An emotionally difficult weekend — 3 Comments

  1. Hi Paul,

    This one really hits home for me. I am luckily enough to still have both parents alive but their health is definitely declining. Partially as a result of this declining health, they are moving towards selling our family cottage near Orillia. I spent almost every weekend of my childhood there until I was 18. My grandfather’s ashes are scattered there and we have buried three family pets on the property. It is the place I have roots and I am dreading its sale. I’ve been in Ottawa since 2006 and I still don’t have strong roots here. The cottage is where I re-connected with my high school and university friends who now live across Southern Ontario. I have several really good friends here in town but I’m not really involved in the wider community. It’s a struggle to really put down strong roots when so much of your family history is elsewhere. My Mum moved from Scotland to Canada in 1968. She has put down roots in Canada but her home is still Scotland. I wonder if that feeling of “home” every really changes.

    • I was spared the trauma of losing the trailer as I was out west when it happened. It really changed my parents life both being able to go out there earlier, defining our life, as well as losing it and being mostly confined to Peterborough. It is a lot like retirement for some — they have their identity, even their life, built around a habit almost, and when that ends, they drift. My parents definitely drifted after the trailer was gone, and I wish Jacob had had a chance to experience it. Most of my family experienced the trailer twice — once as kids when they “had” to go, and once as adults when they “chose” to go, going back to experience it anew and introduce their kids to it. It was less isolated than cottages are, less self-contained, although we weren’t terribly social as I recall. But it was an easy site for people to congregate in summer and winter. Jacob gets to experience the family cottage on my in-laws side, and I really am glad he does. But our space was just slightly different, slightly less structured, more basic in some ways. And their cottage is only good in the summer — I’d love the opportunity to take Jacob out to the lake, skate on the bay, go snowmobiling, come back and sit in the heated porch and warm up with some hot chocolate and then do it all again. I wonder if my mom would have had the patience to play games with him, but he’s almost to the point that he could have played some of the adult games she played…not quite, but he’s getting there. Someone on FB mentioned the idea of recreating some of the traditions, and we are, but while it is similar, there’s a sense of place and time that’s missing. I’m hoping Jacob will remember his maternal grandparents and great grandfather when he’s older, I never knew mine. ’68 is the year I was born, so your Mum’s experience in Canada is the same length as mine :).


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