A Wife's Perspective
My husband Gordon was born in Glasgow, Scotland. His family moved to Canada when he was five. Gordon's mother died of cancer when he was seven years old and he spent the remainder of his childhood and adolescence being rotated between four different sets of relatives, in Scotland and Canada. The fact that Gordon didn't have the opportunity to put down roots and form lasting relationships during his early years made it difficult for him to form and sustain certain types of relationships, during his adult life. His behaviour, in this regard, was often misinterpreted. Members of Gordon's family referred to him as "complicated" and a "loner," but I saw past his sometimes gruff, flighty and reclusive behaviour; I saw a kind, gentle, timid soul, who just wanted to feel unconditionally loved and accepted, and was desperately afraid of rejection. I used to refer to Gordon as "a sheep in wolf's clothing"; a characterization with which he wholeheartedly agreed.
Gordon spent his entire adult life working, in various capacities, for Coca Cola Canada. During the last decade of his life, he worked as a Service Technician, maintaining and trouble-shooting restaurant fountain equipment, in and around the Toronto area. Gordon enjoyed his work, and many hobbies. He was a talented self-taught chef, author of poetry and prose, musician and computer technician. He also enjoyed reading Science Fiction books, playing video games and watching movies (especially Science Fiction and Horror) and sports (especially hockey and boxing) on television. Gordon lived for the opportunity to jump on his motorcycle or snowmobile and take a drive in the country, strap on his scuba or snorkeling gear and explore a body of water, or toss a canoe on his car and head up north for a week of solo canoe-tripping with his dog.
Marriage and parenthood came to Gordon and I late in life. We met when we were 48 and 38, respectively. What drew Gordon and I together, immediately, was our mutual affinity for nature and for wilderness canoe-tripping. We became engaged seven months after we met, married nine months after that, and were blessed with the birth of a baby girl ten and a half months after we married... making us first-time parents at 50 and 40 years of age!
Tragically, Gordon was struck with a debilitating illness when our daughter was just seven months old. He was off work, convalescing, for fourteen months. Then, just two weeks after Gordon was finally well enough to return to work on a part time basis, further tragedy struck. As Gordon was driving his motorcycle along a main street in our home town, a twenty-two year old pick up truck that had been left idling in a parking lot adjacent to the street, unattended, without a working parking brake, suddenly jumped out of gear and rolled backwards onto the road and into the path of Gordon's bike. Gordon tried to take evasive action, but to no avail; his motorcycle crashed into the truck and he was thrown onto the roadway. A surgeon worked for several hours, trying to repair Gordon's massive internal injuries but, eight hours after the accident, at 1 a.m. on September 6th, 2002, my wilderness soul mate succumbed to his injuries and passed away in hospital before my eyes. At the time of Gordon's death, we had been married just under three years, and our daughter was only twenty-one months old.
Gordon was a very funny man who had a big soft spot in his heart for the downtrodden and for animals. He always gave spare change to homeless people, he adopted his cat from an animal shelter, he fed the neighbourhood birds, squirrels and rabbits in winter, and he always stopped to assist turtles that he saw attempting to cross roads. Gordon's pets meant the world to him. His "last wishes" were that I have he and his cat and dogs cremated after their deaths, and that I lay them all to rest together on his favourite island on North Tea Lake, in the Algonquin Park interior, or at his favourite spot on the north shore of Loch Ness, in Scotland. Buddy the cat predeceased Gordon by six months. Gordon's "wee dog" Scratch passed away just prior to her 14th birthday, seven years after Gordon died; Casey the Springer Spaniel passed away just prior to her 15th birthday, eight years after Gordon died. I plan to lay Gord's ashes to rest, alongside those of his beloved pets, when our daughter is old enough to remember the occasion well.
This web page is a tribute to "my strong, Scottish lad"... a place where those who knew Gordon can come and view pictures of him, and read his writings, on the days when they miss him the most; a place where those who didn't have the pleasure of knowing him can come to meet my Gord. Gordon's correspondence, poetry and prose, and many of the photographs in this web page have never been made public before, but I just couldn't keep them to myself any longer; they are such a treasure, and they provide so much insight into who Gordon was, that I felt I really should share them with family and friends.
Thank you for visiting Gordon's memorial web page...
Margaret A. Black