Archive for the ‘love letters’ Category

Dear Andrew…

Last Thursday, my life (and by default, 52 Projects) came to a screeching halt.

For those of you who know me personally, you know that The Otesha Project has, for years, been a huge part of my life. For those of you who don’t, let me quickly bring you up to speed. The Otesha Project is an organization that uses theatre to educate and empower people to examine their every day choices and their impact on the world. Through cycling tours, these presentations offer a message of hope and inspire others to take matters into their own hands to create a more just and sustainable world. Otesha has supported me cycling across British Columbia; it provided me with my first program management job; it has introduced me to people that I consider family; it provides me with inspiration and hope on a daily basis; and now I sit on its Board of Directors.

On Thursday, a member of one of Otesha’s cycling tours was killed in a roadside accident while on tour. To say that this has been devastating is an understatement. There simply aren’t words to describe the pain that I’ve felt along with the rest of the staff, board and hundreds of other Otesha supporters.

The tour currently on the road is our 23rd. Through these tours we’ve trained over 350 sustainability advocates and spread our message to over 100,000 individuals. We have spawned Otesha Project’s in Australia and the UK, published a book on sustainable living, and left the message of hope for a better world in our trails. To think that such a tragedy could strike a group trying to do such good is beyond me.

The last 6 days have been a whirlwind of conference calls, last minute trips to Ottawa, contacting parents and alumni, coordinating memorial events, and in between, grieving.

I’m not sure what other words I can offer right now, except to say that amidst all of this sadness, there has also been love. And so to finish off last week’s project of writing love letters, I now offer this one. For those waiting patiently for the next How To, know that buttons, shampoo and a cork board have all been made, and I will try to get back on track with regular posting soon.

With love,



Dear Andrew,

It feels funny to write a love letter to someone I’ve never met. And moreso, to someone I know I never will. But Andrew, when I say that I love you, know that I mean it with all my heart.

While we’ve never met, in these past few days you’ve become like a brother. I’ve realized our shared passion for cooking, and using food to educate young people. I’ve heard silly stories about you, like keeping your face painted like a bicycle for days on end. I’ve found out that in the small circles that I walk in, we’ve shared friends and experiences. But most of all, I’ve understood the power of the connection that we share by both being part of the Otesha family – something that will bind us together always.

These past days, I’ve cried a lot. For your parents, your sister, your friends, your teammates. I’ve cried for the loss of an incredible human being in this world, and all the good I know you would have done. I’ve cried for the moments that we could have shared, and now will never be able to.

But I’ve also cried for the beauty, creativity, and compassion that you’ve brought out in people.

This is how I will remember you Andrew. As a person who inspired hundreds to be the best, most loving, compassionate and alive people they can be. You’ve reminded us of the gift of being alive. Reminded us to cherish these moments. Inspired us to love, live, dream and act.

For the love, compassion and hope you brought to the world in your 23 short years, thank you. I’ll never forget you.

With love, and in love,


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A letter for Fynn

Dear Fynn,

I know it sounds cliché, but I’ve loved you since the day you were born.

I remember driving to the hospital that wintery afternoon. It was the day after my winter prom and Chris and I sang “When My Baby Calls My Name” the whole way there. The lyrics weren’t at all fitting, but it didn’t matter. The song had the word baby in the title, and we were going to see you. Small, wrinkly, fragile you. I remember wondering if this – this mixture of awe and anxiety – is what love felt like.

We bonded a lot in those early days. You listened to me ramble as we walked the streets of Kitsilano each evening. You reminded me that a blade of grass can be the most fascinating thing in the world. And you were by far the best cuddler I’d ever met.

But then, as so often happens, we went our separate ways – you to England and me to Montreal. I’d almost forgotten those evenings spent with you in the snuggly, so dependent, so expectant of my love until one night last year.

It was 10pm, and like every other night, your parents and I moved through familiar motions. Your mom checked the doors were locked, your dad put the dishes away, and I walked up the stairs to wake you to use the toilet. It was routine: up the stairs, over the creaky floor board, a flick of the hallway light.

That night, as I stood in the door frame and saw you tangled in the sheets of your parents’ bed, it all seemed to stop. I could see your chest in the light from the hallway rising and falling in simple rhythm. Your fists clutched the sheets gently, your lips slightly parted, formed a soft smile. And for one brief moment, I entered your world.

There were castles, and space stations, and robots. Every wall was for climbing, every railing for acrobatics. There were no time limits for computer games, mazes covered every surface and mixed-up-cereal was in abundance. It was a world full of hope and possibility, creativity and happiness. It was a world full of you.

As I lifted you from the bed, your arms wrapped around my neck and I remembered those days of cuddling when you were a baby. I so desperately wanted to hold you forever.  To tell you that you’ve taught me how to dream again. To tell you that I now know why I’m here —  to shower you with love, for all that you are and all that you teach me everyday.

But I didn’t. Instead I manoeuvred you into the bathroom, I held you steady so you didn’t fall over in your half-awake daze, and then I tucked you back into your bed and kissed you goodnight.

As you grow older I know there will be less moments of cuddling, of vulnerability, of tenderness. But know that whatever happens, I’ve loved you since the day you were born, and I’ll love you as long as I live.

~Auntie Wiz

To learn more about Chris’s love letter writing contest, or to read some of her own love letters check out http://www.fireflycreativewriting.com

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A week full of love

Last week, I invited readers to tell me what I should choose to do for the next project. I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of hits to the blog, but this venture still feels one-sided, and I’ve been craving more discussion and interaction.

Needless to say, I was super excited to check the comments when I got back from work that night. #1 came from none other than my wonderful friend Robbie. His suggestion? Go door to door asking people about their top community issues, and organize a way to bring those ideas to city council. By chance, the day before I signed up to do just that as a canvasser for the upcoming municipal elections. I don’t actually start until next week, but I’ve

That's my sister!

decided to assign his task to my canvassing duties, and thus cast my eyes to comment number two.

Unsurprisingly, it came from my sister. Chris is an incredible (I’m not at all biased) creative writing instructor, and this fall is running a contest (and set of workshops) on love letters. Her challenge to me? To put some passion on the page and write a series of them. That night, over shrimp salad and a Greg Brown show (one of the best live shows I’ve ever been to – at Hugh’s Room… a life changing experience) we talked more about this. Who would I write the letters to? Do love letters have to be for romantic lovers? What actually makes up a love letter?

This is what she said:

An example of a "love letter" I wrote to Chris when I was 10

“Love letters can be for lovers, yes, but they can also be for best friends, bus drivers or baristas. They can be for our dogs, our dads or our dinner guests. They can for the musicians that touch our hearts or the novelists whose characters sit inside us. They can be for coffee. They can be for Italy. They can be for people who have passed away. They can be for unborn children, or future versions of ourselves. The important thing is simply this: That they are sincere, they are tender and they are very real.”

So this week, amidst my attempts to catch up on posts about cold frames and cork boards (coming soon!), I’ll also be posting a series of love letters.

Today’s is to my mailman. Before you read on, take a moment to imagine a healthy looking woman who, unbeknownst to any passer by, has just had an appendectomy and is on her first venture into the outdoors since the surgery. Having dropped her keys, she stands helplessly waiting for a helping hand.

To the Postman…

I stood there that day in the middle of the sidewalk, feeling more alone than ever. It was such a simple action – bending down to pick up my keys – but no muscle in my body would move. I felt like that girl in Kill Bill, willing her toe to move in the back seat of a car, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t do it.

So I stood, and I waited, tears welling up in my eyes, ready to pour over like Niagara Falls.

I can only imagine what you thought when you found me – a perfectly healthy looking girl, crying over her dropped keys, not two feet from  her grasp. You didn’t ask any questions though. You just smiled and offered your usual friendly greeting, your voice almost singing as you said “Hello”.

I hardly managed a thank you, but you saved me that day. You did what my body wouldn’t allow. You reminded me of the goodness of humankind. You reached out a helping hand to someone you didn’t even know was in need.

So now, healthy again, I’m here to say thank you, and to tell you that in that moment my heart was filled with love for you. In my most vulnerable, in my most incapable, you picked up my keys for me and helped me get home.

To learn more about Chris’s love letter writing contest, or to read some of her own love letters check out http://www.fireflycreativewriting.com

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