Yes Men Do Cry Pages 3-5
November 5, 2000, on my way to New Zealand to see my mom, brother, and sister.
Well, so far, Booby, this is the shits, but I know things will get easier. I can’t stop thinking of your birthday, September 4, 2000.
What a great evening it was. This was the day when I look back and realize that she was accepting what was happening to her. How do I know this? Well, Lois was a person whose appearance was very important to her, especially in front of others—everything had to be just right. She didn’t want to be a party pooper, so I convinced her that I could pull it off by having her birthday celebration at home and that our friends just wanted to be with us. So what if the spread I put on was not up to Lois’s standards? They would not mind. When she said okay, I knew she must be feeling worse than she was letting on to me. I prepared the best arrangement ever of snacks imaginable. Lois was so embarrassed. Hell, how could I have gone wrong with crackers, meat, cheese, olives, and pickles? They looked great to me. Everything I suspected about her pain and just feeling terrible was confirmed 100 percent when she made her entrance in her PJs. Yes, if you knew Lois, this is one thing she would never have done around friends—but she did have her makeup on with that ever-present lipstick, looking as good as ever.
It was a great evening. Lois lasted about one and a half hours before she told our friends she was tired. They all left except Terry and Fran, who just wanted to be with their best friend. Fran didn’t want to accept that Lois was dying. On the surface, Lois looked so good, but she was hiding how she really felt, especially in front of Fran. I finally had to tell her that Lois was lying when she said she wasn’t in pain. Terry and Fran finally left, and we went to bed.
What happened next was purely Lois at her best. It was what she was—“one hell of a lady”. We went to bed, and then, out of the blue, she said, “I want you to make love to me, maybe for the last time.” That was the last thing on my mind. Just cuddling her hurt, but she said she would be okay, but she might cry. We made love, but afterward, I could only cuddle her for a second because her body was hurting. We lay side by side. She cried. That was the last time we made love.
Again, this showed that you cared so much about others, about me coping with this whole shitty ride you were on; you knew how to make others feel good. I will never forget that special moment we had. Well, enough of the sappy crap.
I knew you would have been proud of me, the way I appeared to handle things after you were gone. The “celebration” of your life was great, and the Beach Grove Golf Club setting was you—class all the way. I’m sure you would have approved of the eulogy (You wrote the bloody thing!) and the two unbelievable letters from Girly and Nathan. Everyone who knew you could tell what an influence and impact you had on their lives. You have given them the strength and independence to cope with anything that they have to face in their lives. They will do okay; I will be okay.
It is true what you said—that you would be on my shoulder. I feel your presence just telling me to keep moving. I’m on the flight to New Zealand. I think that this is the hardest thing so far, feeling I have to go but not knowing why. It was bloody hard getting on the plane. I truly did not want to leave. It will be good to see Mom, Bruce, and Marg, and especially Trish and Ian and Pam and Len. I hope it will give them some closure, but most of all, I hope it will help me to grieve and continue on this new scary phase of my life. I have the kids and Terry and Fran and Bob and Marilyn to help me through this as unreal as it seems. I know you are gone, but I don’t understand it, and I have to do this by myself. I know I’m rambling, but, Jesus, it’s tough; you were my everything. I told you I loved you—you were everything to me. It takes something like this to realize just how important another person is to someone. Sure, we argued and worried about money, but the bottom line is we loved one another. It’s amazing what ten weeks means to twenty-five years of marriage. Our marriage was great; our life was great. We had two wonderful kids and great memories. Not having everything in common was what made us who we were as a couple. Hell, I was a Kiwi and you were a Canadian. Having the same likes and interests would have been boring. We played off each other perfectly, a bit like Burns and Allen, and it was great. You were the lead, and I was there to follow.
From the first date on Valentine’s Day, 1975, I knew you were something special, especially when it took me six weeks to get you into bed. But after that, it was full steam ahead. Remember our little bet. Who would give in first? If I recall, you gave up first about five months later, but only for a couple of days. I think people were surprised that we got married so quick—four months after our first date on May 23, 1975. I didn’t only marry you, but I also gained an instant daughter in Dallas (Girly), who I later adopted—I love you, Girly. But I guess we proved them wrong twenty-five years later. We did have a good marriage, just doing things as they occurred. When you stop to think about it, newly married couples have no idea what lies ahead. They just go on blind faith. Who can describe to them what it means to have a baby? It is great fun making one, but we had no idea that they are a constant worry (a good worry) for the rest of our lives. Having Girly call me "Daddy" as soon as we were married (at the reception) was a great thrill for me and also for you. Then, watching her grow up to become the woman she is today has been a neat and wonderful experience. Watching Nathan being born on August 29, 1979, was an amazing experience. To see him come into the world from your small body is still unbelievable. Then, to watch Nathan grow into the person he is today has also been neat. He is so different from Girly (except the gay bit). Yes, our kids are gay, but so much the same—both caring and considerate individuals. I wouldn’t swap the kids for anything.
We did so much together, you and me. It makes it harder for me to imagine life without you. I loved to give you things and take you to places. Remember our first anniversary where we went to San Francisco? It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. Even though you had yeast, we had a great time. (The yeast thing is something every guy should learn about early on in a marriage as it can put a damper on things if he is a horny bastard.) Our weekends away are something that I will never forget. I think we stayed at all the major hotels in Vancouver. Remember the spontaneous Easter stay at the Bayshore? Girly was staying overnight at a friend’s. We were down there, having drinks at Trader Vic’s when one drink led to another, and you got so turned on, you suggested I get a room. (You didn’t have to ask me twice; you can’t take a rain check on something like this!) I rented a room, and we had a good dirty weekend. Then we went to dinner (you had no knickers on), then we went back to the room and did it all over again. Isn’t being young wonderful? At about three o’clock, we thought we should go home in case Girly got homesick, even though she was staying with her friend. When I checked out, the guy at the desk wanted to know what was wrong with the room. All I could say was no, everything was great, and he just smiled. Cheeky bastard.
Remember the Rolls Royce anniversary? I completely surprised you. There was a knock on the door (you thought something was up), and I told you to answer it, which took a lot of convincing. At first, you thought it was a cop as he was in uniform; but you were wrong, it was a chauffeur. We picked up Terry and Fran. It was champagne all round, then down to Trader Vic’s in downtown Vancouver. (No special room this time!) After dinner, we were picked up again, and the chauffeur said, “Once round the park,” then up Davie Street to see the “ladies of the night” and home.
So many neat things came from living at 4901B Linden Drive in Ladner. We established great friends. The first two years were great in that Dallas began school (we actually spent eighteen months in Vic’s—(Lois’s dad)—basement in Vancouver as times were tough, and we had rented out our place. Girly started her first two months of school at Lord Kitchener. When we first moved to Ladner, Sandy (our neighbor) thought Dallas was a boy as she was such a tomboy. Who would have thought? The next stage of our life was when we had Nathan. Jesus, he was such a little bugger as a baby and was always so independent. But no matter what, I wouldn’t change anything.
In 1982, we packed up everything and moved to New Zealand for four years. There was a recession in Vancouver, and as my dad was sick, it seemed a good time to go and let the kids get to know their grandparents and cousins from down under. This was such a gutsy thing for you to do as you really didn’t know anyone in New Zealand. Who would have thought you would meet two wonderful women—Trish and Pam—who you would miss so much when we came back to Canada? It was strange, but the relationship you forged with them in a few years had to be seen to be believed. Even though you hadn’t seen them for about fourteen years, they were as special to you as any of your friends here. Friends are unique. They cannot compete with each other because you are the only one who knows what place they hold in your heart. But I do like to think that I was your best friend as well as your lover and father to our kids, so I guess that this theory doesn’t apply to me. (You told me in the hospital the first time that you wouldn’t change a thing about your life if you had it to live over, except you wouldn’t have worried about having enough money for retirement.)
You know I loved doing things for you, especially making you feel special. The next big surprise was your fortieth. I don’t think I topped that one, except maybe New York. We had just been to Disney World in Orlando, and you didn’t think I could have planned a surprise. Wrong! We arrived home, I think on the Thursday. Saturday, a limo picked us up (Nathan thought it should have been a stretch), and it took us to the South Terminal where we took a helicopter ride over Vancouver. It dropped us off at the Pan Pacific Hotel where I had rented a room for a party. All our friends knew about it and watched the helicopter arrive. You were completely surprised! I even had a guy playing the piano. (Fran asked him to play “Far Far Away.” He wasn’t too impressed). You had a