Five weeks, four days

I was wondering where this would go, Ray’s 59th birthday. I felt quite unemotional today — and oddly guilty because of it. Not sure if I was afraid to let myself feel it. I kind of think that must be it as I’m feeling sadder now as time goes on. But, true to form, my family was so there. We had a “Ray Day” dinner. May Day, Ray Day, Ray of Sunshine. Ray’s Birthday, May 1, 1953.

We decided on having a feast of Ray’s favourite foods: Greek salad (thanks, Kristen!); prawns with garlic and lemon on spaghetti; Thai garlic bread (thanks, Monica!) and chocolate ganache torte (thanks, Libby!). We started with prosciutto wrapped greens and Saint André cheese with pita crisps (thanks, Savannah). In case you haven’t guessed, our family revolves around food!

We ate, we talked, we laughed. And there may have been a glass of wine or six. Cass, my sweet daughter and Libby, my superhero sister, brought balloons. I stood back, unsure.

Then, around 9:00, someone brought out a Sharpie and the kids started writing love notes on the balloons. Then the adults followed. I grabbed a pile of Kleenex and wrote one, too. It was symbolic and it was strong. Then, with dogs and our unsteady Mom in tow, we ventured outside and clumped up in a few groups. Among us, there were nine balloons…mostly purple (Ray’s favourite colour and the colour for pancreatic cancer).  Cass took charge and asked if everyone was ready. Then we let them go. They floated in a group (and yes, we had a spirited discussion about the whales and our dastardly impact on them by doing this beforehand). They chased each other up and forward, into the sky. They raced playfully upward and we felt like we were sending our love messages up to Ray. It was cathartic. And symbolic. I think it will become a new tradition.