A Parental Paradox

January 29, 2018 § 3 Comments

bob olinger 1986It’s the circle of life,” Simba.

That line from the 1994 movie The Lion King comes to mind whenever I think of how our son, Peter, was born just a few weeks after my father passed away on Jan. 28, 1989.

I thought of this Sunday, the 29th anniversary of Bob Olinger Sr.’s death (photo left). Even after all this time, I still consider how my life has been shaped by my father, either in our likeness or how I chose to be different from life lessons, intended on his part or just from observation.

The entry on my On This Day for Sunday on Facebook six years ago reads: “So, it was 23 years ago about this time of night that we received a call from my older brother that my dad had died just after watching his first NHL game (live), a match between the Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks. I vowed that I would work just as hard as he did, but to enjoy life a whole lot more. I’ve been to my share of professional hockey, baseball and basketball games and a lot of concerts. I’ve worked hard and played hard. When I think of him, I am reminded of the Alice Morse Earle quote, ‘Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why they call it the present.’”

Now, Peter is the age I was when Dad passed away and I reflect on what impact I have made on my son. He loves sports and music as much as I do and think he’s learned more about balancing work and life through seeing me putting in longer hours, particularly in the years I operated my business. He’s also kind-hearted and peace-loving. Like his father, he enjoys a good debate and is likely to side with the underdog.

I’m proud of the person Peter become and that he’s forging his own way in the world.

For Fathers’ Day 2012, which fell just after what would have been my father’s 90th birthday, I wrote this blog, a special note to my Dad: https://themuseandviews.wordpress.com/?s=Father

I was inspired to write this blog after a conversation on Twitter with another avid Blue Jays fan, Jenn Smith, who posted a photo of herself and her dad from 1978. He died suddenly four years ago on Saturday.

“It seems so long ago and, yet, like no time has passed at all. I miss him,” she wrote.

When I shared that I continue to reminisce about my Dad, she added, “It still stuns me sometimes how much of an imprint his passing has left on me.”

Steve West, a communications colleague from Winnipeg chimed in: “17 years this month for me. Always remembered, and honoured. Thoughts are with you both.”

Steve and I would go on to compare notes about our fathers and how the song The Living Years by Mike + The Mechanics brings us to tears every time we hear it as it reminds us so much of aspects in our relationships with our dads.

The song also reminds us about the importance of saying things to each other “(in) the living years” as we don’t get the chance after someone dies,” says Steve. “So powerful!

I also noted to Steve and Jenn that while our fathers made great impressions on us, other important people in our lives can have everlasting impacts.

The late Darrell Skidnuk, who passed away in April 2004, was the best man at our wedding. I always admired Darrell for his character, which never wavered, even when battling cancer or facing tough issues on the job. He was a devoted father, loving husband, and community builder.

When faced with dilemmas, I often wonder what Darrell would do, just as I used to think of turning to my father for advice. Sometimes I would go to do so after his passing and then realize he was gone.

Darrell and my Dad are just two salt-of-the-earth people I consider to be great role models.

Here’s to Jenn, Steve and all of you who’ve lost that important go-to individual(s) in your lives. May you always cherish the memories and make those people proud in return.

And here’s to you Dad for continuing to be there in spirit.





§ 3 Responses to A Parental Paradox

  • Lexus Rim says:

    It’s an intelligent viewpoint and matter that anyone benefits from or serves as a reminder.

  • Erin Stashko says:

    How fitting a title, ‘A Parental Paradox’ which then leads to ‘The Circle of Life’ phrase/song in your blog, where you mention, sadly, that you lost your father in the few weeks prior to Peter’s birth. Those who tweeted a reply to your Twitter post shared in your immense loss, as do I with the loss of my own dad almost 4 mos. ago. I recognize that this loss of a parent is a ‘club.’ It is a *most* unwelcomed club to be in and is not one anyone would ever wish for. Yet, anyone in it knows exactly how another club member feels.

    Thoughts and words reflected upon, pertaining to the loss of a loved one, is something we can mutually relate to. Their comforting words became a comfort to you and now, also to your readers of ‘The Muse and Views’ as you passed on their sentiments.

    What’s touching is that you reflect on your life via reference to a song, ‘The Living Years’ by Mike + The Mechanics. Since you went through a similar loss (to the composer) and the lyrics hit home with you, it’s made you look toward your own ‘living years.’ Through processing of your thoughts and feelings, you have instilled within your son the values that your own father brought to you, and you are maximizing on your ‘living years’ via time spent with loved ones while they are still here.

    I like how you stated, “Here’s to Jenn, Steve and all of you who’ve lost that important go-to individual(s) in your lives. May you always cherish the memories and make those people proud in return.” I have no doubt your article would be helpful for their losses! It is timely toward my own loss, as well!

    When you called out to your dad, “And here’s to you Dad for continuing to be there in spirit”, I am very sure that he is with you both in spirit and can take even some credit for your own tenacity in life!

  • Laura Lee says:

    Really great piece thank you for sharing. As I read, I was taken back to my mom and her impact on my life and how that has shaped me. Then also the shaping of my child who is now three. Thank you for the Wisdom Sir!

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