Category Archives: Bubble of friends

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

Dear Chaderella

Hey Chaderella,

I’ve been sad this week. I think about my dreams when you’ve come back – and while it reassures me you know how I’ve been, I realize, I don’t know how you’ve been.

What have you been doing up there, around here, over there… how much have you seen in the five years you’ve been away?

Do you know that Matt and Laura had baby Eddie? Did you know that Beckett now has a baby brother Harrison? I think he’s going to be a lefty.

Did you ever watch the last season of Entourage or see how Californiacation ended…What about Big Love or TMZ before bed? After you left, I stopped watching some of “our shows” as debriefing with myself wasn’t as much fun as it was with you. Have you seen Breaking Bad? I hope so, you’d LOVE it. Matt likes Homeland and while I’m not crazy for it, I feel like it’s something we would  watch.

What about Australia, do you ever spend time there like you wanted? Have you met Justin and Kristi’s baby, or zoom over to Texas to see the Hawkins or Shingletons?

Do you still watch tennis and coach from the couch to the tv? What about late night peanut butter sandwiches and cereal – do you still do that?

I’ve started taking your advice….(I know it’s been over five years, but whatever)… You’d be proud – I haven’t had TCBY for dinner in a super long time, and when I’m at the gym, I try to work on my core, focusing on the muscles I’m using – just like you did.

I run as hard as I can during track workouts – because I can. I know that pushing my body to gasp for air and feel my muscles ache is a privilege, not something that all people get.  Your wheezing and aching wasn’t voluntary. You wanted run and couldn’t. I can, so I should. (Sometimes I can’t tell if it’s you I feel beside me on the seawall, whispering “Push Meggie push” or maybe it’s me thinking of what you would say.)

I’m sure you know by now, that Bryn has moved into our mini castle in the sky. He wanted the couches arranged just as you had them. While I think he’ll throw a few more parties and play less Rock Band, the drinks will be the same – rum and cokes.

Anyway, there’s so much I want to hear about, meet your new angel-ish friends, see where you hang out, and how you spend your time.

I know it’s not that realistic, the same way that reading a silly blog isn’t a real way of talking to you (because you can read my mind…obviously), but incase you like to read this, just know – today, like yesterday, and when you were still here,  we think of you. A. LOT. Tonight we’ll go to Cactus Club, have a few thai wings (well, someone will, you know how I don’t care for wings) and whether our friends are at dinner or at home, there will be tequila shots had for you. Just because.

Chad Warren, English Bay

When I saw Kelli in California this summer, she said  – “It doesn’t actually feel like Chad’s gone, it just feels like he’s Vancouver and I don’t get to see him that often; but it’s like he’s still here.”

I’d like to think she’s right about that.

See you soon loverboy.

xo Boobalina.

 

 

 

 

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>

Some People To Thank.

Some people mark anniversaries by dates, some people mark them by days of the week and some people may remember by occasions or holidays. 

For me, this day (it’s weird to say anniversary) in particular, is marked by the day of the week. 
Saturday night, three years ago – a small group of us spent the day with the coolest, kindest, most bad ass guy we knew. We all patiently took our turn holding his hands and speaking to him. Some people spoke out loud, some people spoke silently while watching him rest. 
Some people who couldn’t be there, sent text messages, left voicemails and stayed on the phone. 
Saturday night, three years ago, some of us had our world rocked as we watched the coolest, kindest, most bad ass guy we knew take his last sip of lemonade and exhale the last breath of air from his body.  
Some people were around before “goodbye” was ever an option. Some people have come into this life after “goodbye” was said. 

For three years, since we said goodbye, I have some people, many people, to thank for keeping my life fulfilled, my body moving, my days bookmarked with laughter and my heart pumping with love.

Thank you for lunch on Fridays. 
Thank you for inviting me to birthdays in Edmonton. No matter how unearthly cold it gets, as long as I am invited, I will come. 
Thank you for being genuine when you ask, “How are you really doing?”
Thank you for having Christmas dinner for both our families. 
Thank you for asking to have a water fight “like we had with Uncle Chad.”
Thank you for reminding me that I still sparkle. 
Thank you for Crema coffees. Or peppermint mochas…dependent on the season…and knowing when to have which.   
Thank you for not acknowledging, but still recognizing my inability to get through some sentences on runs without choking up because I am remembering. 

Thank you for remembering a story about Chad and sharing it. 
Thank you for listening to me – without saying “awwwww…..poor you.” 
Thank you for pouring/ordering timely shots of tequila, all with a toast to Chad. (Whether done aloud or silently.)
Thank you for helping me remember, “Chad would have…”
Thank you for being interested in how writing the book is going. 
Thank you for asking and caring about the answer. 
Thank you for asking about Chad, even when you never met him. 
Thank you for never telling me you’ll stick around. Because you didn’t need to – you were never going anywhere.
Thank you for Greek dinners. I know it’s not everyones favourite meal. 

Thank you for watching out for me like your little sister. Just because you made a silent promise to him that you’d watch out for me, doesn’t mean I can’t feel your big brother love. 

Thank you for adding minutes to your long distance phone bills, just because you wanted to check in. 
Thank you for not being nervous to ask, “What happened?” 
Thank you for sending photos of Chad that you came across. I will always want to see them. 
Thank you for knowing that I don’t make sense all the time and sometimes salty tears drip without warning. 
Thank you for being so generous and continually finding bets, wagers, and occasions to donate money to Chads One Million. 
Thank you for writing me this week and asking “Dinner Saturday night?”
Thank you for patiently waiting for three years as my cracked heart tries to heal. 
And most of all…thank you for loving me and everyone and everything I come with, unconditionally. 
My life would be empty and broken if it wasn’t for some people. 

Thanks For Sticking Around

It’s been two years since Chad’s been gone and I remember Saturday, November 28th, 2009 like it was two days ago.

I miss Chad everyday. I think of him several times a day. I wonder how much he knows about my life or if he knows anything at all. I think about what our life was like together and what the life we were building together is like now. I think of all the changes that have happened and everything that has stayed the same. I think I think I think.

November isn’t an easy month for thinking – especially this last week. It’s hard not to replay the events of 2009 over and over in my head. All the details that stay dormant throughout the year start popping their little grey heads again. I think of the last day more than I usually do and I think of saying goodbye.

However, admits the thoughts of 2009 hospital rooms, hand squeezes and unbearable discomfort, I’ve also been thinking about the people who have gotten me through the last two years.

Before and after Chad died, the support of people around (virtually and physically) has been incredible. I felt I could fall back into a sea of people and feel confident I’d be softly caught. But, naturally as time goes on that number of people available (or prepared) to catch you, hold you and rest your feet on the ground becomes less.

As Chad said (and I hate that he’s right AGAIN), “Life doesn’t stop once you’re dead. Life goes on.” In two years, I’ve seen his theory become a reality. Some people made promises that they’d be around for the long haul, yet they’ve drifted the furthest away. Some people never made promises and have been closer than I could have ever asked them to be.

I am so indebted to those who have stayed around. Those stuck it out in the bad times and have stayed for the good.

I’m thankful for my in-laws. Chad’s “Parentals” (as they were listed in his phone) have left their front door open for me every week since 2009. Without judgement they listen to me cry as often as they listen to me laugh and are as much apart of my weekly routine as I am of theirs. There are so many different ways our family situation could have played out and I couldn’t be more thankful for how ours has evolved.

I have a sister (in-law) who makes an effort to stay in touch while living a province away. Whether its a giggle-fest Skype call with her, Ben and Lauren or a tearful, memory filled conversation just the two of us – she’s around, and similar to her parents, our relationship could have dwindled without Chad to keep us together but it’s gotten better with time.

My closest friends from far away, Devora, Xtina, Mesi, Lena, Inga, Lizzy, Alyssa, Cami and Kelli who make it clear in their subtle texts and Facebook messages that they’ve got their eyes on me and ready whenever, if ever, I need a call.

I have Chad’s brothers who have taken me on as their sister – Jesse, Bren and Justin. We don’t to talk often but I know I’m under their protective wing, making sure their boy’s girl is taken care of.

Chad’s tennis and poker friends have continued to invite me to their nights together as they did when I was Chad’s plus one. They are such loyal friends to Chad and have extended that same friendship to me; although I never mention it, their effort to include me never goes unnoticed.

There are new friends who I run, brunch, work and cocktail with, who listen to my stories of life with Chad without ever having met the man who is the source of countless conversations. Through calories burned or calories consumed, they participate in each conversation intently; regardless whether or not my blabbing makes sense.

My family. Two years ago they lost their son, brother, cousin and nephew in-law . I know they hurt, I know they remember time spent together, dinners on the back deck, Chads favourite foods and what kind of car he’d suggest they buy – yet if I’m missing him, if I’m needing a Mom-hug, they harbour their tears and embrace mine.

The Bubble has been my pillar; before Chad and after. They are all strong and provide structure to life as I knew/know it. We all have moments when tears drop, random memories are shared and sentences are interrupted with, “If Chad were here.” And when someone needs a rest from standing strong, the Bubble will relieve them without judgement. Gratitude is the best word that comes to mind.

Brad. 18 months ago, he seamlessly joined my life. He filled the cavity in my chest with love I never thought I’d have again. He has understood the fragility of the Bubble and the Warren-Williams family dynamics and embraced them as part of his own life. He has willingly taken on my tears, stories and life, offering unconditional acceptance of Chad and I – prepared to continue a fairy tale that was once interrupted.

As I finish writing, I’ve had a warmth wash over me and a feeling of Chad making sure I say thank you from him. Thank you for sticking around, for not going anywhere when life got bad and staying around to celebrate when life has been good. Thank you from Chad and thank you from me.

If everyone had friendships and family like the ones I have been so fortunate to have, happiness would be far less difficult to come by.