Archive for ◊ December, 2013 ◊

Author:
• Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Wow, it’s hard to believe that 2013 has come and gone and we are moving into 2014.  I know that this whole moving into the New Year is just a man made idea but I think it is a good one.  I think we, as humans, need that date to put the previous year behind us and begin looking forward into new uncharted territories.

I, for one, are not sad at all to see 2013 go…it’s been a tough year in a lot of ways.  Many of you know that my dad has been very sick.  He went into the hospital back in May and was finally released in November, only to head back into the hospital a week later.  He was released Christmas eve and is back in his new assisted living apartment.

Here are some thoughts from my brother, who writes for our weekly newspaper in an article he entitled “Ode to Vern” :

 

“On Sunday, I called my father. A few months ago, he had valve replacement surgery on his heart, and I’ve been trying to call him more regularly. I haven’t been succeeding, because I always remember too late at night.

Even on Sunday, I called too late, and roused him out of bed. “I’d get up to talk to you,” he said, but I still felt bad for waking him, especially since he was planning on going on a drive the next day with his brother back to the area where he grew up.

He never made it. On Monday, he fell a couple times, banging his head fairly severely. He was sent to the hospital back in Saskatoon, where he lives.

He was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma, or bleeding on the brain. He became quite agitated, and they had to physically restrain him so he didn’t hurt himself or others.

The prognosis is … well, it’s not great. He has caused some damage to his brain, which is most likely permanent, and he’ll probably need long-term care. Controlling the bleeding is tough because he’s on medication to thin his blood for his heart. His left leg is not functioning properly, and they don’t expect him to be able to live on his own again. They also don’t know if he’ll be able to drive anymore.

This latter is crushing. My dad used to live in his vehicle. Working as municipal police, often on a force of one, dad would spend 10, 12, 14 hours a day in his car. He used to regale us with stories about his experiences driving. Like the time someone started to complain about his driving in a bucket-of-rust car he had in his younger days. “If you don’t like the way I’m driving,” said dad, pulling off the poorly-attached steering wheel, “you drive.”

When I was fairly young, dad got a job in Corman Park, which is the rural area surrounding the city of Saskatoon. We lived in a small farming community about half an hour’s drive away. He used to commute every day. Then he started keeping a place in the city, and came home half the time, then on weekends, and then he didn’t come home at all.

It was a natural progression, and I didn’t really note his absence any more than usual. Somewhere along the line, instead of dad coming home I started to go visit him, and more often than not, I’d spend the day riding along with dad in his police truck, accompanying him on chases, making the rounds. It was exciting.

And my dad? Dad was vital. He was everything you’d expect in a cop. Big. Barrel chested. Just and gruff and not prone to smiling, but possessed of a sly sense of humour that would leap out at the most unexpected moments.

His pinky finger was bent at a 90 degree angle at the first knuckle for most of my young life. It happened, he said, after a high speed chase with one of the young punks round my home town. When dad finally cornered the fellow, he got out of the car and began to run. Dad ran faster. He grabbed the kid by his collar, slung him over his shoulder, and stalked back to the car, twisting his pinky in the process. He didn’t even notice. When he did notice, he didn’t even bother going to the doctors.

It was only after years of it snagging on things that he finally went in to the hospital and told them to cut it off. It took multiple attempts for them to finally to knock him out. It took an effort just to anesthetize him.

Which is why the idea of him not being able to drive for himself, of him having to be kept in an assisted care facility is hard to accept. He is a passionately independent man, strong, capable, tough. He is not someone that needs help walking, living.

Mortality is a condition common to us all. I know this. Getting old, as the joke goes, is better than the alternative. But, as many of you out there know, it’s easy to know that, intellectually, it’s hard when it’s your own parent who you’re watching get old, watching the strongest man I know become weak and frail, and it puts me in a pensive frame of mind.”

 

Well, Dad’s prognosis has improved slightly.  I drove back and forth between Tumbler Ridge and Saskatoon 4 times this summer…first packing up my Dad’s apartment, the next time moving him into his new place, the third and forth just to check in on him and get him settled into his new place.  I blinked and summer was gone…I spent it on the road.

 

Amidst all of this the Regional District was faced with some pretty big issues this year, issues that took a lot of time and allowed me to get to know the people who elected me so much better. Thank you to all of the Area E residents who took the time to express their opinions to me and those who took the time to come up with a viable and workable alternative.  You make what I do so worth while.

 

I also want to thank the District of Chetwynd.  I appreciate the way we work together.  We accomplish so much because we work together.  The Right in-Right out was just one example of this.

 

I will leave you with a quote..my wish for all of you

 

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.  Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.  So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.  Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.  Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” – Neil Gaiman

Author:
• Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love.
Merry Christmas to all of my friends and acquaintances both far and near. Wishing you all of the best for this Christmas season and into 2014, making it the best year ever!