My father, Ronald Clarke, entered into his eternal rest on January 1, 2022. After Thanksgiving, dad’s health took a turn and he didn’t leave the house once he returned from the hospital on October 16, 2021. Fortunately, dad didn’t have much pain. He had a very high tolerance for pain so thankfully during his months at home, he didn’t suffer. Early in the morning on Boxing Day, dad had a pain in his leg and I knew this was serious. I called the ambulance. Dad was moved to Palliative Care on Wednesday. We sat vigil with him until he passed away.
For months I had prayed that when dad’s time came to go, I would be holding his hand and there to say good bye. On the morning of January 1, I went to his bedside and wished him a Happy New Year. I held his hand and sang hymns to him for a couple of hours. Dad had not spoken since Wednesday afternoon but I knew he could hear me. My mother and brothers arrived and I left to get a rest. I returned around 4:00pm to sit with dad. Again, I held his hand and spoke to him. At 4:50pm, he quietly took his last breath and I was holding his hand. My prayers had been answered.
My father was a remarkable man in many ways. He was very much a people person and never let an opportunity pass to try and make someone’s day a little brighter. If my mother sent him to the grocery store to pick up one item then he was gone for at least two hours. He had to speak to every person he passed and if there happened to be someone he knew, well, that became a full blown conversation which could last 30 minutes or more!
Dad was the consummate educator and passed along all his nuggets of wisdom to anyone who would listen. He loved young people and always offered advice on how to be a good person. His messages always contained the word kindness, and he said you could never go wrong with being kind, even to someone who wasn’t so kind to you!
Dad’s greatest gift was his devotion to his Lord and Saviour. Dad’s deep belief in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost was the cornerstone of his life. He learned as a small boy, from his grandfather, that God was very important. Those early life lessons made dad into the person he became. Dad’s day began with prayers and ended with prayers. He attended church multiple times a week. He volunteered with Sunday School, The Lion’s Club and he had over 200 blood donations. Dad tried to live his life with Jesus Christ at the top of his mind every day.
By now you must think I thought dad was a saint but I don’t want to leave you with that impression. Dad wasn’t perfect. I’m sure some people who knew dad didn’t have great experiences with him because everything is about perception. My point is that dad tried to be the best person he could, following the teachings of the Bible and the lessons learned in church. He never wanted to do harm. He wanted to encourage people to believe as he did in the Lord, and to live their lives dedicated to our Saviour.
My father, Ronald Archibald John Clarke, will be dearly missed by our family. We miss his sense of humour. We miss his kind soul. We miss his big smile.
As a final request, dad asked me if I would continue to write for the Anglican Life magazine. As you know I have been helping him with his articles for years. I have asked the editor, Emily Rowe, if I can finish out this year as dad’s legacy. The articles for this magazine were very important to dad. He started writing “to fill in space” during the 1970’s and never stopped! I will try to continue with his personal style ‘of messages from his heart’…only this time, from my heart.
Dad, we will see you in heaven! God bless you all.