Archive for June, 2011
Wedding Dress

Ailish’s wedding dress arrived a few weeks before the wedding. Having nowhere else to store it, she hung it up in my computer room.

I desperately did not want to see the dress before our wedding day. As a result, I spent the next few weeks being very careful to avoid looking in the corner of the computer room. I shielded my eyes when I entered, I stared fixedly at the screen whenever I was sitting down. I occasionally tripped over objects strewn on the floor as I exited, blind. It was all a bit silly.

Until our wedding day.

When Ailish walked in, I got my first look. All my hopes of making it through the ceremony with dry eyes ended immediately. I have never seen Ailish so beautiful as she was right then. The dress was absolutely perfect.

I’m pretty sure I told her that when she was up on stage with me. I’m also pretty sure that was our first kiss, to the amusement of the officiant as we had not yet started the ceremony. I didn’t care, I couldn’t wait to kiss Ailish, even if she wasn’t quite my wife yet.


Boys tend not to be too thrilled with flowers. So every so often, Ailish would bring home candy for me. She thought a complete meal should have meat, starch, and vegetables; I’d happily subsist on candy. I mean, a calorie is a calorie, right?

So every so often, Ailish would be home candy for me. Sometimes, she’d hide it under my pillow. Other times, she’d leave it by the coffee maker for me to discover in the morning. Sometimes, she’d buy it because I had had a hard day, but other times, it was just because she loved seeing me smile.

I would give Ailish roses from time to time, but it wasn’t the same. Roses aren’t nearly so tasty.


Sometimes, after a bad day at work, Ailish would come home all stressed out. She would be grumpy, hungry, and generally a little short-tempered.

I would play a game where I would see how long it would take to relax Ailish, to get her smiling again. Sometimes, it took a couple of hours, but that was pretty rare. More often, it took about half an hour. She’d change out of her work clothes (“put on comfy pants”), we’d sit and have some supper and watch t.v. Or maybe we’d go out for a walk, and I would hold her hand. I used to love watching the stress just drain out of her.

On days like today, I realise Ailish did the same for me.

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Ailish and I got engaged on September 7th, 2009, in Montreal.

We had our first date in August, 2007. We bought a house together in August 2008 and decided to take a trip to Vancouver to celebrate and decompress. So it made sense to head out of town in the late summer of 2009, too. We decided to go to Montreal and Halifax.

What Ailish did not know is that I had decided early that summer to propose to her. I knew Ailish was special from actually before I even met her in person, but I had this whole plan. You have to date someone for at least a year before you move in. And you have to live with a person for at least a year before you get engaged. Well, living together had worked out really well. I mean, apart from the fence, but we swore never to talk about that. I’ve heard people ask how you know if you should get married. I don’t really know the answer to that question. To me, with Ailish, it was obvious. I was very much in love with her and I knew she was very much in love with me. We were partners. We could tackle anything the world threw at us. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Ailish.

So, I bought an engagement ring (after spending hours and hours and hours learning about different types of diamonds, different settings, styles of rings, trying to figure out Ailish’s ring size, etc.). I received Ailish’s parents’ blessing. And we were already planning a trip to Montreal and Halifax, so I figured what better opportunity?

I was so scared that I would lose the ring. I refused to put it in my checked baggage. I refused to leave it in the hotel room. I carried it around with me as we saw the sights in Montreal. And let me tell you, an engagement ring in a box is rather bulky. I figured I would probably propose either on Sunday, September 6th, or Monday, September 7th. We were leaving to Halifax on the 8th and I figured Montreal was probably more romantic.

So, the Sunday was a pretty good day. I mean, we had a great time wondering around Montreal, seeing the sights. But “pretty good” was not really what I was going for. I wanted to propose in our hotel room, in private, and when we returned to the hotel room, Ailish had received some emergency emails from work which stressed her out. So, Sunday was out and now I was down to one day. I mean, sure, I could have proposed in Halifax, but who knew Halifax would be so awesome?

Monday, September 7th, 2009. The most clear memory I have from that day is finding a little courtyard, sheltered from the street but open to the sky. We sat there for several hours, eating and drinking some beers, chatting and just enjoying life. It was just beautiful.

When we returned to the hotel room, I asked Ailish how she had enjoyed her day. When she responded, “Today was just the perfect day,” I knew my time had come. Ailish was on the bed, and I was on my knees on the floor. I remember telling her how happy I was that she had said that, because I had been waiting for the perfect day. I remember telling her how happy she made me. I remember telling her how I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. And I asked her to marry me.

Ailish’s response was, “Are you serious?!?” I started to assure her that I was, that in fact I had an engagement ring, and before I was even able to get the little box open, Ailish had said yes. When she saw the ring, her eyes sparkled.

That evening, we celebrated by participating in a pub quiz, though I’m not convinced we stayed for the whole game. We then spent the next ten months calling each other ‘fiance’ and ‘fiancee’. :)

My wedding day was amazing and awesome and full of love, kisses, family, friends, and beer. But September 7th, 2009 was the day I knew that the love of my life was going to marry me.


The City of Edmonton is dedicating a bench in Sir Winston Churchill Square to Ailish. Although the official dedication is not until the 29th, the plaque was affixed today. I have not seen it yet, but I was sent the following picture:

CMA Entrance Exam

Today, Ailish was scheduled to write the CMA Entrance Exam.

Last year, she decided that she really needed more education to progress at the City of Edmonton. She had advanced quickly through the ranks there, but her Bachelor of Commerce degree would only take her so far. Ailish loved the whole strategic management part of her job, so the CMA seemed like a good fit.

It didn’t matter that she already had a busy life. It didn’t matter that she worked long hours, that she often went out for dinner with friends, that she preferred sleeping in on weekends. CMA was for her.

So began an eight month prerequisites course. Classes all day on Saturday, weekly quizzes, regular assignments and exams. And somehow, she was able to fit it in without compromising the rest of her life. Friday night dates were still on.

Ailish finished the prerequisite course earlier this year and did well on the final exam. She was attending weekly entrance exam prep classes to get ready for today. I have absolutely no doubt that she’d have done well on the entrance exam as well, and then there would have been two more years of classes, quizzes, assignments, and exams before she would have become a Certified Management Accountant.

When she set her mind to a task, she wouldn’t let anything stop her. It didn’t matter if it was the CMA program. Or running a half marathon. Or moving in with me. Whatever. Ailish made me so proud.

West Wing

I never totally figured Ailish out. I didn’t expect that another forty years would help, and this was a continual source of joy for me.

Growing up in a small town, I learnt that dates, at least dates that do not involve going out for food, typically involve watching movies. Sometimes in a movie theatre, but more generally just watching a movie in your basement. I’ve watched a lot of movies. Heck, I’ve watched one movie more than 150 times. So it came as quite a surprise to discover that Ailish really did not enjoy movies. She found it hard to really care about the plot once we passed the half hour mark. Sometimes she didn’t even make it that far.

So, movies were out. But, I knew Ailish was fascinated by politics. As all sensible people know, West Wing is one of the greatest television series ever aired. Or, well, the first few seasons anyway. I figured it was worth a shot, and introduced her to the show fairly early in our relationship.

Ailish loved it. I figured, with seven seasons, this should last us quite some time but then, I didn’t figure on Ailish. Here was a girl who groaned whenever I suggested watching a movie more than 100 minutes long, and she just ate West Wing up. She’d demand that we watch episode after episode, back to back. In one weekend, we’d sometimes get through ten or more episodes. We would talk about the show when we weren’t watching it. She’d demand that friends (Jordan Lien!) buy the whole seven seasons immediately.

West Wing lasted us only about six months. Every television show afterwards was judged against it, and never favourably. The grand events in a relationship are, of course, memorable and important, but the joy comes from the little things, the days just hanging out, doing fun things and enjoying each other’s company.

Medical Examiner’s Report

Because of the nature of the accident, the Medical Examiner’s Office had to investigate Ailish’s death. And for reasons that are not immediately obvious, they had to do a blood toxicology report. On Friday, they finally wrapped up their investigation. Ailish, as we all knew, had no drugs or alcohol in her system whatsoever.

I expect with this information, the police will wrap up their investigation sometime in the next couple of weeks. I doubt their initial findings will have changed; Ailish was in a marked crosswalk and was crossing with a walk signal. She was not tired or distracted.

Friday night

Today after work, I drove down to the cemetery and sat and talked for a while. It’s hard to keep a conversation going when only one side can contribute, so it was a long way away from a Friday Night Date. But the plot of land we chose is nicely shaded in the afternoon, and it felt good just to sit there.

I know Ailish is gone. I know she could not hear anything I said to her. But I am still glad I went and talked.