September 5, 2021 SUNDAY 6:30pm
Today I visited Grannie in Edmonton. While I was there Nicole Tourangeau’s mom called. Nicole overdosed this morning. She’s dead. My heart is shattered. I’m in so much pain. She was only 38.
Nicole taught me so much about love and kindness. On one visit to the psychiatric hospital I gave her a page from my sketchbook and she wrote this poem:
“Sunrise, Sunset, with all that we love as one & come together we shall live in paradise and destiny. Earth Bound Angels”
She kept the original paper I removed from my sketchbook but I asked her if I could write the poem down.
That same visit she asked me to draw tattoo’s on her with my markers. I was visiting her in PIC (Psychiatric Intensive Care) at the time and I was using markers due to the Parkinsonism. It led me to create this piece which is located in my sketchbook the Triggers Journal. I changed her name to Aurora Sarabella to respect her privacy, but it’s actually written on removable stickers as I really wanted to always remember that Nicole Tourangeau was the Earth Bound Angel.
Sarabella was a name Nicole loved. I asked her once if I were to give her a fake name what it would be, and she said she loved the name Sarabella, that she wanted to name her daughter that if she ever had one.
Nicole loved children and babies. She so yearned to have children one day and be well enough to raise them.
When she was bright, she shone. She loved so much. It was reflected in so many conversations and how she treated me as her friend, how she would compliment strangers and all the adoration she poured into the animals.
I loved riding the bus and going out with Nicole. As I said, she was big on complimenting strangers. She had a bubbly personality when she was feeling well. Very extroverted and out there. Her and I would link arms and hold hands, be boisterous, and dance around a lot when she was in a good space.
The phone call from Nicole’s mom broke me. I fell to my knees, gripping the phone to my ear, sobbing on the pavement. Mom, Grannie and my Auntie Sharon sat just feet away, in front of Grannie’s Seniors Home in Edmonton, watching me sob, crumpled in my summer dress on the ground.
Right after I hung up the phone a thunderstorm hit Edmonton’s sky. It had been brewing. It was easy to see the collection of dark clouds on Edmonton’s flat horizon. Rain began to pelt as thunder rolled through the air. Auntie Sharon got safely to her car and left while mom and I took Grannie back inside.
After the rain lifted, which didn’t take long, my mom and I drove back to my cousin Lori’s house where we’re staying. As we left the seniors home a rainbow shone in the sky.
Nicole is at peace now, I know that. I however and all who loved her are left with pain and the memories of what she gifted us in her lifetime.
Nicole has inspired a couple originals from me.
The Companion was an original I gifted to Nicole for her birthday in 2016 with the tagline:
“Alone we are a myth. Together we exist.”
In my sketchbook Conversations with the Algorithms I drew this piece with Nicole in mind.
There’s a line in the Blue Rodeo song Five Days in May that goes: “Looking back it's hard to tell why they stood while others fell.”
My heart is broken by all the possibilities Nicole will never have again. By all the smiles, laughter and deep conversations we shared. But these thoughts glow in my heart too with an ache. She’s at peace now. She’s finally at peace.
Rest In Peace Nicole Tourangeau. I’ll always love the way your eyes lit up in stunning blues when we were together. These are photos of Nicole from her Facebook Page and a couple her mom shared.
Below is the memorial piece I drew in my sketchbook Navigating Wonderland. “Hey Nikki” was a song I used to sing to Nicole when we were both in a good space. After I’d sing it we’d both do a little dance.