Have you ever held on to something and felt like you were out of control? Like it was just out of reach… Ever so slowly, slipping out of your hands?

I thought I would feel that for the first time last week as I held on to my Omi’s hand as she lay motionless, helpless in her hospital bed in Cold Lake, Alberta. I did my best to pull out the golden-boy grandson routine of sheer comedic relief, but truth be told it was all a defence mechanism for me. I’ve never really experienced an up-close and personal encounter with the imminent signs of death and a loved one before. I mean, kind of back in 2010 when my dad ended up in the hospital over night from an aortic aneurysm. But hell, my now ex and I just showed up that Sunday morning by his bedside as he came to from the anaesthesia of post-surgery. It wasn’t as real as holding on to a hand that you’ve known all your life to give you all the support and love you could handle as a child. To hold on to that and to fear the moment when that grip finally slipped away… that was real. That, ironically is life.

However, I didn’t experience it.

My apparent good-willed humour and the presence of other loved ones such as my mother must have given Omi a renewed lease on life. A reminder as to why she was still kickin’. At 86 years old, she’s had one helluva time through the thick and the thin alongside my Opa, who is quite possibly the greatest man on this planet. Sure, they squabble, as any married couple will, but their undying love for one another was grossly magnified during the last week. A week I hadn’t prepared for and certainly didn’t expect to come out much wiser, stronger and empowered from.

I learned that the healing power of touch is awesomely underestimated. We went up to Cold Lake on Monday expecting to say farewell to my mother’s mother. Instead, our thoughtfulness, our compassion and our love incited a passion in Omi to hold on and stick around until next time we get to visit (which for my folks looks like about a month). And that’s okay. At this time, mini goals are all it takes. One step at a time. Day by day. One hospital meal of crushed ice and orange antibiotics at a time…

Make a plan. It’s there for you to use as a guide if nothing else. Clearly my Omi’s plan changed when we got there this past week. Eff, was she ever surprised. When you make a plan at least you can go off the grid a bit when you want to. Shake things up and understand the power of your presence around everyone, loved or not in your day to day interactions. The impact you have with the silliest things such as touch goes a really long way.

Thanks for hearing me out. And thanks for sharing

 

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Dear Mr. Cornell,

We’ve never met, but I wanted to let you know that you had a tremendous impact on my life, and this is a letter of thanks for all that you have done for the world.

It’s a shame that you are no longer with us, and it’s a wonder how many more lives like yours will end far before their time before we take notice and do something to help. Like, really help. I get it. I really do. I can only imagine how incredible the pressure must be in the place that you were. To have overcome drug abuse and addiction multiple times, that in and of itself is commendable. But as I’ve learned, that’s only the first step.

It’s unfortunate you weren’t given an outlet to express yourself after all the rehab. Or maybe you were, but you weren’t comfortable for some reason in expressing anything to anyone but your music. And we all had no idea. The turmoil inside your soul must have been a nightmare. It’s unfortunately that while everyone saw what Chris was on the outside; cheery, un-phased, recovered – they never thought to dig deeper and to ask you how you were really doing. Maybe you would have just told them what they wanted to hear anyways… maybe not. I like to think that if someone genuinely made a connection, I might have had a chance to thank you in person. Yeah, you were a legend. But everyone deserves an ear… maybe that’s all you needed. Someone to confide in. A professional shoulder to lean on. Someone to listen to you for more than Spoonman or Like A Highway.

To close, I hope to have a fraction of the impact on the industry and other musicians as you have had on my life. In a positive light, your passing has inspired me even more so to make a stand and pursue my dream of bringing an end to these tragedies in the music industry. Far too many die young and this is a great tragedy to world. Music touches the soul. Your songs and stories and musical ingenuity have inspired so many and will last a lifetime. So while we say goodbye, this is an unfortunate lesson that we can all use to reconsider how we approach proactive care. Depression, anxiety, stress, abuse, addiction… they’re all very real reminders that we are all just human…

Thank you for all of your work and passion to the craft. You will be missed deeply. Rest in peace.

And just like that it could have been taken all away from me. 

For some reason, I decided to loop back before entering the crosswalk on Monday. Mounted on “Big Red” my mountain bike converted to commuter to get to work and back and run errands around Calgary, my timely hesitation before rolling into the crosswalk may have very well been the half second that kept me alive that day. 

The car careened into oncoming traffic stopped at the redlight facing westbound on 9th after t-boning the drivers side quarter panel of a car2go, smashing that car into the concrete wall bordering 4th st. 

I was about a tire length from being steamrolled by that grey sedan, but instead, as I watched the car come to an abrupt stop right beside me in that oncoming traffic, passenger thug and his dog escape and cowardly flee the scene I took another breathe of oxygen. I was still standing. 

Sometimes I guess that’s the world’s way of telling you “Not yet, man. You have some work to do.” And while it’s a long arduous battle these days, mom’s right – it could always be worse. I could have been under that car. Instead, I made a split decision after I took into account the scene was in good hands with EMS and Police. It was on. 

Who knows what I would have done had I caught that bastard before he and his dog hijacked that black pick up, but shit I tell ya I’ve never pedalled so fast in my life. What a sketchy, coked-up piece of shit. His time will run out. I think he should consider himself lucky I didn’t catch him. 

Probably for the best. Knowing me I’d be the one facing charges. 

Now I can focus. Even though times are tough – no amount of money could put into perspective what it means to have the handful of people that flash through your mind after you gain perspective from a traumatic incident like Monday’s hit and run. 

Family, my dog, close friends and my first love. It’s amazing to think it could all go so quickly. Amazing that she’s still in my head too. Back of the mind, yet still front of mind… 

I’m happy to be here. I’m meant to do something more. And I’m more inspired (and impoverished, haha!) than ever to just light it up.

Tell those you care about how they make you feel. Trust in yourself and don’t ever give up. And no matter what… Chase the thug down, no matter how effin’ scared you are. Chase that mthrfkr down as hard as you can. Even if it’s right after hes nearly hit you with a stolen car in a crosswalk on your way to work. It’s good for your soul. Chase. 

Peace. ✌️