Our Sentimental Journey

For longer than I can remember, my Mom was after my Dad to write his memoires.   She purchased him a hand-held tape recorder and tried to show him how to use it – nothing fancy – just record and play.  Still, years later, the tape recorder remained dormant.  Every once in a while Mom and I would  “find” the tape recorder again and try to figure out where he had left off – but the tape recorder just kept collecting dust.  If the truth be known, Dad’s Parkinson’s had left him with an inability to communicate his thoughts to his fingers well enough to learn how to turn it on.  Later, I discovered that he really didn’t think his stories were good enough to tell.  “No one would be interested in reading about my life,  Stacey.” , he would say to me.

Mom passed away November 12, 2010 and our lives were thrown into chaos.  I didn’t really know Dad that well as my relationship had been with Mom.  It was she and I who stayed up till 4 in the morning – just talking.  It was she and I who shopped, cooked, danced together, and cried together.  Suddenly Dad and I were thrown together and he, at that time needed 24 hour care.  By the grace of God and some very wonderful women, I was able to set up the care Dad needed and kept him at home.  This meant I could continue to be his daughter.  But what did that mean?  I remembered that one of Mom’s goals for Dad was for him to tell his stories.  This was something I could do with Dad – something we could share, and something that could bring us closer together.

I am a teacher, and while working with my students, I learned how to blog.   I discovered how easy it was to simply type a story and then publish it.  I thought, “aha”.  This is it!  I’ll get a blog going and record his stories as he tells them.  So, my niece Megan, set us up with a blog and I would sit with my lap top beside Dad’s chair and prompt him to tell me stories.  It wasn’t easy sometimes and I’d have to ask a lot of questions.  But the end product was and continues to be so vitally rewarding.

I learned a lot about my Dad through this process and felt that we had become much closer as I seemed to “finally” understand what he was all about.  Dad was a pilot during World War II,  did air-traffic control, was a supervisor at the Canada Manpower Centre in Barrie, co-owned the New Lowell General Store, sold real estate, and was a hobby farming growing and selling raspberries and making maple syrup.

Through this blog, Dad and I rejoiced in his life and he was thrilled that so many of you readers found an interest in these long-buried tales.

Dad was 91 on June 15, 2012 and was until the day he died, of  sound mind – a gift to me so that he could recount his stories.  I visited him twice or three times a week and we shared a glass of wine while I pieced together the stories that he told me.  I didn’t always get the details right but eventually he heard my mistakes and had me correct them.

This blog was  a journey that we took together.  Now that he had gone, I am embarking on another journey – one of healing – and one where I really need to rediscover myself.  I wonder whose voice I will use?  Will it be Dad’s, Mom’s or my own?  I feel a little nervous and a lot sentimental as I turn my focus from caring from Mom and Dad to now really caring for my husband and children.  It is a transition for all of us – but inevitably a good one.

I was and continue to be  truly blessed and wish others the fortune to be able to give pleasure to your parent(s) and learn about your own history.

Again, thanks to everyone for you interest and compassion as I continue to take this sentimental journey without my Dad.

Yours truly,

Stacey (the ghost writer) and Stacey (the primary author)

58 Comments

58 thoughts on “Our Sentimental Journey

  1. Mary Ann

    Your doing a great job Stacey!!kudos…

  2. Thanks, Mary Anne! It is easy to create a masterpiece when you begin with a good palate! Dad’s land Mom’s lives were was quite extraordinary.

  3. This is really wonderful what you’re doing. Enjoy your time with your dad.

    • Thank-you for the vote of support. It is one of the greatest gifts that I have ever given Dad – my time – and the greatest gift he has given me – his stories. I can’t tell you how happy I am that Dad and I have been given this opportunity. Again, thank-you.

    • Thanks. I do really enjoy this blog. I have spent a lot of time with Dad since my Mom passed away. I am lucky to have been given the opportunity to collect all these memories that would otherwise have been lost.

  4. Alice

    I stumbled upon you blog somehow…can’t seem to retrace my steps. Your words touch my heart and remind me of my own dear papa. Thank you for your service, your sharing, and your dear ghostwriter.

    • I”m so pleased that you found me! And thank-you for your kind words – glad to hear I have made an impression for recollection. Cheers!

  5. Hi Stacey, Its Gail. Your blog is so interesting to read!

  6. And to you Stacey thank you for doing this. If only I had taken the time to do this with my dad. I do have his letters though and I am thankful. I am also thankful you have done this. We must never forget! My prayers are with you! God Bless

  7. Nancy, thank-you for your contributions. Although it was near the end of Dad’s life – you gave him a thrill. Really, so many times I’d come over and read what you wrote and he’d say, “really”? He has had a very good quality to his end of life – not ended yet – but we are getting close. God bless you – and, by the way, there are many more stories I will tell – I hope you stay tuned. You are now my friend too. I just don’t know if I should change my avatar – I don’t think I will – but it may be difficult to write for a while. Cheers!

  8. God Bless you and your family Mr. Duff! I look forward to your comments on Kenny’s Blog each day! I enjoyed catching up on yours today. Take Care!

  9. Pingback: One Lovely Blog Award « Morning Story and Dilbert

  10. I think your blog is EXCELLENT! So I have nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award. You don’t have to accept it if you don’t want to but know I for one, love your blog. To see the rules on accepting it go here http://wp.me/p2pHfr-7m

  11. What a wonderful & beautiful thing. I wish I would have done this with my Dad. We too tried to get him to record his stories, but unfortunately it never happened and he is now gone…

    • Tonight – I feel that Gone is a relative term. For the past few months – I have been writing for my Dad – he is not gone – we live together. And I’m sure if you look deep enough into yourself, you will find your Dad.

  12. Pingback: Another Hero Has Been Called Home- Honoring Bill Duff « notsofancynancy

  13. My deepest condolences to you and your good family.

  14. Chatter Master

    My sincerest sympathies for you at the loss of your father. My thoughts to you and your family.

    • Thank-you so much for you kindness. I know you’ll appreciate when I say I’m not sure I’ve “lost” him. I’ve read a few of your posts and it looks like your words may help me to negotiate his departure.

  15. Pingback: Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments Award « notsofancynancy

  16. I love your blog so much I nominated you for The Mrs. Sparkly Ten Commandment Award. To accept it see (http://wp.me/p2eEip-up)my blog for the rules. You do not have to accept it if you do not want to. I will still think your blog is awesome if you don’t. Have a blessed day!

    • Nancy, you are always so kind to do this nomination – I PROMISE I will figure out how to accept – and I am SOOOO grateful that you have expressed your appreciation in this way.. I am going to accept your nomination – forgive me in that I just need to wrap my head around it. God bless you for your support – it means so much to me!

      • No need to do anything. I just want you to know how much I appreciate the words you share with us. I want you to know that even though Bill has joined my Dad what you have to share is important. We have work to do girlfriend! God Bless

  17. You are amazing. How comforting I find your words.. thanks for the vote of confidence. Lately – I have not had anything to say… did that happen to you after your Dad passed?

  18. Thanks for your visit to my blog Bill & your comment on my Golden Celebration post.
    Something told me that I had to visit your corner of the blog world too. This is beautiful!
    My heart is feeling the emotion of this blog – I must follow!

    • RoSy, my father (Bill) passed away a couple months after I began blogging his stories. His voice has morphed into mine – I just am not sure whether I can “end” his ownership of this blog. Sorry if it has been mis-leading. The current posts are mine (Stacey). I apologize for the confusion. Truthfully – this is all part of my journey.

      • Oh so sorry. That’s ok – I’m still in for the ride on this blog. xoxo

  19. What a beautiful idea for your blog, Stacey, and a wonderful tribute to your Dad and your Mom….I just lost my Mom in February, she was 90. Dad is still living and is 92, so I can relate to your stories and memories…thanks also for visiting and following my blog. I’m sorry for the delay; time has been scarce, but I look forward to following you, too!
    Lauren

    • Thank-you. It is one of the things for which I am most grateful. Dad and I had a lot of fun trying to dig into his memory – lots of teasing as you can imagine! I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom. My mom was 86 when I lost her and Dad lasted another year – and-a half. The hardest part was watching my Dad when he missed her. I’m sure you are experiencing something similar? TTFN

      • I do agree with your “hardest part…” it’s hard losing our parents, but when one of them is left alone, it’s truly heartbreaking…my Dad is still very independent at 92 (still drives) but is living with one of my sisters, so he’s doing okay…take care, Lauren

      • Yes – my consolation is that they are now together – on the hill in the “wall” in the cemetery and when I visit one I can visit both. Same place. Nice. In an “odd” way.

      • That makes sense and is really the only way you can view it…

  20. Thank you for visiting my blog.

    I started reading here first and I read the part where you have lost your father. What an interesting life he had and how wonderful he had you to be able to share it with others. I am sure you became even closer to your dad by doing this blog.

    I find my favorite blogs are those of human interest. Everyday people doing everyday things. Everyday people making such a difference to the lives of others.

    This is a feel good blog. 🙂

    • Thank-you, so much. Yes – he did have an interesting life. Yes – the blog actually gave us a lot of common ground upon which we could begin to forge a very special / unique relationship. You are very intuitive to recognize that. Thanks for your special interest. I’m so pleased that you have enjoyed not only the content but the double entendue. TTFN.

  21. What a fantastic idea! Kudos to you both -:)!

    Daniela

    • Thank-you. It was one of the most important things that I did with my Dad. WIsh I had thought about it for Mom – but I did find her “story” that she wrote about her nursing career. She had typed it out to present to my class. This story is forthcoming. Thanks again for the support.

  22. Hi Stacey – thank you for visiting my blog as it provided me an opportunity to discover your blog and read the stories about your father. I had started to record my father’s stories but did not get very far before he passed away and although my mother is still alive and still fairly vibrant and independent, she does not know all his stories and is unable to share his stories and his voice in the same way so I mourn the loss of this history. I think in capturing your father’s stories and posting them, you have preserved a history that might otherwise be lost. Good for you. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • Oh, my. I am so sorry that you are in this position. Truth be told, however, my Dad only had flashes of stories and I filled in the details – and read the stories back to him for approval.

      Funny, my Mom had a lot of stories too – but as she was the first to pass away I did not ever feel the need to capture them. Well, until now.

      I understand how you may mourn the loss of history – that is so very well articulated. There is no sort of history like the one with which you are connected – would you agree?

      It is such a shame that we grow so soon old and so late smart.

      In any case – I look forward to reading your posts, too, and am appreciative that we have connected.

      TTFN

  23. Pingback: Can’t get enough of that wonderful Duff….. « Duffy The Writer

  24. Stacey, what a beautiful story you have! I truly enjoyed reading your post and wish you well on your journey of healing. It may be long, but may I say from my own experience, the long road is the one with peace at the end. Blessings to you….

    • Thank-you, Denise. I’m glad you have enjoyed the post. And I’m pleased to know the “destination” is peace. Gratefully, Stacey

  25. I am glad you stopped by my page, I look forward to honoring your parents and you through your words. It is important for me to part of this journey, because I am beginning my own journey but one without my husband. He suddenly passed away and very unexpectedly. We both enjoyed WWII history but it was important to him to never forget. So this is part of my healing to continue his legacy of learning about history and honoring our veterans,

    • Oh, I am so sorry, Patty. What a wonderful tribute to your husband – to continue his interest. I am honoured that I can maybe share this journey by your side. I do hope that you find comfort in knowing you have a fellow journeyman (well – woman). Blessing to you. Please do check out some of the stories from this time last year as they were my Dads stories told in his own words.

  26. Thank you, Stacey, on behalf of Daylight Tune Ministry to like our poetry. May our poetry bless your hearts and minds 🙂

  27. I’m pleased to meet you, although very sorry for your loss.

    • Thank-you. I was very blessed to have my parents in my life for as long as I did. They were wonderful people. From your “title” it appears I am going to have to check out your blog! For stories about my Dad during WWII – look for the High Flight blog.

  28. Stacey, you do both your parents proud with this blog and your determination to share your father’s WWII stories. I wish I had written stories down from my father-in-law who died a few weeks short of 90. He had amazing stories to tell and while we have the general idea, if only I had asked and recorded details…and more questions…living history in these brave soldiers’ tales. I look forward to visiting again when I have a bit more time to sit and read through the whole blog.

    • Oh, thank-you, Mary. My parents were very special to me – I only began Dad’s stories two months before he passed away (better something than nothing). My last post from him, I asked what story he had to tell me that day. He said, “Stacey, I have no more stories to tell.” And two weeks later, he died. So glad to have them as I often refer back to get the details right. Record what you can while you still remember – a little is better than nothing. Please do peruse at your leisure. Dad’s blog kind of morphed into my current one – in the corner. I blogged my story of cancer over the past year. Looking forward to your comments and feed-back. I do love your writing so.

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