Buen Camino Guy!

This is a post I wish I didn’t have to write.

I walked the Camino in May 2012 with a group of Canadians: eleven women and one guy (whose name was “Guy”).

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I took this photo of our little group on the third night.

Barbara [one of the women in our group] saw the obituary in the paper. “OMG is this ‘our Guy‘ ” she asked Sue on Facebook?

TAYLOR, Guy – It is with great sadness, the family announces Guy’s sudden passing at home in Orillia, on Sunday, January 5, 2014 in his 58th year….. He truly enjoyed travelling worldwide. Guy really enjoyed yoga while living in Orillia. The family will receive friends at the L.G WALLACE FUNERAL HOME, 151 Ottawa St. North, Hamilton (905-544-1147) on Sunday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. A funeral service will be held from the chapel on Monday at 11 a.m. Cremation to follow. Donations may be made to the Diabetes Association or to a charity of choice.

Twenty minutes later Guy’s yoga teacher confirmed that it was “our Guy”.

He was only 58! Sheesh!

Maria and Guy

Maria and Guy

Maria, Guy and I spent a few days together in Madrid before we began our pilgrimage to Santiago.

“My wife thinks I’m crazy to even attempt this walk because I’m diabetic and have some other ‘health issues‘,” Guy laughed when he showed us his large bag of medications, “But that’s not going to stop me. I will so walk the Camino!” he said.

And he did.

He was a friendly, gregarious person who never wallowed in a pity-pot, but always had something positive to say, even on those days when he wasn’t able to walk.

I don’t know what he really thought about art museums, but he visited the Prada, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (to see Picasso’s Guernica) without complaint. I hope he enjoyed it.

I know Maria and I weren’t the only people listening to him when he read aloud to us in front of Guernica. He read well and obviously enjoyed it.

at a newstand in Madrid

Guy buying water in Madrid

I have many happy memories from the Camino, but only one that really starts me giggling …

Full disclosure, I know I snore when my nose is blocked. Guy however was one of those people who would start snoring as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Our refugio on the third night had six beds in each room. I shared with Guy, Sue, Donna, Judith, and Maria.  Our group leader Sue Kenney, advised us to get a good night’s sleep as the next day was a challenging hike up to a medieval village situated at 4,100 feet.

Once we put out the light and I realized I wouldn’t be able to drown Guy’s snoring by hiding under the pillow, I switched over to Plan B. Whenever my cousin Gloria snores I just have to shout “Snor-ring!” for her to stop.

I didn’t want to disturb the others (just in case someone was actually sleeping) so instead of shouting at Guy, I got out of bed, carefully made my way across the room in the dark, touched his arm and said, “Snor-ring!”  (in the same sing-song way that I use with my cousin.)

“Sorry!” he mumbled, and a beautiful, blessed silence filled the dark room, but by the time I put my head down on my pillow, he’d started up again. Loud grating snores.

I didn’t get up immediately. I was too tired and too desperate for sleep.

The second time I didn’t just touch his arm when I said “Snor-ring!”,  I managed to push him off his back onto his side and went back to bed feeling confident that it would do the trick. Not so! Before I’d even laid back down, he was snoring once more.

Oh please ….!

I lost count of the number of times I dragged myself out of bed, politely said “Snor-ring!”, pushed him off his back, heard his “Sorry!” and raced back into bed hoping the silence would last.

“A pillow behind my back usually prevents me from rolling over,” he kindly announced around midnight when I came up to push him over.

Four pillows came flying across the room at us.

I don’t remember who started the giggling,  but it was contagious, and us five middle-aged sleep-deprived women were soon laughing hysterically like school-girls.

Though we didn’t get much sleep that night as the pillows weren’t big enough to stop a big man like Guy from rolling on his back, no one whined or complained the next day when the women in the other room wondered why we’d been giggling.

Guy and Maria in Madrid

Although you can’t really see us, I include this group photo taken in front of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, because we took it with Guy’s iPad.

Image 3 - Version 2

our group in front of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela

When someone passes away suddenly, we the living aren’t able to say goodbye.  This post has given me some closure.

Guy it was a pleasure to meet you, a privilege to walk the Camino with you, and I thank you for all the small kindnesses you gave me.

Buen Camino dear pilgrim.

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We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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60 Responses to Buen Camino Guy!

  1. shoreacres says:

    We just never know, do we? It’s so wonderful that he was able to walk the Camino, despite his health issues, and that he had such a forgiving and tolerant group to travel with! It is hard when there’s no opportunity to say goodbye to someone – very wise of you to share the news, both for yourself and also for us who followed along as we could when you made your journey.

    Despite the sad circumstances, it’s wonderful to see you! I hope all’s well, that you’re still comfortable just putting one foot in front of the other. I’m still refreshed from the trip I took last October, and happy to be moving into a new year that may hold a bit more traveling. Hugs to you from the Gulf Coast!

  2. dearrosie says:

    My dear Linda,
    Thank you my dear friend for leaving such a thoughtful, supportive comment, and for coming immediately to offer your words of support. It means so much to me to know that you haven’t forgotten me even though I’m not blogging regularly anymore. I look forward to meeting you one day.

    Although we know so much about our world we still don’t know how to predict our end. Three other male friends of ours in their 60’s all died suddenly in the past few months without being able to say goodbye.

    Its very sad that Guy was only 58 when he passed away, but I’m so happy for him that he fulfilled his dream and walked the Camino.

    I’m feeling so much stronger and healthier. I’ve been doing a lot of walking and hiking all of which is helping me to peel off the layers of stress and dust that accumulated the past couple of decades.

    Life can be very sad. Writing this helped me get closure.

  3. tedgrant@shaw.ca says:

    Hello Rose, Long time we haven’t sent notes. I trust you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year arrival! Mine was quiet with some members of my family, However it wasn’t as great as it had been for 64 years before the passing of my dearly beloved IRENE! Of course they never will be. But time marches on and we should never give in to the past! There is only one thing to do? Suck it up and look always to a brightening future! If not? One might as well roll over and die! NOT ME!:-) My life was for over 60 years a whirl wind being actively involved around the world and Canada covering all types of life.Prime Ministers’, the Queen, wars, (2 of them) and the professional medical scene from birth to death in almost every fashion possible.The medical side created 3 acclaimed medical photography books. A what one might say… “A star in my cap!” :-) My next big event? …….. a lifetime dream. An exhibition of my photography career covering over 60 years to open in New York at the LEICAY GALLERY. 24 April 2014. Surprises never cease if you always theink young and never become OLD! :-) cheers, Dr. ted

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Dr Ted,
      What a lovely pleasure to hear from you. Many happy New year greetings.
      (After 64 years of marriage I can only imagine how much you must miss your wife.)

      I would be very proud if I’d been able to photograph one of the Canadian Prime Ministers, but you’ve managed to photograph several Prime Ministers, plus the Queen, plus two wars….

      To have published three acclaimed medical photography books is certainly “a star in your cap”, as is the photography exhibition in New York. Wow how thrilling! I’m so sorry I won’t be able to see it.

      My sincere congratulations on all your achievements.

      What advice would you give to a young photographer who may read this?

  4. First of all, I’m so, so sorry to hear about your friend’s death. That is just incredibly sad. He sounds like w a wonderful man.

    On another note, I recommend foam earplugs, if you ever do a trip like that again. It will block most of the noise. I know. Sara snores, and I could never sleep without them.

    I may have mentioned this before, but I have a friend here in Cuenca who did the same walk last year. She’s just finishing a book about it.

    This post is a lovely memorial to Guy!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello dear Kathryn,
      Thank you for remembering me and coming over to leave such a kind comment. I feel so lucky to have made so many true friendships with other bloggers.

      Guy was someone who still had so much life in him. I hope this post does justice to his memory.

      Oh gosh Kathryn I’m so glad you mentioned earplugs I don’t know why I forgot to include them in my story. We all had earplugs, but they didn’t work because his snoring was so loud. :D

      I didn’t recall you telling me about your friend in Cuenca who walked the Camino.
      Many hugs back to you over there.

  5. Robin says:

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of your friend and companion. This is such a wonderful tribute to him. I love the story of the giggles, and imagine your walk left you with many stories to tell. 58 seems so young.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Robin,
      Thank you for your lovely message. I really appreciate that it.

      Guy was much too young to die. I’m still in shock! I’m so glad he was able to follow his dream to walk on the Camino before he passed away. The Camino is an experience that lives with you forever. The friends you make on the pilgrimage become life-long friends.

  6. Thanks for sharing this bittersweet story, Rosie. It’s very sad to lose someone with whom we share such a pilgrimage. If you walked the Camino with me, I fear you’d have to be singing “snor-ing” to me all night too! :-)

    • dearrosie says:

      Dear Cathy,
      Hah hah remember I also snore at times so we’d be singing the “snor-ring” song to each other all night.
      When you walk the Camino you form instant friendships with the other pilgrims, and even if you don’t speak the same language you’re all members of the same tribe, you’re all walking with your heavy packs on your back for no other reason than you felt drawn to do it. Its magical.

      Many thanks for your comment dear friend.

  7. sybil says:

    I hope that you have managed to contact Guy’s family to share this lovely tribute with them. I know they would enjoy it — especially the snoring story!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Sybil,
      Its always such a pleasure to see you here. How are you?

      Thank you for the great idea. Sue was Facebook friends with Guy and shared the link on his FB page. I believe his family will see it there.

  8. Peter Robin says:

    Hi cousin Rosie, So sorry to read about the sad loss of your friend at such a young age but as the previous blogger said you did such a lovely tribute and I am sure his family would love to hear from you and all the memories you have. – glad to hear that you are doing plenty of hiking now, it obviously works for you as you say you are feeling healthier – well now that the new year has passed we have taken most of our xmas cards down apart from a few SPECIAL ones life the lovely one that you sent us which I can see Pam wanting to keep up for a very long time! ……Will try and keep in touch more Lots of love and hugs from your cousins Peter & Pam xx

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Peter,
      Many thanks for your very nice comment. I don’t know whether you click the “notify me of follow-up comments via email” tab on the left below this box, but in case you do I want you to know I really appreciate your taking the time to write and let me know you were here.

      Sue left a message for Guy’s family on his Facebook page to let them know I’d written this post. I hope they’ve read it. I assume they’ve had first hand experience with Guy’s snoring… :D

      Aw shucks I’m delighted to hear that Pam is going to keep my Christmas card. I knew it was going to your house as soon as I saw it!

      • Peter Robin says:

        Yes Rosie I did click the “Notify me of follow up comments” box as I enjoy reading of your many adventures and of the people you meet along the way.

        Keep up the good work and take care

        Love & Hugs from the UK xx

      • dearrosie says:

        Thanks Peter. It’s good to know you can hear me. :D

  9. Thank you for writing that piece Rosie. I loved the snoring story as it made me laugh out loud and the pics are great memories. He was such a trooper on the Camino and a delight to know. Miss him terribly. Buen Camino Guy!
    Sue

    • dearrosie says:

      Merci boucoup you for taking the time to leave me a message during this really thrilling busy week when your pitch for your “Barebottoms–barely there shoe” was aired on Dragons Den in Canada.

  10. Oh my … what a sad/sweet story about Guy! I love your photos of him and he does seem like such a big, gentle bear of a man … obviously, he’s got some real chops to hang out with 12 women on a looong walk!! I can totally appreciate your story of coping with snoring — I stayed in a small house with 4 doctors in Uganda, and they ALL snored like loggers — and I laughed at your night-long tactics to get him to TURN OVER! That Camino journey had such an impact on you, Rosie, and I’m so happy that you shared it with us .. Godspeed, Guy!!!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Betty,
      Your lovely sweet comment means so much to me. Thank you dear Betty.

      I hope my few photos do him justice. Although he had some health challenges during the Camino, he never once complained or whined. I learned a lot from him.

      There was always much joking and laughing when the other pilgrims on the route heard that one Canadian guy was walking with a group of eleven women. He loved it.

      Some hostels we stayed at had over 50 beds in a room, but thank god there were never more than one or two snorers each night. I cannot imagine sleeping in a room with four snorers. Oy vay…

  11. Krista Storey says:

    A beautiful tribute. Thank you.

    • dearrosie says:

      It’s always a pleasure to welcome someone new to my blog. Thank you for taking the time to let me know you were here Krista. I’m delighted to know you enjoyed my tribute to Guy.

  12. Linda Shapiro says:

    Hi Rosie, I am so sorry to read about Guy. At least he did what he wanted to!! All who knew him must cherish the memory.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Linda,
      I really appreciate your taking the time to leave me a comment. Thank you dear friend.
      I hope that Guy’s example will inspire others not to postpone following their dream because of fear of ill health.

  13. Edith says:

    What a lovely homage to a soul you’re lucky to have crossed paths with. Thanks for sharing a great story.

  14. Jodee says:

    It is true, we just never know. Makes me realize once more to enjoy every single moment.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Jodee,
      Its such a pleasure to welcome someone new to my blog. Thank you for writing a comment.
      We can all take inspiration from Guy’s example to enjoy each day and not to postpone following our dream because of fear of ill health.

  15. My goodness, Rosie. I am so sorry to hear of your friend’s passing. Guy sounds like a man who knew how to live life with joy and abundance, and he wasn’t afraid to take risks. I can tell he made an indelible impression on all who walked the Camino with him, and to learn that he passed so young is very shocking to hear. You’ve really done a lovely thing to share about him here so that all of us who never met him, can have a sense of the positive essence he’s left behind. I am sure this has been very hard for you to absorb. I’m so sorry. ox

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Debra,
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I hope Guy’s family come over and see all these lovely messages.
      His passing was a shock to all of the women in our group, because he was so young. We should take it as a wake-up call not to keep putting off those things that bring us joy.

  16. Dee Ready says:

    Dear Rose, this posting is a lovely tribute to Guy, who from what you’ve shared with us was a man of good will. He seemed to walk his own path. Your words, I think, give us a sense of his authenticity. I’m so glad that he had the opportunity to see “Guernica,” which is a painting I’ve longed admired. Peace.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Dee,
      What a lovely lovely surprise to see you here. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful message. I hope my post managed to share something of Guy’s authenticity.

      I hope you get a chance to see “Guernica”. It’s a powerful experience.
      Although I’ve seen photos of it, I wasn’t expecting it to be that big [11′ 5″ x 25′ 6″ (3.5 m x 7.8 m) ] It’s so large that there were two security guards protecting it; and it was only when I stood in front of the real painting that I understood what Picasso was trying to tell us.

  17. Doris says:

    Rosie I could not write anything when I like the post, I just started crying, you see last year a friend who I met through Facebook died last year of cancer, and this post made cry. Some people touch our lives and stay there forever. Beautiful post Rosie, he is smiling and is happy. I hope I can do el camino some day will start saving money so I can go.

    • dearrosie says:

      My dear Doris,
      So nice to know you were visiting my blog. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave me a comment.

      I am so sorry to hear that my post upset you because it stirred up memories of the recent death of your friend. Was your Facebook friend also young?

      I hope you get to walk on the Camino one day. I waited many years before I was able to go. Don’t give up on your dream. Save – even if its only $10 or $20 a month.
      I send you many hugs.

  18. So sorry to hear about the loss of Guy, your Camino comrade, Rosie. 58 is painfully young, but it’s good to know he lived the life he had been given so well. I remember losing my mother when she was 59, and Tim’s brother just died in December at the age of 53. We are still in a daze but I’m slowly catching up with my blogging friends. This is late in coming to you, but please know my thoughts are with you.

    You wrote such a wonderful tribute to Guy! I especially enjoyed the snoring story. :) My husband snores so loudly I can hear him through all the earplugs I’ve ever tried. We sleep in separate rooms now because of this – I can still hear him snoring from across the hall, but it’s muffled enough through the doors to allow me to sleep. Most of the time.

    I can just picture you dragging yourself out of bed to poke your friend in vain attempts to stop the snoring. It’s so wonderful you could all giggle about it. It’s been my experience that it’s the friendly, gregarious people who do the most snoring!

    Keep on remembering the good times, my friend. *hugs*

    • dearrosie says:

      I apologize for taking so long to reply to your comment.

      Oh gosh Barbara both your mother and Tim’s brother – at 59 at 53 respectively – died much too young. We none of us know how long our lives are going to be and have to enjoy each day we’re given.

      I tried several kinds of earplugs with Guy and they were all useless so I commiserate with you if your husband snores so loudly that even with earplugs you can even hear him from across the hall.

      I still laugh every time I think of that crazy night.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave me such a thoughtful comment Barbara.
      ((hugs)) back at you :D

  19. restlessjo says:

    Nice to share a story with a smile in it, Rosie. He sounds like a lovely guy.
    Many thanks for your visit to my blog today. I hope you are keeping well :)

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Jo,
      Thank you so much for leaving a comment for Guy- what a shame he can’t read all these nice comments. Or perhaps he can? Hah! That would be nice.

      My apologies for taking so long to reply.

  20. The cathedral is simply amazing. Will have to show it to my 6.5 yr old.

  21. Weren’t you fortunate to meet him! He sounds wonderful. And as a side note, I miss ya on the blog.

    • dearrosie says:

      My dear Renee,
      How very kind of you to stop by and leave me such a nice comment. As you can see I don’t come by here that often but I will pop over to you sometime soon.

      I was fortunate to meet Guy. I especially appreciate the few days we spent together in Madrid.

  22. daisy says:

    Rosie, what an amazing story. I am so glad that you chose to write it. I remember well how much that walk meant to you, and to see these pictures of what looks to be such a welcoming and quietly powerful man were so touching. I am very sorry for your loss. (And I agree with Renee — we’ve missed you around here!)

    • dearrosie says:

      My dear “daisy”
      Always such a pleasure to know you’ve been here. Aw shucks thank you for your sweet words. Its heartwarming to know you miss me.

      I’m pleased to know my post honoring Guy’s memory touched you. I wish he were able to read all these kind tributes. I like to think that he can.

  23. What a lovely tribute to Guy. So sorry that you’ve lost such a good friend. (I just saw the link to your blog on Cathy’s post, and came over here to follow, as I’d lost touch with you. ) Sylvia

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Sylvia,
      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I’m so glad you found me – I’m not blogging much but you are definitely someone with whom I’d like to stay in touch.

  24. I am so sorry to hear of Guy’s passing. He sounds like an amazing Guy, so good natured and courageous. It sounds like he made the most of the time he did have. But this is an important reminder to us all to appreciate those around us, and to make the most of every minute we are fortunate enough to have on this earth. Thank you for an excellent post with some wonderful storytelling. The image of the shower of pillows flying unbidden through the dark made me smile!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Naomi,
      Guy’s passing is a reminder to us all to make the most of our time on earth and not to keep postponing something we’d really like to do.
      I’m glad to hear you also enjoyed the image of the flying pillows. It makes me laugh whenever I think of it.

  25. theonlycin says:

    Hey Rosie, why no posts lately???

    • dearrosie says:

      Hey Cin,
      Nice of you to come round to see what I’ve been up to. My deepest condolences on your brother’s passing.

      Why no posts? I’ve stopped blogging. I’ve kept my blog up because there may be times I want – or need as in this post – to share a story.

  26. Madhu says:

    Such a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to your lovely friend Rosie. Your giggling fit set me giggling as well :-) I am so sorry I missed this. But most of all I am sorry for your loss. <>

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Madhu,
      How very kind of you to take the time to write me a message. Thank you. I still giggle any time I think of that night of the flying pillows. Its a good memory of a brave man.

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