29 October 2015

words to my father ....

 It's hard to believe it has been a week since I spoke these words to honour my father... I share them into the universe so that they, and he, will live on.  xoxo
I am, for once, at a loss for words.  I waited until the end to write this – for a time the words just weren’t there and then, all of a sudden there were too many to write.  Too many stories I wanted to share with people, so many memories to relive and too many things about him that I wanted to make sure people knew. I know I speak for my mother, Rawna and Justin in saying that over the past few days we have been reminded of just how very blessed we are.  Our hearts are broken and yet so full of love at the same moment.  Though it was by far too short, we are grateful to have had the time that we did have with him. 
Each phone call and text message, each hug and every story shared has reminded us what amazing family and friends are in our lives.  We take comfort in knowing that my dad did not suffer through illness but rather had a great day with family and friends doing some of the things he loved the most, went to sleep happy and just never awoke. 
So many of you who have come to honour him know him in different ways.  There is our family – our giant, amazing family, without whom we could never have gotten through this.  The Elm Street/ Wellington Ave boys from his childhood to past neighbours, golfing buddies, the A&W coffee gang and all of our friends.  People who have known him from all walks of life and in completely different manners and yet everyone has shared with us the love they have for him.
My dad was not fancy or fussy.  He found the things that he liked and he liked them A LOT.  Everything you see up here today is a testament to him.  He was strategic in thinking, enjoying puzzles and mysteries and figuring out how things worked.  He was generous with his tools, his time and his laughter.  If you have been witness to his garage, you know that he was a collector of things – part of me now, believes it was his boy scout way of being prepared to help anyone out. 
He loved to eat – he wouldn’t hesitate to tell you about an amazing meal he’d had or some new restaurant you’d have to try.  Fittingly the largest bouquet of flowers up here is from the local grocery store!  His last day was spent in one of his favourite places The Little White Kitchen where again, he had quickly gone from customer to friend with the owners.
So many people have made the remark to me that “No matter where your dad went, he made a friend.” I cannot think of a better legacy to leave than that.  To know that when all is said and done, his friendship, his generosity and his goofy nature are what people will remember him for.  
He always had his own way of doing things.  He proudly carried a flip phone and adamantly refused to text message.  In the age of TivO & Blueray, my father insisted on still using a Beta VCR’s - because  well they record better quality.  My dad did not “Google”.  He was stubborn and somewhat sassy.   If you’ve never heard the story of him following someone home in Detroit to yell at them for cutting him off on the i75 – ask me later, it’s a good one!
As hard as it is to let him go, it is time to say our last goodbye.    
So Dad,
I realize now after witnessing how many people’s lives you have touched, that your memory will live on no matter what I say here about you today.  You are in the hearts of so many, in such a way that the tables have now turned and I am the one standing here so very proud of you.
You were a lot of things to a lot of people – a son, a husband, a father, a father-in law, a papa, a step-gramp, a brother, and a friend.  You were the beef to mom’s Ace.  An Uncle Ron, a Mr, Ron and a Mr. Gammon. 
I realize after talking about you so much this week that I am more like you than I ever knew.  I actually feel that in losing you, I have come to know you more.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it felt like any moment you would walk through that door and start asking who wanted a coffee or an espresso or if anyone wanted to go snag a cookie in the back room.  You were quick to share advice with anyone who asked and well …. even and usually those that didn’t ask.
You never hid your pride that you had of your family.  Meeting people this week, they identified Rawna and I by all the things you told them about us.  When I decided that I was going to take up cycling with Andrea you were so excited for me to get my first Cannondale! You took yours down from the rafters and got it all tuned up so that we could go out together.   Just like our Saturday mornings when I was kid – you’d get home from your ride and take me out on the back of the bike.  We would go on an adventure and eat coffee crisp bars before breakfast and you’d make me promise to “never tell mom.”  Seeing your bike here today, I wish so much that we would have taken that ride.
You & mom gave us the love of adventure. You would turn a regular Sunday drive through the county into something exciting.
You taught me to always carry a roll of duct tape with me because in the end you can pretty much fix anything with it.  You took me to my first Tigers games and when I looked up at you with my tiny mitt and said “Dad do you think we’ll catch a ball today”, you always said Yes!
“You’ll Accompany Me” will always be our song and cribbage will always be our game.  Every time I see McGyver, The A-Team and Young & the Restless I will think of you. 
I was lucky to be Daddy’s little girl – I never once in my life doubted your love for me.  From the times I could only wrap my hand around your giant thumb I knew what we shared was special.  I miss you so much already.
Rawna, Justin & I will take care of Mom.  She will continue to meet the gang at A&W for coffee and she will tell Davis ever story of his Papa.  Your memory will live on through all of us here celebrating you today. 
Though I didn’t get to see you that last day, I know you were happy and that comforts us all.  I would give anything to throw my arms around you and hear your last words to me again – just to hear your voice say “Love you Kid” one last time. 
I can only hope that one day someone will use the same words to describe me as they did you – that wherever I go, I have made a friend. 
Life is too short not to count our blessings every day.  We were blessed with you Dad.  Our lives will never be the same and they are definitely better for having you in them. 
I love you.  We all love you. 

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