Yesterday, Sylvie Fortin, my soul mate, my breath, my best friend, passed away peacefully surrounded by friends and family after a decade-long battle with breast cancer.
Sylvie was co-owner of The Licorice Group and the founder of Workaholics4Hire, a company that is the Internet leader in customer support services.
In her honor and memory, I will continue in her stead and do my earnest best to continue to provide the same level of quality service her clients had come to expect from her.
As for me, personally, I'm in shock right now.
It feels like my heart has been ripped out of my chest and I'm at a loss for words. I don't know what to say right now, and I'm a copywriter!
But another copywriter, Craig Perrine, the best man at our wedding a decade ago, wrote a beautiful and stunning tribute to her on Facebook, so with his kind permission I'm copying it here.
(I will notify you of services in a day or so.)
P.S.: In my grief and consternation over doing “Bust a Move” breast cancer fitness-o-thon event again this year (actually, it's happening next week!), I get this email from the foundation's senior manager who set up a memorial fund in Sylvie's name so I don't have to worry about doing the event.
I'm so touched by this. So I ask, rather than sending us flowers, won't you donate in Sylvie's name instead? She would have wanted that.
If you prefer to make a gift by phone, please call the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation at 613-247-3527. Gifts by cheque can be mailed to:
The Sylvie Fortin Memorial Fund
c/o the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation
1500 Alta Vista Drive
Thank you to everyone for your support and kindness.
Today my dear friend Sylvie Fortin defeated cancer after a decade of out-smarting and out-fighting that damned disease, living on her own terms the whole way.
My heart goes out to my brother-in-arms, Michel Fortin (who has been an absolute saint) and their entire family who have been by Sylvie's side throughout her truly awe inspiring fight.
I know it's a cliche to say that life is precious and fragile, but it is also still a breathtaking gut punch when you lose someone you love.
Yet, there is no defeat in death for there is absolutely no way for us to escape our mortal limits. Cancer can't chase Sylvie where she is now.
For that I am truly grateful.
The inescapable truth of our fleeting time in this life hit me over the weekend. I was in the middle of a 7 hour drive when I got the news. On my long drive home I had an almost surreal and never ending stream of memories flood my mind. I laughed at the fun we had, I smiled knowing I'd been lucky to have had such an unforgettable friends, I yelled because it has been far too long since we've seen each other, and I had a good cry, too.
While life is fleeting and fragile, what matters most is who we get to spend our limited time with and how we experience those we love along the way.
And Sylvie lived every minute of this life with passion and determination from start to finish. No one who knew her will ever forget her brilliant and tenacious business savvy, her champion fighter's spirit, her heart as big as the world, and her everlasting love for her soul mate, Michel.
Of course, I'll always treasure Sylvie's quick wit and wry humor… And I loved how Sylvie didn't suffer fools, but she was also perfectly happy to laugh at herself, too.
Even though I knew this moment was coming, there really are no adequate words for how heartbreaking it is that she is gone.
I'll never forget the day when Michel asked me to be the best man at their wedding. What an amazing honor. Almost ten years later I can still remember so many perfect memories from that blessed ceremony.
And it makes me laugh to this day that the Celtic shirts the groomsmen wore made us look like pirates… and that someone thought we were valets when we stood waiting for the limo outside the hotel.
I would fill up this post if I even attempted to list all the family and friends who gathered for the wedding. That gives me all the more sense of how many people are mourning Sylvie's passing today.
The most bittersweet memory from the wedding was learning the night before that Sylvie had been diagnosed with cancer.
I'll never forget my utter disbelief… and then how reassured I was by their unified strength in the face of such an absurd twist of fate. Sylvie's gallows humor and unyielding fiery determination to fight told me that if anyone could beat this and live forever, it was Sylvie with Michel by her side. I was truly in awe of their bond.
From the start, Michel and Sylvie knew their journey together would not be an easy one… and I swear I have never seen two people who loved each other more and handled the unimaginable with such strength and grace.
All I know right now is that the human body is an inadequate vessel for a soul like Sylvie's and our indelible memories of her time with us will live on with us till the end.
Be with the angels, Sylvie. I know you'd want us to be strong and laugh in the face of adversity.
I also know we'll see you again… It will seem like blink of an eye to you now.
Just know it will feel like an eternity to us because you are already dearly missed.