Tough goodbyes

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That young boy’s smile.
It lights up nine-month-old Blake as he’s lost in the certain embrace of his dad, Ryan Marman.


Ryan Marman hugs his nine-month-old son Blake prior to boarding a charter bound for Alberta.

Ryan is smiling too — though he’s dying a bit inside.

The hug they share at Sydney airport is their last for two weeks.

When you have a child so young, hours — let alone days or weeks — can be an eternity.

“This is killing me right now," says Ryan, among 30 Cape Breton workers flying to Alberta.

Ryan, 29, has been working in Alberta for eight years — part of this century’s remarkable commutes westward.

His trade is instrumentation. A unique talent, but a job in that field is rare at home.

And so he finds himself at this airport every two weeks — a constantly interrupted parenthood and presence — saying goodbye after two weeks at home.

Once it was tough — but it's now excruciating.

"I'd be lost without the dozens of videos a day I get," Ryan explains.

That technology has made dad's face a daily sight to his son, even when he is so far away.

"It's going to get to the stage where it'll be hard on him seeing me leave,” Ryan knows. “We'll face that day when it comes."

But there will be more smiles and hugs next time they see each other at this airport — two weeks worth.

And as a father breaks away — all for the sake of a loved son and cherished family and shared future — the cycle of pause and play repeats over and over again.

Click here to see more from A Week That Changed Our World’s Wednesday collection

Geographic location: Alberta, Sydney, Cape Breton

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Recent comments

  • Not very concerned
    August 30, 2014 - 09:42

    I think it's a part of life on this earth resource runs dry people move some stay very few tho but it's a storey told since the start of time! A military soldier rarely has a chance to live at home they get 2 chance a year for 2 weeks, and a lot of people waste taxi payers money by gettin posted where they don't want to be, and they've already invested 500k In him by 6 years, and that your money gone to the oil fields earning same a Ryan! Imagian if the training was spared and instead of wasting half a million dollars training someone else they put it into reserve units in struggling areas to bring more money, it help pictou slightly but the mill the gov, the citizens and there life styles will ruin any chance of these problems being fixed in these communities. But it's because people are greedy bottom line, who want a topaz when fords got a raptor!

  • cathy dunn
    August 27, 2014 - 18:03

    Ryan you are not the only one.our son has being doing this for years,not nice on a family.and you don't have a choice. and just remember you are just a number out there anyone can take over your job anytime and there is not a thing you can do about it because companys out there know that nova scotia has no jobs. back home..

  • Jim
    August 27, 2014 - 15:14

    The Mill will clean up its problems by May and its workers will continue to be able to sleep in their own beds. if the close the mill crew has their way there will be a lot more good byes.