2019 was a tough year for our family and friends. Losing Michael was heartbreaking and stopped our worlds for a bit and certainly made for a tough act to follow.
Cue 2020… Worldwide pandemic. Covid-19 has officially replicated the oddness of the prior year . A year of lockdowns and, for no reason, a shortage of toilet paper.
I have not written for quite a few months. Not for lack of words or material but I simply did not want to write about the current state of the world. Mostly because it is EVERYWHERE one looks. However, I felt I had no choice.
Michael would have had quite the thoughts on what is going on in the world. Layoffs, shortages of essential products, lockdown, CERB, theories, sheeple, and government.
Although entertaining, the world has turned sour. Each for their own mentality. Greed has risen. People have hoarded necessary life supplies. And nobody has any reasonable explanation why.
I can definitely understand how mental health problems can amplify during these times. It is something I am learning about slowly, whether I like it or not. It can be a very lonely time for some. There are people without many of the resources we have that can make our lives so easy and convenient. Everyone has a struggle, some silent and some are shared.
Times like these we need to be together, in spirit, as much as possible. The season of lifting spirits is upon us, though it may not feel like it at times. I urge you to take the time to make eye contact with a stranger, or even say hello. Often times, we are now half hidden and might need a little encouragement to have a positive moment.
I’ve never been one to fear death. Yes, I’ve always been aware of it, maybe just something about the closeness of my brothers passing that brought new light to it. I’m not sure.
I don’t think it’s the death I fear I think it’s the inconvenience to my family and my friends. The change. And knowing it’s the end of life here.
The knowing at anytime my life could be taken and what heartache that would cause my Mum. I’m not sure how she would survive that.
With that comes a brand new feeling. I have also recently discovered the feeling of death anxiety. Something brand new to me. There is a certain level of fear connected to death anxiety. Fear of dying, which also brings out this odd fear of living at the same time.
I’ve never struggled with anxiety. I have always enjoyed being social. Now, I get the worst anxiety before I have to do something out of the house. I can handle the occasional grocery store run or gas station stop. But I have to be prepared. If I have plans with friends, driving there all I can think about is how to not die, all while thinking about the ways I could die being outside of the house. Such a bizarre feeling. I can’t wait for the summer so I can be outside, but still at home.
Every day is still a struggle to convince myself this is the new normal. That my brother is no longer here. I never would have thought in a million years that my 44 year old brother would die of a heart attack. Completely insane. It will never be ok.
My brother was always so excited for anyone’s birthday. Not just birth-day but birth-week. He loved to celebrate any occasion. He was usually the guy who sends the most ridiculous cards, memes or picture messages.
He always had a very unique way of making everyone feel so special, no matter the occasion. We are all truly blessed for having known Kool Mike. He made this world a better place.
This week brings us his first birthday away from us. It’s all I can think about, and is literally sucking the life from inside me. This grief is unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. Tonight at dinner my mum and I caught eyes and looking into her eyes I could see exactly what I was feeling.
Next is Christmas, kind of a terrible double header of extremely sad firsts. I know it’s not going to be easy, this next month, but I will try to keep myself busy, healthy and happy.
Happy Birthday Michael. I miss you so much, we all do.
November 11th, we take time to remember those who gave their lives so we could live ours. Free and in peace. Those who sacrificed all they had. Some returned home to their families, and some were not that fortunate.
Each year that passes brings even more to remember. More lives lost in this past year. So much to be grateful for as each day passes. Family, health and friends.
This past weekend we moved my brothers family into their new home. It’s the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one. It was truly wonderful to see all the help from his friends. The original crew mostly. Fort McMurray old school came to help out. It’s amazing to see how many people he touched that are here for our family.
It was an empty feeling standing in his bedroom where he had his heart attack. Such a sad feeling. I often wonder if he knew what was happening that morning. Did he feel it coming on? Was he scared? Or did it happen so fast his body was unaware? I have so many questions that will go unanswered.
I just hope he knows the amount of love and prayers that surrounded him in his final days. At times, I would have guessed there were close to 50 people in the hospital waiting area. Out pouring of such strong love. From miles away. Old friends, new friends.
At his memorial service we had close to 300 signatures in his guest book. It was a very overwhelming day. However sad it was, it was filled with so much joy and love for one person. I don’t think my mum realized just how special he was to so many people. I know I had to take a second to take it all in before my speech. As short as it was, it felt like forever, I think because it was the largest crowd I had ever spoken in front of. I also knew if I went into too much detail about Michael it would have been extremely hard to make it through the whole thing.
Most endings are usually followed by a new beginning. In this case we hope it is a happy beginning.
Another question I’ll never know the answer to. I never imagined my brother would suddenly die in my early forties.
This was never the way it was supposed to go. We were going to be old and funny. Go to the mall for lunch, A&W For breakfast, rent mobility aid scooters, get discounted deals everywhere. Simply because we were old, and lived life. Celebrating being old.
I imagine Scot and I will still do these things, but it won’t be the same. I won’t have my big brother. The guy who always had the answers to all my questions. Every single one.
I’ve had so many questions buzzing in my head since he died. I’ve missed him so much and so many times. I’ve done so many things that I would have shared with him. He truly brought the best out in everyone.
On Saturday August 10, 2019 we celebrated my brother and held the first ever Mike Lowe Memorial Golf Tourney. We had about 36 golfers and all proceeds will go to The Royal Alex CK Hui Heart Clinic. Michael spent the last 5 days of his life there.
This event was incredible. We managed to raise quite a lot of money for the hospital.
We had a great team of volunteers, sponsors and players. Rosie’s was the host bar and provided some drinks, lunch and dinner. I’d like to extend a huge shout out to The Bradshaw’s, Melissa, Erin Hardie, Susan and Wayne and the Rocky Mountain Ice House , Regal Steel, HSE, Edmonton Exchanger, and The Sicilian Pasta Kitchen South for their generous donations.
It’s so surreal still for me to think my brother really isn’t here with us. Listening to people talk and remember all the good times, and to have a toast to him, it’s crazy. It really doesn’t feel real yet.