Be The Best.

14 months plus a day.

This is what I wrote one year ago today.

It was titled, 2 Months Plus a Day.

2 months plus a day…

by Randy Friesen on May 26, 2010

Tonight I take you back to night one.   At some point we tried to sleep but sleep was not on our side that evening so I sat in my chair in the livingroom and looked out the window.  We live on a little rise and framed in our window was the lit cross at the Christian Life Assembly shimmering in the distance and one light on a hill above the church.

That lone glowing light from a far away home nestled above the glow of the far away cross provided some comfort on that first night.

With so many sympathy cards coming our way in the weeks that followed, I was surprised at how many were different.  There was one card however that came at least four or five times.  It’s a simple blue band on a white background with a rhinestone star.  There is just one simple statement, “one star in the night sky”.  After two months plus a day, that one star is shining ever brighter.  The glow is being duplicated in hearts and minds from young to old as we all strive to Be The Best.

That seems like a lifetime and a split second all at once.

I’ve been told the edge comes off the pain at some point.

It never goes away, but it gets better.

There are days when that seems very far away.

When 14 months plus a day sounds more like a sentence from a judge than anything else.

And yet, we must soldier on.

As Ryan Kesler said the other night…I’ll play on one leg, I don’t care. (yes, we can throw in Canucks references at any time…!)

And on these nights, we too will fight on, with one leg, a heavy heart or whatever.

Let’s go.

Be The Best.

65 steps.

I have a thing for numbers.

Not like a thing where I’m some sort of math whiz…I just like numbers.

I think I get that from my Dad.

He’s always been one for memorizing lists, bible verses etc.

Do you know how many tunnels you go through on the Number 1 as you head from Hope through the Fraser Canyon?


Do you know their names?

Yale, Saddle Rock, Sailor Bar, Alexandra, Hell’s Gate, Ferrabee and China Bar.

Yah…I got only the first four right.

Now…I’ll throw this in for my Dad…here’s a link to the tunnels online.  Who knew??

The 65 steps in the title refer to the 65 exposed aggregate round paving stones from the cemetery parking lot to the Dogwood wall, where then we find Dogwood #41 and remember Chris as the giant cedar trees stand as lookouts, silently breathing life into the atmosphere.  It’s a powerful place.

Why I counted those stones I don’t know…ask my Dad…it’s genetic.

Anyways, 65 is the year I was born and I realized when I was there this weekend that this year I will be 46 and next Jan Chris would have been 19…making the only time our ages would add up to 65.

When I walk on those stones I remember him with every step.

Be The Best.


The sun was out today.  Beautiful.

The Canucks win 7-3 in game 2 of the conference final.  Beautiful.

We take in the Whitecaps game during a warm Spring evening at Empire Field.  Beautiful.

The constant knowledge of Chris not being here to take these experiences in.  Not so beautiful.

Take the Canucks for example.

I was actually ok with them losing last year.  Know why?

I didn’t want to experience that victory without Max AND Chris.

This year I want them to win the Cup more than ever…sort of.

For everything good that happens, it is only natural to want to share that with your loved one.

It’s as hard today as it was a year ago…or maybe harder.

It was a beautiful day.

It was a hard day.

But…I’ll wave my towel.

I’ll scream at the TV.

I’ll wear my jersey.

And I’ll think of Chris and Luc Bourdon cheering from their box seats on high.

THAT is beautiful.

Be The Best.

Have you seen this kid?

I saw this article in the local paper today and my heart skipped a beat or two.  His name is Scott.  Scott Di Vincenzo to be exact.  I don’t know him.  I don’t know his family….but my heart still skipped a few beats.

Here’s the story:

May 12th

A Surrey family is desperate to find their missing 13-year-old son, who was last seen in Nanaimo.

It has been four days since Scott Di Vincenzo was reported missing in Surrey on Saturday.

His parents, who describe their son as friendly and caring but fearless and not street-smart, say they plan to stay in Nanaimo as long as it takes to find him.

“I don’t think he realizes what kind of danger is out there,” said mother Solimar. “We need everyone’s help because we don’t know where to look for him anymore.”

Solimar and father Len say their son has run away in the past but for only a few hours at a time. Di Vincenzo was upset over being grounded and can rebel against authority, say his parents, who do not believe any other factors are behind his disappearance.

Police located the boy as he got off the ferry at Departure Bay with a friend but as he was being returned to Surrey by friends, Di Vincenzo ran off when they stopped at the Wallace Street Tim Hortons, where he was last seen Sunday.

Read more:
As I was researching a little  more tonight, I read the updated news that Scott had been found and reunited by an amazing youth worker on the Island.  What a Be The Best moment.

Sometimes life makes you want to run away as Scott did.  It’s great to hear he’s reconnected.

Scott, I’m guessing you’re probably not a blog reader, but if you ever see this, remember that no mountain is ever too big to climb, tunnel under or just rent a helicopter and fly over.

May 13

NANAIMO — A chance meeting between a young boy and a Nanaimo youth worker led to a plan that eventually reunited a missing 13-year-old boy with his family.

Scott Di Vincenzo is home in Surrey after being returned to his parents late Wednesday night, four days after he was last seen at a Nanaimo coffee shop.

It was by coincidence, minutes after noticing downtown one of more than 500 flyers on Tuesday, that John Barsby Community School youth worker Ray McDonald ran into a young boy he recognized and told him to call him if he spotted the Surrey ninth grader.

Dozens of phone calls between that boy and another believed to be harbouring the teen, and McDonald (called “a hero” by the Di Vincenzo family), led to the setup that reunited the family.

Di Vincenzo thought he was only getting something to eat when the boys met McDonald on the corner of Rosehill Street and Terminal Avenue around 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Less than 100 metres away sat his parents, Solimar and Len, at a restaurant. The boys were driven to get fast food, with Di Vincenzo having no idea he was about to be dropped off with his parents. Late Tuesday night, Di Vincenzo had taunted McDonald over the phone, saying: “You won’t ever catch me.”

But his defiance over the phone later dissolved into tears.

“I honestly think at the end, he was ready to go home,” said McDonald, who will stay in touch with Di Vincenzo. “I don’t think I’m a hero. All I know is I tried to find a missing kid.”

Be The Best.

Mom’s Day v2 – a different perspective

After I wrote the Mom’s Day blog on Sunday, we headed out for an afternoon White Rock beach walk…but not before a stop at Chris’ wall.

We’ve been there many times by now and although there were no services going on at the time, it was like rush hour at the facility.

At first we didn’t get it and then it became incredibly obvious.  Families had come out to remember their Moms and Grandmas.  Fresh flowers were everywhere.  If it wasn’t a cemetery I would say it was beautiful.

Actually…I take that last comment back.  It was beautiful.  The beauty was not the marking of death and passing, but rather the symbol of remembrance and respect.  I can only imagine, but as people stood by the markers of their loved ones, they were thinking about how that person had affected their own lives and how they would live on to honour and respect that memory.

As we were leaving, a man in his 40’s we guess came with his aging Dad (their physical resemblance was uncanny).  They approached the wall and we didn’t see where they went, but we’re pretty sure it was to acknowledge a wife and mother.

Mother’s Day in the cemetery.  Hadn’t really thought of it before.  As sad as it could be, it was also pretty amazing to see the influence these women had on their families in some cases generations later.

That’s a pretty special legacy.

Be The Best.

Mom’s Day

I can hardly believe it’s been a year since I wrote these words:

I want to introduce you to an amazing mother.  Dealing with our two characters was 2 parts challenge and 100 parts love.  Ingrid taught our boys how to think for themselves.  She taught them to be independent.  She taught them how to respectfully make their voice heard while insisting on listening to others.  One of Chris’ friends, Clayton, used to say to Chris…”That Ingrid…amazing woman”.  Sort of funny from a 14 year old, but he had it right.  Amazing woman indeed.

A HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all Moms out there including my own, Leona, and my Mom-in-law, Grace!

Those words are all true again this year.

This past 52 weeks has seen my Dad and then my Mom battle health issues that made them over-acquainted with hospital beds and our health care system in general.

Thankfully, as of this week, they are both at home after a few months away for Dad and almost a month for Mom.

As I told my Mom recently, her battle to fight for her health and to fight to look after Dad was and is incredible.  I know much of my own work ethic comes from this woman who on a usual Sunday back in the day would have made lunch for 20 people, taught a Sunday School lesson, braided three sets of hair (no, mine was not one of them…) and sang in the choir.  And that was all before 2pm.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

To my Mom-in-law Grace, we often think of the days you walked with Max and Chris to the bus at our old place before and after school.  Those after school snacks were legendary as was the interaction you had with the boys.  Those are special moments that live forever.

Today as Ingrid spends some not-that-often one on one time with Max (he took her out for brunch and a walk), I reflect on her journey.  I stand beside her as she places a single white rose on Chris’ wall as we remember.  I watch in awe as she so proudly talks about both her sons and has the grace and determination to continue with life’s journey.

As any parents, we are excited and wondering where Max will go and what he will do as he turns the corner into adulthood.  We remember Chris with each step and know he continues to be with us in spirit and as we remember all the other Moms, especially today, that have suffered the loss of a child…we join with you in the excitement of the day when we will be reunited with our loved ones.

Happy Mother’s Day to all.

Be The Best.

Take it up with the Brass.

It’s just a simple brass plate.

But it’s beautiful.

Chris’ name plate arrived late last week.

We saw it for the first time on Sunday afternoon.

It’s just a simple brass plate.

But it means so very much.