Tag Archives: loss

“Distant Shores” – in memory of Paul

“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses. ” 
― Colette

Today, I grieve the loss of a dear soul. My wife’s cousin and my friend, Paul, passed away suddenly today after a valiant fight with the beast we call cancer. It’s a very sad time as I consider that tomorrow, I will see the dawn break, take a breath, and carry on with my day, a privilege denied to Paul.

Today, I think of my recent times with Paul, always aware of the illness within him, but always putting off what may happen tomorrow, till suddenly, tomorrow arrived and he is gone.

I consider the past few years of Paul’s life. Always a caring and deeply ethical person, he spent his last years largely rejected by the people who claimed to be his friends and support. Namely, the church he attended. The people who should have been his refuge and strength distanced themselves and put him down when all he sought was acceptance and caring. His church community took away everything that Paul cared for and gave him purpose. It makes me even sadder knowing that this situation went on, unresolved and my hope is that those who sought to harm him consider what they did to him.

For myself, I will miss his sense of humour, genuine caring, and commitment to anything he undertook. And while he may not always have had a bright smile on his face, he was a beautiful soul and the world is a lesser place with his passing.

I chose one of my recent paintings to share in Paul’s honour. The painting, named “Distant Shores” reminds me that we will meet again, though we don’t know where or when, but that meeting will be joyful.




“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.” 
― Charles Dickens

On January 2nd, 2019 the world, for me, became a bit less joyful. On reviewing my Facebook feed yesterday evening, I noticed that an old friend, Blair Koski-Klien, had “updated her story” which intrigued me, since she’s usually not one to do so.

I was surprised to find that the update had been written by her husband, Andy and was, in fact, an announcement of her passing, in the early hours of the morning, the final pages of her story. It felt quite surreal.

His words were beautiful and summed her up so well, yet I felt profoundly saddened at the news. You see, Blair, though we were not close friends, was one of the most genuinely joyful people I have ever met. If she had personal struggles, she soldiered through them with a bright smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.

That smile, that radiant, exuberant smile, is what I recall of Blair. Our life paths crossed for only a few years and we shared a circle of friends. I regret that I never got to know her real well. She was also a few years younger than me and though we would chat from time to time or meet socially, I must admit, I never really got to know the person. Such is life in our teens it seems.

Life continued on and our circle of friends went our separate ways. I thought of her occasionally, usually when I met someone like her, that smiling spark in the room, memories would surface, but nobody ever matched Blair. There was a contagious positive energy in her that brought life and laughter to any occasion.

Over the years, friends reconnected through Facebook and other social media and, eventually, Blair showed up. It was so nice to see where her life had taken her; to see her as a happy mother to her son, Carson, and wife to Andy. I’ve not had the pleasure to meet them, but I’m certain that her love and energy filled their home.

As I sit and consider Blair, tears fill my eyes, at the thought that this beautiful young woman has been taken from us. Today, the world feels a bit colder, a bit less joyful, and a bit emptier without her. Yet, through my sorrow, I see that face, that smile, and hear her laughter and it’s all OK again. I’m grateful to have known her for even a short time and she has made an impact on my life. My regret is not to have been able to tell her that while she was still with us, something so many of us are guilty of.

There are so many people who enter our lives, though briefly, who have a subtle yet profound impact on our lives. We may not realize it at the time but when we do, it’s important that we acknowledge it and let them know. Our time here is often brief and unpredictable and we need to let those who enrich our lives with theirs know just how important they are to us.

One of God’s bright lights has gone out, leaving us seeking it’s light, and knowing it’s still shining, unseen by us, in places we have yet to see.

RIP Blair