Saturday, June 11, 2011

In Memorium: Ronald Allan Chaplin

My dad passed away on Thursday the 9th of June at the age of 72 after a short illness, while my mom and aunt were by his side. He was already in a coma for a week before his death and the doctors fought a valiant fight against the pneumonia, but Dad has a condition called scleroderma which weakens the connecting tissues and many people with his condition die of lung problems.

Even though he was in a coma, the doctors still held out hope for a recovery and it wasn't until Wednesday that we were told he wouldn't make it, and that we needed to come asap. My brother (from Canada) and my sister (from England) will both arrive this morning, just too late to see him before he died. I will be getting on a plane later today and arrive tomorrow afternoon. At least we will all be there to help my mom through the funeral and the aftermath of his passing.

Born in Cape Town in 1938, Dad didn't have an easy life. His father died just after he married my mom and so my gran lived with them. He often said that his dad left him a watch, a raincoat, and a mother to look after and nothing more. Determined not to do the same to his children, he gave us all a University Education and bought two houses so that we would have a bigger inheritance: the second house is already in a trust for us children.

It has been amazing in the past few days as I have let people know that he is so ill, how many people have replied with "Oh I remember when..." about my dad. He was the kind of dad other people wanted for their dad... he was a really fun guy to have around. And he loved to entertain people with his stories and jokes and amongst other things, plastic bottle rockets!

He was always creating: he made us girls a "Wendy House" (playhouse) when we were small, and another one, complete with appliances and a slide into the pool for his grandchildren. He made us kids a pool table and a air-hockey table when were all teenagers. He got the idea for the air-hockey table when were on holiday in Durban as he saw how much we liked it. Despite having to drill over 5000 holes and it taking forever, he never gave up, and used over 11 drill bits to complete the job.

Even now he was always creating - you know those funny emails that you get sometimes with fun pictures and captions? Ever wondered what kind of person makes them? Well, one of them was my dad. He enjoyed entertaining people so much that when he couldn't make stuff physically anymore, he used his creativity to create those funny emails.

He loved Cape Town and loved showing people around the city. He had his own tour route which he would do with people - many of my foreign friends remember him for this reason.

Even despite some of the problems in our relationship over the years: especially when he couldn't understand how I would "waste" my University training and wanted me to get a "real job", I had a really great time with him this last time I was home. He seemed to have made peace with my life choice and was happy that I was happy. It was also great that he got to meet Ljilja, my roommate, when she came to visit in January, and see part of my world here.

Dad, I will miss you so much. It is a very different world without you in it. I wish I could have hugged you just one more time, but instead I will be placing this inadequate tribute to you and your life on my blog as a virtual hug from me to you. Rest in Peace, Dad. I love you. Goodbye.


RichardL said...

Hi Bee

So sorry for the loss of your dad, and that you couldn't have been here. May you know God's love and grace even at this difficult time.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful tribute, Bee.


Shilo said...

I weep with you, Belinda, in the loss of such a loving, involved father. May the Lord comfort you as only He can. May He carry you close and fill your heart with peace as He whispers love into your heart.
I love you! I will be praying for your entire family in the days ahead.

Jennifer said...

We will all miss him very much. We always looked forward to your parent's visits to Canada. They are very much a part of our family and I feel so sad about the loss of your father. I will miss his many many emails he sends us and I will always remember our trip to Capetown and what a wonderful tour guide and gracious gracious host he was. He always made us feel like part of the family. I will always remember the conversations we had about his children and how very much he loved you all. I wish I could give you all a big hug right now. You are all in our prayers.

Jacqui said...

Such loving words with such an honouring description of your dad. I am glad he came to a sense of peace about your calling. I continue to pray for you and your family. Warm hugs!

Taryn @ Hayes Happenings said...

B - oh, death is just horrible and completely goes against our heart's yearning! I am so so sad to read about your dad's passing. I'm grateful for Jesus and that you can cling to Him and the knowledge of His perfect sovereignty in everything. Praying for you and your family. Love and hugs, T

Anonymous said...

I recieved some of his "fun email" through you Bee and I must say, he was quite a character. I am so sorry he had to leave this world at such a young age but it seems he lived his life to the fullest extent while he was here. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories with your friends. I truly feel like my life was enriched by knowing him through his precious daughter!
All my love forever, Deb

Anonymous said...

beautiful post about your father, Belinda. Thank you for sharing a bit of his story. So sorry that you didn't get to enjoy his presence longer. Much love.


Nicole said...

Hey Bee. Beautiful tribute. Looking forward to catching up with you next weekend.

Just wanted to let you know that I've awarded you a blog award: One Lovely Blog.

dodo said...

Dear Belinda,
Sorry 2 hear about your dad.I just opened my mail cause I don't have internet access @ home.We pray so our Lord Jesus Christ gives you and your family peace and cmfort in this time.Gerge and Dania

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