and he doesn’t have to try to cover up when he can’t quite place something or when he looks in the cupboards for cream that is in the fridge.
For him the pressure to protect us from what was happening is gone. The pressure for him to keep trying to cope and hide is now gone. Now we, as a family, will enjoy every moment we can with him and not let the worry of what is to come rob us of being with him right now.
Now, we will protect him and now, we will live in the moment, as he has taught us our whole life.
I am grateful to have had such a strong role model in my life — his strength, character, integrity, and his love are an incredible gift to us, his children and grandchildren.
His gift to me? A love of nature and the outdoors, to stop and pay attention to where you are and what is going on around you. He has given me a love for animals, and he has taught me the importance of living a good life. He taught me to be trustworthy, help out others, and try to make a difference.
I am grateful to be a photographer and will cherish forever these images I captured of him, one with his little dog Daisy and one of him last summer on his boat on a beautiful summer evening doing what he loves most, fishing.
I wish more than anything I could spare him this final journey but as he would say “life happens”. I love you Dad.”
Photo Credits: Prairie Life Photography