Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Dad

A Life Made Simple is our - the Wood clan's - travel blog. But really it is a blog about our life - our life is travel and we are happy to share our experiences with all of you - about our travels and our lives - good and bad.

And since this blog is about our lives - today is an important time in our life. We all have them.

It is a memorial day.

Ten years ago - January 8th, 2002 at 3:30pm - 
my Dad - Mr. Gerritt (Jerry) Johannesma - 
passed away at the age of 64 of lung cancer.

Shortly thereafter I spoke these words at his funeral. A few excerpts:

I only travel with one picture of my parents together - this is it - a picture of a picture.

"As I write this tribute to you I am sitting in your workshop where you spent so many hours, your workshops always brought comfort to me, they were such a part of our homes. As I look around there is so much of you here, your certificates hang on the walls, your tools and odds and ends are all nicely organized - you spent days in there just a few months ago with the music on putting everything in its proper place. I can still see you in the 'just perfect' seat we bought you at the second hand store working on your new model boat. It was a new challenge that you were unsure of, but I knew you could get the end rounded just right. Now it stands unfinished but so beautiful. I remember the day we went to Victoria to buy it and stopping in at the Dutch Bakery for a treat, like it was yesterday.

You were a good man Dad, a good husband, and a good father. You gave us your best I know. You touched many lives while you were here and we will be forever thankful for your presence. Mom chose you well. As the head of our family you led with strength and honor, even though I'm sure you wondered many times what you would do with a house full of women. Together with Mom you raised Diana and I well, teaching us by example, instilling in us independence, and the importance of hard work and perseverance. Although it does seem that I was tutored more than Diana in the fine art of hardheadedness - uh - I mean determination. In our childhood you were a quiet presence always there to help out with our school projects and as adults letting us know that you were there if we needed you, but allowing us the space to find our own way. We did a lot together as a family, I will always remember the camping trips when we were little and then destinations further away as we got older, they were good times.

All of these things and so much more made you the man you are and I am honored to be your daughter. But the time has come for us to part ways. 
We thank you Dad for being a part of our family and for your love and guidance and for your strength and patience. 
Thank you for your creativity and skill of making things that Diana and I are blessed to carry on. 
And I thank you Dad, for passing on to me your love of construction and buildings. 
Thank you for the wisdom you shared and the time you took to pass on your experience, teaching me about fire doors as we were waiting to see the doctor."

Derek and I met while I was living with my dad during his final 6 months. We spied each other across the seniors park. So, the two important men in my life traded off I guess. My dad exited my life shortly after Derek entered.

And so, it seems fitting that every year I celebrate them in two days - today my dad died - a memorial, tomorrow is Derek's birthday - a celebration. 

To know about my dad is to know me - where I hail from. Thanks for letting me spend some time reflecting and yes well crying my way through this post. I bet you will take some time to think about your loved ones also - whether they are with us physically or not - I hope so!

Thanks for - letting me share this with you. See you later Dad.


Today's Interesting Link: We played many songs at my Dad's funeral but this one strikes a particular cord - A Perfect Day by Roger Whittaker. We played the version of Roger and his daughter Debbie. I could only find this version - it is a beautiful song.


  1. Teresa, that was an amazing tribute to your Dad... thank you for introducing the rest of us to this great person.
    I am sure he is smiling down on your wonderful family !!
    Hugs, Trent and Teresa


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