Wow: My baby girl turned 50 yesterday. And what a wonderful celebration it turned out to be. What made it extra special is the group that gathered together for dinner to celebrate with her. It was a group that had dined without Lorie so many times in Toronto and for us to all be together in Owen Sound and Port Elgin was quite phenomenal. Except for the absence of my son Shane and my daughter-in-law Paula, we were the team that spent the evening with her awaiting her transport to surgery and the next few days at her bedside, then coming together at various Toronto restaurants to support one another at dinnertime.
It wasn’t particularly planned this way but I realized part way through dinner what a truly exceptional event was occuring. The biggest bonus was the addition of Lorie’s transplant buddy Demetrios, his beautiful wife Maria and their almost one year old Georgie. Demetrios was with Lorie during our vigil in TGH but like her, he was confined to the CCU unit just hours post transplant. After a series of surgeries and setbacks during the past year, it is beyond words to see Demetrios looking so healthy and robust. It was their first trip anywhere since his recovery and what an incredible time to choose, totally unrelated to Lorie’s birthday when it was planned. And what a charming and beautiful son they have – another surrogate grandchild for me.
I truly believe there are no coincidences in our world and lives and the fact that we were together to celebrate such a milestone in Lorie’s life was a gift. Her dad and her stepmom had made the five hour drive to surprise her and our dear, special beyond words friend Antje, along with her husband and daughter rounded out our group.
I’ve heard that life begins at 50 or maybe I made it up, not sure which, but for Lorie it truly is. She is thriving, energetic, and full of passion for her family and the incredible work she is doing. I am in awe of her accomplishments and she hasn’t even begun. Lorie and Demetrios are shining examples of never giving up no matter how tough things get. They have shown the world what is possible and are now plunging head first into their new lives and commitments to use their experiences in service to others.
This was definately not just any ordinary celebration and I am willing to guess that the other guests will realize in hindsight as I did just what an incredible event it was. I mentioned to Antje part way through dinner as I scanned the table that the fact that this group was together in Owen Sound was kind of mind boggling – Toronto, yes, but not here!
Moments and events like this are truly humbling. They make you realize what life is all about. We all shared many belly laughs (the very best kind) and of course too much food and cake. And what about those 50 candles that Riley lit so efficiently and Lorie blew out in one try. It brought back memories of her in her bed breathing into a tube, trying to increase her oxygen levels and how difficult it was to get that ball inside to rise. Now 50 candles is a breeze!
We kind of take a lot of this for granted already so I find it necesary at times like this to look at what has transpired in a year and a half and to be truly grateful. My thanks to all who made the effort to join Lorie, Mike and kids last evening. Have a wonderful year Lorie and I wish you at least 50 more.