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Dear Mick

Dear Mick,

I cannot believe a whole year has passed since you took your last breath. If we are to believe that we find each other in the after life, then you are definitely with our beloved Austin.

Mick and Austin

Mick and Austin 1996

You are so missed by all who loved you.  Obviously the boys and I are at the top of the list, but let me tell you, the rest of the family: Lisa and Tracy and their families, Mom (Mo to you) & Yvon – they miss you like crazy, too.

The Family

Whole family First Cruise

Don’t get me started on your friends like André, Paul, Armen and Leonard and, geez, I won’t list them all because this letter will just be filled with names.  A LOT of names.

Things have changed quite a bit around here.  During the day, it is too damned quiet.  I don’t have your music blasting in my ears while you are drawing!  I don’t have you sending me texts, asking me what’s for lunch?  I’ve lost my dishwasher/driver when I have catering contracts.  I miss your bitching about whatever was supposed to be done by either the boys or me that wasn’t done!  You’d be appalled by the state of the house right now.  No worries, though, I am working on it.  I’ve got to get it up to snuff as I want the “For Sale” sign put up by February.  It just doesn’t work for us without you.  It’s too big.  It’s too empty.  For a not-so-big guy, you sure took up a lot of space!  Not just physically, you understand.  You are still everywhere.  I don’t want you to think I want to get rid of you by getting rid of the house; that is so not the case.  We do, however, all three of us, have to move forward and I think it would be easier for us to start fresh in a new place.

Now that I am the sole coffee drinker, I’ve taken to using the “special occasion” Italian coffee maker for myself.  Remember how, even after drinking a whole pot of coffee, we just wanted one more cup so I’d make us a special?  Espresso for you, latte for me.   Most days, though, I just use the Melitta and make myself one cup at a time.

You had so wanted to bring the boys to the Habs game on your birthday but, as we all know, that was not possible.  Paul was sweet and managed to sell those tickets.  I did, however keep the January 10 tickets and brought the boys.  It was so bittersweet.  I would have been very happy to stay at home while you three went out for one of your “Boys Nights”.  I did my best and I think the boys felt like I did.  As you can see, they wore your shirts!

2015-01-10 20.54.42

Habs game, January 10, 2015

I sold your beloved F-150 and the trailer after the boys told me they were no longer interested in camping.  I’m sure eventually they would have no longer followed along, having summer jobs and such but it just happened sooner since, as far as they were concerned, camping without you was just not something they wanted to do.  I did, however, take the money from the trailer and booked an all-inclusive holiday as you promised the next one would be.  (Already booked for Cuba during spring break – I know, eh?  I always said “never” to Cuba, though you kept saying we should at least try it!  Well, there you go, we’ll have you on our minds for sure during the whole week.)  It won’t be the same without you.

I know you wanted to get me the Ford Edge next but frankly, with the new situation, I couldn’t afford it so the truck was switched for an Escape.  I think you would not be surprised that it has an orange tint to it!

IMG_9623

Mother’s Day was weird this year.  Even though we had started a new tradition of holding the brunch at each our houses, you had, for so many years, organised the restaurant details.  You would have loved seeing all the kids in our kitchen (as it was at our house this year) laughing and working hard to make us our eggs and bacon and whatnot!

Father’s Day was a sombre affair.  With both you and my dad gone, we were just wandering around, not knowing what to do with ourselves.  Obviously, we felt bereft.

The summer came and went with nothing in particular happening.  We went nowhere as the boys were both working and I am the only one who used the pool.  No wait, Aidan dipped into it twice and Iain and his friends threw two of their friends into it.  Sébastien and Aldo helped me to start it, Robert came to complete the start up (there was a missing piece to be installed) and Mario came to help change the skimmer – thanks for that, Mr. Handyman MacGyver!  You may have known how you finagled things to make them work but us poor folk left behind had no clue!  And sorry, but I will not use a wrench to turn the broken lever!  Thank goodness I’ve some handy friends, eh?  Oh, and you know how that bloody motor made so much noise?  Well, that got replaced too…

20150712_104221

I continued taking walks with Zeke and would think of you many times whenever he would go into the water.  How often did I send you pics during my walks, while you were at home working away?

IMG_9751

Fall came ’round and school started up for the boys again.  You would have been pleased with your son, pleading his case to be reinstated.  He did a fabulous job and was accepted.  Both boys are doing quite well, school-wise.

You were right to surround yourself with such a great group.  Raffi and Armen made sure that I was okay and Jesse made sure to keep hounding the insurance company.  Would you believe the insurance finally went through in November?  It took 11 months but finally was settled.  We still have a bunch of stuff to iron out but at least this issue is off our backs.  I don’t know who is more relieved, Armen or me!  You know me, I’m a go-with-the-flow-type and was not overly worried.  I was sure all would work out fine!  Mick Design Group is not yet officially shut down but you would be pleased with how well Armen took care of business.  He is a fair man (and we both know you would have done exactly the same for him, were our situations reversed).  Raffi is also still working on stuff!  I also have Daniel to help with legalities and he’s also helped with investments.  I am truly blessed.

I guess I just want you to know that we miss you so much but we are doing our best to move forward.  I’m sure there are things that would drive you crazy – no, I will not list them – but there are many you would be proud of.  The boys are pretty darn good, even if I have to hound them on occasion!  They will eventually remember garbage day is Monday and recycling is Thursday… till then, I’ll just keep on asking them or do it myself (sound familiar?)

I see so much of you in our boys.  It’s funny, as it’s in different ways.  From expressions to actions, you are definitely in there!

Just know, dearest Mick, we are doing well, and even if we are moving forward, you will forever be a part of us.  Your space in my heart will always remain yours.

mick&dale

All my love,

Dale

xoxo

 

97 thoughts on “Dear Mick

  1. If I’d held an onion to my nose, it would have failed to fill my eyes with tears as much as that beautiful but heart-wrenching letter. Am so glad you’ve had dependable and wonderful people to help you through this time xxxx

  2. Oh gosh. . .wiping my eyes and blowing my nose now. Such a beautiful, bittersweet, and touching post. I don’t know you, and I’ve only been following your blog for a little while, but I have to believe that your Mick would be happy to know that while you miss him, you’re doing well. And you have great friends! Wishing you and your family all the best.

  3. Absolutely beautiful. I can’t type too much because I have to go to work, and I’m already blowing my nose! So glad your boys have you because your whole approach to life is a wonderful model, Dale.

  4. Just beautiful Dale. my heart aches for you and I cried throughout the entire post. You are an amazing strong woman. Hugs to a wonderful woman~~

  5. Yes, my eyes are watery, too – but I imagine many more tears flowed as you wrote this. Nonetheless, I think he would be proud of what you’ve done in the past year. Well done, my friend.

  6. Beautiful, touching, from the heart, and full of love. Did I mention beautiful? Because this is. Heartbreaking, too, but a beautiful tribute to your love and to you for all you’ve had to go through in the past year.

  7. Thank goodness I didn’t read this at school during lunch! Just so darn sad these days. Beautiful letter and I’m sure he’s with Austin. Love ya xoxo

  8. Well, glad I didn’t read this at school today 🙂 You always seem to find the right words…. We are so sad and missing him so very much. I’m sure he is with Austin. Love you xoxox

  9. There are no words, Dale. I can’t imagine the strength it took to write this but then your strength has been tested every day this past year, hasn’t it. A beautiful tribute to an obviously wonderful man. He would be so proud if you. God Bless.

  10. Beautiful my friend and I’m sure you’ve been writing it in your head and heart for a while now. A beautiful tribute to your love and your amazing strength. Xx

  11. Strength, resilience and grace are 3 words I have always associated with you. And never more so than in this past year. I do not know the kind of sadness that you experienced and I am comforted that your family and friends, both yours and Mick’s, were there to support you and the boys with hugs, hammers and wrenches.
    Your letter is beautifly written. For those of us who didn’t know him well, your words described a loving caring man, a proud family man and a trusted friend who is greatly missed.
    My heart goes out to you. 💕

  12. Dear Dale,
    This is Russell (not his lovely wife). Connie told me about this post and I had to read it for myself. What a wonderful tribute. In just a few short moments I felt I got to know Mick and how much he meant to so many people. Thank you so much for sharing that with us.
    May God Bless,
    Russell

  13. This is beautiful, Dale. You are so real in your memories of Mick and in you and your boys moving on as best you can. Thanks for being you. I have a terrific lump in my throat. ❤

  14. What a wonderful tribute to Mick Dale. Not an easy task to move on, literally by trying to sell your house, but I am sure you and boys will manage. You all accomplished already so much this past year. Love, A.

  15. I’m not sure what I can really add to all the many other comments on this thread. I second every one of them.

    They say the sincerest tribute to someone’s character is how fondly they are remembered and how dearly they are missed when they are gone. By this standard, it’s clear Mick must have been a truly wonderful person.

    • I thank you for your most kind words.
      I agree with you. It is a definite indication of a person’s character! I was blown away by how many attended his funeral, held between Christmas and New Year. We guestimated a good 400-450 people came through the doors that day…

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  17. Dale, thank you for sharing this very personal letter and for sharing your thought processes and how your family has responded after losing Mick. I have a severe chronic illness and I do my best to try to ensure the family is prepared but we haven’t, thank goodness, had to cross that line. I am doing quite well at the moment. Almost well enough to forget that I’m still living with that shadow , even f it is way off in the distance. Your letter has reminded me of my intention to write a letter to my husband, kids, parents, brother etc and have them in a box. When I was having chemo two years ago, I started buying birthday cards for the future and I thought I’d stash them away. However, that quickly became expensive and the chemo worked and I am starting to feel immortal again. Your letter reminded me to write those letters. That perhaps we should all write those letters or make a video. Give oour loved ones more to hold onto.
    I know how you love humour and I loved the funny photo of your dog in the water. Dogs are so incredibly special. They manage to touch hidden places in our hearts and make us smile etc.
    You and the boys are incredibly courageous and I do understand that you don’t really get a choice in all of this. Life goes on and takes you with it but you seem pretty grounded and have great family and friends.
    Love & best wishes,
    Rowena

    • Thank you for your kind words and for reading my letter, Rowena.
      I so hope you do get better, but yes, writing a letter to our loved ones is not a bad idea. This blog is basically for my boys, for later (they sure as heck don’t read it now!) and I hope they will get some insight into me, their father, our life together and whatever comes in the future.
      Yes, humour is very important to me as is living life to the fullest we can. We don’t know when it will end so we really need to take advantage of every moment while we can.
      Part of life is the good and the bad so yes, do move forward with grace and surround yourself with family and friends – makes the trip that much better, I say.
      Best wishes to you, good health for 2016 and forward,
      Dale
      xo

      • Thank you very much, Dale. I’m now hoping to write a letter to each of the family for the New Year. Give it to them now. Maybe make it an annual tradition. I write a year in review letter and email it every Christmas but this could be a family thing.
        I don’t know whether you’ve felt there is much information available to help you go through the loss of a parent as a family but I have struggled to find much, part from through our local Cancer Council. They recently put out a really useful booklet and it included checklists where kids could tick boxes for how they wanted people to respond. This largely related to while their parent was having chemo but I thought this was inspired because I know how people don’ know whether to call or stay away and this way people could easily let them know. I also found my kids haven’t wanted to talk about things so a tick box system would suit them. A few of the kids at the school have lost parents at the school.A girl in my son’s class lost her mum and on the anniversary of her death, the class went outside and blew bubbles together, which was very thoughtful. You can’t necessarily prevent bad things from happening to people but it’s so encouraging to see how people pull together and help out!
        Love and best wishes,
        Rowena

        • I love the idea of an annual letter. This year I did an Advent Note thing. W
          Every night I left them a note on their pillow ststingeither a quote, something I like about them, words of advice. They thought it was silly yet kept every one…
          My kids talk to family members and friends so, it helps

          • I like the sound of those notes. It’s hard to know quite what to do but seeing the thought there in a concrete message would mean more to them than they probably even realise themselves.
            I’ve had counselling a few times for my kids but in they end, they refused to go. My son had the same teacher two years in a row and she was beautiful. She had been very ill herslef with an auto-immune disease when her boys were growing up and so she really understood. My son’s behaviour can get quite out of hand and we’re usually pretty sure it’s connected to my health. We were all stumped at one point and through talking through things with him and her, it turned out he’d overheard something and panicked. He’s doing really well at the moment. We’ve been living with this for 9 years so it’s nothing new and as more time passes, I am starting to think I will be there for the long haul. although living with this shadow is stressful, I am grateful for every extra year.
            Thank you for the chat. It’s not a subject I can readily discuss but I found a good psychologist whose daughter has a disability and understands our situation. Need to book another appt! Take care and best wishes,
            Rowena

          • My boys want nothing to do with counseling either. I cannot imagine what your kids are living through – the constant fear of losing a parent. You sound brave and full of grace and I certainly hope you are in it for the long haul! I send you love and strength to get through each day.
            Dale xoxo

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