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This week I asked 24 people to write down a word or two that best described their dad. Some people immediately chose a word as though it had always been paused on the tip of their tongue, while others struggled to narrow it down to just one or two adjectives. I love that there were no repeated words, and that everyone had a bit of a backstory for the word that tied them to the thought of the man who raised them.
I couldn't choose some images over the others this week, as I wouldn't want to choose one person's word over anyone else's. I think each word speaks volumes.
I have to admit, this has been a hard blog post for me to write. As some of you know, this is my first fathers day since my wonderful dad Don passed away. The last Fathers Day that we spent together as a family was last year at the palliative care unit in a hospital in Nanaimo, BC.
My dad wasn't able to get out of bed much in those days, so in the week leading up to Father's Day, my brothers and I decided to finish up some projects that my dad had started before being admitted to the hospital. He and my mom loved to garden and do landscaping together on their lush cliff-perched property on Gabriola Island. He had always wanted to add another pond to the property, right beside the vegetable garden, and it was amazing how much of it he had gotten accomplished on his own before we took the project over, considering his deteriorating strength.
I fondly remember the dry hot summer day that my brothers and I worked side by side at my parents house, with the cicadas singing around us. We did anything and everything we could to fix up and improve the property, things that my dad would have been doing had he not ended up in palliative care. It felt as though we were easing some of my dad's pain by tying up some loose ends for him. I made sure to photograph all of the work we did, from my brother Ryan two stories up on a ladder cleaning out the gutters, to my brother Jamie building and staining some new fencing. We bought dozens of plants for the pond, and placed one of my dads beautiful stone Buddha statues on the rocks surrounding the water.
On Fathers Day, we all surrounded my dad's bed at the hospital to show a slideshow and videos of the work we completed. He was so excited to see the photos of us three kids, working together on the home and property that he so loved. I remember that at that point, we were still looking forward to bringing him home to see it all for himself.
My dad could fix anything, make anything, and in my mind, do anything. To me he was superman. He was a barrel-chested giant of a man at six foot four with a heart made of gold. I remember one Fathers Day card that I gave to my dad when I was about 10 years old that had a rhyme which described him as "gentile". He giggled and taught me the proper spelling.
Doobie for taking the 25th picture for this post, and to all who took the time to think up your dad-word. Please feel free to email me for a printable version (4x6) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading :)