Archives for posts with tag: Kim Blanchette

Seventeen weeks to the day.

It’s interesting to see how long it’s been since I last posted here — four weeks ago. It reminds me of the almost folkloric “Rule of Fours” described by our lovely nurses in Ray’s last days. If a patient seems worse than their last four years, or four months, or four weeks, or four days…or four hours, there will be irreversible change.

I have seen huge change in my last four weeks, but in the other direction. I have found a seed of my own self. I didn’t recognize it early on, because I’d never really seen it before. I moved from an alcoholic home where I simply survived, to a beautiful relationship with my soulmate. He nurtured me, shared with me and we built a life together. But it was never a life apart. It was never my life. It was our life. That doesn’t mean that I feel in any way diminished by that process. It simply was. Our old friend, Kim Blanchette, said in Ray’s Celebration of Life that it was always “Ray and Casey, Casey and Ray”. We were inseparable. We were one being and one mind.

I always knew what I thought. That had its own life. I had passions about teaching and mentoring that were my own. I believe in growing my own food. Hell, I’m likely to take up fishing and hunting for keeps any day now. I’ve never shied away from getting up in front of a whole lot of people and tell them things with a microphone in front of me. I still think it’s strange that I developed a quirky love for watching birds and now have a yard full of them. But now, here I am on my own. I sleep with one person, and I’m not really sure I know who she is. So I am in the process of learning who I am — what I like, what I want and what I need.

I started some Pinterest boards in the last couple of weeks. I’m mapping what my taste in a home might be…on my own. Do I really like concrete modern? Yep, I think I do. Can antiques work with it? Yep, I think they might. I am planning a future of my own. I am seeing life under my control. I am seeing growing old, what I will need and what I will want to give me joy as I age. I am rebuilding Casey and, although it’s a bit scary, it’s a very cool adventure. I know Ray is cheering me on, telling me to go for it.

Since he’s been gone, it’s like my heart just don’t beat right.

— Joyful Noise

I relied on Ray to be my protector. In fact, the name Ray means protector. Ray didn’t back down from things…sometimes to my horror. I am an appeaser and peacemaker. I want everyone happy, everyone to feel good. Sometimes his willingness to step up and testify made me uncomfortable…perhaps because I feared doing it myself.

Ray was unyielding to a fault, particularly around design and social issues. He was a deep thinker and he knew what was right on many fronts. He cared. Nothing was off limits when it came to defending the power of design and how it could make our clients successful. He was tenacious.

I take comfort in seeing these traits in our newly married Sarah Taliunas, our senior designer who Ray trained with love and intent. She is his protegé, and she does him proud. She shores me up when I feel like caving.

I see Ray — certainly in my wonderful kids, Peter and Cass, and my daughter-in-law, Kristen, his brother David and all his sisters, but also in Sarah — in Matt Warburton, Angie Opdahl, Melissa Keith, Dylan Staniul, Jim Skipp, Kirsten Skipp, Paul Roelofs, Kathy Boake, Perry Danforth, David Gray, Adam Rogers, Kim Blanchette, Victor John Penner, Albert Normandin, Phred Martin…There are dozens and dozens of people we have employed and worked with over our years in business and Ray touched every one of them. He is still alive in all of them. He schooled each of us in some way.

I miss him so badly. My guiding star — my compass is gone.

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