As I sit here contemplating Father’s Day, I realize the impact my father has had in my life and how grateful I am for the many lessons he has taught me.
My dad has been walking this earth for quite a long time now. He has seen much in his life, experiencing both great joy and great sorrow but mostly, something in between.
Never one to follow the crowd, he paved his own road, and continues to walk it the way he chooses. My father was born authentic. He was authentic before it became popular to be authentic. It’s not something he strives for, it’s just something that he is.
I learned from my dad to walk my own walk in life and to be true to who I am.
My father is the owner of a sharp, brilliant mind which has not diminished over the years. He grew up in a very poor family in Montreal during a time when seeking a higher education was only for the rich. He tells stories of having to hide under his bed to do his school work for fear his father might catch him and force him to quit school and work to help support the family. He spent many uncomfortable hours sequestered under his bed, squinting and straining to read. So determined was he to pursue an education, he finally left home at 17 to join the Canadian Air Force; the one place he knew would provide the education he so craved.
He became an engineer.
My father is a man of many and varied interests coupled with intense, unrelenting curiosity. He is, among other things, a musician (he plays a mean accordian..), and an artist; a builder, a woodworker, a “teacher”, and a compelling and funny story-teller. He is, uniquely, an intellectual with a penchant for right-brain thinking..
His sense of humour, curiosity and his love of learning are characteristics that he has passed on to me and my siblings.
There is much to look up to in my dad, not the least of which was his decision to quit a three pack-a-day smoking habit after having smoked for over 30 years (starting at the tender age of 13..). He went through hell and back during that time, but never once returned to smoking cigarettes – ever.
He revisited hell when my mother passed away a few years ago. Despite the darkness that nearly claimed him, he found a way – I don’t know how – to pick himself up and to keep going; one day at a time, minute by minute and hour by hour. He survived through sheer courage and determination. I am so proud of him.
He showed me that a strong and determined mind can do anything.
I am particularly proud of my father today. On this Father’s Day, he has chosen to leave the home he has lived in for the past 40 years to enter a new phase in his life. It could have been a difficult time for us all, but his positive attitude, his serene acceptance of life changes, and his continued optimism for the future have made it as painless as it can be.
I have learned from my father that it is best to accept those things we cannot change.
Despite the fact that my father was born on a Friday the 13th, he always referred to himself as “Lucky Pierre”. I tend to think that it is we who are the lucky ones.
Bonne Fête des Pères, papa.