This column first appeared in the March 2017 All Month edition of the Friday Am in Salmon Arm, BC
It has been a challenging few weeks for many of us, I think it fair to say.
On February 15, we learned of the death of Stuart McLean, Canadian icon and beloved CBC host.
On February 17, we learned of the death of local man Al Boucher, father, partner, former owner of the Blue Canoe, softball superhero and stalwart supporter of the arts.
On a personal note, while my son is fine and recovering, on February 19, I watched as the amazing staff at Shuswap Lake General Hospital wheeled him into the operating room for emergency surgery as a result of a ski injury.
When Lorne of the Friday AM sent me my regular e-mail to check in on the column, I knew, in my heart, it would have to be about loss. But also about its lessons.
For Stuart McLean, a great journalist and gifted storyteller to be taken away from us far too soon, reminds me how important our stories are because our stories are the witness to the path we follow, the contributions we try to make. And no two stories are alike because no two humans are the same. We need to remember that because we share a collective narrative that shapes the stories our children will get, or not get, to tell.
For Al Boucher, a renaissance man of only 39 years, whose memorial service drew a crowd of hundreds, many of whom would have never known each other had it not been for him, I’m reminded that it’s not about the years in your life so much as the life in your years. Despite the grief of his loss, we must pay his gift forward and commit to his boys that we will do whatever we can to mitigate this tragic loss. A trust account has been set up at CIBC for them. Please consider making a contribution and, in doing so, honour the incredible contribution he made to this community in his mere decade with us in Salmon Arm.
For my son, for whom a seemingly innocuous sore foot led to an emergency surgery to save his leg, I’m reminded how precious time really is. And how what we think is important really isn’t. We obsess with busyness, with winning, with accumulating. But sometimes, the universe reminds us that winning is really about how you face loss. And when you don’t lose, it’s not a win, it’s a gift of gratitude.
So, in life, you might lose a game, or an argument, or a deal. That kind of loss doesn’t really matter. What really matters, is the loss of a dream – like the loss of Stuart and his stories, and Al and his passion, or my son and his independence.
Humility has graced us these last few days. She has helped us through some dark hours. She has reminded us that we need each other everyday. She is our truest friend. And if we turn our backs on her for the sake of winning, we lose the lessons of loss, even if we would turn back time not to have had to learn them.
With love and humility,