To our friends in Halifax,
I have been in a numb haze since my wife Helen Hill was murdered in January, in our apartment in New Orleans, before my eyes. I am slowly reconnecting with our friends from my mother's home in British Columbia, where our two-year-old son Francis Pop and I have relocated. I have developed a near-total aversion to the news, so I had not read many of the newspaper articles about Helen and the shooting until recently.
Today, I read several articles about the incredible jazz funeral for Helen in Halifax, and also the text of two powerful eulogies for Helen, by James Covey and Mike Catano, read at the North Street Church after the parade. Many tributes have been made to Helen since January, but the thoughtful and beautifully written article printed in The Coast on January 11, with so many memories and the most lovely cover photograph, is one of the most special and meaningful to me.
Our five years together in Halifax will always remain with me as such a happy and exciting time. One day, I will bring little Francis Pop to Halifax to meet our friends, and to show him where Helen taught film classes, where we helped with Food Not Bombs, where we walked our potbellied pig, where Wormwood's and Critic's Choice and our old apartment on Falkland Street used to be. I know Francis will remind you of Helen. He is only two, but he is already a very strong, bright, good-natured little person.
I now struggle with our decision six years ago to move from Halifax to New Orleans, and ask myself, why didn't we stay in such a creative, tight-knit community? Why didn't we more seriously consider moving back to Halifax in 2005, after the hurricane flooded and ruined our home in New Orleans? I know that Helen wanted to be in the South, and in New Orleans, the place she loved the most. Knowing this does not ease my despair.
Thank you for everything, your love and support for us. Thank you for not forgetting Helen and how she affected and inspired all of us.
By Paul Gailiunas