Thursday, July 2, 2015

Rest In Peace, Dad

Floyd McQueen  1937

My dad died in January 2014.  A few days ago, my sisters and I buried his ashes at Porpoise Bay on the Sunshine Coast near Sechelt, B.C.

It was a day of mixed emotions.  I laughed (a lot) and cried (even more).  I laughed about the good memories.  I cried about the bad ones.  I cried for what could have been and never was.

Me and my dad.  1958

Our dad struggled being a father.  He loved us but it wasn't enough.  He was an alcoholic who spent almost every night of our childhood in a bar.  In later years, he told us he had been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder.  BPD is a serious mental illness marked by unstable moods, behaviour and relationships.  No wonder he struggled in this world.

Floyd McQueen  1959

Try as we might (and believe me when I say we tried) it was near impossible to have a relationship with him.  And because we needed to protect our hearts from his harmful and destructive behaviour, my sisters and I were estranged from our dad towards the end of his life.

Christmas 1964

We were at his bedside when he died.  We were happy we were able to say good-bye.  All was forgiven during our 12 hour hospital vigil.

Way back in 1966, our dad found us a little slice of heaven on Porpoise Bay.  It was a big piece of oceanfront property where the McQueen clan frolicked for fourteen years.  I would say the summers we spent at Porpoise Bay were some of our happiest childhood memories.

We fished, we crabbed, we dug for clams.  We swam, we got covered in dirt, we sang every night around our campfire.  We were given the gift of unsupervised adventures on the wild, west coast.

And so we thought it a fitting place to lay our dad to rest.

Photo credit:  Chrissy McQueen

The property has been uninhabited now for 35 years.  It is overgrown with trees, brambles and the English Ivy one of my aunts planted in the late 60s.  My sisters and I easily found the site of our old homestead and chose a pretty place between two huge fir trees near the beach.  Chrissy had brought a spade and we took turns digging.

Photo Credit:  Mary McQueen

We placed the urn inside the hole along with some sprigs of my aunt's ivy and a little love note.  We thanked him for the traits he passed on to us.  Our intelligence, our creativity, our senses of humour, our love of nature, our ability to sing a decent tune.  

Photo Credit:  Chrissy McQueen

We tearily sang 'Country Roads' by John Denver, a popular song from our 'Top Ten Hit Parade' that we belted out each night around the fire.  We filled the hole, said our final good-byes and walked away down the beach.

Photo Credit: Chrissy McQueen

I pray our Dad has found some peace now.  He never felt loved or accepted here on Earth.  

We did love him.  Even when it was painful to do so.   

His brothers and sister loved him.  

His nieces and nephews loved him.  

His daughters loved him.

Rest In Peace, Dad.

Nancy, Mary and Chrissy

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