The morning air is filled with a sharp yet delightful chill that forewarns of the coming fall season. Similarly, the air is charged with a sense of anticipation and excitement, not unlike the aura that a carnival coming through town might bring the day the carnival folk arrive and start setting up -- it is the sense that something magical and thrilling is about to take place.
I'm talking, of course, about the beginning of another academic year. From the time that I remember getting my coloured Laurentian pencil crayons ready with my thin three-hole punched notebooks and carefully printing my name on each book I have loved the sense of wonder and excitement and new beginnings that come with a new academic year.
This will be my second "September Rush" at McMaster University, and the feeling is not unlike the feeling I had when I was a student walking onto campus during my own University career. Although this year, there is also a sense of sadness and of mourning. For it was during the first week of "Rush" last year that Francine's Mom fell into a final heart failure that she never fully recovered from. She died in early February, but in a sense we lost her that first week in September.
I loved her dearly and continue to miss her. The pain is especially intense now that the first anniversary of her loss (a terribly painful 6 months of losing her when you look at it in retrospect) is upon us. Dianne was a woman talented in many things -- one of which was her love of music and her ability to play the piano. (Here's a link to a poem I wrote after the first time I'd heard her play the piano - it's called Music of Angels)
Because of her love for music, we decided to pool money from the sale of her house into an account and create a memorial fund in her name. The Dianne Marzanek Memorial Award was created for a student heading to post secondary education with a demonstrated passion and enthusiasm for music.
This morning, before coming in to work I paused to re-read the card that the first recipient of the award sent to us. We have kept it on the refrigerator since receiving it early this summer. He's a young man who is entering the music program here at McMaster University and specializing in the tenor saxophone. We were completely touched that he took the time to write a thank-you card to the family for the award, and particularly honoured that an Award in Mom's name helped him in his pursuit of music.
So, despite the sadness and loss, the air is also filled with a sense of hope that a young man now walking the halls of McMaster carries with him; and, as always, a sense of love that Dianne's family and friends continue to carry for her and her memory.