Category Archives: Anniversary

Nine photos of Chad that instil happiness

It’s that week again.  Just when I think I might not be as teary as last year, my heart squeezes a little tighter, a solid lump lands in my throat and tears push their way out  my eyes.

Sometimes it happens when I don’t even feel sad, but something inside of me knows the timing.

As I couldn’t get a sentence out after our Monday morning run, Karyn reminded me “Well, for the past six years this week is always been a hard one. It’s just tough.” She’s right.

It is tough. But since sadness hits me whenever it feels like it, I’m not going to wait up for it.  Instead, I’ve spent tonight looking through photos of Chad with his friends, photos of us, and remembering how funny, goofy and happy he was.

November 28th doesn’t pass without thinking of Chad – but then again, neither does any other day.

Here are nine photos that capture moments and friendships that have such strong memories attached to them, they take me back and I can laugh at it all again.

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After a half an hour of party plotting, Chad was scooped and tossed in to the North Shore Winter Club pool. My job was to get his cell phone before he went in…but I forgot.

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Chad and my brother at a Keith Urban concert. (I don’t know why we went, but we did.)
His loud “eeeewwwwiiieee!” cowboy noises can be heard through this photo.

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Our first (and only) camping trip. We stayed in his jeep.
The tent belonged to our friends. 

(Can you hear his hisss?)

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Laura, Chad & Matt as the leads in our Saturday night Rock Band group. 
“Wanted, Dead or Alive” was a fan Chad favourite.
Chad wore his grandfather’s fedora every. time.

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Before I went back to college, Chad and I showed up to my send-off party separately, dressed like leprechauns.  
Him, with questionable facial hair decisions.
Me, with bad hair decisions. No questions.

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On a road trip I shot a snap pea at Chads head. It landed in his ear and stuck.
It took a few minutes to be able to talk again. 

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I’d never seen a group of adults laugh so hard than when Chad and his tennis friends had a Christmas party.
I was late and walked in to a decibel of laughter I hadn’t heard before.
When I see this picture, I still can hear it.

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The affection he shared with his friends.

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And lastly, if you’ve ever watched Charles Barkley’s golf tee-off, it’s most comparable to watching Chad Warren putt.

chadgolf

(Stealthy taken by Matt on his blackberry)

 

You’re happiness here with us, made me happy tonight Chaddy.

I’ll talk to you soon. xo

To Eva, Love Red.

The only reason Eva and I stayed in touch after high school was because of Beth.  Beth kept Eva up-to-date on my college life and visa versa – Beth fielding questions from both of us asking about the other’s dating life, travel plans etc.  Once school finished and our return-flights from wherever we were traveling brought us home, we were all in hometown, New Westminster. Beth arranged a night for the three of us to get together (in Eva’s bedroom, flopped on her bed and floor – high school style) – that was the night we realized we had that Anne of Green Gables like bosom buddy friendship. 

I’ve got Beth (or as I call her: Red) to thank for my friendship with Eva, and for that I am deeply thankful. 

Beth shared this letter with me last night, and with her permission, I’m sharing it with you. It serves as a kind reminder that even though time passes, the impact someone has on us after their gone – remains in full force. 

beth2
Dear Eva,

The snow has finally begun to melt. Tiny patches of green emerging through the salty grey mass of ice that has slid onto the city since what feels like Thanksgiving. I really never thought I’d be where I am now five years ago. Now I am living back east, drinking milk out of bags and explaining to everyone back home I don’t live in Toronto but yes I do live in Ontario. I must say I am pleasantly surprised at how things turned out. My few week stint out here became a permanent move. Did you think I could survive without Kits and the ocean….neither did I!

Spring to me, to us, always meant endless possibility. It was in March, before your birthday, that dreams of plans for adventures would begin. Because of course they took planning. Parties, trips, ideas. Like that time we wanted to go camping on Galiano as soon as possible, as soon as the campground opened. We needed maps and gear, and everything else in your garage. Realistically we ended up going in mid June instead of early May, but we were better for it. At least our tans (well burns) were. Remember that white crush shell beach? We spent what felt like hours in the water, balancing the need to eat with the joy of needing to be exactly where we were. In my office sits a photo that you took of a carving you made in an arbutus tree. I can’t remember if it’s from that weekend or another one we spent there, but it says “Galiano is Heaven.” Wasn’t that the truth.

I just found that necklace the other day, the whales-tail good charm luck one. We got them together at a roadside market where we stopped to find a bathroom. Who knows what you find when you stop to pee right?

Anyways, this spring is getting off on the right foot. All my “grown-up” things are covered. But I won’t lie, I’m itching for some adventure. A bit of unexpected in my weekend maybe. Weird that I have an actual weekend now, like the rest of the “grown-ups”. Except instead of looking forward to a far flung adventure we didn’t know the ending to, I look forward to time. Time with my family, my friends, my loves. After all, isn’t that what we did all those weekends ago, plan to be together with those we love?

I often get caught up. Caught up with the routine, caught up with the peaks and valleys of my career, caught up with the ebbs and flows of relationships. You know how it is…the phone rings, your car breaks, the cat needs food, a friend texts “let’s hangout” and that is all of a sudden the best idea in the world instead of laundry or that damn light fixture I’ve been trying to put in. You’d love it, the chandelier I bought. It’s tarnished in the perfect spots but not groddy. It looks loved not used. (Therefore perfect!)  I got it from this antique shop (my new Value Village) and I want to prove to the world I, Bethany Vogler, can install a light. And by the world I mean myself, and by install I mean hang up. It is harder than it looks, I swear.

I went for a walk the other day, braved the sub zero wind chill in search of sunlight on my face. I was presently surprised when walking along the canal (it’s what they call a river in this city) I felt warmth. It had been WEEKS of frigid air, not a solitary inch of skin allowed to be exposed for fear of ending up looking like a frost bitten explorer with no nose. The more I walked, the warmer I got. I ended up at the end of the canal at a spot overlooking where the two rivers meet. It was so still all of sudden. So calm. So quiet. And then a soft breeze came up, carrying the scent of  blossoms. Promising that spring was just around the corner. I smiled to myself. I knew it was you. Filling my heart with anticipation of the adventures ahead.

Eva, there is no way else to say it. I miss you.

I miss you the most when I feel unsure. When I want to call and get the real deal on what I should do. Because you’ve known me a third oft life. And that I should never wear green eye shadow, that I should always insert my thought into a conversation even if I’m the only one who thinks that way, that I might not be right but I’m definitely not wrong.

I don’t know sometimes what I should say when I’ve gotten myself into an argument and caused grief. I don’t know what to write in my cover letter to this Masters program I’m thinking of applying to. And I don’t know what to wear tomorrow night for this concert I have tickets for.

I’d ask for your help, but I know it’s already there. I’d call you to listen your voice, but I can already hear your laughter. Because you are always with me.

Which brings me to why I really wrote to you. After five long years. I wanted to say thank you. For never leaving my heart, for easing my fears of losing a friend, for making it known that I am loved by you. It’s how I’ve gotten by since you left.

I got by with a little help from my friend.

Love love love,

Bethany

beth

Self Published —> Literary Agent!

Some of life’s coolest things happen when you’re working without anyone watching, not wondering if what you’re doing looks “photo worthy” – and THIS was one of those moments….

I am SO excited to finally share, after a year and a half of navigating my way through a self-publishing world very foreign to me, I have signed with a very fancy literary agent!!

Megan Williams, Author

Yaaayyyyyy!!!

And now we plan which = (more) work. 

Megan Williams, Author

 Let another chapter begin!

Weird Week

It’s a weird week. It’s been a weird week for the past five years. FIVE YEARS.

It’s almost as though I am viscerally aware of the week before I consciously recognize what it is.

I choked up in the middle of talking about the beach yesterday.

Kissing my dog’s furry head last night,  my eyes stung with tears.

And for cryingoutloud – even an episode of Sons of Anarchy got a lump in my throat last night.

I’ve been looking for change in unnecessary places. Maybe I need a short hair cut. When should I get a new car. What can I change at work. I should clean more. I need to plan a getaway.

But then I consciously arrive to what my heart has already been feeling.  What I’m really looking for,  what I really want –  is I want Chad not to be gone.

It’s a week that the last chapters of the book and our blogs pull me back to the reality that was our life five years ago.

Sitting bedside, watching Chad’s breathing, his lack of breathing, massaging his feet as Intensivists tried to slow his heart rate down, tried to shock it back into a rhythm.

Chad Warren & Megan Williams, Multiple Myeloma, VGH

It was a week that hand squeezes were some of the most intense forms of “I love you’s” that could ever be expressed and just being in a room with him would become some of my most vivid memories.

I don’t prefer to think of how bad it was; especially when we had so much great to overshadow it.

But maybe this is just a good week to check in and remember what is worth really worth fighting for and who is there to squeeze your hand when you need it most.

 

 

< Read November 25th, 2009>

This Afternoon in 2010…

Brad and Megan ParisThis afternoon in 2010, I was leaving our friend Eva’s celebration of love. I was feeling pretty low as I processed just how much love had been lost in the past six months. Out of the doors, I turned to my right and saw Brad. Four days later, he told me he loved me, four weeks later we were in Paris, and four years later, he’s still around, loving me for every chapter I come with.

(And for a trip down memory lane, here is the blog from four years ago, and when once upon another time started…)

The Feelings of Firsts.

It’s amazing how a few hours, days or months can make such a difference in how we feel.

A few months ago, September, October-ish – I felt so shitty. The sadness I felt with the upcoming anniversary of Chad’s passing was a hurt I had never experienced before. Memories were sharp, but the pain was deep and dull.

Now, a few months after the his anniversary, I hurt less. Perhaps it’s because there aren’t as many ‘firsts’ anymore. I had already spent a Christmas without him, another Valentines Day will go by without a card from him and we will celebrate his birthday for the second time without him here. This part of the year has already happened without Chad. It doesn’t make the memories any less sharp, it just makes the pain a little more tolerable.

However, as the hurt of ‘firsts’ fades with Chad, the hurt associated with the approaching anniversary of Eva’s passing begins. Similar memories of hospital visits, blog posts, conversations, “a year ago, we were doing this” mentions – all becomes sharp again.

Similar to the events themselves, the emotions come in waves. Flashes of what happened, what was felt and what things looked like, all come washing in and out of my brain without warning.

I look at a photo Eva, Beth, Karen and I took together a year ago. We were out at Milestones, each with a Bellini in hand and talking about everything but health (and by everything, I mean boys). Eva and I shared a cab home; our poor driver must have gone deaf due to the volume, enthusiasm and speed in which she and I were speaking at.

I was the first stop. We left each other with a kiss, declaring to one another how crazy it is that she and I haven’t hung out more often. We vowed to do it again very soon.

Standing on the curb, I watched the cab pull away with her in the front seat, having reassured me she was fine to manoeuvre her oxygen and wheelchair out of the cab by herself.

Each time I look at the photos from that night, (one of which I walk by every day hung in my hallway), I can not help but look at her, look at us and shake my head with sadness. We are so young.

So with memories of last year becoming sharp again, I feel like a bit of a veteran knowing that eventually, the firsts will no-longer be firsts and that dull, deep hurt will ease up soon. One hour, day and month at a time.

Happy Anniversary


Chad and I never really had a ‘date’ that marked our anniversary, but it was the weekend before Christmas 3 years ago that we decided to give us a ‘real’ go at it.

A ‘real’ go at it meant no more on and off, no more seeing other people and no more putting off the question that had hovering for the past 2 years, “Is this ‘it’?”

Yes it was. A thousand times yes. It was 3 years we both are lucky to have had.

He was patient and he was kind. He waited for me for 3 months when I packed up my things and moved to London, then waited again until I was ready to move in together. He took me on trips to places I had never been, introduced me to new friends and new ideas. He showed me how to take care of my car (although I still consider that to be ‘his’ job) and reminded me how to take care of myself (apparently TCBY for dinner is not going to help me look like a super model?).

He made me feel safe, made me feel strong and made me feel smart. He listened to me talk and told me to shut up when I talked to much. He laughed at me if I did something stupid and laughed with me if I thought I was funny. Ha. He made me feel sexy (even at his sickest), and made me feel special.

Last night I spent our ‘anniversary’ at Eva’s house. She had a ‘Sing for CF’ evening of Christmas carols, good food and great company.

For the past 11 years, Eva has gone door to door in her neighbourhood singing Christmas carols to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis. Unable to go door to door this year, she had her friends come to her. She set up a live stream for all her friends, family and followers of her blog to watch. It was quite the experience.

(Watch the singing on Eva’s blog: http://65redroses.livejournal.com/125417.html)

I had a hard time getting through all the songs.
My throat kept getting lumpy – preventing any sound from coming out. Each time I looked over at gorgeous Eva singing, smiling and surrounded by friends, I thought of Chad. I thought how hard she works to make the best of her health, how proud he would be of what she is doing and how proud he would be of her.

I wish he could have seen her.
I wish he could have been there to sing with her, or at the very least, wish I could have come home to tell him about her.

I miss him so much. – Happy Anniversary babes.