Yesterday we said a final goodbye to a man who was loved, respected and revered. With over 250 people attending his ‘Celebration of Life’ at the small Melville Presbyterian Church in Scarborough (Toronto, Canada) there was not even enough standing room. There were people from all walks of life, from all different areas of his life and an honour guard from the Toronto Police Service.
Donald Bruce Banks…he was man who had Compassion woven into his DNA. I was reminded yesterday, by my sister, how my dad’s life didn’t start off too good, with his father fighting overseas in WW2, his mother passed away while he was only 6. His family was torn apart with him and his brother Eddie shipped to a grandfather who wasn’t very nice at all. When his father came home the family got back together and he had a new mother, Anna. But by the age of 8 he was expected to work and contribute to the family. He also lost his dog, his long time companion and confidant, Spot. Now most people would probably give up, but not my dad. He had resilience which he got from helping others, something he continued doing throughout his life. I am sure there are things he has done for people that we will never know about. He did all this out of love, never seeking praise and never wanting anything in return.
He may have been that tough cop at work but in his life away from policing he was there for anyone who needed him. He was also a family man, his family meant the world to him and I was lucky enough to get to spend lots of time with my dad as he worked his shift work around mom’s life as a teacher. My parents sacrificed a lot of their married time together while we were growing up so that we never really needed to have babysitters, it was always one of them.
Cindy also reminded me yesterday that he even made chores fun, from doing the dishes together as a family to filling up potholes in the road at the cottage we had growing up. He was a big tall man who gave the best hugs, who scared away the boogie man at night, who we thought was magical enough to blow out the light but who was also soft enough to hold us when we were hurt or upset.
I didn’t have many tears yesterday but more smiles when I realised that it was my dad who has taught me compassion, resilience, love and laughter. And believe me there was laughter in the church, at the reception and at home last night as we sat and regaled stories of dad with his past colleagues, friends and family.
Thank you dad and wherever you are I am sure that you are singing up a storm! RIP I love you.