This is my first blog post since last July. I apologize for taking this long to post something here.

The past year has been difficult for me and my family. For those of you who do not already know, my wife Carol passed away on January 29th. We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on December 29th, only a month earlier. Carol’s health had been declining for some time, as she bravely battled an illness for which there is no cure. I have been hesitant on posting something about Carol’s passing, but have decided to do this. I hope that sharing a little bit of Carol’s amazing life will help keep her memory alive.

My first date with Carol. Hiking and picking crocuses at Beaver Mines, Alberta.
Jesse, my lab, joined us.
May 1992

Carol was diagnosed with dementia about four years ago. The progression of this disease is slow. Seldom is it in a hurry. There is a good reason why it’s called “the long goodbye.”

Carol and I always did a lot of things together in the outdoors and this continued, even after her diagnosis. We made lots of excursions around the Crowsnest Pass and southern Alberta, doing as many things as possible – things we liked to do together. We hiked, went for walks, picked wildflowers, and had picnics together. We went to Writing on Stone Provincial Park. Even though we only lived a few hours away, it was the first time either of us had visited this park. We made trips to Waterton Lakes National Park and made dozens upon dozens of trips to Beauvais Lake Provincial Park. We went for ice cream many times at the Old Dairy Ice Cream Shoppe in Bellevue, something Carol particularly enjoyed.

Oldman River
July 2019
South Castle River
September 2020

Eventually, it became difficult for Carol to do some of the outdoor activities she enjoyed so much. When this happened, we started going on more sightseeing trips in the car. Carol loved going for drives to look for bluebirds, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, and other wildlife. Sometimes, we did this twice a day. Carol’s sister Cecile would often join us. Until last April when Carol moved to Fort Macleod Extendicare, she accompanied me on many of the photo shoots I conducted for my blog. Whether it was photographing Canada geese and grebes nesting at Beauvais Lake, an old school bus rusting away in a storage compound along Highway 3, people bouldering in the Frank Slide, kayakers paddling on Emerald Lake, or anglers ice-fishing on Lee Lake, Carol was right there, with me.

Cameron Falls – Waterton Park
September 2021

Grieving the loss of your parents or a sibling can be tough enough to deal with. Losing a close friend or relative can also be difficult. I have experienced all these losses in recent years. Most of us have had to go through these sad events at one time or another. The death of a loved one is something we will all experience at some point during our life. But nothing compares to losing your spouse. It’s an entirely different experience and grieving process. At least it has been for me. Not only have you lost your life partner, but it’s also like you have lost part of yourself. The only thing I can think of that might be more difficult to experience would be the loss of one of your children.

My grieving did not start on January 29th, when Carol passed – it began when Carol was diagnosed with dementia. Like the disease, my grieving progressed slowly. Watching Carol’s health decline before my eyes was heartbreaking. Carol was always so full of life and energy. She was always happy, cheerful, and smiling. She was always busy. When not working at the fly shop, she was at home, or somewhere else, doing something “important.” Carol was like the Energizer Bunny – she kept going and going. She lived life to the fullest. She was never afraid to try something new, whether it was learning to use a computer, taking up quilting, or making a drum. Carol loved her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, dearly. And they loved her.

Carol and great-grandchildren, Sawyer, Piper, and Walker
December 2019
Carol and granddaughter, Chynna
Fort Macleod, Alberta
July 2022

There was a period when Carol knew she was having a difficult time remembering things. One day, she said to me, “I don’t know what I did wrong for this to happen, but I’m going to find out and fix it.” That was Carol – even when facing adversity, she was trying to solve problems and make things better. That’s the type of person she was. Carol fought her illness until the very end. She never lost her smile or sense of humour. She remained strong, courageous, and loving, until the end of her life. Carol made it possible for some of the best things to have happened in my life. I will never forget this.

Carol and me, inside the Crowsnest Angler Fly Shop
August 1999

I have received amazing support from my family and friends. Thank you all very much. I would like to thank everyone who sent cards, texts, and emails, and for all the “checking to see how you’re doing” calls I have received. I would also like to thank my staff at the fly shop for covering for me, so I could spend as much time as possible with Carol over the past several years.

We are holding a Celebration of Life for Carol in Winnipeg in July. Last Saturday, a dinner was held in the Crowsnest Pass where our family and Carol’s friends gathered in her memory. We also watched a tribute video I made for Carol. As it gets closer to Carol’s Celebration of Life event, I will post the link to the video here.

Dinner with Carol’s family and friends
March 25, 2023
(click image for larger view)

It’s early spring now. Soon, robins and bluebirds will arrive in the Crowsnest Pass. Crocuses and glacier lilies will bloom once again on the sunny hillsides overlooking Turtle Mountain, and this year’s fawns and the young of other wildlife will be born. Life will carry on, as it always does.

Carol sitting in the forest, amongst a sea of glacier lilies
Crowsnest Pass, Alberta
May 21, 2017

Final Thoughts
They say that healing starts when you can share your grief with others. It hasn’t been easy for me to do this but I’m working on it.

Not long after Carol passed, I came across something in her sewing room that I believe she intended to give me. Inside an unwrapped gift box was a lovely hard-cover notebook with the following poem attached to the top. For some reason, I never received it. Knowing Carol, she probably knew I would find it, eventually.
I love you, Carol.

Do Not Ask Me to Remember

Do not ask me to remember,
Don’t try to make me understand,
Let me rest and know you’re with me,
Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

I’m confused beyond your concept,
I am sad and sick and lost.
All I know is that I need you
To be with me at all cost.

Do not lose your patience with me,
Do not scold or curse or cry.
I can’t help the way I’m acting,
Can’t be different though I try.

Just remember that I need you,
That the best of me is gone,
Please don’t fail to stand beside me,
Love me ’til my life is done.

– Owen Darnell

Here are a few more photos of Carol taken during our earlier years.

Crowsnest Pass
August 1992
Crowsnest Pass
August 1992

Carol and me hiking on Turtle Mountain – 1992
Carol and Chynna
Castle River – 1999
Pine Coulee, Alberta
September 2009
Cochrane Lake – June 2016
Carol and Vic – 2016
This entry was posted in More Important Things and tagged , .


  1. Jim O'Neil April 3, 2023 at 10:09 am #

    Vic, what a wonderful tribute you prepared for Carol. She was an important part of the Crowsnest Angler and a lovely lady. Take care of yourself my friend.

    • Vic Bergman April 3, 2023 at 5:08 pm #

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks very much. Carol was always there for me, whether it was at the shop or away from the shop.

    • Ian Ricketts April 23, 2023 at 9:58 am #


      Thanks for sharing this with others. It’s a beautiful tribute to your life with Carol. The photo of you both in the shop seems like just yesterday. Carol’s smile was often the first one that greeted me when I stopped into the shop. I always left thinking, that Vic, what a great life he must have. So lucky. I’m very sorry for your loss.


      • Vic Bergman May 4, 2023 at 7:11 am #

        Hi Ian,

        It seems like only yesterday when the photo of Carol and me was taken behind the front counter in the shop. I was very fortunate to have had her in my life. She loved being in the shop and meeting people. Thanks for your condolences.

  2. Hector & Annette Dem March 30, 2023 at 6:15 pm #

    Beautiful tribute to Carol Vic.
    We will all miss our kanasta games on our visit to Bellevue.
    May she rest in peace.

    • Vic Bergman March 30, 2023 at 8:18 pm #

      Hi Hector and Annette,

      Carol really loved you guys. She is at peace now. I will miss Carol immensely. She always enjoyed playing cards with you when you came to visit us. I am looking forward to seeing both of you at Carol’s Celebration of Life in Winnipeg in July. Thank you.

  3. Kathleen Cable March 30, 2023 at 1:21 pm #

    Dear Vic and Family,
    What a wonderful tribute to Carol. My most sincere condolences to all.

    • Vic Bergman March 30, 2023 at 1:53 pm #

      Hi Kathy,

      Thank you. I appreciate it very much.

  4. Robert garnier March 29, 2023 at 7:39 pm #

    Vic: Real nice tribute….thanks for sharing.

    • Vic Bergman March 29, 2023 at 9:34 pm #

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks very much for making it possible for me to take time away from the shop the past two seasons. This really helped me.

  5. Lauree Lavoie March 29, 2023 at 2:45 pm #

    Hello Vic,
    The Lavoie family would like to extend our deepest condolences to you! You have become our summer family and as such we send you much love and healing as you progress on life’s journey.
    See you soon!
    All the best,
    Daniel, Monet, Yvon and Lauree Lavoie

    • Vic Bergman March 29, 2023 at 5:53 pm #

      Hi Lauree, Monet, Daniel, and Yvon,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate it very much. You have become my summer family, as well. I’m looking forward to seeing you soon, too.

  6. Allan Palmer March 29, 2023 at 12:54 pm #

    Vic, I’m so sorry to hear of Carol’s passing! I can’t imagine the joy that she brought to your life but I know that she touched my life! It was always a joy to come to the shop and find her there! A story of 1 of my encounters with her if you don’t mind.
    Many years ago I drove down from Okotoks to go fishing at Lee Lake. Along the way I realized that I had left my net at home. But no problem, I’ll stop and pick one up at Crowsnest Angler! I pulled into lot in front of the store. A vehicle was there so I knew the store was open! Wrong! It was closed but Carol was there doing something and was kind enough to let me in and buy a net! It struck me then that that was probably typical for her!
    Again, my condolences Vic!

    • Vic Bergman March 29, 2023 at 12:59 pm #

      Hi Allan,

      Thank you for sharing your story about Carol. That’s exactly what Carol would have done. She was awesome in the shop. It was never the same in the shop when Carol stopped coming here. Thanks again.

  7. Chris March 29, 2023 at 12:20 pm #

    Hi Vic, sorry to hear about Carol. I started following your photography last year. We can all only hope to share such wonderful trips and sights with a person like Carol. You lucked out finding a gal like her. Take care.

    Warner, AB

    • Vic Bergman March 29, 2023 at 12:43 pm #

      Hi Chris,

      Thank you very much. Carol and I did a lot of fun things together. She was the best.

  8. Walter Hildenbrandt March 29, 2023 at 12:00 pm #

    Good afternoon Vic,

    My sincere condolences to you and your family. May God comfort and surround you and your family at this time.

    • Vic Bergman March 29, 2023 at 12:40 pm #

      Hi Walter,

      Thank you. I appreciate this very much.

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