By: Nicolas Tremblay
Today is a very hard day for me and I am sure many of you can relate to. I thought I would share with you the story of my dad, Norm, to show you how our journeys get affected by life changes... no matter how prepared we are.
Many of you know and have seen my mom appear in our videos and pictures but you have never met my dad (that’s both of them in 2007 on a trip to Mexico with my sister and I).
When I was 4, my mom met her soulmate. At the time we lived in Montreal and I didn’t speak English yet. This man raised my sister and I as his own and loved us unconditionally. He became our dad. He also made sure to include us in all family events and we also got to meet his sons, who are now like 2 brothers to us (Dustin has done some of our music on our videos).
In 1992, my mom, dad, sister and I all moved to Sudbury Ontario. My parents loved each other A LOT (it was embarrassing sometimes) and I think some of the relationship qualities I have today come from them (Jean-Luc’s parents too). When Jean-Luc and I met in 2008, my dad accepted him into the family right away and made him feel welcome.
In June 2012, Jean-Luc and I purchased our first home and my mom and dad helped us renovate for weeks. Throughout the renovations, my dad had a sore back the entire time and didn’t complain, a few months later we found out he had prostate cancer (stage 4) that had spread to his bones.
My dad had an upbeat attitude about it determined to keep on enjoying life. He LOVED to travel, and we went on vacation for Christmas in 2012 and my parents also went on another trip in early 2013. As his diagnosis got worst, he asked us to go on a final vacation with him in October 2013. He also invited Jean-Luc’s parents along for the trip. In August of that year, we had a scare that we would lose him but he bounced back and we were all set to travel to Antigua.
On October 26th 2013, we all flew out to Antigua. We could tell my dad was a bit off when we left Canada but 4 doctors had cleared him to travel and he still wanted to go. Once we landed, everything went south. He stopped trying to walk (we had to get assistance from Air Canada to get him off the plane and the resort we stayed at provided a wheelchair), he stopped eating and just became lethargic. We tried to find a way to fly back home but there were no direct flights back to Canada until our return date and we didn’t think he could handle multiple connections so we made the decision to wait it out and to make him as comfortable as possible.
On October 29th, my mom knocked on our door and said that my dad was breathing weirdly... I went to her room to see and as we were looking over him he stopped breathing and passed away. The shock of losing him this way was a lot for all of us. The resort allowed us to get in touch with family and we had to go through CSI investigations, police interviews and a visit to the morgue (which is where I had my meltdown). The rest of the trip had us filled with guilt, sadness and anger. We couldn’t enjoy ourselves and the funeral arrangements in a foreign country also added to the stress. We came back to Canada and had to leave him behind.
The following months destroyed us... we had been on our journey at the time and we gave up and began to drink heavily. We did this for months and it completely set us back... but we came back. My dad would never want us to destroy our lives. We miss him a lot and talk about him often. He would be so proud of what we both have achieved and he would be the biggest WW Gays fan out there.
Why do I share this memory? Because this journey will have its ups and downs. Things won’t always be perfect and life will happen. We gave up at the time, but eventually, we came back. If you’re struggling today, that’s ok, tomorrow is a new day and you will get back on your journey. Just never give up and remember that you have so many people cheering you on... from your family, your friends, us and your fellow peeps and those who are no longer with us. They still care, they still want you to succeed, they want you to live...
Never give up. Always get back up