Back in December, Erinn and I heard through the grapevine that a dear Dale friend had passed away. We sought out confirmation, but neither the hospital, the police, nor the coroner’s office had any news for us.
So we held onto hope that we would see him around the neighbourhood…but the days turned into weeks, which turned into months. Erinn and I both wrote blogs about him, in attempts to process our sadness that he seemed to be gone.We were contemplating holding a memorial, but didn’t feel right about that since we didn’t actually know if he had died.
And then, through the persistence of another dear friend, we discovered that he was alive, and safe!! Erinn and I went to see him yesterday, and it was like seeing someone who had been raised from the grave. While he isn’t well physically, he is living, sober, and still very much his hilarious, grumpy self. It was SUCH a joy to see him, and I can’t wait to go see him again.
As Easter nears, I am so grateful for this reminder that resurrection hope is real. While this friend will eventually pass away, along with the rest of us, death does not have the final word. Hope will not disappoint us.
I was listening to the morning news a couple of days ago when I learned that Richard Wagamese, one of my favourite Canadian authors, had passed away at age 61. While many of the other news stories were saddening, this piece of news broke my heart.
I heard Mr. Wagamese speak at my sister’s graduation ceremony at Lakehead University a couple of years ago, and was struck by his humour and his humility. I went home to Toronto and immediately read his novel “Medicine Walk”, and then “Indian Horse” and then “One Story One Song”. These books have shaped who I am, and how I think. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of his books in the coming months and years.
I am so grateful for Richard’s courage in sharing his perspective and experience as an indigenous person, and for gently inviting others to understand things from his point of view. He had a beautiful way of sharing really difficult content in such a way that you felt invited into becoming part of the solution.
Today is the second anniversary of the passing of my friend Iggy. Like Richard Wagamese, Iggy experienced a great deal of trauma in his life, simply because he was aboriginal. And, like Richard Wagamese, he had an incredible spirit of humour and humility. I learned so much from Iggy about community and vulnerability, and it was a true honour that he considered me a friend. Like Mr. Wagamese, Iggy shared deep and painful memories of his own past, but (usually) in such a way that we, his community, felt welcomed into his healing journey.
I am grieved that these two men are gone, but deeply grateful that they both left behind such wonderful works of art – literary art, visual art, and the beauty etched on our hearts.
Iggy with Greg Paul (pastor at Sanctuary)