Sunday, July 3, 2011


People ask what is a memorable event in your life ?
I would have to say this week end, is one of the most important and carries with it, a lot of mixed feelings.
On the one hand we have our Canada Day Celebrations with new beginnings with a newly married, future King and Queen of England .

In the US they have the US Independence Day Celebrations.

In my family it is a week end of great personal sorrow because I remember it as the week end my Dad died and with being left to do a very difficult job of getting my Mom out of hospital in the months to come, because she lay down to die beside my Dad for three days before the neighbors found them. She had her bruised leg infected, was bereft of her Parkinsons Medication which resulted in the seizing up of her body and the hospital did not offer her much hope for survival.
But her fight to survive for my benefit, was strong and she lived to see another 4 years.
It was not an easy thing to lose two members of your family at the same time and I was thankful she decided to stay behind.
My Dad died of Diabetes. He went out to cut grass in the heat and could not get back to get his medications on time.
My Dad was a prominent member in our Family. He was full of life and living and because of him I have many fond memories growing up.
It was typical of him to come and say there is a sale on water melons. Lets go get one.
I'd think, the gas alone to get to that place would cancel out the sale, but he would be so full of excitement, I hated to mention this little fact.

And then at 84 and blind in one eye, he would teach my younger son how to drive a two wheel bike. I would shudder watching thinking, he is going to lose his balance and fall and break a hip.
Sure enough he fell and got up and brushed himself off laughing that he fell.

He was always like that. Never complained at what life threw at him.

He was affected by the same joie de vivre, as all Quebecers were of his time.
The French were poor but had a good healthy positive outlook on life and there was always something to enjoy and laugh at, every day.

My Dad was the street he lived on and I remember the neighbors coming out in tears to say good bye, when we finally sold our house and moved to the country.
Life and movement was moving away.

Retirement didn't stop him. Every summer he would sit in the car with my Mom and drive across the whole country to British Columbia and I would ask him why he didn't fly. His response would be that he wanted to see his beloved country.

He was a very proud Canadian and couldn't get enough of the sights and smells of this wonderful land.
So I found it fitting that my Dad should go out with a big bang and this he succeeded in doing.
He made his mark because now we celebrate his passing with pomp and fireworks.
One of his expressions, when he would love something was
.......Ummm Beautiful! Just like my wife!
He would make every head turn to see what his wife looked like and then agree with him that yes indeed, he had a beautiful wife. lol

He left me with an everlasting feeling of guilt for not being there, to help him in his hour of need but one night in my sleep, the phone rang and I answered it and heard his voice so happy and cheerful.
Just by the way he said HI!!! Up lifted my soul..
and then he was cut off, probably by heavens' gate and
I woke up and thought with a tearful smile, yup, that's my Dad.

He found a way to break the rules to send me a message that everything was ok and he was happy.
He somehow knows how much I suffer over this and found a way to send a message in just one word, to set free my heart of the guilt he left me with.
I feel much better but I still cannot forgive myself.

My Dad was what the Quebecers call - la tete carre. Square head, because he refused to leave Quebec after 700,000 people left. He said it was a big mistake to do this. His family was chased throughout Europe during the war and he was damned if a little group of people were going to do this to him again. He was established, rooted and staying no matter what.

For the rest of us who had to live with constant harassment from the French radicals,at work and on the streets where very language was legal except English, the official language, we decided it was easier to leave rather than take up arms against a few bleeding hearts who didn't realize that life was about moving forward and not living in the past.
War survivors knew what moving forward was all about.
Life is short and must be spent living and enjoying, not fighting.

Its not as if the French did not have themselves to blame for their problems at that time. Their education consisted mainly of religion as opposed to the English who had a very hard school curriculum.
My parents tried putting me into a French school but they refused me saying I was not Catholic.So they rejected foreigners.
Then when we had a student exchange program in 7th grade, we went and spent two weeks to a French school, singing songs and going to mass while the French kids were crying in our English classes because they had too much school work to do, which they had difficulty coping with.

My Dads' views were no different than one of my favorite of all people, Lawrence Hart ,QC, a lawyer who believed the same thing. He came from an old established Montreal family. His grand mother he said, owned half of Mount Royal but had to give it up because of taxes. He was afflicted with polio and he remembered riding over his grand mothers' mountain, on her horses.

So this week end brings back many memories for me and keeps repeating every year, as a time for both joy and sorrow.

My Dad found his freedom this week end and left with a beautiful display of fireworks and historical significance of new beginnings, on this continent, he loved with all his heart.
It is also now a memory of Lady Di's birthday and William and Kates' visit here, so every year we have something nice to add to the memories.

One of the things I remember about my Dad is that he liked me to give him his haircuts and if I wasn't there to do it, he would let his hair grow like a hippie till I showed up to do it.

It always horrified me when he would travel thousands of miles this way, to get a haircut. lol

The picture above is of my first born son only a week old. He was born with hair but seemed to have lost it and looked like a bald eagle. His Grandad was so proud to hold him as his namesake.

Have a wonderful day Canada. :)


Gattina said...

What a nice tribute to your Dad ! and a very interesting post too. These language quarrels are everywhere the same, it's mostly the politicians not the people themselves, except a few fools !

Magia da Inês said...

ჱܓOlá, amiga!

Passei para deixar um abraço.
Boa semana!


♫° 。✿ ✿ჱܓ

Better is Possible said...

Such nice memories of your dad. How lovely to celebrate him with the fireworks. Interesting information about Quebec. I've never been there, but hope to some day.

A Lady's Life said...

Gattina - yes this is true. It all began with Gen De Gaul coming for a visit and yelling out Vive le Quebec Libre.This inspired the nationalists to begin causing trouble.It was a very interesting time in Quebec in those days.
Trudeau tried asking Quebec, will your apples milk and bread taste better with separation?What's your beef?lol

A Lady's Life said...

magia da ines - Thanks

A Lady's Life said...

Better is possible - Quebec is a very nice place to visit Lots to see.
Fall is so beautiful on Thanks giving.