2015, Hello again.
As I write this entry, I have tears streaming down my face.
The truth is I haven’t had much time to myself to write and this time has made me happy because I’ve been a full time mom for the first time in my life (truly full time because our beautiful and missed Nanny Ila returned home to the Philippine’s for 5weeks over the holidays to spend time with her own family) but it has also been some of the most difficult days of my life for so many reasons. A lot of people thought we were crazy to be ‘alone’ during this time but I was looking forward to having the so called normality and I wanted the time with the girls even if I felt tired. I strangely craved the rawness of life and it’s surroundings and was wanting to be left alone to have a little bit of ‘life handed to me’. Life is real, sometimes in the midst of utter chaos you just want a little bit more to feel life at it’s peak. I saw a quote somewhere recently that said “We all get addicted to something that takes away the pain”. Perhaps this was my way of tucking away the facts of life for a little slice of time. For those of you that know me well, you won’t need explanation it would just make sense. It’s the turn on the sad music after a break up and cry attitude, cry and scream at the top of your lungs kinda feeling we are all looking for once in a blue moon. It’s what great music originates from and how the best selling novels are written, sad happy, epic stories – this is where the magic lies.
You want to feel pain, feel pain.
You want to feel sad, feel sad.
You want to feel happy… well, it gets more complicated. You gotta work at that one and when you are ‘happy’ or ‘in your happy place’ and ‘being still’ … it is truly a beautiful thing. It’s also a rarity or so I am learning recently. Loving life has always been what I understood as something that takes work and authentically bringing your best self to the table on a daily basis. It’s a tough order. And… I think my lesson lately is that we can’t expect one’s best self all the time, and I’m really not interested in it. I’m more interested in the most authentic version of yourself – at whatever cost. I’m also very interested in your best version… more so than your worst – but I’m understanding and compassionate to the fact that we are human with all of these emotions running wild with so many moving objects. We must practice to keep our hearts open and that’s a risky task for most.
I can’t explain myself recently – I’m assuming that my hormones are raging wild from the fast paced induced menopause and then there is the plain ol’ fact that I’ve had some time to think about the fact that I was diagnosed with cancer. Truthfully, I am positive about things but it doesn’t deny the fact that cancer kills people, all kinds of people, and that scares the shit out of me because I have no interest in dying.
I think I mentioned this earlier in my posts but life recently seems to happen in slow motion – like watching your own life on a movie screen. You have sudden images of you frolicking in a field of flowers or you running down the seaside barefoot in a beautiful free flowing dress with a kite in hand. All things and people around you that mean anything to you suddenly turn into the best commercial ad you have ever seen and you want to hit ‘replay’ over and over again. I find myself listening in conversations deeply but also so deeply that I can almost see right through the person and I crawl into their body… I close my eyes and I can feel the warmth of their warm blood running smoothly through their existing ‘live’ body. When an overdue hug is exchanged I tend to hold a little longer, taking in the familiar smells and the delicious sound of heartbeats. It life’s romance haunting me it the most endearing way.
So… 2015 has been a beautiful year followed with a couple of bumps in the road and also major change. Victor and I have teamed up to create two of the most beautiful children on this earth and we have struggled to keep our successful businesses with my health. I miss me. My husband misses me and I’m sure my friends and family miss me too. I haven’t been around, I’ve been surviving.
all above photo love from catherine. ❤
The other day, Sofie rolled over and sat up and stared deeply at me and I cried. Not because I’m an emotional mother (well maybe) but because I realized the time frame. Babies tell time, it’s a funny thing. One motion of her rolling and sitting up meant… wow, it’s been almost 6months since I was diagnosed. Sofie was just over 2 months when I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I’m sure all moms go through a stage around this time when their babies aren’t babies anymore, this is when I think most ladies go a little baby crazy again and their mind let’s them forget the fact that they couldn’t drink champagne on New Years Eve or tie their shoes never mind the endless hours of labour. Babies over time make all the horrible things about pregnancy and labour melt away. My experience with cancer is that it hasn’t had a way of magically melting away yet and all my wishes are for a little more certainty with life, but we all know that the reality of life is not that certain. Life is sweet and we don’t get guarantees.
Tonight marks a most extraordinary night in history in my husbands career and in our lives. After 25 years, Splendido will close it’s doors and we will lay to rest a legendary restaurant.
It’s very bitter sweet for us and it didn’t come as an easy decision. Splendido is what I believe to be in the height of it’s time and Victor has taken the food to new levels, tasting menus that will blow your mind and make even the most ordinary person ‘wowed’. I think the hardest and saddest part for me is that I feel a little like I have missed it or perhaps I haven’t been as present as would like to normally be. I’ve been busy, I get it – but I want to be here – fully here. 2015, has brought great achievement both personally and professional for both of us, but it has also come with it’s challenges. I’m a true believer in continuing ones creative self, making dreams come true and continuing the battle of being an individual and I think that we have set aside a little bit of ourselves for each other over the last couple of years.
We have been busy with life, built a beautiful family, grew businesses, struggled with the loss of loved ones and then me diagnosed with cancer in July. We’ve never been people to put life on hold but cancer has a funny way of doing that for you. And as you know, when things get put on hold or put on the back burner and you are unable to ‘bring your best self’ – life suffers and so does the love of what you do.
When I was diagnosed, Victor stopped everything and was fully available to me and the girls. It was non-negotiable for him. Admirable. Unforgettable. Strangely, the time during treatment was some of the most beautiful memories in our relationship – we were present something that in a world that is so fast paced we take for granted. Although we are positive and treatment is ‘doing as it should be’ we are also reminded that sometimes you have to change your dreams and curve the wishlist. Everyday I am blown away by the talent that transpires from Victor and I know like any artist I see the struggle between time between his passion and love of what he does in the kitchen and time with his family. The constant work-life balance is cluster fuck of ideas to anyone you talk to. It means something totally different to everyone and we are trying to make a new definition for our family come the New Year.
Today I have a heavy heart for you. I know we are celebrating, and we understand that but it would go unnoticed if we weren’t a bit sad.
So many of our dreams , visions and memories exist within the 4 walls of Splendido and I am so deeply honoured to be your wife and your person. Truly. But I promise you that the magic we have up our sleeves for the new 4 walls will blow your mind and I’m so in love with our constant need for affection from this restaurant. It’s our second home, sometimes our first – so this time we are making it just that… with beautiful people and new modifications. Luxuries.
Babe… I love you more than all the fishes in the sea.
I can’t imagine how emotional tonight will be for you, so many things have happened for you in your life and career and you have created something for people that people will always talk about. I remember one of our first late conversations in Splendido when we first met… It was prob around 3am, we sometimes came over from the Harbord Room to have a night cap because you were 26 and owned ‘Splendido’ and we could. We could have a night cap in an empty restaurant, a beautiful restaurant … what a completely sexy and romantic gesture. ‘This guys a keeper” One of my many questions to you but one that has always stood out the most was – what’s your greatness fear? Your answer was.. “I fear that I won’t be remembered.” Wow… First thought was… Jesus – that’s deep! Then… after a long pause I remember thinking that’s truly a very honest ambitious answer because I had only known you for such a short period of time and already I felt, ‘well that’s impossible.’ You amaze me. Seriously. Such a serious sensitive man that wants a life with meaning, wants a life that has purpose and that I’m assuming brings joy to others enough to be ‘remembered’. I remember what was most impressive at the time was not the ‘fancy restaurant owning at 26’, it was the uncertainty of life mixed with the most confident cocky person I had ever met, what a match.
Your talent. Your demeanor. Your love of life and making it your life mission to do something that would make the people around you proud. That’s what I admire the most. So… I’m here (we are here) to tell you that your wrong. You have and will continue to build beautiful experiences for people because of your love of what you do. Food that will change the way people think, food that is ‘delicious’, food that is ‘tasty’, and most of all ‘moments’ that create memories that will be remembered because of you. You will be remembered in so many ways for so many reasons. You create space for people to enjoy life, to celebrate and you bring that to the space with your endless effort and extreme talent with what you do, not to mention your remarkable love & commitment to people.
What I love most about all of that, is that all of that comes wherever you go, so as much as it’s about these 4walls of this restaurant, anyone who knows you knows that the experience is not ‘Splendido’ as much as it is Victor Barry. Your ‘spirit, love & passion’ lies within you and not any restaurant. Your best recipe is you, because everything you do is made with love.
Goodbye. I’m trying not to think about you and all the pain you have caused. I’m trying to think about all the love you have created. But you brought us heartache. I never want to see you again. I want to go to a place where I dig my naked toes in the warm sandy seaside and feel sunshine on my face and twirl around in my free flowing dress with a kite in my hand and freedom on my shoulders. So be gone my heavy heart.
Goodbye heavy heart, hello new dreams. Please let me be.
Ticklesaurusrex love. “I got you!”
Barb Proctor January 1, 2016
Excellent. Excellent. All the best in your new endeavour. Of course you will do well. Hope 2016 brings you most of all good health and happiness. Barbxxxx
Sent from my iPad
nikkileighmckean January 20, 2016
Thank you so much Barb! Sending our love back to you and the family. xoxox