My father would have been 102 years old today. He died in 1998, at age 94. His brother is still alive, and will turn 97 next New Year's Eve. Good genes, I guess. I hope some of those good genes made their way into the next generation.
It is hard to believe that my father has been gone for so long. I remember lots of things about him, but what most left an impression on me was that he had a tremendous sense of equilibrium. He took everything in stride, and faced whatever life presented, good or bad, with the same quiet determination. How was that possible, given all that he endured in his 94 years?
My father lived a life full of adversity and difficult physical labour. He lost his first wife, and one of the children they had together. The daughter who survived, my half-sister, is a wonderful woman, truly one in a million, and reminds me very much of my father.
After my father married my mother in1937, they lost three children before I came along in 1945. They were forced from their homes twice, and lost everything they had. In 1949, several years after World War II, they came to Canada and started all over again. My father was already 45 years old, my mother 35. I was 3 1/2 years old. My brother was born several months later.
How did my father cope with it all? Will I provide as good an example to my own son as my father did for me? I hope so, but I will have very, very big shoes to fill.
Happy birthday, Dad. I wish you were here to celebrate it with us all.