CHERISH YOUR FATHER

Jason Gregor
September 29 2011 11:08AM

 

 

 Eleven has been my favourite number since I can remember. I had short affairs with some higher ups like 17, 19 and 23, but 11 has always been the number that made me feel the most confident. It is strange how a lucky number can impact our psyche or our minds, yet today on the 11th anniversary of my father’s passing I have an eerie mixture of confidence and yearning.

 Eleven years ago today, my father, William Arthur Gregor, passed away at the young age of 56. Dad had a massive heart attack in his car at a red light in Sherwood Park. He had quit smoking a few years earlier, wasn’t a heavy drinker or overweight, but sadly it was his time.

 The morning of his funeral I found myself anxious and uptight so I sat down and wrote an email to my close friends. I’m not sure what caused me to write down my thoughts that foggy morning, but once I started typing and released my inner feelings I felt better. In that email I asked my friends for their thoughts and prayers, but most importantly I asked them to tell their fathers they loved them. I hoped that through their actions my Dad would know how much I loved him.

Today, after you’ve taken the time to read this, I ask that you do the same.

On the first anniversary of Wild Willy’s (nickname my brother and I gave him) passing, I sat down and wrote another email. I felt a tad nervous that people might think it was corny or self-serving, because that wasn’t my intention, but luckily that wasn’t the reaction I received. That year and every year since many people have sent me their own stories filled with heartache, fun-loving memories and words of gratitude.

I’ve kept many of them, and from time-to-time I go back and read them, and for a short time the void in my heart and soul from Dad’s death seems smaller. With every passing year I find that I’m closer to being in the majority, rather than the minority, when dealing with the loss of a parent. Every year someone I’ve met casually or in passing has lost their father, and often after sending out this letter they send a response outlining how they can relate to my feelings.

It sounds strange, but over the years I’ve realized those responses soothe my soul. I will tear up reading them, often because their pain seems so much worse than mine, but also because they are so genuine and real.

Too often we feel we are the only one struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one, when it is so obvious that isn’t the case.

Sharing those emotions is what we long for, but rarely are we able to express them. Even those who are strong enough to share their feelings frequently still don’t do it often enough. Many of us simply bottle up our emotions and decide that we can function while they stay locked away.

Sadly, that rarely leads to happiness.

Writing this email creates a mixture of laughter and heartache, but most of all it fills me with a feeling of undying love for and from my father. The wonderful thing about genuine love is that it truly never goes away, and the actions we show today WILL live in the hearts of our loved ones forever. I’m not sure I believed that until I lost my father.

Today crept up on me much quicker than in previous years. Some years I dreaded thinking about it, because I wanted the pain to subside and not think about him. Other years I bordered on excited as the 29th approached, because I wanted to recall all the joy he brought to my life. This year I really just wanted to be able to speak with him and get some advice.

I’m sure all of you who have lost a loved one feel the same way, but during those rare momentous occasions in life we really yearn for their wisdom, love and guidance.

 FATHERLY ADVICE

 I met the love of my life, Traci, this year and over the summer I knew she was the one and I proposed ten days ago. We’ve all felt love at some point in our life, but when you feel that “this is the one” love it is both exhilarating and frightening. I wanted to ask him for some fatherly advice, because I knew he’d have a good response. He met my mom in a post office, got engaged three weeks later and then married four months after that. He knew how to embrace the sweaty palms, butterflies and empty pit in your gut and turn them into positives.

He wasn’t afraid to take a chance at love, and for the entire 31 years of my parent’s marriage their loved never wavered.

I had some serious questions I wanted to ask him.

How do you really know she is the one? 

Why do we speak in a quieter tone or cheesy voice and often toss in a pet name when addressing her?

Will I ever have any closet space?

Do they make blankets where one half is eight inches thick to keep her warm and my half a normal thickness?

Will I actually feel better if I talk about my feelings?

Dad would have had an answer for all these questions, whether they were the right answer is debatable, but he would have had some interesting responses.

Seriously though, the hardest part of death is that it is so final. It leaves us longing for more, especially when we lose a loved one earlier than we expected. I am extremely thankful that even though he couldn’t tell me the answers himself, his actions left me with a great blueprint.

My father wasn’t afraid to show his love. He never said I love you very often, but he didn’t have to because his wife, kids, extended family and friends knew how he felt.

Dad was chatty as hell, but he wasn’t great with emotional words. He always bought mom a card for her birthday, their anniversary, holidays or special occasions. The cards always had long, meaningful messages in them, but only two words were his; at the top of the card it said, Pearl and at the bottom, Bill. Nothing else.

One day we stopped at the mall to pick up some stuff. As we walked past a stationary/card store he said he needed to get mom a birthday card, and that I should go pick up whatever we were getting. He said to meet him back here when I was done. Twenty minutes later I walked back to the store and he was still looking for a card. I couldn’t believe it.

“What’s taking so long,” I asked. He looked at me and said, “You can’t rush these things. I need the perfect card for her.” It took him at least another ten minutes before he picked out a card. While driving home I asked him why the card was so important.

 “I’m not good at writing out my feelings, so I need to find a card that tells your mom exactly how I feel.” “Why can’t you just get a blank card and write out what you feel,” I blurted out. “I’m just not good at it, but I know it is important so I take my time until I find one that reflects how I feel about her.”

 I remembered that story while looking at the chicken scratch I’d scribbled on the card I gave Traci before I proposed. I bought a blank card and wrote what probably turned out to be incoherent gibberish, because I was so nervous. I thought that was the romantic thing to do.

A few days later after the shock of her saying yes subsided, I remembered my mom’s reaction when she read cards from dad and how she would always have a big smile; look at him and voice, “Thank you.”

It didn’t matter that it wasn’t his writing, but those words were his true feelings. Dad never wrote the mushy, romantic stuff because that wasn’t in his nature, but he showed my mom how he felt daily.

He made her coffee, he scraped the frost off her car every morning before leaving for work, if she worked late he always had dinner waiting for her, and he often bought her flowers. The card normally just read, LOVE BILL.

If you can’t write how you feel make sure you show the woman how you feel. Ladies don’t fret if your man isn’t a future Hallmark-writer, cherish that he takes the time to find a card that expresses for him how he feels about you.

LIFE LESSONS

Last year I wrote about the ten life lessons I’d learned from my father, and now as I look ahead to marriage, and maybe fatherhood, I re-read them and asked myself if I was living up to them?

I’ve found that I need to regularly remind myself about what truly is important in life. It is so easy to get caught up in the rat race of life, and how technology has made it very difficult to find quality time with our loved ones.

How often do you talk to your wife, husband, kids or friends while looking at our phone? Often as they talk we are waiting for a text or thinking about sending one? Most of you might say that’s not me, but you’re likely guilty of it on some level. If you aren’t then your teenagers definitely are, and you know you how frustrated an unappreciated you feel when they do that while you try to talk with them.

Try turning your phone off the minute you walk in the door and leave it off for an hour. Then try two hours and so on. You’ll find that you actually communicate with your loved ones and listen to what they say.

Traci and I had to agree to shut our phones off, or leave them at home if we went out to dinner or a movie. The crazy thing is we realized we rarely missed anything. None of the texts, tweets or BBM messages was life changing. If you feel naked or freak out without your phone, maybe it’s time to try some actual human interactions.

I’m not saying we go phoneless every day, but the times we agree to shut off our phones we seem to connect much better. There are no distractions and that helps.

Dad never had to deal with these issues, so I’m not sure how he would have reacted, but every era has had their share of technological temptations, so try to ensure that you are controlling them and not the other way around.

Ironically one of my proudest moments of this past year was when I received a text from my friend Paul. He never met my father. He sent me a short text that I still have saved in my phone, “I scraped off Leah’s (his fiancé) windows this morning. Thought of your dad. He’d be proud.”

I hope he was, but I know I sure was. My eyes welled up with pride and nostalgia because I pictured him scrapping mom’s windows, and I thought about how much she missed him doing that for her. Never forget to do the little things to show your wife you care, and don’t forget to say thank you if your spouse continually does those small special acts of kindness.

Over the years I’ve had many fathers send me emails stating how they hope they are making an impact in their children’s lives like dad did to me. This annual letter has taught me that most men want to know they’ve positively influenced their kids, but it seems many of us forget to tell our dad’s that.

One of my biggest regrets was I never told him. He knew I loved him, but I’m not sure he knew how much I learned from him. Unfortunately I’ll never get that chance, but hopefully you do.

It seems society focuses more on ensuring we tell our moms we love them, because they like to hear it. Of course they do, but rarely, if ever, do sons tell our fathers. I’m not sure why that is. We did it as kids. Your young kids do it now, and when they look at you and say, “I love you daddy.” it melts your heart. Regardless of you age your father, while he might not show it or say, still yearns to hear those words.

So why do we assume that as we get older our fathers don’t need or want to hear that anymore. Few guys would ever ask their kids to say it, so even though your father probably knows you love him, why not tell him? More importantly why not tell him how much he has taught you and how much you appreciate him.

I think you’ll be surprised at his reaction. He might not tell you directly, but he’ll tell his wife and your mom will likely tell you how much it meant to him. The next time you tell him, he’ll likely be able to tell you himself how much it means to him. Dads if you are reading this don’t be afraid to thank your kids. They all know you’re a softie at heart even if you pretend you’re the tough, rugged guy all the time.

I write this email with the hope you can help my father know how much he meant to me, and how much I truly miss him. I hope through your actions of love towards your father today, and in the future, that he will somehow see that eleven years later I still miss him dearly.

 This year I ask you to take the time to tell your father how much he means to you. Thank him for taking you to hockey, football, soccer, swimming etc. Tell him his work ethic is inspiring. Thank him for showing you how to treat a lady properly.

If you and your father don’t have a great relationship right now, ask yourself if what ever you are arguing over is truly worth it? Don’t wait until he is gone to mend the fence. The first step might be awkward, scary or downright gut wrenching, but you’ll feel better for it.

Keep in mind he comes from an older generation, and likely one that taught men they were weak if they expressed any emotion, so you’ll probably have to make the first move. He likely wants to mend the fence, but is to scared to say or do anything.

If you are lucky enough to be able to see you father today, or this week, give him a hug or just spend some time together. At the very least call him and ask how he’s doing. Dads might never say it, but they love hearing from their kids. If you are in a different city, give him a call and tell him you love him.

Many of you are now fathers, and I encourage you to always show an interest in your children’s lives. I think the true measure of a man is showing those he loves that they have his support and love, no matter the situation. While your kids might not say it to you, we all loved looking in the crowd and seeing the face of our father or mother at our games, concerts, recitals or at the dinner table when they asked how school was.

It is comforting and the best gift you can give your kids is YOU. Don’t forget that when you are busy “providing” for them.

Thank you for reading this, and for taking the time to follow through on my request.

For those who have suffered the loss of your father, recently or at any time, accept my deepest sympathies. If your father is not with us anymore, make sure you call your mom instead, because I guarantee the void in her heart is much deeper.

Dad, I love you dearly. I miss your smile, zest for life, laugh, your undying love and your life lessons. If you could let me know about those magic blankets with two different thicknesses I’d be grateful.

Please watch over all of my friends and family and especially your true love, Mom.

Love your son, Jason

I leave you with a song from Phil Collins with a message most fathers would want their kids to know.  “Look over your shoulder and I’ll be there.”

  

 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 freeze
September 29 2011, 11:17AM
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Our thoughts are with you, Gregor.

Oddly, I've always been drawn to the number 11 as well. I think it has some major significance in numerology. I don't know the specifics and I don't want to set off anyones Mystic Fibrosis so I'll leave that alone.

I am so fortunate to have an amazing relationship with my parents. They've been perfect examples of how to be a proper parent.

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#2 The Towel Boy
September 29 2011, 11:18AM
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As usual, thanks so much for sharing this with us.

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#3 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
September 29 2011, 11:21AM
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Great article JG. I'm lucky enough to have a great relationship with my Pops. Still tell each other we love each other quite regularly (although not in front of my friends...lol) and I tell my boy I love him many times a day. I will certainly spend some time with him today and think about you guys.

Edit: Kind of funny but 11 is my absolute unluckiest number.

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#4 Cmoney
September 29 2011, 11:25AM
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Tears in my eyes. Thanks for the reminder. Congrats on the engagement!

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#5 ratzazz
September 29 2011, 11:42AM
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Nice article Jason. Lost mine 6 years ago. Told him before he died I would see him again soon enough. He told me not to soon. His wife and my wife have never had to scrape windows or worry about how much they are loved. Unfortunately mom never got over it and died 3 years ago. Great message to all. Thanks

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#6 Hockeyjedi
September 29 2011, 11:43AM
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Very touching, heartfelt article Jason. I lost my dad 15 years ago when I was 26. I can't begin to say how much I wish I could talk to him just one more time. Thanks for a great read this morning.

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#7 RossCreekNation
September 29 2011, 11:45AM
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*wipes eyes, blows nose*

Thank you, Jason.

I've been contemplating a major life change that would allow me to see my Dad on a daily basis. Because of this, I thought of your past articles just last week, and today, I'm not sure there's anything left to contemplate...

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#8 50 in 39
September 29 2011, 11:46AM
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Thanks for the article Gregor, great reminder. We often get too busy with phones, work and yes maybe hockey and let these things slip without realizing it. Sounds like your father left you with all the lessons to live life the right way. I am sure he would be made proud by your article and his impact on you.

I will call my dad this weekend. No tonight.

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#9 Diamond
September 29 2011, 11:49AM
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Wow, i dont like tearing up but this choked me. I lost my dad when i was 18 , and now Mom is in stage 4 of lung cancer. Still at home being cared for by my sister the angel. Kellie. There is only us 3 left and...well you know.. i cant type anymore Sorry for that and Sorry for all us tough guys and not so tough that lost someone. The pain is relentless. Thats my story in short.

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#10 Aaron
September 29 2011, 11:50AM
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Wow Gregor... 2 heart tuggers in one week. Good on ya!

My father gave me 3 special life lessons ...

1. Look at your mother in law. Thats what your wife will look like in 20 yrs. His words stand true today. My M.i.l is a hotty and the apple dont fall far.

2. No TV in your bedroom, the bedroom is for 2 things.

3. Son...do you want to know what electricity is? Stick your finger in the end of this here spark plug cap and I'll show you.

Not every life lesson went well... and he's far from a perfect man, but I love my Dad dearly. Thanks for the reminder.

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#11 Jessie Willis
September 29 2011, 11:51AM
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Thanks Jason. Thanks for the reminder. "You don't know what you got till it's gone". All the best with the Wedding Plans, and if you find that blanket with different thinknesses, please pass on, better yet, you might be on to something there!!

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#12 #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...
September 29 2011, 11:52AM
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Too full of emotions after reading this, with tears in my eyes all I can say Gregor is.. Thank you

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#13 Marci
September 29 2011, 12:00PM
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Wow - thank you for this post.

I am a girl who cherishes her dad. He is 64 and so far in good health, but it has hit me that I have less years ahead of me with him than I do behind me.

I am going to call him tonight.

Awesome, heartfelt post.

Best of luck on your upcoming marriage.

I listen to you every day...its nice to see the "non-working" side of you.

Marci

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#14 Sheyanne
September 29 2011, 12:02PM
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Once again you have brought me to tears. You are a remarkable man! I am sure as our dads look upon us, your dad is smiling and telling everyone how proud he is of you!

Thank you Jason!

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#15 KHR
September 29 2011, 12:02PM
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It is has been about 10 1/2 years since I had to watch my father pass away due to cancer. There was some comfort in being there to hold his hand as he took his last breath, but it took a lot out of me too in other ways. I don't think that a day has passed where I haven't wanted to talk to him about things, seek his advice, share a joke . . . I would give up my very life to have the chance to talk to him again for another 10 minutes. Thanks for sharing.

And just as an aside a song that I just can not listen to anymore with tearing up is A Love Without End, Amen by George Strait http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrTidoW2Erc

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#16 FuzzyZ
September 29 2011, 12:04PM
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Great read Jason. I have been a reader for a few years now but never felt compelled to comment, until now. I lost my dad this past January and everyday I'm reminded of two things. The first being how much I loved him and miss him daily. The second being how much my mom misses him and seems completely lost without him. Just wondering on how long it took your mom to recover(if she did) and if she ever met anyone else?

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#17 blaine aka mayorpoop
September 29 2011, 12:15PM
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couldn't read it all and am barley struggling thru this.

i haven't been able to talk to mine since '89. i was 13 and he was 42. the good die young.

well written Jason.

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#18 KB
September 29 2011, 12:24PM
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Thanks for these articles every year, Jason. I read them every time, and they always bring out strong emotions in me.

I became a Dad for the first time on July 30th this year when my son was born. During the short time he has been a part of our family so far, I reflect often on the fact that I so desperately want to be there for him whenever he needs me. I can't wait to teach him all that I can about girls, sports, school, and life in general.

When out walking the dog yesterday with my family in tow, I looked over at my son as he slept against my wife's chest all wrapped up and I thought out loud, "Do you think we will ever get to be grand parents or great grandparents?" Gosh, I sure hope so. It was a strange thought, and I can't explain why it came to me, but it made me realize then that my time with him is limited and I need to make the most of it every day. I just hope I can positively impact his life the way my Dad has mine, and your dad has yours.

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#19 Vintage Flame
September 29 2011, 12:25PM
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Wow.. That was amazing to read Jason. Thank you so much for sharing that.

I am still fortunate to have my father around and he lives close to me as well. My parents are very much involved in our lives as well as the lives of my children.

Nothing in this world makes me feel as good as when either of my children say, "I love you Daddy".

Truly an emotional read.. and in the comments as well. For all of you that have experienced loss, I give to you my heartfelt thoughts.

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#20 Souby
September 29 2011, 12:25PM
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I am glad you keep this going every year. It is nice to hear your fond memories of your Dad and how much you loved him. Although he has been gone 11 years now, he never really left you, but this is something you already know.

I have been estranged from my Father for over 6 years now. It is not something that I care to get into, but reading about your Dad every year reminds me about the importance of my role as a Father to my 3 kids. I hope that I can have a positive impact on my kids the way your Dad had on you. When it is my time to leave this place, I want them to know who much I love and cherish them.

Congrats on your engagement. I pray for a lifetime of happy moments for you both!

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#21 Jen
September 29 2011, 12:30PM
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Thanks Jason! Again, another great read/remider, it's funny how life/time goes by so quickly. We get so caught up in the rat race, the small gestures and the little thing that are so important get left behind. No doubt you will be a great husband and god willing an amazing father.

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#22 Six Rings
September 29 2011, 12:32PM
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Great read Jason.

And I agree with the article 100%. Spend as much time as you can with your father, ask questions, phone him and ask how his day was. It's almost been a year since my dad has past away, and sticking with your number 11 Gregor, my dad had past away on november 11th. My sister, my mom and I had rushed to the hospital early that morning to visit him as my sister had just gotten home from teaching out of town. We sat with him the entire morning until he took his last breathe and left us at around 11am. There are so many things I still want to ask him, so many situations I would still turn to him to talk about. Reading everyone elses comments on here makes me tear up cause I know how they felt and still feel. Life is precious and can be gone in a blink of an eye.

Give your dad a shout today, don't wait till fathers day.

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#23 Tanya Preece
September 29 2011, 12:39PM
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings Jason :)

I lost my dad when I was 12 years old. I am 31 today and the pain is still so raw. The void is unexplainable unless you have experienced it.

I have some of the same types of questions for my dad and there are so many times that I want to ask him for advice.

Thank you for reminding those that still have dads to ask those questions even though it may be uncomfortable. They really will miss it when he is gone :(

Big hugs to you.

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#24 Harlie
September 29 2011, 12:39PM
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Jason, thanks again for sharing your heart and your memories of your Dad with us. I remember reading about your Dad in your post last year and I was awestruck and overwhelmed with emotion towards you and your family, and my own family and especially my own Dad.

A month or two ago, the wife and I went on a date night and we had a nice dinner at Von's and we followed it up with a movie at the Princess Theatre. Showing that night was "The Tree of Life", starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and some lesser known actors. The movie was really touching and I bet there wasn't a dry eye in the place, including mine. It was an incredibly moving experience as the movie was an emotional journey that touched on birth, growing up, death and relationships.

For those interested here is the trailer. Note: It is not your typical hollywood movie and is not for everyone but if you are looking for something deep and emotional to share with someone you love, then I recommend it. The wife and I talked about the movie for days and weeks afterwards and I get goosebumps just looking at the trailer again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrAz1YLh8nY&feature=relmfu

Thanks again for sharing Jason.

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#25 blueorangekoolaid
September 29 2011, 12:43PM
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Hey Jason. I've been listening to you since you did the late night show after John Short. I've been reading your articles for a while as well. Last year reading this article I called my dad after and we did what we always do, talk about the Oilers. My dad passed away July 25th this year and right up to the end we did what we always do, talk about the Oilers.

You always hear "you don't realize what you have until it's gone" but I didn't really know that feeling until now. We spend a lot of our lives celebrating firsts: first kiss, first apartment, first car. It's the same for athletes: first goal, first shutout, first homerun. This year I get the other side of firsts: first Christmas without him, first Oilers season without him etc. I'm sure it was the same for you as it is for me. You stumble on this seemingly insignificant things that remind you of him and they don't care if you're at work or out with the guys and it's all you can do to hold yourself together.

Until you've gone through it you never know how to handle it when it happens to someone you know. Everyone resorts to asking you "how are you doing?" and until this summer I never realized how terrible that question can be. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself how you'd be doing?

Now I've gone through all the different emotions from anger that he's gone, pity for myself to have lost him to jealousy for all the people that can't relate. Every day presents a different struggle but I also remember the kind of man he was and how much he'd make fun of me for carrying on about this the way I am. In spite of his faults (and who doesn't have faults?) he was a good man. I miss him every day. Thank you for sharing your story with us, especially now that I can relate to it on a more personal level.

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#26 hamzinoilcntry
September 29 2011, 12:48PM
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I have been a loyal reader of this site for Three years now and this is the third letter to your dad you have shared with the nation. I just want to say thank you! I know it must be tough for you to write this letter every year but it truly has become my favorite post on the nation website! What a great read JG! Thanks again for letting us into your heart!

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#27 Vintage Flame
September 29 2011, 12:50PM
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Something my father always taught me was to be true to myself no matter what, and to be proud of that.

I have always tried to stay true that advice, though at times I have wavered. Never sat well with me.

My father's opinion means everything to me. I would much rather have someone not like me for who I am, than for my father to be disappointed that I have become someone that I am truly not.

Love you Pop!

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#28 Milli
September 29 2011, 12:52PM
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Once again, great read Jason. My wife and I both lost our Fathers at the young age of 50. My stepfather, who has been with me since I was like 7, lost his a month ago. He was 95 years old, people think that that should make it easier, but I realized this year, that no matter the age, it always hurts. Death, the finallity of it all, no matter young or old, we grieve. The best thing I have ever learned is to allow yourselve to grieve and talk and cry. These things I think help us, comfort us, and hopefully everyone has 1 or 2 people that will be there to help carry them trough these tough times in our lives.

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#29 GEP
September 29 2011, 12:53PM
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Thanks Jason for taking the time to write this and share with us. Thanks for the stroll down my memory lane of my father who has passed as well.

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#30 Diamond
September 29 2011, 12:57PM
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Ok i feel like a wreck after reading all these.

For one quick second during the great reads.

LETS GO OILERS LETS GO !! Canucks ! we are pissed and we are coming

after you , be checking over your shoulder always

Just needed to change the mood for a split second. Our dads would love it.

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#31 Debbie
September 29 2011, 01:07PM
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Jason, Thank you so much for sharing this, and once again you have me in tears. I love the passion you put into these letters to your dad year after year...you can tell how deeply you loved him, how much you miss him, and how much he influenced the life you live today. Congratulations on your engagement...so so happy for you!!

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#32 Petr's Jofa
September 29 2011, 01:14PM
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Damn it Jason you did it to me again. I debated opening this blog because I remembered the affect the one you wrote a year ago had on me and I didn't want to well-up in the office. Then you went and wrote this line which matches my father perfectly (except for the names):

My father wasn’t afraid to show his love. He never said I love you very often, but he didn’t have to because his wife, kids, extended family and friends knew how he felt.

Dad was chatty as hell, but he wasn’t great with emotional words. He always bought mom a card for her birthday, their anniversary, holidays or special occasions. The cards always had long, meaningful messages in them, but only two words were his; at the top of the card it said, Pearl and at the bottom, Bill. Nothing else.

Does it count a crying if the tears just well up but don't drop from your eyes?

This article hits home at a strange time in my life. My wife is now finishing up her nursing degree and for the 1st time since the my kids were born, returning home to Edmonton is an option. Suddenly the urge to get out of Edmonton and travel the world isn't so important. All I can think of is my aging parents and how I don't want to deprive my kids (or myself) from the quality time with my family. It would be a huge financial sacrifice to move everything and I would be leaving a professional position to take up whatever I could find in Edmonton, but the more I think about it, and the more I read articles like yours, the more I think that moving home is something I need to do.

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#33 Miami Dolpins
September 29 2011, 01:18PM
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Argh! Why did you have to do this to me Jason???This is always a great article to read and enjoy reading it very much. This was a tough one to get through this year because my father was diagnosed with brain cancer last November. Doctors have given him 12-14 months to live. The news did not break him down and he looked at us and said "lets get past the tears and have a great year". All the treatments have been tough on him and the last 8 months we have really watched him become very frail and tired. You've inspired me to write him a letter about how important he's been in my life. Thanks for that.

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#34 John Chambers
September 29 2011, 01:22PM
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Thanks Jason.

I got engaged about 1 year ago and my wife and I already have a 3 month old son. Things have progressed rapidly for us over the past year, and I've certainly learned a lot and have had to change in a lot of ways - all for the better.

What a wonderful article. It isn't easy for guys to open up and tell your loved ones how important they are in your life, but it's amazing what suppressing your testosterone can do to help you communicate better, learn to be more patient, and come to appreciate life and those around you on a day to day basis.

Thanks for offering the window into your soul.

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#35 Hall of a Player
September 29 2011, 01:39PM
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Jason,

Like many others on here, thanks for posting this. Been reading on here for a couple of years, but never posted until now. I just lost my dad on July 7th from a heart attack while he slept, and this letter really hits home for me. I think about him every day and wish me and my wife and daughter could have had the chance to tell him we love him one more time. He was a great man, as it sounds like your dad was, and I hope I can be half the man he was.

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#36 gongshow
September 29 2011, 01:43PM
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Thanks again Jason.

It's funny that last year, I forwarded your ode to your dad to my dad, only to find that there was the same thing waiting for me in my inbox from my dad. We had always had a good relationship, but the conversation that came from that article definitely forced us to talk about some stuff that we were always to 'macho' to talk about. I am truly grateful for that as earlier this year he passed away after some surgery.

Though it would be great to still have him around for a while longer, I feel very lucky to have had the time we did.

Thoughts are with you and your mom today and congrats on the engagement.

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#37 Les Sereda
September 29 2011, 01:51PM
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Thanks Jason,

I lost my day in the summer of 2002. It was one week after I asked my now wife to marry me. When I look at my two daughters I wish so bad that he was here to see them.

Your letter is a great reminder to cherish all of those that are important to us. Life is short!

Take care and congratulations on the engagement.

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#38 Big Cap
September 29 2011, 01:51PM
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Thanks for sharing Jason. Very well done!

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#39 oilersfan11
September 29 2011, 02:02PM
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Gregor, thanks for sharing and congrats on the engagement. A inspirational letter and great reminder to all of us. I am a long time listener, first time caller that was inspired and moved by your letter.

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#40 Craiger
September 29 2011, 02:04PM
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Gregor, look forward to this article every year.

This year it takes on a whole new meaning for me. Last December I moved away from Edmonton for the first time, relocating to the Silicon Valley in Norcal, which needless to say means I rarely get a chance to spend time with old friends and family anymore.

I used to see the old man every week for Sunday dinner with the fam, but now I haven't seen him in months. I miss him.

Luckily, (and strangely enough), he's coming to town tomorrow for his first visit since I moved. We're going to take in some football - Saturday we head just down the street from the new digs in Palo Alto to catch Stanford/UCLA, then Sunday we head across the Bay to check out the Raiders/Pats. Should be a great weekend of football, but to be honest, I'm more excited just to be able to hang out with him. Your annual article always makes me thankful that I can still do that. And after reading this year's, I'm gonna make sure I tell him.

As always, thanks for sharing.

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#41 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
September 29 2011, 02:07PM
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My father is an amazing person, and if I can manage to be half the man he is I'll count myself as extremely lucky.

Gregor, I really look forward to reading this later tonight. I'm at work right now and - given the heart and thought you put into this post every year - I won't be much use in the office this afternoon if I decide to tackle it now.

Thanks for providing this perspective. It serves as a great reminder for those of us that might forget.

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#42 smiliegirl15
September 29 2011, 02:11PM
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My dad will have been gone 9 years as of Oct 20th. I think about him often and sometimes wish it was him when my phone rings (he used to call me every week or so ever since I went away to university 20 years ago). I wish he was here to see his first granddaughter. He would have been so tickled with her.

When I see my brother with his daughter I always think about how much I loved spending time with my dad, even when I was really little. She has that same joy when she sees her dad I had when I saw mine.

Even though my dad is gone, I still feel him around me. Mystic Fibrosis indeed! (good one!) I think our loved ones get to watch over us.

Double digits are lucky in numerology. All my license plates I've ever had, have had the numbers add up to 11.

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#43 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
September 29 2011, 02:20PM
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Wow. On a lighter note JG, looks like you've made a pretty big impression with your letters to your father with Rosscreek and Petr's Jofa! If nothing else you should be pretty satisfied about that.

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#44 Dipstick
September 29 2011, 02:52PM
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Wonderful post JG. My Dad is still going strong at 82. Since he moved to BC he has developed a disgusting soft spot for the Nucks. I'll dig deep and forgive him next time we talk. Fortunately, I have done a proper job of parenting my three kids (20, 18 & 16), all rabid Oil fans. Your words are so true. I know that if/when you have kids, you will be a great influence on them.

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#45 taz
September 29 2011, 03:02PM
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Thanks Jason God bless you and your father.

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#46 Bandwagon jumper
September 29 2011, 03:06PM
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Hey Jason,

Yes, thanks for sharing your thoughts about your father. And you are correct that there are many who have lost a loved one way too early.

I was 17 when my father died unexpectedly. He too dying from a massive heart attack. Of course, like many 17 year olds, my relationship with my father was strained and our last conversation wasn't a pleasant one. Therefore, my one biggest regret was that I couldn't be there with him when he passed. He died alone without me being able to tell him I loved him. It will be 29 years this November since we lost him.

That event shaped my life, and taught me the wrong way to deal with these (or any) emotional issues. For example: I was recently informed by an old girlfriend that after my father passed away, I never said another word to her. I had no idea. It sure messed me up.

So I applaud you for asking those who can, to call or go see their fathers. Tell them how you feel. You may not get the chance.

Myself, I will go call my Mom.

Thanks Jason.

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#47 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
September 29 2011, 04:12PM
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Absolutely loving the feedback stories guys.

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#48 Quicksilver ballet
September 29 2011, 04:36PM
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Sympathies on this difficult day.

What a difference a 26 a day makes. Wish my dad was half the father yours was.

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#49 OilfieldAssessment
September 29 2011, 04:49PM
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Like a few other people I've been reading for a while but never posted, but after reading this I'm feeling kinda selfish. When my dad gets brought up in conversation I usually think of all the fights and arguments over nothing. Stupid. This reminded me of him driving from Fort McMurray to Lloydminster, with only one day off work, to watch me play in a tournament. The game ended, and back to work he went. It's never been said between us, but I love you dad, I hope you know it.

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#50 ubermiguel
September 29 2011, 05:25PM
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Gregor, you get me everytime. Luckily no one's at the office to see me wiping the tears. What a tribute to your Father. If it's in the cards for you, you'll be a great Father yourself because you learned from a great man.

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