Said goodbye to a someone important last week
He's been gone since February but his birthday would have been last Friday,
so a bunch of us got together for snacks and Rocket Fuel (his signature boozy beverage)
and shared stories about our larger-than-life friend.
I've never dealt with a loss
so personal and unexpected before
and the process of grieving has been
than I would have expected.
As part of his celebration of life John and I both spent some time writing about what he meant to us and it felt
cathartic, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders
to speak and write about someone I loved and who was such a fixture in my life for so long.
Here's what I said:
I’ve known Connor so long that I don’t really remember how we met.
It was probably at some party, or rave, or MixHard event, but regardless of how and when we met, from about the time I was about 20, Connor’s presence felt like a fixture in my life.
He was always there, telling some unbelievable story, cracking a weird joke, or filling up my wine glass to at least double what I should have been drinking that night.
We all called him “The Enabler” because he loved to party, but Connor wasn’t just a “party friend” for me — he was someone I could be myself around; who I could talk to about literature, poetry, philosophy, or whatever stupid bullshit and gossip I was consumed with that night.
No matter what we talked about, Connor always found a way to add his unique spin on it with a quirky story, joke, or larger-than-life anecdote.
As a fellow anxious person, Connor always felt like a safe space where I could share what I was struggling with and not worry about being judged. He was always there with a hug and some reassuring words like
“Alyson, you know we love you no matter what.”
“You can make it through anything, you’re Alyson Shane!”
or my personal favourite:
“Fuck the haters. Life’s too short to worry about other people.”
I didn’t get to see Connor as much after our wedding in Belize because of the pandemic, but as things started to open up I’d run into him when I’d work down at Hargrave St Market, and I often went out of my way to walk though or pop in just to see him.
I loved how his face would light up when he realized a friend had come by, just to say hi.
Last fall he and Amber moved into our old rental and I was so excited to see him more often. John and I would see him sitting across the street and run over with a bowl and a beer and just shoot the shit about how life was going.
It felt like we were at the start of a new chapter together.
One of the last times I saw Connor was the day after a big blizzard.
He was outside shovelling the front walk, so I threw my parka over my pyjamas and ran over to remind him that, actually, snow shovelling was included in his rent.
“I know,” he said, “but they’ll just do a shitty job and I want to make sure it’s done right.”
That’s Connor, for me. Particular to a fault. Always needing to do things his way.
We stood out there for about 45 minutes, shivering and talking and smoking j’s (of course), and before I went back across the street Connor hugged me and said:
“Thank you for coming over. Seeing you was the best part of my week.”
I told him I felt the same and I meant it.
I still do.
I miss my friend and I wish we’d had more time together, but I was lucky enough to share 15 years of my life with a wonderful, larger-than-life person and there won’t be a glass of wine, a j, or late night where I won’t think of him and wish he was still here.
I know that if Connor were here right now he’d do what he always did when I was sad: He’d throw his arms around me, give me a big hug, and pour me a glass of wine and tell me to smile. So that’s what I’m going to do.
Cheers to The Enabler.