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.
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.
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.