A word of fatherly advice

Every week at St. Peter’s Hospital, “Guys Club” meets up in the patient lounge. The gathering is led by therapeutic recreationist, Jean Riley, who walks the group through an activity or conversation. She started the club as a way for men to connect and be themselves.

“I tell them in this room, feel free to let loose and not worry about the social etiquette required in the hallways and amongst others,” Riley says. “This is a program specific to their interests, so it gets them out and participating.”

Many of the men who attend are in their senior years and the discussion often centres on their life experiences and wisdom they have to share with others. This week’s session is no different. The topic on the table is Father’s Day.

Brooke Ryan, a father of two and patient in the Medically Complex Service, starts the conversation. “I remember the day I drove down to the Henderson Hospital when my son was born,” he says thoughtfully. “I walked out overlooking the mountain brow and thought- ‘Boy, this is going to be a hell of a ride!’ And it sure was.”

“…watch them grow without envy.”

Doug Downie recalls wanting to be in the delivery room when his daughter was born, but not being allowed. “It was a different time then.”

Angelo reminisces about watching his children play when they were small.


When the conversation turns to fatherly advice the men would share with new dads, a few jokes are tossed around.

“Be prepared to spend lots of money!” Wayne Oliver remarks.

But some of the participants become quiet and reflective.

“Help them pick good friends,” says Ron Bush.

“Be kind with your children,” Downie adds. “And watch them grow without envy.”

Time has challenged their bodies, but it has also provided perspective and understanding. The men have knowledge to give and are happy to share it with each other in the cocoon of the patient lounge.

For this special day that honours men like them, they’re eager to cast a wider net. To help the next generation learn from their regrets and successes.

Happy Father’s Day, from the guys in Guys Club.

 

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