[My words, barely choked out at the gathering after the burial, my hands shaking so hard I could barely hold the paper I wrote it on. Goodbye Dad, I love you.]
My dad had big life.
I was trying to think of a story that sums up my life with my father, but there isn't one, just memories of the countless journeys, and places we discovered by car, truck, camper, boat, snowmobile, and feet - journeys that took us across Canada and from the far north of the United States to the farthest south. Where ever we went, it was more than the journey, it was what we did when we got there. It was the people we met, the things we learned, and the fences we climbed under that were the true adventure. My father instilled in me that love of the journey, the need to break the rules to get to the good stuff, and he taught me the importance of the connections that are made between people.
My father could talk to anyone. It was his greatest skill in life. He could find common ground and laughter and friendship everywhere. My dad loved people, and his honesty and openness drew people to him. I think that we can all agree that dad had a great sense of humour and that he loved to share his stories - the mouse on the string, the time he owned a monkey, eating lemons in front of a trumpet player, the list of prankster tales and laughing at his own mistakes could fill several books, and he told them all so well. He taught me that in order to make friends, you must share yourself truthfully, and playfully, with the world.
My father followed his dreams. It was never a case of if he could do something, but how he was going to do it. His first journey to Alaska was made solo in a VW Beetle from Quebec. He crossed Canada and made it up an unpaved Al-Can highway, found a job, a place to live, and sent the plane tickets for mom and me. That kind of courage only comes from a very special person. And luckily he found a partner in his life who was equally courageous and capable so they could live their dreams together.
My father taught me that I can do anything in this world, and that has been invaluable.
His life was a wonderful story, and I want to thank everyone in Dad's life for being part of it.