We often think how unfortunate it is that we say such loving, kind things about someone when they are no longer with us and they don’t hear them. But in this case Julian did have a chance to connect and feel the love and respect of so many people, of so many of you.
He said to us one day about a year after his diagnosis that “in some ways this has been the worst year of his life, but in many ways, it has been the best.” We understood right away what he meant. He felt that way because he’d had a chance to reconnect with his family, to see Audrey make a life-long connection with her grandparents in Toronto and Montreal, and he’d been able to feel the love from so many people. It really moved him and made him feel good in the midst of this awful situation and showed him that his life had meaning.
He handled his illness with such courage and dignity. He was truly amazing. It made the ordeal bearable for all of us and made us so incredibly proud of him. He was young, and yet so mature. We don’t know how he did it, and we will be forever grateful to him for his strength throughout the ordeal.
We often said he was a late bloomer—we all know he was never in a hurry—no matter what.
He had finally arrived and was excited with his career in consulting with Maple Leaf Strategies. When we look back at all he accomplished in his life, we realize how fortunate he was. He learned French at an early age and used it with ease throughout his life. He participated in a range of sports and cultural activities; he attended camps in Ontario and Quebec, lived and travelled throughout Canada, the U.S. and Europe; and volunteered in the community. He loved sailing, boating and swimming, and yet, his favourite pastime was reading and talking. He could confuse anyone on any topic so that you actually believed he knew what he was talking about. But the funny thing is he actually did know each topic in depth, in spite of his long sleep-inducing buildup.
He was a man unto himself and he loved to learn. He excelled at poker and choosing winning teams in all sports. Probably the turning point in his education happened when he entered the International Baccalaureate programme and became interested in life-long learning. He avoided grade 13 because of it and moved to Montreal at an early age to study political science at Concordia University. During the summers, he worked planting the very first vines for the Old Third Winery with his great friends Bruno and Jens. He later worked during the summer at his uncle’s gold mine in the Yukon. He may have been handsome but he wasn’t too handy. Ask them.
Over the 35 years of his life, he developed many interests from genetics to stand-up comedy. Pick a subject and he’d be off to the races. He loved all things, even comparative religions. After reading the entire King James Version of the Bible, Fry’s Mythos and other religious works, he learned to appreciate these religious texts as literature. Recently, he was working on reading the entire Koran.
He could talk to anyone. He listened carefully and learned from each person. He knew something about everything it seemed. At least he saw the big picture in our world. He tried to make everyone feel at ease in conversation. One of his favourite expressions to make you feel good was “well, that’s the thing.” He was a good listener.
While he was studying at Concordia University and working in restaurants in downtown Montreal, he met his future wife, Alexandra. One glance and they were smitten at an early age. They truly were soulmates. They lived happily together for years. One day out of the blue, he finally popped the question. Alex said she ran up and down the stairs for several hours.
They tied the knot at the Waring House in beautiful Prince Edward County. As a family, we all came together and spent many happy times in the County first at the cottage on West Lake then in our house on Picton harbour.
Alex joined the TDSB as teacher and counsellor and Julian worked at Queen’s Park as a policy advisor and later as executive assistant to the Whip of the Official Opposition MPP John Yakabuski.
Julian and Alex bought a townhouse in Little Italy on Clinton Street with their hard-earned savings and soon had a baby girl Audrey Aime Warrick. Julian loved his family and his work. He spent a number of years at Queen’s Park and more recently he was hired as an advisor at Maple Leaf Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in government relations, public affairs and public opinion research.
Although Julian had travelled extensively in Europe and the United States, he always felt connected to Canada. It was truly his home. He made friends wherever he went. He was extremely happy with his life. He’d often say: what more could one ask for?
The most important thing to Julian was his young family. The love they shared was incredibly special and as someone said: “many people don’t experience that kind of love in their lifetime.”
I assured him many times that we will watch over Alex and Audrey and take care of them and that he needn’t worry. His biggest worry, however, was that Audrey wouldn’t remember him. He did everything to hang on just a little longer so he’d have a little more time with her and Alex.
So please, let’s make a commitment today to all do our best to make sure Audrey knows the wonderful man her father was and that his memory stays alive for her.
As our oldest son John says: “Julian and I had a wonderful childhood and now it’s time to focus on the next generation and make sure they do too.”
So, in that vein–our little granddaughter Lily turned three on Friday. We celebrated yesterday and she had to postpone her birthday party to come here. So, we should all wish her happy birthday and wish Audrey and her cousin Chloe a bright, happy future with hope they will each find a husband and father as devoted to Alex and Audrey as our beloved son, Julian.
Please raise your glasses and join us in celebrating a great husband, father, brother and son, Julian David Warrick.
Marilyn and David Warrick