Remembering relationships cut short by workplace tragedy
The connection between a father and daughter can be a very special one. The connection evolves and matures through the years, but even when she is a fully independent adult, somehow a daughter is still “Daddy’s little girl”. In honour of Father’s Day next Sunday, some of Threads of Life’s family members shared their favourite memories of their dads, who died due to work-related fatality or occupational disease.
“To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter.” –Classical Greek playwright Euripides.
Diana Devine’s father Rico Iannucci was killed when the backhoe he was operating went through a concrete wall and fell over a steep embankment. Rico was 65. Diana writes:
My dad had a very strong presence about him. He took very good care of himself and went to the gym regularly. He had a heart of gold but was not very “touchy-feely” at all. We knew dad loved us very much but he didn’t just come out and say ‘I love you’. I have so many great memories about my dad that I carry forward but one in particular comes to mind.
I was about seven months pregnant with my second baby. My first baby and I were staying at my parents’ house while some renovations were being done. One night, I woke up with a stomach flu. My dad was the one who got up with me every time I was sick; he rubbed my back and just helped me through it. He was so sweet and caring that the next morning my mom was even surprised that he was the one who got up with me.
That night I realized more than ever how much I needed my dad and how much he was there for me. He would drop anything to help anyone and was so loving in his own special way. All the memories I have of my dad make me smile and also make me sad because I don’t get to make new memories with him anymore. I hope my own children will look up to me as I do my dad.
Diana Devine with her father Rico Iannucci
Tracey Mino’s father Earl Mino succumbed to serious head injuries after falling from a ladder at the grocery store where he was working. Earl was 70. Tracey remembered this story:
It was a beautiful winter day, bright and sunny with lots of snow on the ground. I was about nine years old. My dad and I decided to go for a snowmobile ride, just the two of us. Along our way, we passed through a bush. In the middle of it, my dad stopped the snowmobile, took my hand and walked over to a fallen log. We sat there, holding hands, watching the birds and deer go by, listening to the silence and feeling the warmth of the sun on our faces as it bounced off the snow making it look like a field of glittering diamonds. It was a magical moment. Even though no words were spoken, so much was shared. Happy Father’s Day Dad. I love you and miss you always.
Peter Kempton was a mechanic and died after a vehicle he was working on caught fire and exploded. Peter was 58. His daughters Carinna Ladouceur and Shannon Kempton both shared their memories.
One of my favorite memories of my dad is from when I was in my late teens. I had saved up all my money and bought my first car. I was so proud of it, even though it was a piece of junk! While parked on the side of the road, someone ran into it and totalled it. It was quite late when I finally made it home afterwards, but my dad was waiting up for me and let me cry all over him. I remember him saying that it was just a car, but I also remember that he didn’t go to sleep until I had stopped crying and everything was ok. My dad always tried to get us to see the lighter side of everything, but he also made sure that whatever was happening, he was there to support us as well.
I don’t have a specific memory that is coming to mind, but rather what my dad was for me. My dad was the person I could go to when I didn’t feel like I had anyone else I could go to. There were many times when I took advantage of that. I can remember one time just a few months after I moved out and had to go to the hospital to have some blood work done. I am terrified of needles and passed out when they took the blood. When my boyfriend finally got me in the car the only place I wanted to go was to dad’s house. It was the place that I could go to feel safe. There were also many times when my boyfriend would go away and I was too scared to stay home so I would pack myself and my dog up in the car and go and stay with dad until Kevin returned from his trip. My dad for me was my sense of security. No matter what happened I knew that if i needed him for anything that he would be there. No matter how many times I moved out he was always there for me when I wanted to come back home. He was my rock.
Charmaine Salter’s dad Ronald Garland was an electrician who was repeatedly exposed to asbestos throughout his career. Ron was diagnosed with mesothelioma and died at age 75. Charmaine wrote:
Ronald Clarence Garland was my dad. He became a dad on October 3, 1958 when I was born to him and mom. I was named Charmaine but I was always Charlie to dad and I loved that!!
Dad loved his family more than anything and he did everything to make sure we were happy and secure. Dad was always singing, whether he had his Gibson guitar or not. We sang at home, in the car, around campfires, in church, at family gatherings and around the piano at Christmas time, singing carols with family and friends. I loved singing with dad and I was very proud of him. He was a great guitar picker and played with many bands throughout his life.
After dad got the devastating diagnosis of Mesothelioma, he and I were sitting in the car having a serious conversation. All of a sudden dad started singing “Que Sera Sera; Whatever will be, will be” and said, “come on Charm, join me.” I said, Oh Dad….I can’t.” And I started to cry. I couldn’t believe his strength and attitude. Dad continued to live his life fully, still playing his guitar; even making a CD five months after hearing he had months to live. He ended up in Palliative care at the end of November and he entertained other patients right up until a week before he died. I was sitting with him on Wednesday, December 14th, and he could no longer get out of bed. He asked me to pass him his guitar and he said let’s sing. We sang most of “The Greatest Gift of All” and then he said “OK, that’s it.” It was the last time I sang with my beautiful dad. He died Sunday, December 18th, 2011.
Dad, I love you forever and a day. You were my hero as a little girl and you’re still my hero today. I miss your love, your hugs, your wisdom and your twinkling eyes. Happy Father’s Day to you dad….
Love, your Charlie.xo
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I am so pleased to be a part of this organization. Unfortunately I had to. Lose my husband to a workplace accident to become part of it, but this group is such a loving group. I feel so comfortable in sharing my journey with all who I have met. What a wonderful organization. Thank you for making my journey of grief so much more “doable!”. I don’t feel stuck anymore.
We’re so sorry for the reason you have joined us, Kim. And so glad to hear that you feel comfortable and supported here, among others who understand — who are also doing what often feels un-doable.