02.15.2023 05:54 AM

Happy birthday

Many guys will understand what I mean when I say this: your father is both a bit of light, and a bit of shadow, over your path through life.

Mine, T. Douglas Kinsella, MD, OC, would have been 91 years old today. Ninety-one! So many years after we lost him, he remains a constant in our lives. He still illuminates some of the path. Without even being here, he still quietly persuades me to examine the choices I have made.

Me? I have made some bad choices. I have been reckless and selfish. I have not lived by the single rule he left us.

“Love people, and be honest,” he said to us, and I sometimes feel I have done neither.

He saved many lives as a physician, and he won accolades, and he was a member of the Order of Canada. But for us – my brothers, my nephew he raised, my closest friends – he was the man we aspired to be. Not for the distinctions he received, but for how he was, in his heart.

He was unfailingly honest; he was kind to everyone he met. He married his high school sweetheart, and was with her every single day for 50 years, and my God how they loved each other. We would sit there at the kitchen table in Calgary or Kingston or Montreal, and we would listen to him. He’d listen to us, too, and persuade us to try and figure things out. There were some great times, around that table.

The best thing is having a father like that. The harder thing is knowing that you will never be like him.

I met a girl, once, who had also lost her father, too soon, and never got over it. Fell in love with her just for that. Hope she finally finds peace.

Anyway. I had a dream that my Dad died in 9/11; I don’t know why, but I did. I woke up weeping, and remembered that I wasn’t a boy anymore, and that he has been gone for much more than a decade. I don’t think he would like what his son has become. I usually don’t.

So I put on my pants and shoes, and went out into the day, looking for what’s left of the path.

Happy birthday. I miss you.


  1. EsterhazyWasALoser says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. Remember, it is never too late to turn over a new leaf.

  2. Bob Yuhasz says:

    Your father would be extremely proud of you. Despite the power of a parents influence strong mature people develop strengths and weaknesses according to their own idiosyncrasies, relative to the world they live in. A lot of great and wonderful people think the world of you. You must be doing something right!

  3. EsterHazyWasALoser says:

    Condolences on your loss. Your father undoubtedly made this planet a better place, and it sounds like he was a positive influence for you Warren. We all make mistakes, and nobody is perfect. I am sure we would all like the opportunity to revisit some of our decisions, but you know what, that’s life. I try now not to repeat my errors in judgement and do the right thing when the occasion arises.

  4. Warren,

    This is always a post to read and read again. It’s so from the heart.

    This time the 9-11 dream struck me: you woke up weeping thinking your dad had been killed. Somehow, some way, those sentences strike me as if both you and your Dad through you were weeping because of the tremendous and senseless loss of life coupled with the inhumanity of man. You share those fine qualities of father and physician.

  5. Sean says:

    You sure look like your dad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.