|Sunrise walk earlier this month.|
It's been a rough couple of months but I finally feel like the fog that grief causes is lifting, if only a little. Some of you reading this may already know, but my father passed away in April. It was sudden and unexpected and it was heart breaking.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one at any time is difficult, dealing with it during the Covid pandemic added a whole other layer. I said my goodbyes to my Dad over the phone while he was laying in a hospital bed in Nova Scotia. I watched his funeral in my living-room while it live streamed with only five people in attendance. It all seems so surreal now.
My brother and I talked almost daily during the most difficult days. And I really don't know what I would of done without my Aunt Betty, Dad's younger sister. She took on a lot during this time that I couldn't do. Friends and family members reached out and helped in any way they could, and I am grateful.
I know I still have many difficult days ahead. I'm hoping to go to Nova Scotia in the Fall to bury my Dad's ashes next to Mom.
I think about my parents daily, and even though I've done a lot of reminiscing the last couple months, the memories are a little harder on the heart the last couple days I've noticed. I think it's because Father's Day is Sunday.
I wrote a few words to be read at Dad's service, and in honor of Father's Day and my dad, I am going to share them here.
And my daddy skinned his knuckles
On the cars that he repaired
He never earned much money
But he gave us all he had
He never made the front page
But he did the best he could
Folks drove the cars from miles around
And let 'em look underneath the hood
Those words are from country music singer, Alan Jackson’s song “Home”, written about his father, but they very well could have been written about our father, Layton MacAloney. Growing up on Dixon Court, there always seemed to be a car in the driveway on Saturdays that Dad was working on for a friend.
We lived on Dixon Court for many years. Dad always had time to chat with his neighbors and enjoyed teasing the neighborhood kids. He also liked to start up the lawnmower or power saw early on Saturday mornings to let his neighbors know it was time to be out of bed.
In 1988 we moved to Johnson Avenue. Next door was a young family, Jan and Jackie Bates, they had three young sons to raise and for Dad to tease. They became neighbors by chance and remained friends by choice.
Dad had many hobbies through-out his life. When he was younger, he enjoyed driving stock car at various tracks. He drove at Onslow Speedway with his older brother, Carvel, when we were kids. We’d go clam digging, smelting and camping as a family. When he retired, he bowled with the seniors’ league a couple times a week. Having family involved in harness racing had him going to the barn often and attending the horse races.
Dad, for as long as we can remember was always on the go. Mom used to call it “running the roads”, but Dad truly was a social butterfly at heart, and he enjoyed going to visit his family and friends and he did it often.
In 1995 Dad took his first flight on a plane, to Saskatchewan for Jeff and Sandy’s wedding. Dad liked to joke that the only food the airplane served was eggs, he had them when they left from Halifax, and then again when they transferred in Toronto. Same thing on the return trip. With the wedding and a touristy trip to the famous Buffalo Rubbing Rock we made some great family memories. He’d fly west a couple more times over the years to visit Jeff and his family, the last being for Xmas in 2017, when we celebrated Xmas together for the last time.
Some of you may not be aware, but Dad could be quite stubborn. When Mom passed away in 2012 we talked to him about moving into a senior’s residence where he wouldn’t have to worry about yard maintenance and maintaining the house. He happily remained in his house.
Dad taught us many life lessons while we were growing up, some he’s not even aware of. We learned the value of hard work, the importance of a strong community network and that wealth is not always measured in dollars.
Though my brother and I haven’t lived in Nova Scotia for many years, love knows no distance, and we will both miss our father dearly and long for one more conversation.
We take comfort in knowing he is no longer in pain or suffering. Dad has been reunited with Mom, his parents, siblings and countless friends.
We hope when you think of our Dad, you remember that Layton MacAloney grin, and smile or laugh at a memory you shared with him. He enjoyed a simple, but rich full life, and now it’s time for him to rest. He’s left us all with a heart full of memories that we will cherish until we see him again.
If you are seeing your Dad this coming Sunday please give him a big hug from me.
|I love this picture of Rob, Dad and I taken in 2013.|