Tag Archive: family


If I should ever feel week again.
If I should ever doubt myself.
If I should lose my way..

I will remember this photo. I will remember my dad. The lessons he taught me. How proud he was of me. How much we loved each other. How strong he was, all through his life.

And I will remember what I have done. How I was able to be there for him the times he needed me. How the nurses at his hospital and his friends who’d never met me thought I was a private personal trainer because of how I’d push him and wouldn’t take no as an answer. I will remember this wise guy fake screaming in pain as I made him do exercises, just to tease his mom and lighten the mood. I will remember spending hours doing math problems, spelling words or running through his car history, just to help his brain recover after the strokes. I’ll remember being terrified when his eyesight would come and go and he would forget where the clock was in his room… but I would make him look around until he did find it, and then I’d stay on that task until he could tell me what time it was. Sometimes it would take an hour, other times it would be almost immediate – but we’d always stay on it, no matter how much he yelled at me (which was quite a bit some nights). He would get it, he would do the work, most nights he’d cuss at me.. but at the end of every night, he would thank me and tell me he loved me.

I liked to think I was strong before getting smacked by a truck and before dad’s strokes… but I’ll be even stronger from here on out.

Thanks dad. I love you too.

Blue, Christmas.

Late last night I realized this would actually be the third Christmas I’ve spent without my dad.
Two years ago he had just had his strokes and had been transferred to PG on December 20th. I woke up alone in my dad’s house on Christmas morning and was beyond grateful that Granville’s was maintaining their beautiful tradition of offering free coffee and treats on Christmas day, because I really didn’t have anywhere to go and being alone in that house was not something I could handle. I got a coffee and an extra cup for dad, sat in the table that’s been my favourite since high school, put his cup in his spot and gave him a call. 

I can’t remember what we talked about, but sitting there, having a coffee and hearing his voice was a wonderful moment. After the phone call, the kind people working gave me some bacon to give to Molly who was waiting in dad’s car for me, and we went for a drive to visit with my brother.

Last year I decided against going home, and I am at peace with that decision. Dad and I had been arguing quite a bit at the time and I didn’t feel like selling a kidney just to fly home and get yelled at from his hospital bed while I stayed alone at his house. I chose to spend the day by myself, for myself, and when dad called and started yelling at me within three minutes, I knew I’d made the right choice. It wasn’t really him yelling at me – the strokes had affected his brain and sometimes things didn’t make sense to him they way they should have. Still, it was nice to hear his voice but I was happy to have stayed home, and still have both kidneys.

This year, I don’t have a choice and if I did I’d sell that kidney and yours too (no offence) just to talk with him one more time, even if it was only to hear him yelling at me again. I knew this Christmas was going to be hard, and it is. I called my grandma last night to check in on her, and she told me how much she misses my dad, how much she misses the traditions we used to have. I still don’t know how to process this massive hole in my heart, but I hope that in time I’ll find a way.

There’s no fake fighting over perogies this year. No wrapping paper tube sword fights. No counting the amount of times my dad would say “what in the hell…?” while opening gifts. No going for coffee at Granville’s, no cooking Christmas dinner for grandma. No plaid jacket counts, no going for drives with Molly in the back seat, no laughs, no great big bear hugs where we’d take turns lifting each other off the ground and squeezing until the other tapped out, always with a laugh and love.

I’m grateful that I didn’t go home last year because my memory of the last Christmas I spent with my dad is an amazing one. We went for dinners and coffees, he got his idiot son drunk and listened to him finally open up and talk, he kicked my ass like always at pool and we fake fought over grandma’s perogies like we always did, and always will. That’s the memory I want, that’s the memory he deserves.

If you took the time to read this, I want you to know that I’m grateful you’re in my life, and I wish you all the best in the coming year. Take the time to reach out to your loved ones and let them know how much they matter to you. Be well and stay strong, friends.

One Year ago today.

1 Year ago today.

I thought it was a good day. I hit the gym, trained legs. Went to a client event, stayed late and had a great night. I was crushing my fitness goals, I was closer than I’d ever been to my Dream, and life was going well.

1 Year ago today, possibly right around now, my Dad turned off the food cooking on the stove and, while it was cooling, decided to take Molly for a walk. My insomnia woke me up around 3 or 4 am, and I saw that I had a missed call from a hometown phone number. Somehow, I knew it wasn’t good. I checked my voice mail. I called the hospital. My dad’s doctor repeated the news from the message he’d left – dad had had a stroke while he was out walking Molly, and I should probably get back there as soon as possible. He let me speak to my dad for a brief moment, and the voice that I heard terrified me.

I caught the first flight out a few hours later, heading straight to my dad’s side.

In this past year I have become infinitely closer to some family members that I am sorry I didn’t know better sooner – but am grateful for our connections now. Their strength and compassion helped me through moments where I didn’t know what to do.

Tonight, one year after his stroke, my dad called me from his hospital bed to have a talk. Nothing big, nothing important, nothing really to say other than to talk for a while, and it was great. We talked cars, he told me how his recovery is coming, some of his plans for when he does get out of the hospital, and he may have even let slip a little bit of good news that not many people know yet. Our phone call went on for maybe an hour, and if I closed my eyes and imagined hard enough I could ignore the background hospital sounds and think that maybe he was calling me from his house. He told me that he’s doing his best to make that happen.

In this past year, I’ve struggled. I did the best I could but I know I could and can be dealing with my dad’s situation better. I got hit by a truck, which I may have mentioned a couple times. I’m still in pain every day from that, but I’m fighting through. I yelled at my grandma for the first (and hopefully only) time in my life. One of my biggest clients, someone who told me I was “like family”, shut their doors while I was back home dealing with my dad, leaving me with many months of unpaid invoices and no answers. I didn’t go after contracts I knew I could have got, if I wasn’t dealing with post-concussion nonsense. I sacrificed a car for no good reason. Had the biggest fight of my life with my dad – even bigger than the time he kicked me out of his house at age 16. I haven’t been able to work out, or even work as much as I used to, nor as much as I’d like.

But, fuck it. There’s no complaining here. I’m still breathing, and my dad’s still kicking. We can make the best out of today, and an even better tomorrow. I realize now that maybe dealing with dad’s mental condition due to the stroke can help me as I approach my post-concussion brain fogs – when I remember it! (You know me – if I’m not joking about things, I’m probably going to punch holes in walls.)

It’s crazy how much life can change in a year, a day, or in the time it takes you to take your dog for a walk. I can promise every one of you though, that some things will never change: I’m stubborn, I’m determined, and I’ll bloody well achieve every goal I set my mind to. My goal right now? Better than I was a year ago. Better than I’ll be tomorrow. Always growing, always improving. And as for my Grumpy Dad? Well, we all know he’s a stubborn such and such – and he tells me he’s going to drive again. I told him that if he wants to do that, he’s got to get through me first, and he laughed, and said it’s on.

We’re Tomas. We’ve got this.

Well, frak.

It’s never ending. The hospital dad is at for his stroke rehab called me again this morning, because he’s being difficult, uncooperative and even more grumpy than usual, again. He doesn’t want to do the rehab, doesn’t want to do the work, doesn’t want to help himself. All he wants to do is lay in bed and have the nursing staff help him with everything.

Today, he yelled at me again because sitting in a chair for 5 minutes was bothering him and he wanted to lay down. I reminded him that he can’t lay down his whole life, and that he needs to teach himself a way that he can sit in a chair, or stand up that doesn’t bother him. More yelling. When he finished that, he asked me to come help him, again.

I can’t.

I am beyond burnt out after spending 3 months in my old home town looking after him and our family. I’m broke after not being able to work much during that time; AND, the icing on this caca-cake, I’m still dealing with whiplash and concussion symptoms from the car crash. I asked him, what does he expect me to do if I came out there? He said I could help him, I could push him to recover.


I’ve told him, he needs to push himself. I can’t be there all the time. He needs to do this for himself, and he won’t. The staff at his hospital have been incredible; patient beyond belief with him. They explained to me that he’s dealing with a brain injury because of how his stroke affected him, and that this isn’t necessarily him right now. Knowing that made it a bit easier to process, but also a bit harder for me, too.

I’m going to try working out again today. Not going to push myself, but I need to move some iron – even if it’s only an iron feather. Ordinarily, if I need to de-stress or think, my go-to is working out, driving, or talking with my dad. None of those are an option right now.

The rest of today will be better. I’ll make it happen.

Powered by WordPress | Theme based on Motion by 85ideas.