Today would have been my step father’s 90th birthday. He died from a heart attack at home when he was 54. I was 13. I consider him my dad as my biological father was not around. He became almost non-existent after my parents divorced.
My dad was a tough man. A WWII veteran who saw fighting in Italy. He fought for the Canadian army. I once asked him if he ever killed anyone and he just told me that he couldn’t remember. I took that to mean yes.
He was a funny man. He loved to pull pranks and I got my sense of humor from him. He was also an intense man and suffered post traumatic stress syndrome from the war.
I think a lot of how I handle my disease is from watching my dad. He was a Type one diabetic and needed to take an insulin shot every day. He also had high blood pressure and heart disease. Yet he never stopped living. He always had fun.
He once disappeared with my mother early one morning, creeping out without telling my brothers or me. He took her for a picnic breakfast at the edge of the runway of the airport so they could watch the planes take off. Another time, he about 50, my mother 40, took off at midnight to go to a disco.
One day in May 1975, at the age of 54, he took out his motor bike for a ride down a mountain, and his bike stalled. There weren’t any cell phone in those days, so he pushed his bike back up the hill to the road. He died that night from a massive heart attack.
I have learned so much from him on life, living, and not taking anything for granted. Because of him, I am the man I am today. I never got to tell him a lot before he died, but at 13 you never have much to say to your parents.
So today, on your 90th birthday dad, I say thank you for showing me how to live life, not let disease become my life and for every stupid joke and practical joke you pulled. I know now how to see the good and funny part of every part of my life. You were the best and I love you.