Tuesday, January 28, 2014
That's my dad in the shorts. His name was Doug. Thirty-five years ago today, he died of a heart attack while playing hockey with his co-workers down at the local rink.
He was 36.
He left behind my mother, a widow at 30, and three young children, ages 8 (me), 7 and 5.
He had type II diabetes, probably for a long time, but our family's stubbornness regarding doctors resulted in lack of proper management. It was not until the very end of his life that he started looking after things, and by that time his triglycerides were sky high and the blockage in his artery that would eventually kill him was already well in place.
The man next to him in that photo--Mom tells me he is waving away smoke from his cigar--is my Uncle Wayne, my dad's brother. He is gone too. He was 60 when a heart attack took him in his sleep.
Then there was my Uncle Gerald, Uncle Jack, Aunt Patsy and Aunt Linda. Not one of them made it properly into their 60s. Uncle Gerald was about 40 and had a newborn as well as two young sons. Aunt Linda went blind as a young woman because she did not manage her diabetes well.
So they are why I am here. I do not have their aversion to getting medical care, so my diabetes has never been what you might call "out of control". My triglycerides are normal. But I dare not turn my back on this disease for even one minute.
I love you, Daddy!