Friday, June 29, 2012

Not a day goes by ...

Not a day goes by that doesn't have me wondering what kind of a man my father would have been had he not perished in an On Duty accident while serving with the Ontario Provincial Police 44 years ago this morning.

Dad would be 84 this fall ... and I have no doubt he would have been a thoroughly involved and entertaining and supportive grandfather to his grand kids. And I wonder if there would have been more than just my three ... I have always wondered if Scott's life would have taken a very different trajectory than it did, and I'd like to think he would have married, had children and been the wonderful father, and friend that lingered deep within his warm and caring heart ... Scottie would have in time made a rockin' Grandfather too!!

Not a day goes by that doesn't have me wondering what life would have been like had that horrible accident never happened ... I have no doubt many things would have turned out very differently.

Alas, one can not undo the past, and one could easily become caught up in the swirl of the 'woulda, shoulda, coulda's' that leave you living too much in the frets of the past, and not enough in the potential of the present.

Forty Four years ago today, my father OPP Constable #3000 Samuel E. Ankenmann died in an accident just outside of Stratford at the 'Little Lakes curves' while on duty with the OPP.

Forty Four years ago today, we lost a big piece of our family, and I don't think we ever really recovered.

Forty Four years ago today, our life as a family changed, and from what I have learned in the last year and a half since Mom's death, she went through hell just to ensure that Scott and I had some level of support following Dad's death. She had to fight hard for every penny the various levels of Government, the assorted agencies and ultimately the OPP gave us. And at the end of the day it was truly pennies that they gave us.

Our support was limited and meagre. The burden of raising her boys fell entirely on mom's shoulders. There was no golden pension, no support for our post-secondary schooling, and beyond the annual visit from the detachment commander, the invitation to the annual memorial service and a lovely plaque that now sits in my dining room, there was little else offered to mom in the way of support.

The most insulting letter I read in the last year was the letter from the Ontario Government that acknowledges the forwarding of a cheque for a little over $2200 to mom a year after Dad's death. The letter ends with the emphatic statement that the powers that be had determined the enclosed amount was all we were entitled to.

Dad's life was determined to be worth 20 weeks of his salary and not a penny more.

Today I wonder what life might have been like for Scott and I and for Mom, if we were given the kind of support offered to the families of fallen officers who die in the line of duty today.

Today I wonder how differently our lives might have been if Mom had been given support and assistance instead of being forgotten and shuffled aside after Dad's death ... personally, I believe my father's life was worth more than a meagre $2200 ... but 44 years ago today, that's the price they placed on his sacrifice.

Today I wonder ... and I weep for what might have been ...

My DAD, remains a hero in life not death!!

1 comment:

wendy mccarroll gallegos said...

omg! this is heartbreaking. i can't stand it that your mom had to endure hell upon hell. trying to take care of two boys must have been hard hard work and with little financial support and other support even harder.