Today the Greek Orthodox faith celebrates Easter and I extend best wishes to everyone who observes this holiday.
With this special day as a backdrop, I want to highlight the first influential man in my life – my father George.
I am celebrating his life, his moments and how he touched those around him. His intensity around news and politics, his love of fine food and wine and his passion for travel. He always told my sister and I that there was no better education than learning about other cultures and experiencing them.
This man was an impeccable dancer and lover of all music, from traditional Greek, to hip-hop, to latin – he loved it all! One of his passions was being a drummer in a “Beatles” like band. At the age of 12 he would put on records and teach me the jive, the tango and the cha cha to name a few.
As immigrants he and my mother came to Canada from Athens for a better life for our family. They both worked tirelessly and diligently.
Nine years ago my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. True to form, he fought through it all like a star. Three years ago he was diagnosed with aggressive gastric lymphoma which was one of the toughest fights of his life. Determined, he lived fully and was thankful for any amount of time he would have with his family – especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Earlier this year, the fight began again only this time it was a battle he could no longer win.
My father passed Saturday, April 11th.
The last two weeks have been ones that I will never forget. From his continuous desire to keep going, to holding his hand when we received the dire news. Two days after we lost him.
As gruelling as the last few months and weeks have been and as I watched him fall in and out of consciousness, I have come to realize that we are never prepared to lose a parent – no matter how much we tell ourselves we are.
At this time, with the ever present challenges of the pandemic, we are realizing the fragility and preciousness of life.
I am heartbroken beyond words and I know that I have many more tears to come yet I am overwhelmed with a love and energy that my dad continues to pass on within me and his family.
This man born in Alexandria, Egypt was GREEK more so than many Greeks. He then came to Canada, raised a family and made this Country his proudest home.
He was tough and stubborn – at times more than my family could take. But, he was always making a joke and was a great story-teller. As he told his last stories I listened more intently. I will honour him and continue to tell them in his name – he did love a stage!
My intent was not to write a eulogy for my father, but to share a very small part of him during this religious time. I believe he is in heaven drinking Greek coffee or an ouzo and having a discussion about his precious Panathinaikos soccer team and telling more stories with yet another audience.
Dearest dad I love you forever and just like that beautiful gardenia you are holding I will remember the wonderful moments, your contagious laugh and your love of life.
In loving memory,