From Friend, Rob Heppell

Good afternoon, my name is Rob Heppell; I will be MC for this celebration of life service.

This afternoon we are here to honour the life of Nicole Thomson.  It is our wish that every part of this ceremony will reflect a life well lived among us.

I am sure you would like to join me in saying to Nicole’s husband, Scott, daughter’s Brooke and Jada, parents Carole and Tony, and their families that you are in our thoughts and prayers because of your loss.

Also, I would like to express the family’s thanks and gratitude for your presence today.  The journey of grief is long and those who walk it, should not have to walk it alone.  In times like these nothing takes the place of friends.  And your presence helps the family realize how valuable their loved one Nicole was to others and reveals the significance of her life.

This afternoon we will witness a unique tribute, some parts formal, and some parts informal, to provide a glimpse into the life and legacy of the person of Nicole Suzanne Thomson.  This will consist of music, a pictorial video, and participation of family and friends.

I have known Scott and the Thomson clan almost my entire life as our houses backed on to each others in Cadboro Bay, attended grades 1 through 12 together, played sports, travelled, and partied – lots of parties together. I wasn’t on “The Cruise” but it was reported back to me very quickly about Scott’s big catch and soon after met Nicole – and the socializing and partying has never stopped.  Over that time it was very easy for me to see – and probably the same for you  – Nicole’s deep commitment to her family, to her friends, and to her faith.

Even though none of us wanted to be here today – we are here, and although she has left us… she has also left us an amazing legacy and with the help of family and friends, we will preserve that legacy in all of those who she touched.

Nicole had a very strong faith and she credits that faith for how she was able to remain so positive over the last few months. She loved the poem Footprints and wanted it to be part of today. It goes like this…

[Part 2]

On a personal note, I saw this amazing relationship and marriage in action. We had so many good times with the Thomsons – our trip to Phoenix together  plus the great hospitality that the super hosts, Scott and Nic would afford to us – whether it was for a summer BBQ, our Preliminary  “Grad Reunion Party” party or just having the guys over for the Nascar race.  Nic and I were Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans, always hopeful of Jr.’s next win – that didn’t happen too much.

Nic was also supportive of Scott hanging out with the guys – whether it be fishing or going out for chicken wings and beers.

One of my fondest memories was the time that Nic took Scooter’s place for Wing Night. Scott was training in Ontario so Nic joined Ron Frolek and me at Smuggler’s Cove Pub.

Now in our group, no couple has been together as long as Scott and Nicole, so Ron, in typical Ron fashion, was giving Nic the gears, “Nic, don’t you get board being with the same guy for so many years?”

And without hesitation, Nicole said, “It’s like a Triscuit, Triscuits aren’t boring, you can eat them hot or cold, you can dress them up or you can have it plain, you can have different seasonings or toppings on them, – so many different options but all with the same Triscuit.

At that point, I started getting some weird visuals – Scott with Cream Cheese …. and I didn’t want Nicole to go into any further detail – Too Much Information.

But I wanted to share this story with you because it is another example of Nicole’s deep love for Scott.

[Part 3]

Before we leave here today I would like to share with you some of my observations over the last few months. No one teaches us how to go through this stuff. It can’t be taught in schools – unfortunately death and grief is a life lesson that has to be experienced, we have to go through it to learn. This is what I saw…

First, Nicole has taught us to die with dignity and maintaining a positive outlook – grounded by her remarkable faith.

Scott has been an amazing example of a husband and father and being by Nic’s side right to her last breath.

Leading up to last Monday I was providing email updates from Scott to our group of friends and I noticed some of them wanting to say something but didn’t know what to say, some wanting to do something but not knowing what to do.

I have always found that you may need to take a risk and just do it. If you feel prompted to call – then call, don’t talk yourself out of it because maybe tomorrow will be one day too late.

I had the opportunity to record an interview with Nicole – now I’m not saying that it was some great thing or that I’m better than others, I did it and took action because I have been in this situation before on two occasions – one with inaction and followed by regret and the other of action followed by peace of mind. It’s not easy to take action you have to take a risk. And as we have heard before, there is no reward without risk.

So as we move forward today and we may find ourselves in a similar and unfortunate situation I would suggest to err on the side of action – because action rarely comes with regret.

Also we don’t have to wait until the next we are in a situation when we are about to lose someone we love.

Nicole is all around us – there is a lot love in this room – I can feel it and I hope you can feel it too – Nic is here and she lives in each and every one of us. Nicole and Love are one in the same.

So when you leave today, spread some Nic. Take a moment send an email, post on Facebook tweet on Twitter, or send a text message – maybe to Jada, maybe to Brooke, maybe to Scott, or Carole or Tony, or maybe to friend – letting them know that Nic is with you and life is beautiful.

Don’t make it too complicated, just a simple text message with 3 letters: N. I. C.

You see some beautiful flowers  – and you think of Nic

You see a bunch of young girls at the fair  – and you think of Nic

You see a bunch of 40 year old women laughing and being a little corny – and you think of Nic

Your watching a Nascar race and Dale Jr rolls up in victory lane  – and you think of Nic (because you know that feat will require some divine intervention).

And maybe you’re just having a great day, enjoying life – thinking Life is Beautiful  – and you think of Nic… Spread some Nic and brighten someone’s day!

At this time I would like to thank all of the participants for making this an amazing tribute that demonstrated how one person in such a short period of time could impact the lives of so many Nicole was such a positive person – as we have heard many times today, “Glass is Always Half Full” – and I know that she would want you to leave here with positive thoughts – so I will close the service with this poem.

Would everyone please rise… Scott, Brooke, Jada, Carole & Tony, this warmth and presence that you feel represents, family and friends that are here to travel with you through this journey, just like Nicole would have done for us.  To live in the hearts of those left behind is not to die.  Please join the family in the reception room to continue to share those stories that are in your hearts that keep the memory of Nicole alive.

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