My dad's memorial was yesterday...it truly was the celebration of the man he was. He'd be proud. Tonight we sent him adrift down the K*timat River...I'll post photos tomorrow. Tonight was the hardest for me. It was a perfect evening. I'll post the details tomorrow as I'm off to bed...thought I'd share the letter I wrote to my Dad that was read at the service.
I always knew that my dad was a unique man. As children, we certainly didn’t have a stereotypical upbringing.
While most young children were learning the songs of the alphabet, we were singing the songs of solidarity. While some were being taught how to ride a bike, we were being taught how to drive the family car down the old dike road, while being told it was quite okay to hit every pot hole along the way. (perhaps that’s why we didn’t have too much luck with mufflers or exhaust systems!)While some young kids were being taught how to swing a baseball bat, we were taught how to wet a line. Most kids thought a birds nest hosted lovely little birds’ eggs, but to me I knew that ‘birds nests’ were not so lovely.
When entering the school system I was not only taught my colours, and words, but also a whole slew of social activism words. I could explain with clarity the meaning of a strike, and a picket line. To us a scab wasn’t an owie that would fall off of a person in a few days...better yet, it was the man that lived down the block from us, that HAD crossed the picket line. The day I went to Kindergarten Dad gave me a lecture(the first of many to come). This was thought provoked and full of true genuine concern. Dad told me the importance of equality for everyone regardless of race. He told me that no matter what anyone thought of who I was, I should never let them get the best of me. Furthermore he said, “and if they have a problem with where you come from...tell them to come and talk to me!” I think of these words often and have carried their significance with me throughout my whole life.
My dad taught me that the most powerful tool I had was my voice. He emphasised the importance of standing up for what I believed in and never conforming. He taught me the importance of freedom of speech. As a young girl, I was proof reading his many letters to the editors and his hotline articles. While most students were given quick spelling reviews, I was tested, not only how to spell the words, but how to use them in a socially conscious way.
My dad loved me for who I was, not who I should be. When I told him that unexpectedly I was to become a mother, he pulled out his arms for a hug, and said, “well I guess that means I am to be a grandpa then.” He took on this role with pride and a heart full of love. When he accepted my husband into his family, he did not think of him as only a son in law, but loved him as a son and a great friend.
While at times my dad could be a little too boisterous, he taught us to enjoy the simple moments in life.. Finding laughter in the most unexpected circumstances. He taught us to not stress out about things, and frequently said,”life is too short to be stressed out...” My dad wasn’t a perfect man. At times he was too loud, and too opinionated, but he was a genuine man. He never pretended to be someone he wasn’t. My dad taught me to love deeply, honour greatly and respect all. He lived his life true to these teachings. He dedicated his time in taking up causes and standing up for what he believed in.
He was a respected man and will be missed by many. But in the end, to me, all that truly matters is that he was my dad.
He will never be forgotton.
11 minutes ago