December 25, 2015

Remembering My Dad Cecil McGinnis Who Died on Christmas Day

Back in November my good friend Gail Dever of Genealogy a la Carte mentioned a blog post by another friend and writer Lisa Alzo called Ten Things I Miss About Dad: Remembering John Alzo 1925-2005 

I read Lisa's touching post and knew I wanted to write about my dad too. My father died Christmas Day 1960. It has been 55 years since he left us at the age of 47. I did not have an opportunity to say goodbye. I remember the last time I saw him on December 23. I was 14 years old and he had been in the Hospital for a few months. 

He hadn't been feeling well all summer. By early Fall he was hospitalized in the Ajax General Hospital but I was not allowed to see him as they had a strict policy of no children under age 16 being allowed to visit. After a few weeks he was moved to a larger city hospital in Oshawa and then I was allowed in for short visits. I only saw him a few times and he was in so much pain he did not seem to know who I was. It is not those moments or last weeks of his life that I want to remember so here are the wonderful memories I have of my dad.

I don't have many photographs of my father. Saddest of all I have none of him with me. But I have my memories.

1. Dad loved to pretend to be a monkey and jump around with us kids. I remember him at my uncle's house in Guelph - my cousins and I screaming and laughing in the front yard as Dad crouched, swung his arms, made monkey sounds and leapt around the yard chasing us.

2. Dad always had time to play catch with me in the driveway.

3. I was the only child of four siblings that got to go fishing with Dad. He said it was because I was able to sit quietly for hours reading a book while he fished in the creek or river. I loved that time together as he often chatted quietly for a bit and taught me how to fish. I used to clean all the fish for him when we got home. When I was 10 he bought me my own fishing rod. How I wish I still had it.

4. Dad tried to teach me to swim but I was terrified of the water. He did start teaching me to skate in the winter by taking me alone to the frozen pond and helping me. He bought me a hockey stick so I had something to lean on as I moved slowly around on the ice.

5. I was definitely Daddy's little princess. In his eyes I could do no wrong. The pride and love in his eyes when he introduced me to his friends was something I have firmly planted in my memory and I can call on anytime I want to remember that feeling of happiness.

I miss you Dad. I miss not having you around to know my children and grandchildren. I miss not having had you at my wedding. I miss all the years I didn't have you in my life. And I treasure the memories I do have. They bring you back to me whenever I want.


Nancy said...

I can't imagine how hard it must have been to lose your father on Christmas Day, at the age of 14, Lorine. You've written a beautiful post to share your memories. He was a great father. Thank goodness for memory and memories!

Mark Van said...

My GrandFather Frederick Denver VV died on Christmas Day in 1967. I was only 10 years old at the time and remember how sad my Dad was when he and Mom came home from the hospital late in the day.

I look back and admire my parents for their ability to still give my brother and I a nice Christmas even after a difficult time for them earlier in the day.

Mark Van Valkenburg