Gord Wilson and I did the afternoon show on the Team 1200 yesterday because all the normal talk show hosts wanted to attend the funeral of Buzz in Georgetown, Ontario. Gord and I both wanted to go but someone had to do the show and we felt the people who worked with Tim Kilpatrick everyday should have that chance.
While the show wasn’t nearly as difficult as the tribute morning show on Monday carried out perfectly by Steve Warne, Stuntman Stu and Kenny Walls, it was still very difficult because we agreed not to talk about it until the very end of the show. All the while emails were coming in asking us to talk about Buzz. We never read any of them on the air as we tried to do a show that was fun, irreverent and upbeat and reading those emails and giving our thoughts and feelings would have made that impossible.
There is nothing new I can tell you about the emotions of this loss. It just strikes me that this is another in a long line of examples that we as humans have no guarantees in life. Tim was just 41 years old when he passed away of complications from a chest infection. I think we all have an underlying belief that with the exception of catastrophic accidents, today’s doctors can fix or treat almost anything. The massive cancer increases prove that is not true, but the strides doctors and researchers make everyday make us all feel a little safer until something like the death of Tim hits you square in the head.
I remember vividly when my father passed away due to bone cancer. We had 2 years to prepare for it and he never suffered. Our family and my father were very lucky compared to many. After that experience I often tell people when faced with the same type of situation to say everything. Tell the people you love everything you feel. The funny, the embarrassing, the criminal, the impressive, tell them everything. I was very fortunate with my father that we did not have any lingering awkward domestic turbulence which had to be settled and said before he died so my conversations with my dad were all about what he was thinking and feeling as a father when I was a boy when different things came up in my life. I remember them as the kid while he remembers them as the father. I understood why he did the things he did and said the things he said at the time better because I understood more about how I was as a kid. Now as a father myself I understand completely and everyday I try to think of what my father would say to Connor and Maya if he were here.
I don’t want to get into a complicated religious debate, but I do believe in God or an entity greater than us. The fact is when my daughter was born she nearly died at birth. I sat in a room they put me in all by myself while the doctors worked to save my little girls life and at that time I didn’t pray, at least not to God. I found myself having a mental conversation with my father. I am not a theologian or a psychologist so I can’t tell you if my father was my subconscious symbol for God, but I can tell you it helped me. It made me calm and hopeful. When the doctor finally came in to tell me that my wife was fine and Maya was not out of the woods, but had rebounded and things were looking positive, I thanked my father. I guess I expected he would pass along my thanks to God when next he saw him/her/it.
There are no guarantees of when and how long each life will last. The only thing we can do for the people we love is be an open book while we are living. Hug them everyday and tell them you love them everyday. That is the only way to guarantee they know the true you when that time comes for all of us.
I’ll miss you Buzz.
See you at the rink.