Just a thought… There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. [Thomas Aquinas]
What a weekend. Just when you think the insanity is going to take a breather after they find a suspect in a rash of bombings, we learn Saturday of the shooting tragedy at a synagogue that claims 11 women and men aged 54 to 97 years old. The sadness out of Pittsburgh is palpable, even though the anger and rhetoric just keep building, despite brief and unkept promises by a so-called leader that he’d “tone it down.”
It’s eight days until the US mid-terms and there’s just no saying how this is going to go, or where it ends. It’s heartbreaking. As we’ve seen, Canada is not immune to this kind of hatred either. But all we can do is hope that, somehow, something changes for the better and that people go to the polls in eight days and have their voices heard and their votes legitimately tallied. Please, make it stop.
Today – probably as you read this – Rob and I are up and buckling in for the crazy, early, non-stop from Victoria, BC to Toronto. Yes, I do wonder how I did this for all of those years (as I’m sure Roger Ashby will be asking himself after a few solid months of sleeping in, if he can) but you gear your body up for that 3 am alarm. You get used to it when it’s your living and a job that you love. But, oh, these one-offs are a challenge to the body. Of course, I’m not complaining. We would make this trip if it meant taking 14 connections over two days.
All going well, our flight boards at 5:25 am local time, we land early this afternoon in TO and get our rental car. Then we head to the funeral chapel and see what we need in order to help make Mike’s Mac computer work properly for the visual aspects of the day tomorrow, and then check into a little boutique hotel downtown.
We’ll have dinner with Mike and get ready for one of the heaviest days a person can have: publicly saying good-bye to someone you love. Not so long ago we were in the same sad state. So we’re here to offer our dear friend whatever he needs.
Three years ago this month, Debbie and Mike were honoured with the Markham Stouffville Hospital Hope Award. It took place at the Celebration of Hope, which I’ll have the honour of hosting again this year on November 11th in Markham. (There’s a link to ticket info in the ‘What’s Up’ section of my homepage. If you’re reading this on Monday, just scroll up.)
That year, Deb and Mike were honoured for going public and talking about colon cancer, which is still the biggest cancer killer there is, and one that’s preventable with early testing and diagnosis. Debbie wasn’t that lucky; although she’d had a clear colonoscopy, it was a fecal test that detected her colon cancer just a year later. Again, I’ll repeat her urging to you that you get tested, too. It’s never too soon…but it can be too late.
Mike, if I understood him correctly, says that Debbie was at Stage 4 in her colon cancer fight for the five years that we knew she was sick. Yet she fought and she did so with such incredible spirit and an absolute certainty that she was going to beat it, until everyone was just out of options. And so tomorrow, at a private event for family and close friends, we will salute that love of some 50 years, that fight and the incredible woman who mounted it, with the help and support of so many, but especially her loving husband and son and daughter.
I sincerely hope that you haven’t tired of me writing about my dear friend. I have so few who are or were as close as Debbie and she truly meant the world to me (as she did to so many). I’ve been dreading this past week for a long time and just trying hard to keep writing about other things for you and for me, finding ways to stay connected without telling you what we knew was coming. Damn.
But here we are, you and I, and here we’ll be. I’ll have more for you tomorrow.