Friday, May 1, 2020

Rest Easy Dad.

April 20,2020 Was not a day to celebrate 4:20. We woke up mourning the loss of 22 fellow Nova Scotians from a mass murderer. This day felt so different. We ended up going to bed mourning another person. My dad.

We were following the news of an armed active shooter on the news not to far from here. (RCMP shot him 25 min up the road from here). We were bewildered because this doesn't happen in Nova Scotia. It actually doesn't happen in Canada. It happens in the US because of guns and the STUPID gun laws in the US. Active shooters are so rare in Canada. Its literally unheard of.

As the day went on. I had this gut feeling of loss. I can't really explain it. I knew something was wrong. Not just the 22. I didn't feel like being high and celebrating 4:20.

We SKYPE my father in Ontario almost daily. Sometimes when we didn't it was because of Covid 19. No one left the house or did anything. So, there wasn't much to talk about but probably 5 or 6 days out of 7 we would Skype my dad.

When we decided to move to Nova Scotia last August, we asked dad who is a widower if he wanted to come move with us. Dad flat out refused. He did not want to come. He wanted to be on his own. He also said he didn't want to change banks, pharmacy etc...which he ended up all changing anyway. Dad was a strong willed person. Dad had lived with us for over 4 years. When my mom passed away we took dad in. Fed him breakfast,lunch, and dinner. We did his laundry, cleaning, took care of his daily chores and maintained his car. We did this when I was really sick. My wife and I both pitched in as best we could. Dad went from a fully furnished apartment to loosing his wife to a fully renovated basement with brand new floor to ceiling. It was really nice. He never lifted a finger. We took care of everything as mom was dying with brain cancer. Some days I slept 1 hour.

Dad spent over 4 years with us. And I know our decision to move to Nova Scotia came as a shock to dad. He was sad we were leaving but knew why we left. It was a mutual decision between my wife and I. Dad was 100% supportive of our move and journey. He was truly happy for us. Not just because we were starting a new life but because I was getting better. Suffered way less and had a life worth living.  My mom and dad came to Canada on Canada Day July 1,1967 with $25 and my brother. So for us to move to Nova Scotia with some $ in the bank was a blessing. Dad helped very much so. The reason we live here is because of dads help and support.

Before we moved. Dad found a beautiful brand new apartment building. Really super modern, very lush and comfortable. He loved it. We got dad set up before we moved. He was so happy. He loved being on his own. At 78 years old he learned how to cook, use a stove, washing machine,dryer, getting groceries, and he even learned how to use a treadmill. Up until Covid 19 closed the gym he used the treadmill daily. He had no intentions of passing away. He had planned on visiting Nova Scotia. But the last two times we Skyped dad I was crying inside. My poor father was going to be stuck in that apartment for minimum 1 year before he could come here. My father was very very high risk of infection. He had COPD, 1 lung, a neck breather and had a mini stroke a year and  a half earlier. His gate was off. He walked very short strided steps. Sometimes using a cane or walker.  For him going to the grocery store getting food or prescriptions would wind him out pretty good. But it gave him something to do.

Dad had ongoing health issues. One being he had paper thin skin. Like Kleenex. It would tear so easily. Removing a bandaid would cause 3-6 months of wrapped cotton bandages because he would bleed so much. He struggled for 20 years with mucus from his hole. He had a hard life. People would tell me I am so tough for living through 4 brain surgeries but looking at my dad. He was the strong one. If I have any will in me its because of dad.

Dad was very very lonely. He struggled with that even living with us. Just because we were there doesn't mean you can't still be lonely. He was. he missed my mother so much. I don't think he ever got over her passing. It took myself years to now smile when I think of mom instead of cry.

Last few times I skyped dad it broke my heart knowing he was stuck in that apartment alone. for at least another year because of Covid. We were so worried about Dad getting Covid 19. So much he actually told us to stop bugging him about it. Only because we cared. My wife and I were all Dad had. He had friends, but we were his entire life. For 23 years I was the one who took care of both my parents, who helped them when they needed it, We took care of moms passing. And now we took care of dads passing. In fact my wife deserves the most praise for doing the paper work that I cant and making sure all the t's are crossed and i's are doted. Dad was very meticulous with the will and how he wanted things done. Thanks pops. It made things easy.

When we arrived back in London to deal with the estate, I found a sense of peace. Because Dad is no longer alone, he is no longer suffering with a multitude of health problems. He is with mom now. No longer lonely.  For that we are grateful. We miss dad. My wife very much so. They had a very close intimate relationship. My wife loved my father dearly. But we are at peace now because being alone in a 1 bedroom apartment with no visitors, no local family to visit. Its hard and sad.

Dad was very very happy for us and we are grateful dad got to see me better and healthier. What my parents see me endure for over a decade and half must have been exceptionally hard for them. Dad was so happy for our new home, our new life in Nova Scotia. How freaking happy we are out here. How life did a complete 180 from suffering relentlessly, to wanting to die to the life we have now. It even boggles my mind daily. I think many days I wake up thinking its a dream.  That I am better, have a life worth living now. The life we have now, I never even could have imagined or dreamed of.

Mom and Dad did not want a funeral. There is no funerals in Canada now anyway because of Covid 19. Mom said to me, if you didnt come see me when I was alive don't bother standing in front of my grave. Dad felt the same. So do I. No funeral. no service. No celebration of life. My wife and I celebrate their life everyday. I have no regrets as their son. I did the best I could helping them when they needed it and was there for them before they even had to ask for help. My wife had a great relationship with both my parents and they were mom and dad to her. Annie our dog was the light of my dads life. He missed her so much when we moved. I sent dad videos almost daily. it meant alot to dad.

Unfortunately dads last days were spent watching the news about 22 of our fellow Nova Scotians were brutally murdered. Dad and I were floored what was happening. I'm very sorry dads last images of life were a monster and worrying about our safety. Had this lunatic made it back to Dartmouth. God knows what more destruction he could have done. We are still mourning the loss of everyone.

That is one major difference we notice out here. People have eachothers backs here. They help one another out. They offer to help before you have to ask. My neighbour who I became great friends with. has brought us dinner when dad died, got us groceries because we are quarantined, taken our garbage out when we were away. People here are just incredible. Some days I feel like an imposter here not being a Nova Scotian because we just got here but there treat us like we been here our who life. If you haven't seen the hashtag but that is why we are #NovaScotiaStrong We help one another, lift one another up and encourage one another to get through.

When we flew home and drove around London Ont. First it was weird because it was like we never left. But  we have a complete different life, We visited my old house/neighbourhood. Seen a couple friends at a HUGE distance. and a park we took Annie to daily. But as much of memories and a life we once had in London, it was time for us to go home too....back to Nova Scotia. That is our home. That is where we live, That is where we are happy and making a life for ourselves despite Covid 19. I do have family here. Not blood. But family to us.  Family who not only saved my life but gave me a life worth living. Ironically, and live 5 min from me. We are happy here. Dad knew it and was happy for us. We have ZERO regrets leaving London. Trust me. we waited over 4 years for things to happen and they never did. So why stick around? Why be in a place that you are forgotten and ignored? My dad and Kristen's mom are all we had in London holding us there. We got an opportunity in life that I could have only imagined. Dad knew that and was happy for us. Everyone we called to tell them dad had passed, told me how proud he was of us and how happy he was for us. Even though we were so far away from dad. This makes me smile knowing dad was at peace too.

Loosing a parent you are close to is hard. Both my parents last words to me and them was that we loved one another. We consider our selves pretty blessed. Dad, I will continue to make you proud. Keep mom company until we get there. Great things are coming for us dad. I am so grateful for being your son. Thank you pops. We love and miss you and momma.

Godspeed and rest easy.

Love Tom and Kristen and Annie

1 comment:

  1. i always said when my parents both passed that i was an orphan nobodys baby anymore but i still can feel my parents around me my mom would brush up against my neck and i knew it was her my dad well i always smelled his pipe so i knew they are still around and so are your parents they will never let you down haave to say your parents raised a good son neverforget that