Happy Father's Day To My Dad in Heaven

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Ronald Durocher.............my Dad.  It's hard to recognize Father's Day without remembering my Dad.  My Dad may have only been 5'2", but he was larger than life.......at least in my eyes.   What he lacked in height, he made up for in personality and heart.  He had a smile that came easy and filled the room with so much joy that everyone smiled with him.  He laughed and found humor in life, and sometimes he even laughed with us - at himself.  He loved people......his family, his friends, his bar buddies, his cat Sam, and Saratoga Lake, but his family was for sure the light of his life.

My Dad began giving me advice and sharing his wisdom at an early age. Because he took his job as  my 'Teacher of Life' very seriously, that role continued until he died in 2008.  No matter how old I was, my Dad firmly believed it was his responsibility to give his opinion, his advice and his words of wisdom to me - whether I wanted it or not!  Sometimes, often times, I'd get annoyed with his sometimes (often) relentless opinions (and sometimes difference of opinions), but in my heart I always understood his intention and realized he was wiser than I and mostly he knew what was best.  I remember he'd get so annoyed if I'd ask his advice on a topic but make a different decision than the one he recommended.  I suppose he felt his little girl should always view his opinion as the best, but sometimes his stubborn little girl chose to be independent and ignore Daddy's advise.

Like me, Dad was an only child.  That had its advantages and disadvantages.  He was not shy about wanting his own way and that made life trying at times, mostly for my Mom who spent almost 58 years dutifully catering to his decisions.   Despite the fact that he was the "Ruler of the Roost", Dad was a very happy man who loved life and spent the majority of it on Saratoga Lake - perhaps the only thing he loved as much as his family.  He loved it so much, he never vacationed anywhere - his entire life - because his philosophy was, "why would I go anywhere else when I have THIS"?   That lake was his source of joy, peace, and relaxation and where he spent many hours fishing.  We'd always to try to justify why he'd never venture anywhere else. We'd tease him that the reason he couldn't leave the lake was because someone might pull the plug and drain it while he was away.    Looking at this photo, his daily view, is it any wonder why he loved it so much?

My Dad was a Worker's Compensation investigator with the State Insurance Fund.  He was good at his job, for 35+ years.  Because of that, he had a keen sense of when someone was being dishonest, and from an early age he instilled in me the virtue of honesty.  He would not tolerate lying and if you were silly enough to tell him anything but the truth, he'd know it immediately.  I only remember once growing up that I tested him on this, and I quickly learned that although the truth may bring a negative reaction, lying would bring a worse consequence.  I still live by that lesson....although as an adult my brutal honesty often gets me in trouble.

As an investigator my Dad always dressed up for work.  He graduated from Christian Brothers Academy so shiny shoes were a lifelong part of his wardrobe.  Growing up, my Dad made me shine his shoes - sometimes 5 or 6 pairs at a time.  Oh boy, did I hate that job!   I realized as I got older that while he gained shiny shoes, I gained character and humility, and learned that in life there will be many dirty or menial tasks we despise but are required to do anyway.  Doing them quickly and doing them to the best of our ability was the 'right way' and most gratifying way to do them.  That was a valuable lesson.  That lesson was also imparted through Dad's reaction to report cards.  If  I came home with 6 A's and 1 B, he'd ask why I  didn't get an A instead of a B.  That would infuriate me because I always felt he was not giving me credit for the 6 A's.  I could redecorate an entire room and when he'd visit for the unveiling, he was quick to point out the one picture that was hanging slightly crooked.  It infuriated me. But....as an adult I realize he was pushing me to strive for 'my best'.  He may be the reason I'm a little OCD about certain things too.   He wasn't crazy about any of my boyfriends, and initially wasn't too sure about John.   Compared to Dad, the talkative, outgoing man of the hour, John was quiet and introverted.  Dad didn't know how to react to that, but in time Dad grew to appreciate John's personality and would often joke that he couldn't understand  how John put up with me!!

My Dad was a great Dad.  He had his flaws, as all humans do, and a few times may have fallen short of my expectations, but there was never a minute I doubted his love or his pride.  I always, always knew he would be there for me to help in anyway he could.......even in his last years when he was suffering from Alzheimer's.  I think his greatest joy in life came with the birth of his first granddaughter.  That love surpassed any love or joy I'd ever seen in him.   He (and my Mom) bought class rings and prom gowns and cars for graduation.  He loved to "give" and did it with abundance.  With both of my girls, he never missed a birthday, graduation, prom, holiday.   He was there for it all, so it was a great heartbreak for him and us when an emergency surgery prevented him from attending Laura's wedding.   

My Dad was a wonderful guy who loved everybody, and everybody loved him.  He had so many friends, from his childhood, his job, his years at the lake....he and my Mom always had a large circle of friends who loved them and wanted to spend time with them.  Together they taught me many things, but first and foremost was that marriage isn't a walk in the park.  There are good times and hard times.  There are things that aren't easy to overcome, but marriage is a commitment and when you make that commitment, you commit to make it forever....until death do you part.   They did that for 58 years!  Hopefully I'll be as blessed as they were! 

My Dad's been gone since March 2008, but everyday he's like the ray of sun in this photo.....always there to guide me, his voice always in my head, his wisdom, his opinions, his values and his love.  I was his little girl and no matter how old I get, I'll always be grateful that he was my Dad!   Love you Daddy and miss you everyday.  Happy Father's Day in Heaven.

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