Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Dad died

I'm with George Carlin, I've never been a big fan of death euphemisms.  As a fan of Monty Python's parrot sketch, I know just about all of them.  I would have said my dad is pining for the fjords, because it would elicit a giggle, but only from those in the know.

My dad has battled cancer for a long time.  Cancer runs in my family.  Fighting cancer off also runs in the family.  He was given a 10% chance of living two years after brain tumor round two.  Five years later, brain tumor round three, mini-strokes, heart attack, parkinsons, or a combination thereof was too much.

Long expected, but its still never truly expected.  He's been going downhill for a few years, getting to be particularly bad in the last few months.  Enough to convince my brother to fly out with his wife on easter weekend.  All three kids (and all three grandkids) were there to celebrate his 66th birthday with him and Mary.  I think its been almost 20 years since he'd been with all three kids at the same time.

Leaf and I had been together for years before she realized I had a dad. He was not a part of my life for longer than he was.  It would take pages of writing or years of therapy to even start explaining my fucked up formative years.  All the typical father-son type things I can think of from pre-teen onwards I did with someone else or were skipped altogether.  I think of him whenever I hear Harry Chapin's "Cats in the Cradle".

As much as my mother used to nag "he's still your dad", I hadn't been particularly bothered to see him much  as an older teen and adult.  Prodding from Leaf, I'm sure prodding from Mary, his illness, and letting him spend time with grandkids meant I started to see him again in the last five years.   I'm glad that he got a chance to see and enjoy his grandkids.

Odin is too young to understand, but Mars was pretty confused and upset by my being upset.  Adding to his confusion was our lack of success in using different names (Grandpa and grandma, granddad and granny Mary, and nanny and gramps) for Mars' three sets of grandparents.  They are all grandma and grandpa to him.  At one point he thought my mum's husband was dead, then tried to convince Leaf's dad that he had died.  We broke out the photos, and now he very solemnly announces "that's my grandpa who died" when he sees a photo of my dad.

He left me some personal items in his will.  His favourite photo and his favourite movie (The Quiet Man) have the most meaning for me.  Movie is on cassette, so I acquired a digital copy to watch.  Photo is hanging in the front hall.  I remember taking it, its how I want to remember my dad.  The dad from my childhood, that happy age when dads can do no wrong.

 Patrick Nolan April 7th, 1944 - April 21, 2010

1 comment:

  1. wEll put but he still was and is your DAD the only one you have.... RIP Patrick

    I have many fond memories, of both your Mom (whos an angel) and your Dad who I spent many a March Break with in Toronto many years ago. As we grow older, and memories fade, remember our parents are the foundation on which we are built, all we can do is try to improve

    Love Lynda