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....


Sunday, January 1, 2017

A New Year... A New Beginning

Welcome to 2017 ! I asked myself last evening as the clock neared midnight what do I wish for myself, my family and friends. The answer was easy-  health, happiness and love. Really is there anything else more important. Love encompasses so much..".love thy neighbour", show compassion to those in need.... take the time to listen to those who need to be heard.

Love....Kelly-Anne  knew how to do all the above...such a great neighbour to many, a listener, and someone who  knew how to help those in need. I remember a time when Kelly-Anne  helped a lady to seek refuge in her home as her husband was  hitting her. Kelly-Anne was there to help this women  and only after her death,  did that women decide to leave her abusive  husband.

This year we hear in Montreal that  the record of homicides is much lower than usual...23 to be exact.
For me that is 23  too many. However, we do not know  how many women continue to  be victims of domestic abuse...silently within their homes.

I hope this year brings about change...how we think and view the world. My hope for people in Syria and Turkey and even closer to home is to be kinder to each other.

Gosh I wish I could spread Kelly-Anne's infectious smile...all I can really do is  keep that smile on my face and play it forward...

A new year...a  new beginning...lets make it the best. Our attitude, our smile can brighten someone 's day....as Mom always said it costs nothing to smile.

Enjoy your year !

Sunday, December 18, 2016

For Unto Us a Child is Born

A week from today, most  Christians will be gathered with  family and friends  around the dining room table enjoying the festivities of the season. Turkey, cranberry sauce and much more will adorn the tables. Laughter and gift giving will excite the children as their requests to Santa will  be for the most part  met. That is the norm for most.

I am reminded three days a week as I trek through Montreal streets and the underground that there are many that won't be home for Christmas. Is it by choice or fate? I  don't have the answer. As I  walk through Bonaventure metro station, towards Place Ville Marie, it feels so surreal. I feel I am imposing on those men sleeping one after the other in a single row  on the cement  benches that line the corridor. I feel like I am in a twilight zone. On the city streets, many are  standing with paper cups asking for change. Montreal has a major problem with the homeless. Do  we not have enough places where these men can seek warmth, a meal and perhaps a shower?

Life is tough  for many. My husband reminded me today how lucky we are. We are not in want or need of anything. Our life is good and not a day goes by that we  don't thank the Lord for our blessings.

One early morning a couple of weeks ago, I was  walking through Central Station. I had just said to myself that my knees and back are sore. As soon as I said that, a lady my age walked right  past me with only one leg and a set of crutches. I said to myself thanks for the message...I won't complain anymore about my aches and pains. I recounted that experience later that day  when I sat with a priest colleague who made a comment that his back was sore.

I have  probably  mentioned this story before about  Kelly-Anne and Kim on a  Christmas Eve in years past.We were in  downtown Montreal going to the church service when Kelly-Anne asked that we stop the car so she and Kim could get out and go to McDonald's to  buy a homeless person  food before the  shop closed. Kelly-Anne  was always mindful of those in need. Kim throughout the years would take on a family in need in the community and shop and prepare a basket for them. I am a proud mother.

The reason for the season isn't about the number of  gifts under the tree, the bottles of wine and liquor that will be consumed. Christmas is  the celebration of new birth, new life.

We will gather with our  little family and enjoy each other's company. Kelly-Anne as always will have her  place at the table.

From our family to yours, we wish you all a very blessed and  Merry Christmas.