Last week David and I went to Fairmont. My brother Mike and his wife Michele have a time-share condo there and they ever so kindly invited us to join them. The holiday that they outlined when they extended the invitation sounded lovely but the reality exceeded the expectation, at least for me. It was - simply - quite blissful. We did only what we wanted to do. Period.
Mike and Michele have both experienced loss that has been profound - his wife and her son - so they truly do know. It is both comfortable and comforting to be with them because there are no demands, no expectations - just understanding and companionship. They have been an incredible source of help and love not only to David and I but to all of our family. They have had Eden's little ones overnight. Mike has worked at Mike and Merin's for hours and hours. Michele (a nurse in the NICU at Rockyview Hospital) spent several nights with us at the Children's Hospital helping with Ysa - and that after a 12 hour day in the nursery. Food, help, love. So freely offered, so generously given.
Mike is two years younger than I. When we were children and would bicker as all children do, I remember my father teaching me that it was important to treat my brother with love because he would be one of the best friends I would ever have. We were great friends as children and then, indeed, best friends as teenagers but it is only now that I truly understand what a tremendous blessing that friendship is. In Fairmont as Mike worked on the puzzles that he loves to do, I remembered his absorption in dismantling a clock or building with Meccano - his round cheeks flushed, little boy eyes sparkling - and I felt such a surge of love for him and gratitude for the years of friendship.
The relaxed pace of a holiday where we slept late, ate well, went skiing - or stayed in and read, or watched old movies (in the afternoon!!!!), or worked on sewing projects - that was lovely. But the bliss was being with one another and with others we love who also love us. Thanks Mike and Michele for all of that. It was the perfect time out.