Why Writing Is Important To Me. #Kerri


Why Writing Is Important To Me

August 22, 2015

As many of you have probably figured out by now, based upon occasional speeling mistakes, and, “poor” punctuation, i am not a – Professional writer.

I’m not even sure how many steps closer I am, to the esteemed and unpaid status, of being an amateur writer.

To be honest: I am not exactly sure who gives out those medals, or if we can just pick one up for ourselves, when no one is looking.

medal 2

Anyhoo, I think it is probably safe to say, especially with my recent use of the term ‘Anyhoo’:  I am still a beginner; but one trying earnestly to improve.

As many of you also know, if you have read anything of an autobiographical nature by me, there were some recent bumps in the road.

The kind of speed bumps in life’s parking lot that really f*ck up all the wheels on the shopping cart.

cart 2

At some time during my grieving process; floating aimlessly in a Uterus of replayed memories, I began to drift towards my Former World.

My Self-Identity, which Grief had leaned awkwardly on for 2 years, had become numb and my emotions entered a torpor away from the rest of me. But with each passing day, and with many supportive people pushing, its fat ass slowly shifted away from my mind.

As it left me, I imagined it pursuing its next victim.  We are all potential targets if we have ever loved.

hipp 3

As we all know, when the sleeping part of us finally begins to awaken, the first sensation is pain. Your nerves are angry that they have been exhiled from the whole. The stabbing daggers hurt: the last blood drawn, as curtains close, in the final act of mourning.

When you first begin to feel again, you are like a baby taking clumsy steps in unhelpful directions. And you bump into many things inflicting pain, yet empathy isn’t quite yet online.

baby GIF

The pins and needles inside create social eggshells outside, as if the cocoon has merely expanded. Just a bit at a time, to make sure things are safe. Eventually, the needles inside quit poking, and the needles outside don’t feel sharp enough to cause damage.

So you can start to live again, and exchange social currencies, in their many forms and values.

You know you have really started to heal when you can go a bit further down the rabbit hole of your most painful memories.

You know the kind I am talking about: where your brain gives you a warning jolt, reminding you to think of something else, before you pass the event horizon of controlling your emotions. Kinda like when your brain wakes you up, just before the worst part of the nightmare.

I can now look much deeper into my memory abyss; although as anyone who has lost something precious knows: memory never works the same again. The details always remain somewhat fuzzy, and at times out of reach.

And thinking about how my wife, Kerri Tymchuk died, and what it means to be ‘gone’ in that way, feels different.

The bouncer in my head is in a better mood and lets more thoughts of her hang out, and mingle with my own.

bouncer 2

I consider myself lucky for getting to spend 17 amazing years with Her, and am in awe of what Kerri managed to teach me along the way.

In the last few months, when She was on Home Oxygen, and losing weight, we still remained positive, optimistic, and hopeful that tomorrow She would feel better.

Except for this one particular day. On this day, Kerri was scared that She would die.

dark day 2

It would be several more months before that devastating thing would happen, but on this day, She was scared.

We would usually go to sleep holding hands only to awaken in the morning, curled up in our own separate positions.

On that morning, I awoke to Kerri clutching my hand firmly, even though She was thankfully comfortably asleep.

After breakfast, I had to go to the pharmacy, and I came back within 30 minutes.

clock 1229

I never liked being away from Kerri in general, and this tendency attained stalker-like proportions when she was sick.

When I returned from the pharmacy, Kerri was sitting up in bed, writing a letter on yellow foolscap, addressed to the girls.

If you would not mind, please stop reading for 30 seconds, close your eyes, and consider how you would feel writing a good-bye letter, to your 1 and 3 year old Daughters.

yellow foolscap 2

What would you say to them?

How could you sum it all up?

What would be the most important thing to tell them?

Can it even adequately be written on paper?

For me, Kerri starting that letter was a defeat that I could not face.

One of the single biggest regrets of my life is stopping the Mother of my Children from finishing that letter.

I convinced Her that we needed to be positive every single day, and if possible, in every single moment.

fools gold 2

I worried that cnacer was listening and would find out we had accepted defeat.

Besides, if something else changed, or turned for the EVEN WORSE (as if that were possible), She could write the letter then. Or, if She could not write, She could dictate it to me, or we could audio or video record messages for the girls to watch, as THEY get older.

Within a week, the metastases in my Wife’s lungs, prevented Her from being able to talk with any significant volume.

And for only.


Few words.

At a time.

When you can’t get much oxygen, you don’t have enough energy to hold a pen, strongly enough to write legibkllkljl.

We recorded several messages for the girls, but they are short, and Her voice is only a whisper. The only part that is really clear, which I am thankful for, is

‘Mommy loves you’.

I have done many things, and will do many more, for the rest of my life to ensure that our Daughters know their Mommy as well as possible. And I would trade a few of my organs to go back to that day, and help Her finish her letter, to Our Girls.


When the Love Of Your Life dies, and it is someone you have appropriately put on a pedestal, there is a significant emotional withdrawal when they are gone. You realize there is sometimes only one person, in the entire world, that really gets you.

poof 1

And it is hard, when you cannot find their ears or eyes.

The irony that the best person to help you feel better, is the very one that is gone, allows me to understand what is meant by the term ‘Tragic Comedy’.

tragic comedy 2

Those are the scenes where not everybody laughs, or is on the same side of the joke. I now feel the weight of my own mortality in a way that I never really believed before. And I think to myself, what would happen to the girls, if something happened to me?

What would I want the girls to know about me, about life, and most importantly, what their loving Daddy thought about them, and their future?

The reason I write, and have created a blog is twofold.


The first reason is because Kerri is no longer here, to listen to all my stupid stories, and I have to put these ideas somewhere. And it has to be outside of me.


The second reason is because if I die before the end of this sentence, I want my girls to have some other way of knowing me.


And I am hoping, with this essay, that you too will think about some way to create a diary, or scrapbook, or even blog, so that the people that love you can have more of you around, even after you are gone.

Thanks for reading this one, I know there were some sad parts.

Simon Trepel, MD

Note- A resource suggested to me, by a friend and fan of the site, is a Hallmark book called ‘Memories And Messages From A Mother (or ‘Father’, or ‘Daughter’, etc)’.

kerri 4simon 3

It is a helpful guide for organizing moments, interesting facts, achievements, education/learning/wisdom, and anything else that is meaningfully unique.

My friend, who suffered a similar loss, when young, found it to be:

“an easy way to organize your thoughts, and worth checking out”.

That’s a great endorsement, from someone who has been through it, used it, benefited, and now wants to help others (which in my opinion, represents the highest stage of healing).

Note- Please feel free to share any other tips or comments about your own grieving process, or perhaps other things that may be helpful to those going through this often difficult lifelong process of oscillating acceptance. It hurts less, as you write more.

Simon Trepel, MD FRCPC, is a practicing Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, in Winnipeg, Canada.  He is an Assistant Professor, at the University Of Manitoba, in the Faculty of Medicine, and the Co-founder of the GDAAY Clinic.  He is, more importantly, the proud Father of 2 beautiful Daughters.  He writes in his spare time about things he knows something about, and occasionally about things he doesn’t; like Yoga, and Italian flavored coffees.  He has made Time Capsules for the girls, and still talks to her in his head.

Check out his Blog, called Simon Says Psych Stuff



11 thoughts on “Why Writing Is Important To Me. #Kerri

  1. Swoosieque says:

    I know your grief too. Besides losing my son recently to pancreatic cancer, I lost his father back in ’87, leaving me with three sons, ages 9, 13 and 14. It was my children who “got me through” everything. I had to be strong, I had no choice; they needed me and even with all the fears I had which losing one’s spouse brings on, somehow I made it and my sons are all productive members of society with strong morals and sensitivities.

    I honestly feel your pain and have just found another place in my heart to share your sorrow.

    Keep writing, I know it helps me and with your eloquence, I hope it helps you too. ((Hugs))

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Frosty_cj says:

    Dear Simon,
    I can barely contemplate what you are living with and through. The fact that you are now having the strength to start your blog, which is so funny and insightful, is pretty inspirational. I really wish you the best. Carolyn

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 5imon5ez says:

    Thanks Carolyn,
    and I know that you too can relate to some of the things I talk about.
    It is a great feeling to know that the Kerri in me can inspire someone as awesome as you.
    Thank you for your kind words.
    The best back to you too. ST

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lezlie says:

    Hi Simon,
    I am not sure if you remember Sean, Claire and I? We used to be neighbours with you, Kerri and Petri on Watreloo back in 2005-08. I saw your recent essay on Aging and about your friend who had passed. What immediately caught my attention was the picture of your beautiful wife and daughter. I remember Kerri’s smile being unmistakably beautiful! I was always curious about how you two were doing, if you moved or had children etc. I was happy to read the two of you have two daughters, what a joy! As I went on reading my heart sank at the knowledge of Kerri’s death. I want to express both my happiness and sorrow in what I have learned about my favourite neighbours from Waterloo. I am truly sorry for your loss and yet so happy that you have two lovely girls and that Kerri lives on through them. I am sorry this is long winded…Sean and I think of the two of you often and remember our cool neighbours to the North!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 5imon5ez says:

      Hey Lezlie, I just saw that you joined my page, and of course I remember our cool neighbors to the South! I’m so glad you reconnected and said what you did. It’s Kerri’s 38th Birthday today, and I can think of no better gift than remembering life on Waterloo, where we had Lauren, who is now 6. We moved to Tuxedo, and had Paige, who is now 4. They are both doing really well, you would never know if you met them. I hope we get the chance to reconnect again, your kind spirit shines in your words. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Lezlie says:

        Lauren and Paige! Beautiful names! We moved back to Winnipeg just under 4 years ago and are not too far from you. We call Charlewood our new stomping grounds. Claire is 9 (not sure when that happened), we had Max in Toronto and he is 5. Lights of our lives! It would be great to catch up sometime soon, we have a new family member named Goose a 4 month old yellow lab (from Rickway) that the girls may like to meet. If that isn’t inticing enough Claire and Max can entertain them! Take care

        Liked by 1 person

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