A Date I Hate To Remember

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It’s January the 10th. On January the 10th, 2001, my father passed away. I still have pains remembering it, and still to this day, wish my “auld man” was still around, to talk to, to get advice from, and just banter on together. He and I debated a lot. We didn’t always see eye to eye. But we loved each other. And I miss him. I can still remember the day he passed away so clearly – probably more clearly than any other event in my live over the past 4 years. And it still shakes me, and makes me tremble.

Death is awful. Watching the death of your father is awful. Remembering your father, and how awesome he was of a dad, and then remembering watching him die is awful. It’s so awful, I sometimes wish my own sons would never have to go through the same experience. I wish and want that I could be around for them, forever. But I won’t be.

I often think of my dad, and would dearly love for him to see what I have accomplished over the past four years. I’ve managed to quit my full time job, and get on with what used to be a part time business, and grew it to the point where it pays all my bills with a wee bit left over. My auld man and I had often talked about going into business together.

I wish he could know his 2 1/2 year old grandchild, David. How impish David is just like his Dad and Grandad. I know my auld man, even though he would have had a hard time regarding the “morality” of David’s existence, would have loved to have known David, and would have taken great delight in him.

Oh, I so wish David knew his Grandad Scott. The two of them would have been quite the pair, that I know for sure. I can almost imagine it now.. David being his impish self, as my dad encouraged it, and laughed out loud, and even encouraged David to be a “wee monkey.”

David would have loved his Grandad Scott. Just like his Grandad, David likes to get up to no good, and tease everyone around him, with a little smirk on his face, and his blue eyes brimming with life and happiness. David teases his Dad quite often, the same way his dad’s dad teased him, and the same way his dad has teased and had fun with all of his sons.

My auld man would have taken an enormous delight in the grandson he never got to meet. My son would have taken an enormous delight in the grandfather that he never got to meet.

Ah, it’s January the 10th again. I hate this day, and the memories it holds for me. I hate it. Watching the doctor take my fine auld man off the life support system that kept my dad breathing, after he had suffered a massive stroke. At 66, he was far too young to die. Far far too young.

I hate the fact that we are all mortal. When my father passed away, it reminded me too much about mortality, and made me face my own mortality, which I never wanted to face. I still have a hard time facing it. I wish my auld man were still alive, and could see David, and take joy in him, joy I know he would take. But wishing doesn’t work.

For anyone that is interested, I wrote this some days after the passing of my father.

My mother has posted this, this year.

I miss my auld man. Warts and all. I think I’ll head to bed now, and wipe away a tear of remembrance for him, while I give David an extra tight little hug, and send hugs to my other three sons that live 5 hours away.

Gosh Dad, thank you for being the best dad in the world. All I can do is try to learn from you, but the most important thing I could ever learn is that you loved your children so much, and wanted nothing but the best for them. You taught me so much, and I’ve even learned more than what you taught me, but it was your motivation that made the learning possible. We would probably disagree on a lot of things today, but please know that I appreciate the fact you taught me to think, and to learn, and to be critical in a good way, and at the same time, show love. And if we could not show love, we could at least show tolerance for those we didn’t agree with.

No Surrender, Dad. No Surrender. But tolerance and love as you taught me don’t mean that we ever have to surrender. And I know you knew that more than anyone did.

If there is anything more that I wish, is that you truly were immortal, and somehow knew how much you taught me, and were somehow looking down and smiling knowing that I forgive all your mistakes, and loved you in spite of them, have tried to learn from them, and always appreciated you.

Not many children are blessed with the dad that I had. I hope that I can continue learning from you, and in some small way, you shall live on in your grandchildren and their grandchildren. All the parts, from your impish fun loving ways, to the critical thinking abilities you had, to the care and tenderness towards others that had less than you had, to the ability to always stand up and fight for what you believed in, and most of all, to love the ones you loved, 100%.

My dad was an awesome dad. I was blessed to have an awesome dad for 36 1/2 years. I can’t say enough about my dad. He taught me so much. He was not perfect, and he made many mistakes. But he loved me. And I always knew he loved me, even when he was angry or disappointed in me.

Perhaps some day, I will write a book about my auld man. His life, although normal and average from some perspectives, was far from “regular,” and he did a lot of things, accomplished a lot of things, and was admired by many from all walks of life. He held very strongly to his own beliefs, but at the same time, tolerated all others regardless of race or religion, and had friends in every conceivable walk of life that admired and liked him.

Although the funeral of my father was “preached” by a fundamentalist Christian, there were people from almost every race and all major religions in attendance. It was one of the largest funerals that I’ve ever attended. He had principles. You might not have agreed with his principles, but yet you would have loved him anyhow, and appreciated his tolerance for your principles.

I have so many awesome memories of my father. I’m rambling right now, and just thinking, so if you’ve got this far, excuse me. But truly my dad was the best dad I could have ever had. He put up with my nonsense, treated me fairly, and only punished me when he could PROVE that I had done something wrong. That left me with a lot of leeway, so I would think.. knowing that my dad would question me about suspected wrongs.. but if he could not PROVE it, I would not be punished, regardless of his strong belief about my behaviour.

There were some things he had troubles with. He was a bit uncomfortable when I started to go through puberty. It didn’t help that I was in a hospital at the time. But he was there for me, and loved me.

I know as a teenager, I sometimes broke my dad’s heart. And often, I caused him to be at his wit’s end with me. But darn it all, he loved me anyhow, and took the time to reason with me, and whenever he had to punish me, I always had some time alone with dad afterward, as we’d talk, and he’d reinforce the fact he loved me. And wanted nothing but the best for me (even though at the time, I didn’t quite get that part of it).

He once caught me smoking, sort of. But because he couldn’t prove it, he never bothered to pursue it. He could have easily implied, by the preponderence of evidence, that he knew, but because there was one particular objection I raised to him coming to some conclusion about a cigarette burning in an ashtray, he dropped the subject, and we ended up getting on with talking about other things.

I knew my dad knew. He knew I knew. Intuitively. But that was all it took.

He once caught me with marijuana. I came up with a great story. He intuitively knew I was lying, but he knew that he couldn’t prove my story wrong. So he dropped it. There was no need to continue on. He knew that I knew he knew, and that was enough for me to feel bad about disappointing my dad. It also gave me a great deal of respect for him as well. Or simply reinforced the respect I always had.

My dad hated hockey, but loved Don Cherry. My dad got his Canadian Citizenship back in the 1970’s. My dad was the greatest Canadian that ever lived. My dad would have voted for Don Cherry as being the greatest Canadian.

I vote for my dad. He had the best stories. My dad, all 170 lbs. of him, beat up and arrested the Northern Ireland heavy weight boxing champion one night. On his own. My dad would often tell me that it is not the strength that matters, but the spirit and determination to get the job done. My dad got the job done.

His spirit with his children, even though we tested him, and I especially tested him, never wavered.

I hate this day. I hate to remember this day. The day my father died. The day I could no longer call him on the phone, and argue with him, or tell him about some new exciting thing, or hear his latest news.

But I have work to do. My father believed in work. In being what you were. And even on the anniversaries of his parents’ deaths, he’d still be at work, doing what he needed to do. He never really told me much about how the death’s of his parents affected him, but I do know he loved his own mother, and it was always something that really bothered him, knowing that he was not in his beloved Ulster when his mother passed away. His father, my grandfather, lived until he was almost 90, and I loved my grandfather as well, even though I did not have a great deal of time with him.

Ah, my dad and my grandfather were cut from the same cloth, that’s for sure! I’m rambling, but I’m remembering, in my own special way, my father. And how he loved me, and how lucky I am to have had such an awesome dad, and I guess, an awesome grandad as well, as I’m sure it was my grandad that taught my dad so much.

Will I be able to teach my sons the same things? I don’t know.

Dad, you’d be so proud of Alex, James, and Colin. You’d also be so proud of David, the grandson you never knew. I hope that David will know you though, in your values of honesty, integrity, and tolerance.

God, why did he die so young? Why? Why do I still miss him? Why is he not still here? Why cannot I not know right now, if he would be still proud of me? Why?

Dad, if there is any possiblity that your mind still exists, somewhere in this universe, I want you to know, that holding your hand, and feeling it while your physical life passed away, was the absolute hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and that I miss you so much.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you, or wish I could tell you something, or look at my little David and imagine how much joy you would get from him, as well as my other sons as well.

But January 10th is one of the hardest days for me. I’m trying to celebrate your life, but at the same time, your death is too much to bear.

But I shall go on, like a good soldier, that you would have wanted me to be, and love your grandsons, and teach them in the way you taught me. And hope that I do as good a job.

I wish you were here to help me out though.

I miss you, Dad.

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