Saturday, October 12, 2013

One Week to E-Day

I would guess that each of us that is married, with a partner, or in love with someone, has a song that reaches into the depths of our hearts and pulls out the range of sweeping and powerful emotions that reside there, connected to that special someone.  I recently shared with Heather that her song (for me), the one that I would sing and play for her if I had those skills, is "Tomorrow in Her Eyes" by Ron Sexsmith.

It was the song that sustained me when she not well and the doctors struggled to find a way to reduce her discomfort and pain back a couple of years ago.  It is the song that sustains me today, when we are away from each other.

I see tomorrow in her eyes
And where my future lies
So I don't need a crystal ball
At all because I've seen tomorrow In her eyes

Whenever life tears us away
I'll hold on to the words we say
And if I have to wait awhile
Then I'll be dreaming of tomorrow
And her smile

We went to see Ron Sexsmith at Keyano Theatre last night, on the eve of our 11th wedding anniversary.  I had sent him a message on Twitter about an hour before the show: Welcome to Fort McMurray! See you soon. "Tomorrow in Her Eyes" for Heather if you feel inspired. Our anniversary tomorrow.

He responded almost immediately with I'll certainly try - RS.  He puts his initials at the end of any tweet that he writes, as opposed to the ones crafted by his communications people.

Ron was in fine form last night, singing a mix of songs from his long career that stretches back to the mid 1980s. Near the middle of the show, he had all his band members leave the stage and he sat down at the piano for the first time.

"Shortly before the show," he said, "I had a special request.  This song is for Heather.  It is a beautiful love song."

I got all choked up, Heather's head snuggled into my shoulder, listening to her song.  It was a magical moment and a great way to acknowledge and celebrate the gift of having Heather in our lives, in my life. Happy anniversary Honey!


I was flying back from Calgary last weekend, having attended a two-day conference with non-profit leaders from across Canada, feeling the incredible fatigue and weight associated with an election campaign that has been littered with emotional ups and downs.  It started off with fireworks on day one as a former Minister, MLA, Mayor and Councillor decided to run for a seat in our ward with the reasoning being that he was hearing that "the inmates are running the asylum".  I took offence to the comment and wrote a rebuttal piece on my blog which I then forwarded on to the media.  For the next week I was in the eye of the proverbial storm being pitted against this unusual suspect who came out of the woodwork to the shock of most of us.

As I sat on the plane reflecting on the past three weeks, and the assorted non-election things that have also been happening, I said to myself that I needed to draw how I felt.  The pen started in the middle and went from quadrant to quadrant, almost by magic, contrasting the negative and cold vibrations that have seemed so predominant, with the soft and warming curves of the foundations of my life, centred and rooted by family.  I felt so much better by the time the pilot announced that we were "making our final descent into Fort McMurray."

"Excuse me, but is that a mind map you were drawing," said the passenger who was seated behind me on the Sunjet, Suncor's corporate bird that was taking us all home.

"Uhh, yes," I said tentatively, not realizing that someone had been watching.

"I've never seen one being drawn in real life," he said.  "That is quite a skill, one that I wish I had."

I gave him a closer look at the finished product, thanked him, got off the plane, collected my bags, and happily headed home.  It was good to be back.


While I had been away, Dylan had gone with his mom to see Boeing Boeing at Keyano Theatre, a raucous comedy that Heather and I had enjoyed the weekend before.  An innocent question about what he thought of the show triggered a flood of feelings that he had been holding back for quite some time.  A trickle became a torrent and he purged for several hours about how unhappy he has been at his new school, feeling isolated and alone, unable to connect.

God bless him for being able to open up and begin to process what he was going through.  Being a true extrovert, he needed to vocalize and share in order to find a way out of the funk he was in.  Conversations with us, with his Fort McKay family, a school counsellor, and friends confirmed and reinforced his eventual decision to transfer from Holy Trinity to Composite High School, adjacent to Keyano College.   He signed in and started yesterday morning.  The effect was immediate.

Apparently, as he walked down the halls, heads were turning left, right and centre.  "What the?" was followed by "Was that Dylan?"

He was back on familiar territory, with his tribe, his gang from Dr. Clark School who had made the leap to Composite back in September.

He owned the decision to go to Trinity, and he owned the decision to transfer.  We are grateful to everyone who supported him through this transition and thankful for the courage he showed in facing his feelings and making the tough decision of how best to move forward.


As the clock winds down on the election campaign - the votes will be counted next Monday, October 21st - Dylan, Ben and I are anxiously awaiting the start of rehearsals for Les Misérables.  We were all delighted to find out that we had been cast in the show that will be opening in February 2014.

Ben will be a member of the youth gang.  Dylan will be one of the thugs in Monsieur Thenardier's gang.  I get to play the lascivious, lecherous and loutish "Master of the House".  We are all thrilled, especially because Claude will be returning to direct.


We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, that you are able to pause and reflect on the gifts we have been given in this life, and the people who make is so special.  Lots of love from all of us to all of you.


  1. Love, Love, Love, Love this one! Thank you for writing it, Russell. I love you so much!