Skip to content
Sponsored Content

Father’s find meaning behind happy moments

For many fathers, June brings love and appreciation for the role dads play. For Canuck Place Children’s Hospice dads like Emmanuel Domingo and Fed Angel, Father’s Day can be a tender and reflective time.

Emmanuel lost his son Kristian eight years ago to cancer. The first few years after Kristian died were particularly challenging for his family. He witnessed the deep and unique grief journey of his two living sons Josh and Lucas, and while losing Kristian was devastating, it also brought forth lessons that they embrace fully to this day; to always live in the moment, have no regrets.

In 2016, Kristian was diagnosed with cancer, and the Domingo family was admitted to Canuck Place for medical respite care and to alleviate Kristian’s pain. Emmanuel initially viewed the pediatric hospice as the place where children go to die.

“At first I resented it because Kristian was a strong person and we always took his lead in his cancer journey,” Emmanuel explains. “Admitting we needed to be at Canuck Place felt like we were giving up hope.”

The Domingos decided to pursue palliative care for Kristian, ensuring his comfort and quality of life in the time they had left together.

“In the end, I’m grateful. I’m grateful for what Canuck Place did for us, not just for Kristian, but for our whole family. Even after Kristian passed, we were grateful because Canuck Place never let go. They started by reaching out to us constantly without being aggressive or assertive. And in the end, we reached out and asked them for help.”

When Emmanuel thinks of what it is to be a dad, he notes that from day one, you are your child’s hero. Instead of dwelling on why Kristian died, Emmanuel’s focus shifted to ensuring he remained a hero for Josh and Lucas, finding hope and purpose in Kristian’s passing.

“My advice to other fathers out there is to think about the joy your child brings you, and focus on the happy moments, the meaning behind those happy moments, and what brought you joy with those moments. I think if you focus on that and try to appreciate the time you have with them, that’s a step in the right direction.”

Kristian Domingo, Canuck Place teen, Josh and Lukas Domingo, Canuck Place siblings. Photo courtesy Canuck Place Children’s Hospice

Another Canuck Place dad who found hope in times of uncertainty and grief is Fed Angel.

Fed’s son Alejandro, lovingly known as Alejo, was a bright, beautiful and cherished little boy with a full head of dark hair. At only two weeks old, Alejo was diagnosed with a rare cancer presenting as a soft tissue malignant tumour. It was during this time that the family was introduced to Canuck Place. Alejo died when he was just five weeks old. Fed remembers that devastating day all too well, and is thankful that Canuck Place nurses, physicians, and counsellors were there to walk alongside them.

“Canuck Place nurse Nadine was an angel,” Fed explains. “She allowed us to be present and spend quality time with Alejo, and we got to just be his parents.”

Fed and Erin Angel, Canuck Place parents, remembering their son Alejo. Photo courtesy Canuck Place Children’s Hospice

Fed explains that being a Canuck Place dad is like joining a brotherhood you never wanted to be a part of. However, being a Canuck Place dad means you have people around you who have had similar experiences and share a similar pain. It’s a way to connect and know you’re not alone.

Fed’s father, is also in this brotherhood of grief and loss. Not only as a grandfather, but also as a parent who lost a child. Forty years ago, Federico’s first-born son, Andres, died. The Angels have experienced tremendous loss, with three generations losing an eldest son.

“The three Federico’s, we broke our intergenerational trauma with love. My advice to other dads is to surround yourself with love, especially in moments of grief. Don’t push people away because you think you have to be strong, let yourself be vulnerable and allow those that love you to hold you up and show you that love,” says Fed.

Fed Angel, Canuck Place dad, and Federico Angel, Canuck Place grandpa, find healing through love. Photo courtesy Canuck Place Children’s Hospice

Grief is complicated and presents itself differently to everyone who experiences it. For families like the Domingos and the Angels, Canuck Place is there to offer comfort and care in times of uncertainty.

“Feelings are like the rain,” Fed’s father shares. “Like the rain, if you go outside without any protection, you’re going to get wet, but you find an umbrella. It’s the same with your feelings. You have to find that umbrella, that connection that will get you through it. Canuck Place is that umbrella for so many of us that are grieving.”

For close to 30 years, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice has been providing exceptional complex medical care, while helping children and families embrace living fully with the time they have left together. But not without donor support. This Father’s Day, you can help dads find hope and meaning in times of uncertainty. Don’t wait. Donate.

Emmanuel Domingo, Canuck Place dad, appreciating the gift of time with his boys. Photo courtesy Canuck Place Children’s Hospice