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celebrating Wayson

He was with us, no question, our dear friend. This morning was wet and grey with more rain predicted – and yet amazingly it got warmer and sunnier until by 2.30, when guests started arriving for Wayson’s memorial, it was a beautiful perfect day. We could sit on the deck, as I’d hoped, the deck where Wayson spent many happy hours reading and dozing.

There were 16 people from all areas of Wayson’s life – Joe Kertes, Wendy, and others from Humber, Elaine the jeweller who repaired hundreds of his crummy bargoon watches, Ray from his Vancouver days, Mary and Ruth who met him when he came to talk to my classes, and Annie, Jim, and Jean-Marc from various dinner parties here. Janet Somerville went to New York with him and told a hilarious story about trailing after him while he shopped for socks. We all told stories – about what a ham he was, a mesmerizing speaker, a completely trusted friend, a master teacher, funny, witty, kind, thoughtful, occasionally cruel or infuriating, as are we all.

I’d been disappointed Sam couldn’t come because of the Raptors game tonight – he was called in early for work as playoffs fever hits the town. And then Anna woke up this morning sick. But our dear friend Holly was a trouper; she came over with Eli and was an enormous help, putting out food, pouring drinks, cleaning up. There was a ton of food and drink, ironically a lot of it wine and cheese, neither of which Wayson ever touched.

I wept this morning but managed to get through my own talk about him, reading his last email to me. I read emails sent by other close friends of his who couldn’t get here today and a moving and funny tribute written by Sam, which ended You taught me patience and the
importance of listening during a conversation. Or perhaps while I talked you
were having a nap.

You
are my mother’s calming presence. Except when you drive.

True! There were lots of jokes about his driving; we laughed so hard. It was all beautiful. I think we collectively felt a new kind of peace, that we had gathered to laugh and weep and remember together.

The back forty came together just in time.

He would have loved every minute. In fact, I’m pretty sure he did.

It’s been a good few days. Student Margaret Lynch had a huge feature piece in the Star on Saturday about her miraculous survival of a deadly cancer, something she started to speak about publicly at a So True a few years ago. Another sent me a picture of the cover of her book: I’m excited to see it happening, mainly thanks to the influence of your class at Ryerson. Another wrote, I would love to come to your Garden Workshop again this year. It was a highlight of my summer in 2018.


Just a few minutes ago, a friend of Wayson’s whose tribute to him I’d read aloud and to whom I’d sent the photos wrote (blowing own horn alert…) You did something very important and meaningful for all of us who needed to express our sorrow about Wayson’s death, and our appreciation of his life. I am most grateful to you for allowing me to participate long distance. Your generosity of spirit is wonderful and meant much to many of Wayson’s friends.

So though right now I’m drained, it was worth it. I often don’t focus well sitting at a desk. But hosting an event – well, it must be the hosting gene I inherited from my dad and have passed on to my kids. It’s a skill we all have. But it’s work; though it’s a pleasure it’s also a job, and now I’m bushed.

Another Friend of Wayson to whom I sent the pictures just wrote, Wayson was such a special person and such a special friend. There will never be another like him. I miss him.

Me too. Me too. But today we did him proud. Margaret’s note about him ended, I am reminded of Justin Trudeau’s eulogy of his father when he referred to Robert Frost’s poem and stated that his father, Pierre, had kept his promise and earned his sleep.

So have you, Wayson.

Janet just sent this, from their trip to New York.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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