i went home to northern alberta last week to hang out with my dad who was recovering from surgery. i’d had shoulder surgery a week before, so the timing was pretty much perfect.
in the past 5 years since my dad was first diagnosed with cancer, my own journey was deeply entrenched in reaching the highest possible calibre of roller derby that i could. within a year or so of his diagnosis, i mostly moved to vancouver, further away from my dad and my family, at a time when i perhaps should have been moving closer. for two more years, i rarely saw anyone who wasn’t wearing skates.
i regret that element of this chapter in my life. my mom and dad, my partner and my puppy were all supportive, of course, but when i look back on my choices in reaching my athletic goals, the distance between my dad and i is the one thing that wicks some moisture to the edge of my eyelid. this journey has come full circle, however. i had the opportunity to be there with both my mom and dad, as his illness seems to finally be over, at the same time as i am also closing a chapter, a physical injury as a result of that single-minded focus. i felt an element of redemption, an opportunity to reconnect.
early one morning, as i sat in my parents’ quiet house, my dad was downstairs watching hockey. i looked up from my coffee, out across the familiar field and tree line, to see a thick cloud cover rising from the black tilled earth. it was like the sky was upside down. i yelled at dad to come with me, to jump in the truck to chase down the cloud cover. he didn’t hesitate and, wearing camo slippers and a toronto maple leaves house coat, he stomped on the gas and we went careening over miles of country road. we didn’t realize how fast the clouds were moving. just as we’d get close, it evaporated before us, wispy tendrils sliding across the road. we both realized we didn’t have time to stop. so we just kept driving.