Tuesday, February 17, 2009


my dad
27 september 1941 - 17 february 2002

5 months after e was born my dad died quickly and unexpectedly from complications during heart surgery. i often tell stories of him to my girls. of how funny he was (his love of riddles: "tree and a turd, tree and a turd, tree and a turd"). how he had this amazingly strong threshold for pain (how his pants were once on fire and he didn't notice). his twinkle (now in their eyes). his dislike of being late ("like a herd of turtles") and his love for all people ("be like the Lord and love them all).

Dad c.1948

there are some stories i don't know. i don't know much about the little boy in this photo - front row far left. my dad never spoke of his childhood. and to my regret, i never really asked. i suppose i thought i would hear those stories as he told them to my children. i have boxes of photos from my grandmother that i try and piece the stories from.

something in my heart tells me he didn't have a joyful childhood. he was born on a farm in rural Manitoba. farming was a hard life. they didn't have much. his sister died of cancer when she was 16. he had an older and a younger brother. his father died when he was young and he was raised after that in large part by relatives. my grandmother unable to manage the three boys i suppose. he never finished school. he always regretted that. he met my mom at a dance by a lake. sometimes he seemed very sad. i now know he suffered from depression. i never knew that story as a child.

i had a very joyful childhood. he was a huge part of that. i tell stories of camping trips. iceskating in our backyard. "secret" visits to the A & W after choir practice. and crawling into his lap when i felt low.

unconditional love of your children, the ability to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps", and kindness to your "fellow man" are things i take with me everyday because of him.

i miss you dad.


shanna said...

what beautiful gifts he left you. and i'm so glad his twinkle is in your daughters' eyes, what a wonder this life is.

my mom was so open that sometimes i feel like i know too much, that i carry it all with me, that i better make the most out of life because of all the weight that made hers tough. but, like you, i don't know so much about my dad. and he's still here. i do hope that changes gradually over the years, it has started to.

what a beautiful thing that though he may not have had the happiest childhood he was able to somehow make a life for himself in which he could provide one for you. i suppose that's why i've held out so long having children. i wasn't sure until recently that i could break the cycle.

what a beautiful thing, too, that you give the same gift to your daughters who are no doubt so very blessed to belong to you. i'm sure they see that twinkle in your eyes too.

thinking of you today, friend.

Alicia A. said...

big hugs today, friend.

melissa f. said...

he sounds so unflappable (as prairie boys often are) and good.

lisa s said...

oh tracy.... what a lovely lovely post.

i'm glad the twinkle in his eyes lives on.

alyssa said...

Dear Tracy,

I love reading all these great stories about your Dad!
Thinking of you and sending warm thoughts.

shelia said...

thank you for sharing...

emily said...

this post touched me.