Happy Birthday Dad!

mourning symbolIt’s amazing how grief works. I’m horribly absentminded and more often than not can’t remember my train of thought. But, every year as my father’s birthday and the date of his death approaches, I always know where I left of grieving last year. It’s taken a long time, over twenty years, for the happy memories and the pain of his loss became equal. I miss him every single day. And I wish he were constantly.

It’s amazing how grief works. I’m horribly absentminded and more often than not can’t remember my train of thought. But, every year as my father’s birthday and the date of his death approaches, I always know where I left of grieving last year. It’s taken a long time, over twenty years, for the happy memories and the pain of his loss became equal. I miss him every single day. And I wish he were constantly.

Today, I give Funeral Blues written by Wystan Hugh Auden. Loss has never been more poignantly captured.

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Happy Birthday Dad—love you always!mourning symbol

Ricky – In Memoriam

rickyMy beloved Richard Louis Schader, aka Ricky, passed away on Monday night. I am devastated. Ricky brought joy, light, and sheer happiness to the lives he touched, including mine and the Viking, and my three sons. And he wasn’t even my Golden Retriever.

We were privileged to be able to care for Ricky for six months while his true master looked for a pet friendly place to live. During those wonderful six months, we fell in total love with Ricky and he became part of our family.

When it was time for Ricky to leave, I negotiated custody rights, and our home became ‘Ricky’s Vacation Home’ a few times a year. Ricky visited three times this year; for my birthday, for a week in the summer, and for a long weekend in October. I am so happy I was able to have him recently.

Here are a few of the hundreds of pics I took of Ricky.

RIP, Ricky. I will always love you.

 

 

 

 

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Ricky in car looking back Ricky behind John in car Ricky in car Ricky in car full face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, Ricky’s Vacation Home is in mourning.

Our sincere condolences to Andrew.

R.I.P. Robin Williams. You will be sorely missed!

220px-Mrs_DoubtfireThe world is poorer by far with the loss of Robin Williams yesterday. A comic genius, a devoted family man, he had the unique ability to immerse you completely into whatever world he occupied in a movie or a television show.

Robin Williams made me laugh until I cried. Deep bust gusting laughter is the ultimate tension reliever and there is no greater talent than being able to provoke that in a human being. Robin Williams had the supreme talent to do that, over and over again. From Mork and Mindy (I still agree with the concept of being born old and growing younger until you return to the womb- brilliant) to Jumanji to Mrs. Doubtfire to The Birdcage—these are movies I watch again and again  and still bust a gut laughing.

Then there is Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, and Good Morning Vietnam, all films which showcase Robin William’s dramatic talent. Movies that make you think long after you’ve seen them.

Obviously, I didn’t know the man, but I admired him for his honesty and tenacity while conquering some of his demons—he had been sober since 2006. I also venerated the way he adored and loved his family. By all accounts, he was an admirable human being.

Yes, there is no doubt, the world is poorer. I am stunned, desolate, and blue, and I lament his loss. My sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

Grieving Robin Williams and watching Mrs. Doubtfire,

Jianne

My Dad

mourningToday is the twenty-first anniversary of my father’s death. While time has eased the acute pain of his loss, there is no day that passes without me thinking of him. My dad and I had, in my eyes, the best relationship possible between a parent and sibling. I was the apple of his eye and he was, and still is, my hero.

His tale is incredible. Born in 1933. He was the son of a white, Portuguese gold and diamond mine and plantation owner and his indentured Indian (as from India) servant. Rumor has it that my grandmother had absolutely no say in refusing my grandfather’s advances, and he had several other mistresses in different locations. My grandfather went on to father three sons, all of whom he legitimized, and he did provide for their education.

My father graduated from the University of Guelph in Canada with a Bachelor Degree in Science and a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Science in 1952 at the tender age of 19. An accomplishment even more incredible when you take into account that he was of mixed ethnicity.

Dad went on to found a conglomerate now present in almost every major English-speaking Caribbean island and some South American countries. But, though I relished and learned from his business acumen, what I admired most about my father was his commitment to his principles.

We lived on a 60×40 island, where corruption ran rampant. To receive a regular water supply (as in water in your taps for showering, cooking, etc.), you had to bribe the drivers and crews of water trucks and the workers at the reservoirs. We once went 60 days without a single drop of water in our faucets because my dad refused to pay the bribe. (We drove miles to a working pipe on the roadway, filled barrels, and that was the source of our daily water).

Dad instilled the commitment to your principles in each and every one of my three brothers and me. To this day, I cannot cheat — even in Pictionary (okay being Catholic convent educated may also have impacted).

So, to my father on this day — thanks Dad, for making me who I am today. I turned out all right.

Love you always,

Your daughter

 

D is for Dad

a-to-z-letters-dOkay, there’s no way I can blog about romance today, because twenty years ago at 4:44 pm on this day, my father died. So, today my blog is titled D is for Dad.

I am one of the lucky ones. The only girl in the family, I was the absolute apple of my father’s eye. Not once have I ever wondered if I was loved by him – I know with a forged certainty he adored me.

Joseph Anthony Bernard reared me in his own image and I have never regretted that for a second.

He brought me up not as a woman but as a human being and taught me that I was every bit as good as any male. That’s not to say he didn’t challenge me – he did so constantly.

From him I learned competition was only a bad thing if you didn’t win.  That while winning wasn’t the only goal, it was the best one, but you never, ever sacrifice your ethics to win. In a country where paying bribes was the norm, we once went 30 days without a drop of water in our taps because he refused to pay for what should’ve been a right. (He won that fight by the way – the district manager for the utility was fired).

My husband, three sons, and I lived next door to my parents for many years. We were, are still, a close family. My mom and dad helped the dh and I start our own business and he was chairman of our company’s board.  When he died my mom asked if there was anything I wanted to add to the description of dad for the funeral agenda. This was what I said:

He was my hero, my friend, my business colleague, but above all, my dad.

I miss you Dad and I so wish you could’ve seen my sons grow into fine men, whom I not only love, but like. They are all fantastic human beings.

To go onto to other blogs in the A to Z challenge, click on the badge at the top of this post.

In mourning,

Jianne