Monday, October 19, 2015

A Perfect Day...

This past week, the big day finally arrived - the wedding of Caroline and Stuart. We drove down to Edinburgh on Wednesday, arriving around 6pm. It was a good journey down, with terrific weather. The day was one of blue skies and that special light that a sunny day in October brings. We got to our hotel, quickly unpacked and dressed before heading out to dinner with Stuart's mother, father, stepmother, and the two little girls. I can now highly recommend Vittoria on the Bridge in Edinburgh. Tasty Italian food in a lovely setting. We had a very pleasant evening getting to know Stuart's parents and spending time with Paige and Catherine. But the girls were going to need their sleep for the big day, as did we all, so we headed back to the hotel for a good night's sleep after filling our tummies with pasta, Prosecco, and tiramasu.

Flowergirl Catherine
Thursday morning we awoke to grey, drizzly skies. But nothing could put a damper on our moods. The day we had all planned and waited for had finally arrived. We put on our stepfather and mother of the bride finery and headed to Caroline's hotel to be with her, Stuart's mother, her best friend and maid of honour, Linsley, and Paige and Catherine. She had a lovely suite at The Residence Inn by Marriot and we settled in for a morning of giggles and champagne. As Caroline had her makeup and hair done, Linz curled the girls' hair and we got them dressed in their beautiful little dresses, crowning their heads with wreaths of flowers. Both the girls were so well behaved and didn't seem the least bit nervous about the upcoming events. Caroline had arranged for lunch to be delivered, but I'm not sure anyone actually finished their lunch, all of us far too excited to think about eating a sandwich. (That being said, both the girls had something to eat, including little packages of chocolate buttons brought to them by Linz.) The girls looked so lovely and I'm so tickled with this portrait of Catherine that I took. Those who have seen the photo say she looks like a fairy or a forest nymph. I think she looks like a character from "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

My gift from Stuart
Before Caroline got into her dress, she disappeared for a moment, reappearing with two wrapped boxes, one for Helen (Stuart's mother) and one for me. And so the first happy tears moment arrived as I unwrapped my gift from Stuart. What a lovely gift from my new son-in-law! He is so thoughtful and kind and we are so lucky to have him in the family.

The afternoon flew by and soon the time had come for us to go to our taxi and take the short trip to the Lothian Chambers on George IV Bridge. We travelled with Helen; Caroline, Linz, and the girls followed in another taxi. When we arrived, we found Stuart, his dad and stepmother, and his friend Ross waiting. Stuart was very nervous and, I think, feeling quite emotionally overwhelmed. The registrar came down to get Stuart and his father (who would act as one of the witnesses) and they disappeared upstairs, where the rest of us soon joined them. Once Stuart and his father had been briefed by the registrar, Stuart returned for the moment now referred to as "The First Look." The photographer was there to capture that moment when Stuart saw his bride for the first time, looking every inch the princess in her beautiful gown. The rest of us, by that time, had taken our seats in The MacIntyre Suite. There were comments about tears and we found it was on both their parts.

Mr and Mrs Stuart Borland
Stuart came through and sat with his dad in one of the four chairs at the front of the room. The registrar met with Caroline and Linz, and then it was time. Music started to play in the room and the registrar asked that we all be upstanding for the bride. With that, Paige and Catherine appeared - Catherine carrying the little books that held their vows and Paige carrying the ring box. Linz appeared next, and finally Caroline, on Chris' arm, made her way down the aisle. The look in Stuart's eyes was all any mother could ask for in that moment. I know he loves Caroline with all his heart, but in that moment, I could see it on his face and it filled my heart with gladness. They proceeded through the first part of the ceremony and then it was time for them to face each other and say their vows. We could hardly hear Stuart's vows, he was so overcome with emotion. His tears prompted everyone else to tear up. His vows were beautiful, as were Caroline's. With the vows and rings exchanged, they moved to the desk to sign the register. Photographs were taken and the registrar then announced, "Ladies and gentleman, I present to you Mr and Mrs Borland." We all applauded. Chris went up to give Caroline a hug and broke down in happy tears. It was just the happiest moment. I felt my parents with us, too, in their own way - part of their beloved granddaughter's big day. Caroline had my mother's engagement and wedding rings tied to her wedding bouquet, and she gave Stuart my father's gold monogrammed cufflinks. (I can't wait to see the image the photographer captured of the rings and the cufflinks.) Once all the handshakes and hugs were completed, we moved out into the magnificent great hall, with the marble floors and walls. There, more photographs were taken, and we slowly made our way out to waiting taxis that would take us to Prestonfield House Hotel for the reception/dinner.

Prestonfield House Hotel is a magnificent hotel on extensive grounds within view of Arthur's Seat. Peacocks wander about the grounds and ancient trees, still with green leaves, dotted the finely manicured lawns. We were met by Gareth, a young man who would be part our evening as our host.
Our private dining room - The Garden Room -
at Prestonfield.
He had a colleague take us around to the disabled entrance and beyond to the private dining room we had for the evening. It took my breath away. It was so beautiful. French doors at the corner of the room opened onto the beautiful lush green lawn, complete with a little putting green where they had thoughtfully placed some child-sized putters. The sun had come out and the skies were blue, the lawn bathed in the light of a late October afternoon. We were met in the room by Gareth and another young man called Ryan. They were terrific. We were greeted with glasses of champagne and jugs of orange juice. As an extra treat upon arrival, I had arranged with the hotel to serve miniature ham biscuits. No Virginia wedding, indeed no Virginia bride, has ever omitted little buttermilk biscuits (scones) with Virginia (salted) ham. Along with Caroline's gift of small Jefferson cups to the parents, it ticked all the boxes for a bride who was born and partially raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Caroline and Stuart and the rest of the group went outside to enjoy the sunshine. The photographer spent time inside and out catching beautiful moments. I hope it won't be too long until we get the photographs back from him. I know they will add to the joy as we remember the day.

Needless to say, the wine and dinner and cake, the flowers, the candles, everything to the last detail, was perfect. Caroline did an amazing job putting the day together. I can't fault a thing. It was even beyond our hopes and expectations. It was an absolutely perfect day.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Autumn in the Highlands

Once again, I have let too much time elapse between postings. I have to admit that, with the addition of morphine patches to my pain meds routine, I find myself a little less proactive in terms of my personal blog and even just keeping in touch with people. The morphine doesn't make me particularly dopey, just very laid back. But I shall attempt to be more regular with my blogs.

I am sitting, once more, at the Gale Centre in Gairloch for my final weekend of the year. It has been a very odd season. Some months have seen sales tick along at a very good pace and others have been very slow. I am happy to report that my accounts show that I am in the black so far this year, and it can only get better as the Christmas season approaches. It may be the end of September, but in the world of retail, Christmas has begun.

My view from the Gale Centre, with the Isle of Skye visible on the horizon.
As I drove into Gairloch this morning, I was greeted with the spectacular view from the hill overlooking the village. Loch Gairloch was a beautiful dusty blue, flowing out to The Minch; the Isle of Skye was visible on the horizon. A single white sail broke the expanse of blue water. It was just so beautiful and peaceful. I'm not sure I could ever be happy far from the sea. Having grown up inland in the Shenandoah Valley, the sight of the sea was always associated with happy times. Indeed, I still find the view of the sea to be exhilarating. Not long ago, a pod of dolphins came very far into the loch at Aultbea. (Of course, we didn't find out until after the fact.) The number of cetacean sightings in the area continues to increase, which is good news. We have orcas off the coast here, along with minke whales and the occasional humpback. Seeing these majestic creatures is always such a privilege. And of course, I always enjoy seeing the grey seals basking on the rocks at low tide along the coast between here and Dundonnell. And it won't be long until the feral goats come down from the hills before winter sets in.

Chris' recovery from his chemo has progressed nicely, with some setbacks and forward movement along the way. After a very enthusiastic spring forward following the end of his chemo, Chris found
A lovely photograph taken on September 18th -
a beautiful bright Autumn day.
himself feeling quite unwell again. He even ended up back the hospital for an overnight when he experienced some pretty horrendous chest pains. Those turned out to be musculo-skeletal instead of cardiace. Of course, with the crisis of the cancer and cardiac issues, we had almost forgotten that he suffers from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, so his feeling unwell and tired may be due as much to those as to anything else. But he is doing really well and learning to pace himself better. He has been taking gentle walks everyday on the advice of the cardiologists and has taken his camera along, capturing beautiful images of the hidden treasures of wildflowers tucked into the verges and hedges.

One afternoon he returned from his walk and was intrigued by the sounds he experienced while walking along the road where gorse bushes grow in abundance. He said the sound was something like a crackling fire and that it started and stopped with the gorse. A quick peek at the internet revealed that during the late summer, gorse bushes explode with the sounds of the seed pods popping open. hence the sound of the crackling. Chris has captured the wisps of thistles going to seed and the withering petals of the final wild roses of the season. It is wonderful to see him doing his photography again. If you check out his website, www.aramakimagery.com, you can see all his beautiful photo art. We were thrilled to hear that some of his images have sold in the US, too, through the gentleman who bought the rights to some of his photographs with the intention of creating large wall art in etched aluminium and acrylic.

We are now just a little over two weeks away from Callie and Stuart's wedding. His father and stepmother and his mother are coming over from Australia and we look forward to meeting them. Callie is getting very anxious, but in the best possible way. I can't wait until I see her in her dress, being walked down the aisle by her very proud stepfather. There will be many happy tears, I am sure. The number of guests are fewer than we would have liked, as friends from the States aren't able to attend. But we will feel them with us in spirit. And, of course, my parents will be with us in their own way, too. Callie is having my mother's engagement and wedding rings tied into her wedding bouquet and my father will be with us too, in a manner I can't reveal in this blog. Chris and I went to Inverness last week to get his wedding finery. He is going to look so handsome in his new suit, and my mother-of-the-bride dress is almost ready. What a wonderful, happy day it will be. You can look forward to seeing photographs here once we have them back from the photographer (along with photos we take on the day).

Doe and young deer having dinner in our garden.
We have regular visits in our garden now from a beautiful doe and her children - one younger deer and a male who is probably a couple of years old - his small antlers covered with down. I had seen her a couple of times in the raised bed just feet from the house. The other evening, as Chris prepared dinner, all three deer made an appearance, munching away on the grass and the hedge. At the other end of the garden, our resident rabbits were enjoying their evening meal. So, there we all were, they were enjoying their dinner on the other side of the window, as we enjoyed ours on the inside. As I said to Chris, it was evening silfray for all of us. Chris reported to me that yesterday, while I was here at GALE, the deer were in the garden again and (finally) caught Gracie's attention. She "stalked" them from the living room window, slowly moving along the top of the music box in her attempt to surprise them. I have no doubt that, if they had seen her, they would have simply thought what a silly cat she was.

Gracie playing in her "pillow fort."
Speaking of our favourite kitten, Gracie will be 1 year old on Thursday and we are trying to decide what treat to give her on the day. My dearly departed cat, Demelza, was very partial to crab, and I used to give her crab every year on her birthday. Not sure what to give Gracie - perhaps some lovely Scottish salmon. She is as mischievous as ever, with battles with the duvet her favourite game. At night, she will often run, full tilt, down the hall from the kitchen and leap onto the bed. We recently had to replace our duvet and bought one filled with feather and down. The noise it makes when pounced upon is irresistable to Gracie. And she loves playing amongst the pillows. I captured her in her wide-eyed playfulness the other evening. If only she could keep still enough to get a photograph perfectly in focus!







Friday, July 17, 2015

It has been a long time . . .

I apologise for how long it has been since my last blog. Life has improved, and changed, since my last blog. Chris's last chemotherapy took place in early May. He has bounced back so nicely - and is feeling more like his old self every day. A scan on the first of June, followed by a meeting with the oncologist, gave us the very good news that he is now in remission. We are so thankful for all the care we were given by the oncology team at Raigmore Hospital and the very wonderful care we were given by Mary Anne, our Macmillan nurse. We most certainly couldn't have gotten through the ordeal without their care and compassion. Now that the cancer has been put into remission, it is time to deal with Chris's cardiac issues. He sees the cardiology folks this coming Monday and Tuesday and we will have a better idea of where we go from here. A triple bypass is still on the cards, but it will now be a matter of when.

In the meantime, we are enjoying some lovely weather in an otherwise damp and chilly summer. I write this from my envied position in front of a large window at the Gale Centre in Gairloch where I am setting up shop for the next three days. I am hoping that the visitors will look kindly on my jewellery and buy some to take home with them. This morning a lovely couple from California were in and we spent lots of time chatting. Always fun to meet someone from "back home."

Catherine was able to come visit us for four days and we were in need of rest afterwards. She is not a demanding child, nor is she any trouble to look after at all. But we still found ourselves tired when she went away. I think it was the early mornings. At nearly 6, she doesn't realise that sleeping in is fun. She would rather be up and going at 7:30am! Not in our house. LOL!

The wedding is now just three months away! We are getting very excited about it. It will be a small but elegant affair and we are looking forward to seeing a handful of friends and family. This month I assume I will be trying on the mock-up of my MOB dress. Once I have a better idea of how it will look, I will be able to look for some wonderful shoes - high heels because it will be a case of shoes to be seen in rather than to be walked in! (I figure that when I have to visit the disabled facilities, I can simply slip them off for the one or two steps from wheelchair to toilet.) The menu for the meal is picked out and I am working with the hotel now on deciding on the wine and champagne for the event. Callie's dress is stunning and we found perfect dresses for Catherine and Paige. The beautiful jewellery I made for Callie fits perfectly and complements her dress. (Next will be the necklace I am making for her maid of honour.) Callie is doing well with her work and proving what an invaluable employee she is to the law firm for which she works. She is happy and doing so well and I am so proud of her. She had a tough time in her first marriage and her ex's presence in Catherine's life is problematical, but with the strong and loving family that Callie and Stuart have built, I am relieved that both my girls are so happy and doing so very well.

As some may remember, Catherine lost one of her front teeth several years ago because she bashed it on a trampoline at her nursery when she was not even three. The tooth was dead and had to come out. Now we are awaiting the natural loss of her other baby teeth and the appearance, over time, of two front teeth, rather than just one! I can't believe how the time has passed. Here is a wonderful photo of Catherine that Chris took at the beach beneath the Perfume Studio in nearby Mellon Charles. The necklace she is wearing is of her own designs. She and I made her a necklace and a bracelet and a necklace for her mum. She and I spent a lot of time drawing as well.  Like her great grandfather, she was drawn to the art of Edward Hopper and we spent time looking at a book of his art that had belonged to my parents. I gave her sheets of vellum with which she could practice copying the lines of the drawings. She spent quite some time following the lines of some of his sketches of nudes. She giggled at first, but I explained that the human form is very much part of every artist's "education". I am very impressed with her continuing dedication to developing her talent. I sense that she has inherited my father's artistic talent, and I look forward to watching her blossom with brush or charcoal in hand.

Chris's daughter and son are visiting this coming week. It will be lovely to have them here for five days. You may recall that they surprised Chris with a visit back in the autumn, after his diagnosis but before his surgery. I know it will mean so much to him to have them here, and I look forward to sharing time with them, too. They are remarkable young people. Lucy has finished her work for her masters and will receive her degree in the autumn. Olly is currently leading a presentation at The Eden Project.  We are so proud of them.

Gracie the cat continues to bring us great joy. She didn't like Catherine very much, but she will have to get used to her being around. It will be interesting to see if it was a case of a small child being around that she didn't like, or just guests in general. She is so used to having us to herself, I think she gets a bit jealous. We had to take her to the vet this week because she has very bad breath and her gums looks quite inflamed. It turns out she has some serious gum disease, but we are going to treat her with recommendations from the breeder and will move her onto a raw diet. Fortunately, there are companies that put raw ground meat and organs in frozen pouches, with one pouch providing enough food for two days. We have been told that giving her a raw diet, along with the L-lysine paste and a mouthwash that is added to her drinking water, should reverse the gum disease. We are keeping our fingers crossed!

So, all in all, the news from our little corner of Scotland is good and getting better all the time. Just hoping for some good business while I am at the Gale Centre. Today has been very quiet, but the weather has been very good. The clouds are coming in now, so the rain may bring the visitors inside. Hoping for some sales. July has, thus far, been a very good month for sales. Long may it continue!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hope springs eternal...

I am sure I am not alone when I say that the return of sunlight, green leaves, and longer days aid in feeling more positive about life. I am almost glad that most of Chris's chemo has taken place during the winter months - it means that as new life begins in the spring, both he and I will be starting afresh. The chemo has been very difficult. In fact, the session due to take place today was pushed back a week because he has been feeling so unwell - loss of weight that is too rapid, poor results from his bloodwork, and a tongue ulcer that won't heal. But, it may be, because he has had such a difficult time of late, it may be that they will be happy for him to have just six sessions rather than eight, which means that next week's session will be his last. Hallelujah!

And, indeed, we are being treated to lovelier and longer days. My annual bout of hay fever tells me that the green leaves I see emerging on the trees and the spring flowers blooming are a reality and not simply a wished-for dream. But, we have had some unseasonable weather. Just a couple of days ago, we had snow and low temperatures. While it was not that pleasant on those days, those late snowstorms and drop in temperature may mean that the midge population will be much lower this summer. Of course, Chris may well be no longer the tasty morsel he was to these horrid little bugs in the past. The chemo may change his chemical makeup enough to keep that at bay. Along with (hopefully) killing all the cancer cells, this could be an added little bonus. Time will tell.

Time is moving along as we get closer and closer to the date of Callie and Stuart's wedding. While it is still a little over 5 months away, we are in the more doing than planning stage. I have all the materials I need to do the invitations, and I will start on those next week after my studio has been completely reorganised (more about that later). Callie and company will be here for the weekend in mid-June and I will then pass the invitations along to her so that she can get them in the mail. We've made our hotel reservations for the the two nights in Edinburgh and shortly I will be settling with the hotel that will be hosting the reception. It is going to be a very intimate affair, but elegant and fun and loving. I can't wait. Her measurements have gone off to the dressmaker who is making her dress and I've met with my dressmaker who is going to create a beautiful mother-of-the-bride dress for me. I've already bought and received a stunning hand-painted silk stole to go with the dress and will soon have to start looking for shoes (and they can be impractical if I wish, as I will be in my wheelchair all day). We are looking forward to meeting those members of Stuart's family who are coming over from Australia for the wedding and I know Catherine is looking forward to Stuart being an official member of her family.

We are hoping that Chris might feel well enough by the summer to allow Catherine to come spend some time with us. She is, as I suspected she might be, a very creative, artistic person. And since her mother isn't (and happily acknowledged as such), it means that Chris and I must provide Catherine with artistic guidance. If we are able to have her, she will spend her time doing photography, painting, and drawing. I may even start showing her how to create jewellery. It is my hope and desire that she is able to pick up the business when I am no longer able to do it myself.

For my business, the studio is being reorganised because I am starting a whole new collection. I was lucky enough to take part in a day-long silversmithing class the first part of April and it gave me the skills I need in order to move forward with my business. I will be adding all sorts of techniques to my repertoire and I'm now registered with the Edinburgh Assay Office. So, from this point on, my jewellery will bear the hallmark that no only shows the work to be mine, but will show the integrity of the materials used. How exciting.

Chris's two children are coming to visit in July, which will be lovely. Their last visit was very short, so this time we can show them more of the beauty of the area. It will be great to have them here for more than a day or two.

We've emerged from the winter both literally and emotionally. Things will improve and life will become full and happy again.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How could we forget?

With all the medical stuff going on and losing my uncle just after the first of the year, Chris and I omitted some very good news! (Yes, hard to believe, but we do have good news.)

So, without any further ado, we would like to introduce you to the newest member of our family. World, please say hello to Gracie! Gracie is a beautiful grey and cream British shorthair. We picked her out right after she was born on October 1. She was one of four girls - another cream and grey, one buff, and one black calico. She arrived with us on December 30 and we adore her. She has been quite a tonic for us both.

I had no way of knowing, when we picked her out, that her colouring would be so similar to that of my cat Demelza, who I loved very dearly and who was my first 'grown up' cat (i.e., she was my cat, but not my parents' cat, if that makes sense). And Gracie has the same sort of personality - very loving, very loyal, and very much full of mischief. She is nearly 5 months old now and we feel as if she has been part of our lives for a very long time.

Like so many cats, Gracie is very empathic and knows when we are sad or hurting. She comforted me when Uncle Gil died and she is often close to Chris when he is suffering from his post-chemo malaise. We can't imagine life without her now.  She has her very own pillow on our bed (between us) and has her very own bathroom - the en suite that is connected to the office. She loves to play with her little stuffed bird and her laser pointer, sent to her by her Auntie Mel (along with a beautiful handmade cat bed and other toys and goodies). She has corresponded with Auntie Mel's cat Duncan and has even posted a couple of statuses on Facebook (not that I can read them, I believe they are written in encrypted cat language). The consensus is that she should have her own Facebook page. However, she doesn't get up to nearly enough adventures to warrant her own page, so, for now, she will continue to post on my page when she is able to climb on the keyboard to type out her enigmatic messages.

She's a joy and we love her very much. Beautiful Gracie. As Auntie Mel said, her name is indicative of the fact that her being with us is not an accident. She was sent to us to help us through this difficult time...and she does.

We love her one cream-coloured foot - the other three are grey.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Another angel...

Gillis 'Gil' Murray
November 23, 1930 - January 9, 2015
I've decided that I don't like being my age anymore. Along with the aches and pains, there is the unwelcome and increased number of sad goodbyes I have to make. And, with the exception of my parents, I've just had to say the saddest goodbye yet.

This past Friday night, January 9th, my darling uncle, Gil Murray, died at the age of 84. Gil had been having heart problems over the last couple of years and had recently gone to hospital with shortness of breath. My aunt reports that he was doing well and scheming to get home again. And then, as they were talking, his speech suddenly slurred. A few hours later, he died. It was a brain haemorrhage. What was an incredibly well-timed blessing is that Gil and Patsy had just returned home from a wonderful Caribbean cruise with the whole family. My cousin Todd's wife, Ina, assured me that when the cruise ended, Gil could have been in no doubt at all that he was so very, very much loved by everyone. I would imagine that you could extend that everyone to include all those who knew Gil during his lifetime. He was simply one of the most genuine, loving, funny and talented men I ever knew. And I loved him so much. Patsy said the cruise ended up being an amazing farewell party. As my cousin Jane and I agreed, we should all be so lucky as to shuffle off this mortal coil as he did - full of love and without pain, with a heart full of family and joy. And, as Jane said, her world - and mine - is a duller place without him in it.

My uncle was the youngest of three children, with my late uncle Davy the oldest and my mum, the middle child. He was the baby of the family and was doted on by his mother, much to my mother and Uncle Davy's annoyance. But in spite of that, they adored him - how could they not? And as he got older - tall and gangly and athletic - his charm grew with him.

Gil was born in Boston and, like his siblings before him, was a bright and creative person. He attended Shady Hill School, Phillips Andover Academy, and Harvard, where he was a member of the Hasty Pudding Club. He spent his working years as a graphic and industrial designer, but his heart lay in the creativity that resulted in cartoons, poetry and beautiful paintings. Some of his cartoons were published in The New Yorker and he was commissioned by Boston's Central Tunnel and Bridge Authority to paint "The Big Dig" in the early 80s. (I am proud to own several of Gil's paintings of my hometown of Staunton, Virginia.) Gil loved camping and biking and swimming and I was often impressed by his swimming in Massachusetts Bay in late May when it must have been so very chilly. His energy appeared to be endless. He has four wonderful children - my cousins Alex (Sandy), David, Wendy and Todd - and two stepsons and eight beautiful grandchildren.

I remember spending some time with Gil and his family, when he was still married to his first wife Polly, in the summer of 1976. I had secured a summer job with a summer stock theatre company in Connecticut. Gil and family lived in Old Lyme, and I loved my time with them. Todd and I struck up a friendship over our deep love of the Beatles, and I remember feeling very dwarfed by the entire family - all of them very tall, having gained their stature from my maternal grandfather's side and from their mother's side. I also remember Polly standing at the sink one evening, looking out the window at the five people running about in the yard. She turned to me, with a broad smile on her face, and said, "You know, I don't have four children. I have five."

To say Gil was young at heart would be an understatement. In ways, he was very much like my father - full of wonder and laughter and sheer amazement at all the wonderful things he found in the world. He and I talked a lot over the years. And, over the last couple of years, we talked longingly about how wonderful it would be if he and Patsy could come over and camp in our garden, and we would fill our days with drinking in the beautiful sights of the Scottish Highlands. How I wish that could have been.

I wouldn't have been able to get through the months and weeks leading up to mother's death without him. He and I spoke so often then. He and my mother loved each other so much. I take great comfort in knowing that they may now be together once more. My mother and her 'kid brother' who was the light of her life and the light of so many other lives.

I am going to miss my wonderful uncle so much. He was a joy and living proof that you can live your dreams, no matter your age. As much as I miss him, I know his death must be so hard on his children and grandchildren. But how blessed we all were to have had him in our lives.

I love you, Gil Murray. Sweet dreams and shine bright in the heavens.