Canada Day was never the same

It was after 8pm. The phone rang. From the other room I could hear him pick up, say “hello,” and then a long silence.

I paused the movie I was watching and went into the bedroom. He was sitting on the bed with his head in his hands, the phone still at his ear, saying “what? what do you mean?”

Mo was dead.

She had died in a head-on collision the day before, July 1, 2010. The death was instantaneous – the driver's seat of the car she was in with 3 others flew back upon impact and crushed her core.

She had been heading back from miltary training, was on her way to meet her long-time partner at the hotel. He was waiting – she never showed up.

It was a terrible night. There was alcohol, there were tears, there was shock and sadness and grief and regret and guilt. We had all lost touch to some degree. Although we still spoke sporadically the relationships had become diluted with time and distance.

The next few days were mostly just sad. Life continued on, as it does, but with a cloud of grief. An informal get together of Mo's friends, all of us sitting around a table, in shock, telling stories of times spent with her.

Then the funeral. All of us together for this incredibly sad day. I remember wishing that a happy event could have been the catalyst to bring us all together again. Not the death of a friend, this wasn't supposed to happen so soon. Despite my grief, the moment when I saw her partner unable to stand, so consumed with grief, my heart shattered for him.

Mo's death became a reminder that life is fleeting and friendships are important. It was a reminder that every once in awhile, despite time and distance, it's important to tell those you care about that you love them. That even if you have grown apart you still think about them, will be there for them.

– image: trekearth.com



Change in the House of Blues

The below was written in 2006 after returning from a business trip to Chicago. This was a pivotal time in my relationship with my ex-husband – it was the first time I found out about his extracurricular activities. Shortly after I returned to Toronto we broke up for 6 months.

I didn’t notice him at first, not until he started talking. It was hard to hear him over the noise of the Stones cover band. He introduced himself and I did the same, all the while keeping my distance. It was not the first time that night I had been approached, but there was something different about this man. Despite the fact it was in industry-only party, he was the only one in a sea of hundreds who was wearing a suit. He explained that he had come straight from work, that he was a lawyer specializing in intellectual property. He pointed to the left, told me his client was in the private box next to ours, and had asked him to join the party earlier that afternoon. After a few minutes of attempted conversation in the noise he left me, and I continued to get lost in the anxiety I felt and the turmoil that my life had become. Being away from home had only made things worse, and the only thing I wanted at that moment was to be on the first plane home to Toronto, somehow thinking that if I was there I could somehow fix everything and be happy again.

But then my Chicago stranger came back and in a few short minutes everything changed. Nothing prophetic was said, no light shone down from above, the earth did not quake beneath me (from anything other than the people dancing around us), but I left the House of Blues that night feeling like somehow the turmoil would fix itself and all I had to do was exist as best I could.

We kept in contact once I was back home and when the chaos in my life had settled and things had finally been confronted and put to bed, I was able to tell him thank you for approaching me that night. While never his intention, he managed to change something, somehow, and I’m better because of it.

I received a christmas card this year from him. It came late but stood apart from the rest for a different reason. The impact that was made on me that night when I felt everything was going to be alright has stayed with me long past my departure from Chicago. I will keep his card as a reminder of things I’m not even sure I am able to accurately and justifiably express in words.

– image: imradio.com