Monday, 2 July 2012

Diversifying My Blog

When I first decided to do this Blog, it was meant more to illustrate my trials and tribulations as I deal with the loss of my beautiful wife Kim.  As you can tell, I don't post on here often.  I have many outlets to vent and paint a picture of exactly what it is like to go through something like this.

In the coming weeks, I am going to start adding some, shall we say, lighter hearted stuff on here.  While this stuff is also part of my journey as I cope with this devastating loss, it shows that life does indeed go on, and that I am trying to rebuilt and, in a sense, move on as well.

So, be warned that there may in fact be some humour, some observations of life, and a bit more diversity to the profound grief that I also still feel.  It's all part of the trip.......

Thursday, 10 May 2012


No, not the television show, the real thing! 

Friends come in many forms.  There are those you would trust with just about anything, personal or otherwise.  Some friends are there to help you out in a pinch, like, let's say, moving.  Some are there for something more casual.  Some are just people you know, using the term loosely.

My criteria for a friend used to be pretty high.  Just because I know you, didn't mean we were friends.  A friend, to me had to be something more that a simply acquaintance.

After the day from hell, my criteria changed, in a big way!   There were around six hundred people at Kim's funeral. I knew most of them.  Up until that point, only a few of them I would call friends.  However, in that space and time, things changed for me.  There were people from all walks of our lives in attendance.  There was family, both immediate and extended; people from my professional life, as well as Kim's; people from the hockey community, both Kim's and mine.  And people from the community I joined three years ago, the Second City community.

In each area, my feelings for these people have become much stronger than they ever were before.  All of a sudden, I have a ton of friends!  And it actually feels kind of cool.  Being a very private person before, I really didn't share all that much with anyone other than Kim.  She knew me inside out.  But now, I have so many to share things with.  A case in point is these stories.

I've had the good fortune of being able to share some time with some very good people at various events throughout the GTA.  I honestly don't think I would have had that opportunity had I not re-evaluated my perception of friendship.  I've become considerably closer to Kim's family as well.  Strength in numbers!

There will never be anyone who can replace the little Blond who stole my heart.  But it is nice to know that I have such a strong support system in place, when I need it.  I am also that much more giving now with my time and resources, when the situation arises.  I'm a firm believer in the old adage that "one good turn deserves another".

And now, my friends, it's time to make a difference….

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Just when you thought it was…..

I have always thought that I had a “sixth sense” about “stuff”.  A “Jazz”, as I call it.  The ability to, among other things, know what is going to happen before it happens (not necessarily specifics), or know what is going on in someone’s head.  You could also call it a “heightened awareness”.  I’ve always written it off to coincidence, for the most part. But in the last while, I’m not so sure.

Two recent examples have me thinking “hmmm” (see Arsenio Hall-look it up).  Not too long ago, on a Friday afternoon, a feeling came over me that something impactful was going to happen in my world.  No clue what, but, well, something.  Positive or negative, not sure.  One the following Monday I received news that a good friend of mine had, all of a sudden, experienced a major change in their professional life.  And to them, it was impactful.  As she is a friend, I too was impacted.  At the moment I heard about my friend’s situation, I said to myself, that’s it!

This past Friday (as I write this, it is March 21, 2012), the same feeling came over me again.  Somewhere in my world, something was going to happen.  No specific, but a strong sense once again.

Today I had my truck at my mechanic (everyone who drives has a “my mechanic”) for an oil change.  While waiting for the work to be completed, I sat outside in the beautiful Spring weather, writing another one of my stories.  All of a sudden, a car zipped by me at a high rate of speed.  The auto shop is in a plaza.  This kid was flying!  Far beyond what is acceptable for a plaza parking lot.  There were multiple late teen occupants in the car, carrying on, hooting and hollering, having a great time.  The driver decided that he did not want to sit behind a slower moving vehicle.  He passed the slower vehicle, traversing around a parking “Island” in the lot.  Just as he completed the pass, he crashed head on into a minivan travelling in the opposite direction.  No brakes, nothing, a direct hit at an accelerated rate of speed.  The incident itself took seconds to unfold from the time the car passed my location.  By comparison, it took a lot longer to write this paragraph.

The driver of the car at fault (in my humble opinion) acted in a completely careless manner.  His front seat passenger’s head went right into the windshield.  He was almost ejected from the vehicle.  Sustained a nasty head wound and potentially, a concussion.  The other passengers in the offending vehicle were shaken up, but otherwise fine.  The driver of the vehicle that was hit was also shaken up, but fine.

The kid driving the offending vehicle is completely at fault. He drove carelessly, recklessly and with no regard for the surroundings.

Now, the kicker to all of this you ask?  Because this accident happened in a plaza parking lot, it is considered private property.   Charges (I’m thinking, at the very least, Careless Driving) cannot be laid, because it happened on private property (sensing a theme?).  The only resolution is a 50/50 settlement between Insurance companies.  That, again, in my humble opinion, is complete and utter bullshit!
This kid could have killed somebody, including one of his buddies in HIS vehicle. I called 911, and once the usual emergency services arrived (guess which hall the fire truck came from?), I volunteered my information to the investigating police officer.  And, again, because the accident happened on private property, no formal statement was required. 

I introduced myself to the driver of the vehicle that was hit, as well as her husband, who arrived shortly afterwards.  We exchanged contact information.  I assured them that, should they decide to pursue this matter, I have made note of everything I saw and would be happy to volunteer as a witness. Given all that I have been through recently, my accounts of the incident would, no doubt be thorough and compelling.

In the last year and a bit, I have seen, experienced and felt a whole bunch of things that I never thought I would ever encounter.  Increased awareness of this “heightened sense” I spoke of earlier is a very cool thing.  I don’t write it off anymore.  When it pops up, I listen.  I make a mental note of it.  When something does happen, I connect the dots.

Hopefully, this awareness has a balance to it.  I don’t want to feel only negative stuff. 

Wasn’t there a movie made about that already?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Stirring up the Shit

It's 3:45 AM, March 6, 2012.

One year to the day since Kim was killed.  The trial for the person responsible started yesterday. It has brought back a lot of feelings and emotions from that day a year ago.  The first night, I couldn't sleep.  Indeed, for the first few nights I couldn't sleep.  I had no recourse back then but to toss and turn and cry.

Since that time, I have started writing.  That's what I am doing now.  Far more productive and therapeutic.  I'm sad, but feel the need to stay strong for the family, especially Adam.  But, at times like this, it gets very tiring being strong, VERY tiring.  I hate this feeling, I really do.  I know that around 4:00 this afternoon I am going to be exhausted again.  I want to get back to something resembling normal.  Something where I can just do my thing and not be concerned with anything else.

This trial is a very exhausting experience, and it's only day 1.  Several more days to go.  My upbringing by my old German Master Sergeant father is really paying off.   Thanks for that dad.  Now I know what you meant.

Well, I'm going to try and get some sleep.  Another day in court.  Need to be alert, make notes and support those who need it.

It never ends....

Friday, 2 March 2012


When you think about the concept of being alone, there are far more aspects than just physically being by yourself.  You can be alone in a Mall.  Of course you are not alone, but there on your own, without company.  You could be alone in your thoughts, but physically on a crowded bus.

For me, doing things on my own has never been an issue.  In fact, I’ve spent a good part of an average day in my own company.  There is always something going on in my head (sounds weird, I know), so I am usually entertained or distracted.  I watch people around me.  See their interactions, and “record” them for potential fodder later on in some written or photographic form.

I first became aware of the concept of “alone” a number of years ago.  I was coaching a senior women’s hockey team.  We were at a tournament in Niagara Falls. It was a Saturday night. Our game was not until very late in the evening.  So, I got comfortable in my hotel room to watch the Hockey Night in Canada telecast until it was time to go.  Within five minutes, there was a knock at the door. The husband of one of my players (we coaches are very possessive) invited me to their room to watch the game with them.  He knew that I was on my own, and would probably like some company.  He stated that he “did not do alone very well”.  I was totally taken aback by this very generous offer, and decided to accept.  While I was perfectly fine with watching the game by myself, it was very cool to be thought of by someone that I did not know all that well. 

It’s been a year now (as of this writing) since Kim has been gone.  “Alone” has taken on a very different meaning for me.  Before, given that she worked a regular nine to five job during the day, and a part time job a couple of nights a week and the odd weekend, I would often times find myself on my own.  Whatever I chose to do to fill that time, I could rest assured that I would see Kim at some point in the day, even if just to say good night when we turned in.  There was always the knowledge that, while I was alone for the moment, I would not be in the long term.

Now, things have changed drastically.   “Alone” is a whole new concept.  Before I had the choice whether to go to a movie on my own, or wait for Kim’s schedule to permit us to go together. Going to her hockey games was a given, except when our schedules conflicted, as they did on that dreaded day.  Saturday nights though, Westwood Arena was all ours!

Now, my choice is different.  Go alone, for the most part, or not at all.  My partner in crime is gone.  Going to the rink on a Saturday night on my own still feels weird, a year later.  The drive home is particularly lonely.

And speaking of lonely, therein lies another aspect of being without Kim.  In the past, there would be times, away from the house, at a golf tournament for example, where I would be in a room with two hundred other people, with a hundred different conversations going on.  Yet, I would feel completely lonely.  Usually a momentary thing, but it was there.

With Kim gone now, there are days when I feel totally and completely lonely.  It’s sad, actually.  I continue to miss her dearly.  I keep myself as busy as possible.  Some people think I am crazy with all the things that I do.  But in all honesty, I am (if you analyze it) probably running away from this loneliness.

When you grieve, they (whoever “they” are) say you should keep busy.  Keep your brain and body active.  But there are days when you are not busy.  When you need to rest.  When your body says “enough!”  Chill out a bit.  That’s when things usually kick in.

Having a large extended family and an even larger network of friends has been a gift as I move forward in this adventure.  While I will reach out to them when I am at my most vulnerable, I also understand that, quite frankly, they might just be thinking to themselves “what, again?”  I don’t want to make them feel “put upon” simply because I am feeling down.  I am not a selfish person by any means.  In fact, quite the opposite.  So the dilemma between reaching out and holding back is always there.

Alone does offer you, however, the opportunity to do things without having to coordinate with someone else.  If I decide on the spur of the moment to do something, I do it.  The drag is, the planning, the scheming and the “what if we…” are half the fun.

With several hurdles left to clear in this process I call my life, I will continue to move forward, alone and in the company of others.  I will continue to battle the bouts of loneliness and do what I can to stay busy, productive and involved.  The kid and I stand together to deal with what remains.

Those are the cards I have been dealt…..

Thursday, 12 January 2012

I Miss You

  • I miss your laugh.
  • I miss your smile.
  • I miss your wide eyed enthusiasm when you play hockey.
  • I miss coaching you.
  • I miss holding you.
  • I miss kissing you.
  • I miss hugging you.
  • I miss doing Monty Python gags with you while we grocery shop.
  • I miss holding your hand.
  • I miss having you as my cuddly toy as we sleep.
  • I miss the deep conversations we had about things I never thought I'd ever talk about.
  • I miss your intelligence.
  • I miss you "from scratch" baking.
  • I miss watching hockey games with you.
  • I miss your analysis of those games.
  • I miss you just being in our house.
  • I miss boring people talking about you.
  • I miss your constructive criticism of my Improv performances.
  • I miss your encouragement.
  • I miss your touch.
  • I miss the spontaneous dancing, even when you doing something totally unrelated, like cooking.
  • I miss your "take a chance" attitude.
  • I miss you laughing at me as I tried to do Yoga.
  • I miss working out with you.
  • I miss just watching TV with you.
  • I miss going to movies with you.
  • I miss taking your picture.
  • I miss how you would say "excuse me" in a high pitched voice after a fart.
  • I miss bringing you back hockey apparel from a tournament I would be coaching at.
  • I miss seeing you hold a baby.  Your were a natural at that.
  • I miss seeing you interact with your family, and mine.
  • I miss your work stories.
  • I miss watching you run.
  • I miss those times you tried, yes tried, to beat me up.
  • I miss the ability to brag about your latest exploits.
  • I miss your stories about your latest exploits.
  • I miss comforting you when you're not feeling so well.
  • I miss your comfort when I am not feeling so well.
  • I miss shovelling snow with you.
  • I miss your computer expertise.
  • I miss gardening with you.
  • I miss your amazing ability to imitate accents.
  • I miss taking long drives with you.
  • I miss you asking me "so how'd I do coach?", after a game.
  • I miss how you would digest and apply the hockey knowledge I pass on to you.
  • I miss looking into your eyes and telling you I love you.
  • I miss you……

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


When you go through a profound tragic event in your life, you are forever changed.  Sure, there is the immediate shock, sadness, anger and the other elements of the chain of grief.  Those have been detailed to some degree in my writings, and indeed by anyone who has gone through similar circumstances.

Time, however, does its' job, to a degree.  Time heals all wounds, supposedly.  Also depends on your definition of healing.  Speaking personally, I honestly don't think that I will ever completely heal.  I have a wound that, while it is "in check" for the most part, it will never completely close.  The hurt and all of his bedfellows will always be there.  We just get used to having that wound around.  Kind of like a scar.  It's there.  You adapt.  You, unfortunately, get used to it.

There are more "better" days now than "not so good" days.  Back to my opinion on the law of balances.  Good with the bad.  But, just when you think your getting past the "not so good", something triggers deeper, more emotional feelings.  For me, it's reminders of that dreaded day, or of a happier time when Kim and I did something together that stayed with me.  Triggers are a really weird thing.  Why?  Well, because they come from the strangest places at the strangest moments.

Now, understanding that while we as a family and me as a (now) widower  go through this shit, the world moves on.  It's been eight months now!  That in and of itself is unreal to me sometimes.  But, if you look back over those eight months and see all the things that have happened, both locally and internationally, it's just staggering.  History has been made, evil doers have been dealt with, genius' of commerce and technology have left us and countless political events have occurred.

With respect to these triggers, as I've said, they come from the strangest places, at the strangest times.  For example:

  • The media.  News is instantaneous these days.  There are so many television channels, newspapers, and that beacon of information, the Internet.  Things happen so quickly, they are in our face before you know it.  Whenever I see a story about someone killed in an accident, those wounds get a bit sensitive.  I actually happened upon an accident a while back where two women were killed.  I didn't know it at that moment, until I put the local all news channel on the radio.  The memory reel kicked in big time for a few minutes.

  • Programs meant to entertain us.  In the electronic age, we have an incredible amount of choices with respect to what we can watch on TV.  And a lot of shows are now available for home purchase to view at your leisure.  Kim and I, over the Fall of 2010 had gotten very much into the TV series Six Feet Under.  A really good show.  We were in the beginning stages of season four, the last episode she and I watched together was one where one of the lead characters had just lost his wife, and was dealing with "Stuff".  I haven't watched an episode since.  I will some day.  I want to see that series through.  I know it will trigger something.  Another show I just got into is Sons of Anarchy.  A program about a motorcycle club and all the "merry mix ups" that occur in that world.  The last couple of episodes from season one deal with one of the main characters' wife being killed by mistake, and all the stuff they have to deal with.  Boy did that trigger some emotions.

  • I continue to coach in the Rexdale Women's Hockey League.  Kim played in that league for quite some time.  They did a wonderful tribute to her at the game following her funeral service.  An incredible bunch of ladies who have opened their hearts to myself and my family.  As much as I enjoy coaching these ladies, there are times, usually when I'm tired (and susceptible) that I get  some feelings of sadness.   But they usually don't last too long.  Once the puck drops, I'm in the game.

  • One of my favourite hobbies is the study of Improv Comedy.  I've been doing that for over three years now.   It's been a wealth of "therapy" for me.  An example of how life moves on, and trying not to dwell on stuff?   Sometimes, either during a scene I am watching, or a scene that I am actually performing in, the topic of death, or killing, or killing someone specifically comes into play.  And, while I get that this is for the moment, part of a performance, hoping for a positive reaction from the audience, there is the odd time when I find myself "taken aback" just a bit.  But that doesn't last very long.  I just say to myself that the one has nothing to do with the other.  I also don't expect everyone to walk on egg shells around me.  The world keeps turning.  I know that.  They know that.  In the world of performance, especially live improvised performance, things come out of nowhere at the snap of your fingers.  One of the Mantra's of Improv is "Don't think".

Just a few days ago, there was an accident which resulted in the death of a woman who was riding her bicycle, on her way to pick up her child from daycare.  This story was front page in the local paper.  Reading that brought me back to the days after Kim's accident, where her story was front page on in one of the supplementary sections of the same paper.  A lot was mentioned about the husband and their small child.  As I was reading this, I'm thinking to myself:

  • Dude, I've been in your shoes. 
  • I know exactly where you are at this point in time on a whole bunch of levels.
  • I know the madness of trying to get answers.
  • I know that he will have a lot of family and friend support.
  • And I know that the media will be on this story for some time.  And, that this story will be referred to for some time to come in comparison to other accidents that will no doubt happen along the way.

These triggers are, unfortunately, part of the process.  Some people go through their entire lives not having to worry about this kind of stuff.  Lucky bastards!  I, on the other hand, have this whole new set of shit to deal with.  And, I'll be dealing with it for the rest of my life.  Getting through this kind of thing is a very long, trying adventure with both ups and downs.  The trick to success in navigating this journey is understanding and accepting that this is now part of your life.  Once you've achieved that understanding, it won't necessarily make things easier to deal with, but at least you will have the rationale to ride it out.

And for me personally, I have reached that understanding.

You clear the hurdles as you encounter them.  The triggers will happen.  Accept that.  Deal with them and then move on.  Don't dwell. 

You deal with the Demon and the Demon is done!