Siân and I met working as temps at CIBC Mortgages in Vancouver. The year would have been 2001 or 2002 or maybe it was 2003. Generally speaking, I don’t remember dates. I remember moments. We were both young slightly silly twenty-somethings. Sparkly Siân was on a visa from the UK, I was a fresh film school grad and unemployed actor. We both liked Tim Horton’s doughnuts, water and sand. I promised her a pink Porsche with a star on it when I ‘made it big’ as per Siân’s request. We became fast friends.
Siân was my first friend as a grown up. I never had many friends, being the shy kid. Even in post secondary, I made a few close friends but once the bubble.of.scbool ended they naturally fizzled out. So Siân was my first. Siân, I would learn, has a tremendous gift of making friends everywhere she goes. I believe this is because she’s so authentic. She literally radiates. Like a big shiny star.
Siân went on to marry her best friend and boyfriend Ben. I had met Ben in Vancouver. It was obvious then that Siân and Ben went together like a lock and key. Also, Ben had (and still has) very Hugh Grant-esque hair. So all around big win in my books. I remember the birth of their first baby, P. I had no doubt Siân would of course be the best mum.
We kept putting off visits over the years. I was supposed to go to Edinburgh and it never came about, year after year. And so we drifted. Lives moving away from each other for no terrible reason. That belief in the illusion of time.
Siân was diagnosed last summer with stage 4 colon cancer. I didn’t know of her diagnosis. Ben urged her to tell me and she kept ‘putting it off’ (the Siân I know doesn’t want to be a ‘burden’ to anyone, wouldn’t want you to think she’s a complainer looking for a pity party. I get it. I’m the same and probably would have done the same to be honest). But then things suddenly moved very quickly and beloved Siân died on January 26 of this year. I will get to see her this week at her funeral in Scotland. Not the way I imagined the visit. That illusion of time is a real ass-hole (the colon-ass pun intended just for Siân).
I’m sad for letting time go by, being too ‘busy’. If I was more present on life outside of career, I would have visited Edinburgh as promised while Siân was alive. Personal relationships that are deep and meaningful will always hold more value than any career no matter how shiny the latter may seem. Without beings to love, it’s all meaningless.
With Siân’s passing, I keep thinking, “don’t waste it..” Not from fear or a place of panic. I’ve never felt so grounded in my life (thank-you Mumma Earth). I’ve been playing too small for a very long time, afraid to be visible in ways other than acting or even the NGO. I know Siân survives in spirit. Last night I could feel her strongly. We talked. I mostly ranted. About all the petty things, the trivial things wasting my days. The realization of all the energy being devoured by the literal meaningless, feeding my ego. Death has a tendency to snap us out of it. Death does that. I wailed for the pain and fear she went through, I wailed for Ben, I wailed for her babies, for her dad, for everyone that loves Siân, myself included. I just don’t want her to be gone.
Before her transition, Siân wanted to leave some advice for us all. I’m passing it on.
“Life, it seems, is scarily unpredictable. Go out and live it. Remember what’s important. Hug your loved ones often. Contact friends a long way away. Notice the small things along the way that make the world a better place. Love to you all.”
I will add for anyone that has shrunk themselves: that idea, that adventure, that dream, that goal, that wish, that transformation, that great love story, that beautiful vision, that calling.. it’s time. Embrace it. Walk with an open heart. Be responsible for yourself. Never be ashamed of who you are. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Engage in Radical Rest. Because you’re magic and you are enough and you deserve to give yourself the freedom to live on your terms.