Some have asked why I never discuss my work, or why I don’t write much about it, so today, I thought I would.
I grew up in a diplomatic world. My Father graciously devoted his life to his country. There were moments in my youth that I hated what he did, sometimes, I just wanted to plant my feet in one place, to not say goodbye to my friends and school. There were moments that it was lonely, traumatizing, scary, enlightening and historical. When I lost my father to cancer, I lost a great deal of who I was, or at least, who I thought I was. Still a teenager, no Father to guide me in a career that I desperately wanted, and no sense of belonging, I lost my way. In deep grief, I lost my memory, there are 4 years that I only remember snippets of.
Along the way, I had a few mentors , and in their own way, guided me. I ended up in Foreign Affairs, in some way, I thought it was by accident, but now I almost think it was by divine guidance. My Father and I were close, but there was always an unspoken part of him that was always a mystery. He was so deeply intelligent, so calculated in his thoughts, so passionate about his country. a leader that I couldn’t fully appreciate before he died. His career in its entirety was a mystery, until I began working in the same field.
I was truly blessed to meet so many incredible individuals who truly believed they could make Canada, and the world a better place through their selfless service. A group of people who served each government with grace, who complained only of frustration, but never complained of their service, always willing to go out of their way to help those in need. In my view, every diplomat was called to their career, it is a vocation not a job. Being able to work alongside some who knew my Father, was a gift, but also a curse. I never gave my Father credit, diplomats carry a burden, unlike a soldier who arms themselves with weapons, a diplomat arms themselves with words. When those words fail, their shoulders are left heavy knowing that war might or will come, when their words fail, they in turn feel they failed their country. I don’t think the majority of the population truly recognize how incredible these individuals are. In Canada, newspapers are littered with ridiculous depictions of frivolity and characters of what Diplomats are. They apparently eat a lot of canapes and champagne, and do nothing but flit around socializing on the governments dime.
I saw non of that, and I am ashamed that most of my friends, colleagues, mentors, and my father, are depicted this way. I am sad that although i understood how hard my Father worked, I never once said thank you for his tireless energy for his country, I said good-bye, and grieved over the loss of a Father, but never grieved over the loss of a great diplomat. I wish that more people would take the time to say thank you.