I’ve heard a lot of words used to describe Dad recently; strong, gentle, stubborn. These are all true and accurate descriptions of my father, but none of them ever quite hit home with me. I think its because I’ve always seen these qualities as being the result of a deeper implacable sense of who he was and how he fit into this world. One that, when he faced the difficulties of his life they offered him hardly any struggle because he knew he would overcome them.
There’s been one memory of Dad that has kept coming back to me over the last couple weeks. Shortly before my parents left Peace River I was driving him back to the nursing home where he was staying. At the bottom of the hill below our home I stopped too sharply at a corner and Dad slipped out of his chair and broke his leg. Later on when we were in the emergency room and the nurse was trying to get him set up to have a cast put on and she noted that he hadn’t made a peep of discomfort through what had to be a very painful experience. To which he responded calmly and honestly “Why? What would be the point?” And that stayed with me, the idea that his silence wasn’t and act of strength in an exercise against adversity, but rather an acceptance of circumstances and and confidence that overcome them.
I think this confidence of being, or faith if you will, is something that always resonated with the people around him. Through his example he gave them comfort, reassurance and strength. At least that’s what he gave me.