Friday, December 21, 2012

Farewells of 2012

I attempted a year-in-review post, but the events of the past year can not be contained in one post. Today I will write of the farewells of 2012.

2012 contained many farewells for me. First, to the part of my life in which I was raising children. All three of my offspring are now adults, living in their own homes, paying their own bills, owning pets. This type of farewell can only be described as bittersweet. For 20 years, I have made decisions with them in the forefront of my mind. Now, as a good friend said, I need to just build my life, for my kids' plans may change in a moment. A whole different way of thinking.

Dawn Boudreau Music 2007-2012
Moving from Prince George brought on many other goodbyes. Letting go of my studio on Lillooet Street and the many students I have been teaching for years, seeing weekly -- sometimes more. Thankfully, the sweet memories we have will always remain. The studio was such a lovely place to practice, and we had so many wonderful performances and experiences! I shed quite a few tears watching the DVD I prepared as a gift to my Music Family, a slideshow of our years of Bouquet recitals set to songs that express how I feel about them. Especially, Thank You for the Music by ABBA. Watch the video here.

Although I did have a farewell party, I don't consider those goodbyes the same. All those people will always be a part of my life. True friendships and family ties will never end.

Wreck Beach Memorial to Professor Puff
The most difficult and sad farewells were far too close together. The first was Carter's closest friend, Michel Kelly, aka Professor Puff. He told Carter about his liver disease in April of this year. By June, Michel had become very ill, back and forth to the hospital. In July, he checked into the hospital for the last time. Puff left us at the end of July. Carter was beside him when he passed. He was a dear, kind, funny, generous man and his passing left a huge hole in the lives of many. Carter spent a lot of energy and time making sure Puff had the best and most fitting send-off. A comedy show in his honor was the first part of the process, appropriate for a man who brought so many laughs with his own stand-up. The second part of his memorial was a celebration at Wreck Beach. Many friends gathered in Michel's honor on August 12. A wreath was carried out to sea, which made its way back to shore. People said it was because Puff didn't want to leave. I think of him often. The time I knew him was short, but the many stories from Carter and others make me feel like I knew him more. I also know how happy he was to see Carter and me as a couple. He told lots of people the story of Carter and I meeting. Carter was very important in his life and vice versa.

Bill Hortie & Anne Landry 2012
When I moved down to Vancouver, I looked forward to spending more time with the people in Carter's life who I had previously only met briefly. One of these people was Carter's dad. His humor and lifestyle remind me a lot of my grandpa, Clarence Boudreau. When I met Bill Hortie, I realized why Carter had been such a familiar soul when we first met: he grew up around the same kind of people I did. In late October, Carter's dad broke the sad news to Carter and his brother that he had cancer of his esophagus. He was still awaiting further news on what steps to take next. Being 81 years old, he knew it could be a very hard fight. We had plans to visit Bill and his partner Annie on the Remembrance Day weekend. But the universe had other plans. On November 8, Bill Hortie suffered cardiac arrest and passed away in his home in Pemberton. Annie was with him when he passed. In hindsight, he went in the best way possible, at home, in the arms of his love. The suddenness was tragic and emotional for everyone. Bill Hortie's Celebration of Life was a beautiful and uplifting time. His life was full and rich and it finished off just the way he would have liked. Carter and his brother Reed both delivered touching eulogies full of humor and love. Bill lived many lifetimes, raised a number of families, and Loved. In one of his lifetimes, he played for the BC Lions inaugural team in 1954. Their tribute to him was held on the Sunday that followed his memorial. Carter and I attended the game where they held a moment of silence and displayed Bill's photo on the big screen. Watch Bill Hortie Slideshow here.

As we say farewell to 2012, I hope for a lot less goodbye-ing in 2013. We have had our share for now. Thanks. We look forward to more greetings and more Love.

Friday, December 14, 2012


It's a beautiful day in East Vancouver. The rain has stopped this morning, but there is still enough cloud cover to keep the city from being too cold. A perfect winter day in Vancouver.

In complete contrast to the day, on the other side of the continent, some disturbed young individual has taken his own life along with the lives of 20-some others, mostly children. I feel the sorrow of this tragedy in my heart for these people, parents losing children, children losing siblings and friends.

The emotion I feel most powerfully, though, is the same one I feel every day: Gratitude.

Gratitude for life.  For the lives of my three grown children, who I got to hug just last weekend. For my own life, filled with love and friendship and peace and joy. Seeing my parents and grandparents content and happy and healthy.

Much of my life has been spent yearning. I am learning to stop yearning and just be. This doesn't mean I don't have goals or things I look forward to. I am looking forward to my daughter's visit in about 9 days. I am looking forward to finding some work and making some money. I am looking forward to starting the next semester of school and eventually to getting my Bachelor Degree.

But the best part is now. Here. Alone. In this warm living room with the soft light. Coffee in my cup. Piano waiting for my touch.

I know that at the end of the day, the man I love will be here and we will laugh and care for one another and encourage each other's dreams and strengths.

Another day, I will tell some stories. But today, all I can express is Gratitude.