On The Wings of Love, A Father to LITA Passes On

Please join with all of us at LITA as we honour with deep gratitude and celebrate with boundless joy the life of Fred Ridley. Father of Nikki, LITA’s VP, Katherine, LITA’s Treasurer, and surrogate Dad to Catherine, LITA’s Founder and President, this Loving, kind, compassionate, generous, very fun and terrifically decent, upright family man lived a life that enriched all those so fortunate to know him.

Fred Ridley

Fred Ridley

Obituary ~ February 14th 2014, on the day of love, Fred Ridley passed away peacefully surrounded by family at Peace Arch Hospital. Born April 28th, 1929 in Newcastle, England he immigrated to Canada in 1954. Leaving behind six brothers and one sister to start a family in Vancouver he was soon followed by his brother Peter who also had eight children. He moved to Richmond in 1967 and retired to White Rock in 1996. Fred was a family man first who taught all of his children the importance of love, laughter and dance. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Terry Ridley (still as slim as ever) and his eight children, including two sets of twins, 17 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Paul (Laura) Nikki (Tim) Chris and Carey (Annabelle and Brenda) Mark (Johanna) Kevin and Katherine (Trina and Garth) Tricia (Rick). Grandchildren: Andrea, Meghan (Jamie), Jerod (Allison), Shauna (Tom) Tina (James) Tessa, Andrew, Jordan (Jessie) Kevin, Jennifer, Sara, Mikayla, Braeden, Christian, Luke, Elise, Quinn. Extended family Catherine Koch, Jackie and many more. Peter’s widow; Auntie Joan and her kids, Anne (Mike) Marie, Bernadette (Mark) Peter, Joan (Donna) Gabe (Safwat) Norman (Jeannette) Gwen (Mike). Their kids and so many more wonderful friends and family in Canada and England. Special thanks to Kim, Jane, Angela, Isaac, Cameron and all the smiling staff at Peace Arch Hospital. The mass will be held on Thursday February 20th, 2014 at 9am at the Star of the Sea parish 1153 Fir Street White Rock. Followed by a celebration of Fred’s life at 11am at Victory Memorial Park Funeral Centre located at 14831 28th avenue Surrey BC. In lieu of flowers donations will be graciously accepted by Loveistheanswer.ca to help empower the children in Uganda. A charity close to Fred’s heart.

 

Some thoughts and feelings shared by Catherine ~ February 16th, 2014 ~

IMG_3354 - Version 3On Valentine’s Day here in Uganda (11 hours ahead of Vancouver time) after spending many of the hours of the day in Bukedea with Gideon and Morning and Rose, I came home to share the evening with three of our boys. I did the dishes that were in the sink and then around 6pm, (or 7am pacific time) the energies all shifted round me, and I found myself called to be very quiet, to tuck away in my room, to hold space. I seemed to want to play music, to sing, song after beautiful song, about Love. And the one that kept ringing in my ears, that I eventually downloaded from iTunes and sang several times was ha! from the Lion King, ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’.

And I could feel the Love. It was beyond powerful, filled with Grace and Transcendence, it was Holy and Sacred, and I was in IT. At one point, one of my boys came tapping gently on my door to tell me that the supper he had prepared was ready. I thanked him and said I could not eat just now. He asked me if something was wrong.. not even nearly capable of coherently speaking many words at that moment, I heard myself assure him, “No, nothing is wrong, sweetheart.”

I spent hours this way, curled under my mosquito net in my room, singing about Love, until the night had grown so quiet and the full moon had risen to all it’s glory. I rested. With morning’s light I found myself checking my messages. I had received one, sometime through my night, from dear Katherine telling that her Dad was in hospital in his final hours. Shortly thereafter, when I called Nikki, Kath’s elder sister, (and my friend/sister since we were 13 years old) she shared the news that their Daddy, Fred, had passed one hour before, after having spent a beautiful day with his family by his side.

Fred, my surrogate Dad, and I, were born to earth on the very same day, April 28th, just some years apart. We met up in this life 44 years ago, when I was 13 years old and he was 40ish. With my own very precious father affected severely at times with mental illness many the years of my life, Fred, who knew and Loved both my Mama and Dad, was the Father I was gifted in life who showed me all about a healthy Father’s Love and steadfast commitment and care for his family, me included. He and his beautiful wife, Terry, my other Loving Mama, called me their daughter “Catherine with a C”, seeing as they had already been Blessed with their very special Kath. He Loved, embraced, appreciated and understood me, and I him, deeply.

Divine timing, when I flew back to Canada from Uganda last December to help with some LITA things that had come to need support, I was Blessed to share several visits with Fred in the hospital where he lay after being admitted with several complications in early October. With Love, we bid one another fare thee well on Dec 14th and now, 2 months to the day later, he has flown off on the wings of the Angels.

As yesterday unfolded and the boys and I shared stories of Dad, now also their Grandfather, along with tears of loss, joy and gratitude and Love here in Uganda, I realized some things about the night before.. it became clear that the ‘place I had been called to be’ to hold space while tucked in my little room was somewhere in the Etheric of Love between here in Mbale and the hospital room in White Rock where Fred and his/our family were gathered all round him. I pulled up the song I was most compelled to play several times the night before and shared it with the boys.. we found the lyrics and all sang along, over and over. “Can you feel the Love..”. Suddenly, one of the boys looking outside called our attention to the garden out back. Gently, he said, “Mummy, come to see this, there is something to show you.”

With my bare mzungu feet on the red African soil, I was struck with reverent awe, and magnificent tears spurted from my eyes to see a vortex of ‘Eagles’ (African Kites) circling round and round, from close to mother earth up up up into the heavens above, right over our garden. With the music echoing on the breeze, serenading us all from inside our home, the boys and I embraced and affirmed that it is all so magnificent how we are all connected, how we are all together and where we are meant most to be, always.

A little while later, one lone bird came back and circled low, round and round above our home, and then flew on.

Be Blessed, Dearest One, I Love You. Thank you for the beautiful gift of your presence in my/our lives. Safe journey, we shall meet.

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More from Cath ~ February 17th, 2014 ~

To Life ~ In honour of a very precious coupling exemplifying commitment, family, faith, hope, trust and Love, Samson, Silver, Benard and I planted, named, and Blessed two palm trees here in Uganda, yesterday..

A palm tree named Fred..

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And another, named Terry..

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About Catherine Koch

Founder and President of Love Is The Answer, a Canadian registered charity serving orphaned children in Africa.
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