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What my Dad Taught Me.

With Father’s Day approaching, it only makes relevant sense that I post about my Dad. I made a Mother’s Day post, which my Mom liked and enjoyed reading – so here goes.

Some of my earliest recollections include me running on the sidewalk to catch up with my Dad. He always walked so quickly, and it appeared like I was still trailing behind running and yelling, ‘slow down,’ or ‘wait for me.’ In those beginning years, life felt hurried and rushed.

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As a girl, I viewed my Dad as the disciplinarian and the ultimate decision-maker. He was scary at times, he shouted, banged doors, had expectations I did not understand, was upset, reactive, and I do not remember spending time with him often.

I cherish summer trips to Cape Breton to visit family, and I treasure feeling so special and proud when I got to go to my Dad’s place of employment for the night at the residential home. I got to stay awake all night, walk the grounds, have a bite from the large kitchen and sit in the cafeteria. We would bring lunch and doze off sometimes on the hard couches. I remember thinking about what it would be like to live in such a place with shared bedrooms, an in-house hairdresser, a games room, outdoor courts, and a pool. Some hall walls had murals on them that my Mom painted. I felt happy to be there. I have distinct memories of those times.

My Dad influenced me that I, too, could have a similar profession, and I began thinking about a helping career early on in life. I craved a job where I could feel satisfied and make a difference somehow, even if it were small.

My Dad taught me that men do not need to contain their emotions. He talked about recognizing your mistakes, learning from them, and then making a change and a difference. He did just that. He transformed his entire life from darkness, disease, difficulty and distress to a brand-new life. My Dad got the help and assistance he needed and began, and continues, to focus on his wellness.

My Dad also introduced me to spirituality and self-exploration. I remember a time when I was questioning and curious about different faiths. Dad went with me to various services within our community to examine that faith. He was supportive of my research, even if it was not his own.

My father taught me not to sweat the little stuff and to stand up for what I believe. He believed in challenging the system because what is real and one’s integrity is of tremendous significance. He taught me to smile when it is difficult to do and that sometimes you need to fake it until you make it.

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The most useful thing Dad taught me was that I must do what I need to do to stay physically and mentally healthy. If that means saying no, slowing down, changing a relationship, moving to a different location, or changing employment, then that is okay. I have a choice.

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Life is short, take each day as it happens, and the rest is bullshit. I never truly appreciated this routine advice until my own mental recovery required me to revisit my choices and decisions; only then did I begin to cope with life differently.

In adulthood, my Dad represents the power of the mind, someone who never gives up, and a man who stays faithful to his convictions. He is a serving-man to peers in need. Dad has devoted his time to help others, which he understood, and he made this his life’s purpose. He accepts himself, is fair, stands tall, and remains a pillar of strength, wisdom, and a representation of hope.

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Currently, Dad is facing another great challenge physically. This time is scary and worrisome for everyone as one of Dad’s biggest life battles begins. He presents strong even though he is scared. He displays fearless even though he hurts. I know that he will be okay because no matter what, he believes he does not have the control. My Dad believes the power belongs to a higher one, and that is where he sits, in faith, in mind, and in spirit, one day at a time.

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