Dad passed away on February 5 and our hearts broke. Yes, we knew this would probably happen sometime. But I gotta say, this is Dad. And he beats things. So I sorta thought it wouldn’t be that surprising if he was able to beat this-even until the last day. I guess that’s hope for you. And I don’t think I would have it any other way. I like hope.
My sisters and I (and Mom of course) wanted to celebrate Dad in a way we thought would do him proud. We dug in and everyone did their part. I worked on this tribute speech, Annette put together an amazing picture presentation and Rebecca made song lists. I’m not sure if we were the funeral homes dream or worst nightmare.
This is the tribute speech we did for Dad:
Doug was born in Drumheller, the younger brother to Ernie and the big brother to Sheryl and Rick. Even though he was named Kevin, he was known as little Douggie until it was the clear the “little” didn’t apply any longer.
Doug grew up in the city of Calgary, but his heart always longed to roam on the wide open prairie.
Doug was lucky enough to meet the love of his life, Monica, at 16 years old. Once he laid his eyes on his beautiful “Chickaboom” his life changed forever.
Soon after getting married, Doug’s life got significantly more complicated as he became the father to 3 really cute and mostly angelic girls.
In 1978, Dad took a job managing a farm north of Myrnam. His dream to be a real cowboy was coming true.
Over the next 37 years, Mom and Dad built the life they were so proud of. They made life long friendships and became part of the fabric of the community.
Lakeland Trenching was not just “earning a living” for Dad. He took pride in his equipment, cherished his customers and more importantly he got the most satisfaction from a job well done.
How To Live- Kerri’s part
Be wild: Over the past few days as friends and family have come by to reminisce about Dad, I’ve been asking the question “have you ever been afraid for your life while with Dad” 100% answer rate of yes. According to my stats, that means that 50% of you in this room are happy to be alive today. Johnny had a few of these stories, and one story he related about driving up a very steep hill with Dad and Peter to retrieve dads motorbike that he had got stuck up there. Peter says “Doug, don’t you think this might be a bit steep? Dad said “It’s not steep til the washer fluid starts running on its own”
Be responsible: It’s not every 18 year old guy who gets married and decides to start a life with a hot chick, makes a go of it. But Dad’s deep sense of responsibility meant that there were times that he was working out of town for months on end in the winter and away from his family. He worked hard to provide for his family.
BITE YOUR TONGUE
Be tough: I know all girls think their Dad is the toughest. But really, sorry everyone, but our Dad was the toughest. His hand got blown off and he told the hospital that Mom was a nurse so they would release him from the hospital early. He didn’t go home to watch movies either. He went home to fix the fence and tend to the farm he was managing. Aside from practically losing a limb, I dont recall Dad every complaining about being hurt or sick. Even in his last days in the hospital, his pain numbers never reached higher than a 4 out of 10.
Be authentic: Dad wore a cowboy hat when he wanted to wear one. He didn’t wear it to be cool, he wore because it was Doug being Doug. Nobody is perfect and Dad could piss people off like nobody’s business. He had big opinions on things, he played too rough, he hurt peoples feelings-but this is what made him authentic Doug.
Flirt: Dad’s been the Father of the bride and given the Father of the bride speech a few times. Everytime he managed to make every woman in the crowd feel beautiful. And while this might not be appropriate “I would like to let all the ladies in the audience know you all look beautiful today”
Be honest: To tell you the truth, honestly-this is the way Dad would start a sentence. But he didn’t need to start it that way. If he was talking, he was telling you a completely true story with no exaggerations. It was never 40 below, if it wasn’t actually 40 below. And he could tell if you were lying-and he would not say a word about it.
Be a bit of a cheat: If he was playing a game, he was looking for a way to cheat. It’s like he thought it made the game more fun. Do not trust most of his golf scores, and if playing crib, you better have added up his points and then marked his points on the board too. Dad and Rita were infamous for their horseshoe tournament shenanigans in Myrnam.
Be the loudest man in the room, be the quietest man in the room: Dad could fill up a room. I can remember being at an event at the Elks Hall and on the dance floor. Mony, Mony was on- you know how you can add some swear words in? Well, I was considering joining in but I was a bit nervous. Then I hear a familiar voice-at the top of his lungs “Hey Mothereffer…”
But if he was quiet, he wasn’t invisible. He subscribed to the “talk less and listen more” philosophy. His presence could be felt in the room and often it was in the times of great love and pride and respect that he was quietest.
Take care of your shit: Dad didn’t pass on his OCD for a spotless truck, but because of Dad we roll up extension cords and hoses. We turn off the faucets in the winter. We make sure our vehicles are well maintained(well we don’t do it, but someone does it). And most of the time we make sure things, tools especially, are put back in their place.
Be a little bit scary: I’m going to talk about this from the Sons perspective. Park remembers a time early in his relationship where he was leaving a party and Dad yelled and grabbed his arm in his booming voice “HEY, WHERE DO YOU THINK YOURE GOING”. Tom and Denis have similar stories about not running the equipment properly and Dad coming out to show them how to run it. He often said “You can’t run with big dogs if you’re going to piss with the pups”
Shop: This guy loved to shop. He would find any reason to go to Princess Auto and he said to mom one time “don’t you just love the smell in here Monica?” He subscribed to the “when in doubt, use a power tool”. He had all the toys. He had a golf cart, a side by side, a quad and he just got that drone.
Be loving: In his role of father, Dad showed us how to love. He loved our mom with a passion. He made long trips for minor things to lend us a hand when only a Dad can help. And he extended this sort of love outside the 5 of us.
How to Die-Annette’s Part
Give notice: Dad was diagnosed a year ago but didn’t show signs of sickness until the last 6 weeks. In between treatments, Mom and Dad traveled, they worked, they visited, they LIVED. Not one moment was taken for granted. Bucket list items got checked. All the while, Dad was also making preparations and ensuring that things and Mom would be taken care of. And in the last 6 weeks, even though Dad was visibly sick, we were still able to sit with him and leave nothing unsaid. He expressed his love and he was surrounded by love.
Have faith: Dad was not religious, but he had a very strong faith. He put some faith in the doctors and treatments but most of his faith was in Mom. He didn’t just hand things over to God and say “hey, whatever happens”. He knew things would happen how they needed to go, but he wanted to make sure that he was doing his part. Everyday he wondered if today was the day he would be feeling good enough to get back to the shop. He never gave up hope that things could turn around. He also had faith in the greater purpose of life.
Let go: While Dad was not a quitter, he knew when to let go. Our strong cowboy knew that his journey on earth was complete and he made short work of it when it was time. He answered that knock with a peaceful acceptance.
There are moments which mark your life. Moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is divided into two parts: before this, and after this.
We got it from here, Dad.