Let’s Never Say Farewell

Disclaimer: This isn’t one of my typical B&B posts.

20 years ago today, a very dear friend of mine was in a car accident and was killed in an instant; I’ll never forget receiving the phone call. Today was a crappy day, weather-wise, and I heard many people complaining about the cold temperatures and freezing rain. It’s not so unusual for April 25 in Nova Scotia.

Tara Lynne Touesnard was just 21 years old and had the world on a string. She was a well respected Nova Scotian fiddler and humanitarian, having been recognized many times. We met at Acadia University on September 4, 1990, her 18th birthday. Years later, my due date with Evan (our first child) was September 4th and I remember thinking throughout my pregnancy how happy she might have been if he had been born on her birthday.

She received the Terry Fox Youth Humanitarian Award in Toronto the year I met her and I remember watching her receive it on television from our dorm at Acadia University in Wolfville. She had already won numerous awards and made various recordings by the time I met her, and had been a cast member in the Cape Breton Summertime Revue.  She was on her way to do a segment on an early morning television show when her car hit black ice and she collided with a tractor-trailer and was killed.

After 20 years, each time I wake up on the morning of April 25, my first thought is still of Tara Lynne and her family. I have thought of her all day.

I leave you with a clip of one of her recordings, “Ashokan Farewell”, recorded in 1992, in River Bourgious, Cape Breton for her album “Bowing the Strings”. When I listen to it, through my melancholy I can still see her vividly – see her smile, hear her laugh, and remember the grace with which her hands moved. Let’s never say farewell…



The BIG swim!!

Last week, I was lucky enough to have three of my dearest friends together for a sleepover at our place. We talked and laughed and drank wine. We even went to a nearby restaurant’s patio for a bite to eat – how civilized! Karen, Angie, Theresa & I all got to know each other while living together in residence at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) many years ago. (Actually, Theresa & I first met at Piano camp at Acadia University when we were in elementary school, but reconnected at “The Mount”.) Theresa was taking Public Relations, Angie was taking Business Administration, and Karen & I were taking Tourism & Hospitality Management. The four of us have been together through a LOT over the years: jobs, loves beginnings and endings, marriages, long distances (Karen married a pilot and has spent many years based in the Maldives and Sri Lanka), career changes, babies (Theresa & I were in the same hospital together when our Sarah and her triplet boys were born six days apart!), milestone birthdays, awards, the death & illnesses of parents, holidays, new houses, etc. We have the kind of friendship that always picks up right where it left off, and we know that we have each other’s backs – no judgments! Twenty years of friendship has seen a lot of water under the bridge! (Foreshadowing metaphor…)

Getting ready for a charity ball at MSVU; winter 1993.

Getting ready for a charity ball at MSVU; winter 1993.

Twenty years later - older and (hopefully much) wiser.

Twenty years later – older and (hopefully much) wiser.

As much as I love all three of these women, my “Vital Friends“, who each bring something different into my life, this post is about Angie. Three years ago, Angie left her high profile job with a major insurance company, sold her house and belongings, packed everything else she owned into her little car, and drove home to Nova Scotia. She applied to Dalhousie University to study to become an occupational therapist, and was recently valedictorian of her graduating class!! A number of years ago, she became involved with Camp Brigadoon, a summer camp here in Nova Scotia for kids with chronic illnesses, while it was still in the planning stages. In their own words, “Brigadoon is a non-profit recreational facility on Aylesford Lake in the Annapolis Valley. With our partners, we deliver camp programming to children, youth and families living with a chronic illness, chronic condition, or special need across Atlantic Canada. Brigadoon is a place where campers come to experience new things, meet friends who are facing similar challenges, and to just be themselves…not a patient, a chart full of symptoms, or a good little soldier.”

On August 4th of this year, Angie is swimming with 35 other people, across the Northumberland Straight – 14 kilometres – from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island to raise money for this deserving cause.

For the record, this woman does nothing half-way.

Angie’s friend Amanda, who will be her surface support, traveling alongside her in a kayak during the swim, created the following video, which is three minutes long, in anticipation:

For the record, Angie figures it will take her about six hours to complete her swim. Yikes.

Angie’s fundraising goal is $5,000 before she gets in the water, and as of our evening together, she was at just over $3,000. This is a camp that our daughter Olivia, would qualify to attend some day. Every $1,000 raised sends one more child to camp!

To donate, please click on the following link: Angie’s Big Swim for Brigadoon Camp.

Thank you!

Brigadoon Children’s Camp

Belgravia Bed & Breakfast