Tosca Reno

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Friday, June 15, 2012

A Celebration of Life for my Husband

My family outside of Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica - Robert's favourite LA hotel -
 moments before his Celebration of Life. 
If you have been following along throughout the last few months and weeks you know we have been mourning the loss of my husband, Robert Kennedy.  He passed on April 12th, 2012 from inoperable and incurable lung cancer, though he never smoked.  This has been a shock of enormous magnitude for myself and the entire family as well as the fitness and health industry.  We have celebrated Robert's life and his numerous contributions through various events, most of which were held in Canada, as this was our home.  At these occasions we had the chance to share stories, tears, memories, photographs, videos and so much more.  We even held a showing of Robert's magnificent paintings.  Bob was an accomplished painter, painting under the alias, Wolfgang Kals and his work lives in the homes of collectors around the globe.

On June 10th a private event was held at the Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica just down the beach from Venice - the birth place of the physical culture movement and the very place where Robert's dream of sharing his love for health and fitness through publications was born.  There was no question this was the place we needed to host our industry event not only to respect Bob but to be sure we could invite our business partners and long-time friends in the industry to share in our Celebration of Life for Bob.  Many of them live in this geographical area, particularly some of our most distinguished guests including Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno and others.  So many people expressed a wish to join us in this event, we were thrilled to hear it and to experience such vibrancy of love and respect for Bob.
At The Firehouse, Bob's favorite restaurant in Venice. 
The family travelled to Los Angeles a few days prior to the event in order to give ourselves some time to adjust and settle in. We participated in the preparations leading up to the event but my publicist, Sylvie Bordeaux, handled everything in California.  My daughter, Kelsey-Lynn, did a fabulous job of putting together the entire event including the video that brought most of us to tears - it was so powerful to hear Robert's voice again. There were still many things to accomplish.  For one, I did not have an appropriate dress to wear, according to my children, so it gave them great pleasure to dissuade me from wearing a dumpy navy dress and take me shopping instead.  You will see by the photos what they found for me.  We also spent much needed time together in Santa Monica and Venice Beach, the places Bob had taken us when he was alive.  We wanted to feel his spirit here.  We rented bikes and rode along the boardwalk from Shutters on the Beach hotel to the weight pit in Venice Beach.  We visited the Pier in Santa Monica where so many photo shoots took place.  We ate at the Firehouse, Bob's favorite breakfast place.  Bodybuilders often come here after a good lifting session.  And we simply relaxed or surfed on the beach.  I truly felt my husband's presence.  It was special to be reminded of the many wonderful things we did together here in beautiful California.
Cycling around Santa Monica and Venice. 
The celebratory event took place on Sunday June 10th. My dear friend, and a favourite of Robert's, Nancy Jambazian made us look beautiful for the big day. Brendan, who played the pipes so beautifully in the church during Bob's funeral, brought his pipes for us and played as we walked into the venue.  It is not often you hear bagpipes in California. You are more likely to hear the guitar.  The astonished faces of onlookers proved just how amazing his music was.  The family marched in behind Brendan and took our seats as one after another guest speaker took their turn expounding on their Bob experiences.  Arnold was first to speak, followed by Lou Ferrigno, Rachel McLish, John Balik, Irvin Gelb, Bob Proctor, Elaine Lalanne and myself.  The event was hosted by the supremely smooth talking Lonnie Teper.  I think Bob would have been so proud.
Brendan piping us out of the ceremony.
Photo Credit: Ron Avidan
During Arnold's Easter Sunday visit at our home in Canada, just days before Robert passed, Bob indicated he wanted to gift Arnold with a magnificent painting he had done of his long time friend.  That painting had been crated and shipped to LA in time for the ceremony.  All went quiet when the family took their place at the front of the room and Arnold was requested to join us.  The painting was given in friendship to Arnold as the final step in a wish Bob had expressed to me months ago.  Everyone was deeply moved by the moment and now the painting hangs in Arnold's home.  Robert I know you would be so proud.
Presenting Arnold with Robert's painting.
Photo Credit: Ron Avidan
After I finished my speech, I received a standing ovation in honor of Robert.  It was breathtaking!

Then, as if Robert were truly in the room, the sun shone through and a magnificent party ensued on the patio of the Casa Del Mar hotel overlooking the dazzling Pacific Ocean.  People from as far away as Australia and Tokyo arrived to celebrate.  It was a spectacular day.
Celebrating Robert on the patio of the Casa del Mar Hotel
with champagne, sunshine and wonderful friends.
Robert I never wanted to fly solo, but I know you are here with me. I am honored to carry on in your name.  And I will.

Love
Your Tossee!

P.S. You can see more photos of the day here care of Bodybuilding.com.
P.P.S. Read more on Robert's Memorial Facebook page.

4 comments:

  1. What a beautiful celebration of an amazing life! My prayers are with you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a nice celebration of Bob's life. Thanks for posting. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, Tosca, you did it again. I'm sitting here with tears brimming. I'm so thankful you had this amazing opportunity to love on Robert and have people love on you. Trusting you'll feel Bob's arms wrap around you in the days, weeks, months to come.

    ReplyDelete



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