Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fare thee well my good friend.

Fare thee well my good friend. God speed.
Your work is done here.
Your road has come to an end.
There is no more pain to bear.
No more sorrow to endure.
Fare thee well, my good friend.
Be at peace.

He is gone.

This man of gentle heart and quiet spirit. This man who graced our world for 58 years, four of them with the homeless shelter where I work.

Terry Pettigrew is gone.

He passed away on May 31 at approximately 3:30 a.m. At his bedside was his brother, a man he hadn't seen in 34 years but with whom he recently reconnected. A man with whom the bond of love was never broken, only sometimes distant, strained, stretched. And while he had been absent from his life for so long, Larry, his brother was there in the end when it really counted. He gently held his brother's hand, spoke soothingly to him as he passed over. And so, it came to pass that Terry had his wish. He was not alone in those final hours. He was with family. His journey to the other side softened by his brother's love. The brother who searched for him and when he found him, embraced him in love and compassion, kindness and support.

Terry Pettigrew is gone and I am saddened, yet grateful. For in his passing through my life I am richer for his acquaintance. I am a better person for having known him.

Thank you everyone who has followed the journey of Terry. He read your words of encouragement, of support, of love. And his heart beat more fiercely for your words touched him, deeply. Your words gave him strength, encouragement, hope.

And now, he is gone. Peaceful now. At rest.

May he always be remembered as a kind and caring man, a man of dry wit, of clever repartee. A man for whom life was a constant adventure. And while it was sometimes challenging, it was always filled with his belief the sun would come out tomorrow -- no matter what. Whether behind grey clouds or stormy skies, the sun would be there. He always knew that.

And that is the joy of life he shared. Generously. Graciously. It was a reflection of who he was. Constant. Dependable. Fiercely independent.

And no matter the skies, his humour, his laughter, his smile could always be counted upon.

Now he is gone.

May he rest in peace.

Throughout Terry's journey over the past few months, reporter Sean Myers of the Calgary Herald has written sensitive and moving articles on Terry, his journey through cancer, and his reconnection with his brother which was prompted by one of Sean's stories. This is Sean's article on Terry's passing.



Fi said...

I'm sure it's a mess of emotions that you're feeling at the moment. Sad that he's gone yet relieved that he's suffering is over.

You assisted this man by making his final days ones of respect and love - you're truly an inspiration and I thank you for sharing Terry's story with us.

Bev Pettigrew said...

Thank you for such a nice tribute to Terry. I am so grateful for all of those who were there for Terry when we weren't. We miss him so much already. But he went knowing he was loved ....and isn't that all that really matters. Bev

Anonymous said...


I read the piece in today's Calgary Herald before I read your blog post, so I knew in advance what you would writing about today.

You are a flashlight.

You shine light on people, places, dark corners where we don't want to look - and you show us two important things.

You show us your humanity, and you show us theirs (in his case, Terry's) as you make us all less afraid to see people who are homeless - not because they are said or unfortunate, but because they are so close to being just like us because, if misfortune finds us, it might be us.


Maureen said...

In your posts, you and Sean Myers gave Terry Pettigrew the honor of your respect and wide-open hearts. That he could die knowing he was loved must have filled him with joy. May his soul forever rest in peace.

Joyceann Wycoff said...

Thank you for sharing Terry and his story with all of us who are a little richer for knowing him and blessed to be in your light.

Hope said...

rest in peace Terry

take care Louise!

jaywalkingthemoon said...

so good he connected with his brother again before he died..and glad there's such a lot of thankfulness in your tribute mingling with the sadness

Ruth said...

I am richer too, Louise, for knowing Terry's story here through you. I am oh so glad he was not without family at the end. What a treasure, I am very moved.

Brandi said...

Tearfully joyful over this news...

Louise Gallagher said...

Thank you everyone for your beautiful words. I think what's amazing about Terry's story is that it also affected so many people in the city -- and it somehow has crossed boundaries, created bridges, broken down mis-conceptions and shifted perspectives.

Very powerful.

Hugs -- and thanks!

Josie said...

While sad for those who will miss him, I find myself smiling in the beauty of Terry's soul finally flying free. Godspeed, Terry. We thank you for allowing us to witness your courageous journey.

nance marie said...

thanks, louise.

S. Etole said...

Thank you for bringing this gentleman into our lives in such a loving way ...