Shamess, Charles

Tuesday, March 11th, 1958 Monday, September 26th, 2022

Hey, it’s me, Charles, known as Tardy to the people I grew up with in Wawa in the ‘60s and early ‘70s. By the time you read this, I’ve drifted over to the next space/time continuum, or wherever we go when we leave this one.

I will dearly miss my kids Nathan, Lili, Molly, and Dean, and my precious granddaughter Smokey Leigh. My dear mom Jane, at 94, is sorrowful but knows I’m not going to have to deal with the daily pain I’ve had the past couple of years. My sisters Carol and Cathy and brother Albie will miss me too, and my quirky sense of humour, and I send my love to them and to my nephews. My dad Ernie would have been quite upset if he were still alive, and would urge me to keep going no matter what, as that was how he lived his long life. Anne has been a wonderful friend and co-parent over the past 35 years, and such a good support to me over the past two years in dealing with leukemia. I’m also very pleased she applied her tremendous talent as a portrait painter to my ugly mug and I’m proud to share her work above. A big hug to Lauren, Anne’s other daughter, as she’s been like another kid of mine over the past 25 years. Thanks also to my dear friends John and Barb for the teasing and bad jokes over 35 years, their ongoing love and support, and our daily Wordle competitions to the very end. Toile!

I’ve had a good life and I’m leaving mostly satisfied, but with regrets about my parenting. I wasn’t who I wanted and needed to be during the early years with my kids and I hope I made up for some of my mistakes as I aged. This was my most important role and I wish I’d done a better job. I’m very grateful the four of them are kind, curious, determined, and progressive souls who are making a difference in their communities.

I worked and volunteered in schools, theatre, social services, and community health, and I’m proud to have had some impact over the past 45 years. I’m especially proud of the work we did around HIV/AIDS, harm reduction, and working with queer youth to reduce stigma and make safe spaces in schools and community services, while hopefully raising some of those kids’ self-esteem and resiliency. My work and volunteer experience were of equal value, as I believe deeply that we should give of ourselves to our communities. I received way more back than I gave during my time at Queen Mary School, Peterborough The­atre Guild, New Canadians Centre, Jamaica Self Help, Hospice Peterborough, and other groups. I’ve finally been accepted to medical school at Queens University! It’s as a cadaver for their medical school, but better than nothing, right? Seriously, I can’t donate organs because of the leukemia, so I’m happy to have some future docs learn why I had so many kidney stones. Donate your stuff!

Thanks as well to the staff and volunteers at Hospice Peterborough for their tremendous support and care over the past two years. The palliative docs, Drs Blake, MacMillan-Jones, Mallory, Hughes, and Webster, and my family doc, Dr Lehmann-Bender, have been so kind and caring. A special thanks to Dr Hughes and Dr Lehmann-Bender for guiding my family and me through the medical assistance in dying process. I’m so grateful to live at a time and in a place where this is an option.

There will be no funeral service, so raise a glass when you wish, and please donate to two of my favourites, or I may have to haunt you a little:

Be good to each other.

Practice kinder politics.


Love you.

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