Thursday, August 10, 2017

The First Day of School

I can remember the first day of school for Kelly-Anne as if it were just yesterday. She was off to  higher learning at kindergarten. I find it interesting how not just for  myself, that we tend to remember  special, meaningful times in our lives while others events are simply erased from our memory.

I remember it was a cloudy day. I had shopped for Kelly-Anne and  can even see her now clearly  sitting on the  grass waiting in anticipation for the  school bus to arrive. She wore a beige blouse with a  Peter Pan collar, a blue plaid kilted skirt, a pair of knee high navy blue socks and a pair of leather
navy shoes with a strap across the foot. She carried a red plaid school bad with a Scottish terrier imprinted on the front of the bag. I remember that I made her a name tag and pinned it to her blouse. I even included the  house phone number....no cells in those days!

She was serious about going to school. I remember an expression of deep though and slight wonder as she awaited the bus. There were a few neighbourhood children also waiting.  One in particular, a young  boy with his mother. His mom assured me that  her son would take care of  Kelly-Anne on the bus and that  he would get her to the  right teacher.

Once Kelly-Anne boarded the bus, I felt that slight knot in my throat. There I was with the other moms waving goodbye to our kids.

A few hours later, I  waited for the  bus to return. There she was smiling ear to ear as she stepped down the stairs from the bus....the beginning of  many years of a wonderful school experience.

Now fast forward thirty - three years later, I get to relive that same experience with Paige. I will be with her on the first day of school. I will  walk her to the bus stop and wave to her as she starts a new chapter in her life.

The circle of life and gosh I am so happy to be apart of it.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Why Grandma ?

Last week I had the pleasure of spending time with my Grand daughter. Between crafts, baking, hair  and hospital appointments, making popsicles, the park and splash pad we had a great time. Laughter fills that house and Paige has the spirit and smile to make every one's day  just a little brighter.

She is articulate and has quite a vocabulary. She asks alot of questions.We often talk about  Aunt Kell. It's a good thing as Paige is slowly getting to know her aunt from afar. Last week I noticed  a little red dog which use to belong to Kelly-Anne. She named him Marmaduke and he traveled everywhere with her. Paige loves that little dog and his name. She is now taking care of  him.

Much to my surprise Paige ask me in her own words.... " Grandma, why did Aunt Kell die ? I went numb. I didn't know what to say and just quietly said  that she just died  then quickly changed the subject. I didn't  want to  say anything more nor felt is was my place to do so.

I remember saying in my victim impact statement in court back in  2006 that I did not  know  how Kim would ever eventually tell her children about what happened to their Aunt Kell and honestly, today, I still do not know how Kim will manage this task.

It is often said that children observe and retain much more than we realize. Paige is one of those kids. Too advanced for her age. Today's upbringing is different than 30 some years ago. Children learn differently.

Paige asked me to read from her Children's Bible last week. She is asking  questions about God. She wants to hear the different  stories  and  wants to pray. She loves to say Amen at the end of  the prayers. It is a truly a  beautiful age. I love watching her grow and grasping the beauty of life.

We all need to see life through a child, the innocence, the perfection...even running through a splash pad in shorts and a t -shirt can be liberating.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

It Really is a Small World

This week I reconnected again with Kelly-Anne 's favorite sport which is Competitive Life guarding. That reconnection came as a big surprise as I met a man who I spent the better part of a day with who knew Kelly-Anne and traveled in the same circles as she did. They competed at the same competitions and had the same circle of friends. It was amazing to be with this  man and to feel  at the same time that  Kelly-Anne was present with us.

There is always  a little part of my heart that  gets crushed. This man, just like  all her other friends, have  married and are bringing up a young family....and that is really so  beautiful.  I am so happy for them, especially when I hear that their children are involved in sports.

My regret is only that I wish Kelly-Anne would of had  that same opportunity...to be married, have a career and raise a family. She would of been an amazing mom.

The quiet of my home today allows me to  recharge and relax. The pool awaits me this afternoon. I reflect on Kelly-Anne and her enthusiasm for her love of life, the water, the sun.

Life continues and each day brings a joy that allows me to mask a pain.  New friends, new accomplishments and  new beginnings...I continue to learn and be the best I can.

I have a great role model to follow.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

This morning over my  cup of coffee I was thinking that after all this years without Kelly-Anne, my Mother's Day should be easier to look forward to. I realized that really not much has changed at all. It really isn't easier. There is still that void...something is missing from the equation.

Paige doesn't replace her aunt. She makes life a little easier, a little more special. That infectious smile coupled with her multiple facial expressions can only make me smile. She certainly knows how to ham it up!

However, I ask my self why do I continue to feel that the black cloud still hovers over me...that I still am different than other moms; that the dining room table still is missing someone around it.

I reflected this past week about the recent abuse cases and trials in the news. Workplace abuse seems to be the for runner these days...a  Conservative  Senator steps down from his job because he was having a sexual relationship with a minor. A pastor,  at that,  one  respected and  looked up to in the church and community. A married man with a family. Why is this happening....power, control ? It makes me sick and  the worst is there is no talk of anyone pressing charges against him. Who else has he abused?

Almost  thirteen years later, I still am looking for positive change in our society, in our personal relationships, in our workplaces, on the street and in our schools. Children continue to be bullied and to be abused in their own homes. Women are still being diminished in the workplace and still afraid to leave their abusive relationships. However, there is one thing we are doing more of now. We are  talking about it. Talk is cheap but our actions will make change.

I  reflect on my own mother...her favorite saying was God gave you a brain, use it. Today, I remember my mother who was not afraid get down on the floor and play with Kelly-Anne and Kim. Her home and family was her life. The girls were always excited to see their grandmother. I feel the same about Paige......I am my mother's daughter.
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms far and near and to those who are moms to so many. A mother is more than just a blood line. It is love.



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Past Relived

Today, I started my day early. The family is coming in from  out of town. The crock pot is on  and  the deviled eggs are all prepared. The lamb will soon go into the oven. The Easter menu is typical of how I was raised. This year, the Orthodox celebrate Easter the same Sunday as all other Christians. The Orthodox Easter is always celebrated after Passover. I can remember as  a child my mom running to the stores  on Easter Monday to buy the good chocolate at half price. That she would say was a  plus to being Orthodox and celebrating after the others.

Today we will have our dinner and continue some of the traditions. I await Paige's arrival as we will color eggs together. It's exciting to relive  once again the special moments like the  holidays with Paige. It  brings me back to Easter  egg hunts with Kelly-Anne  and Kim. They had  big colorful baskets and  were quite good at finding the hidden eggs. Kelly-Anne 's smile and her laughter are wonderful memories of Easter past. The bunny cakes we would make ...... floppy ears and all !

We have hidden Easter eggs for Paige. The tradition continues.

Easter isn't about the chocolate bunnies and little summer toys. I want Paige to understand what this  special  time is really all about. Kim and a close friend for many years growing up  had a tradition of going to Good Friday service then spending the day together doing an Easter activity.

Traditions whether with friends or family are special. We can create our own at any time in our lives.

The Easter message is one of hope; how Jesus died so we may live...His  pain on the cross reminds me daily that his suffering was far worse than mine.

Happy Easter, Happy Passover.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Forever Changed

I realized something  on Ash Wednesday when I stood before our Bishop as she made the sign of the cross on my forehead boldly with black ashes. She said in my words...that I  will return to dust.
Powerful isn't it...my reality as it is for all, we are not getting out of here alive. We will all return to dust one day.

I have been in my own way been running away from that reality for the past 12 or so years...I  guess the fact that Kelly-Anne returned to dust so early in her life was hard to accept. Life is moving forward so quickly these days...the months are flying by as are the years. And the harsh reality is that I am getting older, but somehow my mind and body don't actually feel my age.

And that is a good thing ! My body and mind tell me to stay active... my job, my family, my friends, my swimming, my socializing...it's all the good stuff. I feel happy, I can smile, I feel accomplished.

But our lives are not in our hands...God calls us  when it is our time...unless as I have always maintained that Kelly-Anne's killer decided to  intervene in  God's plan  for her. A cold blooded act that I know God cried with  Kelly-Anne's family and  friends.

My life forever changed in 2004 and  my life continues to change today. However, how I view and understand others and see our constantly changing  world is without a doubt beautiful and  painful. The beauty of new life, the seasons changing, a warm smile from another human and the pain of poverty, violence and hatred make up the world we live in. But the real decision comes from within us as to how we are willing to live our lives.

I have said so often that Kelly-Anne was the kind of person who loved life and all that it had to offer. Her family, friends, sports, her jobs which  all she gave 100 % too. She was accomplished. She lived her life to the fullest....her one life.

Remember folks, it is only one life....

Monday, February 20, 2017

SPVM.....Something to Smile About

The Montreal Police  made me smile last night. I had three different encounters with three different  employees from the Service de Police de Montreal. Nothing serious to be concerned about...so I wont elaborate. From the first call in, to the second call made to my house, to the police officer responding, I could not have asked  for better service with respect and  concern for my situation. This is community policing, their great concern for the community.

The police officer on the scene took his time to listen to my concerns, gave me sound advise and reflected  on the laws. It is rare that I  have to call 911 and I do prefer it  that way.  I have not interacted with many police officers except those that I know personally since Kelly-Anne  was murdered.

Last evening's encounter reminded me of a  time after Kelly-Anne passed that I could not look at a police car especially with flashing lights at night. I would  panic and refrained from driving alone  just to avoid police cars and their lights. Last night I realized that I can do that now. Through the years I have learned how to live my life as a normal human being without the stress that  I
suffered in the earlier years. It is about coping, believing in myself and knowing how Kelly-Anne would want  me to live my life. It is about learning to live without my daughter and slowly move away  from the black cloud that  identified me being  different from other moms.

When people ask me how many children  I have, my answer is that I have two daughters. My oldest lives in Heaven and my youngest lives out of town.  It's the truth...as tragic and unfair as it is.

Life is changing, I am changing...maybe Paige has something to  do with that...maybe she  is giving me the opportunity to relive things in my life that I did with the girls when they were young.

Slowly, I will encounter situations that will allow me to see how I have changed. My life with God's help and a sweet dear angel is helping me change each day. I am stronger, more independent  and happier now than I have been in years.

We never know that we will encounter in our lives...simply know that what ever it is, there is either a lesson to be learned or an experience that will change us forever....