I said a few words at Tory’s celebration of life that had deep meaning to me back in May, and even deeper meaning just a few months later as we wrap up the Summer of ‘17:
The most important things in life – they’re not things. They’re people, they’re experiences, they’re love.
I learned this from an early age, more out of necessity I guess than anything else. Growing up without much cash after my folks divorced when I was 6, things were in short supply. Unless you count my sister’s Raggedy Ann doll that I shot between the eyes with a water gun every chance I could with sniper-like precision.
We didn’t vacation, except the odd weekend in a pop-up trailer. There were no extravagant birthday parties, or sleep-away camps. I really can’t remember any birthday or Christmas gift from my childhood.
But I do remember the experiences. Playing hide ‘n’ seek until the late summer hours, swimming in the creek near Embro trying to catch crayfish, going on endless bike trips with no destination in mind (and no helmet!) and being treated to a birthday dinner at Mother’s Pizza.
What’s that saying, We don’t remember the words that are said, but we remember the way they make us feel? That’s kinda the way I feel about experiences, too.
Tory and I prioritized experiences as much as we could, especially with Kate. Sure Tory, her girlfriends and sister-in-law made sure Kate’s closet was fully stocked, and she had an American Girl doll for nearly every day of the week. But we always wanted to make sure she knew the importance of experiences, and to appreciate every last second of time she spent with family, friends and with us.
I’d like to say I’ve kept that spirit alive in the past six month, but that wouldn’t be true. What is true is you’ve all done it for me.
Without an invitation to Siesta Key for March Break, Kate and I wouldn’t have experienced laughter as quickly as we did. Without a breakfast invitation, I wouldn’t have had the guts to start this blog. Without offers of tuna casserole dinners, Kate wouldn’t have enjoyed one of her favourite comfort foods when she needed comfort the most. Without an invitation to a 50th birthday party, I wouldn’t have had the chance to re-connect with some of my favourite people. And without a nudge to just say “ah, fucket” and buy the tickets, Kate and I wouldn’t be going to see Bruno Mars tonight.
And yeah, it took a tragedy to make it all happen. That sucks. The lesson I’ve learned though is being resilient means accepting the things I can’t change (thanks, Mom), and making the best of it.
What I’m hoping is that when Kate looks back on the time after her mom died, it won’t be with the type of mourning most people experience after death – it’ll become just a thing in her life. Instead I’m hoping she remembers the experiences with her mom that made her the luckiest girl alive. And the positive experiences we’ve all created for her since then, and the people that made that happen.
If the experiences of her next few years are anything like the past few months, the Story of Kate is just getting started and it’ll be a beautiful tale. Thanks for being my co-authors.
Have a great day.
P.S. One of the next big experiences I’m looking forward to is Saturday, October 14, for The Tory Day Fund Night of Nonsense. If you haven’t bought it yet, get your tickets today.