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 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

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 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 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.

Mom & Jules  xo

Friday, November 10, 2017

Mom ! It's a Boy !

Her voice as  I remember, one that will never fade was clear and to the point. It was an early Friday morning in September as I lay awake contemplating my day. The sun was shining and coming through the blinds and drapes. I lay on my left side and suddenly, there  speaking directly into my right ear, I  heard so clearly.... Mom ! It's a boy! I quickly turned but no one was  there. Kelly-Anne had come and left in a flash of a few seconds. It was her. I laid there stunned and said but it is too early to know. Kim is only a few weeks  pregnant. Then I thought, well of course she would  know. Look who she hangs out with.

God knows us way before any one else does. Kelly-Anne must of skipped  out from Heaven to  give me the news. I can just picture her doing typical of Kelly-Anne.

Fast forward to  an ultrasound some weeks later and  hearing Kim  giggle with joy over the phone after seeing the baby. I asked...  so was your sister right?  Kim said yes it is a boy! I thought I was  going to fall off my chair. I was overwhelmed with joy and amazed that Kelly-Anne was right.

This afternoon I needed to take a nap after an exhausting morning downtown. I  needed to be up at  certain time to receive a phone call.  As I awoke and lay in bed my left arm was extended out. There she was again as I looked at my hand, Kelly-Anne tapped on my hand. I felt her presence. She knew I had to make a decision while taking the anticipated call. She wanted me to know that she was  near by and  supporting my decision.

You can choose to believe my stories. For me, they are real. I have lived this. I believe in God and the work of the Holy Spirit. I  believe that Kelly-Anne is with God in his house of many rooms. I believe she is safe and watching over her family and friends.

Never far is my daughter, always by my side.

Monday, October 2, 2017

October Memories

As a child, well actually for the better part of half of my life, the autumn season  consisted of  colorful leaves carpeting the streets, the celebration of Thanksgiving with extended family, mom 's turkey roasting in the oven and my birthday. Gathering with cousins, a warm sweater and a fresh breeze while walking in the park are memories that I will never forget.

In 1992, that all changed. My dear father at the age of 71 passed away on Thanksgiving weekend after being stricken with cancer six weeks earlier. The cancer took him very quickly and of course our family was not prepared to loose such a wonderful caring man. Thanksgiving was never the same again. I went through the motions, I cooked, went to church and remembered those that were not here with us. I  did it for the girls. As the years  passed, it became easier. Dad was never forgotten on the anniversary.

Fast forward to 2004, we buried Kelly-Anne on Thanksgiving Monday. I was numbed for many years after her horrific death. I could not ever allow myself to enjoy the fall season again. I asked myself  if  I would ever  enjoy the autumn leaves, Thanksgiving or my birthday. It wasn't fair to Kelly-Anne that I celebrate. I was suffering from survivor's guilt.

Today, on the week of the thirteenth anniversary of her passing, I can say that I now enjoy the colorful leaves, the smell of a turkey roasting and giving thanks for another birthday and the years that God entrusted Kelly-Anne to me.

Just last week, I encouraged Paige to walk with me through the leaves as we listened to the crunching sound. I said to her that I loved walking in the leaves when I was her age. Well truth be told, I once again love walking on the leaves. It is called healing,....acceptance and living my life the way Kelly-Anne would expect me to.

On this day  thirteen years ago, I sat in a hospital negotiating with God, any doctor or nurse that would come into the trauma unit to see Kelly-Anne. I wanted a solution to heal my daughter.

On October 5th the  decision to turn off the life support was made. It was an Anglican  ethics nurse who I  knew that helped me make the final decision. Her words and motions are still clear today as they were thirteen years ago. She stood along side me next to where Kelly-Anne laid. She motioned with her arms over Kelly-Anne showing that what was there lying in the bed was a shell and that her soul had already gone to heaven. It was then that we said  goodbye to my beautiful loving daughter.

This week I will shed a tear or two. My daughter did not  die in vain. This Friday the rugby community will remember Kelly-Anne with the Kelly-Anne Cup. The game starts at 7:00 p.m at Concordia field on Sherbrooke St. West in Montreal.  Each year we designate the donation at the door to  Women Aware,  an amazing organization helping women who are victims of domestic abuse. Please try to join us.

                                               Memory eternal Kelly-Anne.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Six Reasons Why

I received that dreaded phone call a few weeks ago from an agent at the  Parole Board. He told me that the parole hearing is set for September 29th for Kelly-Anne's killer and I could assist if I wanted to or attend through a video - conference. Thirteen years after Kelly-Anne was brutally murdered, her  killer is allowed by law a hearing to discuss his possible release for  full  parole. Can you imagine full parole at 13 years?  I still  cannot  wrap my head around that one.

Our laws in Canada need to be reviewed, discussed and changed. Even if a murderer has no interest in being paroled, the parole board is obliged by law to grant  the inmate a hearing at our tax payer's expense. Even if the reports from the case management team tell us that he isn't ready to face our streets, he still gets a hearing. Go figure.

I made a decision. After spending a week where I was so physically sick while writing a compelling,  and touching letter to the parole board, I have decided not to participate any further in this fiasco.

Here are my reasons:

1. I trust in God.
2. I trust in the work of the commissioners of the Parole Board who will make the right decision.
3. I will not allow the killer to think he controls me and my emotions by dragging me through his circus.
4. I have no more time to give this killer, nor does he deserve my time.
5. I  have better things to do like keep my daughter's memory alive and build awareness about changes needed within our  parole laws and of course, domestic violence.
6. I have a loving family and close friends that support my decisions.

A comment :

Doreen as always I read your postings and I grow closer to Kelly-Anne with each word you write. I admire your strength and tenacity and with this posting the six reasons you have decided to embrace shows me why you are my hero. Much love to you as always..

Many thanks Deborah.....I am touched.