Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Thanks to everyone who came to the funeral. I'm sure Ben and Agnes' parents were touched. I'm posting Agnes' obituary for all to read.

Reynolds, Agnes.

Agnes Reynolds, of Calgary, Alberta, and Prague, Czech Republic, passed away, October 16, 2009, at Peter Lougheed Hospital, in Calgary. She was born, March 30, 1980, in Prague, Czech Republic, the daughter of Miklos and Eliska Biskup. Agnes graduated from Zatlanka School in Prague, and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary. She worked for Siemens Canada for 2 years, and was an Electronics Technologist. Agnes married Ben Reynolds in Calgary, on June 12, 2003.

Besides her husband Ben, she is survived by a daughter, Israel (3), a son, Ajax (19 months), a brother, Milos Biskup, Santa Monica, CA, and a sister, Ivana Jelinek, Prague, Czech Republic. She was predeceased by her sister, Marjeta Biskup in 1984. Funeral services will be Saturday, October 24, 2009, at 4:00p.m. at Foster's Garden Chapel Funeral Home, 3220 4 St NW, Calgary, with Rev. Mark Alexander officiating. Interment will be in Queen's Park Cemetery, following the ceremony. Calling hours are Saturday, from 2:00 p.m., until the time of the funeral. In lieu of flowers, please consider the North Calgary Community Church, c/o Clay Stanwick, 5720 Silver Ridge Drive, Calgary, Alberta.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Ben called me this morning and according to the caller ID, it was from his house. I interpreted this as good news.

CS: Hey man. How's it going? How's Agnes?

BR: Oh, she's still in the hospital. I'm about to drive over there now. Did you want to come?

CS: Totally.

BR: Okay. I'll pick you up in twenty minutes.

CS: 'Kay thanks. Bye.

BR: (hangs up)

Brian pulled up half an hour later. I expect the snow held him up a little. I hopped in his car and we were on our way to the Peter Lougheed Hospital.

CS: So how's she doing?

BR: Well that's hard to say. On one hand, she's hospitalized. She's had trouble keeping food down. She looks different. She doesn't have the energy to talk much. But on the other hand, she's still got a positive outlook. She tries to smile at me, or at the the kids a lot. It's weird, she comforts me when the doctors give us updates, because she doesn't seem to be upset by it. I can hardly handle it. Without her help, I'd be a mess.

CS: ...Uh... what does she have?

BR: I never told you?! Oh man. She has pancreatic cancer. They're going to operate as soon as she's a little bit better. I think they're going to remove it. Actually, they're messing around a lot in there. I guess it's pretty major, so they have to wait a bit.

CS: ... (I was speechless. I'm terrible at these things.)

BR: But she's getting a little better, well, what I mean is, she comes and goes. And today is a good day, so that's why I wanted to bring you. My parent's are bringing my kids too.

It's at this point where Brian becomes silent. We pull up to a red light, in the left turning lane on pretty dormant street about halfway to the hospital. He puts the car in park and opens the door. I could sense some sort of tension, so I didn't say anything when he opened the door and stepped out onto the snowy median. I looked over at him, about ten meters behind the car. He was on his knees. I knew I had to go to him, but not yet. Somehow I knew he had to be alone right now. I waited. I heard some snow crunch and looked back to see him returning to the car. I was nervous. His eyes were open wide. He seemed shocked. He started to speak, and every word affected me, like it had substance and passed through me.

BR: God just put his arms around me and was holding me back there. She's dead. Craig, she's dead. He was preparing me for that. I see now, that he's been preparing me for days now.

I was as shocked as he looked.

BR: Can you drive? I wanna go see her.

I got out and walked around the car and got in. I started the car, and continued to the hospital.

His phone rang.

BR: (Flips open his phone, reads the number.) Mom? (his voice is so troubled)


BR: I know... I'll be right there...(hangs up)

What I heard next was completely unbearable. Brian was breaking down. His hands were shaking. He was wiping his face with his palm from ear to chin deliberately and slowly. His hand was completely stiff as he did so. He said things that were moans of pain but were simultaneously words. His speech was so quiet and desperate. He was breathing as though he was shivering.

BR: tsk no..... oh no... no no no no....

My eyes teared up and I had to blink my tears away so I could see the road.

BR: no...oh...oh... not my baby... tsk... my sweetie's gone... Oh no... no...tsk I can't.

I wanted to tell him I was sorry. But there was a lump in my throat. I half cried, half spoke.

CS: I'm so sorry.

For the rest of the drive neither of us spoke, and he just slumped in his seat and stared out the window, looking at nothing.

***At this time I have to take a break from writing this up. It's too hard. My apologies. We'll miss you Agnes. You were one of a kind and the best kind of person.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Right after typing up the previous interview post. I received a call from Ben.

CS: Hello?

BR: (His voice sounds forced.) Hey man. Um... when we went home after meeting you, Agnes, uh, started getting food ready for the kids and (sigh) she, uh, collapsed. Thank God she wasn't, uh, holding one of the kids or something.

CS: No kidding. Is she okay?

BR: ...

Brian takes about a minute here before he can talk. I know it's because he's overcome by emotion.

BR: Sorry. They don't know what's wrong with her yet. They took her in the ambulance. We're at the Peter Lougheed now. The kids are at my mom's. Something I'll never forget is...

He takes another 30 seconds here.

BR: Something I'll never get out of my head as long as I live is the look on Izzy's face when Agnes collapsed. She was so scared and confused. I can't explain it. Agnes hit her face on the chair I guess and there was some blood. We were all scared. But Ajax didn't understand, really. He was startled by the commotion. But Izzy seemed to understand better. When Agnes fell, Izzy's face was terrified and her arms trembled a few times. I've never seen anything that awful on a kid's face.

Brian took the phone away from his mouth, but I could still hear him, quietly. He let out a frustrated moan of pain. He came back shortly after.

BS: Hey.

CS: I'm... so sorry, Brian. Can I help you guys somehow?

BR: I think we've got it covered, for right now. You just go into, like a serious 'get-everything-done-right-now' kind of mode when stuff like this happens. It was weird. I stayed really calm, and didn't get emotional until just now. I'm sorry you had to hear all that.

CS: Man, it's no problem. At all. Just let me know if I can do anything. And let me know when a good time to visit would be. When you guys are ready.

BR: Sure thing, man. I'll let you know. And uh, put this on your blog thing so readers know why there won't be any interviews for a while. I better get going though.

CS: Really? Okay. I can do that. Talk to later. Take care.

BR: Bye.

I hope she's okay. That must be so hard.


I've been trying to come up with a good time to meet with Agnes and Ben to conduct a second interview. It seems that they are as busy as I am. It's been over a month now. I finally got to meet with them today, after a lengthy game of phone tag.

CS: So what's kept you so busy lately?

BR: Well the kids keep us pretty busy. Having kids means you have to plan in advance if you're going to do anything without them.

CS: I appreciate that you're making time to do this for me. Thanks. When I called you a few weeks ago, you said Agnes was sick. (To Agnes) How are you feeling now?

AR: I feel pretty good. I've just been fighting this backache. That's why I picked this comfy chair.

CS: I see. Did you fall down, or try to lift something heavy?

AR: Well I fell down a while ago, but it didn't hurt for a few days. Then I got a bruise on my arm and my back hurt.

BR: Yeah, it was a weird bruise. Pretty yellow. (To Agnes) You looked like Ajax when he was born.

CS: Did you get it checked out?

AR: No, not yet. I think it's going away. I have an appointment in a week or so.

CS: I hope you feel better soon.

AR: Thanks.

CS: So where were we? Ah yes. How did you know the other person was "the one?"

BR: We were in our Final Project class and I was watching her present the group's results to the class. We built a remote controlled car that could control itself, and learn to not run into walls and stuff.

CS: That's pretty cool.

BR: So I watched her, and I noticed how beautiful she was. Not just pretty on the outside. I thought about who she really is, deep down. She's fragile, imperfect, but so kind and warm. It was this fragility that made me think, "this is someone I could spend my whole life taking care of." I know she doesn't need "taking care of." But I knew at that point that I wanted to spend the rest of my life being a shoulder to cry on, being someone to laugh with, and just being there for her, with her.

AR: Sorry. Just a second. (Agnes points her eyes up and wipes her lower eyelids, to prevent mascara from running. She sniffles.) When he told me that the first time, I knew he was the one. We promised that we would stay together. No matter what happened. We promised that no matter what mistakes we made, we would never let our hearts get hardened against each other.

BR: So far so good.

CS: That's really nice, you guys.

BR: Yes, yes we are. (chuckles)

CS: Agnes, you look pretty uncomfortable. Did you want to get back home?

AR: Actually, yes. Sorry about this. By back is worse.

BR: Your bruise is bigger, Agnes. Maybe you should go to the doctor sooner. They might put you under those fluorescent lights, like they did to Ajax when he was a newborn. You can wear that sleep mask with the sunglasses drawn on it. (laughs)

AR: (forces a smile)

BR: Too soon? Ok. Sorry. Let's go.

CS: Okay, thanks again, you guys.

Thus concludes the second interview. Hopefully Agnes feels better soon and we can continue this more regularly.