The In-Between and the Other Side

by Rolland Chidiac

When Chris Cluff started the Our Dad Shoes project, I knew that I wanted to participate, I just didn’t know how I would contribute. I had some ideas and figured I would write a blog post but when I would sit down to write, I just couldn’t do it.

I talked to Chris about this the other day and he simply asked me what was getting in the way. The answer to his question is quite simple, it hurts too much to write about memories of my dad. My dad passed away in 2001. I was home when it happened and the images of that night are as vivid in my mind today as they were 19 years ago. 

As Chris and I spoke, I realized that I was ‘in-between’ the memories of my father that I want to share and the pain I feel when I think about those memories. He suggested that I consider writing about that space, the ‘in-between’ that I feel I am in. Once I started thinking about the space I was in, so that I could write about it in relation to my dad, something changed. My new perspective on where I was and why I was there wasn’t as debilitating to me anymore. 

Now that I am feeling like I am on the ‘other side’ of the ‘in-between’, let me tell you about some of the things I wanted to share when the Our Dad Shoes project was created. 

  • When I was a teenager and my dad and I would talk, he often told me that he had things he wanted to tell me when I was older. We never got to have any of those chats.
  • I never saw my dad wear running shoes. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this and I can’t remember him owning a pair of sneakers. He had sandals, casual shoes, and dress shoes, but never runners!
  • My father came to Canada in search of a new life. His wish was for me to get a University education and to live a relatively comfortable life. I felt like he was nagging me all that time but now I see that he just wanted me to reach my full potential. 
  • My dad didn’t like the idea of me possibly becoming a teacher but I think he would be very proud of what I have been able to accomplish as a teacher.
  • My father loved to tinker with things. He used to change the brakes on the car without really knowing what to do. This would frighten me every time I saw him do it. Now I think of that every time I am in a position to take a risk, to grow personally and professionally. 
  • He’s not physically here anymore but I see him in my children and I feel his presence when I need it the most. This brings me comfort and helps me get through things that I would have spoken to him about if he were still with me.

Whether you have a dad, are a dad, or want to be a dad, do what you can to enjoy every minute of your experience because once it’s gone, you can’t ever have it back exactly the way it was. 

Rolland Chidiac can be found on Twitter @rchids and on his podcast DeCodEd.

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