I watched him suffer for months and I deeply questioned and disagreed with the pain and indignity that was bestowed upon him.
You often read in obituaries that the person fought a valiant battle. My father fought an impossible battle but he still fought it with all the realms of possibility and we were there right beside him around the clock as he was there for us throughout our childhood and later into adulthood.
He was a super extroverted person. He spoke to everyone, he spoke to anyone and he listened. He was a radio broadcaster, a DJ, a sports journalist, a talk show host, a radio school teacher, a community man who volunteered and hosted numerous charitable events, the stadium announcer for both the McGill and Concordia teams. At his prime in reporting, he knew all of the Expos, Habs, Alouettees, WWF, jockeys at Blue Bonnets and many celebrities he interviewed on his Sunday radio show for CKVL. He was liked and recognized for his skill in getting everyone to open up and tell him their life stories.
But mostly he was a simple man who loved cheesecake and ice cream and Irish coffee and any drink with an umbrella in it. He loved coaching my brothers teams and picking up my nephews from school and making a detour to McDonald's.
He was extremely funny and rarely serious.
He had several health issues and as they continued to pile up and fall to the ground, he was left beneath the wreckage. But under all of that soot and rubble, you could hear him and feel him hanging on.
My mom spent over 50 years with him - her best friend since they met on a double date at 18 yrs of age. He was with another girl and she was with another guy and my dad called my mother up after that date and asked her out and the rest was history.
Watching her lean over him today holding his hand and kissing him and making sure he knew she was there was healing yet terribly painful. Witnessing the end of their journey, I felt a slice of my life cut and removed from my very being.
I will never seen him again.
I will never see him again.
Losing him has left me floating. I'm not here, I'm not anywhere and I have no idea how to get back to the surface.
So all I can think of doing right now is closing my eyes and opening my ears and listening for his laughter and his jokes and envisioning him eating a big cherry danish and smiling.
And I know that what I need to remember is not the last thing he said to me but all of the things he said to me that have made me who I am today.
Today I said goodbye to my father. I kissed his forehead and held his hand and told him I loved him and then when everyone left I placed my head on his chest and whispered in his ear "See you on the other side."
And one day I will.
Daddy .... love you ....love you ....and so much more.