What is your favourite season?
What is your most favourite thing to do in that season?
What is something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet done?
What is your biggest wish?
Now close your eyes and imagine you’ve just been told you have Stage IV cancer and only 6 months to live.
What would you do first?
What would you miss?
I’ve been haunted by the possibility that I won’t live to see another winter. It’s a thought which slams into you! As a true Canadian – born on December 31, 1965 and raised in the suburbs of Montréal, Québec – I don’t just embrace winter, I live for it. My parents were at a New Years Eve party that I decided to crash (in true Lisa form!) … and I was born less than an hour from 1966. I was made for snow.
As a cancer patient, I now live my life in 3 to 6 month intervals. Death isn’t necessarily some far off event on the decades away horizon.
What do you still want to experience? What legacy do you want to leave? We, my friends only have one second or 30+ years left.
What will I miss about winter?
The scene of Silent Night … the quiet calmness that blankets a town as thick snow falls. Sing the carol in your head if you know it.
The simple pleasure of closing your eyes and sticking out your tongue to catch snowflakes.
Skating on an outdoor rink.
Fresh powder for skis.
The marvelous beauty and individuality of each perfect snowflake.
The cold on your cheeks.
Coats … mittens … hats … scarves.
The breathtaking beauty of snow covered mountains.
Spiked hot chocolate at the chalet.
Frantic shopping excursions downtown to prepare for the holiday season. Snow filled sidewalks and big display windows.
Cutting down your own Christmas tree.
Traditional turkey dinner with sage stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and vegetables. Comfort food.
I’m the last to go to bed on Christmas Eve. I fill the stockings and arrange all the gifts under the tree. I sit with only the Christmas tree lights on and reminisce … about loved ones who won’t join us this year. About Christmases past. How blessed we are and how grateful I am. And I make a wish for the year. My last one didn’t come true.
Your favourite Christmas tree decoration. What happens to it?
Snowed in by the fireplace for days while you ride out Snowmaggedon.
I’ve skied Whistler. I’d love to ski in Switzerland.
I don’t remember much from my last Carnaval de Québec, but I still have my bonhomme. I’d love to go again and stay in the Ice Hotel.
I want to skate on the Rideau Canal.
I want to head north to the land of constant winter with Jan for an IFAW save.
My two dogs are ecstatically joyful as they play in the first deep snowfall! Especially Annie, my northern rescue husky mix … she sticks her whole muzzle deep into the snow and snorts. Carly kicks up her heels and races through the snow like a reindeer!
Maybe your favourite season is summer … which is almost here.
Do me a favour? Make a list of everything you love about summer. Remember everything special you want to experience. Maybe you have 30 summers left. Maybe you have five. Maybe you have one. There might not be a reprieve.
What’s the one thing you can’t miss this summer?
And go do it this summer like it was your last. If it was my last summer, I would want you to show up at my funeral with a slip of paper telling me what fucking awesome bucket list item you knocked off because I said so. Toss it into the coffin. I’d be honoured.
P.S. I was the crowned Snow Queen at my Elementary School in Grade 2. My Dad made me this winter bird cage crown and they pushed me around on the teacher’s paper cart. This has nothing to do with my Ice Queen title …