June 19, 2016

My Father's Legacy

It's Father's Day again. This is my 7th year that I won't be celebrating with my father. He passed on in his 80th year on October 31, 2009.

I think of him and miss him every day. Some days it feels like he was just here bugging me yesterday. Other days it feels like he's been gone for longer than he was here.

The other day I was reading my Twitter friend's timeline. He was suggesting some good Father's Day presents. I actually have some of the gifts he suggests for ahem, men. One specific tweet caught my eye and tugged strong on my heart strings. The Father's Legacy - Your Life Story in Your Own Words - A Lasting Heritage for Your Children.

Seven months after my mom passed away unexpectedly at 61 years old, I bought my own father that journal on August 4, 2000. I know the date because I'm annoyingly organized and I wrote it on inside the book. I also addressed the journal, "TO THE BEST DAD EVER". Keep in mind, I was 31 years old at the time so I wasn't just another little snot-nosed runt thinking my dad was the best. Ever. Is so.

After reading that tweet, I brought out the journal and starting reading it again. Of course I was again bowled over with emotion.

You see, my dad was a strong man. Independent. Hard-working. Giving. Hilarious. He was the infinite Patriarch of this, his tribe. He was The Rock, long before THE Rock was a thing. Sorry, Mr. Johnson.

Mostly, dad was a man of few emotionally-fueled words. In certain company, he spoke when needed, made his point and then listened to the drivel of conversation that followed.

The copy of A Father's Legacy that I have is 208 pages. My father put pen to paper on only four of those pages. 53 characters if we're counting. That is typical Bruiser. Doing things on his terms. A physically towering mountain of man with no need for wordiness. If he were reading this right now, he'd be asking me why I haven't made my point yet.

Dad's longest entry in the journal was a recollection of his first few vehicles. What he doesn't say in the legacy is that the 2-door Chevy Coupe ended up on it's roof in a ditch on a sharp curve on a country gravel road back home. I remember that story because it was so funny having my dad vividly explain to me how small the windows were in that car and how difficult it was to climb out. He was thinner then but still a giant of a man. After that crash he upgraded from the coupe to a Harley Davidson motorcycle and more escapades ensued.

 My dad's sense of humour really hit me on page 168. What is the strangest thing you have ever seen? Pops wrote, "Some of my kids". As much as I find this hysterical every time I read it, I shed as many tears as I do laughs. When you miss someone you love so much, tears and laughter are synonymous.

My dad always did what he wanted to do. For nine years, I could not pressure him into completing the journal. His terse journal-ling is just one example of how father really does know best. Initially, when I read this journal, I had wished so hard that he had filled out every single line on every single page. With time, I've decided that dad left me with just enough. I believe if he were here right now with me, he'd say, "I didn't need to finish the journal. My legacy is some of my kids."

I love you, dad. You are still the best dad, ever. xo


  1. I loved reading this! I came here through your Pinterest board to this post. My dad died Dec 16, 2009...and I think his answer would be the same.

  2. Great to hear from a fellow Manitoban, Deborah! Thank you for reading. I am so happy that you enjoyed The Legacy.

    I just read http://www.manitobagardens.com/2016/09/where-i-am-from.html and absolutely LOVED it! Apparently, we come from a similar place: building snow forts, Sunday roast beef & potato family suppers and rooting for the underdog. I would have loved to be from a one room school house and had a four mile country block walk though.

    My mom would have turned 71 on the day your dad passed, December 16, 2009. I am sorry for our losses. Life holds realities that are difficult to face, walk through and flourish afterward and yet, as you say Deborah, we put one foot in front of the other. And we carry on.

    1. I didn't realize when I came here earlier, that you are from Manitoba too...Nice to meet you. :D

  3. I was browsing through your Manitoba Gardens posts. Lovely! As close as I am, I have never been to the Carberry Day Lily Garden. Great pics!

    Very nice to meet you too!


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