As I tie up the bits and pieces of 2016 I am struck by what a momentous year it has been. I’m not really sure why I seem driven to share delicate topics about my life. This past year has been a great journey for me.
In 2017, I’ll be taking a completely different direction to the land of rainbows, butterflies and unicorns! I think I’ve hit my own critical mass and I want to end the year with A TRIBUTE.
This story is a bit autobiographical but it involves one person specifically…My Father.
My story starts on March 20th, 1969. I entered this world and was placed in the arms of LOVE. With such an impact that I’m here today to tell you all about it.
I wish I had beautiful words to express what that moment truly means to me.
Last week, I went to see Collateral Beauty. First time, I’ve gone to a movie by myself. Ever.
I’ve never really been comfortable with the words ‘falling in love.‘ they never have resonated with me. Sure, I get the gist of the words completely, but I’ve always thought, ‘there’s got to be something more…a better wording etc…’
On Monday, in that movie theatre those words CAME. Someone, used perfect words to say it for me. One of the characters was trying to describe what he felt like when his daughter was born. Although, I’m not going to get it verbatim I’m going to credit anyway,
I didn’t fall in love, in that moment…I BECAME LOVE.
My place, my embodiment of being LOVE/D was the place I landed. In the arms and heart of my father William John Fram.
My mother says she didn’t remember when I was born, but my Dad sure did. It was during a hockey game. My Dad, was an avid sports guy but he was singularly passionate about hockey, namely THE TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS. It’s classic schtick for this story and a point I’ll touch on a bit later.
William aka Bill(y) was one of four sons to Thomas and Alice Fram. His elder brother Winston, died from a childhood illness. My Dad, was a dark-haired man, always with a twinkle in his eye and something witty to say.
In his younger days of hockey playing, Bill was bit of a bruiser and hooligan. Just watch any Don Cherry movie and you will get a total depiction of my father. He was usually pretty easy-going but had a passionate streak that is alive and well throughout the family today. He was famous, for what my husband Dave likes to call RANTS. He, I and other members of the family are infamous for our declarations on matters of the heart. Be it politics, the cost of lumber or just how the wind blows.
My father stared a career as a Fire Fighter when I was born and went on to retire in full regalia many years later. His family continued to grow after my birth. His first-born son arrived 11 months later. My father was always there for both my brother and I but his story of being a husband was cut short when he came home from work one day to find out that my mother had made a cuckold of him by having an affair with the man next door, some 17 years her senior. She would crawl out the basement window after my brother and I were asleep to commit adultery with the man next door.
My father admits to being completely shocked and surprised. He tossed my mother out and proceeded to divorce her and was granted custody of my brother and I. I’m sure it was a lot more complicated than two sentences in a story all these years later but the details are not my focus or business.
45 years ago, I was definitely the only kid whose parents divorced, let alone being raised by a Dad. Very early on, I remember whispers and finger-pointing at school, or church. Circumstances, made me a misfit at the time, an outcast. The word I identify with the best; a dissident. My 65 ish year old grandmother, became my defacto mother, babysitter, parent and teacher.
When I look back at my Dad and his existence, parallel to my life, I noticed, he was always supportive. He liked to get things going : be it a conversation, a discussion or an activity. He would jokingly call himself a bit of a shit disturber. I always observed him being kind, gentle and encouraging to people he engaged with. I saw him like many others did, as a stand up guy.
This story now takes on a small chapter where my dad married a woman who became my step-mother. I share and talk about her often on my blog and if you’ve read my other accounts you know that she was very different from my father. She used to be a source of angst in my life and although this story is not about her in any way, she’s part of the account. In the fact, that she shared a life with him.
My Dad, taught me many things like how to pump gas, how to vote, how to drive and how to love. He was there at my happiest and saddest moments, at my wedding and when my sons and daughter were born.
He died from cancer, 8 years ago at the age of 69.
Although, he is no longer on this earth, he is so alive and well in my heart of hearts. In myself and in my daughter. As I was planning for the holidays I admit that I get sad sometimes. Missing my Dad. I wanted to explore if there was a way for me to do things a bit differently this year. A way to celebrate my Dad and all he was and all he gave to me, so freely.
That’s how this story came to be. I was thinking back to all my Christmas’ and the ones that were a particular challenge for me. He’d come and find me in the basement and we’d watch Hockey Night in Canada and quietly he’d let me know it was all ok. Everything was going to be ok.
He was the only one who reached me August 21, 2005 when I lost my twin sons. He stole my heart again, in 2007 when we brought our healthy daughter home. He grabbed me on my lawn and hugged me and told me how happy he was. He kept his wishes and joy a secret. He had the biggest, most beautiful heart of anyone I know.
During my Dad’s illness, my step-mother felt that the extend of his cancer should be kept from him. I was really uncomfortable that others had information that my father didn’t. Everytime, I’d call to find out how he was doing, I’d be sick to my stomach talking about my Dad behind his back. It was frustrating to say the least, to be thousands of miles away and the only thing I could do was talk.
Knowing that I wanted to say goodbye on my own terms, I made a decision to do things differently. My step-mother needed some respite time from caring for my dad and she’d go out every week. During those times, I’d call my Dad. Every single week for a couple of months I’d call him. Some weeks he was super chatty, other weeks he didn’t have much to say at all. I’d take over as it was my turn to be there for my Dad.
Close to the end, I got on a plane and went to hang out with my Dad. I got to thank him, for everything he did for me. For just being himself. For just being there during the worst time of my life, when my sons died.
One other small thing took place at that time. In a private moment with my Dad, I asked him if he was lonely. My step-mother intimated that she and my father had talked about his last wishes and that he wanted to die at home alone with her. One afternoon, she took me to the Funeral Home to write his obituary, but lied about where we were going.
I realized that of course, this couldn’t be my father’s wishes as he didn’t even realize how close to the end it was. He and my brother took me to the airport where I hugged him for the very last time ever.
I said to him,
If you want to go to the hospital, you can.
He sighed, closed his eyes and started to cry. By the time, I arrived back in Ontario he had checked himself in to the hospital. My brother stayed with him every night. He died peacefully, a short time later.
William Fram, my Father. My Christmas Spirit.
I wanted to hop back to the movie I went to see last week. The main character, Howard was stuck. From a blow many never recover from.
Sitting in that theatre, with tears streaming down my face. I felt like someone had been secretly along for the journey of my life, reading not just my journals but my heart. There was an inner clicking, a shift and supernatural peace.
Howard, like I had been hurt, wounded, in pain, sad, lonely and the whole gamut. Natural stuff that can happen to any and all. Howard’s co-workers came up with a drama to snap him out of it. They set up interactions with 3 forces : TIME, DEATH & LOVE. They hired actors to personify these 3 forces.
The ONLY, thing that had to power to open up and change Howard was LOVE.
This holiday season I focused on the true and steady love I’ve had in my life. How it’s changed me, soothed me and made me the person I am today.
When you are finally able to identify yourself or your story in someone else’s : that’s COLLATERAL BEAUTY.
I do hope that 2017 brings as much love and beauty to the world and those around me.
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