Saturday, January 28, 2012


Joe's father, Joe, was a lovely man. Full of the love of life and with a generosity of spirit that was so natural to him that it had to be coded into his DNA. He had a harmonica, and could play. He loved to both tell a joke and hear a joke. He worked hard. He played hard. And, maybe most important of all, he loved his family. He was terrific around children and seemed to have a natural ability to know just what to do to make them laugh, just what to do to make them feel loved. A remarkable man.

Whenever he came to visit us, either in University when we were students, or to Toronto when we were first starting out, he'd look in our fridge and then go out and buy groceries for us. We didn't need him to do that, well maybe we did sometimes, but he did it because he wanted to, it made him happy. He liked to give in practical ways, love in concrete ways. I still remember him fondly. More than that, I remember him often. Probably because Joe is very much his son. Joe not only looks like his dad but he carries himself in a similar manner. Both easily moved to laughter. Both easily moved to generosity.

I think the thing that I learned from him that I value the most is the fact that it's possible to live a life in which you are remembered well and fondly. It's possible to set an example for how to simply 'be' in the world which will indelibly leave a mark on the heart of those you've touched. It's possible to be, in a way, immortal. I want this.

We don't actively think, when we are with the kids, about these things. Living in the past and living for the future are both dangerous things. Being in the present affects the past, because it becomes the past. Being in the the present affects the future because, in the present, direction is set. So, we try to be in the present as much as possible. This is particularly true when we are with Ruby and Sadie. It's so cool to simple be part of their life now - we get to become part of their past and be in on the development of the future. And we do this only, simply, by being with them.

Sadie, when she came out of day care and saw us in our car, pointed at us grinning saying 'Dough!' She doesn't watch the news so isn't familiar with Bennifer and Brangelinda and our penchant for combining names, she just naturally came up with 'Dough' as a combination of Dave and Joe. Her grin told us that she remembered the fun we've had in the past and that she anticipated more of the same. How nice. We went to one of those playland kind of places here in Ottawa and before even heading over to the games and the flashing lights she was up and into our arms for a huge Sadie hug.

On our way out of the grocery store, I stopped to buy some lottery tickets. Everyone needs a retirement plan after all. I got Ruby to pick the tickets. She had stayed back with me in the store while everyone else had gone to get the cars, it was cold and snowy. When the woman gave me the tickets she said, 'I hope you are lucky!' Ruby nodded, agreeing. I said to Ruby, 'But I'm already lucky, I get to know a girl named Ruby.' I thought the lottery ticket woman was going to melt when she saw Ruby get tears in her eyes. On the way out she put her hand on my arm and said, 'Is it OK if I remember you said that for a long time?'

I told her that if that was the only thing she remembered about me when she was all grown up, I'd be happy. Then the cars arrived and there was a swirl of activity. Ruby always rides with us when we are all together, Sadie still wants to be with Mom and Dad. Joe was loading the wheelchair into the trunk when Ruby piped up, she'd been thinking. 'I think I'll remember the wheelchair too, it's fun.'

Then we were all off to make the past and build the future. Just like Joe's Dad Joe did for us.


Education: Exploring Online Learning said...

This post brought me a big smile. Thank you.

Kristin said...

What a wonderful way to start a Saturday morning. Thank you.

Nan said...

Make the past and build the future, just by being oh so very present. I like that.

Rosemary said...

Your post touched my heart.

My dad and my dad's dad were the kindest folks in the world They loved their family and loved children. Your post helped me remember many wonderful times with them.

Thank you for you, Dave.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for blogging with us. I don't always post, nor do I always get a chance to read your posts daily; but, I always go back and get caught up.

Your post is really relevant, as Andrew had some of his genetic testing this week, and given the health issues running on all sides of his family, it has stressed me out (and this is aside from other issues which are negatively impacting our lives today).

Thanks for reminding me to focus on today ... and the "moment" rather than the past and future (whether it's the near or far past/future).

I do have a question, in case anyone can make any suggestions ... and it does have to do with living in the moment ..

How do you deal with chronic pain; which you cannot do anything about? If anyone has any suggestions I would really appreciate your response, as much of my life and my joy is robbed from the pain I have ... and my son is getting older every day (he turns 16 in just a few weeks!). I have a lot to do, and my son's supports are literally nil, so, I have to figure out how to do what I need to do ... and be able to "suck it up" (the pain).

I hope you (Dave/Joe) don't mind me asking this here. I know this is not a support group, per se; but, I appreciate the things you share with us, as well as what your readers also share with us too. And, I'm hoping others who may be (or have been) in similar situations could give me some feedback.

We're (my son and I) also staying at my parents' home, and Dad just had a major cancer treatment yesterday ... and he's terminally ill; but, my dad is very stubborn to live as long as he can .... and my parents are trying to help us I(in spite of their problems) .... and my health is delaying things considerably, which ends up impacting everyone.

My 1 year & 10 day year old niece has the measles, and my 12 year old niece goes to school where there's a pertusis breakout, and I'm sick in bed, and none of us want to end up making my Dad ill .... so any suggestions would be appreciated.

Elizabeth & Andrew

Haleys mom said...

Dough, you both are so lucky to have Ruby & Sadie in your lives!! And I'm so lucky you share them with us! I have never commented before (even when you have asked - oh I've started but never hit that enter button). I have a 15 almost 16 year old daughter (going on 21!) who almost every day makes me feel the way Ruby did for you! Your blog almost daily gives me hope that Haley will have a life valued by many not just a few. Now lets see, will I hit enter?? :)

Shan said...

"I took my gal to the ball one night: it was a fancy hop..."

I think about him all the time. What a blessing he was...and what a blessing JOE is.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Haley's mom ... Rah for hitting enter!

Noisyworld said...

Hi Elizabeth (and Andrew!)
I don't have any easy answers, sorry :( chronic neurological pain (and hyperacusis) is something I've been dealing with for 15 years and the only thing that makes a difference is planning, if I do this today what can I do tomorrow. That said I live with my parents, can't work and don't have kids so it's a lot simpler for me: if I need to avoid something I can, well, I can try anyway! :/
I wish I had a magic wand 'cos life sounds tough. ((hug))
Thinking of you all. Noisyworld :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Noisyworld,

Thank you for sharing what works for you. I know thus far, what you said worked for you, is what I did on days that I was able to accomplish more things. I find I'm torn between meeting the immediate needs my son has (at a given day and time) and with the priority issues I have at our home (which involves some things I need to do, before we can get much of our necessary home repairs performed). Because my parents are not well, and they really do not know how to support my son with his disability (primarily Severe Asperger Syndrome), and because my son does not have a support worker ... the only time I can be at our home is when I can be assured that he and my parents will be okay. I know with my pain (as is probably the case with yourself too), it doesn't matter what I'm doing, as the pain still persists; but, I do find it hard to focus .... when I am trying to do something, and I'm in a lot of pain. My pain is mostly from scoliosis and some neuralgia. I do find that Tigers Balm works good; but, only for a short time. I thought I would mention this, in case you would like to try it. If you do, just put a little on your skin first, to see if you have a reaction; as my son is allergic to it. I had hoped that my son's lack of a skilled support worker would have been addressed months ago, so it would free up some of my time, to deal with these other things; but, it remains unresolved, and the pressure to get things done at our home, and move back in is causing us increasing stress. So, I do appreciate your recommendation. And, I'm going to do just what you said ... and dig in, and just get it done.

I wouldn't say that your life is any easier than our own; but, I find it hard as a parent, when I need (and want to) provide the best for him; but, am limited due to various reasons (such as finances, good health, etc.) It's hard when your situation, as a parent, ends up impacting the life and well-being of your child. But, things could always be worse, so I am thankful for what we have, and that we have one another.

Again, thanks :)
Elizabeth & Andrew

Ettina said...

I was reading somewhere (can't remember where) that learning how to dissociate (also called self-hypnosis) can help with chronic pain. Maybe check that out.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ettina, I'll look into that. :) Elizabeth