2020 has been a tough and intense year for most of us. One very stressful part for Greg and I is our concern for my Dad in the Netherlands, and his father in South Africa. Both men are elderly with complicated medical situations that make them particularly vulnerable. I know we share this situation with many others. It’s tricky to say the least, and I’m sure that everyone is doing the best that they can.

Despite my own stress for my dear Papa, he’s not stressed at all! He turns 88 this year, and is the same very charming, calm, kind and gentle soul he’s been his whole life. He’s had some health challenges this year, ended up in hospital in the middle of the Dutch stay-at-home order, and never once complained about anything. The nurses at the ward adored Papa because he was a smiley, warm and compliant patient. Papa’s team of at-home carers are just as enamoured with him because in his quiet way, he’s the sweetest and most likable man, who laughs a lot and is forever grateful for what you do for him. People tell him over and over again, “hij is een schat van een man,” which translated from Dutch means, he’s a treasure of a man. I wholeheartedly agree.

Although fragile and frail, Papa is doing much better than he was earlier this year, and for that we are blessed. I was booked to see him in April, but had to cancel my trip. Travelling abroad will be tricky for a while, and I don’t know when I will see next see my Dad in person. But I continue to speak to him almost daily, which I’ve been doing since my Mama passed away twenty years ago. Our conversations are short and simple, but meaningful.

Papa - 1

Papa - 2

These are the most recent photos I have of my Dad and me. They were taken when I last visited the Netherlands back in August last year. They authentically exude Papa’s good spirits and million dollar smile.

The Father’s Day weekend brings both joy and sadness for a myriad of reasons. My heart goes out to those who have lost their Dads, or are going through a rough time with them. We hope that you find peace in your hearts and are comforted by loved ones. Stay safe, strong, and positive.