A letter to my hero

To my hero,

I have never met anyone like you before, and your belief in me was really something that I hadn’t encountered before. Your guidance and support for me was something that I will always treasure and hold close to my heart.

It’s not often you meet someone that you work with that makes such a huge impact on your life, and you did that for me. You made every day brighter, and gave me the direction and guidance to succeed. It would be an understatement to say that I miss you already, there is a hole in my heart that only you can fill. Every minute that I spent with you was a minute that I will cherish forever, minutes that made me a better person.

Your creativity and spice for life will always be unmatched, and I truly believe that there isn’t a single person that can do the job that you did… let alone come even close. I remember you talked about the things that you wanted to do – you were working on a screenplay and thinking of a platform for your next blog. You wanted everyone that you worked with to grow, to develop, and you never judged anyone based on problems that they were having or because they weren’t the person they could be. Instead you helped them grow into who they COULD be, and you saw potential in everyone you came in contact with.

If you hadn’t left when you did, you would be my mentor. I would be one of the luckiest people to have you guiding me through my professional life. But you didn’t get that chance. While I understand that you needed time to try and get better, to be with your friends and family – I was angry at the sickness that took you away from me. I was selfish. I didn’t feel that I had enough time with you, and I still don’t. How could cancer take someone that I care about away from me? I was confused. I hadn’t experienced this before. My feelings were all over the place. I was optimistic. I truly believed you would be back in the office, rested and healed in no time. I was wrong.

You truly have a beautiful soul, and you’re someone that I will never forget. Everything I learned from you I will keep with me forever, and I want you to know that you really changed my life. As I sit here drowning in my own tears, I know you are with me. You will be with me for the rest of my career, and for the rest of my life. I know you would be telling me not to worry about you, to keep fighting the good fight. You would tell me that my no-fear-no-bullshit attitude scared you a little bit, but you would also tell me that I can do whatever I want to do, that I am capable of anything. You would let me into your safe zone, tell me that whatever I say to you stays with you. That you would develop amnesia and that I can swear and yell all that I need to without feeling like I’m being judged.

I will be a very happy woman if I end up being HALF as amazing as you are, HALF as brilliant as you are, and HALF the person as you are. I know that you’re in better place now, surrounded by love and happiness – all the pain is gone. I hope that wherever you are, you know that I carry a piece of you with me. You are forever my mentor, forever my hero.

Rest In Peace Janet, I will never forget you.




  1. Zoltan Hawryluk · November 10, 2011

    Excellent obituary.

    As Janet’s brother-in-law, it comforts me to read this. She was a remarkable woman, a mentor for me as well, and a person I would just love to watch and get done what she set her mind to. I am sure you are well on your way to follow in her footsteps.

    Thank you for this.


  2. Amanda Horsford · November 10, 2011

    We haven’t been formally introduced but your words sound hauntingly familiar. I have been so fortunate to have called Janet my mentor for over the dozen years that we worked together that it is wonderful to hear stories of her continuing to nurture and support everyone she works with, especially young women getting started in the business. I too feel that we have been robbed of a great soul, as Janet was taken before her time, but I think that those of us fortunate enough to have her guidance will be able to continue with her values and initiatives.
    Thank you.

    • Marissa Gagnier · November 12, 2011

      Thank you Amanda. It’s amazing to see how many people she impacted, such a remarkable woman. She left a legacy the rest of us can only dream to leave behind.

  3. hiroicactor · November 22, 2011

    Hey Marissa. My name is Lorne and I am Janet’s husband. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely letter. If you would like me to keep you informed about the book’s progress, you can “friend” me on facebook and we can keep in touch. Please send me a message as well so that I don’t forget…

    Be well,
    Lorne Hiro

    • Marissa Gagnier · November 24, 2011

      Thanks for the comment Lorne. I would feel wrong not sharing Janet with the world, as she made such an impact on me. I will find you on Facebook and message you about the book.

      Thank you very much.


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