Ken McFarland is 94 and as giddy for Christmas as a four-year-old.
His present, you see, is a good one. Oh is it good.
It’s a grandson – a 51-year-old one at that, serving with Canada’s Armed Forces – he’s never met and, until recently, never knew he had.
That’s about to change.
“He’s very excited,” said McFarland’s son, Dennis. “He’s on Cloud Nine.”
The story goes like this: Dennis got a call one night from a man from Petawawa, Ont. named Sean Davoren.
He asked Dennis if he had a sister named Beverley and a brother named Darcy, to which Dennis replied he did, though Beverley had passed away.
“I thought I owed this guy some money,” laughed McFarland.
But no, it was Sean reaching out to his birth family. He had been given up for adoption by Beverley and her then husband in Winnipeg, shortly after he was born. After Beverley died, Sean was given information about the McFarland family and started making calls.
“He reached out to us,” said Dennis, who, along with his wife, Pat, met Sean over the summer in Ottawa when the McFarlands were out for Canada’s 150th birthday.
It was Dennis who got to pass the news on to his father. Ken, who lives at Carrington Place in Vernon, a Chartwell Retirement Residence, in turn told his story to Carrington manager Carmen Glabus, telling her how he would love to meet the grandson he just found out he had.
Chartwell is a partner with the Wish of a Lifetime Canada (WOLC) organization, an offshot of an American charity founded by U.S. Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom in 2008, to fulfill life-enriching wishes for older adults, and share their stories to inspire young and old alike to change the way they think about aging.
WOLC, on its website, says it’s built on the belief that seniors should be respected, honoured and aided in our society, and that wishes are as diverse as the seniors they honour.
Glabus made an application to WOLC to have Sean flown out to meet the grandfather he’s never met, and the charity is footing the bill for a Christmas visit.
“Sean will be here for a week over Christmas,” said Dennis. Sean is married with a child but he is the only one flying out. He is a captain and medical officer in the Canadian Armed Forces stationed in Petawawa.
Also coming is another of McFarland’s grandkids, Angela, from Red Deer, a daughter to Beverley who has never met Sean.