This past week has been a blur one day I’m talking to best friend about her upcoming trip and doctor’s appointments and then early Tuesday morning my father in law passed away after a very short battle with cancer. One thing about my husband’s family is that they stand together and got everything that needed doing done in a day. Later we were all at my mother in law’s for pizza and just being together. My hubby is one of four kids and his sisters and I have 12 kidlets between us and I’m including my daughter in law in that number. That’s just immediate family. I married into a big clan and they take care of their own like I’ve never seen.
I was not able to attend the visitation due to a minor scheduled surgery. I’d like to thank the LaSalle Police Serive and the LaSalle Police Association for the beautiful flowers you sent. Thank you to all our friends, coworkers and extended family for your presence with us.
I remember being horrified when I met Lou because he just scared the crap out of me. Sometime over the years I grew to love the gruff loving man that he was. I still remember the first time he told me he loved me and I cried. I think about that time and I still cry. He was a great husband, father and grandfather.
My Fatherâ€™s Eulogy
Our father was born on November 1, 1944 in St. Johnâ€™s NFLD. He often joked about being born on all Saints Day. He figured that just because his birthday fell on that date, that it made him an honourary saint. Those of us who knew him well would say he was better suited to be born on devilâ€™s night.
Our Dad had a tough, rugged exterior and marshmallow insides. My cousin Robert described him perfectly last night in a message to my sister Monique. He said that Dad was the kindest, coolest, scariest guy all rolled into one. Dadâ€™s bark was always worse than his bite. I remember introducing him to Mike for the first time and before we went into the house I said to him. â€œNow when you meet my Dad, take everything he says with a grain of salt and donâ€™t hold anything against me! You just never knew what Dad was going to say. A perfect example of that is a story that I would like to share with you now. When my daughter Michaela was about 6 or 7 years old, we were driving down Tecumseh Road and as we approached the intersection of Hall and Tecumseh I pointed toward John Campbell School and said to my three girls. â€˜Look girls, there is the school that Papa went to when he was a little boy.â€ As the girls looked toward the school Michaela piped up and asked, â€œMom, how long did Papa go there?â€ I thought for a minute and said, â€˜Well, I would assume 8 or 9 years like most people do.â€ Michaela got this quizzical look on her face and said, â€˜WHAT?? Papa went to school for 9 years and he doesnâ€™t know how to read??â€ I was shocked by her response and said, â€œHoney, Papa knows how to read, he reads the paper everyday!â€ She quickly responded with, â€œNo he doesnâ€™t!! Every time weâ€™ve asked him to read us a book, he says, sorry honey, Papa doesnâ€™t know how to read!! I think he just looks at the pictures!!â€ That was my Dadâ€™s way of getting out of having to read stories to the grandchildren.
But underneath that rough and tough exterior was a big old teddy bear with a heart of gold. Dad was the first person everyone called when they needed something and he never left anyone hanging. It didnâ€™t matter if he had just spent 16 hours on the road driving truck and only had 4 hours of sleep. If he said he was going to be there, he was there! Whether it was to build a fence, knock down a wall, cut down a tree, put up a pool, hang some lights, or give you a ride somewhere. He even spent his own time after work and on Saturdays teaching someone else how to drive a transport truck. Then he spent time networking for that same person to get them a job. Dad was never too busy or too tired to help others. He was everyoneâ€™s go to guy. In fact back when we belonged to St. Patrickâ€™s Parish, Father Henri nicknamed him the GOOD SAMARITAN. My mother told me about the time that Father Henri had somehow gotten his car stuck in the mud near the church property. My Dad happened to come upon him and didnâ€™t hesitate to help. Dad hitched Father Henriâ€™s car up to his and proceeded to drag him out of the mud. From then on, every Sunday, as my family walked through the doors of St. Patricks, Father Henri would nod toward my father and say, â€˜Thereâ€™s my good samaritan!â€
Dad was a man of few words but he knew exactly what to say to my mother the first time that he met her at 15 years old. It was in his childhood home that they met at a gathering with some friends of his. Dad liked to have a good time, in fact, â€˜Iâ€™m here for a good time , not a long timeâ€ was Dadâ€™s favorite saying and Lord knows, he had a good time!! Anyhow Mom had been asked to tag along with a friend of hers and to go with her to Dadâ€™s house for a bit. When they arrived, the living room and kitchen were already full of people and there was no place to sit. So my mother sat on the arm of an oversized chair that my father was in. Within minutes of her arrival he pulled her down onto his lap, kissed her and said, â€œIâ€™m gonna marry you!â€ With that, my mother slapped him across the face, called him a â€˜FRESH PUNKâ€ and left. That was the beginning of their 56 year love story.
At 17, Dad enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served as a Paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was always very proud of that time in his life. It became a part of who he was. So much so that he eventually had his jump wings and the word â€˜paratrooperâ€ tattooed on his right arm. On his left arm he had our names, the names of his four children. At one point over the years Paris told us that when she was little she used to think that the word â€œparatrooperâ€ had actually said â€œParis Tousignantâ€ and that she was so special that she got a whole arm to herself.
Dad was one of the hardest working men Iâ€™ve ever known. He worked crazy hours driving truck long distances to give his family the life that he never had. We may not have had the biggest houses, or the nicest cars or the fanciest vacations but we had a father who worked tirelessly to fill our bellies with food, keep a roof over our heads, and fill our hearts with love. He worked hard and he played hard. Dad loved playing sports. As a child he played baseball, basketball and lacrosse. In fact, I can barely remember a time when Dad wasnâ€™t playing ball. We spent many a nights under the lights at the baseball diamond watching him pitch. He was an avid fan of the Michigan Wolverines, The Montreal Canadians and the Toronto Blue Jays. He spent many, many nights in his cherished gazebo, that my brother Gerry built in the backyard. In fact, one of our last conversations in the hospital he went on and on about how that gazebo was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He talked in detail about all of the nooks and crannies in it, about how much he loved the look of all that knotty pine and the smell of the cedar posts. The conversation had initially been about our trip to Newfoundland and somehow it turned and became all about his favorite place….his gazebo. Whether it was 100 degrees or 30 below, you could always find Dad in his gazebo.
Dad loved a good joke, though he rarely told them well. He was full of one liners and never without a funny face to share. He could talk like â€œWolfman Jackâ€ and imitate ET with his giant finger. He could make us laugh and make us cry. He could scold us sternly and love us tenderly. He knew just how long to hold our hands and when to let us go. He taught by example with his â€œdo as I say and not as I doâ€ philosophy. Our father is a man like no other. He gave us life and with the help of our mother, he nurtured us, he taught us and fought for us. He held us and shouted at us. He kissed us and spanked us. But most importantly, he loved us unconditionally. There are not enough words to describe what my father meant to us and what a powerful influence he has had on all of our lives. But one thing that he didnâ€™t teach us was how to live without him!! And although he earned his wings many, many years ago we werenâ€™t ready for him to use them again so soon. His wings may have been ready but our hearts were not!!
Good bye Dad…I will love you forever and a day !
Love always Marci….xxoo
I don’t know how she was able to get through the eulogy but she did and I’m so amazed at her way with words.