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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Robin Canney dead at 53 years old....He'll be truly missed...


P.S First, I wish to apologize. There's a lot of me me me in this one. Robin was a private individual. He would never asked for favors.

My mind is telling me not to blog his story but my heart is saying - Go ahead.

I feel it's very sad for someone to leave this world without any funeral or some kind of reception.

I decided to share my story. It's the very least I can do.

Who was Robin???

Well? Many people wouldn't know the guy.

He was one of those who lives on Social Assistance. I might add he was a private individual who wouldn't asked for anything.

I first came across Robin in 2004.

He was a nice guy. I enjoyed debating issues with Robin.

He landed a job at the Fredericton Soup Kitchen.


When I would go at the Fredericton Soup Kitchen, I wouldn't hang around outside afterwards. I would leave the area and go back home.

Robin would be the only guy that I would hang around with in this area.

We would chat about different issues while enjoying a few smokes outside of the entrance of the Soup Kitchen.


Robin was a very smart individual.

Robin worked at the Fredericton Soup Kitchen and never wanted his picture taken. The Irving media made a story on the guy and he had his back turned in the picture.

Like anyone else, Robin would have mood swings.

Robin did let me know that he could take care of himself. He wasn't very tall so I found that one hard to believe.

But I did noticed if Robin didn't agree with you at all? Rather than continuing to debate the issue? He would just walk away.

I guess he had a bad temper.

The Soup Kitchen would hire some workers for a short period or people would be in there by orders from the court for Community Hours.

One of these workers was < I will call Rick >

Rick had ADHD to the extreme.

He had a attitude problem. It was his way or the highway.

This Blogger just kept his distance from the ADHD guy.

Then one day? I showed up at the Kitchen and I was surprised that Robin wasn't working?

I asked around and was told that Robin and the ADHD guy had a little confrontation.

Robin left the kitchen but not before putting his fist through a thermal window.

I saw the damage window and I said to myself- My God? This guy sure has a wicked temper. I wouldn't be strong enough to smash that window but Robin did it with one punch????

I saw Robin afterwards and he wouldn't talk about the issue. He blew his temper lost his job and that was that!!!

He just moved on with his life.

I must add this little story I had with the ADHD Guy.

A few days later, I was volunteering at the Kitchen.

The system goes like this!!!

One guy cleans the dishes clean from the food.


The other rinse them and forward them to the dishwasher.

Picture 026

The third party is on the other side and puts the dishes away.

Rick the ADHD guy was putting the dishes away.

Everyone has their own system of cleaning dishes and I had mine.

To make a long story short?

Rick didn't like my system and slammed a tray on the little platform in front of me.

Just like Robin? I have a wicked temper but I just ignore the guy and went back to my own system.

Rick the ADHD guy pushed me aside and ordered me to do it his way.

Well? I quickly left and told the Cook < Gene >


My God? This guy is a nut case and I left the area.

On a funny note, Gene called George < who runs the Kitchen > to tell him what just happened?

Picture 018

George replied - Don't tell me that Charles hit him???

Gene shot back - Nope!!! But I believe Charles views on Ritalin has change!!!



So? I could truly understand why Robin lost his temper with the ADHD guy!!!

But this unfortunate saga never stop Robin.

I remember one period that I had no money or smokes. Robin would quickly give me a handful of cigarettes and said - We share!!!

So true and every instance he would asked me for a smoke? I would do the same.

People on Social Assistance do share their smokes.

On July 27th, someone told me Robin was diagnose with Pancreatic cancer.

To be honest with you? I didn't know much about this kind of Cancer. I said to myself - Ohhhh...Robin will be OK. He's a fighter.

The next day, I was volunteering at the Kitchen.

I noticed the place was very quiet and some people had to go in the back to control their emotion.

What was the big deal?

Robin walked in and it wasn't the same Robin. He lost around 40 pounds. My God? He looked terrible.

I told the Chef that I was leaving once Robin left the Kitchen.

He left the building but he didn't go to his normal hang out on the railing. He walked across the driveway and sat down under a tree.

He had to sit on the ground because his legs were weak.

We had a nice straight forward chat.

Robin wasn't the type to show any emotion or asked for help.

I knew Robin had strong views on certain issues. I told the guy if he had something to say? I would do a video and blog it after he died which should be in 6 to 60 years from now?

He told me that he would think about it? But I knew he wouldn't because he was a private guy.

I took this picture once he left.


The next day, I went on a little tirade because I knew Robin lived in a Rooming House and he had way too much pride to ask for help.

People living in Rooming Houses are soon forgotten and the Government don't care.

But I was dead wrong in Robin's case.

The Extra Mural Nurses would visit Robin in his place.


He told me the Nurses were very good with him. I was told these nurses are the best!!!

It was August and those Rooming Houses are Hot!!! Especially since he was living on the top floor.

I would pay the guy a visit asking him if he needed anything?

He was ok.

He had some people with a car who was watching him.

Robin got lucky. His neighbors found out about his Cancer so they offered him a nice area on their front Poach so he could be at ease. Late at night, it was way too hot and Robin would go outside to relax on the cozy chair.


Robin didn't want to go to the Hospital because he knew he wouldn't leave the place alive.

Robin was a heavy smoker and there are no places for smokers in the Hospital.

In Saint John they do have an area but not Fredericton.

Don't seem to be fair.

I would visit my friend once in a while. He told me that many people were asking about his health just because they were nosy. He didn't mind my company but he was a private guy.

Every instance that I would see Robin he would lose and lose more weight.

Robin would drive his bicycle because it wasn't hard on his legs. It was better than walking.

Some people were concern when Robin would go to the store for some smokes. But in true Robin style? He would say - Why be worried? Am I going to get killed?

He knew his time in this world was limited so why worry?

He let it known that he wasn't afraid of death.

I heard his family came over and was in contact with him so I left the guy alone.

One day, I heard that Robin finally landed in the hospital.


I decided to visit my friend.

Once I walked into his room. I felt like the Scrooge visiting his former dying partner < I'll get to that one later >


Robin was surprise to see me at the Hospital.

There he was just lying in bed over his blankets. The curtains were close. No television. no nothing.

It's very very very difficult to visit a friend in the condition he was in.

What can you say or do????

His voice wasn't as strong as it used to be.

He lost more weight.

I took a seat and the nurses would take care of him. Robin told me the Nurses were doing great work. They were good to him.

I noticed a television in the corner. I asked if he had TV? Does it work???

He told me not to fool around with the television.

I noticed a couple of magazines on the table.

One of them was a science Book!!

I was told by someone who was a teacher. He was Robin's teacher when he was in the third Grade. He told me Robin was a very smart and good kid in class.

I told Robin - I didn't know you were into Science???

He told me the books were in the room when he came in.

I asked Robin - Can I buy you an Irving's paper???

Robin didn't want anything.

After insisting to the guy that I wanted to get him something so he could passed the time.

I suggested the National Enquirer???

He agreed!

I believe Robin just wanted to get me out of the room?


So out the room I went to get my friend a National Enquirer!

Once at the Gift shop, I quickly located the gossip magazine.


I gave the woman 10 bucks and received my change.

I asked - How much does this magazine cost?

She replied- $5.25!!!




I was shocked!! $5.25???

While in the hospital elevator, I noticed a woman beside me and I said - $5.25 for this?????

The woman recognized me and said- Hi Charles!!!

In the past, I would act like a politician and just pretend I know the person.

This time? I asked - Do I know you???

She told me she was Social Worker for the Hospital and I wrote about her in my blog close to two years ago.

It's a sad but funny blog.

Click below -

Social worker at the hospital

I asked the Social worker if she could arrange getting a television for my very sick friend?

He's the type who won't ask for a TV and he has no money.

The Social worker took the info. < I found later on from a friend who visited him that he had a television. Thank you to the Social worker.>

I walked into Robin's room and this is where the Scrooge comes in.

I was still bitching of the price of the National Enquirer!!! $5.25????

I stayed in the room for 10 minutes and decided to leave the poor guy alone.

He was going through enough then listening to me complain about the price of the gossip magazine!!


Before I left I did bitch one last time.

In true Robin fashion? He said in a weak voice - Charles?? Take the magazine with you!!! I really don't want it!!


Yes, if a person can't buy a gift without bitching? Take it with ya!!!!

Yes....this was the true Robin's style.

I left the Magazine with Robin and went home.

I noticed that I wasn't my hyper self. I walked all the way home without listening to my music. I was just thinking of my poor friend who was waiting to die. So sad!!!

Many people went and paid a visit to Robin. I was told he didn't recognized some of them.

I decided to pay one last visit to my friend.

It was last Saturday, I walked inside his room and he was surrounded by family members. They were holding his hand and didn't know who I was?

Robin's sister recognized me as the Blogger!!

She introduced me to the rest of the Family.

I wasn't certain if Robin would recognized me or not??

I asked- Remember me???

Of course, you don't forget the Devil but in a very weak voice, He said - Chharrllessss.


Well. His mind was alert but he was very weak.

I didn't know what to say or do?

It was a very sad atmosphere.

I decided to tell the story of the National Enquirer. We had a good chuckle.

Robin was alert and listening.

You could tell that the drugs was helping him from the pain. I heard that my Grand Father was screaming in pain when he died in his 50s.

In those days, there were no prescription pills to ease the pain. It must have been very painful.

After a while he said something.

But I had to put my ear close to his mouth so I could hear him.

He said - He needed to go to sleep.

He closed his eyes and I began to feel some emotion.

I touched his hand and wish him well.

The members of the family were outside and I just said - I'm not good at this and left the area.

They replied- We're not either...

I was very emotional.

Once downstairs, I noticed a homeless guy in the Emergency Room.

I told him that Robin was in the hospital and near death.

I suggested he should go and visit him?

He asked - What's Robin last name?

This is so true. I know many people first name who are on Social Assistance but not their last name. I will admit that I didn't even know his last name until the last few weeks.

I wonder why?

Once again, I walked home feeling very down.

Hours later Robin died.....

Robin Canney

Robin Henry Canney born in Plaster Rock to the late Leo and Edrid Canney of Lower St. Mary’s, February 15, 1956. Survived by sisters, Janet (John) Harding, Jill (Dave) Benn and Marilee; brothers, Mike (Lynn) and Lee (Tamara); stepmother, Frances; several nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends. Predeceased by his parents; brother, John and grandparents.

At his request there will be no funeral; a private graveside burial will take place in St. Mary’s Anglican Church Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Fredericton Community Kitchen. Personal condolences may be offered through www.yorkfh.com

Yes, this is the way Robin would have wanted it. No Funeral.

The Soup Kitchen help him out in times of need and he's asking the public to donate money to the needy place instead of flowers.

Robin was a very nice guy and I'm glad that I had the honor to meet him.

He would always give me some advice to help me and he'll be missed.

He's the first person that I saw dying of Pancreatic cancer in front of my very eyes < I hope he's the last > and I pray that I never catch this dreadful form of Cancer. < No Cancer is good anyway >

I know he's right beside God watching over us.


My deepest sympathy to his family.....



Anonymous said...

That is one of the nicest memorials I have ever heard Charles. You speak from your heart. Thank you for sharing Robin with us.

It is not what you give your friend, but what you are willing to give him that determines the quality of friendship. -- Mary Dixon Thayer

Awareness said...

beautifully written and expressed Charles. A truly memorable tribute to your friend.

Anonymous said...

Wow Charles..first my condolences to you on the passing away of your friend. That is tough. My accolades on such a warm, emotional and touching story. It surely must have been hard to write.Take care, and yes, may we all never be touched by this terrible disease called cancer. Tax Payer John

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Charles, I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. That was a very touching, and well written, and emotional tribute you wrote about him on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Charles - your tribute to this man made me cry.

Anonymous said...

My sincere condolences. He sounds like he meant a lot to you. May he rest in peace.

Michael G. McKay said...

It was last Saturday aftern, during my volunteer shift at the Fredericton, Community Kitchen, that I learned that my Friend Robin Canney, was in the hospital probably for the last time, I used to work with him on shift, when I worked there on a NB government employment program and also when I used to volunteer there as well. I was deeply saddened to hear of my friend's passing. and I will truly miss him. My deepest and heart felt sympathy I extend to his surviving family members and also offer my sincere prayers, that God of all consolation, will comfort each one of them at this most difficult time.

I miss you my friend,Rest in Peace
Michael G. McKay

Michael G. McKay said...

Very well written Charles, I appreciate the heart felt way in which you shared about yours and my friend. Things will not quite be the same, with robin not hear to crack a joke or to converse with.

Thanks for sharing Charlie.

Michael G. McKay

Anonymous said...

sorry charles for the lost of your friend, my father had the same cancer, there is no cure and they usually last no longer than 2 years, they loss a lot of weight and need to use the bathroom often, they have stomach pain, usually it comes with diabethes, the same as patrick swayze, your tribute was very touching, good job.

Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for your compassionate words about our dear friend Robin.

Days and years may pass by quickly but we must always remember one thing, " Memories Never Die" So again,thank you.

May God Bless you Charles and keep you going strong for the work you have been doing for our Community Family.

Till we meet again Robin.



Anonymous said...

Thank you Charles for putting into words what many of us are feeling. Robin was a special, brilliant man who was taken too soon.

RIP Robin. We'll miss you.


Anonymous said...

Hi Charles. I really want to thank you for this blog. It really touched my heart.
Robin was my half brother. I am the very youngest of my Father's children. (the 7th) :O
It has been a whole year now since his passing, and I wanted you to know that I really appreciate what you've wrote; it gives me something to look back on. He was a very private individual, and unfortunately I didn't get to spend much time with him over the years. (until close to the end)
The memories of seeing him looking so unwell are hard memories to swallow. So again, thank you for your pictures, and your very kind words.
Take care, and keep doing what you do best.
Honestly, someone should hire you!! You are a very good and well educated writer. You also bring to the table what so many others wish they could say!!

Very appreciated,
Marilee Canney

Charles LeBlanc said...



I plan to re-blog the story on September 20th and will pay a visit to his grave....


Anonymous said...

This is one of the only times that I have ever commented on your blog, mainly because most of the time I find you a little too aggressive I guess. I know one time you clipped me with your camera as you were trying to get in front of the reporters for a shot. I do however appreciate the respects that you have given my family and I enjoy hearing about my uncle in a different light than what I am used to. I know his death did a lot of damage to my mom and aunts and uncles. There's been too much death in their family, and it takes it's toll. For once Charles, I can thank you.

Frederica said...

Beautiful tribute. Robin was one of God's special angels and he needed him back home. He sent him into your life because He is watching over you. It was God reaching out to you through him. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this amazing story. Its so nice to hear that my uncle impacted so many people in such a positive way. You could'nt be more correct when saying he was a very private man. The few memories I do have of him, I will cherish. Everyone has their faults & finding the good in others is one of lifes simple pleasures.
<3 Ashlee.