My Dad passed away last month at the age of 93. He had a long life and lived in his condo till the last week. I had been trying to visit him every three months since Mom died 10 years ago. I threatened to buy my own plane. It would probably have been paid for by now.
This last year, I was down to see him in Burnaby every two months, then every month. He had a housekeeper, Josie, and my two sisters were keeping in close contact providing him with groceries and medical prescriptions.
He was a stubborn man trying to preserve his independence and did not want help getting out of the chair. I called him every day. What am I going to do now?
Dad was born in 1927 and lived his formative years during the Great Depression. His family had a one-acre farm on Lulu Island at Garden City Road and No. 3. They raised all their own food.
Dad contracted spinal meningitis at 11 years old and almost died. He was given an untested drug regime and fortunately for him and me, it worked.
Dad quit school when he was 16, went to work and paid rent to his mother. He married at 21 and had four children. He was given an opportunity to work as a travelling shoe salesman on straight commission and develop his cliental throughout the province.
He was a hard-working man and tried to pass that skill on to his four children. When we were kids on our family vacation, Dad would stop the car while pulling a trailer if we spotted bottles to pick up for return pennies.
He got us cutting lawns and delivering papers as we got older. Dad was there to help build a fort in the backyard to house my pony that I was going to win from the raffle at the Cloverdale Rodeo.
When I got cut from Babe Ruth baseball, he was there to console me. Dad helped locate and purchase my first Anglia car that I totality destroyed over the next couple of years. And he was there when I started to build my first place in Telkwa.
Dad was the games and numbers guy. He spent many hours with flashcards teaching my sister and me our multiplication and division.
He taught us how to play Rummy and Crib so we would improve our counting skills.
Then he taught us how to sell shoes at his store in Haney. Both my sister and I worked at Sears and The Bay after school on Fridays and Saturdays. We had more money than the average teenagers.
What did I do for him when he needed me as he was aging and slowing down. I would keep him in touch with my life, tell him about my children and his grandchildren.
We would have long Crib tournaments when I visited and periodically I would win and he would be proud of it.
He always encouraged me and now he has passed. Who will unconditionally love me? Well, I guess that’s what part of life is about. If you are fortunate to be loved then you can be strong enough to carry on and pass the same love on to your family.
Good luck with your aging parents and remember your days when you needed them.
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