Chanda & I go way back to awkward early teen years, when my hometown hockey team rivalled hers, & being the only girls on the teams we were placed in the same dressing room. Although competitors, we were both secretly glad for that common bond as girls fighting to prove ourselves in a boys world. Our kinship continued strong, on & off the ice, until the accident. We played on a number of hockey teams together growing up. I was a bridesmaid in their wedding. Chanda & Jordan were the only people we knew in Moose Jaw when we moved here. She was my go-to person, my workout buddy, good company on a unplanned Friday night, someone to vent to & the person that would be willing to tag along any time I needed a partner in crime.
I'm a bit of a home-body & leaving the house independently often brings anxiety. In preparation for this sunset challenge, Iwas reminded how independent I am not...I did not want to to do this alone, so I solicited my dog for company. Years ago not long after moving to Moose Jaw I was short-listed for a radio contest called the 'stay-cation' & invited to the special guest party where they would draw the winner. Typical that I didn't want to go by myself & wasn't planning on going unless someone, who happened to be Chanda, would come with me. It was a bit of a last minute plan to go, thanks to her 'we've got nothing to lose' attitude. They pulled my name & I won $3000 worth of merchandise in gift certificates from local businesses! All thanks to my friend, who cheered for me the loudest, who gave me that little extra push out of the house (and my comfort zone) and who was always on my team (even when played for different teams).
She got me out of the house then. And once again, got me out last night. I grabbed my camera, dog & music & took a therapeutic walk to the bridge where I could watch the sun set over the trains. I don't remember the last time I watched the sun go down, something I used to do all the time growing up. It was what I absolutely needed after a week of being housebound with the kids while my hubby was out of town.
Chanda & Jordan were always making an effort to create experiences & more recently passed that passion on to their kids. I always admired this about them. A browse on their Facebook pages is proof of their many adventures, almost always outdoors, that they took & documented as a family. One of the last photos posted they took their kids to watch the northern lights on New Years Eve. I can tell you where I was - in bed, I didn't even consider staying up until midnight, let alone venturing out to see the northern lights...I know how much of an effort it can be to pack up the family, never really knowing how it is going to turn out, to go somewhere, & it is usually a hell of a lot easier to just stay home - but they didn't let that hold them back even in the wee hours of the night!
During my sunset walk I thought a lot about the last few months. The rut I have been in since the accident, occasionally getting my head above water & feeling inspired, only to sink a little again & feeling ashamed for the times when I am unable to pull the positives out of situations so often, opting to stay inside because it's easier even on the nicest of days, letting excuses get in my way, or not following through with the promise of making the most out of my relationships & time, which I made in Chanda's memory. And how I could use the friend that Chanda was to help pull me out of this rut, empathetic, but also helping me to look on the bright side. How, even though we saw one another seldom since our family's began to grow, her absence is felt daily & I miss her more than I thought I ever would.
So with these thoughts running through my head, it was unlikely a coincidence that a song called Living in the Moment by Jason Mraz came on in my playlist toward the end of my walk. A happy go lucky song that is exactly what it sounds like (link posted below). A funny little reminder that made me smile out loud, as memories of my friend always do. I hope that these little reminders continue to be thrown my way to help push me toward the goal, so I shall remember keep my stick on the ice, always ready for a pass from my friend, my teammate.
My contribution to the tribute