thank you, thank you

These are this morning’s words from the ‘inimitable’ Christine Henry DeLong:

“Thanks to all who came out to our fundraiser auction last night at Pacifico!  What a night!  We raised a total of $7,313.00 towards a perpetual SJA Scholarship in memory of our dear friend Robert Sampson!!  Thanks also to everyone who worked hard to put this event on, as well as all those people who donated.  We couldn’t have done it without you!!  We will have other events over the next few years to reach our goal of $25,000.00.  We will keep you posted.  In addition you can always donate directly to the Scholarship and get a tax-deductible receipt.  Again, a big thanks to everyone!!”

…and from me, my humble and grateful thanks to all,
especially to Christine,



two days till auction!

Just in case you need some inspiration to come support the cause, here is Steve giving the first award last Thursday 🙂

…and here’s a sneak peek at a few auction items:
tools, prints, sunglasses, cupcakes, camera, golf clubs, massage, hotel stays, certificates from restaurants, hair salons, yoga teacher… lots of creative gift baskets (wink wink)…

Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday at 7:00 at the Pacifico!!!

we got this so right

Oh my Heart!

Yesterday afternoon we attended the Sir John A Macdonald High School graduation. We didn’t know any of the grads, but came to see the young man we had recently selected receive Robert’s Award. I wondered if I would feel anything when he walked up to receive his diploma… and yes, I smiled at his swagger, his big grin, and the subject award for calculus (who knew?!). Then it was Steve and I grinning broadly, knowing Robert was in the room, when this was the one student to “jump his chair” for the mortarboard toss.

And finally, the moment we came for… I watched Steve present a shocked, and honoured, Moataz Ibrahim with the first annual Robert Sampson Integrity Award. It felt so perfectly correct, as if all the stars had aligned. Maotaz (Mizo) received a certificate, and letter of explanation done by cfns, and the cheque for $850 made out to Dalhousie, where he will be studying engineering. Amen.

..soon to follow:
and a list of auction items!!!…we have six days left!!

a year-and-a-half…

Since January first I have been faithfully doing the daily reading from “The Book of Awakening”, looking for clues,  hope,  inspiration… scanning for words that might compel me to stand up and be alive in my life. Every now and then I get the sense that a wisp of wisdom has just darted by me, but it is never tangible enough for my mathy head and clay feet. Then, a few days ago, exactly a year-and-a-half after Robert’s leaving… this:

Look with your sad eyes on things new to you that will give you something to do with your sadness. Your sadness is the paint. You must find a canvas.”

Either this one makes good sense, or I am simply ready for it now. So I am trying it on for size, although not literally, of course. While there’s plenty of sadness, there’s no actual paint. For almost a year I have been anti-depressant-free but am still, in truth, eviscerated by losing Robert. And if he hadn’t hated Coronation Street so much, I’d have said ‘gutted’ there instead.

Nevertheless, one very beautiful canvas that has been under construction for a while is the Sir John A Macdonald award in Robert’s honour. I am proud to say we got this Integrity Award and its criteria so right that I am thrilled!

Please peruse the Robert Sampson Integrity Award itself, and also our Fundraiser to support it. Although it may take a little time to raise all the necessary funds to ensure the award is perpetual, I cannot possibly wait another year to start, and will be awarding it to one awesome, compassionate,  SJA graduate very shortly, on June 27th.

I will always remember Robert saying to me, of all things…. “I hope people don’t forget me”… as if that was even possible (!) I replied…..

Any and all support in this endeavour is greatly appreciated.
…and if you are inspired and able to make a tax-deductible donation here’s the link,
thank you everybody!



a New Year

So it looks like I have survived this old year… the long and bumpy year of trying to make sure Robert is proud of me… trying to find some meaning… and to buck up… to patch together something from what’s left. But at the same time, in the back of my mind, I’m even now half expecting him to come home. That little life-saving device known as denial is, still, my secret companion.

Yes, I do get by, often with the help of a beautiful 4-year-old (“and a half” she informs me). Such an incredible gift Robert has given me… love, so pure and simple, and a nice perspective on our ‘circle of life’… (shout-out to the Lion King, and its nonstop play; summer of ’94, thanking you Kate and Sarah).

Robert has given me so many gifts, but I really wasn’t expecting a Christmas gift from him this year. And yet, on the eve of the 24th, there I was scrambling through his massive junk drawer in search of a certain little light bulb… and perfectly thrilled to stumble upon his Sir John A MacDonald ring… ‘lost’ for the last couple of years, I know for sure he would have never have put that in a junk drawer, even if he did replace it with a wedding band. Merry Christmas, Honey.

They tell me the fates will take you where you are meant to be… sometimes gently… sometimes kicking and screaming. Well, I’ve pretty much been kicking and screaming for this last year, and it’s not been producing much of a result. Then a gentle woman said it’s time for me to figure out why I’m here… why I’m still here without Robert… time to understand what I am meant to be doing… okay then Universe, feel free to open up now…. not just to me, but to everyone who is searching. Happy New Year friends.


The Cruelest Month

Here we are, November…. would trade you in for an April any day. Oh, month of remembrance, you are coloured with such sorrow. This year has merely passed, one plodding day after another, all blurred together in one numb muddle… but with all the fragments of clarity I can muster, Bernadette, I thank you for keeping me going and for making me shower. Hannah, thank you for remembering Gampy so solidly, and so sweetly, that I don’t have to worry any more. Missy and Mike, thank you for making me secure and so at home in your lives. Debbie, thank you for being there every time I need help to do something hard.  John, thank you for taking care of me, especially in the really blonde moments. Michelle, Stephanie, Kevin, and all the others at NSCC, thank you for keeping Robert alive with the scholarship fundraising… you are his angels now.

No matter how much I hate it, the 26th grows closer, and I know I won’t be a writer that day… incredibly, I’ve been working on a poem for the Herald… it’s been a good exercise for me to re-write it every morning for the past six weeks.  There was a time, not long ago, when I would have read this section of the paper, puzzled, and asked Robert “do people think the Herald is delivered in heaven?” Now that we’ve both been utterly humbled, and then some, I offer this up in any venue that will accept it… to the universe, then, I suppose.

searching for you endlessly
unconvinced that you could die
glimpse of you in a baby’s eyes
a shudder as you breeze by

questions have no answers
plans are gone askew
but your light,
your heart,
your generosity,
i carry these parts of you

as if i have a phantom limb
astonished you’re not here
never will stop loving you
not ever.


kitchen party

Start spreading this news… Robert’s friends and colleagues at NSCC are hosting a fun-fundraising event in his memory on Nov 2nd. This money will create an annual scholarship, given in his name,  that will give someone else a hand up…. View the event.

we helped each other up…

Five years tomorrow, since I married my friend.

Today I wear both of our wedding bands… his has been made smaller to fit me, and the piece removed has been melted into mine… a metaphor for what has actually happened.

I don’t know why this was Robert’s favourite wedding picture… because I look at it and know both of us had aching knees and wondered how we would get up… but we managed to pull each other up.


September’s new shoes

I’ve just stumbled upon an email I sent to friends on this date last year saying Robert was singing in the shower as I wrote. He and I were in a strangely unfamiliar place then… together 24/7… oscillating between terror and hope… trying to still live our lives as our true selves.

After his diagnosis I didn’t want him out of my sight. I somehow thought that I could make him okay. I could make it all okay, even in the knowledge that 95% of people with this pancreatic cancer will not survive. I believed because I knew he was so special.

I’m still having trouble believing that this actually happened… my beautiful husband endured the unthinkable journey… and is now just in photos… oh, and memories…. and in Missy… and, yes, Hannah… but he’s probably overseeing us all from a pretty good vantage point… wearing his very big crown as Hannah tells it (she may be confusing angels and fairies, I suppose). Or not…. it wouldn’t surprise me if he was running that joint now.

The support I have felt, in this last year or so, has been humbling to say the least… and I do want to thank everyone for staying close. I also want to ask a small favour today… please consider joining us for the walk-or-bike event on Saturday Sept 29th. It’s held at Porter’s Lake Park, and all the details are here:

our Team Robert is here:

… and in my sister’s words:

“Everyone is welcome to join Team Robert and help us raise money to fight pancreatic cancer! To Robert Sampson’s wide circle of friends, family and colleagues who already contributed to Team Robert’s fundraising cause by supporting our auction-dance-social event earlier this summer, please consider also just joining this team and meeting up with us again on September 29 to walk/bike/socialize with a great group of people while continuing to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer in Robert’s memory.”

All my life I think I’ve loved September…it’s not too hot, a new school year begins, and best of all, I get new shoes. This Fall I am back to work full time, and all my new shoes are flats, thanks to the ankle situation… but I’ll be wearing them on Sept 29th… hope to see you…. if not at the Park, then maybe for a late lunch at the Midtown on that day 🙂


Good Grief…again

If breakng my ankle after a perfect (but wet) Day One of cycling on the Tour was meant to teach me patience… then I’m sorry. But it did give me time to read the book entitled Good Grief, and for that I am thankful. I’ve also recently enjoyed a blessed christening of Godson, Benjamin, born to us just two weeks after losing Robert. And most certainly Baby Ben has been sprinkled with a healthy handful of angel dust by his guardian angel above. Also spent an beautiful afternoon with loved-ones on a boat in Maine toasting Robert, telling each other fond stories, and healing….