On April 9 2017, I asked my 74 year old friend, Stu Armstrong, (an avid photographer) to take over our instagram account for the week. He’d never been on instagram, but he gamely accepted, uploaded the app to his phone and shared his unique perspective for the week – dry observations and a deep passion for this place we live, and the occasional sideways photo. 😉
“Lisa Richardson asked me to post on the Wellness Almanac for this week,” he wrote. “Post about your passion she said. I hope you like photos of horses and Mt. Currie.”
Last Thursday, October 11, at 10:35pm, the RCMP knocked on my door. Stu had passed away, in his sleep, in his home. He had left instructions that my husband be notified.
I wonder now about the appropriateness of sharing this here. I mean, everyone in this community suffers loss. We don’t recognize all of those passings here (although I am more than willing to share those stories and acknowledgements. This is, after all, part of our wellness journey.)
I have no special claim on this man. He was part of our lives, because he chose to show up. He chose to accept invitations to coffee, to our home, into our chaos and daily struggles and to be present, and to turn every conversation, eventually, and often immediately, to horses.
His ashes will be spread, as per his request, in a Pemberton field this week, where his horse spends her days. And his life will be celebrated in Whistler (as a nod to all the WB Snow School folk who loved him) on Thursday night, at Dusty’s, from 5pm – 8:30pm.
And I find myself envying my Lil’wat neighbours and the richness of your traditions, because I am wishing for some ceremony to turn to. We will make our own and we’ll make it up as we go along, hoping that we do honour to our friend… but I feel a yearning to touch into something, some ceremony, that would connect us here, to all the ancestors, all the stories that have walked this place for thousands of years before us.