I am Canadian! I have always been proud to be Canadian and I have always been grateful to be Canadian. I am still proud and grateful to be Canadian🇨🇦
These days I am less than excited about some of my fellow Canadians.
I am not now, nor have I ever been a fan of Don Cherry. To be honest I am not a hockey fan so for the most part I have been able ignore him, if not his history of ignorant remarks.
I am not now, nor have I ever been a fan of the rude, arrogant, entitled Alberta attitude. I support the Canadian oil industry and definitely believe such products should be shipped via pipelines. I also support the enforcement of regulations to protect our environment and the investment in renewable resources.
I am not a fan of Andrew Scheer, Jason Kenney, Scott Moe, Doug Ford or Yves-Francois Blanchet. I would be the first to respect anyone’s right to vote for them but they will never get my vote.
I love Canada. I support diversity, economic growth and environmental protection. I support Canadian values – kindness, respect, peace, pride, hard work and unity.
From as long back as I can remember, my Mother would dwell on her own mortality. Every Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving would be her last. Every health episode was fodder for stories that would be told time and time again, with every supporting actor placed at her bedside, anxiously waiting for her to gasp her last breath. Occasionally, she would even adopt health episodes that had actually been mine or my siblings, just to shake things up a bit. I am not sure why she was so obsessed with dying but she lived to be ninety-five and was relatively active and healthy virtually to the end.
The thing is, I was never terribly comfortable listening to my mother go on about her near death experiences or her impending doom. I should probably have been more sensitive to her desire to discuss death but death in general just wasn’t my favourite topic.
Over the years, I have done a fairly passable job of avoiding thinking about my own mortality. I have had a few serious, life threatening episodes – although to be honest I didn’t really understand the severity of such situations at the time. Morphine does that for me. By the time the morphine wears off, I am generally on the road to recovery so there isn’t that much to dwell on. Until lately…
A few weeks ago I had an outbreak of shingles. I knew one woman who had shingles. She was my Mother’s next door neighbour and she was about ninety-seven at the time. My first thought was holy hell – I am old! I have since heard from a number of people who had shingles outbreaks before they turned ninety-seven and and even long before they reached my sixty-four years. But my initial reaction to the diagnosis was shock.
My doctor prescribed an antiviral drug that controlled the shingles rash and made my entire body feel strangely numb. The outbreak passed and other than my eye still being quite itchy, I am almost fine. But not really. I lost my appetite, a good fifteen pounds and a lot of strength. I am so tired. I still struggle. I am definitely reminded that my own death is coming, not today, but sometime in the forseeable future.
I am not excited at the prospect of dying – but the idea does not terrify me. I have been re-invented so many times in this life that the idea of radical change does not bother me. I believe a part of me will stay here with the people I love. I believe a part of me will become a part of the afterlife where others who have passed before me exist. I am pretty sure I will know I am back in their presence. I think it will be beautiful and peaceful, warm and pleasant. I am not anxious to get there, but I am pretty sure it will be ok.
This day has been a long time coming. Twenty two years ago when I met Dan I knew he had a sister, I knew they were close, and I knew she wanted us to visit her – in Costa Rica. Twenty two years ago it was an obscure plan that I could shove into some dusty corner of my mind and ignore. Now it has caught up with me and there seems to be no more avoiding the inevitable.
I have nothing against my sister-in-law and I definitely owe it to my husband. He was been dragged through a couple of decades of drama with my family, so I truly want to do this for him, but that does not make it any easier.
For starters, the flight options from Regina to Costa Rica are poor to totally miserable. 24 hours of airports and airtime miserable. It’s a toss up but I am pretty sure the only thing worse than being on an airplane is being in an airport. 😬
Then there is Costa Rica. I know that Costa Rica is beautiful. I have seen the pictures. Dan’s sister has a beautiful home. To get there from the airport, all we have to do is drive miles and miles of narrow, twisting, winding roads. 😳
Once we reach our destinations it’s two weeks of sunshine, ocean views and secluded beaches – and countless varieties of creepy, crawly lizards and the such. 😥
Then it’s another 24 hours of airports and airtime and TADA we are landing in Saskatchewan to ice and snow and forty below weather. 🤯
I know I have to get through this. I know I will get through this. It took us three trips to the passport office but we have our passports. We just have to juggle Dan’s schedule, weigh our flight options, book our trip, find a kennel for Kat and do it.
My father passed away 26 years ago. To this day, the thing that I most remember about him was his kindness.
It did not matter who you were relative to him – family, friend, or stranger – my father was always kind. Your heritage, politics, religion, age, IQ or status did not matter to my father – he was always kind.
One miserable winter day, my dad saw an old man passing by in a thin, worn sweater. Dad called him into our shop and told him that he had been going through some jackets that someone had given him and asked if he could take one off his hands. The old man said he would be grateful for one, if there was one to spare. Dad took a warm jacket off of our coat rack, held it out to the old man and nonchalantly said “This one should fit about right”. The old man left, not only with Dad’s best winter jacket but with his dignity as well. That was just Dad’s kind way.
When Dad was eighty years old he developed cancer of the sinuses. He lived and suffered unimaginably for four years with it. The last few months of his life were spent in hospital. He weighed less than fifty pounds. His face was disfigured and his body was skeletal. His entire diet was tea and soft toast. He was so weak that he needed to be lifted up onto pillows to sit up. At his funeral, the parish priest spoke about what a good man Dad was and about the condition he was in the last few months of his life. He said it was difficult to go to visit him because it was so heart wrenching to see the condition he was in. But, he would go to visit him and when he got there Dad would insist on being propped up on his pillows. He would thank him for coming and then he would ask how the renovations on the church hall were going. He would tell him about our latest family news. Before long it would be time for the visit to end and the priest would leave, always amazed, at how pleasant it had been. Even dying, my father, could not stand to see people uncomfortable. He was that kind to the end.
November 13th is ‘World Day of Kindness’. Having grown up with the father I had, I believe every day should be ‘World Day of Kindness’. I think we should always strive to be better and what can possibly be better than being kind?
People are taking time today to pay their respects to those who have fought for our right to live our lives in peace and freedom. These brave men and women, who have given everything, up to and including their own lives, deserve nothing less and so much more.
My parents were newlyweds during the second world war. While the battlefields were across the ocean, the war was felt everywhere. For the most part, young men fought the battles on the fields, however, virtually all played a part in the war effort. The men and women who were not fighting were serving as medics, field mechanics, drivers and more. They worked to keep factories, stores, schools, hospitals, and more operating at home. They built and maintained training bases for the forces in Canada. Families and friends, at home and abroad, mourned new losses every week. Young wives were left young widows with families to raise alone. Everywhere, people struggled with shortages and rationing of food and other necessities. Even the children and the elderly, were victims of the widespread devastation and destruction, suffered losses, and made sacrifices that we cannot conceive of today.
Today we must remember the reality of war and all that have been affected by it. We must give gratitude and respect to those who have served in any capacity so that we can live the life we have in Canada. We must remember that there are still places in the world struggling for peace and there are those who are sacrificing their lives to fight for it.
These days, there are many in Canada who are promoting an attitude of intolerance, fear, anger and “us against them” . This is an insult to those who we remember and honor today. Today and everyday, Canadians must work together to maintain the peace that so many fought and died for. They deserve nothing less, and so much more.
Chronic pain is part of life for many people. We have a genetic collagen disorder in our family that causes migraines, muscle cramps, IBS and severe joint pain, amongst other things. I, am relatively pain free most of the time. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for my mother and cannot be said for my son Mark, my daughter Jennifer and for her children. This was something that was relatively accepted in our family until my grandson Rory became virtually incapacitated from pain as a young tot.
When Rory was an infant he was very calm and quiet. Any amount of activity was followed by a nap. He did not complain or act as though he was in any particular discomfort. He was just a very sweet baby. As he got a bit older, it became very obvious that he had major issues. He had trouble speaking, walking, climbing stairs, his eyesight deteriorated, he had poor dexterity and he had very little stamina. During the day, it was obvious that he was always suffering from some degree of pain. At night, he would wake up screaming in pain. Jennifer started taking him to doctors looking for answers and relief for him.
For several years, Jennifer took Rory to their family doctor, who in turn sent him to one specialist after another, who ordered one test or procedure after another. When tests came back negative for potentially fatal conditions, the doctors would advise Jennifer to give Rory pain medication and more pain medication and to be grateful that he was not dying. The fact that the quality of his life was no great hell did not register as an issue with them.
Eventually, it was determined that Rory suffered from some form of a genetic collagen disorder that he would eventually outgrow – not that my mother, who had lived to be 95, or my siblings who are in their 70’s, or my children who are in their 40’s had ever outgrown their chronic pain – but Rory would.
When Rory was about twelve, he was accepted as a patient by a physician who specialized in pain management. With his help, and a lot of work and encouragement from his entire family, Rory was able to work through his pain to the point where he was able to start building up muscle tone, which helped to make the pain manageable.
This spring, Rory graduated from elementary school. This fall, he started high school where he has been managing fairly well despite ongoing issues. He does extremely well academically. We are all happy for him and for how far he has come in managing his pain. However, it is still an issue and it remains to be seen how well he will function as life goes on.
The thing is, how long are medical practitioners going to obsess over the length of one’s life with no concern for the quality of that life? If medical practitioners and medical researchers do not feel that severe chronic pain is an issue worth addressing, who does?