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Be The Best.

Crying over spilt (or spilled) milk…and trucker hats.

For the first time that we can remember, we had to pour milk down the drain.  Simple problem. The 4 litre container had gone past date.  Not a big deal…except for the memories surging back of the same-size milk container not even lasting 3 days.  Today at Safeway we bought a 2 litre container of milk…it didn’t spill, but it might as well have.  It’s the little things that get you.  Ingrid reminded me that a 2 litre of milk is part of the ‘new normal’. She’s right, but tonight I would love nothing more than to buy 8 litres of milk and 40 yogurt containers for my boys.

Yesterday I gave my Dad a trucker hat.  You know the ones….anyone over 60 wears those hats with the mesh backing and sort of has them sit on top of their head?

Grandpa and Chris, Dec 31, 2009

Chris (and his many buddies) thought this was the coolest trend in their teens and trucker hats were catching on everywhere.  When Ingrid and I were in Hawaii last year we made sure we brought a hip trucker hat home for Chris.  He had his Grandpa model it when we met them at Silver Star at New Years.  Dad had grown a beard for a Christmas production at their church and Chris thought the beard was the coolest thing he ever saw.  He propped the trucker hat on his Grandpa’s head and I snapped some pics.

Wear that hat proudly Dad…I know you will.

I’m going to make Max some chocolate milk.

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Be The Best.

Look close, ‘giving’ is a part of ‘grieving’.

Chris' Grandma and Grandpa above Okanagan Lake

Vernon is a picturesque 70 minute drive from Kamloops.  Ingrid and I blitzed up there on Saturday to have lunch with my sister, AC (Cathy AJ Hardy) who had some weekend concerts in the Okanagan and also my parents who live in Vernon.  In honour of Mother’s Day (yes, I know it’s next week!), we took Mom out to the restaurant at Gray Monk Winery just south of Vernon.  Editorial: Great food, service and wine. Go.

Do these people look like they’re in their upper 70’s or late 50’s? It’s hard to tell!

Chris and Max loved going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  When they moved to Vernon, the adventures would usually be week long summer jaunts that included hiking, biking, swimming and the now famous, ‘midnight snack’!  Another highlight was word games which Mom and Dad still play daily.  Scrabble and Boggle were constants or should I say consonants.

I’m not sure why, but I was thinking about the noun GRIEF and the VERB GRIEVE this week.  Grieve is an ‘action word’ if we remember our high school English teachers.  Then I saw something very interesting.  The word GIVE lives inside the word GRIEVE.  We have been blown away by people giving to us during this time.  I write this post from the Boomer family home in Kamloops where they’ve been so incredibly wonderful to us.  (when Langley plays Kamloops today at 1130 in the semi’s we are really going to be in a pickle!!)  From the lacrosse families to my brother-in-law in Vernon (Steve Wulff) who made me speechless yesterday when re presented Ingrid and I with a pencil drawing of Chris…the GIVING has been incredible.

Let me also tell you that our ability to GIVE has been helping us.  A simple act like taking family for lunch or providing support to others has been incredibly helpful for us as well as we continue to find the ‘new normal’.

Is GIVING part of GRIEVING?  Yes…it’s there in black and white.

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Be The Best.

Kamloops and the ‘new normal’.

We went to a lacrosse tournament without Chris this weekend.  We couldn’t stay away.  The Alan Price Memorial Tournament is held each year in early May and Chris and the Langley Thunder have been a part of the event for at least 4 years as memory serves. The people in Kamloops are just fantastic.  (thank you Boomers for opening your home to us!!)

Chris takes on Larson Hill en route to Loops 2009.

This tournament was always a favourite. In fact last year at this same tournie, it was a father/son trip with Chris at the wheel just weeks after getting his ‘L’. What was I thinking? I figured out what those handles are for that passengers can hold onto.  I snapped a quick pic with my blackberry for this white knuckle, hands position 10 and 2, full concentration shot you see here. All in all he did a great job and it was a great experience.  You can see some 2009 action below (Chris is #2) including Riley, the Langley goalie swallowing a tough Kamloops player after a mega hit.  To make things more interesting I met the brother and mom of that Kamloops player (Justice) last night.  I think his younger brother was quite impressed that he had a brother starring on Youtube!

Rhys and James again make me look small!

Check it out.  More on the Loops and the amazing people up here in Sunday’s post.

It is good to be here.  It is good to be with amazing people who have stood with us. It is good to see those Langley players wearing that patch (amazing). It is great to talk to so many and continue to feel the support.

As hard as this is, it’s good too.  Very good.  This is all part of the ‘new normal’.

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Be The Best.

When a poem hits hoem..that pun was for Chris..he ‘hated’ them ;)

Chris always loved to hate my puns and we’d share a laugh…ok Max and I usually laughed, he usually groaned and Ingrid asked, ‘Are you mocking me?’. (see Zipline vid for context!)

The poem you see below really did hit home.

It was on a card sent from the Langley Minor Lacrosse Association.

It stopped us in our tracks.  Very cool.  Nuff said.

His Journey’s Just Begun

Don’t think of him as gone away – his journey’s just begun,

life holds so many facets – this earth is only one.

Just think of him as resting from the sorrows and the tears

in a place of warmth and comfort where there are no days and years

Think how he must be wishing that we could know today

how nothing but our sadness can really pass away.

And think of him as living in the hearts of those he touched…

for nothing loved is ever lost – and he was loved so much.

E. Brenneman

——————————

We LOVE you Chris Friesen!!

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Be The Best.

Rivals, respect and the number 2.

I had to stare at this picture for a long time before I began to write this post.  My words will be hopelessly inadequate. I’ve always been amazed at the end of a tough lacrosse playoff series or hockey series that the players who had hit each other, jawed at each other and ‘hated’ each other, would suddenly shake each others hands at the end of the series.  Ultimately, it’s about respect.  When the game or series is on, you want nothing more than to pulverize the opposition.  Chris desperately wanted to win…every time he played.  New West is a premiere lacrosse organization with deep roots in the game.  When Steve Millikin, a New West lacrosse Dad and very involved in all things lacrosse, showed up on our doorstep with this flower arrangement my knees buckled.  This gesture was so amazing, I could only try to catch my breath and I simply could not hold in the emotion.  I feel it to this moment.  The decision of what to do with this display was obvious.  We put it front and centre at the church on the day of Chris’ funeral and many of you saw it there.  For our ‘lacrosse fans in training!’, what you might not know is that red and white are the colours of the New West Salmon Bellies…the ultimate tribute to a respected competitor and Team BC teammate, Chris Friesen.

To the New West lacrosse association, families and players, we thank you for your amazing symbol of respect and honour.  It is as breathtaking in the pictures as it was in person on that day just several weeks back.

Good luck to the Bellies…(and of course the Thunder!!) in the new season.

Warmest regards and heartfelt thanks from myself, Ingrid and Max.

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Be The Best.

Chris Box Lacrosse Video Tribute

Mean group of players, ready to rumble...!

For those of you who could not make it last night and for those who want to see it again, here is the video portion of the tribute to Chris from the April 27th Junior Thunder game.

You’ll see some of the same interview clips from the memorial service, but I’ve added some box lacrosse pictures as well as a little more intense soundtrack as the 3-minute tribute moves on.  Yes, that is Thunderstruck by AC/DC, but I think my Mom had already guessed that….or not.

Who's that short guy in the middle?

It’s a funny thing…I put this movie together so I knew exactly what was coming and when, but even that did not stop the flow of emotion seeing when viewing the presentation and seeing Chris speaking through the interview clips on the big screen.  “I really want to win”, stated Chris.

So do I man, so do I.

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Be The Best.

Tribute to Chris at Junior A game

Max had to work tonight, so Ingrid and I represented our family at the Junior A Thunder game.  We want to THANK Joe Willmott and his team for their attentiveness and incredible respect shown to our family and to Chris’ memory.  Seeing the Junior Thunder lined up across from the Intermediate Thunder wearing their jerseys over their street clothes was an amazing show of respect.

THANK YOU ALL.

Having so many fans out to the game was fantastic and they were treated to a highly competitive match with the Burnaby Lakers.  Before the game a video tribute for Chris was played and a certain Mrs. Ingrid Friesen completed the ceremonial face-off duties.  We don’t have pictures of all that stuff yet, but they are coming courtesy of the Thunder and I’ll bring those forward as soon as I can.  The Thunder’s official jerseys arrived just hours before game time so we had Will pose for a shot with Ingrid and I showing approximately how the commemorative patch for Chris will be worn.  Looks good eh?

You can see more pics taken by Ingrid of me with the Intermediate A players and a few shots of the Junior game as well by clicking on this link. (hey, I even got Ingrid, Lenna and Carolyn (all lacrosse moms) to pose for a pic!)

This was again one of the hardest but great evenings we’ve had.  We wouldn’t have been anywhere else.  Thanks again to the Thunder and to all of Chris’ friends, teammates, school buddies, lacrosse families, relatives etc etc for your amazing support of Chris’ memory and our family!

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Be The Best.

Lacrosse and loss

As I wrote about yesterday, we were heading to the Langley Thunder Intermediate-A home opener at the impressive Langley Event Centre.  With 5,000 seats, a friends and family crowd may appear small, but when the game was preceded by a moment of silence for Chris we could feel the quiet energy fill the entire building.      The Thunder’s new jerseys had not arrived by game time so they wore their blue-striped Stickmen unis as  you can see in this shot as Langley scores.  (The lefty scoring is Cody Robertson and number 15 is Adam Will..thx to Larry for info from comment below) The Thunder are a younger squad with a few Intermediate aged players playing up at the Junior level. They battled a typically strong Victoria Shamrock team and though the scoreboard showed a loss at games’ end, they exhibited strong desire and the makings of a team that looks out for each other.  We are looking forward to the Junior A Thunder home opener on Tuesday night.   Team President, Joe Willmott, announced that a tribute for Chris (including big screen video) would take place at 7:30pm immediately followed by the Junior Thunder taking on visiting Burnaby. 

Keep working hard boys.  Be The Best.  It will pay off for you.

Of course I brought my camera to the game and couldn’t help but think how good the light was in the new facility.  It’s funny how your mind works…I kept thinking about how I would have loved to be snapping some pictures of #2 clearing the front of the net in that great light…but I suppose he is in some even better light now. cf #2

Lacrosse Boys…you can see more pics on Picasa.  Remember…200 push-ups er day!

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Be The Best.

Decision: Let’s play lacrosse!

Today’s date is not lost on me.  It is exactly one month today that Chris passed away.  Yesterday was probably the hardest day I’ve had since the first week.  Remember that yo-yo analogy? Maybe more like an elevator.  What I believe more than ever is that we continue to move forward by making decisions on a daily or hourly basis, whatever is needed, to move forward.

.

Does that mean blocking feelings and emotion? No. But what it does mean is that we are not going to sit around and be sad 24-7.  Specifically for today, it means lacrosse.

We are very proud to be attending the Intermediate A Langley Thunder lacrosse home opener at the Langley Event Centre at 2pm.  We are there as fans and to support Chris’ teammates. I found this picture that I just had to show you.  This was taken in April of 2007 at a tournament in Coquitlam.  For privacy sake, I’ll leave out the names of the boys, but you’ll recognize many of the faces.  Coach Sean Beasley and Harvey Bull flank the boys with Chris in the front row. They may have grown a little in the past three years!!!  Many of these boys will be on the floor this afternoon.  Chris will be with you in spirit boys.  Be The Best! I’m hoping to be in my ‘usual game spot’ at least some of the time in the corner of the rink at rink level shooting some pictures!

ps. For the uninitiated, lacrosse is an intense, fast-paced game like hockey with big hits and amazing stick skills.  More on the history of Canada’s national summer sport in future blogs!

pps. We are also attending the home opener of the Junior A Langley Thunder on Tuesday night where a video tribute to Chris is planned as well as the 50-50 proceeds will go to the Chris Friesen Memorial Award.  We humbly thank the Thunder and the lacrosse community for this amazing support!!

Have a great Sunday.

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Be The Best.

‘Good Grief’ and Two Charlies

I was thinking about Charlie Brown today.  Not really about Snoopy or Lucy or that piano dude…remember?  Schroeder. I was remembering one of Charlie Brown’s catch phrases….’good grief’.  After my extensive (4 minute) search on the history of ‘good grief’ I found….not much.  A euphemism for “Good God”, dating back to the 1900’s and of course an ‘Arrested Development’ TV episode from 2004?

In any event, it’s an oxymoron when taken literally.  I had to think about any aspect of grief being good.  Not so much.  However, thinking back to AC’s (Cathy AJ Hardy) comments at the funeral, she mentioned a pain or hurt so deep could only be caused by a LOVE that was so deep.  Hmm…that may be the good beside the grief.

I also thought about this quote…ok, you Grade 11 and 12’s…you should know this one.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way..

Got it?  Yes, that Charles Dickens from A Tale of Two Cities.  Sure, that was written in the 1800’s, but it is a pretty accurate description of grief I think.  I’ve seen a lot about stages of grief and I’m sure that is probably true, but right now it is more like a pretty big yo-yo.  You go up and down between the extremes of the ‘best of times’ remembering, laughing, joking, smiling and dive down to the ‘worst of times’, missing, aching, dreaming of the missed future etc.

Good Grief? Maybe that Charlie Brown was a lot smarter than I ever thought…but I think Lucy knew that all along.