Tag Archives: Fathers Day


POSTED: June 21, 2020

I am by many accounts an old guy. I am sixty-six, which certainly puts me in the last third of the race at best, and more realistically in the last quarter or less. This is also the age of a lot of friends of mine. To younger people we are viewed as old, and certainly not seen as kids, but many of us are still children to our even older parents.

Before Covid 19 the passing of a friend’s parents was an unfortunate but regular occurrence. But today, as we age further, and with this pandemic, the rapid pace of our parents passing has moved into another dimension. What is also disturbing of course is that we often can not say goodbye, or be with them at the end of the program for all the practical medical reasons during this pandemic, so the closure has to be found in other ways.

Today is June 21, Fathers Day 2020. I had not planned on this piece really being about Fathers Day but a few weeks ago two friends lost their fathers. Both men were ninety-two. One lived in a long-term care facility for dementia and the other lived at home. One died of Covid-19 the other from natural causes.

In both cases these fathers were very good providers financially and very poor providers emotionally. Not abusive, but just not the supportive parent we all need. In one case the father was not very good at coping with a gay son at a time before it was fashionable to be gay, and when having a gay son, was something of a challenge to a parents own sexuality, and the upbringing they had provided. In the other case I think the fellow may have started out with good intentions but with not great models of how to parent and his own insecurities felt he had to compete with his children, instead of support and nurture them.

I was somewhat surprised at how much their passing affected these two friends of mine. One has not interacted with her father for decades and while the other had reconciled with his father in recent years, they were still not close. So my sense of it is that they both had fathers, but neither of them had a dad, and the mourning they were experiencing was not only the final closure of the relationship but mourning that the dad they had hoped for, never showed up.

About ten years ago, a buddy’s dad passed and then his mum too, and I wrote the poem below. The passing of the second one had an even bigger impact on him, not because he was closer to his mom, in fact I think he took more of his characteristics and sense of self from his dad, but just that there was now no one walking ahead of him holding the light at the cottage in the dark. The light had been passed to him.  It doesn’t matter how old you are…. its never nice being passed the light.



Today I became an orphan,

In my fifties,

Confident and strong.

Weakened by this death.


At a time when inappropriate,

To appropriate,

It feels right to me,

To feel I am an “orphan”.


The loss of the other parent,

Is not a second loss,

But the loss

Of the whole.


Their passing is not

Just the passing of the torch,

Or the passing of the past,

But the passing of the future.


To move from somewhere

On the continuum to the

End point of the line.

Disturbing, relentless, time.





My next post will be a happy, frivolous one – I promise.

As always feel free to copy any of my posts or poetry but just credit me please.



Posted: June 16, 2019

For any of you who have been paying attention, I am not a father. And my dad and granddads are all passed.

So what I am writing about today is Jim – well not Jim exactly but his dad.

Jim’s dad was a bit of a classic of his era. He did woodworking and built their cottage and could fix the car and the only thing he could cook was on a barbeque. You know – that kind of dad. He was a dependable sort of guy who people could rely on to do be supportive when needed and speak his mind when that was needed. He was a lithographer by trade and ran a bunch of printing plants across Canada for the Queens Printer in Canada (the Federal Government printing office).

He was not a young guy when Jim was born ( I think he was about 35 or older) and perhaps because of that or his own upbringing that saw him leave home at sixteen, or having a first child (Jim’s sister) nine years earlier who was more conventional, he and Jims mom did not quite know what to make of Jim. This was a wild monkey, to say the least, and neither of Jim’s parents had any idea how to manage him.

The good news is that they all survived Jims years in public school (if you have not read my first post you might want to now as it explains some of Jim’s behavior in public school) and against all odds his years in high school as well.  Today ADHD and a variety of other mental health descriptors would be applied but at the time the kindest label was the one I used earlier – wild monkey.

Jim had a life-changing event when we were traveling in Europe in 1973 with our other buddy Jim (another Jim, yah that’s the only name they gave out in 1954) which really made him straighten out, or at least be more focused. He scooted back to Canada at the end of the summer after high school, slid into University and there was no looking back. All his energy was now channeled into something. He would work all night as a security guard then go to school in the day and catch a bit of sleep in the evening. That’s how he lived through first year and went from a failing student in high school to a straight-A student who was in the top of his class for most of his courses in first-year university.

It was quite a scary transformation and one that his parents had given up on seeing happen.

The really good news is that his parents went on to live into their eighties and from that time in 1973 until they passed Jim had a really good relationship with them but has always been haunted by how bad a kid he had been until then.

So why am I telling you all this? Well, its because today, Fathers Day, while his kids, Jade and Jason were preparing him an amazing meal, Jim sat down at the computer and banged out this poem about his dad and just sent it to me. It could use some edits and Jim is not the strongest poet but damn it’s pretty straight up.



I don’t know all the things

I learned from my dad.

But when doing some carpentry

Was reminded of his approach to objects.


Things exist for a reason

And until they have fulfilled

That reason to exist

Are somewhat incomplete.


When a nail would be bent,

We would find a hard surface to hold it on

And pound it with a hammer until straight.

The nail could now fulfill its destiny.


Toothpicks needed

To find a mouth,

And both ends used,

To be complete.


A transit ticket

Lies waiting

To be dropped

In its box.


A bottle of rye should not

Be left half consumed

Biding its time

To complete its task.


I was a bit of a mess then,

Much more than incomplete,

But he didn’t

Give up on me.


You can’t analyze a tall man,

In a short poem.

Suffice it to say,

He straightened bent nails.




P.S. from Django:                                                                                                                                                                        Because I was hustling to get this posted I have not tracked down a picture of Jims Dad or Jim with his kids but I will post those images here when I get them. Also as always, feel free to reproduce the poem but please attribute it to this website.