Every morning that I wake up and happen to be Canadian is like winning the lottery over and over again.
I write this in my formative city of Winnipeg, two thousand miles away from my home in East Van. Been a minute since I've been here in the summer and I am very grateful for the comforting warmth of the sunshine after the persistent spring rains of the lower coast. The plus 30 days are too hot for even the prairie's infamous mosquito armies. Our sunshine days are coming out West, I know, but it's just so lovey to have the sun around as an ally right now, in these moments.
Riding the streets, huge elms hug over the long sidewalks and the thoughtful strangers on them. Same as the day I left; the spicy, confident men & sassy, capable women you meet over and over in this city. There was an open, joyful and unmistakably mischievous vibe in the streets on Canada Day. All the stores are closed. Corydon Avenue & Osbourne Village blocked from traffic. The bars open. Music playing in the streets everywhere. My old city, crowned in the blue collar of endless horizon. No ocean, no mountains, just skies.
I'm very, VERY grateful that a cozy cork-floored yoga studio has somehow popped up within biking distance of my mom's little house, and that Kegan just happened to have a semi-rusted 1950s cruiser lying around in his garage with a basket that actually has the word "Vegetables" carved into the front. These do not seem in the least like coincidences. He pumps the tire and oils the chain. I look up and give thanks.
I am grateful to still have Kegan here, now and always... that best friend here since childhood, who reminds me he is by my side or within one phone call's reach. I tease him about being the only person alive not on Facebook, especially now that my mother has joined the ranks. He laughs and says I should get a T-Shirt that says, "My Best Friend Is Not On Facebook" and wear it everywhere at every minute of every day. Fucking Kegan. So. Fucking. Grateful for him.
I am grateful for my beautiful mother who insists on keeping her sense of playfulness firmly rooted at the base of all her actions, even now, albeit understandably weakened at present. I look in awe at the recent photos of her performing for rows of impossibly-attentive children and ask "How do you get them to stay so quiet and still?" to which she scoffs, almost shaking off the question, and replies matter of factly, "Well, you know, magic and stuff."
I am grateful for my youngest sister, Heather, whose love and careful attention is evidenced in every nook and corner of my mother's house. It's almost like the house gives a sigh of relief when she walks in the door, the car parked safely in the little carport and the dogs jumping happily up and down the way dogs do when they they love the absolute fuck out of you, and they can't wait to feel your hands ruffle over them.
Above all I am grateful for this life. And I am grateful to have had the chance to spend so much of it with my sister Chelsey.
And, finally, I am BEYOND grateful for my incredibly loving, unbelievably supportive friends. After a several attempts (and trust me, I tried) to describe it, I am resigning to the fact that words just cannot adequately describe how much your kindness & support has helped me in the past few days. It has made SUCH a difference, not just for me but for all three of us. The love we have felt has brought me to a whole new level of understanding. It's astounding. It astounds me.
I am humbled by you, by the universe, and by pretty much everything at the moment.
Chelsey's memorial service will take place on Wednesday July 4th at
7:00pm CST at Coutu Funeral Chapel, 680 Archbald, Winnipeg MB. Please
feel free to come by & light a candle; or, if you wish, light
one for her from wherever you may be.