Heart to Heart

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by Joce, Senior Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

God has his ways to bring people back down to earth, reminding us of what is truly important in life. Yes, hockey is a passion, even a religion in Quebec and in Canada, but when you take a step back and reflect on everything around you, when events occur in your life forcing you to perhaps better prioritize, you quickly realize that in fact, it is just a game and it may not be quite as important as we originally thought it was.

PENTICTON, BC. — In August, my father sent, to my sister and I, an email informing us that he had been released from hospital after going through an emergency coronary angioplasty at the Cardiology Centre of Laval in Quebec City. As a result, the interventional cardiologist had installed three stents for as many blockages in the heart’s main artery. Yes, when a loved one announces that he went through such a procedure, you are a bit shaken but at the same time, with the news that he was doing well, it diminished the impact.

A few weeks later, my dad started getting similar symptoms — this time around he informed us in advance.  I quickly booked my flight from beautiful British Columbia to Sherbrooke in order to be able to spend some quality time with him both before, and after his surgery. Forget the fact that it costs more to fly within our own country than it does to do so into warm vacation destinations, forget the time difference and all other obligations, this trip was necessary in order to spend some quality time with a loved one… just in case.

As I don’t often fly down to my home town, to my home province of Quebec, I would have normally taken to time to visit with friends and family. But this time, the sole purpose of my visit was to spend time with the person who needed it most: my father. The All Habs group was hosting a hockey party on the night I was arriving to Montreal and I so wanted to attend, to take advantage of the rare time I was there with a chance to meet with a great bunch of people with whom I interact daily by email and on Twitter. It would have also been a great way to meet some of the All Habs’ fans who read us on a regular basis. But unfortunately, the timing wrong and they understood, of course. Only because they took the time to drive down to Quebec City one night, I was fortunate enough to meet with my two partners on Fantomesduforum.net, sharing a good meal and a long walk along the Saint-Laurence River on the Samuel-De-Champlain promenade, a first for me.

Fortunately, my father’s surgery was a success, a relief for him and for my family.  Spending a few days in this hospital served as an eye opener for me — I saw some people in rough shape. Climbing up the stairs to see my father, I saw a lady on her way down, tears in her eyes. I saw some suffering patients, attached to a bunch of machines making all kinds of noises, and nurses who, thankfully, have dedicated their professional lives to help those patients. And I also saw that most of the patients had people around them, visiting and supporting, people who, just like me, were likely forced to reset the priorities in their life, and who were reliving the best moments spent with the now ill loved one.

This trip allowed me to tell my dad how much I love him. I was able to explain the significance of my last tattoo which, in fact, was for him, representing our relationship. I was able to tell him that in spite of the huge distance separating us on this beautiful country of ours, he is still today in my heart and that he is my best friend. This situation, he told me, also allowed him to look back in his life and set his own priorities. Yes, he does have some regrets on the priorities he had set in his life, saying that, as a hard worker that he was, he wishes he had recognized sooner that one must work for a living and not live to work. He realized it before his first operation in August, when the cardiologist explained the risks of stroke or even death during the procedure. He was also thinking to himself that he didn’t even take the time to call his children to tell them how much he loves them…

Taking the time to tell the people around us that we love them has no price. We’re all stuck in our own little worlds, our routines, crushed by our financial obligations, absorbed and invested in our work or our studies. Too often, we’re too proud to step on our pride to forgive someone for something that happened a long, long time ago, not wanting to make the first move even if this move would likely allow us and everyone around us to feel so much better. We are too shy to publicly show that we love our spouse, our children, our family and our friends. Men especially are too often stuck into this old adage thinking that they have to be strong, that they cannot cry or show their feelings.

Some people will read this entire article, others will only read a few lines thinking that it’s too personal or off-topic for a site like this one. Some readers will take advantage of it to think of their own priorities in life while for some others, it will be forgotten tomorrow. There will be some however who will recognize themselves, reliving one or several similar situations which they’ve been through in the past. No matter the impact you, dear readers, take from it, I will humbly say that my experiences raise my frustration even more towards the NHL billionaires and the NHLPA millionaires, fighting for dollars while punishing, by the same token, those whose memories with their loved ones often surround the game of hockey, those victims of collateral damage who, in fact, are the only reason why those greedy and selfish people make money to start with. I wouldn’t wish on any other human to have to go through tough times in their lives, but I can’t help but wonder if it isn’t what Mr. Bettman and Mr. Fehr would need in order to allow them to set a bit of reality in their life.

En français: Coeur à coeur

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J.D. Lagrange
J.D. is a Senior writer for All Habs as well as Associate-Editor for the French version Le Magazine All Habs, while one of three Administrators of the fan forum Les Fantômes du Forum. He has created the handle Habsterix as a fictional character for the sole purpose of the internet. It is based on the cartoon Asterix of Gaule and his magic potion is his passion for the Montreal Canadiens. How old is he? His close friends will tell you that he’s so old, his back goes out more than he does! He was born when Béliveau lifted the Cup and remembers the days when seeing the Habs winning was not a wish, it was an expectation. For him, writing is a hobby, not a profession. Having moved to beautiful British Columbia in 1992 from his home town of Sherbrooke, Quebec, he started writing mostly in French to keep up his grammar, until non-bilingual BC friends pushed him into starting his own English Blog. His wife will say that he can be stubborn, but she will be the first to recognise that he has great sense of humour. He is always happy to share with you readers his point of views on different topics, and while it is expected that people won’t always agree, respect of opinions and of others is his mission statement. || J.D. est Rédacteur-Adjoint sur Le Magazine All Habs et il est un Rédacteur Principal sur le site anglophone All Habs, tout en étant un des trois Administrateurs du forum de discussion Les Fantômes du Forum. Il a créé le pseudonyme Habstérix comme caractère fictif pour l’internet. Celui-ci est basé sur Astérix de Gaule et sa potion magique est sa passion pour les Canadiens de Montréal. Lorsqu’il est né, Jean Béliveau soulevait la Coupe Stanley et il se rappelle des jours où gagner n’était pas un espoir, mais une attente. Pour lui, écrire est un passe-temps, pas une profession. Ayant déménagé dans la superbe Colombie-Britannique en 1992 en provenance de sa ville natale de Sherbrooke, Québec, il a commencé à écrire en français pour garder sa grammaire, jusqu’à ce que ses amis anglophones ne réussissent à le convaincre d’avoir son blog en anglais. Son épouse vous dira qu’il est têtu, mais elle sera la première à reconnaître son grand sens de l’humour. Il est toujours fier de partager avec vous, lecteurs et lectrices, ses points de vue sur différents sujets, et quoi que les gens ne s’entendent pas toujours sur ceux-ci, le respect des opinions et des autres est son énoncé de mission.