Sunday, February 20, 2011

Francis Kehrig

Five years ago today we lost my father Francis Kehrig to Cancer. Sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday and sometimes it seems so long ago.

My father and I grew up in very different times and circumstances. Dad remembered when he was a youth his family had difficulty finding 2 cents to send a letter. He left school at 16 to essentially 'make his way' in the big world.  He worked hard, in often times a very physical manner, whether it was clearing bush or driving heavy machinery. He sent money home to his family and he saved his earnings to purchase land and equipment. Eventually he met a nice woman, had some kids and did his best to provide for them so they could have a better life then he himself had.

Growing up I never wanted for anything. I always had a gift under the tree at Christmas.  I was chauffeured to the hockey rink twice a week.  I went to University and wasn't saddled with obscene debt.  I'm barely self-sustaining today at 31 compared to my father at 16.

My father was not the type to heap praise on anyone. He worked hard and expected others to do the same. That was the expectation - working hard was the reward in itself. He never really let on if he was proud of me or disappointed at any given time. I never really knew.  When he was still alive it never bothered me. Now that he is gone, it has become a point of contention for me. Not retro-actively but in my situation and life today.

It is easy to beatify the dead, and I recognize that my father was not perfect but I feel that I have not lived up to himself and his example set. My father was the first to admit that times have changed and he felt that it was much harder for a person to 'establish' themselves today. But it's more than that. I take too much for granted. I am soft. I am spoiled. I indulge too much. I haven't had to sacrifice much and when I do, I complain.

I don't put much stock in the ideas of a Christian (or any other religions) afterlife. My father is alive today through me, my siblings, my mother, and all the people that he affected over the course of his life. When I take stock of his memory, my legacy (and in part his) I recognize that I must change. I'm doing himself and myself a disservice. I don't know the next steps. I don't know how best to determine them. I'll get there, I was taught to learn from my mistakes. I just wish that I had my fathers counsel rather than his example.

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