That’s a picture of my Dad and his dog, Jake, taken in the summer of 2008. We were in his back yard. The garden was a little weedy – it had really been my stepmother’s province, and she died in April 2007. Dad didn’t have the heart or the knees to take it on himself. He missed her very much. There were landscape gardeners, who came and did the lawns and the flower beds, but it’s not the same.
It’s hard to know what to say. Dad graduated from university the year I was born. He went to teacher’s college, and his first year teaching high school physics (and sometimes math) was the year I started kindergarten. 1960-61. There was me and my sister by then; my brother was born in the spring of 1962. Dad taught at
In 1967, Dad started teaching in the Halton Board of Education, at
I went to
Dad loved teaching, and he’d meet people in the supermarket and places, who’d ask if he remembered them – they’d been in his class in 1973. I used to take a taxi to church in Dundas, and one of the regular Sunday mornings had had my Dad for high school physics in Dundas, so in the first half of the ‘60’s, and he always asked about him.
Last year I was talking to my sister about something one day, and whether I’d tell Dad about it. She said, “He’s been worried about you since the minute he knew you were going to be born. You might as well give him something to worry about.”
This past summer, I was unemployed and income-less, in
Dad has had liver and heart problems for a few years now. He told me this summer his doctor had told him 20 years ago he needed a knee replacement, and Dad had turned it down. He regretted that decision now. And there was arthritis elsewhere too – he’d had to have his university graduation ring cut off this spring. I’d gone away in February, and the day before I left, he said, “I could die tomorrow, or it could be ten years. And I’m ready.” When I left in September, I knew I wouldn’t see him again.
The long weekend, I wrote him a letter from here in
My sister called Sunday morning. Dad passed around , Eastern Time. She wasn’t sure if it was legally Saturday or Sunday. Eventually I said, “I know this is dumb, but did he get my letter?” No. She’d been picking up the mail and she was sure. The next day I called back and asked her, if it came in time, could she put the letter in the box with Dad. Cremation was Monday and the letter arrived Tuesday, but she said she’ll turn the letter into ashes and put them in with Dad’s. His will be mixed with Judy’s before they’re scattered. I’m sure he knows by now what the letter said anyway.
There’s no service. Dad didn’t want one; didn’t want anything. There will be a visitation at the funeral home tomorrow afternoon. I’ve got a million feelings right now, and I can’t identify most of them, but there’s one I’m sure of: for his sake, I’m glad he’s done.