I wasn't sure I would put anything up on here today. My dad's been dead for 19 years and my stepfather for 13 years. My parents had divorced when I was 18 and both remarried so for a while I had two dads.
But only one father; only one who was a person I truly cherished. My step dad was a good guy but because I lived away for the entire time my mum was married to him, I only knew him from visits. So not all that well.
Dad, on the other hand, was a great guy. My parents were very different from each other - my mum was the gregarious, social butterfly; Dad was the quiet, reserved guy who took a while to get to know, but once he was your friend, you could count on him for life.
He was tall, slim and handsome, with piercing blue eyes and a ready smile that lit up his entire face. He loved to play with us kids, horsing around until Mum would tell all of us to cut it out. He was stern when he needed to be, but loving and warm and cuddly as well.
I have tons of memories of sitting on his knee, talking to him or looking at things, having him explain how things worked to me. He was very mechanically inclined and fixed just about everything around the house, including the car. He built stuff too. I would hang out while he was working on the engine of whatever car we had at the time, watching, listening to him tell me what he was doing, absorbing it all without realizing it.
As an adult, I lived away from Winnipeg for the most part but would come home to visit whenever possible. I was always enveloped in a huge bear hug whenever I saw my dad, whisker burned from his beard when he kissed me, and just generally loved to bits.
I had been accepted to nursing school when Dad was diagnosed with cancer. That was the summer of 1989 and he was only 56. I came back to Winnipeg to be with him, to spend time with my Dad, because we knew he wasn't going to live much longer. He told me how proud he was of me for (finally!) choosing a career and going for it. I was 31 when I entered nursing because I just hadn't figured out what I wanted to do in life before that.
On his final day, all six of his kids surrounded his bed in the hospital. He was not really conscious at this point but to the end, all he cared about was his children. As he let out his final breath, my oldest sister let out a wail and you could see Dad struggle to come back, to save his baby, his first born. I had to hug her to me and tell her shhhh, to just let him go, that he needed to go.
I don't have anyone to celebrate Father's Day with anymore. But all of you who have fathers, cherish them and let them know how much you care. And for those of you who are fathers, I sincerely wish you a Happy Father's Day and hope your children show you their appreciation for all you do for them, and how much they love you.
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