Thursday, October 3, 2019

And the Angel Danced and Cheered

It has been a while since I have posted. Mainly because life seemed to have gotten away from me.  Busy was just the tip of the iceberg...unexpected surprises both good and bad knocked at my door.

For two, a wake up call....and the message was clear, time to take a step back and reflect on my crazy  busy life. It is time to make some hard decisions about my career, my responsibilities close to home and those elsewhere.

This past Sunday our angel Kelly-Anne danced and cheered as her Concordia Stingers Rugby team kept the Kelly-Anne Cup at home with an amazing win over McGill. I felt bad for McGill as I knew  that they put their heart and soul into that game....for Kelly-Anne.

In recent  months I have been working alongside Concordia University to develop a Scholarship in Kelly-Anne's name to honor a deserving female Rugby player. How wonderful it was to announce the recipient this past Sunday.

Today, fifteen years ago Kelly-Anne was attacked. Her death, left us in a tailspin of disbelief, unimaginable grief and pain. There are days when I still can't believe she is gone.

Kelly-Anne's passing has changed and shaped me into a very different women than I was before. The biggest change for me was learning that I am able to face other personal important challenges that are actually very manageable. I have also learned to not fear the unknown, as I really do not have any control and have to place my confidence in God and others that will come in my path. I have already faced the biggest challenge of my life and that obviously was Kelly-Anne's death.

This past spring I learned as many others did, that here in Canada women are being murdered by their partner one every two and a half days. These stats are  terrible. What are we going to do as a society to stop this violence against women? Do we need to invoke the death  penalty once again ? Would that make a difference? Questions I  do not have the answers for, but as a society we must reflect and talk about this.We must build a continued awareness within our schools, homes and the workplace.

Kell..I know you are dancing with your new found friend Junie Mitchell, a women that our community loved. May you  both share your stories and keep a watch on those you love here on earth.

Memory Eternal!

Friday, March 15, 2019

That Question ...Again

I wrote in July 2017, how Paige asked me why Aunt Kell died. I froze...I always said it will be her parents to tell her, not me or anyone else. Fast forward to last week and doesn't Paige ask her mother the same question. She wanted to know if  Kelly-Anne had been sick. Kim responded by saying no.  With all of Kim's grace and tact she handled the situation better than I could of. She simply said to Paige that she would tell her later on when she felt she would better understand.

Kim believes in the truth and that will be told to Paige. She will be told about the heinous crime that robbed her from her beloved aunt.

This story has been told I am sure over and over again to children left behind because of  homicides from domestic violence. These children will face life (with a lack of better words )with a richer understanding of respecting others and what it takes to build themselves into being non violent adults.

Kim does an amazing job as a mom, a school volunteer and in her teachings of first responder and bully awareness programs that she gives.

I ask myself when will it be the right time for Paige to understand our story. How will she take the story and eventually tell it to others in hopes of creating awareness within her own generation.

 I feel inspired by her now as she approaches her sixth  birthday. I have every confidence that Paige will make a difference in the world around her. This week we hung out....we laughed, we danced, and we had serious conversations about life, school, friends and her passion for space.

My hope and prayers are that her generation will be a kinder, more loving and respectful society. One that does not discriminate against women, religion, sexual orientation and color. These children are our future and  I believe it is up to good parenting and education that will guide them. Our social issues are not only North American  problems, they are world wide. I pray today for those in New Zealand who have faced  death because of their religion.

We can all do better, we can make a difference, young or old!




Wednesday, December 19, 2018

2018 A Redefining Year

It's December and here we are  just short of a week to Christmas. It has been quite a year. For the most part it is been a year of redefining who I am. 2018 was an interesting but  different kind of year. The best part  was the arrival of Sam and our trip to Cuba. Sam gave us quite a scare when he entered this world, but with the loving support of his family, the doctors and nurses, he is now one amazing little boy.

Earlier this year I took a course called Boundaries. It is Christian based. This course allowed me to better understand  how I could define  my own boundaries of what I wanted and my expectations from others. I redefined what was important to me...was it a high stressed job, a full time position with long days or was I going to work on my terms. Was I to reinvent myself at my age? Yes !

Luckily, I was able to take on a couple different contractual roles which kept me busy, but  lying  deep in my subconscious there was something aching that I wanted to do...how was it going to happen? I was told when it is the right time, it will  happen. I kept asking God and Kelly-Anne to send me a sign...what's going on...I  need direction. Finally, the sign came and I knew I was in the right place with the right boss! I stuck to my plan...a part time job in property administration.....four years as volunteer President of a condo syndicate paid off . The sign was obvious...I asked the person interviewing me what year the building was built. She responds with 1979....I sat there and heard a Kelly-Anne chuckle. It was the year that Kelly-Anne was born. I smiled and said to myself...thanks Kell. I felt that sudden peace and knew I had the job.

This year I was able to establish with Concordia University a scholarship in Kelly-Anne's name. This award will allow women to have the opportunity to study at Concordia while playing Rugby. It's exciting to be a part of this project.

I was also fortunate to has been invited to the McGill Faculty of Law to address graduating law students. I also continue to work on a project that I hope will lessen the suffering of the families of victims regarding parole hearings for homicide offenders.

I realized that nearing retirement age doesn't mean that I have to sit home and become a couch potato. It actually means I get to use all the stuff I learnt throughout my career and apply it in other areas where I can continue to make a different or use it to create change in our society.

I am excited for 2019.  It will be a year of change, learning and living. This year it will be about Kelly-Anne and her legacy, my life with our  family and friends. I am following in Kelly-Anne's footsteps... doing what she would be doing, smiling, laughing and loving.

As you share the reason for the season around the dining room table this Christmas, remember those that are less fortunate. Running into McDonald's on a Christmas Eve to pick up a meal to feed a homeless person was something spontaneous that  Kelly-Anne would do. An act of your kindness can make a difference.

Merry Christmas !


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

What Would Kelly-Anne Say....

What would Kelly-Anne say today if she were here? A poignant question asked  by a Commissioner of the parole board to Martin Morin-Cousineau this past September 4th. I did not attend the parole hearing as a  protest that I would not allow myself to be apart of his circus. I decided I could put my energy into better use.

I am told that Cousineau replied by saying that he had hoped Kelly-Anne would say good things. Good things about him? I really can't answer that but what I feel Kelly-Anne would of responded was  "Marty, I forgive you but that doesn't dismiss what you did to me."

Today, 14 years years after her horrific passing, I continue to mourn her  death and what could of been....the loving daughter, sister, aunt and friend. Today it is not about her killer, but about Kelly-Anne, the rugby player who would be tackling someone on the rugby field, then realizing that her opponent is lying on the ground, winded. Kell would  run to that person and ask " Are you ok?"
It was never about I am stronger or better than you...it was about her sportswomanship and her respect for others.

I remember this young women who loved life and all it had to offer. How could her life have ended so abruptly, selfishly and senselessly? Unfortunately, domestic violence still exists today in so many homes.  " Domestic violence is so loud to those that suffer silently within four walls."

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Do you suspect someone is silently suffering? How about taking that person for a coffee and having a talk? Not easy, but possible.

Need help, contact Women Aware at     https://www.womenaware.ca/

Kelly-Anne, rest in peace my precious daughter. I love you.

Friday, August 3, 2018

A Wake Up Call

This past month we vacationed at a resort in Varadero, Cuba. Being our first trip and not really knowing  what to expect, by all accounts we were humbled. Poverty, low salaries, getting through daily life is not the easiest for the Cuban people. Some days there were no  bananas in the  dining room for breakfast....so what... we still survived and that is basically how the people live. Many go without and of course we take so much for granted. Farms lined the road way where very thin cows and horses grazed.

I guess the biggest  culture shock was the bus ride from the airport to the hotel. I sat on my seat, speechless as I looked at the homes we passed on our journey. Shocked, depressed, saddened are only a few of the emotions I felt. How is this possible....homes in a state of disrepair, no windows, laundry strung up to dry from house to house, roofs torn off. Signs of poverty so grave that I had never ever witnessed before.

The people that we met working at the resort were amazing and hard working. We wanted to learn from them a little bit of  their lives. We discovered that many workers at the resort were former lawyers and nurses. Many professionals leave their careers to work in resorts because they cannot support their families on salary alone. Many are single moms working between 8-12 hours a day, six days a week. Most work an hour away from the resort  and ride the public bus when it shows up to and from work.

The ocean  was bordered by a pristine sandy white beach. Lifeguards  would introduce themselves to us. Rugged young Cubans who loved the ocean and their jobs. Watching them swim in the ocean sent a jolt to my heart and of course memories of Kelly-Anne in the ocean brought my eyes to swell with tears. Oh how I wished she was with us...but of course she was.

I was reminded again that that we have too much of everything. When we run out of bananas we just go back to the store and buy more; all readily available.

We were told by our welcoming travel agent that we  did not have to fear going out on our own. The crime rate is low and the Cuban government does its best to assure that tourists are safe. Interestingly the death penalty is legal in Cuba but no one has been executed since 2003.

We have alot to learn from the Cuban people....they are happy with what they have. A real wake up call for us here in North America !



Tuesday, June 19, 2018

It's Been a While

They say as one gets older, time flies by faster. I can remember as child growing up in Rosemount, the excitement and anticipation of the school year ending. Summer vacations included  usually a car trip to Maine or travelling to another part of Canada. Summer days and nights seemed endless. Friends, the pool, pick up soft ball games in the park, tennis, biking and hop scotch...we were busy kids. Those days seemed to go on forever.

Today, I realize that I haven't blogged since late November. I guess my life seems to have been consumed with other activities and new beginnings. However throughout all this Kelly-Anne has been still very present in my life.

We welcomed in early March Samuel to our family. He came into this world giving us a scare which of course  turned all of his family into a tail spin. With prayer, great doctors and the determination of such a tiny life supported by his wonderful parents and sister, Samuel is now thriving. His smiles and laughter brings more love and joy to everyone around him. Gosh we are blessed!

My contract with the church ended in November. I was happy to be home to  prepare for the Christmas  festivities. Then, in the new year, my career took on an unexpected turn....I guess life's path is not something we are in charge of. I am now working from home as a  Independant Consultant. It's empowering to be my own boss. I have had my career and with everything that  I  have learnt in the workplace, or as a volunteer or just though life experiences has now brought me to this point in my life.

I have found an amazing new church....warm, down to earth people with a  great  rector. I spent time this past  winter and spring taking courses at the church. All this to say, I feel so at peace with life.

I notice a couple of weeks ago, a red Cardinal, came to my patio door. Funny he seemed to be the same fellow that  came here last year. I had wondered if Kelly-Anne sent him to bring me a  message.
All to say, he did  bring a smile to my face when he started to sing!

This weekend we will remember my mom.She passed 25 years ago. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. She adored Kelly-Anne  and Kim and I know she has been re united with Kelly-Anne.

Next month Jules and I are taking a trip down south. A week of recharging our batteries, no  computers, no telephones, no emails...just like the good old days.

This summer I wish  all of you rest,relaxation, and peace.




Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Letter to my Daughter

Dear Kell,

Happy Birthday Kell! Some people would say that  you would of  been 38 years old today. I would phrase it as you are 38 years old.  It has been a busy year. Paige is growing  leaps and bounds. She is in school now.  I tried to convince her earlier this year that Sylvester could use the computer to email his friends. Her response was perfect and of course left me without words " Cats have  paws, not  fingers.They can't email" Who am I trying to kid? The baby boy who you already know is getting bigger. He is starting to kick up a storm. Paige  kisses ever so gently your sister's tummy and tells the baby she loves him.  No worries Kell, I will take care of Paige when the baby is born.

 I saw your best  friend Rachel yesterday. She introduced me to her little one as Kelly-Anne's mommy. I was so touched!  Rachel, like Kim have both assured that their children know who you are. They are  keeping your memory and your life alive within their own lives and families. You must be so proud of them.

The house is decorated for Christmas. I take very little credit for this undertaking. Jules with his aptitude for the arts, has to his perfection and joy done an amazing  job as always.

Recently, women  here in Canada and elsewhere are coming  forward and speaking out  now about how they have been violated, be it sexual or other by prominent men.  It 's about time don't you think that women should be allowed to speak out without  feeling that  they will  face repercussions. I could  just imagine you being a journalist and interviewing these women, for many being public figures. You would of been so passionate in supporting them.

I often think about your career path...the what ifs....especially today, I know you would of accomplished so much....where you would of been living...definitely not Quebec. You would of been taken by your travels to remote countries, different cultures, the need to make change and help those less fortunate.

Today, I celebrate your life. A little bubbly tonight with dinner. You continue to touch  my life and so many others. You continue from afar to be so present in our lives.

Kim, Joe and Paige with travel soon out west. Paige will wave  to you as she flies high in the sky. Wave back please, so she knows you are protecting her.

I send all my love to you today. Our door is always opened.

Love,
Mom & Jules  xo