We said our final goodbye to Evan's dad, Jerry, yesterday. Jerry passed away in February, with his boys and Peggy at his side. Jerry fought a long, hard battle with mesothelioma, a cancer that he acquired through working with asbestos many many years ago. Yesterday, Evan, Evan's brother, Scott, Peggy, and I walked slowly and thoughtfully to Jerry's grave sight, where his ashes would be buried. The weather was warm, breezy, and sunny, but a storm was brewing in the North. We held each other, shed some tears, and remembered Jerry. I remember meeting Jerry for the first time as a 17 year old girl. He was a large, stoic, intimidating man. It took a few occasions to realize that Jerry liked me, and enjoyed my company. Once I knew he approved and genuinely liked me, we teased each other back and forth - he always had a twinkle in his eye. I briefly lived with Jerry and Peggy while I did a work placement in Red Deer. Wow. Did I ever feel loved in that home! One day Jerry came home with a scarf that he had picked out for me - one he thought would go perfectly with the new coat I had bought. At that point, I knew that Jerry cared for me deeply, and accepted me as a part of his family - someone who was suited to the son he treasured so much. I remember camping with Jerry - laughing and telling ghost stories late into the night. I remember dancing with Jerry on our wedding day. Jerry was so happy that day - I could feel the joy radiating from him. As we danced (I could never figure out his trademark dance move), he told me that he was so proud to have me as a daughter. I've never felt more accepted, loved, and proud to be a Lindsay. I'm going to miss my twinkling-eyed Jerry, and my heart just breaks for Peggy, Evan, and Scott.
As we stood around Jerry's ashes, Scott looked up at the sky and said, "Well that's weird." We looked up and saw a rainbow circling around the sun. It was pretty incredible. It was so apparent that Jerry was with us. He would have loved seeing us all together, remembering him. He is so loved, and always will be.
This is also the week that the world lost Ryan. It was 4 years ago on July 31. I am thankful that the tragic memories of that day on the river have been pushed aside to the part of my brain that doesn't allow access anymore. The brain is funny like that. My memories of Ryan continue to be his enthusiasm and zest for life. This year, especially, has been one where I've thought about Ryan a lot. The words of the Minister: "Use Ryan's life to inspire your own," have resonated in my mind for the last 4 years. Our decision to "sell it all" and move to a tropical island was most certainly inspired by Ryan. He would have loved it! I can still hear that high pitched excited voice, "F'n deadly man!" One day Evan and I commented, "Ryan would have been our first guest here - he probably would have made some home made boat and found a way to get here by sea!" I feel Ryan's energy around me all the time and it makes me feel incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to know him and learn from him during the years that we did have together. It's amazing how time heals and I hope and pray that time is healing the hearts of Ryan's friends and family and that time will heal the hearts of those of us who love and miss Jerry so much right now.
So that's pretty heavy stuff - it's been a heavy few weeks but I'm feeling much better these days and I'm physically and mentally strong enough now to process the events over the past 6 months and help to support Evan and his family.
One of my biggest fears about moving away was that things would change. Things have changed. A lot. But there's no need to fear it. With moving away, the sale of the gym, rumours, and untruths, Evan and I were faced with the reality that some of our friendships were not as strong as we had thought. If this was Facebook, Evan and I would have been "unfriended." Haha (awkward laugh). At first, it hurt. But something really awesome happened: our true friends really came through - they showed how much they love and support us. Not just our Canadian friends, but our newly acquired buddies on the island. Some people really surprised us, reaching out to offer help in any way they could. They have been there for us through everything - even the ugly (lots of ugly from me! Sorry!) - and have demonstrated to us that no matter what changes, they will stand by us. We needed them, and they were there for us, no questions asked. Unconditional, uncomplicated love. Awesomeness! We have 3 weeks left before we move back to the island. 3 weeks! OMG. I intend to spend the next 3 weeks showing my friends and family how much I love and appreciate all of them. I love you guys! Thank you.
I also have 3 weeks to continue to improve my walking. For the first time since January, I am now able to walk crutchless (that's crutchless, not crotchless haha) indoors, but I'm still using 1 crutch when walking outside. I wear 2 giant, awkward braces on my legs. Let me tell ya, It's very difficult to pull that look off, but I know I can rock this, and have a newly acquired wardrobe of long, slinky skirts. I'm really really good at walking backwards - if I could spend the rest of my life walking backwards, I'd bet set. I'm also a very speedy sideways walker (like a ninja crab). Stairs are difficult, but doable, and the pain varies from day to day (I actually pulled a muscle in my ass this week! Who knew that a muscle in a such a presently tiny area could hurt so bad!!!) Overall, progress is great and things are moving along. I'm still a little scared, but definitely hopeful.
Cheers to telling the ones who mean the most to you how you feel. Friends: get ready for 3 weeks of Kirstie Love! Haha.