Here’s a little info about my Dad in honour of Remembrance Day 2019.
He grew up on a farm, left school in grade 10 to help out, served in WWII, flew 133 missions over Germany, was one of the ¼ of such fliers to survive such efforts. Awarded the DFC. Came home to a hero’s welcome. Never had to pay for a drink again in his life.
Married the girl next door. Never talked at home about his experiences, but participated in peer support with his Legion buddies. Was a very gentle soul. Well loved by his community. Not so much by his wife, because he had difficulty holding down a job and she needed to feed her 5 babies.
I’m his youngest. I know he loved me. He occasionally took me on adventures with him. But I wasn’t allowed to love him, because he was an alcoholic and my mother resented him for that.
He died in a car accident at age 52. Everyone asked if he was drunk. He actually wasn’t. His and our life had been getting on track in the previous 2 years, which made his death even more tragic. But because of the shame we had lived with for so long, we didn’t acknowledge the pain his loss engendered.
His WWII record exalted him. But it also hindered him. I do not idealize war. I know the price my family continues to pay for my Dad’s service. He fought for freedom, and lived in a prison of horrific memories he had to tame with alcohol.
We need to find ways, as humans, to resolve our disagreements, that don’t involve killing each other. That is what I dedicate my life to. That my father did not fight, and suffer, in vain.
Please wear a poppy and pay your respects to those who paid for our freedom and democracy.
Please consider the cost of transgenerational trauma on our collective humanity and work to eradicate war.
Nov. 11, 2019