Goodbye Good Friend

In Mexico, where we were when we received the news of my brother-in-law Doug’s  tragic and incredibly premature passing, there are underground systems of tunnels that include deep pools of green water called cenotes.

The water is cool and clear. It seems bottomless and endless. They call it sweet water. It is fresh and beautiful.

And that is what Doug was to my sister and her life. Sweet water.

He poured himself into her and brought her back to life. He quenched her thirst. Their love for each other flowed  back and forth, obvious to anyone who came across them.

My sister’s cup overflowed.

They made each other deeply and truly happy. Sometimes, they made the rest of us queasy with all their googley eyes and pet names and all that winking.

Those of you who knew Doug before Miriam, and those of us who  knew Miriam before Doug, couldn’t help but be happy along with them, that these two had found each other at last.

Doug entered our family with open arms and an open heart. He called me Sis. My children began to call him Uncle. And they meant it. My husband called him friend. My parents called him son.

The Durlings will miss Doug Cleough.

He fit in perfectly.

A man’s man unafraid to name the Wilderness Family as one of his favourite movies.

A guy who loved to talk and laugh and joke and could meet a loving barb with a quick one of his own. A helper. A shirt off his back kind of guy. A man who clearly treasured his own mother and father, his sister and her children.

But what our family treasured the most about Doug, was how much he treasured Miriam. We thank him for that.

His devotion to his own family, to his new family, and to his family of friends and co- workers are all evidence of a life well-lived. And a man well-loved. He leaves a strong legacy. Others have lived much longer and accomplished much less.

12 thoughts on “Goodbye Good Friend”

  1. We did not know Doug. Through Brent and Karen and the kids we’ve met Doug but ours was not the pleasure to know him. Karen, you have captured what we have learned of him through your family and have so beautifully placed this bouquet.

    Our hearts are with Mariam and we reach out and touch her.


    Mom and Dad Stiller

  2. Karen, we also did not have the pleasure of meeting Doug. However, we followed Miriam’s blissfully happy life through facebook and was so very happy for her when they began to build their dream home. Thank you for giving us all a little insight into the Doug we did not have a chance to get to know. Lots of love to you all xo

  3. A Great Friend passed away…..I have met hundreds of people in my life time and there comes a time when a certain someone is not only a friend but makes you feel like your brother. Doug was one of those people. We started out as rival Squad Leaders in boot camp….keep off my floors, only later to attend Boson School and then NCIP OP Fleet School….and sure enough being posted on the same ship t
    ogether onboard the HMCS Iroquois. The bond we shared for the next 3 years was amazing. We recently started talking and planned on meeting in a couple weeks for a reunion. In the mean time Doug shared how happy he was with his beautiful wife Mariam, he was proud to have served in the RCMP and was enjoying retirement and building his retirement home across from his parents. Today is a very sad day in my heart but in remembering the fun and love we shared as brothers I will always remember a Man with a Golden Heart. I miss you my friend, may we meet in the future. Mariam, my heart and prayers are with you today and always, God Bless.

  4. Angus and I met Doug many years ago while we were stationed in Tatamagouche from 1981-1986. I cannot recall Doug’s exact age but think he may have been 19 or 20. He became an auxillary RCMP member and worked with Angus and the other mounties stationed in Tatamagouche at the time. We also became great friends with Doug’s parents, Isabel and Doug and visited them at the farm many times over the years. Our children were babies at the time and they grew up knowing the Cleoughs and visiting with them. Angus tormented his sister Valerie for years and still does. As a young man, Doug came to our house and attended many parties and barbecues. Doug wanted to be a Mountie so bad, and although it took awhile to get there, he finally made it and he was so excited to be a member of the Force. We had the pleasure to visit with Doug while he was stationed in Sechelt, BC, and in Marystown, NF. We always kept in touch over the years and once Doug moved back to Dartmouth, he was able to attend all of our parties, pub nights, and other events. Doug introduced us to Miriam and we all instantly fell in love with her. Their love story was one we all enjoyed following. Watching the house building was something we enjoyed seeing on Facebook. What a shock to learn of Doug’s passing. We will all miss Doug and his smile and his charms. Its hard to understand why bad things happen to good people. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Miriam, the Cleoughs, the Durlings and Doug’s sister, Valerie and her family. Thanks Karen for setting up this blog, I know it will mean a lot to Miriam and the Cleoughs to be able to read and focus on everyones kind words.

  5. How could Dad and I be so fortunate to have two such wonderful daughters? Karen, my sweet, your words about Doug and Miriam were and are so touching–We love you and Brent and our three wonderful Ontario Grandkids so much-Thank you for being you–for being here–for bringing Erik with you and for Brent for his wonderful support and love.

  6. I did not know Doug, but I did know that he made my wonderful childhood friend, extremely happy. I saw and felt this from Miriam’s wonderful posts of their life together. I don’t understand why wonderful people are taken away from us so soon. I only know that Doug’s memory will live on in Miriam, his friends and family. Thinking of you.. Hugs.

  7. It seems unreal that just a few weeks ago, Karen, we were standing in your kitchen and you were sharing with me how Miriam and her husband Doug werer doing. Life changes In a moment and we are left trying to understand the why and cope with the gaping hole that is left in our lives. Murray and I are thinking of Miriam and her family, and all of you. Prayers and love, as always.

  8. Thank you Marion for sending us this beautiful tribute from Karen to Miriam, I wish we’d known Doug…..what a wonderful life he & Miriam shared. Our hearts & prayers go out to all of you. (old RCMP friends of Russ & Marions)

  9. What a beautiful tribute to my darlin. I truly believe in this lifetime we are meant to find our soulmate. The one person that brings you to life and blesses every minute of the day with love. By a simple wink, kiss or just a passing glance you feel like the luckiest woman on the face of the planet. My Douglas brought that to me. I have never smiled, laughed or felt so truly blessed as during the time I had with my sweetie. I feel his presence and his encouragement to carry on. In his words “sweetheart in this life there is nothing we can’t get through together…’re a Durling and a Cleough…there are no two stronger families…we will always make it through”. He would close that with a gentle butterfly kiss on my forehead, nose and then a gentle kiss to my lips. I would always fall asleep peacefully in his arms knowing I was protected from anything that came my way

  10. I have just today learned of Doug’s passing from this life and world so suddenly. Thank you Karen for writing so eloquently about the larger-than-life Doug. My thoughts and heart go out to his family. Although our paths have not crossed for many years, I considered Doug a friend and colleague.

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