Aug 10 2010

My Ode to Bruce

My Ode to Bruce McRae

Last month I had a friend named Bruce.

He was a dad, a brother, a grandpa, a partner, a colleague and a friend to everyone in this room.

Last month

Last month I could pick up the phone, knowing he would be there and receive any manner of solicited (and some not so much) advice from the man I thought of as my left coast dad.

Last month

Last month my own dad, Jack could co-miserate with his friend bruce about deferred annuities or un-reasonable strata members. They could wax poetic about the good ol’ days of over-spending on company conventions and the mayhem they got up to to the chagrin of their wives.

Last month

Last month my good friend Cam could patiently explain to this dad that writing really is a career and that he was pretty damned good at it and that a ton of people care what he has to say.

Last month

Last month Anna and Luca could get tickled until they fell off their chairs and begged for mercy and, in doing so bring a wide grin to their grandfather’s face.

Last month

Last month any one of you in this room could speak to our friend Bruce.

A year ago my girls and I attended Bruce’s surprise 75th birthday.

As always Bruce asked me how I was, what I was doing. I told him that I was considering a career that included public speaking.

It didn’t occur to me at the time that he would go this far to help me with that. J

At the party, parked in a chair, in the middle of the room sat King Bruce.

He sat there while people regaled him, and guests with stories of his life.

It was very much like a good Irish wake the exception being that Bruce was front and centre and able to hear how he had affected all of those people.

I can’t help but think that while those stories could be repeated here for you it was so amazing that he was able to hear them first hand.

Everyone should have a day like that. A day where family and friends get together and tell you how you’ve impacted their lives.

How you never lost your patience teaching them to water ski.

How you augmented your income as a kid by playing a mean game of cards.

How you showed up at the hospital every time one of Cam and Cristina’s friends had a baby.

How you didn’t always see eye to eye with everyone but were true to yourself.

How you could BBQ a mean Salmon.

How proud you were of your son and his family.

How you were so stubborn that you waited until a particular minister was over her maternity leave because you knew everyone would appreciate her manner.

How you had no regrets.

Often at memorials people think it’s a shame that the deceased didn’t get to hear all of these things.

It makes me happy to know that Bruce did get to.

Last month

Last month Bruce would tell us to live without regret.

To appreciate the people in your life.

To look around and see how amazing life is.

To hold those you love not just in your hearts but in your arms, every day.

Last month

Last month he would have joined us in raising a glass to your dad, your brother, you grandpa, your partner, your colleague and your friend.