It seems hard to believe that it’s been a year since you’ve been gone. Today I found myself thinking of little things I’ve missed this past year. I miss the messages on our answering machine. I miss the humour that, more often than not, crossed several lines. I miss the gifts for the kids, the construction sets that came with a gazillion pieces and hurt like you know what when you stepped on them. I miss all the woodworking projects. I miss the looks on Mark’s face when he was talking to you, and just KNOWING you were saying something off the wall, and looking forward to him getting off the phone so I could find out what it was. I miss you calling and saying “This is Dad”… almost right away, and learning pretty quickly it wasn’t just a word to you, that you just happily accepted everyone into your life. I miss the wooden canes. I miss you teaching me how to play guitar. I still have the sheet music with chords on it, tucked away, but don’t want to learn how to play because you’re not here to teach me. I miss hearing you play and sing. More than anything I miss your laugh.
If I had to pick one thing I am the most grateful for, in getting to know you, it was how when you first met my boys… children who were not biologically related to you… you treated them as your own. Anyone on the outside looking in would never have known otherwise. From the beginning, you became “Grandpa Jim” to all of them, you accepted and loved them equally, and I really can’t put into words how much that meant to me.
Maybe the closest I can come to expressing it, is to add what Aric, my oldest son, helped write and read on the day of your funeral. It may sound cliche’ but it really couldn’t be more true: While you may be gone, you certainly are not forgotten.
It’s early in the morning, and already the house is fluttering with activity. There’s always so much to do and with everyone coming over, while many hands make light work, much food also makes much work! The counter is covered with every sweet you can imagine. It’s hard to believe that somehow it will all go, either through eating it today or sending it along. I look out the window and there’s electricity in the air, like the entire world is holding its breath, waiting to see that first snowflake fall. I snack on something for breakfast, because on a day like today there’s really only one meal, and it’ll be around 3:00. I go in what is, for all intents and purposes, my room and get dressed up. Even though we aren’t going anywhere, it somehow feels “right” to be dressed up. I stop for a minute and close my eyes… for some reason I feel this need to take it all in, the smells in the house, the clinking of the good plates as they are being pulled out of the cabinet, the sound of grandma moving around the kitchen, and grandpa walking up the eight creaky stairs from the garage. For some reason the creaks seem to get higher pitched the higher you climb, but I figure that’s just my mind playing tricks on me.
All of Nova Scotia mourns the loss of Raylene Rankin, a woman with an angelic voice who pioneered music in the Maritimes. Raylene lost her long battle with breast cancer on the morning of the CIBC Run for the Cure. Heartfelt condolences are extended to the family and friends of Raylene.
I’ve learned over time that when cancer takes someone you love, the initial mourning you experience is just that… initial. You deal with what has happened, and you say your goodbyes…. but it’s the afterward part that’s the hardest. Those moments when you’re not really thinking about the person who is gone, but something will happen and an automatic thought will enter your mind, and suddenly you’re facing it again.
I’ve been sitting here for the last half hour, staring at my computer screen and trying to decide how to write this “in memoriam”. I start typing, then backspace. Then start again. Then erase again. The only thing I keep doing, in my mind, is having a final conversation that I never got to have. So….
David, it truly was an honour to have had the opportunity to meet you. The first time I came to your house I was completely blown away by all the paintings that I saw everywhere. You had such an amazing talent. Mark always said that you could paint better with your mouth than most people could with their hands. When I organized the fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina, and you donated one of your paintings to the cause, I knew before I left that it was the only thing I would be bidding on. I was SO happy when I won it.
Thank you for allowing me to come to your home, when I was working for “Our Town Earth” and interview you and take video of some of your work. I know you inspired people with your story, besides me. You became, hands down, my favourite modern artist. Thank you for having such a giving nature, for being so good to my mother in law all those years. I know she is going to miss you terribly, but I also know that she, as well as the rest of us, are thankful that you’re not in pain anymore and are now at peace.
I really enjoyed the evening when all of us attended the CPA Chair-Ability awards and silent auction and you won that award. Even more than that I could never thank you enough for the painting of my Grandparent’s house. It wasn’t anything like you normally did, and the fact you had my Grandpa’s truck in the garage just adds to it in so many ways. I can just look at that picture and have a hundred memories flash through my mind. You’ll never know how much it means to me that you did that. Well, maybe now you do.
To David’s family and friends, I am so very sorry for your loss. I hope you are able to find comfort in the fact that he is now at peace. He will be very missed by many.
A donation will be made to the Canadian Cancer Society in David’s honour.
There are studios all over the world, housing the most expressive creations by a wide range of artists. Artists reflect the diversity of the population, drawing on inspiration from thoughts, feelings and the world around them. This is not a revelation. What is amazing, however, is to find an impressive art studio right in the heart of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
In 1983, at the age of 45, David sustained two heart attacks and two strokes in the same day, which left him with quadriplegia.