15 February 2010

Valentine's Day

Despite all the elation of Canada winning two medals yesterday and the gold that breaks the Canadian home-soil curse, I ended up spending a lot of hours just wandering around the Olympic sites and the seawall in reflection, not really motivated to join in on the party.

It was difficult to see all the guys around the city heading home with bouquets of flowers knowing that I was the odd guy out...alone at Valentine's day, not by choice. I would sort of look like an outlier datapoint in a Venn Diagram...not in the 'couple' circle, but not in the 'single' one either; somewhere in a bubble not really connected to either of the two main groups. Sunday, Feb. 14 was the official one-month date since Murad died. Things are still very hard. I am distressed at how up-and-down I feel from day to day. There is no consistency in how I feel from hour to hour. I had a wonderful night out with our friends on Saturday night, but on Sunday I was moody and distant again. It's very weird. It's very easy for me to get myself out of social situations these days, which is very atypical.

I tried to get into the excitement and spirit of the Olympic events yesterday. Once they started tooting all the patriotic 'I Believe' stuff after Bilodeau's win, I became upset even more since I knew how excited Murad was about the Olympics and how passionate he was about cheering for Canada. He had the full ensemble of Vancouver 2010 gear from the Olympic Superstore (only made crazier by his HBC discount!) and we were planning on attending lots of events together. Every time I see someone wearing his 2010 hat or the red 2010 t-shirt, it makes me think of him. We were going to be 'blue and green' wherever we went over the next couple of weeks. I wanted so much to go to some Olympic events with him and even though I have had the opportunity now to go to a few ticketed events, it just doesn't seem the same to go without him and I have, so far, turned down any offers to buy tickets to anything. It was the same as the Palm Springs trip...I was physically there, but not mentally. Nothing seems to feel as good as it should because Murad isn't there and I know how much more special each situation would be if he was. I keep imagining how much more happy I would be sharing all these experiences with him; a situation, or an event that is going on, and that with him not being there, the situation is muted, less colorful, less joyous. I guess this is all very normal, but it sure isn't very fun and it's not very consistent which makes it even more frustrating.

Seeing all the couples yesterday walking the Seawall holding hands, arm in arm, in the restaurant windows....to express any emotional currency to anyone these days does not interest me...my self-confidence has been shattered as has my propensity to express anything emotional through that lack of confidence. Out of obligation I feel that I have to divest in certain situations, but I so don't really care that much right now to actually put a lot of effort into it. It really sucks as I love my friends and I love meeting new people, normally...

I stopped at Sunset Beach very close to Murad's apartment and sat on the logs on the beach for a while in the dark. I was within view of the beautifully-lit trees at the corner of Beach and Bidwell, which was one of our favorite spots, and under the floodlights of Vectorial Elevation. The water in English Bay was very calm. It was a nice spot to sit and think about the past two months and how they have changed my life forever.

Eventually things will brighten. I mean, they have to, right? I know that right now I'm dwelling on things that were and might have been and not thinking about how things are. The shock is gone but the disbelief isn't. In time I will accept this new reality. In time I will get my bearings back and start getting comfortable approaching life as 'just me' again. I keep thinking that this has to happen soon for my own sanity, but it isn't happening quickly, and I have to accept that it takes some time to process all this through my tiny brain. I will be able to move on once I fully appreciate that Murad is no longer a part of my physical and emotional life.

When I start to honestly think about this, it really feels like I'm starting all over again. I don't like this very much. It's like I might have just as well moved to Vancouver right now as opposed to almost ten months ago since I feels like I've undergone a reboot of my entire system over the past month.

I will go to Murad's gravesite after work again today to spend a few minutes with my Valentine.

I hope that everyone that had someone to celebrate Valentine's Day or the wins for Canada with did so to the fullest extent of love, passion, and emotion they could share with that person or group of people. It can all change so quickly; suddenly all that you take for granted and enjoy so much is gone and you're left standing dumbfounded amongst a bunch of shattered pieces of your life. I guess in the whole scheme of things everything is terminal but while things are going good, we should all enjoy them as much as we possibly can, not just on Valentine's Day but every day.

13 February 2010

We Are More

“We Are More” by Shane Koyczan

When defining Canada
you might list some statistics
you might mention our tallest building
or biggest lake
you might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada
you might rattle off some celebrities
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie
might even mention the fact that we’ve got a few
Barenaked Ladies
or that we made these crazy things
like zippers
electric cars
and washing machines
when defining Canada
it seems the world’s anthem has been
” been there done that”
and maybe that’s where we used to be at
it’s true
we’ve done and we’ve been
we’ve seen
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks
but when defining Canada
don’t forget to mention that we have set sparks

we are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away
we do more than sit around and say “eh?”
and yes

we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines
but we’re more than just hockey and fishing lines
off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes
and some say what defines us
is something as simple as please and thank you
and as for you’re welcome
well we say that too
but we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized
we are young
we are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design
is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history
we are an experiment going right for a change
with influences that range from a to zed
and yes we say zed instead of zee
we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy
we dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow
we do more than grow wheat and brew beer
we are vineyards of good year after good year
we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing now that so many of us
have grown past what used to be
we can stand here today

filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like “someday”

someday we’ll be great
someday we’ll be this
or that
someday we’ll be at a point
when someday was yesterday
and all of our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say someday

we will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration
because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks
more than backpacks and hiking trails
we are hammers and nails building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across
we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss
we are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others
we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers
uncles and nephews aunts and nieces
we are cousins
we are found missing puzzle pieces
we are families with room at the table for newcomers
we are more than summers and winters
more than on and off seasons
we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or do
we live to get past what we go through

and learn who we are
we are students
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why
we don’t have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more
we don’t all know what it is in life we’re looking for
so keep exploring
go far and wide
or go inside but go deep
go deep
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you’ve been through hell and high water
and you went deep
keep exploring
because we are more
than a laundry list of things to do and places to see
we are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate
we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can’t wait
we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes
a country that is all the ways you choose to live
a land that can give you variety
because we are choices
we are millions upon millions of voices shouting
” keep exploring… we are more”
we are the surprise the world has in store for you
it’s true

Canada is the “what” in “what’s new?”
so don’t say “been there done that”
unless you’ve sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun
don’t say you’ve been there done that
unless you’ve been here doing it
let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old
let us be the story told to your friends
and when that story ends
leave chapters for the next time you’ll come back
next time pack for all the things
you didn’t pack for the first time
but don’t let your luggage define your travels
each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry
we are the true north
strong and free
and what’s more
is that we didn’t just say it
we made it be.


03 February 2010

Warm Sands

This morning was difficult. I got to YVR at around 6:45 late late late and Westjet had already closed the gate for my flight to Palm Springs. The check-in staff managed to get me through but I don't think they expected me to make the flight since I had to get through security and U.S. Customs and the flight was to begin boarding at 7:10. Another testament to not bringing any carry-on crap...I was at the gate at around 7:20. The flight was in the air at 7:50. YVR is getting streamlined for some reason; good for them! :)

I got choked up a few times on the flight. The original reason for a large part of this trip was planned as a recuperation trip for Murad once he got out of the hospital. We had planned to hang out by the pool, check out the Palm Springs gondola and the shopping centers in Palm Springs and Palm Desert and some of the other sites such as Andreas Canyon and the Wind turbine tours. I had a picture we took of us in our seats on our flight to Chicago in November that brought me to tears again. It just seems to surreal to be doing this trip without him. Now it's just a trip alone for me to try and catch a grip on my life again and lick my wounds. I can't put into words how much I miss him.

I've been reading a book called "Life After Loss" that my friend Neall gave me and quite often passages in it will choke me up. Today I came upon part of the grief healing exercises where it suggests writing letters to your lost one at particular intervals over the first year of grieving and to read the letters regularly until you can do it without breaking down. I think this is a great idea and will be an exercise I will begin attempting tomorrow. I know most of what I want to say to him, but I want to be sure that I don't miss anything...I'm looking at this as being a one-time deal, as if he's only going to be able to hear me read it to him only once, therefore it needs to be as complete as possible. I am planning more thoughtful (and not so sleep-deprived) hours at the pool tomorrow so this will be a good thing to do.

Tomorrow I am also planning on going to the El Paseo shopping district. Tomorrow afternoon is the El Paseo Art Walk, I think it might be interesting to check out.

Friday will be a complete pool deck day before the Los Angeles crew shows up for the weekend in the evening.


I have something that's bothering me. I went to Murad's gravesite last Friday evening before coming downtown after work. The week after the funeral I had put two beautiful roses on his grave along with a picture of him with some writing on the back. On Friday, one of the roses was gone. It didn't blow away; there are other flowers there. I'm not sure what to make of this and I'm trying to not let it bother me but it does cross my mind again from time to time. There was no indication with what I left there who might have written the notes and put the picture and roses there, so I'm not sure why someone would take one of the roses? First I thought that someone else in the cemetery needed a flower, thus took one from Murad's grave since there were two there, but that sounds kinda stupid. Then I thought maybe someone thought having two there was 'inappropriate', thus removed one. Maybe it was offensive to have two there? I'm not sure. I don't really understand this, but it kinda bugs me. I think it's sort of insensitive, like someone is judging someone else's grieving process. Sorry, I just needed to rant about it.

Okay, I'm off to bed. Good night.