Friday, 14 October 2016

Retracting A Retraction

I am struggling to find the right words here. I am in awe, once again amazed at the group of friends who have gathered around me to see me through this most difficult journey. They do so much for me, so incredibly much for me, always at the expense of their own time and money, always ungrudgingly, always looking for a way to make things work. With them and my daughter Kate, I have an awful lot going for me, a lot of reason to stay alive.

Yesterday I said I had decided to retract my decision to go to Saskatoon. Today I am retracting that retraction. Yesterday I wrote my blog post with a cloud of sadness hanging over me. I was faced with the decision to not go to my friend Murray's wedding. I could not find a companion to go with me. That is perfectly understandable. All of my friends are people with their own lives to live. So I sucked it up and went to dinner.

Last night was Emma's 10th "brainiverary". On October 13th, 2006, Emma went in for a brain surgery which was to change her life in ways beyond measure. Emma had a brain arteriovenous malformation. An AVM, as it is called for short, is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain. If left alone, it will eventually rupture, causing bleeding in her brain, killing her.

Surgery, on the other hand, is never simple when it comes to the brain. In Emma's case, surgery caused a massive stroke, rendering her left side unusable. For the last ten years, and even now, she works to rebuild her body and her life. She is an amazing woman, strong and resilient, and I was happy to be with her, and a group of our friends, to celebrate her life, and her progress in living it.

Anne was there too, another of the friends in our group. In fact Anne was one of the people I asked about going to Saskatoon. However she is involved in a cancer run on Sunday, a cause very personal to her. I had asked my friend David, too. He also had an event on the weekend; he is hosting a Saturday morning social event. So that was that. No Anne. No David.

Then, as we were sitting down to dinner, Anne said "Why don't I ask David if I can do the hosting for him on Saturday?" She assured me she didn't mind, and I know that David would trust her to take over. Anne might be the only person David would trust to take over! I said "yes" so fast it made my own head spin. Then Anne said, "I'll call him when I get home; I forgot my cell phone." You would be amazed at how fast my own crippled hands and arms got my cell phone out of my pouch and pre-dialed David's number for her. Lightening draw with the cell phone!

Anne and David talked, discussing arrangements and things to be done. David said he would call back in 10 minutes. It wasn't more than a couple of minutes and my phone rang. It was David. I accepted the call and handed the phone to Anne. They talked, and she said David was in. Then I talked to David and he assured me we could get away in the early afternoon, that I should not worry about booking the hotel as we could do that on the road. and that he was happy to do this for me.

I find myself in tears once again. This time it is the overwhelming sense of gratitude and support I feel, the love of the people around me, the people who do so much for me. I may have a shitty disease, but I am a pretty lucky guy. Both of these people had rearranged their own busy lives, coordinating their efforts, so I could go to Saskatoon. These are the gifts with which I am blessed. These are the friends with which I am blessed.


  1. Your sir are blessed with wonderful friends... And you can not put a price on something like that..

  2. You have the best friends , Richard. Thanks Ann and David.

  3. You have the best friends , Richard. Thanks Ann and David.

  4. This is a truth I have discovered on my own journey. So delighted that you'll get your trip Richard. Thank you Ann & David! <3

  5. So so happy to read this post. A big thank you to Ann and David. Richard: you are a very special friend too 😊

  6. Richard, our second serendipitous chance meeting and dinner last night left me thinking through the night and as I woke this morning. Meeting up with you again and meeting your amazing friend, David, was a great gift. I hope, when we are all back in Alberta, we can meet up again. Until then, savour every moment of Murray's wedding and the blue sky against the prairies on the way home. See you soon.