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Oh Captain! My Captain!

LOS ANGELES - JUL 29:  Robin Williams arrives at the 2013 CBS TCToday the world is mourning the loss of an artistic legend. The breadth of Robin Williams’ talent spanned the same distance that his career breaking character Mork travelled way back in 1978 when it first aired. Throughout the years he’s made us laugh and cry while fighting a courageous and difficult battle of his own unbeknownst to all those who watched. His mental illness was left “unsaid,” as it does with many, many people. Myself, I hadn’t heard he was battling depression but deep down, I wasn’t surprised. So often, those who shine so bright are hiding a dark shadow within. I can’t say that I don’t understand what he was going through. Those dark times sometimes threaten to completely consume you. Sometimes, there’s an external flicker of light that eases the pain and loneliness for a while and can offer hope that things will get better, but it’s not something that you can just get over. It takes time, support, patience, love….


“The loneliest people are the kindest.
The saddest people smile the brightest.
All because they do not wish to see
anyone suffer the way they do.”



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So that’s it then…

I throw in the towel…wave the white flag.

I. Just. Give. Up.

Since my mom passed away last May, I have attempted to honour her memory by finding small gestures that life a little nicer. From random acts of kindness to deliberately finding even the smallest things to be thankful for and telling the world, I’ve hoped it would make me and those around me feel a little bit better, maybe breed some good Karma.

It didn’t work.

Last night my father was taken to the hospital by ambulance. We don’t really know what’s wrong other than his legs gave out last week and he fell. Since that fall, his ability to walk has dramatically decreased and his level of pain and weakness has substantially increased.

Until you’ve watched, helpless, as your parents writhe and moan in pain, their eyes pleading with you to help them, no one can understand how much your heart can ache. How plainly you see their mortality (and your own) and how alone you really are. Where many turn to faith to keep them going in uncertain times, I find myself having less and less. While I wanted to inspire people, I find that I just can’t. In the end, it doesn’t really seem to matter. People are still mistreated, the environment is still dying, illness still happens and we all still end up the same way.

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Seconds, Minutes, Hours

The Passage of Time

The Passage of Time (Photo credit: ToniVC)

Listening to the rain fall on the window while the wind blows through the trees, my mind is whirring with thoughts as I try to will myself to sleep. It’s not working. On my way home tonight, as I was slowing to turn down my road, a large deer stepped out in front of me. The large majestic animal surveyed my approach he decided he should continue on his way and loped into the darkness. As quickly as he appeared, he was gone. A fleeting moment in time.

It’s all so fleeting really. Life, that is. We’ve divided up our lives into units of time.  Seconds, minutes, hours, days, years…..all to categorize and organize our existence. Yet it still passes all the same. Every unique experience gone in a single breath never to return. In a sense – dead, living on only in our memories.  Just like those we’ve loved and lost. As is, I learned today, the father of a family of good friends. His passing reminds me my losses as well and my heart goes out to them. Having just heard stories of this man’s life and now in his passing, I find myself thinking that he would have been an interesting man to have known better.

We never have enough time.

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Play a Little Tune

Musica comprimida  -  Compressed Music

Musica comprimida – Compressed Music (Photo credit: Ferrari + caballos + fuerza = cerebro Humano )

The power of music is amazing. It has the ability to lift your spirits when you’re blue, to make you feel energized when you’re tired, relax you when you’re anxious and much, much more. I wake each morning with a song in my head. Sometimes, the same song plays for days, other times, it’s a new song each day. It often reflects what’s going on in my life, or my mood. I’ve had this morning melody in my mind for as long as I can remember. Earworm of a different sort I guess….speaking of which, “I’m a little teapot, short and stout…….” now let’s see you get THAT out of you’re head for a few days!

After mom passed away, I had a few songs – anthems if you will – that I would listen to (or more accurately, cry to) that seemed to offer some solace. I have a couple of good girlfriends going through some really tough times right now. Knowing music can encourage and inspire, I sent a video to each of these ladies of a song that I thought was inspiring for their situations. Maybe they’ll need a custom inspirational play list….hmmm, iTunes, here I come!

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Each Small Light….

Candlelight Vigil

Candlelight Vigil (Photo credit: KOMUnews)

It’s a mystery to me how someone could think to hurt those most innocent among us, our children. After the news of the tragic shooting in a Connecticut school, I found it difficult to think of any kindness I could offer anyone that wouldn’t seem moot. All those poor souls have been ripped away before they had a chance to shine.

I am at a loss. I have no act of kindness to share. It would seem callous to report such a menial thing when so many are mourning. It does strike me however, that acts of kindness are exactly what we all need more of. We need more connection to each other. Is this sort of news horrifying? Yes. Absolutely, but surprising? Not really. It seems our news is filled with far too many instances of death and destruction. When these things fill our minds it’s difficult for kindness to fill our hearts. Instead we are, understandably, filled with pain and mistrust. It’s my belief that what we need most now, is more kindness. We need to say those things to each other, the kind and loving things that often go unsaid. We need to do those kind things for each other that bring us together as people. Acts of kindness shouldn’t be so surprising, but they are while violent acts like the ones we’ve all heard of today are not. Instead of letting this monster drive us all further apart, let’s make a vow against him and others like him to draw closer and kinder to each other. To stand together to create a kinder, safer world.

Hug your children tonight and tell those you love, that you do.

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It’s coming…..

christmas 2007

christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)

Christmas is coming. I am one of these annoying people that do the countdown in the middle of July. I’m also one of those annoying people who starts gift shopping for the next Christmas in January and is usually mostly done by the end of October. I love Christmas. I always have. I love the entire idea of it. I love the get togethers with friends and family, I love the food, the snow (when we have it) and I love finding and giving the perfect gift. Did I mention I LOVE Christmas?

I’m not new. I know that this Christmas will be extremely difficult now that mom’s gone. I have already experienced a bit of that just in putting up the decorations and buying gifts…it’s amazing how many things there are that jump out at me that mom would have loved. Dad has said he isn’t looking forward to Christmas either. I don’t blame him. It’s going to be hard.

I also know that the best way to preserve the Christmas Spirit is to do things for others and volunteering is known to improve mood and fight depression. In his book, “It’s Good to Be Good: Science Says It’s So,” Dr Stephen Post sites many studies which indicate that altruistic behaviour plays a large roll in overall happiness and health. Knowing that there are going to be days that I will be sad, I’ve decided to do something to combat it. Throughout the month of December, I’ve decided to complete various acts of kindness. I can’t say they’re random, they’re not, I’ve been planning this since the end of October! There are many people doing this now. I’ve seen the blog of a lady that completed 38 random acts of kindness on her 38th birthday ( Another man is just wrapping up 366 DAYS of random acts of kindness ( This idea isn’t new and I’ve done random acts before. I’ve paid for the order of people behind me in the drive-through at Tim Horton’s. I always hold doors open for others (so to me, that one doesn’t really count!) I donate to local fundraising initiatives etc, etc. So I’ve experienced the feel good feeling that you get when you do something nice for someone else. I’ve also been the recipient of acts of kindness too! I’m hoping that this will help ward off at least a little of the sadness that is on it’s way this December while lifting the spirits of others as well. So this may be a little selfish on my part.

As I’ve said here before, it’s so easy to be caught up in day to day life and put things off until tomorrow. Now, the hustle and bustle of the season consumes our time as well. So, as I do my planned (and random) acts of kindness, I’ll post them for all to see. While the reasoning for my endeavour may be a little selfish, I also hope it will inspire others to take even a few minutes to be just a little more kind to each other and to our environment. As Robert Bateman, one of my favourite people, has said, “If we can’t take care of each other and nature, then what’s the point?” Indeed, what would the point be?

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So what colour is it anyway?

I knew almost immediately after mom was diagnosed that I wanted to do more to raise awareness for gynecological cancers. So much has been done in recent years to bring breast cancer to the forefront and I wanted to do the same for this. But where to start? I thought I’d at least look for what the ribbon colour would be to represent gynecological cancer. That should be simple enough, shouldn’t it? A google search resulted in finding that it is teal…or lavender…or purple….or specific to uterine cancer, orange. What? Which is it? Predominantly, it seems that more sites suggest the colour that represents gynecological cancers is teal. The fact that there was such confusion over something as simple as the colour of the ribbon used to represent these forms of cancer just illustrates how minimal our awareness is! There is NO question when it comes to breast cancer. Little for even colorectal cancer as that’s been much more advertised as well. There has been so much focus has been placed on breast cancer and while it is very important, so are the cancers that afflict the female reproductive system. While breast cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian women, gynecological cancers can be very insidious often being called “the silent killer.” Often women don’t even know there’s a problem until it’s too late.

Frustratingly, as I researched statistics about women’s reproductive cancers, I learned that uterine cancer isn’t even mentioned on many sites. I found that the Canadian Cancer Society promotes October as “Women’s Cancer Awareness month!” Hallelujah! However, I was deeply disappointed to see that uterine and ovarian cancers were not even mentioned in the information on that page! The truth is, information is scarce on these subjects in comparison to many other forms of cancer. It’s one of those things we don’t talk about….it remains unsaid. It shouldn’t. We need to talk about it. We need to research it. We need to know more. So that brings me back to the ribbon. What colour is it anyway? Since it seems more sites indicate it is teal, I’m going with that. I’ve even found a site that sells t-shirts and other paraphernalia in support of gynecological cancers and they say it’s teal, so who am I to argue?

A blog I follow called “takebackteal” ( ) is doing it’s part to raise awareness for ovarian cancer (whose ribbon colour is also teal).  A fun means to raise awareness that they have initiated is called “Turn it Teal Tuesdays,” in which participants wear teal in support of ovarian cancer. Bravo. What else can we do? It seems like such a gigantic undertaking for one little voice in the void. How did the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation make awareness of this form of cancer a household phenomenon? How did they get to the point they are at now? You can even find toilet tissue that’s pink for the cause, which, in my opinion…considering where it’s used….blue (colon cancer) and teal (gynecological cancers) would be better choices anyway. At least from a logical standpoint. For now, making people aware of the ribbon colour is a very small start. But I need more ideas…..

Please don’t misperceive my mission. I don’t want to detract from the work going into Breast Cancer research and treatment. I merely believe there’s room for more to be done to promote research, awareness and treatment of the other cancers that are specific to women’s bodies. Now, I just need to figure out where to start. At least I have a ribbon colour……