Fortitude

Fortitude
From father to father,
and friend to friend,
I send you thoughts
I can barely comprehend.

I have been reticent
and respectfully hesitant
to send my thoughts,
any thoughts, your way.
Because, for the first time,
perhaps first time ever,
I simply could not find
any words to say.

After laboured rumination,
days spent distracted,
with all of your family
weighing on my mind,
feeling extremely selfish
and somewhat irresponsible,
I will attempt to express
thoughts I’ve managed to find.

As a distant friend
it would be remiss,
and inadequate,
to send you my love.
If I was a believer
I could send a prayer,
deferring my sentiments
to someone up above.

I have no wisdom
to pass on to you,
no innate answers
that I can honestly give.
It’s an experience
that I have never had,
and one, that no one
should ever have to live.

You already know 
we send our condolences,
and we know you have family
for a comforting hug or a soothing kiss.
So, as my tear touched sentences
gain their momentum,
the least that I can do
is to let you know this.

We have read the resilient words
that you have shared,
have great respect for your fortitude
in the face of such pain.
We’ve seen the positive approach
that you have displayed,
the cascade of beautiful memories
and there affirming refrain.

Pictures of a young life
well-lived, always to the fullest,
by a vibrant young man
who seems exceedingly wise.
Smiles and great experiences,
friends and family, and life,
images of dedication, and pride,
seen through his father’s eyes.

We admire, from our distance,
your immense courage, and resolve,
as you lead by example,
for those also exceedingly sad.

The best representation of a parent
and a dedicated husband,
the brave face of a grieving family,
the embodiment of a caring Dad.

Seeing this fortitude in you
provides us all with inspiration,
with the stark realization
that we must cherish every day.
And, what I realize now is,
that the most important thing,
is not what we have to offer you,
but rather, what we can take away.

Thinking of your love, and loss
makes me want to give my all,
recognizing a perspective
that I should have embraced before.
When I see your stance,
representing such strength,
I am inspired to be stronger
and to love life just that much more.

Whenever I get down
I will climb right back up,
look at my little problems
with the appropriate perspective.
Will take the time to notice
the warmth that surrounds me,
to understand how lucky I am,
whenever I feel reflective.

Every time I feel the impulse
I will give my daughters a hug,
holding on to it, and them,
just a little longer.
I will tell them, far more often,
just how much I love them,
with a renewed certainty,
which is just that much stronger.

And, I will never use distance
as a lazy, convenient excuse,
because when time is so tenuous,
it should never be a bother.
This is a promise I intend to keep,
in honour, of both you and your son,
as I draw upon your fortitude
to be a better friend, and father.

Father to father,
and friend to friend,
my words barely touch
the respect that I send.


Fortitude
– 
courage in pain or adversity:

synonyms: courage · bravery · endurance · resilience · mettle
In memory of Ricky Davies
(1993-2016)

 

 

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Limbo

“As much as I’ve always been driven creatively to move forward toward something bigger, brighter, and unknown, I’m also a deeply-rooted nostalgic. I adore photos, mementos, all bits of ephemera that represent each and every time and space I traverse. I’m a hoarder when it comes to these things…
A flood of memories wash over me when I find these treasures, all of them new again, focused by the perspective I’ve gained in the years since. It’s a beautiful kind of limbo, seeing yourself, your past alongside your present…”
-Mick Fleetwood from Play On…Now, Then, And Fleetwood Mac The Autobiography-

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Limbo
There I am, sitting on the couch

Looking as content as I can be
But what makes me smile now
Are the faces of the other three
Friendships, made in a flash
Cultivated with laughter, and cold beers
The time of my life, so many times
Great nights, that turned into years

Sometimes I sit with a lost friend
If only for a brief while
I gaze into her playful green eyes
I remember his reluctant smile
Realize just how alive they really were
And how precious that our time is
That contagious spirit, so uniquely hers
The distinctive laugh, that could only be his

A note, a post card, a poem

Feelings that are, and/or used to be
A letter filled with distant love
Words, meant only for me
Wee hour messages that I have written
Hastefully penned, but never sent
A shoebox, filled with emotions
Papers lined with what we meant

Flipping through the pages and photos
Snapshots of my life until now
People and places, that shaped who I am
Images of who, of where, when and how
Framed pictures of significant moments
Rectangular reminders of family and friends
Travels together on this wondrous journey
An evolving road, that curves and bends

It’s a beautiful kind of limbo
Spent with people that I know
A transcendent state of mind
And I can choose where to go
The full gambit of my experiences
The love, the pain, the pleasure
Memories, that take me away and back

Moments, I will always treasure

Camping, Christmas, the dinner table
My whole family, together in one place
The truest essence of who I am today
So much influence, etched in each face
My Mom, my Dad, right there for me
Whenever when my heart yearns 

I am able to go home, again and again
With happy, and melancholy returns

Time-lapse capsules of my two daughters
Wide-eyed infants, in the back seat of the car
From half-day kindergarten to incredible teens
Ever-emerging lives, chronicled so far
First steps, dance recitals, and graduation
Lovingly preserved, in albums or on DVD
Even when they seem too far to reach
I can find them here, in front of me

Awards, team photos, newspaper clippings
Memories of play that are always fond
Reminders of an enduring love of sports
Teammates, championships, a life-long bond
Wondering what became of those I coached
Peewee signatures on a thank-you card
Events and people that helped me to grow
Character built, through practicing hard

These boxes that I’ve moved many times
To different homes, to cities and towns
Different cabinets containing my life
All of us sharing the ups and downs
I can open up whenever I want to
These memories, of importance to me
Their significance, personally priceless
Sentimental value, I can always see

It’s a beautiful kind of limbo
Sitting there, beside myself
A transcendent state of mind
Brought down from a shelf
My life, captured in moments
The past, seen through today’s eyes 
Images, taking me away and back
Suspended, for now, while time flies

 

Pages

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Pages
Plenty of reflections
Plenty of idiosyncrasies
come naturally with age.

The
inclination to hesitate
 The instinct to look back…
before I turn a page.

Birthdays and anniversaries

Dates of significance
Names and news and faces.
They pull be back in time
To a life full of friends
To many happy places.

I find myself occupied

For more than a moment
When I stop to reminisce.
So deeply entrenched
As I get lost in a past
That I invariably miss.

I have done my due time

Been an adult for a while
Am a proud father of two.
Have settled into middle age
Set aside my daydreams
For the responsible view.

Far too many pages

Far too many friendships
That I’ve let slide by.

As my mortality jolts me

As I read into it further…
I have to ask why?

20160407_114813[1]
Social media postcards

Everyone is travelling
Going there and there.
With unlimited budgets
Twelve weeks of vacation
Gone without a care.

Everyone else seems to get it

That time is of the essence
As the years tread by.
Different walks of life
With uncommon passages
But similar reasons why.

Emphatic experiences

To exciting locations
At the drop of a hat.
Unbelievably available
Unrealistic, of course
But I want some of that.

So many more pages

So many more memories
for me to still get.

With age comes wisdom

With wisdom comes perspective…
but not just yet.

20160407_124745[1]
Chance encounter reminders

Of emotions long forgotten
Of passages in my book.
Resolute feelings of once was
The remnants of my passion
And the chances that I took.

“You look great for fifty”

That is kind of you to say
But it’s clearly not the same.
Just takes me back to twenty
With the world at my feet
At the top of my game.

I have no urge to act my age

I crave the reckless abandon
That I felt back then.
I need more of that feeling
More of that self-assurance
Inside of me again.

Plenty of next pages

Plenty of new stories
before this chapter ends.

Much is still in place

Much of what motivates me…
and most of those friends.

 

Remembered

Remembered

   I had a dentist appointment on Thursday. After I had parked my car I looked down at the ticket, and I remembered. 
   I felt a wave of anxiety come over me as I realized just where I was, and on what day. 
   I remembered, and I paused for a moment, before going up those stairs.
   I remembered, in a haze, as I sat, quiet in the dental chair.
I remembered many things in a rush of cold reality.

992212_725285137497757_539786606_n
I remembered that it was September the 10th.

I remembered that it was the date he died.
I remembered, thinking how fast that two years had gone by.

I remembered that this was where he had his fall.
I remembered getting the phone call at work.
I remember seeing him later that day at my sister’s.
I remembered how battered and bruised he was.
I remembered how shocked we were that he was released from emergency.
I remembered how proud and how stubborn he was.
I remembered just how much that I missed him.

I remembered two heart wrenching weeks in the hospital. 
I remembered the dedication of Dorry.1174411_721955574497380_563150802_n
I remembered the strength and humour of Gerry.
I remembered the seesaw of conversations with Tim.
I remembered the innocent sincerity of Anna and Erin.
I remembered the love and support, and soft hands of Lana.

I remembered his amazing comeback.
I remembered his helpless confusion.
I remembered when we decided to let him go.
I remembered saying goodbye.
I remembered picking out a casket.


I remembered dinner the night before the funeral
I remembered the breathtaking sky above Lake Huron.
unnamed
I remembered all of us staying at the same hotel.
I remembered the stories and drinks, smiles and tears.

I remembered what I wrote for the graveside.
I remembered that Lana had to read it for me.
I remembered my girls holding each of my hands.

I remembered, smiling, that Alec was there too.
I remembered people leaving for the airport.
I remembered saying goodbye.

I remembered looking back as we drove out of town.

As I stepped down from the chair, our dentist Dave, I am sure unaware of the date or circumstances, asked me to “say hi to the girls” for him…and he said, “I miss having your father Norm come to see me”.
Again I paused, and he knew just how much that meant as his eyes caught mine.
“Me too Dave.”  I closed the door behind me.

BOUND

IMG_0241[1]

Photo courtesy of Lana Nolan

BOUND

Unbreakable love…
An emotional commitment
that knows no bounds
Far more than just the words
An unbreakable love
f
eels even better than it sounds

Photo courtesy of Lana Nolan

Photo courtesy of Lana Nolan

 

This love…
Brings impressions to the surface
Puts perspective in its place
An exchange of due respect
 It’s a level of understanding
 That works best face to face

This love…
Embraces all that is right
Can endure what may go wrong
Joined as one in our resolve
We are bonded by integrity
And together we are strong

Unbreakable love…
An emotional commitment
that knows no bounds
Unbreakable love
It feels even better

than it sounds

IMG_0234[1]

Photo courtesy of Lana Nolan

This love…
Needs to be nourished
Requires both give and take
Fueled by new beginnings
By the hopes that we have
With the memories that we make

This love…
Leads us on our journey
Adds excitement to every day
To the realities of here and now
The possibilities of tomorrow
And to our hopes along the way


This love that we share…

Is reinforced by our children
Strengthened by family and friends
It enhances our life experience
  It is the heart of who we are
And is the means to our ends

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Photo courtesy of Lana Nolan

An unbreakable love…
An emotional commitment
that knows no bounds
More than just the words
Our unbreakable love
i
s even better than it sounds

Coping

IMG_20150125_104004[1]
Coping

Don’t try to understand it

because you can’t
Don’t try to forget about it
because you won’t
Don’t try to drown your sorrow
because you shouldn’t…
And don’t even think that you are alone
because you are not.

You have friends and family to lean on,
because you can
because you will
because you should…
And because we are.


You will come to accept it

because you have to
You will hold on to your memories
because you need them
You will gain strength
because you must…
And you will never be alone
because you are not.

You have friends and family to lean on,
you have acceptance
you have memories
you have strength…
And you have us.

Elementary

             ElementaryIMG_20150625_114513[1]

It is no longer elementary,
as time moves on…

From that age of innocence
and its carefree pace
To a greater challenge 
and a larger place
Taking along with it
the simplicity of that age
Anticipation, for the next act
on a ever-growing stage

No longer rudimentary,
as time moves on…IMG_20150625_114610[1]

To the high school years
and all that entails
Forming new friendships
and blazing new trails
Learning how to balance
an education, and the new
An ever-evolving perspective
and an ever-changing you

You’ll find it’s complementary,
as time moves on…

Years that work together
each with a vital role
Then and now, and next
are elements of the wholeIMG_20150625_115003[1]
Experiences and memories
are the parts to your sum
They make you who you are
and who you will become

…as time moves on

Inevitable


Inevitability

is a crutch.
Bracing us
for a life event 
that will hurt
so much.

Parents will pass.
This is known.

Inevitably,
at that moment,
we will feel alone.


An unavoidable test.

Right nor wrong.
Facing
a harsh reality
that will
come along.

Parents will pass.
This is known.

Inevitably,
and eventually
we lose our own.

tears bench


Inevitability
is a balm.
Easing

our sorrow.
Palliative
and calm.

Parents will pass.
This is known.

Inevitability,
comfort in knowing
that we are not alone.


Certainty arrives.

 It always does.
Focus
on
the memories.
The reassurance
of what was.

Parents will pass.
This is known.

Inevitability,
a life, a legacy…
inevitably
etched in stone.

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SAME

SAME

Eyes wide openIMG_20150330_112911[1]
Looking over at me
Awake in the wake.
        More beautiful
        More expressive
        More than I can take.

That same dream
The same image
         just as clear.

The same realities
The same memories
         find me here.


Still you are gone
Never coming back

Sadly taken away.
        Hard to accept
        Hard to understand
        Hard to even say

The same nightmare
That same visionbed - Copy
        of the very end.
The same horror
The same memories
         to comprehend.


Shock and disbelief
Second-hand news
First-hand pain.
        Taking my time
        Taking my sleep
        Taking me back again.

The same heartache
The same dream
         of once was.
The same nightmare
The same memories
        The same just because.

(more…)

Friends

 

                     FriendsIMG_202197205059992[1]


Friendships shape a life

Make it worth living
Memories from the gift
Memories in the giving

Connecting you to two lives
A defining link to your past
A certain part of your future
Friends first, and friends last

Remaining close in spirit
With no matter how far
It’s not just what you do
A friend is who you are

Inside jokes with just a glance
Self-effacing, imitation to the letter
Funnier from the shared experience
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The more absurd, the more the better
Acting your age always optional

Speak your mind, or from your gut
Colourful language, to be expected
Opinions matter, no matter what

Trusting that it stays here
The bond as strong as the word
The vault is always left open
But once it’s said, it is once heard
Criticizing when only required
Subtle reminders of any pretense
Calmly putting you in your place
And you knowing that it makes sense
Feet BW


Friendships shape a life

Make it worth living
Memories from the gift
Memories in the giving…

Hearing the hidden meaning
Of the thoughts left unsaid
The silence between the words
The struggles inside your head
Protecting necessary solitude

When reality takes its toll
Sharing pleasure, dividing pain
Two friends, a common soul

Staying right beside you
Throughout the unplanned
Still managing to realize
When they don’t understand
Strength in that number

The enduring power of twoIMG_20140701_131049[1]
Doing whatever it takes
And knowing
what to do


Friendships shape a life
Make it worth living
Memories from the gift
Memories in the giving

Connecting you to two lives
A defining link to your past
A certain part of your future
Friends first, and friends last
Remaining close in spirit
With no matter how far
It’s not just what you do
A friend is who you areMarley and Pete

 

 

 

 

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