When I think of Bergen, a smile is born.
It grows to a grin of anticipation.
And then, a full all-out smile of acceptance as we meet.
I’m thinking of Bergen now. Of course I’m smiling.
Love to you Robyn and Naomi,
from Graeme, on Saturna
Oh Robyn , so saddened to hear this . Sending big hugs
Very sorry to hear of Bergen’s passing. Carry on, Robyn. Bob and Gloria Ratner
Oh Robyn, so so sorry to hear of Bergen’s death. I too lost my husband two years ago. He (Doug Friesen) was a big fan of yours. He met you and your husband a few months before his untimely death. He also had a dual diagnosis of MS and a pesky brain tumour. You were having a reading of your excellent book. I recall we both wanted to attend but as we have a daughter, I stayed home. Doug enjoyed the evening and speaking to you.
My advice, offered humbly, is to lean on your friends and be part of a support group. It helps to talk and it’s so good to know you are not alone.
Be well. Ruth Casey
After finishing your book tonight, I’m shocked that Bergen, who you painted as a rock and a saint, is gone. I’m so sorry; clearly he was a man of tremendous love and great character.
Dear Robyn. I am very saddened for you and your family. Sending you strength and most heartfelt love.
We met only once, at East is East on Broadway, several years ago. I was part of the Dialogue Makers’ Network at SFU that Bergen was instrumental in creating, along with Joanna, Sylvia, Michelle, and Bob Anderson. Bergen was a remarkable individual and a huge presence in the DMN. I was so impressed, not just by his considerable knowledge and experience, but more by his presence: always calm, dispassionate, and compassionate. He was always, always there for you when you were in need. He thoughtfully and kindly shepherded me toward grad school at SFU; I recall him saying to me one day, as I had gained a reputation of being (perhaps overly) enthusiastic about this whole dialogue thing: “There’s a place for people like you; it’s called grad school.” He later offered suggestions for how I could proceed with applying. (Long story short: I applied, got in, graduated, and now teach at SFU.) I will always be grateful for his mentoring kindness. He would always reach out to another.
And then there was his delightfully dry and sometimes slightly sardonic sense of humor. So delightful! Ha–with that deadpan, innocent look on his face he’d deliver a zinger! But there was always kindness and generosity.
When Bergen, Sylvia, Avril, Joanna, and I met several weeks ago to recall old times and to think about what we had accomplished, at one point Bergen teared up recalling the beauty of what that dialogical presence we had enacted had achieved. It was a beautifully poignant moment, and it is etched permanently into my heart. I will always recall him as that sweet yet resolute presence.
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MOST OF ME: SURVIVING MY MEDICAL MELTDOWN Finalist for 2012 Leacock Medal for Humour & Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction
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