Charles and Ruth Daley with youngest son Anthony in summer 2005.
It started the day he was born—a devoted son raised in the Depression era.
Dominic Viggiani, a Christian brother in
In 2005, the Daleys celebrate their marriage anniversary and a bunch of summer birthdays.
My dad was focused on his “big three”: spiritual, mental and physical health. The latter sparked his interest in folk medicine, which inspired his special “elixir” of apple cider vinegar and honey delivered in a glass of apple juice! He also had his walking regime—7 km in the park every day.
Devoted to St. Anthony of
My dad looked for the face of God not just in far-off mission places but also at home. He ministered at the “altars” of his office desk, his dining room table and in later years, a park bench. He counselled all those fortunate enough to know him with caring and kindness.
He believed that nothing in this life happens by chance—God has a plan for each of us and everything happens for a reason. He had printed prayer cards with this sentiment which he distributed to his acquaintances, his children and grandchildren. He believed God knows the meaning of the sufferings and joys visited upon us—even if we do not. Our job is to trust in the living God and accept prayerfully all that comes our way.
Age was only a “number” to my dad. Even though he was aging on the outside, he did very little aging on the inside. When a suggestion was tendered by his family that he consider “organized” retirement living, he indicated that the cost would get in the way of his stewardship of the missionaries who REALLY depended on his help.
Though his resources were modest, he lived a full yet conservative life so that needs greater than his own could continue to be met. When faced with an unexpected car repair or similar event, one of my dad's favourite expressions was, “Well, it's only money.”
Dad's view was that he would “invest” in the missions in Canada, given that when he was finished with this life, the missions would have what they need. His view added a twist to the old saying “you can't take it with you” as he believed that he was “sending it on ahead.”
Our family was spoiled to have a husband, father, grandfather who lived so long and in such a loving and caring way. He lived into his 90th year yet managed to inject all his days with a remarkable optimism, vigour and spirituality.
For his close family his presence was woven into our lives—he was always there and always keenly interested in all of our daily struggles. We shared the weight of our crosses—big and small—with him, but he rarely let us share the full weight of his own burdens. We referred the really tough issues to the most prayerful man we had ever known. The sheer suddenness of his passing made it hard to not feel that despite his long life it was somehow cut short.
Our love for him lives on and his love for us lives on in our thousand small remembrances of him and especially through his cherished missions.
(Anthony Daley is the youngest son of Charles and Ruth Daley.)
—Reprinted from Catholic Missions In