October 3, 2006

Death, and Birth (y'know, just the light stuff this week)

Overnight on September 27th, 2006, family man and avid fisherman Gordon Loutit lost his battle with lymphatic cancer. He’d been in the hospital for three weeks before he snagged snag the big fish that carried him upstream and away from us. It's said that a graceful death is the ultimate acheivement in life, and for all the months he was sick, and for all the weeks he was in hospital, there wasn't one complaint to be had...

...I first met Gord at Kate’s high school graduation in the spring of 1997—that was only the second “date” Kate and I went on, and needless to say, it's an odd thing to one's ENTIRE family all in one fell swoop so early on in a relationship. But that's what happened, and among the family members present: Gordon Loutit.

Technically he’s a neighbour, but more appropriately he’s been a father figure for Kate since she was born. As a young girl, Kate would spend hours at Diane and Gord’s house across the back lane when Kate’s mum was at work. In later years, when parental supervision didn’t matter, Kate could still be found over at the Loutit house, sitting in the kitchen drinking tea and eating brownies.

Gord would tell a fishing tale to anyone that would lend an ear, talk about the fishing show he caught on TV the night before, or tell stories about near anything for that matter. He loved to talk about construction projects going on around the city and province, to gripe about government, and fume about cost over runs on this and that. With a gleaming eye, a grin and a chuckle, Gord managed to pull me into one of his fishing stories at that high school grad of Kate's back in 1997. All I had to tell him was that I was from Kamloops, and that I hear he liked to fish. From there, I was told everything I could have wanted to know about the waters around Kamloops and the marine life that inhabited them. Instead of being a fish out of water, I was made to feel as comfortable with their family as I could have hoped.

Not an entirely docile creature, Gord would be quick enough to tell his grandkids to go play in traffic if they were annoying him, and would be more than happy to tell you when you’re wrong. But on the other hand, if you needed a ride to Timbuktu, he’d be the first to offer it. And if you needed something when you got there, he’d give you the shirt off his back. And naturally, he’d be there to pick you up when you wanted to get home again. Kate was ferried back and forth by Gord more times than she could ever count.

There’s a family that misses you now, a groove in the TV room chair that no one else will be able to fill, and a particular fish-motif coffee mug in the cupboard above the sink that will sit empty. Here’s to hoping the fishing ‘Up There’ is better than it ever was down here…

Tight lines, Gordie. We love ya.


And now, on to new life... An update on the happy news I mentioned last time about my Sister in law being "with Child" as they say...

We got Pictures, baby! (pun intended...)
Here's the first ultrasound of the wee one! The Docs say he / she is perfectly healthy so far with a strong heart, and Dina reports that she can feel the baby moving around in her tummy now... in true Dina fashion, she likens this feeling to 'indigestion'...

I'm not entirley sure what to make of these pictures thus far... on the first image, my future neice / nephew looks a bit alien, and the second image looks more jellybean than human :) No doubt there's all sorts of cuteness just waiting to be formed! and it's perhaps more exciting to see the pictures than it was to hear the announcement in the first place---It's real now!!

That all being said, it was my brithday this week, as well as Dina's brithday, which falls on this very day! Given those facts, and amidst the birth and death going on around me, I can't help but remind myself that in between, there's lots of life to live!

"To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted..."

Ecclesiastes 3