Kerry. One of a Kind

Kerry is wearing a WOMEX shirt and lanyard, smiling at the camera

What you’re about to read isn’t typical of this blog. I’m angry and I’m sad. You’ve been warned.

Fuck cancer.

Fuck COPD and Parkinson’s and ALS and every other killer disease. But today, fuck cancer most of all. Cancer robs its victims of their identity, their dignity and their spirit. It’s relentless and cruel. So today, fuck you cancer.

You probably didn’t know Kerry Weaver but maybe you have a Kerry Weaver in your life. It devastates me to use the past tense for Kerry, but cancer killed her yesterday. It arrived less than two years ago, receded for a while and then came back with a vengeance. Her death was too soon, too painful and a reminder that cancer doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care who you are or how much good you bring to everyone around you.

Kerry was the sunniest person I’ve ever known. She saw the best in everything and everyone. On mornings before she went in for ongoing, full-head radiation, her Facebook posts pointed out beautiful sunshine or chirping birds. She didn’t moan about her fate. She looked for something good to focus on.

group shot of seven of us in various positions in a huge display of bikes. Some standing beside bikes, some - like me - sitting on one.
Steve, Kerry, Gaetan, Derek, Jeff, Barry, me.

I met Kerry because she worked for Derek in the annual World of Motorcycles Expo. Everybody loved her. She radiated warmth and was a great listener. She had an infectious laugh. Kerry and I would play good-cop-bad-cop when it came to collecting rent from vendors at the show. People responded more to her, the good cop. She used to work in guest services in hotels and then became a Personal Support Worker. She’d tell me stories of mishaps with elderly patients that would make me want to run for the hills. But she loved helping helplessĀ people get through their day and felt it was a privilege, despite being well aware of the many problems with the long-term-care system. Her attitude was that the patients still deserved the best care she could give them. She was incredibly kind to my father any time she saw him. She could make you laugh no matter the circumstances.

Kerry found a vintage bike with the same name at one of the shows

Years ago, Kerry and I decided we were going to launch a low-budget, hopefully-sponsored TV show together. We drew up a proposal and scheduled a meeting with a production company. They loved our idea. Later, they sent us an estimate for about $120,000 to produce the pilot with no help to find sponsorship or get it aired. I recently found those documents and remembered how hard we laughed at that number, which was impossible for us to handle.

One Saturday morning she called and asked what I was up to. “Pulling grape vines out of the back yard”, I replied. Most people would have thought, gee, I was hoping we could do something fun. Not Kerry. She said, “Do you have an extra pair of gloves? I’m coming over!” And that’s what we did for most of the day. We pulled decades-old, stubborn roots and vines out of the back yard. She made it easier and fun. At one point, after pulling mightily on a thick root that wouldn’t give way, she landed on her butt in a fit of laughter. We got filthy and exhausted. She never wanted to quit.

Kerry, about 5 feet tall with short, curly blond hair wearing a white T shirt and black pants, holding a huge set of snippers up in victory

Over the years there were lunches and teas and when she started selling Keep Collective jewellery, I became a customer. Sometimes we just texted for a few months and then picked up right where we left off. Derek always lit up in her presence. She had a kind of subtle magnetism that made you want her around. She said “I love you” easily and often.

Cancer extinguished her bright light and my world, the world of all who knew her, will never be quite as sunny again. She barely complained and on a rare occasion when she mentioned discomfort she’d apologize for it. That’s how we knew the pain was excruciating – if she mentioned it at all. Cancer, and the chemo, radiation, drugs and surgeries all radically changed her looks but not her disposition. She leaves her son, Jeff, who will always be family to us, and her boyfriend Steve, who also became part of the bike show family. Fuck you cancer. And fuck right off.

Kerry and her son Jeff whom Derek calls Baby Huey

15 thoughts on “Kerry. One of a Kind”

  1. Thank you for such a wonderful tribute to our beautiful Kerry. She touched many many lives and left a ray of sunshine for all of us to carry in our hearts forever.

  2. Wow. Right from the heart! I met Kerry a long time ago and regret that we didn’t see each other more although we did keep in touch. Her smile and cheerfulness never, ever wavered.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the wonderful photos. She will be missed by so many people.

    1. She sure will. Thanks Mary Ann. Kerry wasn’t easily forgotten. A mutual friend told us yesterday about seeing her in a parade and she walked right up and smacked him on the lips, and then kept going! His wife was like, who was THAT?! Kerry! It was just Kerry-love, the way she was.

      1. Mary Ann McCarroll

        What a great story! And so her. I love the playfulness she displayed in the Motorbike video where she came up in the end, with that impish smile.

  3. Thank you…well said. I had the privilege of working with Kerry at Woddingford lodge…what a spirit. My heart is breaking. Thank you for highlighting the beauty that was (and will forever be) Kerry.

    1. It hurts so much to mention her in the past tense. Jeff will need our love & support now. Thanks for commenting Alyssia.

  4. Janie Rother

    Beautiful tribute to a beautiful person- thanks for writing it, Lisa. I too knew & worked with Kerry through her involvement in the chamber, where she made quite an impact & many friends who are all missing her. She left the chamber when she started a new career in the health field, where she felt she could make more of a difference. She will be missed.

  5. Teresa Oldham

    Thank you. Thank you for these memories. She is loved and always will be. My heart hurts without her.

  6. I am so sorry about your friend, Lisa. We lost a Kerry today as well, (that sort of person, her name was Donna) to hateful horrible fucking cancer. A bright light–one of my sunflowers, I called her, as I smiled every time I thought of her. It is a tiny comfort that we had these sunflowers in our lives for as long as we did. Peace.

    1. You’re right. It’s tiny comfort but it’s true we are better off for having known them. Thanks Jodi.

  7. Ned Burwell

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I know you guys were very close. What a beautiful tribute to your friend. Lots of love to you.

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