Monday, October 10, 2005


Both of my intelligent, creative, beautiful, sensitive, caring daughters wandered with their mother and me when they were young but it was my youngest daughter that had the most urge to wander. She came with me, when she was nine, to visit the native ruins in Mesa Verda, to backpack to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, to travel to the west coast and up into British Columbia, to camp on Vancouver Island, and to climb mountains in central British Columbia.

In later years, after her mother and I had gone our separate ways, my youngest daughter, in her late teens, stayed with me and then wandered into Africa for a photographic safari, climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and visited new friends in England, Belgium and Germany.

On her own, my youngest daughter worked on a project in the Dominican Republic, was one of the youngest teens to ever tour Europe with the Hamilton Youth Orchestra, travelled and worked in Germany for a year and then went to Australia as an exchange student working on an environmental science degree.

She claimed to be the only "true Canadian" in our family as she was the only one born here while the rest of us were born in the U.S. That being said, it was cruel irony that brought me the message, nine years ago today, on the Canadian Thanksgiving, that my daughter had been killed in a traffic accident somewhere in the wilds of the Simson Desert in Western Australia. My memories, tears, and this blog are my tribute to my daughter Dawn today. I have many, many good memories of her life but on Thanksgiving Day it is her death that yearly almost overwhelms me.


Rurality said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry to learn of such a sad thing. But it sounds as if she had such an exciting, fun life. What a brave girl, to do so much on her own.

Sending you some cyber hugs.

pablo said...

I echo Ruralities thoughts. With my son now far away doing service work, I have a sudden fear every time the phone rings late at night. (So far, wrong numbers each time.)

Let me be the first to wish you a happy Thanksgiving Day (Canada) today.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

When I got to the line that said she had been killed, my heart broke for you and for your beautiful brave and energetic daughter. Her life was so rich and stunning. You honor her well and sweetly, Ontario Wanderer.
My deepest condolences to you on your loss.
In the Jewish tradition we put a stone on the grave. The above symbol has been adopted by bloggers to represent that stone.

Clare said...

It is good that you spent thanksgiving with your daughter, wrapped in her memory. Peace.

Wayne said...

What a special daughter! Thank you for the tender description and thoughts. They'll remain with me and mine are with you.

roger said...

you honor your daughter well.

i read this yesterday. the formal picture of your daughter reminded me too much of my own youngest. i had to wait a day for my emotions to stop sloshing all around.

thanks for sharing your love and devotion.

Trix said...

Dean, it is hard to send out heartfelt sympathies without sounding trite but I do sincerely believe that your eternal love for your daughter is not only evident but the most wonderful of tributes to a beautiful life.

lené said...

I'm without words, but I wanted to post something to let you know I'm thinking of you today. Thank you for having the courage to share so much of your life and your daughter's life with us.


Ontario Wanderer said...

Note to all...I am not sure how to respond to people who have lost loved ones so often I don't. That action, or non-action, is probably not helpful to anyone. I am grateful to all of you who responded. It did lessen the pain a bit to share and your responses helped me get on with my day.


Watchmania said...

OW, I am so so sorry to learn this. Your blog is a great and wonderful tribute to your daughter's life - full of curiosity, love, and courage. And as you can see here, her life still touches the lives of others through you, even strangers across oceans like me.

Jim said...

Ontario Wanderer-
That hurts.

I'm so sorry about your daughter and believe me I feel your sadness.

Our 23 year-old son was recently in a serious wreck, going over a very steep 450' embankment in his truck, and he is now blind from the trauma to his eyes.
We don't know if he'll regain his vision or not, but at least he's still with us.

Your blog is beautiful, inspiring and a loving tribute to your daughter.