In Memory of Nicole Maurice

Nicole died on April 5th 2024. This is a copy of the words I spoke at her Celebration of Life on April 13th.

If you or anyone you know struggle with mental health issues, I strongly encourage you to reach out to a mental health professional in your region or contact a service like better help. If you are having suicidal thoughts, there is help available, including calling or texting 988 in Canada and the US.

For those who don’t know me, I’m Stéphane Boisvert. I was Nicole’s ex-husband.

We are here to celebrate and remember Nicole’s life. I want to share some pieces of her life with you so that you may also remember them. Remembering her is how we will ensure her spirit lives on in our hearts.

The first time I met Nicole, I introduced myself. Hey I’m Stéphane. She replied: “I know.” I thought my reputation preceded me. She continued: “We went skiing together last week”.
I tried to backpedal, I mentioned she looked different without the snowsuit… She eventually forgave me.

Folks often say variety is the spice of life. But, Nicole, she was more of a salt and pepper kinda gal. She knew what she liked. She knew which video games she liked. She played thousands of hours of Civilization 4, a game that we started playing together in 2006 and that she never stopped playing.

She loved Ice Caps made with Chocolate milk, a good steak, a very specific can of Cambell’s soup when she was sick, and crispy bacon. Bacon so crispy in fact, that you’d need to ask for it “nearly burnt” at a restaurant for them to get it just right. 

I once bought 50 packs of bacon when they were on clearance for a dollar each. We put them in the freezer and we ate 2 to 3 of them a week. That is until one day her doctor asked her if she had any idea why her cholesterol had jumped so much. The doctor didn’t understand why. Nicole exercised so much. So we had to cut it down to one pack a week going forward.

But beneath Nicole’s wit, her charm, her authenticity and her love of life’s simple pleasures, and board game abilities, Nicole was fighting battles of her own.

Her journey on this earth was marked by profound struggles with depression and PTSD. She was often in pain. A pain, she faced courageously, tenaciously, but one that she rarely showed to the world. 

Some got a glimpse of it, one time at one of our monthly friend gatherings, we were answering deep questions picked randomly. The one she received said “What would you go back and tell your 15 year old self”. She replied, “It never get better”. 

She was in pain, but she often used that pain to help others. 

She would often encourage and support others on their mental health journeys. Giving them hope, even when she may not have had some herself. 

She would take on a part of their pain, she would take it on herself. So that their load was lighter. 

She is now free of her pain. But her pain, it is now our pain to carry. 

All of us here, we now carry her pain, so that she may be freed of it. 

I’ll be honest, I hate fucking this pain. I wish we didn’t have to carry it. But we must. We must and we will.

Nicole loved children. Especially Mika and her nieces and nephews Marco, Mila, Lily, Robert, and Cedric. And so people were often surprised she didn’t want children. And while the excuses of wanting to be able to sleep in, have a social life, or how diapers were really gross were the usual answers she gave. In truth, she knew the risks. She knew that if a parent has chronic depression, there is an over 40% chance that their child would also have it. 

She feared most being asked “Does it ever get better” and having to answer “it never gets better”. She feared most that other kids would have to carry that same pain that she carried. She wanted to spare as many children as possible from enduring that pain.

Nicole is no longer here to do this. 

In her absence, it is up to us to take this on. 

Let us honour her memory, by not only carrying her pain, but carrying that of others. By continuing to advocate for mental health awareness and support, by reaching out to those in need, particularly youth and kids. By sharing our personal stories of struggle, by acknowledging that sometimes the battles we wage within ourselves are too overwhelming to bear alone, and advocating so that everyone can have access to professional help. 

We can carry this pain by being the kind of people that kids can turn to, and by supporting Kids Help Phone, as Nicole did every year, so that they may have a guiding light, illuminating their paths when the road ahead is dark, just as Nicole illuminated our paths.

As we say goodbye to Nicole today, let us carry forward her legacy. In doing so, we will ensure that while Nicole, Nicole, you will be deeply missed, but your impact, your impact on all of us here today and all those you touched, directly and indirectly, that impact, it will always be remembered.

Thank you

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