ForeverMissed
Stories

Share a special moment from Monica's life.

Happy Birthday Monica!

Shared by Chris Bowers on June 26, 2022
You were always great at remembering birthdays.  We will not forget yours.

Happy Birthday Mon

Shared by Lindsay Racco on June 26, 2022
I hope you're partying up in heaven today (and every day). I miss you greatly

Special Moments

Shared by Helga Davis on April 11, 2022
Hi Monica,
This morning I decided to wear your Haida Gwaii silver hummingbird bracelet. It's Sophie's birthday and I wanted to feel your spirit with me today.
I can clearly remember us entering the hospital room six years ago and your sister introducing us to our newest family member, Sophie Monica. We were all emotional and had tears. You Monica, you were bawling, doing your happy-crying-laughing. Your face was red and the tears were streaming down. It was a very memorable occasion.
After work today, with my colour changing mug from Auntie Edie, I headed to the townhouse for a birthday celebration. As Colette cut and served birthday cake, I dazzled Sophie and Caity with boiling water in my heat sensitive deep purple mug that transitioned to green and miraculously revealed the image of a hummingbird. While eating cake my eyes went to the hummingbird feeder outside. It had been hanging there for several weeks. Every 5 to 7 days the water has been changed to keep it fresh with hopes of attracting a visitor. No hummingbird had been seen yet.....and then it happened. "LOOK!" at that moment we all watched as a hummingbird hoovered by the feeder, took a sip, hoovered a little and then zipped away.
Monica, your spirit was definitely with me/us today.Thanks for the specially timed visit. 
Mom 


It's the little things

Shared by Lindsay Racco on December 12, 2021
Today I'm wrapping all our gifts while my husband has the kids at my in-laws. I'm gifting this dish sponge thing to Hubs, but if Monica were alive, I'd be sending one to her. I hear her voice when I read it, "...so we meet again." 
It's these little things that really trip me up. I'm still missing you like it was yesterday. Merry Christmas Monica, I know you are laughing at this ridiculous Xmas gift from heaven. 

The Monica effect

Shared by Tanya Puertas on August 27, 2021
Mónica and I hadnt seen eachother since highschool, and the only contact we had was through facebook. I would comment every time I saw her doing something amazing ( which was always!) or when she would post one of her positive Outlooks on life, birthdays etc.

And yet her passing hit me like a ton of bricks.

It came at a trying time personally,and forced me to take a moment and decide how I wanted to be living my life. To not get stuck in the rut of work and endless circles of everyday routine. To change whatever situation wasnt letting me be happy and let my spontinaity come out again and do things Just because. The best frase' why not?' is one I say a lot but at times havent lived up too like Monica. Thats the effect Mónica had. 

When I saw it on facebook I didnt believe it. It felt imposible that this could happen to someone who took advantage of every second, like she would Last forever. When it finally became real, in that moment, I saved a picture of Mónica. I know it sounds wierd but I felt I would need that visual reminder in the future.
And every once in a while as Im scrolling through my pictures, Mónica pops up to give me that tap on the head and say hey! Get your but moving! And its always when i need it most. She May not be here fisically, but her soul and her aura definately are. Fly high Mon!!!

Impromptu Bungee Jump with Mons!

Shared by Blair Slater on August 21, 2021
Like all of us, I have many great memories of Mons, however one of my favourites that I feel epitomizes the way Mons lived her life was when she and I went bungee jumping, completely unplanned, after taking a wrong turn one summer day! 

(Forgive me for not sharing earlier. As some of you know, I first met Mons in higshcool when we were peer counsellors together. Since then, and especially since we reconnected in 2010, the impact that she has had on my life and happiness is beyond the extent that can be conveyed in a post. She was one of my closest friends and my wife Natasa and I were thrilled and honored to have her as a bridesmaid in our wedding back in 2013). 

In 2010, we went on a lot of hikes together and one day drove to start a hike just North of Squamish. As we started to drive down a logging road to find the start, another hiker informed us that the trail head we were looking for was much further than we thought and on a difficult road, so we ended up deciding to get back on the Sea to Sky and drive a little further to find another hike to do that afternoon. I can’ recall what made us pull over at a new trail head further along, but about 45 minutes into the hike we saw signs for “bungee bridge” and figured it must be a bridge that’s occasionally used for bungee jumps in the middle of the mountains! At the fork in the trail we therefore decided we’d head in that direction since it may have some nice views (this also promoted the hypothetical conversion between us on whether one day in the future, either of us would rather skydive or bungee jump. I can't recall what we concluded but we soon moved on to other topics and forgot about the bridge. Not long after though, we came across the bungee bridge which wasn’t' “any bridge”used for occasional bungee jumping, but in fact it was the the bridge owned by Whistler Bungee and tit was fully packed with the day’s bookings.

I’m not too sure who “joked” about it first, me or Mons, but the next thing you knew Mons and I walked over to the staff to sign up and do it right then and there!! (They asked us if we had a reservation as they were fully booked but loved the fact that we had just walked up so they they let us in, and I think gave us Whistler Bungee t-shirts for free)! I’m sure Mons’ enthusiasm and energy also persuaded the operator to fit us in!

Shortly after signing forms and paying, we were slotted in amidst a group booking who welcomed us both and cheered us on as we both bungee jumped for the first time! 

I would never have done something on a whim like that that had it not been with Mons, and that’s exactly the type of energy and positive influence she had on me and so many others of course. I remember thinking to myself, this is how life should be seized! Live life in the moment. I need to think of this story more often and hope others will also be inspired by it since it exemplifies how I know Mons would want all of us to live. 

I will forever remember that day Mons :)

One year later and still the same in my eyes

Shared by Tria Atwood-Medrano on August 20, 2021
One year without you, Mon, is one year too many. It’s hard to know that we’ll never be able to laugh, smile, work, eat, and just have fun together again.

No matter what, you’re still the person I want to be when I grow up. Kind, adventurous, welcoming, determined, and every other amazing and positive adjective known in the English language.

Miss you, love you, and still looking up to you. 

Modern Day Angel

Shared by Kimberly Dean on August 20, 2021
The day before I heard the news of Monica passing last year, I had a dream of Monica and Ryan dancing their first dance at their wedding. It started off slow and romantic, as they gazed lovingly into each other's eyes. Half way through the song, the music changed to Uptown Funk and Monica and Ryan broke out into a silly choreographed dance. The young kids in the bridal party were quick to join in. In true Monica fashion, she waved everyone else onto the dance floor, her face beaming that big infectious smile of hers.

Last week, I had another wedding dream. This time, Monica in her wedding dress and Ryan in his tux, stood next to a white Tesla. Monica told me excitedly that it was her "Just Married" ride. Ryan went on to explain that Monica was gifted the Tesla for some philanthropic work she did and that it was the only one in the world that had autonomous flight mode. Monica was so excited to take it for a spin in the clouds. 

I guess that's how modern angels get around these days? :) Miss you every day, Mon. Loving you forever. 
Shared by John Rosenthal on August 19, 2021
Monica your enthusiasm, encouragement and your warm smile have been a true gift and blessing. 

Hovering Hummingbird

Shared by Emma Barker on August 16, 2021
Cheerful, inquisitive, beautiful, dynamic, magical...
Hummingbirds are the perfect spirit animal for our Monica.

I feel so lucky to have a tree in my backyard that has become quite the hot spot for these amazing and gorgeous creatures.  And whenever I see one, I think of Mon.

The other day, I was sitting in the backyard, sipping my morning coffee and a hummingbird zoomed up.  It came in close and then just hovered, about three feet from my face.  It stayed like that for a moment, looking at me expectantly.  And then it came even closer until it was maybe 6 inches away, so close I could see the twinkle in its tiny eye.  I said "Hello Monica", quietly, and let the tears come.  

What an exquisite and rare thing.
What an exquisite and rare human being.

I feel grateful to count Monica as one of my dear friends. To have known her since we were sporting hard-sided lunch boxes and sippin' on juice boxes. To have been her running buddy for a while, until she got too fit for me. And then beach walking buddies--a pace I preferred, especially since it meant we could talk and laugh. I can remember wondering to myself after each hangout, how is she so endlessly kind and positive?  How can I be more like Mon?

Monica, I miss you so much. You have and continue to be, a guiding light in my life.

I'm so pleased you came to visit me in my garden, hovering patiently, inquisitively, with that recognizable twinkle in your eye. 

And I'm looking forward to our next backyard visit.

Your friend,
always,
Emma


Shared by Luisa Gil on August 12, 2021
I find myself thinking about Monica daily as I see her in the smallest but always most beautiful things in everyday life. Mostly though, I hear her voice whenever I face simple choices. I think about her tenacity and how easily she always said “yes!”. In life, and now in spirit, Monica always encourages me to just say “yes”, to not find excuses (which I am so good at), and to do my best. She was always our biggest cheerleader!
I have so many amazing memories and pictures with Monicabut this picture reminds me so clearly of what made her so special. We were doing Tough Mudder and one of the first challenges was to go into a tank with freezing water. I always struggled with water and this challenge meant I was left behind, scared and having a really hard time climbing out of the tank as my legs and arms were very weak with the cold. I remember so vividly, Monica reaching for me, smiling of course… She was superwoman, but she made sure she had your back, always cheering you on, or simply helping you out of the freezing water. 
In her memory I find courage and strength. Thank you Chica! 
Shared by Lindsay Racco on July 1, 2021
We live on a very social street. Monica would've thoroughly approved. A few weeks ago, we were having porch drinks with our neighbors (a regular thing in the Before Times and something we are relieved and excited to start doing again). A woman quietly rode by us on her bicycle. My breath caught in my throat - in the low evening light, she looked exactly like Monica. I like to think it was Mon, checking in; Saying hello; Approving entirely of the spontaneous Social we were having. I quietly said, out loud, "hi Mon, cheers." and took a sip of my beer. 

Happy Canada, Mon. I remember many Canada days with you, particularly one where we belted out along to Sweet Home Alabama among a crowd of partiers - one of many songs that always reminds me of you, all these years later. 
Shared by Lindsay Racco on June 28, 2021
❤️ June 28, 2014 

7 years ago today...

Shared by Lindsay Racco on June 28, 2021
You were an important part of my special day ❤️ 

Today will forever be Mon's day

Shared by Kimberly Dean on June 26, 2021
8 years ago today, I asked Monica what she wanted to do for her birthday. She said she wanted to cycle from her place in Kits to the Grouse Grind to scale the mountain. This seemed very ambitious to me but it was no surprise that she'd want to do something so epic on her birthday. I obliged because all I wanted to do on her birthday was spend it with her regardless of what we were doing... while secretly praying that I wouldn't keel over half way or resort to hopping on a bus for the return trip. We cheered each other on as we rode and we successfully conquered the Grind plus the hour bike ride, both ways. It put me out for the entire next day but I was so happy that I got to see that look of accomplishment on her face at the summit and how we laughed knowing that we were only half done and our legs already felt like wet noodles.
I was endlessly inspired by Monica and how she lived life to the absolute fullest. I never said no to anything she'd propose because it always led to something fantastic.
Monica, I love you so much and miss you every day. Happy birthday!

Celebrating Monica

Shared by Kim Thomson on June 26, 2021
I was trying to think of a story to share today to celebrate lovely Monica…

One that came to mind was a summer excursion complete with all the workings of a Monica story – an adventurous idea, a bit of adversity, her positive attitude, and casually spoken words of wisdom that have stuck with me forever... that kind of thing :)

One late summer day, maybe in our early 20’s? Mon suggested we go white water rafting. This is something I’d never done before and would probably never do if it weren’t for her suggestion. Before now, I’d never even considered all the preparations she would have had to do to make this special adventure happen for us – make the booking, plan the route, get supplies, drive us there - I just grumpily climbed into her car when she came to pick me up before sunrise to get to Whistler that morning. (She was cheerful, energized, and excited, as you might guess!) We made our way up the Sea-to-Sky, I can’t remember what we listened to but I like to think we were singing along to Mariah Carey – it’s highly likely. We arrived on time, met the crew and the other rafters, and suited up in special wet suits that would protect us from the glacier water.

The rafting itself was a blast – it was a tour so an experienced guide was steering, all we had to do was paddle. Then we got to a calm section where we pulled the raft over for those who wanted to go cliff jumping. I distinctly recall at this point not even being the slightest bit worried because there was absolutely no way I would ever do that – I’d just sit in the raft and wait for the others. But Monica being Monica, in her lovely way, said to me: Of course it’s your choice to do whatever you want to do, but this is an opportunity you may never get again… are you sure you want to sit it out? She might have asked me two or three times – eventually I caved. She could have easily just gone ahead without me, or may have had her own fears herself, but instead she was thinking about me. She told me, “I’ll be right behind you the whole way.” And she was. And I still like to think of her saying that to me – I apply it to many situations when I’m scared!

The first fear to overcome was climbing a steep section of a cliff – in our bulky suits and water shoes, I might add. As I panic-breathed and clung to the rock like a starfish, she kept telling me I was doing great and to just keep going – there’s nothing to be afraid of. Except – there was! The rafter climbing ahead of us suddenly slipped and fell – backwards off the cliff face – into the water! (He was fine). But if I’d been panicked before – now I was petrified frozen. Couldn’t go up, couldn’t go down. I don’t know how she did it – just her gentle encouragement, positive attitude, and her somewhat magical ability to help others find their strengths – I made it to the top. Jumping off was also terrifying… but to skip to the end, we both conquered the climb, took the leap, made the splash, paddled back heroically, and recorded an epic memory. Now when there’s something I think I can’t do, when my fears are just too big, I think of Monica and her words of wisdom – of course you can always sit it out, but you’ll never be in this same moment again – so what if you gave it a try?

Sending all my love to Monica’s friends and family today. I’m so thankful that she was in our lives and made them so much better. xoxo

Shared by Lindsay Racco on June 26, 2021
Keeping my promise that you will always have DQ cake on your birthday, Monica Thinking lots about the last time I saw you, us eating ice cream cake, and giving lots of hugs. I miss your hugs, I miss your laugh and I miss your beautiful face. But I feel your spirit all around, especially on those sunny, breezy days ❤️ Eating this cold cake, I have to wonder, "did you ever, finally, experience brain freeze?" XOX love you Mon. 
Shared by Loxley McNeill on June 26, 2021
Today, we’re celebrating.  

Always inspired by her

Shared by Tria Atwood-Medrano on June 26, 2021
I’ve been thinking about Monica a little extra the last few days. I remember the first time I met her was right before her birthday where she played volleyball and ate veggies burgers on the beach. I was too shy to go, but now I wish I did. 
Happy Birthday Monica. You’ll always be the person I want to be when I grow up, no matter how grown up I already am

Happy Birthday Monica

Shared by H Bell on June 26, 2021
Monica was very good at remembering birthdays. If she couldn't celebrate with you in person, you would likely get a call or video with her singing happy birthday. She'd even get those who are with her to join in. One year I got a video of her niece, Sophie, singing to me. 

For Monica's 30th, I organized a surprise birthday dinner. When I asked Monica if I could take her out that night, she was gracious to say yes, but you could see that she would have loved a larger group celebration. That was made clear when she asked Roomie Jay what he was up to and maybe wanted to join us after. Roomie Jay casually lied and said he had other plans and then quickly left. So off we went, her making the most of just the two of us, only to arrive at the restaurant with 20 of her family and closest friends waiting for her. Turned out to be a great birthday! 

Last August, Monica still made that call to me. She sang happy birthday and remembered that it was Andrew and my wedding anniversary around that date. What friend remembers another friend's wedding anniversary? Monica. 

Mon, you are missed by so many and continue to be forever present in our lives. 

Happy Birthday Monica

Shared by Chris Bowers on June 25, 2021
Our lives grew apart after years together, but between our birthday's (both in June), we always exchanged a few brief words. I looked forward to that and it was this time last year that we last spoke and although brief, it made my day. I am sad that we will no longer share this tradition.

Many here have highlighted your best qualities, which you have many and I have been jealous of at times. Your patience and focus given to others are qualities that I routinely remind myself of. You have always been a great giver Monica. You knew how to give and you gave it your best all of the time, unconditionally.

Monica, you have made me a better person.

Thank you

Happy (almost) birthday, Monica.

Shared by Kira Levy on June 25, 2021
Tomorrow is my birthday, which is (duh) also Monica's birthday. I was thinking about her last night and realized that this will be the first time in more than 20 years that I won't message her to say "happy birthday, birthday twin". So I am here, wishing her a happy birthday with all of you, missing her, thinking of Ryan, knowing that we will all celebrate Monica tomorrow - wherever we are. 

Happy Birthday Monica

Shared by Loxley McNeill on June 23, 2021
A few weeks ago I was doing a deep clean of my bedroom and found something that made me sit down and cry.    The last time I saw Monica, she had a beach ball with her that she blew up at the park and tossed around with my daughter, her niece.    I was stressed out that day, battling post partum depression, dealing with a colicky 4 month old who would never sleep, while taking care of toddler.   We had had a long drive into the city but when we got there, Monica was so excited about some blueberries from her family’s property and some okanagan wine.   She had made us a really beautiful lunch, we went out for ice cream and as I was nursing my baby I watched Monica laughing and playing with my toddler and felt a moment of peace.   As we were taking off, she let the air out of the ball and stuffed in it with our stuff.   That ball lived in my van for a long time.   It was sort of in the way, and I looked at it almost every day thinking I should just bring it in the thing inside but I didn’t want to touch it….Monica was the last person who had touched it and I didn’t want to “ruin” the thing I had that she had last touched.    Eventually, I brought it inside but couldn’t throw it away.  Well, I also didn’t want anyone playing with it, since the last memory of the ball was this happy time with Monica.   I put it in a closet.  All these months later, I pulled it out and there I was crying on my bed because I miss Monica and I don’t know what to do with this ball.   I messaged Ryan, telling him I can’t let go of this ball but I also can’t play with it.   I put it back in the closet and told myself when the time is right is when I’ll bring it out for my daughter to play with again.    Her birthday is the right day.   Thinking of Monica on her birthday, feels like the right time to find closure by pulling the ball out and honouring the joy she brought to my family.    I’m so lucky to have known her.   I’m so lucky to have those last memories of her, carefree, exuberant and beautiful.  Objects don’t keep feelings, our hearts do.  I know she’d be so happy Ill watch my children playing with that ball.  

A remarkable gift

Shared by Helga Davis on June 22, 2021
If you are thinking of Monica because it’s her birthday, please post something. It may still be too hard to think of her being gone but a note, a word, a photo will help all of us share the pain and appreciate how truly fortunate we were to have had the gift of her presence in our life.

"I give gifts to the parents"...

Shared by Kelli Cardinal on March 22, 2021
My son's 6th birthday is coming up, and it reminded me of his 3rd birthday, when we went to the aquarium with some of his friends and Monica. She was so excited to join us, and of course, she "knew a guy" who may be able to show us some cool stuff. Turns out the guy was either busy or not working, but I wasn't surprised at all that she "knew a guy". It was such a fun day, we looked at all the things, and Monica got to know my kids a bit better. She was a natural with them and always talked to them and included them, even if they were shy and didn't respond. When we finally got to sit down in Clownfish Cove and let the kids run it out for a while, Monica pulled out a bag of coffee and handed it to me. She told me on kid's birthdays, she gives a gift to the parents. It was so surprising, and so touching, because anyone who has kids knows that it's a lot of work to make these birthday's magical. To have someone see you and recognize you is such a treat! I always remembered that, and when I go to my friend's kids birthdays, I often show up with flowers or wine for the parents - they worked hard! I loved that day, makes me feel warm and fuzzy just thinking of it. 

A special hummingbird

Shared by Kate Fenton on February 27, 2021
Often when I think about Monica, I find myself back on this memorial reading through the new posts or re-reading some of my favourites. Today I was reading about Ryan's commemorative tattoo of Monica's spirit animal, a hummingbird, and I was instantly overcome with emotion. I would love to share with you why...

It was June 2016 and Monica and I had flown together from Vancouver to Calgary to set up for a conference we were helping organize in Banff. We had the daunting task of having to pick up a rental truck (not a car, a truck... one of those big boxed trucks), then head to Canadian Tire to grab a long list of really weird supplies, then drive 90 minutes to get to our staff training in Banff where we were both expected to lead some training. Well, our flight was delayed, which of course started our adventure a little behind. And then neither of us was overly comfortable with driving the massive truck, but we both agreed we would do it because it had to be done. So naturally, we rock-paper-scissored to see who would have to drive. Monica lost. She was barely phased and said - alright, buckle up, let's do this! We made it through Canadian Tire with only a few weird glances and we were on the road. By this point, we were about 45 mins behind schedule (every event planner's nightmare) and so Monica put the pedal to the metal, literally. She was coasting at a nice 120kms, we were picking up time, we were driving through the beautiful Alberta mountains listening to music, laughing and smiling. We were both excited and a bit nervous about working our second TED conference. And then, out of nowhere... we were pulled over by an officer.. for speeding. Duh, duh, duh (cue mood-changing music). The officer issued us a minor speeding ticket and sent us on our way. Now we knew we would miss the entire training session. Somehow the only thing Monica thought to do was take a few deep breaths... and then laugh. Her laugh made me laugh and I had no choice but to laugh with her. One giggle led to another giggle which led to boisterous, uncontrollable laughter. The kind you sort of tear up from and your abs start to hurt.A combination of hilarity and anxiety. Once we calmed down from our hysterics and wiped the tears of laughter from our eyes, we encouraged and supported each other and continued on our way. Some kind colleague trained our staff on our behalf. All was sorted. Monica was constantly reminding me of the importance of smiling (and laughing) through adveristy. It is one of the key lessons I kept with me through my events career.

At the end of the conference, as Monica was packing up, she walked over to me and handed me this cute little purple and green hummingbird, that is meant to decorate your garden. 'Random garden accessories' was one of the items on our long Canadian Tire list. She had picked this one specifically with the intention to give it to me after the conference. She somehow knew purple and green were my favourite colours and she told me that I reminded her of a hummingbird, carefree and adventurous. She also said that she needed to give me something to commemorate the adventure we had together trying to get to Banff. She said I bet hummingbirds laugh all the time and choose to see the beauty in life. I cannot recall specifically if she said a hummingbird was also her spirit animal, but after reading Helga's description of a hummingbird, it makes all the sense and was perfectly fitting for our adventure. I kept that hummingbird in my desk plant in Vancouver until I moved to NYC in 2019. Monica's hummingbird followed me to NYC and lives in my current desk plant. I truly did not comprehend how important it would be to me, that I kept this hummingbird in view during my daily routine. 

Her hummingbird, who I have obviously named Monica, has become my way of connecting with Monica when I need to. I say 'Hello' to her every time I sit down and start work for the day. When I have a daunting task ahead of me or had a tough day at work, I look up from my computer, not with any specific intent, and there she always is... smiling at me and reminding me to take a few deep breaths... and then laugh.

Time & Travel

Shared by Rox LG on February 25, 2021
Thank you for organizing the memorial. Given the awful circumstances that led to generate the memorial, it was surprising (yet not fully as it was in Monica’s honour after all) that it oddly brought back peace, joy, love, and laughter.  Ryan - I’m glad I finally got to meet you and know the person that made Monica so happy. I always associated you as the forbidden romance as I recall all the early day courting stories and they are truly adorable. 

Andrew and Helga - I love you both and I’m glad to have spent time with you. In that brief moment it felt like nothing had changed- yet absolutely everything has. I have thought about your words, and our chats about travel, and the request for posts and this is something that’s been coming up since: 

As someone who’s been away for work or travel or living elsewhere for much of the past 6 years ( if not longer), I lost touch with a lot of people. However, Monica never let that truly happen. She was so great at reaching out and trying to coordinate something to catch up - even though it often didn’t align or work out. We were both always bouncing around a lot on different projects or in different communities. She was great at documenting or recounting her experiences while I on the other hand always thought : oh I’ll do it next time or I’ll write it down tomorrow, or I’ll get around to that.

Monica gave me a beautiful travel journal for my 30th birthday and I found it to be too nice to write sloppy notes in or random thoughts in. It still sits in my box of photos and books and I’ve yet to find something that’s worthy of using it for. I’ve been thinking lots recently of how travel is currently not in the books and how strange it is for someone like me or Monica to be in one area for an entire year- I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in one place before- and for as long as I’ve known Monica - I don’t ever recall her staying in one spot long either. Seeing as travel can still happen through imagination, creativity, or recounting previous experiences (documenting past stories, creating travel albums, cooking favourite meals from different cultures or spots visited, creating a music playlist that resonates with places visited, creating a video etc - these are things that can be done to bring excitement, the desire for adventure, and joy to life). I feel this time is a good time to put her journal to use and recount and document some of the experiences I’ve had and put the gift of time that covid granted me to use. I know that Monica used her time well and never took anything for granted, she made everything a special or sentimental experience. Monica made time itself special and made things count- she seized every moment. I’m bringing that back into my own life once again and I owe that recounted lesson to Monica. I’m forever grateful for the lessons she’s taught me over the years and it’s unfortunate that they only really make true sense now. I hope we can all carry Monica with us and tap into our adventurous and creative side - even when we’re staying put. I think creating our own adventures or travels (even now), whatever they may be, is a great way to honour Monica.



Crabpocalypse

Shared by Kelli Cardinal on February 20, 2021
My daughter and I shared a big laugh today over a story with Monica. When she moved to Port Moody, I was so excited about all the "tricity neighbour" adventures we could have. One of them was taking my kids to a beach that's name eludes me at the moment to look for crabs. Because of the pandemic, all the paths were one way only and I couldn't figure out how to get to the spot because my usual route was the wrong direction. Somehow, I navigated us onto the mud flats. Boots sticking in the mud, no clear path out. But, our destination was in view so we thought we'd just walk on the flats to get there. Then.....the crabs came. Small little crabs started poking out of holes in the mud. And then, they were everywhere. Scuttling around us, most certainly plotting against us. Panic set in with the kids, and so Monica and I were on the mudflats with two screaming terrified children who would not take another step. We knew we had to get out of there, so Monica found us a steep path to climb up off the flats. We threw social distancing out the window and I picked up each child and passed them over a massive log to Auntie Monica, who then climbed to the top of the path and I lifted each kid as far as I could and she pulled them up to safety. It was absolutely ridiculous. I felt so bad that our adventure was such a disaster, but Monica just laughed, made sure my kids were ok, and we sat and had a snack to recover. It didn't phase her at all, and she later made sure I knew that I made good decisions and my kids were lucky I was their mom. Jaime and I laughed so hard about this today. Those crabs were everywhere, I remember Monica and I both agreeing it was creepy as heck, no wonder the kids were paralyzed with fear. We walked back to the playground and watched the kids play, and discussed weddings. I miss her, and all of the "tricity neighbour" adventures we never got to have.  

Two years ago

Shared by Helga Davis on January 18, 2021
On Friday January 18, 2019 Monica was about to begin her final full day working in Paris, France. She experienced an intense headache, vomiting and then became unconscious. An ambulance rushed her to hospital and it was determined she had suffered a ruptured brain aneurism (hemorrhagic stroke). Within hours she had brain surgery and Ryan was on a flight to be with her in recovery. She spent the next 19 days in a Parisian hospital with Ryan at her side. As word filtered through Monica’s far reaching circle of friends, the encouraging messages started to pour in from around the world and a GoFundMe page was launched. On February 6th Monica and Ryan returned home to Vancouver.

The first 6 months after a brain injury is the peak period for recovery. Monica worked hard to overcome the physical (allodynia) and visual (hemianopsia) changes. Thanks to the GoFundMe funds she was able to utilize a variety of therapies (physio therapy, meditation, exercise, diet, acupuncture, hyperbaric therapy, etc.). She was very respectful about reserving the monies for her recovery needs only. A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who made a contribution. She did not make a full recovery but within 4 months she was back to work part-time. Within 8 months, with only half a visual field, she had completed not one but two triathlons with Ryan at her side offering visual guidance. She amazed everyone with her grit, determination, progress, positive attitude and her ever present smile throughout her challenging journey.

Shared by Paula Del Río de Cózar on January 3, 2021
Dear friend,
Sorry it took me so long to write... I am not really prepared for a world without you. We haven't talk much over the past years but you were a very important person in my life. You are an inspiration (I just realized that I wrote "are" but I am going to keep it that way, because you still "are" an inspiration). Sometimes I have a hard time remembering facts, but I sure remember feelings... And every time I look back and I think about you, I remember how great you made me feel. I wanna thank you wherever you are and I wanna share how blessed I am to have met you. I am really sorry I didn't tell you more often. Your soul, your smile, your heart, your brain... I wish I could be a little more like you. You made an amazing impact in my life... Our gals group... Soul sisters! I miss our meetings. Anyways, I want to share those two times you got me into the "Polar Bear Swim"... Hahaha, I can still feel the cold in my bones... You were the perfect partner in crime. What a crazy, loving, funny friend you were, my dear Mónica. Our path will cross again and be sure I am gonna follow your lead in whatever adventure you want me to get into, be prepared... Love you Monica. My condolences for the family, you all have a place in my heart. 

A new calendar year

Shared by Keeping Lau on January 1, 2021
I watched Disney+'s SOUL last night with my wife and kids.  It really hit home hard towards the end.  
And I asked myself why am I not living my life fully with my family?  What the hell have I been waiting for? 

So I am up now making a super elaborate breakfast for them, complete with whipped cream and Shirley Temples.

I also woke up this New Year's day thinking about a wonderful soul that had come into my life some time ago, shared wonders and stories briefly, and had left before me. Her spirit is unforgettable.  I thank Monica for still being present in my (our) life and to have shown me that genuinely good people exists. It makes me believe that there is Hope for the world.  And that we ought to stop waiting and live now. I feel that the quote below encapsulates her spirit and spunkiness!

Miss you my friend. 

“Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to fall in love with you, for life. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now.”

Another birthday surprise

Shared by Ryan McNeill on December 29, 2020
Last year (in 2019), for my birthday/Christmas, Monica secretly organized a trip up to Big White for 6 of us (it was just a secret for me, everyone else was in on it. She had been planning it for months!!!). It was great to get away for 5 days, with lots of snowboarding, hot tubing, drinking, good food, and good friends! It was on this trip that Monica got her first taste of snowboarding after the stroke. She also surprised me on my birthday with an entry to the BMO half-marathon (I'd mentioned I wanted to do one in 2020).

One of my fondest memories from that trip is when Monica was at her best! On December 30th, a number of us were in the hot tub, and Monica decided she wanted to jump in the snow (why this idea popped into her mind, I'll never know) ... well, watch the video. It kind of speaks for itself!

Birthday surprises

Shared by Ryan McNeill on December 29, 2020
Today (December 29th) is my birthday. This is my first birthday without Monica in many years.
All of my birthday's with Monica were such fun. She always made my birthday feel special, and she would usually offer surprises (most often starting with a coffee & Bailey's in the morning when I woke up). Usually, one of those surprises included a Scavenger Hunt of some kind...
For one of my birthday's she had me hunt around our apartment for clues, and with each clue came some small gift. Attached is an image of the clues she wrote for me one year, and if it wasn't apparent, the theme was "warm things" (some of the gifts included some fancy hot chocolate, a new snowboarding thermal shirt, a sweater, etc). The clues ended up with the reveal that we would be going to 6Pack Indoor Beach Volleyball for some summer fun in December, where we would meet up with a number of our friends for a volleyball tournament, and then finish things off with some Archery Tag!

Her perspective

Shared by Helga Davis on December 22, 2020
As Christmas approaches …..

Monica is on my mind, but not as you might think.

It’s about her refreshing perspective. Having worked retail for so many years I’m aware of the wide variety of customer attitude that becomes clearly apparent during the Christmas shopping season. On many occasions I would come home at the end of the day and share some of the wildest, craziest, most bizarre customer interactions I had.

Monica would laugh and then say, “Oh Mom, think of it as free entertainment!”

That made me smile when I was feeling exasperated. It also made me mindful of trying to be the positive end of day customer story rather than the "entertaining" one.
Monica knew how to find the light.


Monica inspired me to ........

Shared by Helga Davis on December 20, 2020
.......explore a new career path. 
During her contract position with BC Jobfest, Monica encouraged me to have fun and do the free aptitude test offered on the website. "Just remember when you read the questions, they are geared toward high school students." she told me.
I went online and answered the questions. It was fun and I was interested in the results. I did it a few times, each time answering a little differently with either more or less enthusiasm and always honestly. The results were quite consistent despite my varying responses.
.......return to school - after 35 years
Based on the results of my aptitude test(s), Monica encouraged me to enroll at Capilano University Accounting Support program. The idea of attending full time school for the first time in over 35 years was daunting.
Monica said, "Mom, you can do it!"
I applied, was accepted and enrolled in the 6 month course. It was a big adjustment in daily routine for me but I enjoyed the university environment and attending CapU at the same time as Monica was doing her Tourism degree there. It was such a treat to occasionally share break time together.
I completed the course, did a practicum and for the past 7 years I have been working as an accounting support person at Purdys Chocolates Head Office. I love my job!
Thank you Monica!
Shared by Isabel Heuer on November 25, 2020
Dear Helga, Andy & Colette,
We want to share a memory of Monica that has touched us so many times over many, many years.  Monica wrote our Mum, Ida, a note about how Mum had influenced her love of travel. It wasn't the context of the note, although very dear, it was the fact that Monica had taken the time to write this to our Mother.  The note hung on Mum's bulletin board for many years and we all remember reading it many times over the years.  
The Davis family holds a special place in our hearts and we will all miss Monica and her beautiful and kind heart very, very much.
With Love,
Silvia, Isabel and Karl Reichenback

Three months

Shared by Ryan McNeill on November 21, 2020
Yesterday marked 3 months since Monica left this world to embark on the next step a soul takes on its journey. And in that time it has been so very difficult... It has been sad, lonely, and heartbreaking.
But each day has been marked with fond memories of my time with her, or of her positive words whispering in my ears.
Her presence continues to make an impact on my day to day life. Whether it be meal preparations, or regular exercise, or just saying 'Hello' to a neighbour.
One thing she made habitual was for us to wish each other a 'Good night' sleep, and to kiss each other before falling asleep ... Just this past week, I had crawled into bed but (knowing her bedtime habits) I realized I had not said 'Good night' to Monica. I knew I had to say those words, so feeling remorse for my indiscretion, I pulled back the bed sheets, stood up out of bed, and walked over to Monica's urn in the living room, and told her 'Good night'.

Monica has made a huge impact on my life, and moulded me into who I am today. I will carry her with me for the rest of my life. And I've been thinking about how to commemorate her, and how I can be reminded by her wisdom.
This has been something I've been thinking about for a few weeks now, and so yesterday I had a tattoo done on my right forearm of Monica's spirit animal (a hummingbird. See Helga's post from Sept 10th for more).
Now I can carry her everywhere with me, and be reminded of Monica everyday when I look down at my arm.
Note: Helga also gave the tattoo a beautiful sentiment that needs sharing: "You put your arm around her". ❤
Shared by Meghan Walters on October 7, 2020
I had the pleasure of going to university with Monica. I just opened my email and read through a project that we worked on together back in 2012. She had so much on the go, working full-time, part of sports teams, and going to school. She still managed to put 100% into every project she worked on.
Going through the messages there are a couple "Tmrs setting up to be another busy 12 hr day at Cap lol." notes. And of course many "Right on!" "Awesome job!" "U Rock". She was always such a positive, encouraging and fun person to work with.

Here is one note I found in my email:

Hey guys,

I updated our current Fact Sheet and Media Release with Sue`s feedback.
Thought I`d keep it circulating.

Really looking forward to this weekend course finishing off. ;)

Mon

PS.
Meg: hope your staff party was lots of fun.
Kat: hope your job interview went well this morning.
And Kyle:.. hope you've been doing lots of house cleaning.

She always went out of her way to listen to you, and learn about what you were up to. Our paths didn't cross for very long, but I will definitely always remember her positive and friendly attitude and her incredible work ethic. 

Sending lots of love to her family and friends.

Hummingbirds and dragonflies

Shared by Angelika Meurer-Schaffenb... on October 7, 2020
Dear Monica, being your German cousin living in Germany one would think, that me and your german part of the family are far away. We are AND we aren`t. Despite the little time we shared we feel close to you and the ones that are missing you in daily life. I had a special visitor in my living room the day you left us. Colette invited me to share these moments. So I will attach the story of the dragonfly. Safe travels, dear cousin. The angels will be watching over you, caressing you, I am sure! Angelika
Shared by Chelsea MacMullin on September 22, 2020
I was on a run today, working through some things, and I think I’ve finally found the words I wanted to share about Monica. I thought of her throughout my entire run, and ran the fastest I have in quite some time (although nowhere near Monica’s average pace!). That’s what Monica was to me, an inspiration, she made me want to be better.

Not just better athletically though, in many aspects of my life. We both worked in the event industry for a time. I worked in it, for the most part, for myself, and for a paycheck. Monica did it to make the world a better place. I loved hearing about the different projects she was always working on, and how they would impact the community. I’m certain I picked up a few more volunteering gigs after listening to Monica, because excitement about things was contagious.

I remember when we first met, probably around 8 or 9 years ago, as Urban Rec EC’s. I knew immediately that I wanted to be friends with Monica. She was such a happy, optimistic cheerleader for everyone around her. I was lucky enough to play volleyball with Monica for quite a few years, when she had the time between travelling, and all her other activities. We would often be the annoying team that wasn’t paying attention because we were too busy laughing, and sharing stories, on the court. My absolute favourite was the sound effects that Monica would make every time she hit the ball. I’d want to set it to her just so I could hear, “HiYAHHH!” or “KAPOW!” as she smoked the ball over the net.

I’m sad that we lost touch over the years, and absolutely heartbroken that I will never get to see my friend again. Wherever she is now is a whole lot brighter with her light shining there.

I saw something recently that was posted about Ruth Bader Ginsberg, but it made me think of Monica, so I’ll share it here:

“When a woman like this leaves our mortal coil,
we owe it to her not to grieve,
not to weep or be sad.
We owe it to her to rise.
To all be a little bit more like her..
To be louder, braver,
so that the girls born today have new heroines to look up to.”
– Donna Ashworth

Monica, you will be so missed.

My 1st Ever Open Water Swim

Shared by JR Hammond on September 14, 2020
Monica....

Your beautiful soul and seemingly endless smile will forever be on my mind when I share and reflect upon this story for eternity to come.

You, Ryan, Jenny and I ventured up to Sasamat Lake for my 1st ever open water swim. My nervous excitement was instantly calmed upon meeting you for the first time and embracing your positive energy that quickly washed over me and replaced any nerves with your calming, adventurous attitude.

From entering the water, to my patient yet continuous effort in swimming across the lake, you were right along side me the entire way. Ensuring that I was in good hands and embracing the full experience of freedom in it's truest sense that rainy day at the lake.

Now, I will know that no matter where my water adventures will take me in the future, you will continue to have that smile and supportive mindset right beside me.

To the many, many more swimming adventures on this planet during this life and those of the next one.... 

Memories of a true champion!

Shared by Dominik Klein on September 13, 2020
I had the pleasure to get to know Monica through my dear friends Kimberly & Julian, who were living in North Vancouver back in fall 2012. Despite hearing a lot about Monica's incredible personality ahead of our first encounter, it didn't take more than a couple of minutes to understand why people loved her. Monica's presence and energy were simply captivating! In addition, I have come across very few people with the ability to give/share unconditional support regardless of someone's personal status/background/situation. To underline the aforementioned, I recall numerous occasions where Monica went out of her way to make my start in a foreign country (just having moved from Germany) easier without asking for anything in return. I particularly cherish the day we spent snowboarding up in Whistler. It goes without saying that Monica not just organised the whole day trip (pick-up, equipment rental, ski-pass, after ski poutine & beer) but also pushed me out of my comfort zone starting my snowboarding career in style on top of Blackcomb Mountain. Monica always thought big and believed not just in herself but also in the people around her. In line with this, Monica pushed me through my first day on a snowboard (a quite painful but rewarding experience) showcasing incredible teaching/leading skills. Thanks to her resilience, patience, motivation, positivity, and leadership, we managed to both have a fun time while acquiring the basics of snowboarding. I believe that this little story underlines why Monica will always be remembered as a true champion, who embodied all olympic values!

We miss you as a friend and role-model, Monica! 
Dominik & Pascale 
Shared by Katie Trydal on September 13, 2020
I’ve struggled to find the right words to say or find one special moment together to share. Looking back on old photos from high school reminded me of all the wonderful times I shared a laugh with Mon. She was such a wonderful friend that I admired so much for her energy and zest to live life to the fullest. I don’t remember where this photo was taken but I know it was a good night based on her smile. Miss you Mon xo

Her Spirit Animal

Shared by Helga Davis on September 10, 2020
Monica’s contract work took her to many remote areas of BC where she encountered many interesting people in different cultures.  It was during these work related tours that she learned about spirit animals. She was thrilled to hear that her spirit animal was the hummingbird.

Earlier this week I decided to learn what the characteristics of this spirit animal are.

joy, playfulness, enjoyment of life, lightness of being, adaptability, ability to response quickly, express love fully, tireless pursuit of finding the sweetness of life, travel great distances, using their wings in magical ways

Add energetic and delicately powerful to the above and I’d say that’s a very accurate description of Monica.  Every time I see a hummingbird I will think of her.

The Sky is Falling

Shared by Carson Townsend on September 9, 2020
I've never met someone like Monica, brimming with a smile that made even the worst day worth it. I remember one time the ceiling of her co-working space fell on top of her, and she messaged the team something along the lines of, 'I've been meaning to re-organize!' I remember polar bear-ing with her and Ryan one winter, knowing throughout—from touching the sand, to stripping to a swimsuit, to barreling through a wall of people to plunge into the ocean—'this is a bad idea.' Yet, immediately after, Monica drove into me, "You did it!" like I had just finished a marathon.

We worked at JUMP! together and after every phone call I was in awe of her drive and positive attitude, and scrolling through our 1:1 messages she made me feel so valuable, so worthy. As I read the messages on this board, I recognize that that was her superpower, she was everyone's cheerleader, could make everyone feel like they had her undivided attention and care, inspiring all of us to be the best we could be. I cannot believe she is gone in large part because I still feel her kindness. 

Monica, I cannot think of anything more unfair than your early passing. I hope you knew how amazing, how world-changing you were, and I am sorry I didn't tell you that every day. 

My Brothers Soulmate

Shared by Devyn McNeill on September 7, 2020
The most memorable moments I have with you always seemed to be in the morning before the rest of the family had woke up. But that was your style I guess. Always doing what I thought was crazy. Waking up on days off super early. But not just that you usually seemed to just be getting back in the house/cottage as I woke up. I'd wonder what it was you were doing up so early on your vacation only to be shocked when you'd tell me casually you had just returned from a swim around the island at 7am( it's a big island). Or coming in with rosey cheeks from the winter cold just as early or earlier wearing barely anything to keep you warm stating as long as you kept moving your body would keep you warm. Again I'd ask what it was you were doing only to hear again casually you had just ran several kilometers. It was easy to see the love between you and my brother and I was ready to have you as a sister. 2020 took alot from all of us but il remember you Monica

OPEN HAPPINESS- oh yes you did!

Shared by Michelle Dupuis on September 7, 2020
Dear Monica,
It has been several days since I learned the news of your passing. Shock, horror, sadness, literal heartache. I do not accept news like this well. Who does? I have read many of the memories of your friends and family,  family to be,  and I echo their sentiments (with tears dripping from my heart). 

You and I met while working the Olympic Torch Relay for Coca Cola in 2009. We traveled across our great country spreading the positive word of the upcoming Olympic Games. We were roommates many nights along the 4 month journey, where I remember us sharing stories of our day, stories of our lives, talking about our achievements, goals and ambitions.  You always entered the room with your huge, beautiful smile - I will never ever forget you.  

You gracefully invited me to couch surf at your downtown Vancouver apartment during the Olympics which I took advantage of. We kept in touch over the years always making a point to see one another when possible- you came to Banff, I came to Vancouver. We always encouraged and supported one another on Facebook while sharing our world travels.

You led the life you always wanted- you traveled, explored, taught, inspired, you lived large, loved large and smiled your contagious, beautiful smile large. You have made a HUGE impact on many lives Monica- I hope you are proud of that. Our world is much different without you.

I was saddened to learn of your stroke and visited you in Vancouver last April where you introduced me to Ryan. I was so happy for you - you found the love you deserved. You looked so happy.

My deepest condolences to Ryan, your family, Ryan's family, all of the friends who adored you, including me-  we did not get enough of you....you were like a happiness magnet- just like the Olympic Torch Relay theme- you OPENed HAPPINESS- always.

Like so many others, I miss you and look forward to seeing your smile and meeting your spirit when my day comes.

RIP my dear friend. 

"Mich"
Shared by Loxley McNeill on September 6, 2020
I was at dinner when a friend of mine relayed to me that finally, after 10yrs of being with her husband, his sister had opened up to her.   The sister in law had never been “rude”, but my friend said she could feel the internal eye roll from her when she was her usual friendly self.   “Oh my god” I said “...I think I do that to my brothers girlfriend”.   On my drive home I thought of you and your over-the-top constant bubbly joy.   Here I was, retreating further away every time I was met with your positive nature, and I think you could feel my internal eye roll to your extreme enthusiasms because the cooler and more distant I was, the happier and more friendly you became.   I realized how incredibly stupid I was being because Ryan had been the happiest I had ever seen him, and I believe you were a big piece of his puzzle.    I realized too that I wanted you to like me, and that I was excited he was dating someone so lovely.   I started fantasizing of all the ways we could be great friends and that I would finally have a sister in law.   Your energy was palpable at any given moment, and you were hilarious, and I was excited to know you better.  The first time we were able to speak deeply, we were looking out at the lake on a beautiful morning, drinking coffee, and you told me you wanted to have kids with Ryan.   That trip we were able to connect several times and I really started to love you.   It was like you woke up with a smile and a willingness for each and every day.   I was so happy for Ryan, to see he had finally found someone who recognized his valiant character and looked at him with adoration.   I wish I had held on to you longer.    I wish I had talked to you more.   I wish we had set up more dates and didn’t let life get in the way.   I wish I had told you how grateful I am that you came into our lives and into our family.    I wish I could have helped.  Like all of us, I have so many questions, so many more things I had to say to you, so many more times I wanted to hug you, so many more memories to look forward to.  The earth will never see a soul so pure again.    I don’t think any of us will encounter another light as effervescent as yours.     I know your memory will live on as all of the people who loved you carry in their hearts the infectious joy you created.   I know our family will talk about you with so much love for years to come, and we will miss you every time.    

How to Find the Joy

Shared by Emma Barker on September 6, 2020
Dear Monica
I miss you
The way you would tilt your head back and laugh
With wild abandon
And an actual twinkle in your eye

You are beautiful
Gorgeous actually
I always noticed this about you but can't remember ever telling you

It comes in waves
Had to pull over by the side of the road
Picked a small bouquet of wildflowers
The occasional car shushing by

Thought about the last time I saw you
We went for a walk by the sea
Like we’ve done so many times before
Thirty years of friendship
What a gift

I looked around for a good spot to lay your bouquet
Stood it up between two rocks
A splash of brightness amidst the gray
At that exact moment
A butterfly landed

Watching the intricately patterned wings
Opening and closing
One wing damaged
Still beautiful
More beautiful

Later on I looked it up. Butterflies:
Grace, playfulness, positivity
Finding joy in life
That was you
Through and through

My dear friend
You lived your life in a bright, vivacious way
Your warmth drew others near

Thank you for showing me how to find the joy
And laugh with wild abandon
Face turned up towards the sky
I imagine you up there
Smiling down on me

Holding the Space

Shared by Andrew Stegemann on September 4, 2020
With Ryan on bended knee, I was the one receiving a proposal now. “Will you be the MC at our wedding” he cooed with Monica failing to stifle an oh-so-Monica laugh and looking at me with wide-eyed expectation. Of course, I said yes. Monica was the MC at the wedding of Heather and I, and who wouldn’t want to be the MC at a COVID times wedding? Heather and I had already given birth to a COVID times baby, after all (okay- Heather gave birth, I cheered her on). Of course, as we know, not all things come to pass as intended, and so I now want to go back to my wedding, where Monica entertained our guests and ushered the evening along. As can be imagined, the energy from our MC was upbeat and lively, but the full of life Monica that shone so often also knew how to shift that energy and give it to others. My mother was having a nerve fueled hard time, as happens, with the speech she wanted to give. And so, I pulled Monica over and told her what was happening. Monica nodded with that “I got this” smile and went about her way. As the time for the speech arrived, Monica gently took my mom by the hand, whispered something to her, and walked her up to the mic by her side. Monica stood a few feet away the whole time. You’d think that it was a nervous, halted speech, but the space that Monica was holding for my mom was palpable. She may as well have been spreading pixie dust. My mom, with a shining light beside her, pulled a speech out of her hat so eloquent it made the groom ugly cry in front of all his guests and then ended it with everyone laughing. Monica beamed. My mom beamed. The whole wedding beamed. That’s Monica.
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