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One of the sweetest journalists we know died suddenly this year of a heart attack.

One of my favourite gifts from Canadian friends, a paperweight of handblown glass. (Kenna photo)

One of my favourite gifts from Canadian friends, a paperweight of handblown glass. (Kenna photo)

Three other men friends had heart attacks in the past year. One of them, a long-time investigative journalist who has lived and worked in Africa, Europe and Canada, suffered several heart attacks and a stroke that claimed most of his vision.

We still mourn the loss of our friend, Peter Morton, and send loving thoughts and prayers of healing to his dear wife Cathie, their four daughters and six grandchildren.

We’re grateful for Peter’s limitless kindness, and for the way his family welcomed us as one of their own when we all lived happily in Washington, D.C.  Such tenderness of spirit is never forgotten.

Another friend in Toronto returned to his executive job so swiftly after his heart attack, that many were alarmed. We know his heart is filled with generosity, and we’re confident of his strong recovery.

Our West Coast friend is learning to deal with disability and blindness. There are not enough healing words in my vocabulary — and I’m a rehabilitation counselor — to express the deep support we send long-distance for his return to better health.

At our ages (40s and 50s), we’re still preparing for the years of loss and grief that our parents (in their 70s and 80s) describe when they learn of friends’ illnesses and failing health. We know that with every loss, there is a celebration of lives well-lived.

Celebrating Peter’s integrity as an international journalist 

We celebrate our friend, Peter, for all the good he brought to the world, and all the goodness that remains because he graced our lives. He showed us that journalism can still be part of a common good, when conducted with integrity and honesty.

We celebrate the strength and determination of our friends who are recovering from these heart failures, and send loving thoughts and prayers their way. We’re grateful for their abiding friendship.

We’re especially grateful to all the medical professionals involved in saving our friends’ lives and helping them return to much better health. We’re grateful for the lessons they’re teaching all of us about improving our approach to “heart-healthy” living.

When I’m concerned about a less-than-healthy moment in Hadi’s life, I press my hand to his heart and ask, “Please take good care of my heart.” Then I pat him lightly on the chest, and remind him, ever so gently, that we need to take care of each other’s hearts, through love and mindful living.

Ten years after my heart stopped during surgery at Vancouver General Hospital, I am ever-grateful for joyful living, and for the chance to keep celebrating the love and friendship of so many who enrich my life.