Gord Rose – Lessons in Love and Loss
For Gord Rose, the latter half of his 50s were especially memorable … an unexpected mix of highs and lows.
At 55, Gord was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thankfully, it was detected early, and surgery was successful. For the most part, Gord weathered the experience independently, as he had not yet met his perfect companion, nor had he heard of Wellspring.
At 57, Gord met Cathy, his true love, and 10 months later the pair were married. It was Gord’s first marriage, and Cathy’s third.
“I told friends, I go for quality, she goes for quantity,” joked Gord. “My arm was sore for two weeks after that comment – she gave me a good smack.”
Gord and Cathy were having the time of their lives, travelling to Italy and Cuba and finding delight in their long talks and cuddles with their dog Nekko.
Then, in the summer of 2017, Cathy found it increasing hard to go to the YMCA, where she loved to swim before going to work. She began having abdominal pain and other concerning symptoms. An MRI and colonoscopy quickly indicated metastatic colorectal cancer and doctors offered Cathy chemotherapy with hopes of extending her life by a year.
In the days that followed there were many trips to hospital, and lots of pain, as Cathy’s health rapidly declined. In August of 2018, Cathy went home to Victoria to be near the ocean, and where her mom, daughter, and son could help care for her while Gord stayed on in Calgary to work full time.
Sadly, one year after diagnosis, at age 55, Cathy succumbed to her cancer. The pair had just five years together … not nearly enough for the grand adventures they had planned.
Wellspring – A Silver Lining
During one of their many trips to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Gord recalls a nurse noticing his fatigue and offering him a Wellspring Calgary brochure.
“I guess I was a bit of a mess – caregiving and working full time. So I thought why not give this place a try,” said Gord. “At that time there was a Wellspring near my home at Fountain Court. I remember the first time I walked in, I was warmly greeted by Anna Carnell. By then Cathy was just too unwell to go out much at all.”
Gord joined Finding Sanctuary, Supportive conversations, and he signed up for Time with Cindy.
“The programs and services were all excellent, it was such a good break for me, it helped me a lot,” said Gord. “To this day, I still do Time with Cindy online. I love that program, such good people and such valuable information. It doesn’t matter what your thoughts or views are, there’s something for you there – I always come away having learned something.”
Gord also found incredible relief when he utilized Wellspring’s Money Matters program. “Joining Money Matters was one of the best things I’ve ever done,” said Gord. “Cathy’s financials were a bit of a mess and I had just started working for a new company and was working my tail off to pay off our debts. Meghan steered me in the right direction. She told me what to do, where to go, she even provided most of the forms. I don’t know what I would have done without her and this Wellspring program.”
For Gord, five fleeting years was all he got, but there are no regrets, and he’s glad he found support along the way. “Just seeing other people at Wellspring and hearing their stories has been comforting and encouraging. You see how far people come and it gives you optimism. That’s the effect Wellspring has. You feel this sense of community and you know these people have your back.”