Just a few days ago, I tried to keep it together in front of a few dozen of your family and friends. I tried my best to speak from my heart, tried my best to “sum you up”, and tried my best to do you proud. I got out most of what I wanted to say, but allow me a few more things here and now. Then I promise I’ll begin to move on.
My life is forever changed by your sudden death on Monday morning.
I never expected you to go at age 64…never expected to only be 38 myself when you did…never expected a man who so many have described as “having the biggest heart” to head off to The Big Hockey Arena in The Sky because his heart would suddenly fail him.
I have literally been walking around in your shoes for much of this week, and amusingly enough, I noticed that they don’t quite fit me. They’re a little big. No matter how grown-up I feel, it would appear as though I’d still need to grow a little more to catch you.
I know you never really read much of what I write in this space. You’d click around a bit, ‘like’ the occasional post on social media, and tell me how cool some of the movies looked…but a lot of what fuels my fire where movies are concerned wasn’t quite “your brand”. But you loved that I loved it, you’d look even if you wouldn’t read. Sorta the same way you used to come to my art exhibitions and musical performances, even if art and music wasn’t tops amongst your interests. You loved that Shane and I loved such things, and you stoked that love with your own.
I think I need to remember that next time someone starts trying to pull me enthusiastically to something I’m not enthusiastic about.
I need to take joy in their joy…much like you did.
I mean, I loved talking with you about why The Toronto Blue Jays were suddenly so much better, and why SKYFALL was so damned cool. And sure, I could sit here wish I could have had as lengthy discussions about what that book by Hanya Yanagihara made me think about life, or why WORLD OF TOMORROW moved me so deeply. But that would be pulling you further in my direction…instead of going back to you. Maybe I should have asked you about what new tricks you’d learned with your iPad, or what was happening on Coronation Street.
I should have taken more joy in your joy, as you did for me.
That’s my only regret as I move forward: the feeling that I could have offered more of myself in return. So I will have to offer it to others in your honour. I will listen to their stories, be generous with my time and attention, and maybe see some of them in what and who matters most to them.
This week, so many people have told me that they see you in me, and I always have to crack half a smile because I know how different we were in so many ways.
You probably couldn’t tell Monet from Manet, or Fassbender from Fassbinder. Then again, I can’t change a spark plug, and my beer can grilled chicken leaves much to be desired…so “tie game”, right?
However, I think others, like you, realize that such differences don’t matter…that we are connected by our spirit and friendliness. I think you saw that spirit in others better than most, which was why you could spend so much time talking with perfect strangers.
Maybe that’s what people see of you in me. I can only hope so.
So before I start crying again, (something I know you wouldn’t think lesser of me for), let me just say thanks for the lessons you taught me, the gifts you gave me, and the part of me that is you. It has served me well in becoming myself, and will continue to do so as I now evolve into someone better who strives to serve your legacy.
I’ll think of you whenever The Maple Leafs win.
I’ll think of you whenever a movie has a really great car chase.
I’ll think of you during every steak dinner.
and I’ll think of you every time someone talks to me passionately about something they love. I’ll feel your joy in their joy.
Now turn off your iPad and get to that concert; I’m told Johnny Cash puts on a great show.
Goodnight Dad, and Godspeed.