Saturday, 31 March 2018

“It all ends in tears anyway.” ― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

I spent my spring break in Florida this year and so there was no better beautiful beast to represent March's Love Wins species, in my mind, than the iconic Florida Panther (Felis concolor coryi).

Mural by: Arlin located in St Peterburg, Florida
Photographed by: Beastly Virtues

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Heavy Heart

In Loving Memory of Kim
March 4, 2018

I rarely journey over to the mainland other than for necessity but I had promised him I’d make the trek into the city under the guise of other plans. I wanted to do something special for my birthday and I’d sensed he was craving company. I thought it may bring a smile to his face as it had been a while since we’d seen each other. We’d met about four years ago when he started chatting me up on a bus I told his father and we laughed as the three of us sat in his room together. We had plans to meet in the afternoon as I was going to walk around and see a few murals in the area before stopping in. I’d had the vet coming to check in on Argus and Mino that Friday and so I jumped on the first ferry across thinking I’d have time to do a bunch of things before I went to visit Kim. It’s about an hour and a half commute to the BC Cancer Agency and I was quite early. I walked for about a block but all I could think of was going to spend time with him. I was looking forward to reminiscing and seeing how he was doing. I looked at a handful of murals as I made my way to the hospital. I had sent a text asking if it may be okay if I came earlier but had not gotten a response so I just continued to walk in his direction. When I got to the hospital I gathered my composure and prepared myself for what I thought may be a shock to my expectations. He’d recently shared a picture of his hair loss from the treatments. I got to his floor and asked the nurse’s station for the direction to his room and she said I’d just missed him. He’d gone out on a pass to the grocery store with his father and I could maybe catch him along the way. I don’t know how we never crossed paths, or perhaps, it was simply that I may not have recognised him passing as I was lost in my focus to simply get there… I continued to walk to the grocery store and took a deep breath when my eyes caught him in the tea aisle with his father. His back was facing me and I had no idea that he had become so frail that he was not able to make the short walk from the hospital to the store. He’d simply told me we could go for a walk but that he was slow. I took a deep breath and walked down the aisle toward him. It warmed my heart to see his surprise and his smile when I came in to view. I leaned down and gave him a hug as he introduced me to his father. The three of us did his errands and then walked back to the hospital. I sat for the afternoon laughing with them and enjoyed the warmth of both their charms. I could see where he’d gotten his charisma and sense of humour. It was a perfect but heart-wrenching afternoon. While the mood was light and hopeful there was the underlying unspoken vulnerability of the reality that seemed all too close. Throughout his whole battle with cancer, he’d maintain true elegance and courage. I think, so much so, that I was not prepared for who I first saw sitting in that chair that day. When I’d noticed that he was getting tired I gathered my things to go. While his personality radiated a shield of strength, when he got up from his bed to hug me, I could feel his vulnerable frailty. I had planned to come back again soon but my intuition was that this was goodbye. With a last warm smile, I left the room, the hospital, and walked absorbed about the commute to get home. I could feel the tears well up, as they are while I write this, and I was determined to maintain my composure. I tried to distract myself along the commute home. We texted back and forth along my ride home but it was getting late and so I wished him goodnight once I had gotten to my ferry. The two-hour trip home felt like four. As I opened the door to my house it struck me and released me at the same moment. Tears gushed from my eyes beyond my control. I thought I may have had more time but it really was goodbye… I had thought I’d go see him again yesterday after my race. It had been two weeks and he’d said that he was feeling better after a rough past week. Then on Friday night, his mother said he’d been diagnosed as terminal and placed in hospice that past Tuesday. While I wanted to simply rush and visit I felt that it was a time for his family. And, this morning I learned that he’d passed away at 4:45 am. Sadly, he fell days shy of his 38th birthday. So young and resilient just a year before it’s hard to fathom but throughout his battle with cancer he was an inspiring force of strength and grace. I will hold close to my heart those final moments we had together and carry with me the memories of this genuinely kind soul. Peace be with you…

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Testing the waters...

It's been a while since I have written anything. After losing my shadow, my beloved companion Pig, who'd been by my side the past 17years, I lost my verve. There were a succession of painful events prior to, and thereafter, that overwhelmed me this past year and so it's been difficult to write anything than other than the daily necessities of interactions. I am a deeply private person, so writing for me has always been a calming and healing process that helps guide me through any hardships; consequently, the abstinence of that routine meant relying on other distractions to quell the pain of facing reality. However, at some point, there is always a trigger that sparks my imagination, inspires me. It’s usually a chain of various events over time that culminates in giving me that nudge to go on. And so with that, I thought I’d embark on an exercise to begin again and give you the next letter in the Love Wins series… O

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