On this day three years ago, not long after I’d started to settle into my cozy place in Mississauga, I received an urgent call from my mother. My father, who had long been fighting against esophageal cancer, had passed away. There is nothing, nothing in the world that prepares you for a moment like that. Even if you know that your loved ones have fought long and hard but that their strength won’t hold out and it is only a matter of time. Even if you know that all treatment options have been tried and have failed, and all that’s left is to care for and love them in their final days. Nothing prepares you to finally be cut away from them for good. The scar that leaves on your heart can take weeks, months, even years to heal.
That picture up there? That’s me on the left and Dad on the right, both wearing our moustaches proudly. He started growing his when he was 17 and he never stopped wearing it until chemotherapy tore it away from him. In a way it was his trademark. In the span of a month I could not possibly grow a moustache that epic. But dammit I’ve tried. I participated in Movember, so for this entire month I’ve been growing a moustache (and only a moustache) to raise awareness of and funds for research into prostate cancer, which according to many sources affects 1 in 6 men.
When you fight for a cause, it helps to remind yourself of what you’re fighting for. Yes, prostate cancer is not esophageal cancer, but let’s not split hairs here: I lost my old man to cancer and I wouldn’t wish the sadness, anger, frustration, and despair that moment filled me with on my worst enemy. And so, on the third anniversary of his passing and close to the end of the month of November, I implore you to please donate generously to my Mo Space and to those of all of the friends and family around you who are participating. We have come so far in understanding and developing advanced treatments for many cancers but even so we still have far to go.
Until we get to that point, I will don this moustache on this month every year, both for Movember and to keep my father in my heart, whose moustache was a symbol of his vitality, manliness, and prestige.