Life with Bill

I left this site for a long time but I would like to write a bit about the happy times with my beautiful husband.

We met while he was teaching a birding class at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary in Calgary (June 15th, 1975), after I had returned from living in Australia/New Zealand & became interested in birds. It was a passion. For 25 years we cycled many beautiful places in the world, always incorporating birding. We also took special birdwatching trips to exotic locations, mostly in central & south America, as well as cruises: up the west coast to Alaska and from the Aleutian Islands over to Kamchatka in Russia, & to Japan. My favourite trip of all time was the cruise around Antarctica, including the Falkland Islands, South Georgia & stops all along the coast of Antarctica. We got off the ship most days, in a zodiac to walk among the penguins and seabirds.

We had the most wonderful relationship & never stayed mad, if we ever had a disagreement – we always worked it out. Bill was such an intuitive man from the very beginning – I’d say he was born a psychologist! We had the most communicative relationship, which I think was the key to our long & loving relationship.

We had a very adventurous life – much more than I ever would have had on my own. Bill was the instigator & I was his enthusiastic companion.

When we first met.

We didn’t have children, which allowed us to drive sports cars most of our lives until the latter years when we had trucks w/ trailers & RV’s. Our family teased us about how many cars we had in our lives . I recently tried to total them up & have come up with at least 23 over the 46 years we were together. The first was a red Honda Civic. I well remember that rugby shirt!

My favourite car was our yellow Audi TT – sadly I don’t seem to have a photo. I think Bill’s favourite was the red Toyota MR2 (of course it may have been our white Toyota Supra). Here he is in the driveway to our condo w/ the MR2.

Bill went back to school (from teaching junior high) at UofC about a year after I met him & got his Master’s & PhD in Educational Psychology. Here he is in his PhD robes under the crabapple tree in Mom & Dad’s back yard. We were married in the same back yard, under that exact tree a year earlier (1978).

We started cycling just a few years after meeting & travelled many wonderful places. One time we even ran into Mom & Dad with Aunty Betty while we were travelling from Vancouver to Calgary. I can’t remember exactly where we were, but they saw us & we wouldn’t have twigged because “who watches the vehicles passing by?” – but Betty recognized us & they pulled over & stopped. We were actually mad that some thoughtless driver had pulled in front of us onto our shoulder!!

Bill worked 2 days a week in Banff at the School of Fine Arts (now the Banff Centre) as a counsellor & while doing this job, he was working the rest of the time with Dick Ramsay, Bryan Tanney & Roger Tierney to create LivingWorks. All 4 of them had other jobs, but worked diligently to devise programs to lessen the risk of suicide. Even with all the work, we got our 3 week cycling trip in September – somewhere.

Here’s a great photo of Ramsay, Tanney, Tierney & Lang (the original name of LivingWorks). It was taken at Bryan Tanney’s wedding to Tanya Brown (hence the suits!). L-R: Richard Ramsay, Bryan Tanney, Roger Tierney & Bill Lang. These four started the best suicide prevention training programs in the world! (This is no exaggeration – it is the most highly rated & used all over the world.)

As well as cycling trips, we also camped, did whitewater canoeing (in a C2), regular canoeing & rafting. There was cross-country skiing each winter & we often got to Lake Louise with Tanya & Bryan to stay for a few nights around Xmas.

We took some exotic birding trips & I feel so lucky to have seen all the amazing birds/sights we’ve seen. Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, Peru (including Machu Picchu) & Antarctica. All of our trips south in a trailer can be reviewed on this blog’s archives. I actually went back and re-read them myself before attempting to write this which was a joy.

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After Bill died, my wonderful friend & a LivingWorks trainer, Devon, organized an amazing video conference (over 2 hours) with a dozen+ trainers from all around North America. They shared stories about Bill & made me cry with their beautiful tributes to him. I hadn’t done a lot of crying, but that really brought on the tears (not a bad thing). He was obviously held in high esteem by his compatriots.

Another wonderful gift was a painting of Bill’s little cat, Natasha, who died in November 2020. This painting was done from a photo which was Bill’s screensaver. This gift was given by our financial advisor & friend, David, who comissioned it soon after Natasha died, not knowing Bill woud never see it. When it arrived & I opened the package (having no idea what it was) & burst into tears because it evoked both Bill & Natasha. There she was looking straight into his ”soul” which she did all the time. I presently have the containers with both their ashes sitting in Bill’s office until I can scatter them together

My little cat, Katrina, has rallied from her kidney disease & has been hanging in with me. I’m very grateful to have her in my life. I know she probably has a limited time to live, but I will cherish every day.

I want to say that the things I miss most are: hugging & having him beside me at night. I also miss sharing comments on sporting events on TV (curling, tennis, golf – unfortunately I wasn’t a football fan, so couldn’t share that one, but always cheered when his teams scored or won games – Oklahoma Sooners & Dallas Cowboys), The hardest to deal with, which I didn’t expect, is birding. I don’t feel very enthused to head out on my own. I have always had him to share this with & don’t find it very fulfilling to go out on my own. Thankfully I have my SK birding buddies who put up with my notes about the few sightings I DO have by myself, with words of encouragement. Love you guys!

I shall write about my year in the next blog. Suffice to say, I am doing really well on my own.

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