I knew in October and after Thanksgiving that I needed to do something about Christmas. Something for me meant extracting myself from the usual social events. I knew in my heart that I would not cope well. I knew in my heart I needed to get past this occasion and calendar date somewhere where I could pretend it was not Christmas. Tofino would be the perfect location. Ron love Tofino, the seclusion, the beaches and the quiet.
My neighbours, Tim and Tara, knowing that I have Winston, suggested Pacific Sands Resort. When explored online and satisfied by telephone conversation I knew it was the perfect place for me. Not long after I booked I received a text message from Tara. “Do you mind if Tim and I are in Tofino for Christmas? “ “Absolutely not.” I replied. Do you mind if we stay at Pacific Sands too?” “Absolutely not.” I replied.
Winston and I left on the morning of December 23, yesterday in fact. I had predetermined that I would take my time – for my sake and for Winston. Lots of stops were in order.
As I drove through Duncan it came to me that I could call Karen in Ladysmith. Let me first say, I have never met Karen. Are you scratching your head? Karen and I have so much in common. We have a mutual friend, we both live aboard, we both maintain blogs and we both lost our husbands in 2011. Karen, if you are reading this, forgive me if my words bring tears to your eyes.
My friend Cecilia suggested Karen and I touch base. My friend Leanne was concerned that I would be connecting with a Negative Nellie and it would drag me down. Our connection has been anything but negative. In fact, I feel as though we have been friends for years the only twist is that we never met each other’s husband.
On January 5, 2010 there was the unfortunate event of a fire at the docks in Ladysmith. Karen’s husband, coincidently, suffered from a heart defect. While docks were burning and propane tanks were exploding, Jean-Luc collapsed on the dock. He never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at the hospital. Karen, like me, has an incredible amount of friends and neighbours who support her. Our stories only contrast in how our husbands died. Thirty-nine days after Jean-Luc died, Ron left our world for the next. The difference is I knew Ron was leaving me.
Oddly, when Karen reads my blog, she tells me I could be writing her story. I am sure now that it does not matter how one dies or if we know death is imminent the pain for those of us left behind is similar.
Let me tell you, Karen is a delightful person. I feel in my heart that we will have an ongoing friendship no matter where in the world we find ourselves. Believe it or not, Karen is not much taller than me, she too has some gray hair, her glasses are similar shape and we dress similar. Neither one of us wants to be negative or depressed; we are doers and will find our way. Karen, thank you for being home, thank you for meeting me.
After leaving Ladysmith I made my way to Coombs. I could not resist their fresh baked bread and of course, a spanakopita to eat on the way. Off we were again to Tofino. The roads were bare with very little snow in Sutton Pass. Once checked in to Pacific Sands, Winston and I strolled the beach. The rest of the day was peaceful and uneventful.
There is an old Norwegian proverb – There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Tofino constantly tests that proverb. Today was no exception. Today it was pouring rain. The prediction was for 20 mm. Winston and I strolled the streets of Tofino then headed back to our suite on the beach. Shortly after we dressed for the weather then explored and walked the thunderous beach once again. I cannot let Winston off leash. He is too deaf to hear me calling, especially in the roaring of the waves.
Tim and Tara arrived early afternoon and settled into their suite. I was invited for a fine Christmas Eve dinner of manicotti, Caesar salad and fine wine.
Tomorrow is Christmas. One year ago Ron gave me a Christmas card. I could not open it. I flat out refused. I knew it would be the last Christmas card I ever received from my husband, my friend, my love. I was not brave enough to open it, even for Ron. I have kept the card at my bedside the entire year. Tomorrow I will open it. I will be reading the last coherent message that Ron wrote in his own hand. I must say that at this moment as I write I am teary eyed, I am apprehensive. Ron knew too, it would be his last Christmas card to me. I can only imagine how he was feeling or what he was thinking. Tomorrow I shall see. Tomorrow will be Christmas in Tofino.