I’ve been meaning to do this blog post for a little while but up to now it’s been really painful. Today marks 10 days since I lost my Dad to cancer. My Dad taught me a lot in his almost 83 years. Was he perfect? Of course not. In fact there were many years where for various reasons we were estranged. Part of me longs for those missing years but I also know that maybe that distance was somehow in God’s plan. I know it’s always easy to think of all the good things about someone when they pass. It seems somewhat disrespectful to talk about what an ass someone was after they die. However that being said, yes my Dad was a jerk sometimes, aren’t we all after all? I choose to focus on the legacy he left with me.
The things that resonate with me that my dad taught me were at the time not always lessons I wanted to learn or accept. In fact I sometimes downright resented him for it. However I want to remember the important things he taught me and pass them on to my kids and share them with others.
Education is important
My Dad wasn’t an educated man. At best I think he had a high school education. Right out of high school he was lucky to secure a job at a bank and that is where he gained most of his experience in his career. I think it taught him to deal with people. In his career he was a mayor of a small town, a real estate agent and a loans officer. When he was a young adult, post secondary education wasn’t possible. As a result, I think that’s why he always wanted better for us, he always encouraged my sisters and I to pursue an education. At the time I resented it. I didn’t particularly enjoy my first few years of school but he gave all of us the ultimatum to work instead of going to university without his financial support. I’ll be honest, at the time, I thought this was unfair. Now as a parent of young adults I totally get and agree with it. My Dad always instilled a good work ethic. Even years after he retired he always kept himself busy with various ventures like real estate and house flipping.
Have a sense of humour and be a people person
My Dad has been described as having “larger than life” personality. Did everyone like him? Probably not! Lol! He had pretty strong political opinions which I as a free-thinking teenager didn’t always agree with. But, he always spoke from his heart and what he felt was right. He meant well and he tried his best to be friendly and outgoing to everyone he met. This is something that I know I inherited from him and I’m grateful for it. My Dad could talk to anyone. I was truly touched by the letter that was written by a couple of nurses who cared for him in his last few weeks before he passed away. He was immensely proud of my sisters and I. I was touched to see that he still had my university convocation program, newspaper clippings from my sister’s swim meets and pictures from my eldest sister’s graduation. In the last few weeks of his life he was pretty cranky but his true personality was still there despite the hardships he faced. His nurses talked about his likeable personality and spirit and pride in his family. His attitude when he was ill was downright admirable. I was in awe of his positive outlook. He knew so many people from his many business and personal relationships over the years. Everyone knows him and remembers him fondly.
Never miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
My Dad was an affectionate person, he was never shy about telling someone how he felt. He was always ready to give a hug when needed. I always loved that about my Dad! ❤️
Forgiveness will set you free.
My Dad wasn’t perfect and made mistakes like everyone. In his later years he spoke often about forgiveness. One thing that he helped me realize was that forgiveness isn’t only for the person you are forgiving but also to set yourself free.
Family is important
My Dad was raised very poor in the 1930’s and 1940’s with no running water and electricity until he was a teenager. On top of that, his father passed away when he was only 6 years old leaving behind 8 children including my Dad being the youngest son. He loved and respected his mother and even though she passed away over 30 years ago. He spoke of my Grandma often. He shared her strong will and values. She came to Canada as an immigrant from the Ukraine as a young adult and raised her large family alone in tough economic times. My Dad always tried to bring family together when he could. Family relationships can be complicated but it was something that he held dear to his heart. Even in the final few months of his life organized a family gathering to celebrate his life. He jokingly said he’d rather people see him alive than dead, that’s my Dad’s sense of humour for you 😉
My Dad was a wise man whom I’ll miss very much. Thank you Dad for the things you taught me ❤️
RIP Dad! I love you now and always ❤️ XO