Posts Tagged ‘murderball’

Honouring, that’s a short title. It’s a simple process, too.

My friend, Taewon, lost his first friend this summer. Tae is a warm, friendly guy, I liked him the moment we met. He’s a young man who has made some serious decisions about his life, forging forward, taking risks, putting himself  “out there”. For a sensitive person, for an immigrant, for a person with mobility challenges, I admire his attitude all the more. new-handicap-sign_sq-b776123d4caffce16afc752c82caf50c6309eb02-s3-c85

The friend who died was especially close to Taewon, as I understand, because this was the first person to really see Taewon as a regular guy; he didn’t notice disability. He looked him in the eye, talked to him like he talked to everyone, included him in everything. And being regular, being just one of the gang is really the aspiration of almost everyone, with or without a disability.  Losing this someone who epitomized the word “friend” was seemingly too much to bear.

As the weeks went on and the grieving continued, I told Taewon about my way of handling those who have passed on in my life, and they are myriad. I honour them.

I honour them by embedding their names in my passwords, some of them are thought of several times a day as I type and retype their names. It’s private, it’s personal, it’s tiny… but a tribute nonetheless. Each person (and DOG) also has a specific memory or association. For example, in the BLOGPOST previous to this one, my recipe for RICE SALAD has a tribute to Gevin who first sent me Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning. I use it a lot. I buy it for others and give it as a gift. I tell people the “Story of Gevin” and how he came to mail me a box of goodies from Louisiana. I think of Gev when I cook. His memory is wholly embedded in my kitchen.  Larry is Single Malt Scotch. Mark is Chess….on and on it goes.

I explained this to Tae. Despite his wounded state, his comprehension was immediate. He smiled through misty eyes. “Beer,” he said. “I will remember him every time I have a beer because we drank beer together at SFU.”

“Perfect,” said I.

As the weeks passed, he still mentioned his friend a few times during our conversations. The panic was gone. He told me about the planned memorial, but gradually the focus of the conversations shifted away from his loss. Honour beer seems to be working.

I teased Tae by telling him I would honour him with a BLOGPOST. “I’m not dead yet!” He flashed me the grin that everyone is always pleased to see on the murderball court….but that’s another story.

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Yesterday I wheeled in the Port Moody Centennial parade from City Hall to Rocky Point Park (and back again). Our group, Mossom Creek Hatchery together with Noons Creek Hatchery joined displayed our our colourful fish to draw attention to the salmon and the streams. It would have been impossible for me to walk as I am too slow on my feet. I would not have been able to keep up the pace so I decided to join in and use my manual wheelchair. I am still, despite my sporadic use of it, in my opinion, fairly fast in my chair. Not sure of the hills and obstacles, I asked my amazing friend, Ruth Foster, to walk with me in case I should need a helping hand.

Asked if Rick Hansen is my inspiration to use my manual chair so independently, I have to answer honestly, “No!” Of course Rick is in inspirational guy. Personally I am inspired by Paul Gauthier, the man who kept me from being sent to a nursing home for the crime of being disabled; by Paul Caune, who fights with every mechanical breath to make sure that no one with a disability will ever be in that position; and Adam Frost and young Jessica Kruger, who managed to obtain me a sports wheelchair in weeks when a year of grant applications at G.F. Strong failed.

My hope is to continue to change the world in any way I can by helping others, through environmental stewardship, by advocating for people with disabilities, by working through government – one meme at a time. I am grateful for the opportunity.

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