George died one year ago last Friday.
365 days. That's a whole friggin year. That is 365 days of realizing at some point of every day that he is no longer here and starting to ball. Because it still feels like he should come through the door any minute.
If I run down a hill imitating a plane these days, people just give me weird looks. Having someone that finds your strange quirks cute is priceless .
George got his very first passport one week before this picture. This trip was to be first of many. But it ended up being his only one.
|On the way to Rotterdam. Donkey !|
Some of George's relatives believe that he is with me in some way and sees what I see. If that is true in some way he has seen places in 8 countries these past 365 days, including Cologne, Antwerp, Bruges, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Kona, Paris, Saint Malo, Puerto Vallarta, Varadero, LA. He's also seen 4 Neil Young performances during that year; far too many for his taste ;-)
One of the many things I learned from George: Talk to animals and they will LOVE you up! When I hopped back on the bike after this picture, donkey galloped along on his side of the fence, his whole body bucking and his hind legs kicking at unseen targets in the air. He was having a blast !
But I'd be lying if I stated that my travelling is being motivated by being a world tour guide for the departed. Running away probably comes closer to the truth.
George would have been happy about the attendance at a memorial food feast at his grandmother's place on Saturday. 30 people ranging in age between 1 and 80 were there. Despite me being the only attendee without a trace of First Nations blood in the veins, I got more hugs in those few hours than from my blood relatives in the last few years. This feeling of being welcome was confirmed when Kookum, George's Grandmother and matriarch and trunk of that giant family tree said to me upon me leaving "Now you know where to find your family".
The day ended with yet another reminder not to postpone things too long. For about 6 years I have been helping Frau Besuch, an older Serbian/German/Canadian lady with her German tax issues. Every time I visited, she baked a cake and made Turkish coffee, which we sipped while we both smoked cigarettes. She had always asked me to visit for Christmas, but I had maintained a distance. But on Saturday it was her 90th birthday. I picked up the phone and dialled her number.
"The number you have dialled is not in service". Never in my life has that sentence had such a final ring to it. Good bye, Frau Besuch, it was a privilege and a pleasure knowing you. Evil had to hide when we were pointing our fingers at it during those caffeine-, nicotine-and cake-inspired meetings.
And yes, life is probably like a box of chocolates. I have been lucky enough to be able to pick my favourite tasting ones for a decade. But now they're gone. But it serves us well to remember that 1) Some people get a box with only crappy chocolate and 2) the rest of the stuff in my box might not be my favourite taste but it still is chocolate ;-)