I have it all wrong. I could never be prepared for that to happen in my world. I can read 100 books on the topic. I can try to understand it, to analyze it, to imagine it. But I would never be prepared.

We didn’t get to know the couple very well. I don’t know their names, I don’t know what they do for a living or where they are from or even what street they live on in our community. You do that with fellow dog owners. You cross paths on regular walks and you meet their dogs, but often not them.

I have a DNA built on heavy. Some of it learned, some of it earned, some of it inherited. A heavy heart, a heavy mind, heavy emotions. And in years like 2017, when there was so much heavy in the world around me too, it was all just too much.

I stood by watching, hearing the songs that were the soundtrack to so many truly Canadian moments in my life. I saw the tears in my friends’ eyes as they watched Gord put on one final show for his country. I felt the energy in the room and knew it was igniting all over Canada in similar gatherings that night.

But now it’s this. It’s a small glass of white, in hand. Perfectly chilled. It’s quiet children who are getting in some much-needed downtime. It’s windows wide open and the setting sun and the still warm temperatures that always make me sad during October days but happy during October evenings.

Then she wouldn’t let me go. She put her hand on my arm, locked her eyes into mine and started to talk. The tears soon followed. Too much of this from her brother, not enough of that from me, moments of frustration and exhaustion and insecurity…all catching up with her on a late Sunday night.

I would be lying if I said I had the patience for it. I had a busy work day ahead, this was a soccer camp filled with kids his age and fun coaches, it was Monday. I didn’t understand why it was so difficult for him. Why he was making it so difficult. Why I had to drop everything to pick up a six year old like he was three again.

This is a story. This is something I want to write about. Something I want to share. Something that I will remember next August and the August after that and every time I go back to that place for 36 hours of rest and relaxation.

It’s not easy when there is a mortgage to contribute to and vacations to dream about and savings to build. It’s not easy when the unknown lies ahead of you and years of experience and success lay behind you. It’s not easy to walk in a new direction when you’ve run in one for so long.