Blue Heron Writes

Sharing to Inspire through Words and Pictures

I love you Dad and I miss you! Happy Father’s Day!

Robert Jesse Richard Donabie 1960s

My Dad – Robert Jesse Richard Donabie in the 1960s

I’ve never written about Father’s Day…I don’t exactly know why that is. My father died on a business trip to India when I was 15 – at that age when so many of us, (me included), think our parents know nothing. I talked back to both of them. It seemed I had no control over my tongue.

When he was leaving, I tried to be nice and not snippy by saying, “Don’t get sick while you’re away.” My mother scolded me. “That’s an awful thing to suggest Wendie!” And here I thought my words were considerate! Dad had a sensitive stomach and usually experienced some kind of physical upset when he travelled.

This time, rather than get sick, he died . . . and I blamed myself. Although Dad did suffer from high blood pressure, I deduced my attitude towards him had increased his BP resulting in the massive stroke that took his life. After many years of guilt, I came to accept the medical opinion that a weakness in the myelin sheath on the brain had caused the bleed and his death. The doctor explained to my mother it could have happened at any time.

I always had the feeling Dad wanted a boy but he got me instead. My parents married older than most in those days and decided not to have a family. A short time after making that decision, Mom learned she was pregnant. As a result, I’m an only child.

Mom, Papa (Dad's father) and Dad's Rock Garden

Dad’s rock garden. That’s my Mom and Papa (Dad’s father) on the patio

Dad never said or did anything to make me feel unloved. On the contrary he included me in all his projects. We gardened together in the colourful rock garden he created. When undertaking a household repair, I’d be by his side picking up skills. And even in those difficult teen years, we still had fun times playing ping pong and enjoying family trips.

Wendie - 60th Birthday


It’s been 50 years since I last looked in my father’s eyes and saw mine reflected back. I inherited his hazel greens and as I’ve aged, his laugh lines.

I wish Dad could have been there for my high school graduation, my personal and work milestones and to counsel me through so many tough decisions in my life. I always thought of him as a practical man who made sensible choices.

Mom, Dad & Me - one of our last photos together before Dad's death

Mom, Me and Dad in February 1964 – one of the last photos of us before he passed away on May 14, 1964

Then I learned from my two aunts, Dad was more like me – driven at most times by his heart. Having a business early in life and then a family, forced him to dig into his less familiar practical nature. That knowledge helped me to feel more confident in my life. Rather than feel guilty for heart-lead choices, I now know it’s who I am – part Dad, part Mom (the more practical one). I’m a melting pot of their personalities and natural abilities/skills. I do miss them both and hope someday we meet again.

I still don’t know why I haven’t written about my Dad before on this blog. On Remembrance Day last year I did post a short remembrance of him about his service during WWII but it wasn’t so much about Dad and me.  In part the motivation today came from a fellow blogger’s post about his father. His words touched me and made me realize I wanted more than anything to tell my Dad, “I haven’t forgotten you, your love or the impact you had on my life. I love you Dad. Happy Father’s Day to you and to all those special fathers out there including my wonderful partner in life!”

View Wendie’s Paintings at



  1. Nice! And worth the wait. I’m quite teary right now.

    • Sorry Liz… but I’m glad it touched you….

  2. Judy Hamill

    Wendie, you take me back to my childhood memories of Dad, and to our last times together, before he passed away. Thank you.
    I’m sure you feel your Dad’s love and maybe hear his voice and sense his presence, in your life.

  3. Shirley Trimmer

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your history Wendie. I have always found autobiographies fascinating and yours is no exception.
    Now the questions beg to be asked for the next story. What was your Dad’s business and why did it take him to such a fascinating country?

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