Michael Ling DDS - February 2020

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Honoring the Hardworking Man Who Makes Life Fun

If you’ve been to Newfoundland recently, or if you happen to live there, you may have noticed a man

with one of his stories. He would regale us with tales of getting into fights, getting the wooden spoon treatment after getting in trouble, or having to be the one to empty the bedpan because the family didn’t have plumbing. He always had a witty comeback

cruising down the street, scooting into the corner store for a Diet Pepsi, and catching up and cracking jokes as best as he can.

to anything we said too. Dad may have had a harder life than most, but he always had that positive outlook no matter what — even as recent ailments took their toll. After the birth of my third son, my dad suffered a stroke that left him nearly incapable of communicating. Traveling is difficult for him, and because of the distance, we really only get to see him and my mom for about a week each year. It’s not very much time to spend with your parents, but I cherish each day I get with him and my mom. Technology has made this distance easier too! Sometimes, over FaceTime or the phone, my dad will say the name of his sibling while watching a video of one of my kids. I know that’s his way of saying they are just like the siblings he grew up with. If he could, I’m sure he’d have a witty remark to accompany it.

“One of my dad’s greatest attributes had little to do with the way he was raised or the work he did. Instead, my dad is most known for his great sense of humor.”

I’m proud to call that man my dad.

My dad was the best father a girl and her siblings could ask for. He grew up as the youngest child in a big family. I can still picture the photos of my dad as a little boy, standing next to his older brothers while they smoked. Each one of his siblings, except for his sister who went into the convent, also had big families of their own. And while he and his family weren’t wealthy, my dad was rich in other ways. As many youngest siblings can relate to, my father was given all the crummy chores his older siblings didn’t want to do.

My mom recently bought my dad a scooter to cruise around town, and while it’s made me very nervous, my dad seems to enjoy this newfound freedom. I’ll often receive texts or messages from people back home, asking me if it really was my father they saw cruising past their window. Yes, that’s my dad, and if I could, I would be right there with him, enjoying a relaxing and laughter-filled day together.

As an adult, my dad worked nights, but he always made time during the day for his family. He was ready nearly every day at 6 a.m. to take my brother and me to hockey practice. As the sole driver in our family for a while — my mom didn’t get her driver’s license until she was 50 years old — my dad had no qualms about running errands and getting groceries. But one of my dad’s greatest attributes had little to do with the way he was raised or the work he did. Instead, my dad is most known for his great sense of humor. He was always known for cracking jokes or making my family laugh

—Dr. Meg Ling

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