In 2012, Calgary physician and distinct dad Dr. John van Olm sat bottomward with his two developed children, Alexander and Dominique, and told them he was dying of lung cancer.
Over the abutting two years, the van Olm’s lives would go through a accomplished host of changes. Dr. van Olm would retire and Alexander, again a university student, would abdicate arena football in adjustment to absorb added time demography affliction of his father.
While caring for his dad, Alex began growing out his hair. Four years afterwards (two years afterwards his father’s passing), he fabricated the accommodation to cut his beard — now best of the way bottomward his aback and a above allotment of his character — and accord it to the Canadian Blight Society.
His sister Dominique, a filmmaker, absitively to abduction the absolute process. In the abbreviate documentary For Dad, With Love, Dominique talks to Alex about how his beard and his anamnesis of their ancestor became intertwined.
‘Before my dad got sick, I anticipation beard was aloof hair’By Alexander van Olm
My university career did not activate the way I had imagined.
In aboriginal year, my ancestor was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Over the advance of his illness, my activity was angry upside bottomward as I approved to participate in the varsity football program, complete my coursework and attending afterwards my dad — including active him to approved medical accessories in accession city, as allotment of a biologic analysis trial.
We had to accord up our ancestors home aback my ancestor was accepted into auberge care. I confused into my own accommodation and started alive part-time job as a hospital porter, both to awning my active costs and to account my father’s career as a physician.
Before his illness, my dad was a physician who alone did abode calls and nursing home visits. He tended to the old and vulnerable. For many, his appointment was their alone amusing alternation in their week. My ancestor approved to accomplish them feel appropriate and cared for. Aback I was a boy, I’d occasionally accompanied him on his rounds. I admired his adherence to his patients.
In the aftermost six months of dad’s life, I absitively to airing abroad from football. That was adamantine to do. Football had been a above allotment of my world, anytime aback inferior high. Afterwards giving up athletics, I had to redefine my identity. Attractive back, I apprehend that growing out my beard was allotment of that change. What began as a affable antagonism amid accompany started to booty on added meaning.
Before my dad got sick, I anticipation beard was aloof hair. He was fortunate, and actual proud, not to lose his beard until the end of his life. In my job as a porter, I saw that abounding added bodies weren’t so fortunate. In accession to ambidextrous with affliction and physically demanding treatments, they additionally had to appear to agreement with the accident of character that accompanied the accident of their hair.I abstruse how cogent beard can be to the way bodies apperceive themselves. As a football player, my coaches accomplished me to “look good, feel good, comedy good.” I accomplished that this additionally applies off the field, to the battles of accustomed life.
It’s why I absitively to abound out and accord my hair. My dad didn’t charge it, but I knew that addition abundant like him would. Wherever my beard has gone, I achievement it has helped addition to bigger cope with the bearings they accept been dealt.
‘Courage comes in means that we don’t necessarily recognize’By Dominique van Olm
In 2012, my father, my brother and I had a chat I will never forget.
In his compassionate, doctorly way, my ancestor acclimated archive and diagrams to explain that the tumors they begin in his lungs had metastasized into article abundant added cancerous than initially thought.
He apologetically summed up his presentation by announcement that we would alone accept two added years together.
This was a big axis point for anybody in my family, abnormally my brother. He was the one who lived with my ancestor full-time, demography on a lot of the caregiving duties and abaft the scenes assignment that comes with a terminal illness. It was about that time he absitively to abound his hair.
Initially, he didn’t apperceive why he was growing it out, but I accept he bare a way to mark that moment in time, and acquisition a way to bethink and reflect aloft it afterwards on.
Over the abutting four years, Alexander grew his beard and eventually surpassed the 8-inch minimum appropriate for donation to the Canadian Blight Society. The final footfall of the action was to cut the hair, transforming the concrete appearance of his affliction over the accomplished four years into article positive, advantageous and auspicious for bodies who accept absent their own beard as allotment of blight treatment.
For Dad, With Love explores my brother’s adventure with affliction by attractive at his evolving accompaniment of mind. Courage comes in means that we don’t necessarily recognize, and it takes time to accept that.
My brother was afraid about acid his hair. He was afraid about the activity of abiding to a antecedent adaptation of himself, and absolution go of article that had become a allotment of him through this journey. Ultimately, he additionally accustomed that he was at the end of something, and bare to embrace a new affiliate in his life, no amount how alarming that ability be.
I achievement this blur speaks to bodies activity through agnate adventures and encourages them to be adventurous aback activity through big changes, whether they are in ascendancy of the bearings or not.
My Brother Cut My Hair – my brother cut my hair
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