Goodbye Phil. Rest in peace my brother, rest in peace.
I woke up this morning knowing that I was going to resume my blogging ritual. I took a week off after learning of Phil’s passing. It was my time to reflect and let my mind wander through the past memories of Phil and our various gatherings in the past. I woke this morning knowing that I would blog, but not knowing how I would write and what words I would say. I do not want to Eulogize Phil in this post, as I do not think I have the words or talent to do the task the honour it deserves. I think I will just let some words flow as they come into consciousness.
The loss of a sibling is hard to describe. Phil’s health had been deteriorating for years and his quality of life was not very good. It is good that he is no longer suffering. It is good that he may now rest. I am sad that he is gone.
Phil had a tremendous love of family and family gatherings and family bonds were very important to him. His work on the family genealogy and family reunions brought many distant relatives together. I have to admit, that without Phil’s efforts, I would probably not have any connections to many of my cousins. Growing up in Eastern Canada, I was thousands of miles away from most of my relatives. As a young man growing up, I would not have pursued those relationships, were it not for Phil’s dedication to family and heritage. In the end, Phil provided the family with one more gathering; his funeral. Even in death the crazy bugger still manages to bring us all together.
Gathering at his place before the funeral we spent time with Roberta and Phil’s family. We saw many pictures that brought back laughs, tears, old stories, and much more. It was heartwarming to see the pictures and hear the tales of past deeds. I owe much of my sense and definition of family to Phil. His efforts to strengthen family bonds were noble and fruitful. Thank you Phil.
I really value the times when family gathers. I really value the bonds that grow and strengthen between siblings, cousins, uncles, nephews, nieces, parents, children, and grand-children. As I grow older, these things mean even more to me. I will not take these things for granted.
One of my last memories of Phil was from a few year’s ago when he and his wife Roberta came to Regina for a visit. It was a sunny fall day. We harvested the apples off of our apple trees, put a fire in the fire pit, and played cribbage outside. Cribbage is a game synonymous with our family. It was been played by at least 5 generations in our family. I look back at that autumn day very fondly.
So Phil, I will once again say thank you for highlighting the value of family connections and heritage. Goodbye Phil. Rest in peace my brother, rest in peace.
Your spirit soars from the valley floor
To the mountains high you reach the sky
You ride the breeze on land and seas
You’ll walk beside me for evermore