Tuesday, 21 July 2015


Today I've got no place to go, no where I have to be, no pace to maintain.  Today my long-term disability benefits kick in; today I get paid to sit at home. This is all new to me, it's a bit overwhelming. I've always worked hard and enjoyed it, but I haven't been able to work in four months.  Christmas 2014 I was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a life-threatening illness for which there is no cure and for which the prognosis is swift and unkind. I went back to work the next day and every day for the next three months.  And then it became too much and in late March after a couple of unexpected nights in the hospital, it was time to back away. 

Today officially ends four decades of diligently reporting for duty.  And it comes a dozen years earlier than I had anticipated. 

Mr Lou Gehrig, Yankee ball player, he with a life-threatening illness named after him delivered a short and beautiful speech on his last day at the diamond.  "Today I feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth," he told a cheering crowd at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939. These are words I never truly understood, words that represent an "attitude of gratitude" that I have nevertheless tried to emulate.   

The Team
Today is a good day to reflect on the very many career twists and turns for which I am, sometimes only with the help of hindsight, grateful. There have been so many outstanding individuals with whom I've worked over four decades, but only a rare few genuinely awesome teams. My associates and coworkers at the Scotiabank Convention Centre are such a team across all departments and I thank God for the last 2 1/2 years on the team. They have shown tremendous courage in working with me through to my last day in the office, never hiding from our grim reality and embracing my wish that we must never let my terminal cancer redefine our relationship. 

My Boss, my Friend 
My hope for you is that should your life ever take a turn for the worse that you'll be lucky enough to have a trusted friend right from the beginning, a friend who'll be there for the tough stuff. A friend who asks how you're doing and sticks around for the answer. If you're really lucky he'll be in the office next to yours.  Jeff Dixon, our Interim GM was among the first to learn of my mesothelioma.  On top of all else on his plate he stepped up right away and has not left my side since. 

The Luckiest Man 
Mr Gehrig delivered what was for me an enigmatic statement, a cause for pause that for years I never understood.   "Today I feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth," he said.  Mr Gehrig thanked his team, fans and team management. He described his wife as being a tower of strength, of displaying more courage than he dreamed existed. Today I understand that, sir. I know that I am a lucky man.  Merci Claire. 

"So I close in saying I may have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for."  Lou Gehrig  

Me too, Mr Gehrig. Me too. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm grateful to have met you and worked with you Jeremy!
    I will never forget you asking me questions like "quick, what record would you take to a deserted island?" lol. We bonded that first day in the Terrace. I really loved working with you. Fun times.
    Remind me what your album would be. I'm banging my head trying to remember it. I think I know but I'm not 100% sure.