Categories
Be The Best.

Numbers that Count.

There’s a lot of numbers out there these days.

COVID infections. COVID hospitalizations. COVID deaths.

We don’t know the future. We can minimize risk by choices we make, but still – things can just happen.

The only thing we ultimately control is our next decision. With that in mind, we can choose to make a difference each day and do something positive each day. Of course we have jobs and school and other stuff. That’s called the ‘whirlwind’. The key is to do just ONE thing beyond the whirlwind each day or week. How many days do we have? That’s interesting.

My Dad, Rev Jake, (Chris’ Grandpa) will be 90 in February 2021. He had calculated how many days he had been alive. Quick – what do you think that number is? 100,000? 50,000? 1 million? Could be.

Wait – let’s do the math – Even at 89 years young – that is only 32,485 days. A mere 4,640 weeks. And yes, you can calculate interesting numbers for yourself at this linked website. (Rev Jake says he’s good for 110 btw – so a good sign!) I’m encouraging 120. Why not? Tennis, ping pong, biking, driving, walking, reading, studying, connecting with multiple people per day – perfect.

We used to do this calculation for time management training. Take your current age. Ok, I’m 55. Calculate a comfortable end of days number. I know – a bit morose – but, let’s say 100 even. That’s 45 years. That is 16,425 days. A paltry 2,346 weeks!! Yikes. I better get moving!! Ten years is only 3,650 days. We all know a year is 365 days – but many times don’t think beyond that.

Tree Hunting in 2005 (Chris, Ingrid and Max)

Time can crawl and time can fly. It can’t come back however. Chris had 6,279 days on this earth. Not nearly enough but enough to be remembered forever and to make a massive impact on those of us around him that strive to Be The Best in his memory.

Chris’ brother Max had some sage insight on this topic. When you lose someone close, it’s never a count down – it’s a count up – until you see that person again on the other side.

I wish you all 100 years or more and trust that every day can produce a step forward towards the realization of goals, development of relationships and contribution to making this little earth we call home a better place for now and the future.

Have a good week.

Categories
Be The Best.

Leaf it to me.

Inspiration: (kind of) https://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/leaves/process

I have never read a more scientific document on how and why leaves change color. Completely non-emotional. Just the facts.

Take this nugget. “All leaves gradually lose chlorophyll during the growing season, and this loss accelerates before leaf fall. Under optimal conditions this process of chlorophyll loss is very orderly and allows the plants to resorb much of the nitrogen in the structure of the pigment molecule. Carotenoid pigments are also lost from the plastids during aging, but some of them are retained in the plastids after the chlorophyll is removed; this produces autumn leaves with yellow colors.”

Does this inspire you with amazing thoughts of color and nature’s beauty? Didn’t think so. How about the picture of the red maple? The maple leaf? Hopefully a bit better. Yah, I know I’ve probably written way too many blog posts about the Fall but it’s my favourite season. Part of it is the color of the season but a growing fascination with Fall is the science behind the season. The loss of leaves is a part of nature’s way of readying the tree for the winter and preparing to grow again in the spring. The act of dormancy and shedding of the very things that symbolize life in the shape of leaves, is part of the longer term vision of healthy growth over time.

To gain further insight, I needed something much simpler, so I watched this video aimed at 8 year old kids. The key take away – trees shut down the food factory going into Winter. Ok, that’s a great way to see it. A season is over and the tree must get ready for winter and hunker down.

Whether you are experiencing loss or like all of us, preparing for a COVID inspired winter season ahead, I wish you well in the preparations. Strangely, even in loss and working through tough transitions, there can be beautiful moments as the colored leaves remind us each year.

Categories
Be The Best.

Falling All Over Again

It happens each year so you’d think I’d get used to it.

You know, it gets colder, rains more and leaves are blown by changing winds. Yes, it’s the Fall. Fall in Michigan is a special time. So, in the middle of COVID, political unease, economic uncertainty and everything else, there is a wonderful ‘known’ that seasons do change, winters do come but with that the hope of spring and summer arrive once more.

As written many times year over the years and in this 10 year retrospective, grief and loss is never forgotten and Chris will never be forgotten, but seasons do change and beauty can be found in the change, just as the fall leaves remind us each year.

Have a great week.

All photos shot Oct 11, 2020. Oakland County – Michigan, USA
Categories
2020 - 10 years later Be The Best.

This is how it feels.

As the Vancouver Canucks are on an epic playoff run unseen since 2011, bear with me as the topic of hockey continues to weave into this 2020 blog experience!

I remember so distinctly sitting with Max and Chris watching the Canucks getting eliminated by the BlackHawks in May of 2009. That happened again in 2010 a few months after Chris’ passing. It felt even worse. Back in 2009 as this despondent fan sat with two teenagers ready for glory and excitement but being exposed to the opposite, it was a key moment. In that snapshot of sadness I stated, ‘Boys, you now know how it feels to be a Canucks fan’.

Chris at Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto repping our home province of BC at a national lacrosse tournie.

Of course things stated at low moments don’t reflect the entire body of work or the overarching thinking because as soon as the puck dropped for the next season we were cheering as loud as ever only to have Chicago bounce the Nux again. That ended in 2011 with the historic run to the Stanley Cup Finals that I wrote about last week with Max and I present for Game 7 to watch the Canucks slay the dragon and move forward.

The point today, aside from being able to write about hockey, is that at the moment of loss in 2009 the boys understood what loss felt like, even though it is ultimately just sport. However, for those who have lost a child, you know that deep feeling of loss on an entirely different level. Something we would never wish on anyone. 10 years later, that feeling is still very present and can be brought back in an instant. I personally don’t believe in ‘recovery’ from grief or loss. It is part of our history, part of the present and helps shape the future although it doesn’t need to define the future. We don’t ‘move on’, but you move FORWARD, one decision at a time, building for the future but never forgetting the past.

Have a good week and GO CANUCKS GO!!!! As a public service, I’ve included all game times below. ūüėČ

Categories
Be The Best.

Thanksgiving – an epilogue of sorts

It’s been about 6 months since I last logged into the blog.

I wasn’t even sure I had remembered my password, but how hard is 1111111111. ¬†(No, that’s not my password…!)

In fact I just checked and the last blog post was on the Easter weekend, exactly 6 months ago today.

Many things have changed in the past 6 months. ¬†We’ve downsized, we’ve moved (yah, not really the same thing…), and I’ve changed jobs after 21 years.

They say you shouldn’t do all those things at the same time but I guess we missed that part in the instruction manual.

Anyhoo…why a post today?

I miss Chris everyday, every hour and every minute.

You can’t grow back a limb.

You learn to live with a broken heart and that’s the way it is.

And is that so bad? ¬†I mean that actually….is that so bad?

As I watched the Olympics this summer and saw Oscar Pistorius win and lose his races I could not help but think about this same fact. ¬†He’ll never have ‘normal’ legs but the path he has chosen is a ‘Be the Best’ story if I’ve ever heard one.

And so, with this major part of our lives missing and not coming back, how do we tackle our life olympics?

One of the things I saw in Mr. Pistorius was zero self pity and only resolve.  I loved it.

Instead of bitterness, he was thankful and hopeful and energized.

We aim to follow his lead.

In that vein, here at Thanksgiving there’s a story that I must share.

Chris’ ashes are held in a cemetery in Langley. ¬†It’s a beautiful place surrounded by huge trees.

You can go there anytime.  (208th and 44th Ave in Langley, BC)

It’s a great place to remember Chris but also to think about how to push forward and run the race ahead of us and even enjoy that run until we meet again.¬†His marker is on the Dogwood Wall and is number 41. ¬†This symbolizes the number he wore representing BC when he played nationally and of course the Dogwood is BC’s provincial flower.

In honour of that symbolism,  a Dogwood tree had been given to us.  We aimed to keep it in a big container to manage the growth but with the move the tree was pretty much done.

I talked to Dave who works for the Township at the cemetery. ¬†Dave’s one of those guys you meet and then you don’t mind paying your taxes anymore. ¬†He’s a great guy with a warm heart. ¬†When I asked if he would consider planting the tree he said he would. ¬†He took our beleaguered tree and planted it last month. ¬†This weekend on Thanksgiving, we saw it for the first time.

We were not even sure if it would survive, but it’s doing more than that. ¬†It’s thriving and looks like it is giving itself a fighting chance for the winter ahead.

We’ll call it the Be the Best tree.

It was down, it was almost out, but it came back.

Chris’ legacy is one that he now gets to be with us all of the time.

He’s with you as you read this in college thousands of miles from home.

He’s with you as you lace up those lacrosse boots for another battle.

He’s with all of us as we make decisions about our lives.

He provides that spirit and inspiration to push hard and Be the Best.

For that I am extremely thankful.