My dad taught me to ride a bike, drive a car, play card games, fish, shoot a gun, and change a tire among many other things. He also taught me to be humble, help others, be independent, work for what you have, never give up and girls are just as capable as boys. Thank you Dad.
The first man in my life left on July 12th at the age of 86 and a half. He enjoyed his life and doing things his way right until the end. He never gave up. He wasn’t perfect; he had many flaws. But his legacy is all of the friends and people he has left behind who are happy to have known him and gained from his life experiences.
He was born in Saskatchewan and grew up on a farm during the Depression. Hard times. His father was away for four years as he served our country. Dad had to become the man of the house at an early age. He bought his own farm complete with horses and worked the land. Then he came to Red Lake at the age of 19 to try the gold mining industry. He never returned to the prairies, except to sell his farm. He loved the trees, rocks and lakes of Northern Ontario.
During his life here, he tried mining, prospecting, commercial fishing, and trapping. He had ski-doos, quads, dirt bikes, boats, two airplanes (crashing one of them into a frozen lake). I think what he enjoyed most, were his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He loved babies and bouncing them on a knee. He was never afraid to babysit a child or a pet.
My mother was the love of his life and they had 64 years together, raised four children, loved seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She misses him.
On June 25th, I took him to the Optometrist because strange things were happening to his eye and he had lost vision and was seeing things. We were referred to a medical doctor. We never made it to see a doctor. On the 27th he was admitted to hospital with suspected stroke. During the next week my mom and I visited and brought food and helped him to eat. Then he had a second stroke and it became apparent that he would not leave the hospital. Still, I hoped. My dad had nine lives, I thought, and must still have one left. It was not to be. He passed away on July 12th. Family came and we took turns staying with him and caring for him during that last week and the immediate family were all there with him, when his spirit left his body and went to the Spirit World. That night, my cousin brought over a canoe and we put food and tobacco in the canoe with a candle, wrote messages to him, lit it and sent it off on the lake. See you later, Dad.
We all gathered at the trap line cabin and had a wiener roast and a lot of good laughs.
Now it is for us to figure out how to go on without him. He was the caregiver of mom, who has dementia. What will happen to her now? Yes, there will be more changes ahead.