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”).
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.