Beau-frere. Beautiful Brother. How you say “Brother-in-Law” in French. And he is. Inside and out. I can’t say was — his heart still beats in his shell of a body. The heart of a lion that not even terminal sedation has been able to stop. Today may be the day his spirit is set free — we have been hoping for this day for several days. But he does not go gently, easily into eternal sleep — he will not let go. He loves too much. And he is so loved by his family, his friends, his co-workers, his community.
His last coherent words were “I must be the example.” Before that, he talked of the lights he saw around him, the angelic beings that were gathering above him, the vista where his ancestors were standing, calling him forward, to rise up into this new place, and to leave the pain, the anxiety, the nausea, the regret behind.
He was a man of quiet faith in the power of the Creator, the gifts of Mother Earth, the connections of the heart and blood and bone. He started receiving Reiki treatments to quell the anxiety produced by his terminal cancer diagnosis — esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, ever encroaching. Non-smoker, infrequent drinker, health buff, physically fit — now to his detriment as his heart is too strong and will not give up the fight for one more beat.
In his illness, he discovered the benefits of meditation, the power of gentle healing touch, the release of playing a frame drum by the river, crying and howling with rage and regret. Perhaps nothing supernatural was happening, perhaps only a connection to a primal spirit within himself that brought peace and release. He made things right with everyone, and left no words unsaid, deeds undone, or situations unresolved in his final weeks and days.
He loves the Blues. Heartbeat music. Songs of pain and trial and trouble and tragedy. Songs of love and longing, that mirrored his life choices. He was unlucky in love, consistently choosing women who were unreasonably jealous — primarily of his close familial relationships — to his Mom who lived on the next farm over, his sisters, cousins and kinfolk. Throwing things kind of jealous because he spent an evening helping a sister fix her chicken coop. Screaming rage kind of jealous when a sister visiting from out of town came for breakfast, stayed for coffee, helped with lunch in HER kitchen. Woman after woman wanting him only to themselves, isolating him if they could, until his heart reached the breaking point. His beautiful strong heart would bend, break, heal only to be bent and broken again and again. He was unable to learn from the pattern that repeated. His one unresolved regret that he takes into his next life.
He loved his dog team. His pack of sled-pulling Husky-crosses were wild to everyone except him. They were restless all summer, but with the first chill in the air, they were whining with anxiety, anticipating the start of the season to come, eager to start pulling. The first snow was the promise of long days spent running across fields, along the river. When there was enough snow, he would bring out the harnesses and the sled, and they would howl with delight as he laced them up into place. They would speed along the river, across the fields, man and dogs and sled and sun and snow and sky. His happiest times.
He loved to grow vegetables. He built greenhouses for herbs, peppers, tomatoes. He worked the soil to produce beautiful root vegetables, beans, peas, corn. He grew enough that he had a stand on the roadside next to his farmhouse to sell what was extra — what could not be consumed or preserved for the winter. There was such abundance, grown and tended with love. He inherited his mother’s green thumb, and read and implemented every best practice. He took great pride in his produce.
He took risks. He raised emus and made soap, shampoos, lotions and sold them throughout Quebec. He was a reluctant entrepreneur, who gave away as much as he sold, because he could see the benefits provided before the need to make profit. Children with skin conditions who would benefit the most from the healing oils in his soaps paid little or nothing.
He had no children of his own, other than his nieces and nephews, who felt he was a second father. He loved them greatly, played with them, taught them things, laughed and cried with them. They all came home to see him in the weeks before today. From BC, from NB, from AB and MB . Not being given the gift of his own children, he was amazing Dad to the children of his partners. They loved him like a second father. He loved them greatly, played with them, taught them things, laughed and cried with them.
And now we wait. My beautiful Beau-Frere. Love would keep you with us forever, but our greater love wants you to go. We will miss your booming baritone voice, your deep laughter that rocked the room. You cannot leave us because you will live forever in our bent and broken hearts. Too soon, you leave us too soon. But now is the time to go and be with your ancestors, who stand waiting — welcoming you. Prepare a place for all of us who love you. Show us the way home when it is time for us to meet again.
1:30pm — His great big heart finally rested on Jan 3, 2016 but his spirit lives on within the hearts of his family and friends.