Oh I’m so relieved that this is the last day of February. How I dread this month every year, it reminds of how much I lost when I had to say goodbye to my parents. So I grit my teeth and get through Valentines day and make the effort for my family. Deep down inside I’m just counting the days away when the snow will melt away and spring will bring happiness to my heart again. I’d rather hibernate through this month then to have to face the heartbreaking feelings of pain. its been 5 years since my Dad’s passing and 3 since my Mom’s and during this dark, gloomy month it feels like yesterday…. I wanted to tell you a little about them instead of wallowing in my grief. And with sharing this knowledge with love and pride I’m hoping it will help me heal a little more on my journey.
My Dad was the oldest of seven children and spent all of his life working hard in farming, mining, truck driving, and lastly logging. He was always at his happiest in his coveralls covered in grease and working on his logging truck or whatever vehicle needed repairing. My Dad taught my how to change brake pads, routers, the oil, fluids, and a tire. He said he never wanted to see any of his daughters stranded on the side of the road and not knowing what to do. He took pride in his family, his pets, and his strong work ethic. He loved being around his kids, Grandchildren, and Great Grandchildren. A very proud, blue collar man, no one could curse like my Dad and none of his kids could escape the wrath of his tongue lashings either. He could make me fall on the floor in a fit of giggles with the long winded expletives that would come flying out of his mouth. Then he’d start laughing and he’d forget what he was even mad about. It was so difficult to see this healthy, happy, gregarious, man destroyed by cancer. He always thought he’d beat it, and end up on a beach in Cuba sipping on mojitos. My Dad loved to travel when we were kids, we’d drive to relatives and take trips down to the USA exploring everything he could about each state. He’d come home from work, have us pack up the van and announce we were going to Disneyland. You can imagine my excitement as a little girl when I knew I was going to meet Mickey Mouse and the gang!!! He’d drive for hours while we slept and then pull over somewhere off the beaten path to sleep himself. I’d wake up because we’d be on the road again and I sit and talk to him about anything and everything under the sun. My Dad never treated me like I was too young or unimportant, he always wanted to hear what I had to say even if it was whining. Well maybe not whining or getting my own way, but he gave me his attention regardless, My favourite times in my childhood were when he’d let me skip school and take me to work on a logging trip. He’d tell me all about the wildlife we’d see along the way and all the names and uses for the trees To this day when I smell a Jack pine or freshly cut wood I think of him… My Dad loved his family, friends, pets, great food, great company, driving and travelling. I’m proud that he fought so hard to be heard, understood, valued, and in the end appreciated, for his time on the earth. Thank you for teaching me to be strong and proud of who I am, I love you Daddy, always and forever.
My Mom was a spitfire of a women, she was an only child born a year after the Great Depression. She was fiercely proud of being a devote Irish Catholic, and of her children, Grandchildren, and Great grandchildren. She had an incredible love of God, and I still remember my happiest times in my childhood was when we’d sit together and pray the rosary. I’d always say tell me a bible story Mom, and she’d weave me a tale of what life was like back then in those olden times. She was such a amazing storyteller, that I felt like I was there and I could feel the dirt on my feet walking endless miles across the land as one of Jesus’ disciples. I felt the power of God’s love, and could see the love shining in my dear Mama’s eyes as she taught us his word. She also had a beautiful voice, and she would sing hymns with such love and devotion as well as funny little Irish songs that would send us dancing a jig all around the kitchen. She was the biggest and best Elvis fan who could sing all his songs and had seen every movie. By the time I was 13 I knew all there was to know about the King I would tease her about raising her kids in the “church” of Elvis. She always had the kettle on for tea and a kind word, prayer or song for anyone who needed it. I know many kids in my neighborhood that would come sit on our porch steps just so they could hear a funny joke, a story, or help with a problem in need of solving. Her door was always open if you were lost, alone, cold, or hungry its the way she was raised as both my parents were loving, caring, people who believed in paying it forward. My Mom raised me to be a proud, strong, intelligent, God loving, independent women. I could talk to her about anything, call her anytime of the day, and it didn’t matter what dilemma I was experiencing she’d always say “don’t worry honey child, this too will pass.” And with each day, moment, and breath I take I’m starting to believe that again. I know sadness doesn’t always last…. Thank you Mom, for giving me life, and helping to shape me into who I am today. I Love you Mama, always and forever.