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Monday, March 1, 2010

A brother's tribute

My husband's eulogy for his older brother was the most beautiful tribute I've ever heard or read. He has given me permission to print it here. First, a little background.

I've often said that Simon and Oli looked like a photo negative. Both strikingly similar in height and good looks, but one light and one dark. Simon took to every motorized sport going--snowmobiling, four wheeling, boating, motorbiking; whereas his brother embraced the motorless ones--running, biking, skiing, swimming, rock climbing, windsurfing, canoeing...

Simon was bold and loud, a true Ottawa Valley lad; Oli introspective and soft spoken. The picture below, sums up their relationship, the light above, the dark below. Simon would jump into things and Oli would go along too, but he always had his brother's back.

Note: The names of our daughters have been removed for privacy reasons.

Simon: A life so fully lived

How can it summarize a life lived so fully, the life of my brother, your friend, your son, in just a few minutes? I can't. But I can tell you about some of the important people in Simon's life.

Simon was extremely loyal to all of these people. He lit up a room with his smile and his booming voice: "Hey, what's goin' on?"

Jeff and Tom, you guys are like brothers to Simon. Jeff, you guys talked several times a day. Your family--Julie, Cindy, Charles and Ellen--you all meant so much to Si over the years. Julie, so many good times.

Tom, how many times did you rebuild that damned sled?

Lex, how he loved coming down to the Bay to relax, fish a bit and chat a lot. I haven't forgotten about the minnows for life (Simon installed a furnace for Lex shortly before he died and said he'd take payment in the form of bait. Lex operates a bait, tackle and ice hut business on the side).

Peter whose couch Simon slept on through much of high school--the weekends anyway. Sharing tea around your family's table the next morning.

Wheels, you are The Country Man. Imagine you, working for the city.

David, (I offer) thanks to you and your family for taking Si under your wing with the hunt camp. He loved going up there so much!

The Baskin Family--Tom, you recognized Simon's incredible capacity for work. And of course, his love of cash. Alma, Mark and Bruce, you all believed in and brought out the best in Si.

Dad and Liz, so many gourmet dinners over the years. Dad, your love and pride in the man Simon had become. And the Pathfinder "Chili" you gave Si. He put more miles on that in the last few months than I put on in a year.

My darling daughters, who helped Uncle Si's tender loving heart to shine through. Younger daughter, I'm sure that you will remember the chemistry set and the cuddles. You swarmed him with, "Uncle Si! Uncle Si!" when he came to visit.

Elder daughter, how you absolutely adore your uncle. When Si came back from out west, I remember you dancing for him to the song, "Cowboy take me away". You are so brave. (She choreographed and performed a dance to Dixie Chicks' Easy Silence as part of the funeral service moments before).

Patti my darling wife, you always included Si and made him feel so welcome in our home.

Mum, who loves every fibre of Simon's being. Who stuck with him, bailed him out. Who managed to convince our young entrepreneur to go to college. You introduced him to Mexico and the hammock. Oh, I know how much you will miss him.

Oh Si, you are so worthy of our love. I will miss you so much. We all will miss you so much! You will continue to be in our heads and in our hearts. Brother, my love for you is unconditional.

Now that the hard part has been said, Lex, you know those minnows? I was thinking we should start a memorial fishing tournament. Can I share my free minnows with everyone?


  1. How beautiful. And heart-wrenching. I'm glad Simon had such a big family of people who loved him, and sorry for all the people that must miss him so much.

  2. Beautifully said...a lovely tribute to a man who was obviously well loved and touched many. Sounds like he was adventuous and charismatic, and a lover of people. the kind of person who touched souls. Sorry sorry for all who loved him and will miss him.

  3. Thanks, suzicate and Bibliomama.

  4. Beautifully said Oli. Thank you for sharing such a heart-felt tribute. I love you all and think of you every day.

  5. Thanks, Steph. I love you too and was thinking that you and your family should move here.