Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Lucky Girl...Two Great Dads

You know those coffee mugs that say "World's Greatest Dad" that was my Dad...
My dad and I always had a great relationship, I was the light of his life and then the boys came along and they were too.  He loved us more then anything in the world.
I have so many great memories of him and things we did together, our season tickets for the Express, building shutters in the basement and out in the shop, family vacations, going to the dump to watch the black bears (red necks you bet!), going to Earla's for treats, calming him down on my wedding day just before we walked down the isle, seeing how much he loved my boys, our talks in the shop or the garage, and thousands more!
Then in 2007, I begged Dad to go get help for his drinking because I was scared it was going to kill him.  I can still remember telling him that if he didn't get help that I couldn't be around him and I couldn't let the boys be around him because it was killing me to watch what he was doing to himself.  He told me he didn't need help and I walked out of his apartment heartbroken on Jan. 3 and did not talk to him again until May 18 when I was told how sick he was.  I called Mom and we went down to see him.  I took one look at him realized that the next couple of months would be the last I would spend with him but they were also some of the best memories I have of us together. 
At the first of the summer I lost a job I LOVED...I was so upset.  Now I thank God everyday that I had those 4 months to spend with Dad and I spent everyday with him.  There were several trips and stays at the hospital, Dad always making me promise to take him home because he didn't want to die in the hospital and everytime I brought him home. 
We talked about everything...I mean everything.  Yes it was very hard to watch how sick he was and to see him in all that pain but it gave us time to tell each other everything we wanted to say to each other.
On Thanksgiving Day, he was really bad, he was laying in his bed and I got up beside him.  He told me that he thanked God everyday I was his daughter and that he loved me more then anything.  I told him what a great Dad he was and how lucky I was to have him.  Then he asked if I was going to be ok.  I asked "OK what do you mean?"  He said "without me?"  He said that he was in so much pain and knew that he was dying but was worried because I had never had to deal with anything like that and he didn't know if I was strong enough.  I sat there beside him knowing full well the pain he was in and holding his hand I lied to him and said "It will be the hardest thing in the world, but I can do it, you don't have to fight just for me." 
On Thursday of that week he had a doctor's appointment and everything was the same and when I asked the doctor if he thought it would be ok if I went to Moncton on Saturday night he said, "oh yes, just have someone look in on him"  So that was the plan.  I waited until 7pm to go down to Moncton to meet up with some friends.  I stopped in at Dad's got all his meds for him and got him something to eat, he was in bed so I sat there talking to him telling him that I would stay home and he said "No go...but when do you think you'll be home?"  I told him I'd be home around 2 on Sunday.
I gave him a kiss and a hug and told him I loved him and that I would see him tomorrow.  I walked down the stairs to leave and he said "hey...do you know how much I love you?"  I answered "I sure do! Love you too!"  Then he said "remember I'll be watching you!"  I laughed and said "you don't need to remember I'm perfect!!!"  He laughed.
At 12:17 pm the next day I received a call from Dad's friend, she had gone in to check on him for me and he had passed away.  To this day, I believe he wanted me to go because he didn't want me to be the one who found him.  I thank God for that too, I don't know that I could have handled that.
It will be 4 years this October and I still find myself thinking "I gotta call Dad and tell him that!" Or at the grocery store I'll put Cranberry Juice in the cart (we hate cranberry juice) but when Dad was sick that is all he drank.  I still think about him a thousand times a day.  I think how much he would love Cayden and enjoy him!
And I thank him everyday for the last gift I think he gave me...I think he knew I was lying and knew I needed a father in my life...I don't think it was just a concidence that day he passed away was the day I found out that Mom and Garrie were engaged.  So I have been twice blessed to have a great Dad and a wonderful Stepdad!
I'm so lucky to have Garrie...he is such a good man, he loves Mom so much and makes her so happy, he loves my boys and now is very taken with his new Great Grandson Cayden (who might have him wrapped around his finger), he is wonderful to Grampie and he loves me. 
What a lucky girl to have been blessed with 2 total different but equally great and wonderful Dads!
So this Father's Day you won't see me at the Keswick Graveyard, looking at Dad's headstone...don't get me wrong I do go there to clean it off after they mow the grass but it's not to visit him because he is not there.  He is in my heart every minute of everyday, he's with me all the time.  This Father's Day I will be spending it with my Stepdad and thinking how lucky I am to have him.  And I know Dad will be watching and smiling!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Some Pretty Amazing Teenagers

This year Zac is in grade 11 and he was involved in the making of a documentary for one of his classes.  This was something he really enjoyed doing (so much actually that he got detention because he jigged other classes to work on his film...but that is another blog!LOL) 

We have found over the years that if Zac likes something and has a passion for it he will put his heart and soul in it!  And he sure did just that for this project.

District 18 is trying to promote this for it's students and held a screening of the best documentaries from Fredericton High, Leo Hayes and Stanley High.  They held it May 26th at UNB and it was called "What's Up Doc?"  They even had awards that looked like little Oscars but they were called the Bunnies!  They had a panel of judges that judged the films on things like Best Producer, Best Editor, Best Picture, etc.

I want to tell you that these films were AMAZING!  The documentaries were about real things that high school students are facing.

Zac's film was about bullying, the traditional bullying that we all think about, but also about Cyber Bullying and the effect it has on kids.  It was very good and gave lots of information that I didn't know.

Another group of kids did their film on Eating Disorders.  They told their stories about why and how their disorders started, what it did to their families and how it still effects their lives today.  What impressed me about this film was that the main people in this film were males.  When I think of eating disorders I always think it something that effects mostly girls.  It was very interesting to hear from the guys how they have the same body image issues that girls have!

But the one that blew me away was the one on Drug Addiction.  These students set in front of the camera and told their stories.  These kids are 14 -18 year old and what they have gone through!  One girl told her story of doing any kind of drug she could get a hold of and living under the Westmorland Street Bridge for a week because at 14 she lost the apartment she was living in and was not allowed to live at her house!  I'm 38 years old and won't walk after dark because I'm scared, I can't imagine living like that.  I was so impressed about how these teenagers talked so openly about the problems and struggles they faced and still face after going through rehab. 

We have been so very blessed to have 2 wonderful, really great kids and I can honestly say that I have never had to worry about where they were and what they were doing.  As of now neither have come home drunk or stoned, they have never missed curfew and have never been in serious trouble.  I certainly know that we still have one left at home and that could change but I pray everyday that we are able to help Zac continue to live the life he has been living.   We are so proud of both the boys.

As I sat in that theatre and watched this girl telling her story and trying to educate teenagers on the dangers of drug addiction, I looked around to see how proud this girl's mom must be (she was in the film telling some of the stuff the family went through) but she wasn't there!  My heart broke alittle for that girl until I saw her in the crowd and seen the look of pride on her face.  Good for her!!!

I'm telling you about this for 2 reasons, first if you ever have the chance to go to this please do.  It took a lot for these kids to get up in front of a camera and tell their stories of bullying, eating disorders and drug addiction, they weren't scared of people judging them or making fun of them they just wanted to tell their story and help others.  And secondly, we are all very busy and have more things to do then there is time to do them, it seems now a days but always try to make the time to show your kids how proud you are of them.  My parents did and I try to do it as much as I can.  It builds their self confidence which can hopefully help them feel good about themselves and if we're lucky they will never go through these kinds of problems.