Jason underwent open-heart surgery to replace a faulty aortic valve in June, 2007. After surgery, when he was given permission to travel, we headed to Vancouver in the summer. Jason wasn't able to go far very long without needing rest, but I could already see signs of his energy returning. I could't help but smile after we got off of the plane in Abbotsford--Jason already seemed energized and commented on the sea air. That summer, Jason and I went beyond dreaming and started to plan a future to live at the coast. New hope came as Jason's new valve did its job making us read more andmore about Vancouver, encouraging us to believe how healthy it would be for us to live there.
Unfortunately, Jason suffered his first stroke 8 months later and died March 24, 2008, after suffering a massive stroke while still in the hospital. I thought that was the end of the story--as a matter of fact, I was certain of it...
After a year of pain and numbness, which still threatens to freeze me from time to time, I faced the need, as many who've lost a spouse can imagine, to start living and working on a "new normal"--whatever that is. I spent ten days of a summer holiday in Vancouver with my mother and step-father. They showed incredible hospitality and kindness, but I felt no joy. I felt incredible pain, but there was no significant enthusiasm for places I loved. I was almost afraid to love Vancouver. Chapter's Bookstore? ABC Comic and Book Emporium? Big deal. All I could see were "ghosts" that seemed to resemble him. I couldn't happily bounce down West 4th Avenue as I had done before. Strange thing was: I still loved the coast.
One day, while walking in Ocean Park (a village in South Surrey), I just literally stopped walking and sniffed the air. It was January and the air was crisp but not cold. i felt like I could breathe I think from that moment on, I was destined to live there.