My father Bob died last week. He had been fighting cancer for a couple of years. He was 77.
He was cremated wearing trousers, his bowling shirt from his winter life, and his golf shoes from his summer life - complete with tufts of grass in the cleats from his last round.
His memorial service will be at his golf club in eastern Quebec on Friday.
He and I had a complicated, fragile relationship, rusted by neglect, watered sporadically like a weed, blossoming occasionally.
I will be taking up my 3-wood - and blasting a ball off the tee for him - well, blasting as far as my arm movement right now will allow. Plus he never saw me hit a ball anyway - so if I shank it...it'll be okay.
Dad was one of the most optimistic people I've ever met.
And he loved a laugh more than anything.
And he had the most love for the worst, bawdiest, dirtiest jokes I've ever heard.
And every meal he ate at our table he loved, and seemed to mean it.
He loved music - swing, jazz, reggae and of course classical - and requested it during his last days of lucidity. He was probably Oscar Peterson's biggest fan - and loved to recount how he bought the great Canadian pianist a drink one night in Montreal.
My very first grown-up album - an LP, a record, a vinyl disc - was from Dad. The London Symphony Orchestra playing Beethoven's 9th Symphony...alle menschen werden bruder...ode to joy. When Cindy told me he was requesting music, I wanted to send my now-CD version of the symphony...but it was too late.
I remember one night at our kitchen table Dad cried when I played Nessun dorma for him, sung by the one, Pavarotti, who raced him to the grave.
It was Pavarotti's signature.
He sang it at his final performance last year. And the final words, of the final performance, of the final song that Pavarotti performed, say:
- Vanish, O night! Set, stars! Set, stars!
- At dawn, I will win!
- I will win! I will win!
Dad - March 20, 1930 - September 17, 2007
...and that's it.
So, I pause here. I'll be back next week - drenched by the saying, when it rains, it pours.
the top photo you have seen in a previous post about my Mum - is of my parents on the summer night they met, in 1949. They were married 3 months later. When she sees this photo she still gushes...about the dress...she loved that dress.
the bottom photo is the first photo I ever remember having of me with both my parents - it was four years ago - I cooked them dinner. The picture was the idea of, and taken by, Dad's wonderful wife, Cindy.