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    « Ring in the New | Main | And You Think Your Children Have Bad Table Manners »

    February 09, 2008



    My God.

    I am so terribly sorry for your incredible loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.




    Oh, Nils. You might not be able to tell a joke, but you can damned sure tell a story. You had me laughing out loud through torrents of tears. I am so sorry for your loss. Your whole family, your parents -- goodgod, they're dealing with enough already. I could so imagine hanging out with Jay, through your remembrance of him. I don't know what to say. I have five brothers; I'm not even willing to imagine what that day will be like, getting the kind of news that you did. You're in my heart. "Thank you for sharing," is an over-used, often sarcastic statement, but it really is what I mean in this case.

    Bucky Four-Eyes

    The worst news I've ever had was the day I found out my oldest brother had died. But, damn, at least we knew he was sick. I can't even imagine the kind of shock you all must've gone through finding out about Jay.

    Lots of love to you and your family...


    your brother sounds like a wonderful person...sorry for your loss. and thank you so much for sharing.


    You are gifted, Nils. Your words, they are magic. Your loss, it is unbearable; and yet borne here with such perfect balance between the life Jay lived and joy he left behind.

    2008 is shaping up as a difficult year for your family, and for that I am grievously sorry. Would that your magic words could find another path for you! But it is clear that your life and your love is grounded and certain; and that you and your sisters will bear this unbearable year with love, laughter and sweet memories of a fortunate childhood shared.

    Wishing you peace... and joy, my friend.


    well, i'm not sure at all how to attempt to comfort you or offer any sort of condolences, since, as you so eloquently said, this medium just doesn't lend itself to that. however, i will say that jay must've written this story when he was younger:
    Little Jay's new baby brother was screaming up a storm. He asked his mom, "Where'd we get him?"

    His mother replied, "He came from heaven, Jay."

    Little Jay says, "WOW! I can see why they threw him out!"
    i'm laughing out loud, through my tears for you and your family, since i know that's what jay would prefer.


    I'm so terribly sorry. The depth of your loss is all the more clear now that I've gotten to know Jay. Thank you for that.


    Nils, I'm so sorry. As I read your story I couldn't help but think of my own brother. I never minded being known as JD's little sister, though, as I was never expected to be like him. And, as Bucky said, he'd been sick, so there wasn't quite the shock.

    I hope you are all getting by okay. I know that every single day will be different. It will be up and down. Thank goodness you knew and loved your brother and were on excellent terms with him. These things all help, even if it doesn't feel any easier right now.

    My love and prayers are going to you and your family.


    I too am sorry to hear of your loss. This was an outstanding post however on the depth of your love for your brother. You have an amazing skill as well...writing.


    You share all these ridiculous photos of yourself in this post because you think no one will make fun of you during a time like this...but you are wrong, my friend. How can I NOT comment on those white pants?! They give a whole new meaning to tighty-whiteys. And the model-esque way you're jutting your knee is my favorite part.

    I love you, Nilbo dude. Long live the spirit of your brother, through you and the others who knew him.


    I am sitting here in tears, and then Kalki makes me laugh - because I couldn't help noticing those pegged pants and thinking just how many indie rock musicians nowadays would kill for those and those great shoes!

    Nils you may me cry and laugh - rock on Jay, whereever you are.


    Sandy, Carolyn, Susie, Bucky, Gora, Shari, Rz, Schnozz, Squirl, Diane, Kelly, Kalki ...

    You are all wonderful, and I appreciate your support - of course, with the exception of Kalki, who, despite my obviously vulnerable state, felt compelled to heartlessly mock me for my fashion sense (which was, as Opragal pointed out, ahead of its time).

    In fact, when that picture came up as part of the slide presentation at the funeral, there was considerable laughter in the room, most notably coming from the pew where my own damn family sat. I believe the verbatim quote from Erin and Allison at that moment would be: "Bwahahahaha!"

    In my defense, the picture has aged to the point where what were pale blue denims appear white. As for the jutting knee (and I cannot believe I am going to confess this), in fact at that time I was modelling for newspaper ads for Sears and The Bay (Sadly, no underwear shots, but I do have a fine picture of me in pyjamas, which I will NOT share).

    Rz - thank you. That is absolutely exactly the kind of joke that Jay would have told. One of our favourite family jokes came from an old ad for Johnson's Baby Shampoo - a young boy is watching his Mom bathe a baby and he says "Too bad you had to get a bald one."

    A few of you have mentioned that I made you cry and laugh. That's pretty much what I was going for, because that's pretty much how the funeral went. It was - and is - sad to lose Jay. But I'll never lose what I have from him.

    Over the past few days I've learned (once again) that life really DOES go on, as it should. When I heard of Jay's death, it felt like my world collapsed, but when I got back from Winnipeg to the Island, it was clear that it hadn't; what was expected of me before is still expected of me, problems I had are still here; and the good parts of my life are intact, too.

    You people are part of that inventory of good things in my life.


    Ah, shit Nils... I am SO very sorry to read this. A very heartfelt post and lovely description of the kind of person your brother is.

    The rest of your year MUST get better. Clearly, it couldn't get much worse.

    Hugs to you, love. Thinking of you and your family.


    CircusKelli: for the love of god, don't tempt fate!!!:)



    Mrs. Ian Cusick Beaverhausen

    Holy Shit. HOLY. SHIT! His life was a gift...a tutorial on how to laugh through the everyday crappiness that can bog us down in life. He sounds like a remarkable man, Nils. And he'd have to be, no? I mean...he came from your family. I'm sorry for his too-early departure from this planet. We could sure use more like him.


    Ok, I KNEW something was wrong. I totally knew it:(

    I am SO SORRY. WOW. I really don't know what to say. One of my first thoughts was how your parents can deal with losing a child. That has got to be the worst ever.

    As you know, I lost my younger brother suddenly as well. I don't know which is worse. Knowing at any minute the call may come when a loved one is ill or frail or just BLAM! Out of nowhere finding out your bother is gone. Either way, know that I am praying for all of you and the pain will ease eventually. I am sure you are prepared for the roller coaster of emotions you will go through and the stages of grief.

    Thanks for sharing so many of your memories with us. I feel like I knew him a little bit.


    mama of 4

    So sorry for your sudden loss. You have some great memories of your brother, thank-you for sharing some of them. I will be thinking of those stories next time my 4 year old son is in tears because of his 8 year old brother!


    I am so dreadfully sorry and want you to know that Stumpy and I are thinking of you all. Your post was beautiful and was, I think, the best tribute anyone could give for a brother. Damn you for making me sniffle at work... but hugs too.


    I am so sorry to read about your brother's death. Your post was a wonderful tribute to him.


    Holy shit, you were a model! And judging by the white (pale blue my ass) pants photo, it must have been for a line of horse jockey clothing.


    I am so so so sorry to read this. You have been in my thoughts since the new year and will continue to be.



    Kalki: Your ass, pale blue? Odd. I imagine your ass would be pale white, as opposed to pale blue. Wait, let me imagine it some more ... yep, still coming up with white. I'll revisit that several times tonight to see if anything changes and keep you apprised.

    And contrary to your jab about horse jockey clothing (as opposed to what, dog jockey or aardvark jockey?): In fact, I modelled the finest in "teen clothing" for Sears. It was great - I got to keep the clothes and got paid close to five bucks an hour for standing around.

    Plus: pretty girls. The fact that they found me somewhat less attractive than bug spit was neither here nor there. I was hanging around pretty girls. Some of whom were modelling bras. Which presented me with something of a dilemma if you check out how tight the pants were being worn back then.

    CK: Thanks for your kind wishes, and Allie is right. Bill Cosby once said "Never mock "Worse". If you think it can't get worse, you're laughing in the face of the gods, and they'll smite you just to pass the time."

    Hot S: He WAS remarkable, and I wish everybody who comes to visit here could have met him.

    Lowa: I knew you'd feel my pain as acutely as anyone. When the family was together, we talked about the relative merits (!) of knowing death is coming or of having it come as a surprise. I think the surprise is easier on the guest of honour and harder on those who survive, so in that sense I suppose it's a good thing. And who wouldn't want to choose going like *SNAP* that as opposed to dying by inches?

    Mama of 4: there were times growing up when I swore I hated my brother - usually it was over some form of kid's stuff argument. In the end, we were very close - as your sons will no doubt be.

    Platy: thanks to you and the Stumpster. I can feel you two with me.

    NancyB: Thank you so much.

    Kalki: Imagining again. Nope ... still a pale white. But thanks for the diversion. What a lovely way to spend a day.


    William: Thank you. I know you have endured your own share of personal tragedy in the past couple of months, and your grace under that strain inspired me.


    I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. How sweet it is though that the pain of loss is accompanied by a smile for what he was while he was here.

     Island Redhead

    De-lurking here...Sincere sympathy in the loss of someone who was, obviously, so very special. I, too, grew up on an airbase outside of Winnipeg, only in my case it was west of Winnipeg in the late seventies. There is a closeness between all siblings, but the connectedness between military siblings seems to be extra-special.

    Craig Willson

    Nils, I have started this three times - others have been so eloquent in responding. This crazy journey offers us some incredible highs and astonishing lows. All serve to make up the rich mixture of who we are. For me, sadness comes when I think of good times, that cannot be again. Then, I will find a way to realize how fortunate I was to have had the good times.

    As I read (and re-read) your comments it is obvious that you already have grasped that. The treasure that is your brother is one that you clearly understand and I suspect you were both acutely aware of that.

    You commented that you were a skilled writer. You are and you are also a gifted writer. By allowing us into this personal moment in the fashion that you have, honours your brother and all that was so important between the two of you.

    Chris and I are thinking of you.

    (I had a pair of white pants just like those - but of course, I looked much better in them than you did)


    I'm still trying to get over that pic of you two in the cardigans and jeans.
    I don't think I've ever had a bigger shit-eating grin on my face then when I saw that one, LOL. That takes guts, my friend, and that's something both of you probably shared.
    Hang in there... I think he'd have gotten a kick out of this entire post.


    Island Redhead: I was born in PlP ... close? Heehee. And yes, Military sibs seem to grow up connected both by the constant moving around (and resultant isolation) and also the challenge of military fathers.

    Bub: Thanks - you and Chris are kind and sweet. But there is NO chance you rocked those jeans like I did.

    Laura: I could see your familiar grin with every picture I posted. And as much as those pictures made us look silly ... I am certain Jay would have laughed harder than anyone.


    So sorry for your love to you and the family. I'm sure Jay would be happy that you all remember him with such joy and laughter.

    Robert Paterson

    Hey Nils
    Big hug from me


    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. Thank you for sharing your memories....may those sustain you through this touch time.



    I should be nicer to you, Nils. Maybe, through you, I can find the softer side....of Sears.



    Nope. Still pale white.

    Just Some Girl in Ohio

    Your post makes me wish again that I was closer to my brothers. I am so sorry for your loss. I would check your blog every few days, and when there was nothing, would worry about your father. I was speechless as I sat and read of Jay's passing. I'm glad you were close, and I hope my children end up closer than I am to my own brothers. Hang in there Nils.


    I tried posting earlier today but the post keeps vanishing

    I so deeply sorry for you loss. Thank you for sharing such great memories and may the sustain you for years.



    sorry for the keyboard, cold tired fingers...


    I am so sorry for your loss, Nils. I am so sorry I don't check in enough, too. I wish I could have offered words of sympathy earlier. Just... sorry. My thoughts are with you and your famdamily.

    von Krankipantzen

    I've come back to this post a few times over the last couple days and simply cannot figure out how to convey my condolences for the complete, for lack of a better word, suckiness of your news. It just SUCKS! I'm so sorry.

    Reading your stories about your brother and your relationship with him has made me (and everybody else) smile. He sounds like he is (I don't like using 'was' as I don't think one's effect on this world ends with death) a great guy.


    Dave and I send along our deepest sympathies to you and your family. Having lost my oldest brother at the age of 43, also to a heart attack, I feel your loss.
    From reading your memories of growing up with Jay, I have the impression that he lived and left this life on his own terms. Although you were the brother who became the entertainer and story teller, I expect you learned the trade at the feet of the master.


    Nils, I'm so sorry to hear about your brother, Jay. I lost a sister in 1990 to suicide so I know what it's like to get that unexpected phone call in the middle of the night. You wrote a wonderful tribute to him, and I wish you any small amount of comfort you can find in dealing with your loss. It sounds like the world lost a good one...

    Catherine Ann

    "When we look at our lives, or others’ lives, we often focus on what is not there – on what we haven’t achieved. It’s unfair, of course, because life is so designed that all of us fail in so many ways. Even the greatest baseball players who ever lived failed to hit the ball two-thirds of the time. No fisherman walks away having cleaned out the lake.

    Instead, let us judge ourselves on the quality of our character; on how much pleasure we can squeeze out of what life has dealt us; and on how much joy we create for the people we love. "

    Beautiful. And what a glorious one word summation "Joy"


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