March 8, 2014 was beyond doubt the saddest day of my life. It is the day my father, Floyd Corbin, passed away. He had not been well for some time, it is a blessing that the end was quick and relatively painless for him. He fought a long battle with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) as well as the after-effects of a couple of strokes. But, he is no longer in pain and is finally able to rest. He leaves behind a loving wife, four children, seven grandchildren and a boatload of great-grandchildren. He leaves a multitude of friends as well.
Our family is of mixed faiths. Some of us believe in reincarnation, some in Summerland, some in Heaven and Hell. I'm not going to debate the afterlife here. That is not the purpose of this post.
What I want to say is that this is an extremely difficult time for our family. We will miss Dad dearly, our world is much poorer without him. We'll miss his irreverence, his laughter, his teachings, his mockery, his love and all the good things he brought into our lives. The best thing about my father was that you always knew where you stood. No lies, no bullshit, no doubts. If you did wrong, you knew it. If you did right, you knew it. When he was proud of you, he told you. There was a comfort in always knowing where you stood and what was expected of you.
He spent many years serving his country in the Canadian military, worked in the oil patch and was quick with a joke and loved to laugh. He always claimed that he didn't like people, but there was always someone around, someone visiting or asking about him. He had more friends than anyone I have ever known. If he met you, you were his friend, and he would remember you years later. He had friends from every social class, and every walk of life. Well, except politicians. If you knew him, you knew that he had no use for politicians of any leaning.
Dad could tell a story like no one else. He could stretch the simplest event into a long running, dramatic or hilarious tale, usually with a bit of embellishment or exaggeration for fun.
Laughter abounded in Dad's presence. Jokes came fast and furious, as did teasing, puns and uncontrolled giggling. A few of my fondest memories include digging garnets in a pit of mud, rock-picking on mountain-sides and in fields, stopping beside the highway to talk to deer and cows. Then there were the camping trips, family vacations, winter carnivals and dog sled runs. He taught my children how to drink jello through straws. He taught me to stand up for myself and for what I believe in. He told me to take no shit, but to give it out when someone else deserved it. To befriend everyone, because no matter who you meet, they have something worth sharing.
While there are no real words to explain what he has meant to me, I do know this. He is in a better place. He is pain free and his mind is clear. And those of you who knew him know that no matter where he ended up in the afterlife, he is kicking back with a beverage, people are gathered around to hear his words of wisdom. And, there is no doubt that he is telling who-ever is in charge how they should be running things. And he is loving every minute of it.
As for me, I will miss him, always.
I love you Dad. Wherever you landed, give 'em hell.