Celebrating Orv Coulter
My dad passed just over a year ago. My husband and I had just arrived in Venice, Italy and were about to board a cruise ship when we learned my dad’s health had taken a turn. We immediately came home and were able to have two cherished weeks with dad while he was in palliative care at Saanich Peninsula Hospital.
The palliative care team was amazing! During those two weeks Dad’s room was full of joy and laughter, and even happy hour (complete with a neon “It’s Miller Time” sign), for those who were visiting in late afternoon and could partake.
He was also a true cowboy at heart, and I believe I got my love of horses from him. He built a corral and small barn for me when I bought my horse as a teenager. He offered to go “halfers” on the purchase with me, but I was a bit too stubborn and strong willed. I insisted I wanted the horse to be my very own. In hindsight of course, that was a foolish move on my part, as he would have shared in half the chores and feed costs. A life lesson learned there, for sure!
In the spring of 2019, he said his dream was to visit the Gang Ranch in the Cariboo region. He suggested that perhaps when I retired, we could take that driving trip together. When he said it, I thought “okay dad, you’re almost 87, and I’m not retiring any time soon, so let’s just do it now”. We took that trip in the summer of 2019, within weeks of him receiving his terminal diagnosis. I am so grateful to have been able to make the trip happen.
It was my plan to make him a photo book of the journey for his birthday, which was on Christmas day. When we returned from Italy and it was clear he wasn’t going to make it until Christmas, I managed to pull the book together and gave it to him at the hospital. He spent the rest of his days regaling every visitor with stories of the trip and sharing the photo book with them. Not quite the timing we had planned, but I paraphrase the great John Lennon when I say, “Life is what happens when you are making other plans”.
From Orv’s daughter, Tracey Walker