Sadness Uplifted at the Wine Media Conference 2021

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Hello friends.

It does not escape me that I am posting this on David’s birthday. I look up Grouse Mountain and I can see a dusting of snow on the trees and know that he would be happy that the ‘white stuff’ was falling.

I haven’t written an in-depth post in a long time – for a good reason. Namely, because my husband of 14 years passed away this past July of Glioblastoma brain cancer, he was not 64.


The world kept moving around me, but I was unable to do very much at all. David’s diagnosis stopped me in my tracks, and I thought of nothing other than being beside him through the journey of healing (we hoped). However, it was not meant to be, and life changed in one distinct moment.

David’s favourite colour, orange, filled the sky and blessed my trip as I flew down to Portland.


I have been sad. I have been angry. Daily tasks have been overwhelming, yet I get up and continue to face the day. I try to keep my heart as open as humanly possible when all I want to do at times is to curl up into a ball and hibernate.

During our last few hours together, David said that he wanted me to live five more lifetimes in the life I have left. I am not sure what he meant, but my heart says he wanted me to live: enjoy, be, and love.

I decided to jump on a plane to Portland for the Wine Media Conference just two and a half weeks after David passed. A few people shook their heads at me, ‘How can you go now?’. My answer was simple, “How could I not?”. I knew waiting for me was the arms of many friends I had met over my ten years in wine. I was flying towards life and, honestly, away from sadness for a little while, at least.

The Wine Media Conference gathers like-minded wine writers, podcasters, and media personalities together. It is an event where I feel, and have felt, like myself. Quite a few people did not attend this year due to Covid-19 restrictions. I may have been the only one who flew into Oregon from Canada. As a Canadian, I could board a plane if I had all the proper documentation, tests and vaccines. I had David’s blessing and our daughters’ blessing (and my incredible Mom watching over everything in my absence – thank you, Mom!XO).

The conference looked and felt different than years past – how could it not? I did feel safe and thought that the organizers did a fantastic job given the situation.

But, one thing remained the same – the people. People are why I went. I allowed myself to laugh, be in the present moment, learn a few things, and receive friendship, love and support.

There were moments of sadness, of course. I had people approach me whom I didn’t know very well and gather me into a giant, never-ending hug. They held onto me and told me I was ‘incredible’. Thank you. You know who you are.

Word got out that I had never been to Red Lobster before, so off we went!

So happy to be with these amazing humans! Steve (aka Stove), Patrick, Kells and Brina

There were moments when laughter was utterly contagious, and it spread like a healthy tonic for all of us in need. I was given the ‘shotgun’ seat in Steve Noel’s convertible Jeep as we headed to a kick-off event at Neal and Elyse Benson’s home. I saw people I hadn’t for far too long, and it all felt so good.

I knew that I wanted to toast David during the conference and found a window of free time. Sabrina Silva and I put on a champagne tasting lunch that concluded with the ‘Amour de Deutz’ tête de cuvée from Champagne Deutz. I held onto Jason Stubblefield’s hand as I looked into the eyes of my friends around me and said what I wanted to say. I thanked everyone in the room for their love and support and told them that it meant the world to me.

To have a place and space to be that vulnerable and raw yet strong in the same breath was powerful.

I cannot recall one moment at the WMC where I felt isolated, alone or lonely. This gift was worth everything, and I will always be grateful.

Thank you to Zephyr Conferences for forging ahead and trusting that we would all be safe and respectful of each other. It is a Wine Media Conference that I will never forget.

Happy birthday, David.

XO
C