Tag Archives: memories of childhood

Family memories

My dad has taken a turn for the worst. He was taken to the hospital last night for what they thought was a stroke, but that isn’t what it was. They are doing tests to assess him and have FINALLY officially recorded in the records that my father has dementia. It has taken a long time for them to make this official – something my mother and my siblings and I have known for a while. Why no one else saw this is beyond me!

My father is 85, and has not been well for quite a while. He has been in a wheelchair for over a year, and I believe that combined with the pandemic just let his mind go. When I moved out of their place back in July, I wondered how my dad would be and I dealt with guilt for the first month of my being gone. I felt I was wrong for having left them, leaving my mother to have to take care of my father full time, and that I was putting a bigger burden on my sister, who still lives close by. I chose to leave to be closer to my daughter though, and I do not regret one moment for doing that. However, I do believe that after I left, he quickly went downhill. It was lack of conversation with more than my mother and what I believe was the overwhelming feeling of defeat he had because of the wheelchair.

My father was an outgoing, active member of the community. He was the president of the local Legion for many years, he knew a lot of people, and enjoyed being out in public, talking to everyone. He loved playing golf, and he loved travelling with my mother to the States. They spent many winters down in Myrtle Beach for a month at a time to escape the harsh winters of Ontario.

Growing up, my dad was the dad who would be outside skating with us on our homemade ice rink, he was the dad who would play kick the can, or hide and seek, or baseball in our backyard. Whenever he could, he would be outside playing with us. So when he ended up first using a cane, then a walker, and then the wheelchair – I knew this would be hard for his mind.

I love both my parents, and I know they love me. The words were not said much in our household, but we always knew they loved us.

So while it is sad to see my father deteriorate so quickly, I have reconciled in my mind that my time with my dad is coming to an end. I am sad but I also know that death is part of life. I love my dad and I know that he loves me. Is there anything more that we can ask for? I don’t think so.

Life is short – no one knows when our last days will be. We have to live life to the fullest. My dad did that. He lived his life as fully as he could, when he retired, he got another job driving people for wine tours in Niagara on the Lake and loved that job more than he loved his other one. My dad, for the most part, was content in life. And I know that when it’s time for him to leave us, that he will still be with us. In our hearts and minds and memories.

Give your loved ones a hug, or a call, just to say you love them. It will make you all feel a little bit better.

The demise of downtowns

I grew up in the small city of Welland Ontario, a city situated between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. When I was growing up, it was a steel town – our main business was Atlas Steel, but there were other industrial companies located here. Our downtown was booming with business – lots of little mom and pop shops, bakeries, shoe stores, and a movie theatre where I saw many movies, including one of my favourites – Grease. I can still narrate this movie word for word…. but I digress.

Welland was a wonderful place to grow up. It was big enough to have fast food places and fun places to go shopping, lots of green space and beautiful parks to play in. Best friends were made at the local schools, and I am lucky that some of those friends are still friends to this day.

But then the industrial companies started to move out and our beautiful downtown changed with it. A big shopping mall opened in the late 70s in the north end, and that also affected our downtown. Many stores closed down because of the mall. And then Walmart moved in. Change is good, I believe that, but sometimes this kind of change is not always good.

Downtown Welland, like so many other downtowns in Canada (and I am sure in other countries as well), has become a destination for homeless, for addicts, and there is an increasing amount of crime happening in our downtown area.

I was witness to a sad event today on my way home from a nice day out. I arrived at our downtown bus terminal (never a place where good things happen…) and I was witness to a woman, who I believe looked close to my age, completely strung out. The police had to be called and, as she was in possession of drugs, she was handcuffed and taken away – presumably first to the hospital since she couldn’t stand up on her own. This saddened me to see, in my hometown, the place where I grew up and have such wonderful memories.

What happens to people that they turn to a life of drugs? I have no idea, but at one point in this woman’s life, she was a child, presumably had some good memories from her childhood, and perhaps she even had a career at one point. I don’t believe that people are born this way – something happens that makes them believe this is the best they can do. I wish I could help them all, but that is just too big of a job for one person.

I hope one day to help in some way to make my downtown a better place to be, to thrive in, and for newcomers to feel welcome and safe. For now, I will keep thinking positive and hope that this does not stay the norm and that it is only a phase our city is going through. My optimism is strong, and one day, it will be the place I remember.