Eulogy for my Father

My father, Morton Harris died on April 14, 2019. He was diagnosed with bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) back in 2008. Surgery removed a tumour but it had returned by the summer of 2018. He spent the last two weeks of his life in the hospital where he eventually died at the age of 88.

I want to thank the doctors and nurses at the Odette Cancer Center (specifically the Upper GI Cancer Care team) and C5 trauma ward at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. Everyone in these units cared for my father and he couldn’t have paid for better care. I welcome donations to be made in my father’s name here.

The following is the eulogy I delivered at his funeral.
It’s the best tribute I could muster for my father, who was and is still a huge inspiration.

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The Challenge of Maintaining Friendships

I remember my Mom’s 30th birthday party. The house was FULL of my parents’ friends. Friends made through my brother’s various sports teams, old friends they made decades before, my father’s students, friends from the neighbourhood, plus many that I could never place. Many of the kids I spent time with were the children of my parents’ friends. However, as the years ticked upward, the number of families we spent time with diminished. By the time I was in my 20s, I could probably count the number of friends my parents had on my hands. At that time, as someone who was surrounded by friends, I wondered how this could happen. Now that I’m twice as old, I’m still asking myself that question as I shake my head and wonder how I ended up in a very similar situation.

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What Fatherhood Took From Me

I have been a parent for 13.5 years, at time of writing. It goes without saying that I’m a different person today than almost five thousand days ago. There are things I miss about my pre-kid life, and things I wouldn’t give up for the world. Today, I will dwell for a short while on what I miss. Not to just lament days and doings gone by, but to examine if I actually miss what’s missing, if there’s a way I can reclaim the ones that are important or let go of the ones that aren’t.

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Raising Kids In The Gritty City, Part One

Like a lot of neighbourhoods, mine has a Facebook group. It’s the usual smattering of area news, lost pets, offers of hand-me-down baby clothes and requests for local recommendations. One reason mine may differ from yours is a different sort of reports we get from time to time.

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Wealthy in a Different Way

I grew up in a home that was filled with love but lacked financial security. I don’t want to say we were poor. It never felt that way. I never went hungry, I always had warm clothes, I wasn’t denied anything I needed. But when I looked at most of my friends’ lives, it was clear that mine was different. The suburb I was raised in was fairly middle class; two cars in the driveways of detached homes with treed yards.

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Dad Music, Kid Music

Being a kid in the 80s, we were faced with some of the best and worst music recorded to date. It was an era that dawned new styles, new technologies and new genres. Hip hop came to the mainstream. Hair was tall and wide. Production was big or just stimulant-fuelled. It was a time of reinvention for many rock stars of the previous decade. But there was also a lot of room for new young stars. Many of those stars faded into obscurity as one-hit-wonders. Many of them started long careers as successful musicians, still playing and releasing music today. When I would be at home in those days, watching video after video on MuchMusic (Canada’s music video channel, back when they had shows that were music-based), my father, an occasional musician himself, would often say “They’ll be forgotten in a week“. He wasn’t often wrong, in many cases. Though, some artists took months to go from heroes to zeroes, as their band logos became covered over by scratch and sniff stickers on the school binders of the nation. Some stuck around too, to my dad’s chagrin. Dave Brubeck was more his speed. Dave was a jazz pianist, kids.

I took my dad to see him in the early 90s. He was a beautiful, nimble pianist even though it took him 3 minutes to walk to the microphone to speak. very.
slowly.
This was 20 years before his death, yet he looked then like he was made of dust.

 

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Making Social Media Social Again

My leap into blogging and engaging on social media is a very new thing. I’ve been on the top three platforms of social media for many years. It’s interesting to go back to the first posts to see what I was putting out. A lot of it seems cringeworthy as it’s certainly not how I interact now. Back when social media little more than a trivial fancy, I think lots of people made the same missteps. Now that it’s ubiquitous and inseparable from our real lives, we’ve fallen into our personal patterns of use. But we’ve traded that innocence for something closer to dependence. While its creators may have started with the best intentions, the truth has been revealed. Facebook just wants to access to all our info for more nefarious reasons than advertising. Twitter’s regarding the type of posts it allows and bans are unusual, to say the least. And Instagram has become an altar to worship fantasies that are unattainable or impossible to live.

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Everything There Is To Know About Parenting

This is a headline that I can’t follow through on. I don’t know everything about parenting. I didn’t read any books or watch YouTube videos like I do when I need to fix a computer or learn how to use my old film cameras. And I’m fighting the urge to enter this headline into a YouTube search to see if someone has made such a claim.

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Fatitude

I was a tubby kid, and no surprise, I’m much the same in my extremely late, like so late, people haven’t seen you for 20 years and they think you’re dead, late 20s. I’ve always been one type of fat guy or another.
The skinny fat guy who just looks fat when his shirt is off, or the guy who can’t take a photo without his head like a melting watermelon.

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