I quickly calculated that he'd have been 63 years old today. I wonder what he would have been like now. My memories of him are of a tall, handsome man with brilliant blue eyes and a sense of humour that totally cracked me up. He was highly intelligent; loved hockey, golf, and tennis (in his younger years); and was a real family man.
When we were expecting our first child, my older sister loaned me the crib she'd used for her two sons. Since we didn't have a garage, Brian lugged it over to his parents' house to paint it. I recall sitting on a lawn chair the summer before Jamie arrived, facing the open garage, and watching him paint the crib white with yellow trim. He worked so hard on that crib, making sure that everything was perfect. And when she arrived late in October, he was so thrilled that she had "chubby cheeks" just like me. (Well, I could have done without that comparison!) Three and a half years later, Jaclyn arrived and she used the same crib, freshly washed and made up just for her.
Brian would do anything for his girls. He took them horseback riding both here and in the interior where we'd spend our summers at the cabin. He taught them to swim and water-ski and took them fishing. He built bonfires every evening and serenaded us all with songs as he played his guitar. Jaclyn now has that guitar and treasures it and the memories it invokes. I think two of the songs she remembers the most are "Puff the Magic Dragon" and The Animals' "House of the Rising Sun." He gave them opportunities to do figure skating, ballet, soccer, skiing, and other sports. He gave us all the opportunity to live in Ottawa, our capital city, for almost three years leaving us with a wealth of memories about that part of our country.
Brian made sure we all had the best Christmases we could afford, and even sometimes more so, to my chagrin. Every Christmas Eve, after they'd had their bath, he'd read "The Night Before Christmas" to the girls. He also made sure the girls had fantastic birthdays, sometimes with their friends and sometimes just with family. And he made sure they knew all about caring for their pets - the cat Velvet, the two dogs Cassie and Star, and even goldfish.
Yes, we had many adventures together, both before and after our daughters were born. Unfortunately, illness took its toll on him and the good life vanished before our eyes. It took me a long, long time to get over his loss and my daughters still, to this day, mourn him. But we must move forward with our lives.
Right: last photo I have of the girls with their Dad at Christmas 1991. Jaclyn was 11 1/2 and Jamie was 15.
I'll never forget his telling me that he wanted me to find someone else - someone to love and be loved by. It's taken almost two decades for that to happen, but even though I'm happily moving forward in the direction he wanted for me, Brian will always be a part of my life.