Archive for the 'Tributes' Category
The End

I first wrote in this blog in May, 2011. Now, two years later, this is my last entry.

“One day you are going to lose everything you have. Nothing will prepare you for that day. Not faith… not religion… nothing. When someone you love dies, you will know emptiness… you will know what it is to be completely and utterly alone.” — John Bergin, introduction to The Crow, Special Edition by James O’Barr.

I now understand that you never get over a loss like this. The pain fades, becomes less all-consuming, and it’s easier to remember the happy memories. But you never get over the loss; you have to accept it and make it part of you. I am ten times the person I was before I met Ailish and I would not trade a single moment I had with her.

This past weekend, I ran a 10K Run/Walk/Ride 4 Traffic Safety and then ran the Edmonton Police Foundation Half Marathon the next day (amusingly, they claim I’m in the 40 – 49 age category). It was a perfect way to end off the month. Ailish would have been proud. She also would have categorically refused to run two runs in a single weekend.

This blog has been a place for me to share stories from my life with Ailish. This was my place to talk about Ailish. For every story I told, a hundred people have a hundred stories of their own. Ailish was a central player in so many people’s lives. I’m not out of stories; there are still so many, but this is the last one I’ll tell here.

Thank you.

Victim Impact Statement

Here is a copy of the Victim Impact Statement that I wrote. I had Julie Snowdon, the Crown Prosecutor, read it out in court today as I was unable to do so.


My name is Christopher Thompson, and I married Ailish O’Connor on July 31, 2010. She died 263 days later.

Ailish was an amazing woman, my best friend and my one true love. She was filled with energy and enthusiasm, and she surrounded herself with love. She tackled life with dedication, drive, and determination. Ailish made this place better and the people she met were enriched for having known her.

Her death has destroyed my world. From early in our relationship, Ailish and I went on dates every Friday evening; now I just go to bed and hope for sleep. I cry all the time. I cannot focus on my work. I feel confused and utterly alone. My world is ashen and grey without her.

I will never again be able to say that everything is right with the universe. I loved Ailish O’Connor, and I miss her with every ounce of my being. Every day was better with Ailish in my life, and every day is worse since she left.


Earlier this month, the cemetery installed the headstone we ordered for Ailish. The expression we used, “A chuisle mo chroí”, is an Irish term that literally means “pulse of my heart”, but figuratively means “my love” or “my darling.”

To me, the expression represents the love I had for Ailish, the love her family and her friends had for her, and the love she had for all of us. I’m happy we could use an Irish expression for this; much as Ailish loved Canada, she was also fiercely proud to be Irish.

I am very happy with how the headstone turned out. The engraved rose, in particular, is beautiful.


Last week, I signed off on the headstone for Ailish’s grave. I had initially ordered it back in August, but it takes a while to get a(n accurate) rendering. It reads:


April 13, 1983
April 20, 2011

A Chuisle mo Chroí

The last bit is an Irish expression which means, literally, “Pulse of my heart”, but it also means “my love” or “my darling”. Ailish was the love of my life. But more than that, Ailish loved her family and her friends so very dearly, and was loved in return. I thought it was a very appropriate sentiment.

It will be installed when the ground thaws in the spring.

How Do You Love Your Loved One?

Today, a friend of mine forwarded me a link to a blog post entitled, “How Do You Love Your Loved One?” I am at a loss for words; I think that article is just about perfect. Rather than adding any comments of my own, I encourage you all to go and read it.

One Year

Today is 365 days since I married the love of my life, Ailish O’Connor. And 102 days since she died.

We had been together for more than three and a half years. As part of our wedding vows, we each said, “Every day is better with you in it.” This was true before we got married and even more so after. I loved every minute I spent with Ailish. She was my partner, my ally against the cold, cruel world. She was my inspiration, my motivation. She gave me new eyes with which to see the beauty in life. She was the reason behind my smiles.

No relationship is perfect, but it is hard to imagine one with more love than ours.

I am so glad I got to meet Ailish. That I got to know her, to love her, to marry her, to make her happy. That I had a wonderful, magical life with her. I regret only that Ailish and I had such a short time together, and that I could not hold her hand as she died, and tell her one last time how much I loved her.

Bench Dedication

On Wednesday, June 29th, the City of Edmonton dedicated a bench to Ailish’s memory. The bench is in Winston Churchill Square in downtown Edmonton, right across the street from Chancery Hall where Ailish worked.

The plaque reads as follows:

1983 – 2011
In memory of Ailish O’Connor
A rising star
dedicated to the City of Edmonton
Genuine friend and passionate about family
Enjoy the view from here as she often did

The service was lead by John Dowds, the City Chaplain. The bench dedication and the service was organised by Lorna Rosen, Ailish’s boss.

I find it impossible to predict whether events like this will give me comfort, or just generally be hard and emotionally draining. Luckily, this was one of the former. It was wonderful to see so many of Ailish’s coworkers at the service, even though I got to talk to less than a tenth of them. Ailish loved working for the City of Edmonton. She felt that she could make a meaningful contribution to Edmonton itself, and she was challenged and inspired by her co-workers. Ailish and I often discussed the various projects she was working on, and the people she was working with. I wish I could have thanked everyone individually.

Afterwards, the family (Ailish’s parents and brother, and my father) went out for lunch and some conversation. It was a good day, and a touching way to celebrate a hugely important part of Ailish’s life.

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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:

Interment tribute

This is what I read out at Ailish’s interment on June 6, 2011:

Sometime after Ailish and I had professed our love for each other, Ailish had a conversation with me. She thought maybe we were saying, “I love you” too often. Maybe if we said it too often, it wouldn’t be as meaningful.

I disagreed. I disagreed about as thoroughly as I ever disagreed with her about anything. I knew how amazing Ailish was even before our first date, and every single time I told her I loved her, I meant it. I meant it with every part of my soul. I thought we should say it more often. We should say it every morning, before we left for work. Every evening when we came home. When we were cooking supper. When we were sitting watching television. Before we went to sleep.

And we did. And all I wish is that I could have told Ailish how much I loved her another million times.

Here’s a link to flowers my mom sent. WordPress won’t attach images properly and I’m not going to fight it any more.