My father died 24 years ago. I wasn’t with him when he died and I regret that deeply. But somehow, whenever I’ve thought about him over this nearly quarter century since his passing, I’m filled with a sense of resolution and completeness about our relationship.
My dad was, in many ways, a simple man; he worked hard, saved religiously and spent all his spare time engaged in his abiding life passion, writing – not for money, certainly not for fame – just for its own sake.
He had a profound belief in the value of higher education, so much so that, even though it would mean nothing to him financially or for “advancement”, he struggled for many years to complete a bachelor’s degree by correspondence. (This was long before the day when simple enrollment and payment of tuition assure a sheepskin.)
He always urged on me in the strongest of terms the importance of post-secondary education. During a part of my ‘rebellious’ phase, I probably telegraphed a certain resistance to his wishes, but eventually I ended up in university, found myself loving it and graduated twice, once with an undergraduate degree and once from a professional school.
Although my education would inure solely to my benefit, my dad’s pride was nothing short of palpable – his son was now, in his eyes at least, a person of “substance”. We never talked about it in that way, or really at all, but you could just tell. I became his sounding board and adviser, even on topics for which I had no superior wisdom or insight.
One of the last things he said to me forms the basis of the title to my little soapbox here. I know my dad ‘found harbour’ having gotten a feeling of contentment and completeness in his task of raising, encouraging and guiding me to be a person he was proud of. I’m forever grateful he did.