I found this in the Web Archive “Wayback” machine, and thought I would post it. This Father’s Day hasn’t started off particularly well, either, but that’s the way it goes, I guess. Have a good one, all you dads out there.
June 20, 2004 – Ever since I can remember, today has been the day when (like you, perhaps) I would call my Dad to wish him happy father’s day. Or, if he was nearby, I would give him something – usually a book about philosophy, or the origins of religions, or something like that. He loved those.
This year, Father’s Day isn’t going to be all that great, for reasons that most of you already know about. But I’m also determined to make the best of it, because I’m a Dad now, too, and I have four little people who need me.
I’m also determined to say thank you to a lot of people. Since my Dad got sick, about a month ago, a lot of folks have been calling, or sending emails. Quite a few of the emails were from people I have never met. Some were from people who went to school with my Dad, or were taught by him, or practiced medicine with him. And there were many, many notes and calls from people who had been friends, or co-workers, or even adversaries during political campaigns and the like. For me and my family, these expressions of kindness and concern were remarkable. And they helped us get through a very difficult time.
Two notes deserve special mention. I received both prior to my father’s death, in the early morning hours of Tuesday. They influenced me in a way I will remember for the rest of my life.
One was from a friend who is the son of a former Prime Minister. In it, he told me to spend every moment I could with my father – to stay with him, and worry about other things later on. So I did that.
The other note was from a former Toronto Star writer who I knew from my Ottawa days, but with whom I had lost touch. But his advice, too, helped me a great deal. He told me he had spent time at a sibling’s bedside, as cancer claimed her life. In their time together, he told her everything he had never said before – the things he had held back. He told me to try and do similarly. And I did.
That advice – from Justin, and from Bill – I will remember for the rest of my life. And I thank them for it.
Now, I have many friends from my involvements in politics over the years, so I knew I would hear from some of them. But I never expected what happened.
At the funeral, my Mom and my brothers – and me – were so happy to see friends like Jean Chrétien, Martin Cauchon, Jean Pelletier, John Rae, Jean Carle, Charlie Angelakos, Jaime Watt, Greg Lyle, James Villeneuve, Bob Richardson, Graham Scott, Tim Powers, Tara Shields, Dave Gene, Sean O’Connor, Doug Wotherspoon, Krista Nicholds, Sean Malone, Sharon Smith, Jim Watson, my in-laws, friends from Queen’s Park, colleagues from Navigator PPG – along with my Dad’s family, and his friends and co-workers at Canadian Blood Services, or McGill, or Queen’s, or the University of Calgary. Before the funeral, there had been quite a few special phone calls – people who took time (a lot of time) to speak with my mom: our family’s friend Jean Chrétien, Dalton McGuinty, and Stephen Harper. Stephen’s call – and what he had to say – I will remember for a long, long time.
To everyone who passed along their thoughts and wishes – and to all of my fellow bloggers, who were extraordinarily kind – I, we, cannot thank you enough. I read many of your messages to my Dad before he died, and they were appreciated more than words can express.
My Dad wanted me to get back I into the game before this election was over (and we both had a good, long laugh about one journalist’s suggestion that the Martin regime should reach out to me). So I will do that. But before I do so, I wanted to thank all of you for your kindness and support.
And, to my Dad: happy father’s day. Fortis in arduis, forever.