Robert’s father passes on… and the journey continues.

Robert’s father passes on… and the journey continues.  

Posted on: April 29th, 2013 by robert

A post by Dr. Robert, President

On our second day in Wa (see Sunday, April 21 post), we had a very productive day. Unbeknownst to me, my wife Suzanne had been trying to reach me all day to let me know that my father was on his dying bed! When I had left Canada on April 15, my father was ill, suffering from the late stages of Alzheimer’s. However, the hospital doctor had told me that I needn’t cancel this trip to Ghana and that likely, my father would be fine until my return. There are a few interesting twists that allowed us to actually focus on the events of this very important day in Wa.

On this particular day, he had taken a turn for the worse and the family had been called in. Suzanne had texted me on my Canada phone several times throughout the day and not once did I receive any texts. Yet, I had received her texts throughout the previous several days of this trip. She also kept trying to call me on our Ghana phone, which we use to call our Ghanaian contacts throughout our trips. I had left the number with Suzanne in case she absolutely needed to contact me. Somehow, she had the wrong number and wasn’t able to get through. It was only when I established an Internet connection late that night (to be able to send out our blog and photos) that I saw an email from her asking to contact her asap! In retrospect, how perfect that she was unable to reach me during the day on Sunday. It really wouldn’t have helped me get back to Canada any quicker and it would have made it very difficult to focus on service to the people during our last day in Wa.

First thing on Monday morning, I told the others about the quick turn of events. We formulated a new plan. We had breakfast and decided that we would still attend the important meetings that we had previously scheduled for 8:45 AM, but we would keep them brief. One of the meetings was with the Bishop of Wa and the other with the Provincial Superior, both meetings with the purpose of establishing more permanent availability to chiropractic care for the people of Wa.

Meeting with Bishop of Wa & Brother BoscoMeeting w: Provincial Superior of Wa & Br. Bosco

Meeting with Bishop of Wa and Brother Bosco               Meeting with Provincial Superior and Brother Bosco

After a short time, we drove from Wa to Kumasi as fast as we could. From Kumasi, I took a plane to Accra at 5:10 PM to arrive in time to get on a flight from Accra to Amsterdam, then a flight from Amsterdam to Calgary, then another from Calgary to Winnipeg. It was a very exciting journey back to Winnipeg, with four plane rides and a few very tight and almost impossible connections! It was an adventure that I truly felt that I was sharing with my father, who had a very adventurous spirit himself!

Backpackers in Amsterdam Airport

Backpackers in Amsterdam airport… Really???

Just as I landed in Winnipeg and finished my long journey, my father passed on and began his own long journey! The journey continues! My father’s spirit was free at last! No longer trapped in a body with a deteriorating mind. I arrived just in time to be with the rest of the family, who were already all assembled at my father’s death bed… just the way my father would have wanted it!

When I had initially told the others the news about my father’s critical condition, I had expected that Dr. Rolly and Denise stay in Ghana and continue the work that we hadn’t yet completed. Denise had a strong feeling that her and Dr. Rolly should return to Canada also. Her and Dr. Rolly felt that since they were family, they wanted to be back with all of us to share in this experience… and be present for the funeral. I assured them that I was totally fine with them staying in Ghana… in fact, that would have been my preference. However, it really was up to them, not up to me. I felt honored that they valued our family as much as they did. They decided that they would leave Ghana one day later than me, on Tuesday.

It turned out that there was a very good reason that Denise had those feelings! As it turns out, Denise’s son’s (Dr. Joel) father-in-law was also in critical condition, unbeknownst to her. Denise’s son Joel is an amazing chiropractor and has served for a few years on the original board of directors of Chiropractic for the World Foundation. Denise was so relieved that she was here to support her son and his family through this very difficult time! Mr. Al Johnson passed away only two days after Denise’s return to Canada!

Please keep our families in your thoughts and prayers to bring them peace at this time of transition.

… and the journey continues

Keep smiling!

Dr. Robert

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