death

2019 July

Waking up to the shortness of life

2019-07-15T14:25:28-04:00July 13th, 2019|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , |16 Comments

I’m gardening with my son, the cool, wet dirt between our fingers. I think of John, my friend, a fellow traveller, recently dead of cancer. He’s still somehow, seen. Still felt. Funny how that goes, how you often miss what’s right in front of you. Then, when you take the time to pause, the smelling salts of life get you to sit up and do what your mother always told you: pay attention!

2019 April

If you die in space, are you alone?

2019-04-09T10:00:47-04:00April 6th, 2019|Categories: Hamilton Spectator|Tags: , , |8 Comments

It was a question after dinner. The kids asked me. “So, Dards, if it were possible, would you rather know exactly how you’ll die, or when you’ll die?”“Hmm,” I said. (Always a good response for such questions.) “I don’t know.” (Even better.) What I know is that, like many others, I’d rather not die alone. Imagine dying alone

2017 November

Unanswered prayers and the unexpected things in life

2017-11-13T12:20:46-04:00November 11th, 2017|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , |5 Comments

The young lady was my heart’s desire. She was my long-time prayer. This, when I was a much younger version of myself. It was on the 11th day of the 11th month when her letter arrived. She wrote briefly and dispassionately. Her words drained the room of colour.

2017 October

Happy Death Day: here’s to getting clarity in life

2017-10-31T21:28:41-04:00October 31st, 2017|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , |3 Comments

I walked through the cemetery today. I often do. It was me and the cold and the wet and my old umbrella. The umbrella is covered in deco of old newspaper headlines: the Jays won the World Series; Gorbachev was dismantling the USSR. My umbrella and I blew around like the news

2017 June

Many Ontario doctors caught in euthanasia dilemma

2017-09-29T11:21:44-04:00June 2nd, 2017|Categories: Hamilton Spectator|Tags: , , , |6 Comments

He’s a friend. A doctor. His name is Stuart. I stood at the front door of his home, my son beside me. Stuart is the keeper of the children’s bicycles while we’re abroad. We swung by to make arrangements to get them. That’s all it was, an ordinary May evening. But the world was somehow different. Its axis had shifted. At least for Stuart. He’d just returned from Queen’s Park, he informed me, with other doctors lobbying for a

2016 March

So grab death and scream “Mine!” And what does it turn into?

2017-07-18T01:03:59-04:00March 20th, 2016|Categories: Daily Dad|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

It’s bedtime. Liz needs to get to the kitchen to make her snack for the next day. “Dad!” she says. “I’m afraid to go out there. Something’s there. I can feel it in my bones!” “That’s arthritis.” + But, really, it’s the kids who often come up with the most though-provoking comments. Sometimes they’re funny. [...]

2016 March

Grab death and scream “mine!” And what does it turn into?

2017-07-18T01:12:45-04:00March 19th, 2016|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

(The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday March 19, 2016) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ It was getting late and she, my 12-year-old, sat on the couch and looked into the nothingness and pulled from the air a comment as plain and profound as any. "You know," she said, "People don't know how good they have it." This is what happens when you live in Africa. You see things. Life. People. Suffering. Death sometimes. You get perspective. "They don't know," Liz said. "People don't know." Canadians don't know. This is what she said.