Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 6th 2009

This past December 6th brought us back 20 years ago when the 14 young women from Ecole Polytechniec in Montreal were murdered. I had the opportunity to do a radio interview on CBC and was asked about Kelly-Anne and how I was feeling now that 20 years have gone by.

I responded that what really hit home for me was the fact that within these past years, these 14 young women would have most probably been busy in their careers , had children and would of been in the prime of their lives.

How will I feel when we mark the 20th anniversary for Kelly-Anne, I ask myself. Most probably the same way. We will never know what she would of become and what contributions she would of made to society, how many children she would of had and how she would of cared for her familyand touched the lives of others around her. It is still really hard to believe that she is gone. I tell myself that Kelly-Anne is away on a trip surfing the oceans. Though I do not see her, I am able to feel her. Kelly-Anne is so nearby in spirit. So many things have happened in the past five years that I am 100 % sure she had her hand on certain events.

I do not know how the families of the 14 young women have managed to get thorough the last 20 years, but I thoughts are with them. We are the chosen few. We have our our clique and have a cross to bear each day of our lives. Are we stronger than other people...I don't know, but the event of polytechnic and that of Kelly-Anne's murder had made us all stronger and wiser.

Remembering Kelly-Anne Part 2

Tonight I realize that the time has sped by so quickly that I have not had a chance to write about the fundraiser in honor of Kelly-Anne.

I was delighted to see over 100 people attend the event this year. Being the 100th anniversary of the Lifesaving Society brought some of the old timer lifeguards to the event. It was nice to see them attend and hear some of the stories they reminisced about.

Awards were given out to the present lifeguards for the competitions which they participated in this year. It was nice to spend time with Kelly-Anne's co -partners and to hear the honorary president Eddie Beaucage recount some sweet stories of this relationship with Kelly-Anne.

Eddie spoke about how inquisitive Kelly-Anne was. It seemed that they did alot of commuting together and Kelly-Anne would ask him many questions about hockey. She did have a keen interest in the sport and she did learn to skate as a young child but it was never really her forte. I chucked as he spoke about the many questions that she would asked as I realize that Kelly-Anne got that gene from me as I have a habit of asking alot of questions. Well if you don't ask, you will never know...that is my motto.

Kelly-Anne did decide one day to participate in a women's hockey game at Concordia. She asked me to attend which I did. It was quite something to see her all decked out in the equipment. She was on the ice and tried her best to skate and handle the stick...well as I said at the fundraiser, Kelly-Anne was better in the water than on top of frozen water. That hockey game still makes me laugh as she was so funny trying to play. Kelly-Anne was a good sport and that is what counted.

The event brought in over $ 6,000.00 which will help the competitors with the world competition next year in Egypt. Kelly-Anne still remains very close to the hearts of her friends at the Society and continues to be an example for the young lifeguards. She is forever in our hearts.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Remembering Kelly-Anne: Part 1

Kelly-Anne's beautiful birthday cake made lovingly from

La Conca d'Oro

Boulanger Pâtisserie Charcuterie

2549, Jean-Talon east

Montreal, Quebec

I walked into this established Montreal family bakery for the first time yesterday and very quickly felt the warmth of community and love. They graciously prepared this cake which had a mocha coffee filling and Kelly-Anne 's smile embossed in the centre. Seeing the cake and not knowing what they had did, resulted in a melt down right there in the shop. The other pastries that they provided for the evening were outstanding and so delicately made and the pizza was the way I like it. I don't usually plug in businesses on my blog , but not speaking about La Conca d'Oro would be unfair as they were very much a part of last night's success. Give yourself a break this Christmas and let them do your baking. This bakery is in the heart of the ethic community and have wonderful Italian products.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Blessings in Disguise

I learnt last week that the distribution centre where I worked and was laid off from will close its doors his coming February. Actually, it will close exactly one year to the date of when I was let go. Now, 150 people including the managers that gave me the news that my job was abolished will be out of a job. Sadly there are many couples that work in that building which means that both will be out of work. When I heard the news I was not at all surprised as the writing was on the wall for the past few years. I thought how interesting that I was spared from this ordeal of a closure.

This past February I was saddened of course to loose my job, but my rough patch is now over. I know exactly how these workers are feeling and they will have to face allot in the upcoming new year.

Why was I spared the stress of having to go thought his with everyone else? I feel that I was one of the chosen few.......that maybe God chose me to leave first and make my way on my own....and yes on my own. These employees leaving in February will receive support and help. I got practically zilch from the company with exception of two half days with a firm who helped make a worthless c.v. Maybe it's the strong ones that are forced to go on their own and make their own way. At least this Christmas will not be dismal for me as it will be for those who know that they face the new year without employment.

God never told us that life would be easy. Many have crosses to bear and I surely carry mine every day of my life. Learning to adapt and take control of difficult situations such as job losses is not an easy thing to's a matter of survival and at the end of the day we are all on our own, finding our own way.

I thank God and Kelly-Anne that now two months into my job, I am happy learning new things in a positive environment with wonderful people surrounding me. I can leave the past behind and move forward as today would have been my completion of 28 years of service. I am smiling today as I have a sense of peace in my heart as today is the first day of my new life. As Kelly-Anne once said " just put one foot in front of the other and walk", and that is what I have been doing each day for the past two months, on my new life's journey.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Let's Talk About Conjugal Violence

Today, the Quebec government announced it's campaign to promote the responsibility of all Quebecers to a stand against conjugal violence. The statistics are still much too high in Quebec. There is an article in today's Gazette entitled "Quebec Enlists Public to Combat Conjugal Violence".

Also, here is the link the the government's website. This is just not an issue that relates to Quebec only. Conjugal violence exists in every province, state and country.

The website offers advice to people who may know of someone who is a victim of abuse. They have even included information about creating a rescue plan.

Because of recent hard economic times where many people have lost jobs, it is so easy for couples to argue and at as what we have read in the media there have been some terrible life ending consequences for some families. We all have to be vigilant and take the time to be aware of what is going on in our communities. If you know a family that is going through hard times, take the time to talk to them. You don't have to be a psychologist to listen to people and if you see things that are not right, speak to someone that could help the family. You may be saving lives.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What would Kelly-Anne have done?

These past few months have been a roller coaster ride of emotions coupled with decisions and new beginnings. I found myself contemplating issues and asking often how would Kell-Anne have dealt with a particular situation or what would she have done. I find I take the time to analysis what would have been her view and try to handle issues the same way. Well I think it's working...I haven't cracked yet.

I certainly have been thinking of her alto as we had to face her fifth anniversary of her untimely, horrific death , the slap in the face of the murdered asking for an appeal, the rugby fundraiser and now the lifesaving fundraiser coming up on Kell's what would have been 30th birthday.

And of course I started new job in September, Jules and I both got colds and his ended up in a pneumonia. Facing the new daily routine of going to work downtown has been an eye opener to the poverty and homelessness that exist in Montreal. The same four people sit every day in the metro where I get off and beg for money. Some will hold the doors and have their hand opened to spare change, others will play their guitars, some look spaced out and others are just sleeping.

I know for a fact that Kelly-Anne would have probably ran to McDonald's and fed these people even if she didn't have money to spend on a meal for herself...that is how generous she was.I remember on Christmas eve in downtown Montreal. We had just arrived in front of the church and their across the street was a young homeless man. Kell jumped out of the car and tried to go purchase food at MacDonald's to give him but the restaurant was closed.

I am trying to tell myself to be a little bit more generous to others. Jules tells me that I should give them each some money for Christmas. I thought that maybe I will buy gifts certificates from McDonald's and put one in each of their cups. At least they will be able to eat something.

Kelly-Anne led by example and it is her example of kindness and generosity that I must follow. Kelly-Anne has sustained me these past months. Her spirit is ever so near and as we celebrate her life next Saturday, I know her presence at the cocktail will not be far away.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sesame Street

"Come and play, everything is a o.k..." remembering those words and realizing that Sesame Street has now been around for 40 years hit a cord this week. Memories of Kelly-Anne, so vivid as if it were yesterday, she standing in front of the t.v. dancing to that song at the introduction of the show each morning, reminds me of just how much she loved the show.

She could not have been more than two years old and thought that Big Bird was her hero. Dancing in front of the t.v. with her curly hair and that big smile reminds me of the beautiful memories of her early childhood. I remember the Bird Bird slippers, t-shirts, pj's, birthday cake pan and numerous other souvenirs of the show. Kelly-Anne and Kim both had Bert and Ernie dolls , Cookie monster, Grouch, and of course Kermit and Miss Piggy.

Watching that show was an education in itself. Remember the number and letter of the day? Kelly-Anne got a kick out of that. The show is still on, but most of us who do not have young children or grandchildren probably never watch the show anymore.

A television show running for 40 years says alot...what other show has ran that long?

These are the sweet memories of innocent and precious. Even in life's dramas,we can never let go of the memories of the special moments of childhood....that's what keeps me going.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kelly-Anne Drummond Cocktail Fundraiser

In honor of Kelly-Anne's 30th birthday, please join us as we remember Kelly-Anne, celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Lifesaving Society and recognize the dedication and talents of the many competitive lifeguards in Quebec.

The Kelly-Anne Drummond Cocktail Fundraiser
Saturday November 28th 2009.
7:00 p.m.
Donation: $50.00
Dollard Des Ormeaux Aquatic Centre
12,001 de la Salaberry, Dollard des Ormeaux
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Lifesaving Society at 514-252-3100
We will have on hand a representative of Epicure Selections who will have gift bags containing thee lovely spice bottles for $ 21.00. For each bag sold, Epicure will donate $5.00 to the foundation.
Lolipop glass art's famous Jonathan Leon will be donating his world known pieces of art jewellery to our silent auction.
There will be raffle tickets for great prizes. Wine, beer and food will be offered.
Come join us and support our competetive lifeguards. Remember, this is the only sports which saves lives.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Saturday's Road Trip

Despite our colds and stress of last week, Jules and I decided to keep our reservations for lunch at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg. We started this tradition last year of having Thanksgiving dinner at Willard's Inn on the site. Turkey dinner is served and as a handsome OPP police officer later that day agreed with me it's always better when someone else cooks it.

Jules and I started out on our journey to Lancaster. We stop there for cheap gas and a visit to Rob McIntosh's outlet. Of course there is always something that catches my eye. Once we approached the entrance to get back on the highway we entered a police check. A nice young officer just wanted to make sure that we and everyone else had their seat belts on. I can't imagine not wearing a seat belt as I would feel naked! Do you know what I mean?

We got to the Village around 12:30 p.m. and walked over to the Inn and had a lovely turkey dinner. Needless to say we were stuffed and walked around a bit more enjoying the sunny fall day. We then headed back to the highway and was stopped again by the OPP. I was driving and I lowered my window. This time another handsome officer asked me how I was. I replied that I was " stuffed". He asked me what I was stuffed with booze or food. I laughed and said food and told him about our lunch. He had a chuckle and off we went.

Here it was just after 2:00 p.m.and I am saying to Jules that I can't believe that people would be drinking at this hour on a Saturday. I realize that when it comes to certain things like drinking I really live in a bubble.

I think it is great that the OPP are so concerned about the motorist and their presence on the roads surely must of made an impact this weekend. Once we hit Quebec there was not an SQ in sight. That makes me feel sad as the SQ need to make more of a presence on our roads during holiday weekends.

It 's fun to get away even for the day. Sometimes we need to forget about our stresses and take a little r & r time. I remember how Kell would enjoy her road trips and I will share some of her experiences with you in another entry.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In Thanksgiving

Today, I went to the Orthodox church of my roots. I had a mass for Kelly-Anne and my parents. Dad had died on Thanksgiving weekend some 17 years ago. The priest mentioned during the service just before his sermon Kelly-Anne's name , then made a comment about this week's news and that I had to face this again. He then spoke about what our faith is about and that we as Christians face sadness and loss.

The truth is that we were never promised that life would be perfect....and who do you know who's life is that way. I surely don't know anybody who has a perfect life. We all have a cross to bear of some sort.

We all have losted loved ones, but how we have faced that lost is probably different. For me, God has sustained me and carried me through the darkest time of my life. Many people have asked me if I ever blamed God for what happened to Kell. My answer has always and will always be no. You see I feel that there are two laws. God's laws and Man's laws. The reason that we have violence in our society is because man decided to be bigger than God and create war, abuse and genocides. These are not God's works.

Marty Cousineau decided on that horrible evening of October 3rd 2004 to take control of Kelly-Anne's life and murder her. That wasn't God 's decision....I believe that God cried when Kelly-Anne was viciously stabbed and lay there dying in her own blood. God's plan for Kelly-Anne was to live a good honest Christian life, but Marty intervened in God's plan.

I felt not alone today during the sermon as I was reminded that I am not the only person on the face of this earth who has lost a child or a loved one. Here in the church sat a father with three infant boys...his baby triplets. The mother of these triplets died suddenly. This father too has a cross to bear. There are so many sad stories out there.

I pray this Thanksgiving Sunday that those who have losted loved ones find the peace that passes all understand and that the courage that we are given through God will enable us to stand strong and face our losses with grace.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Slap in the Face

Yesterday I was slapped in the face. On the fifth anniversary of Kelly-Anne's horrific passing, I received news that tomorrow a hearing will be held at the Montreal Court of Appeal to hear a defense lawyer plead to three judges that Martin Morin - Cousineau should have the right to an appeal. What all this means is that he like all criminals who have been found guilty of a crime in Canada have the right to appeal their case. Our wonderful laws in our wonderful Canadian Justice System allow this to happen.

As I mentioned in an interview today, criminals continue to have more rights than victims. Cousineau has the right to plead that he got a sentence much to long and undeserved. Let me remind all of you that he will be eligible to apply for parole in 8.5 years. That means that he could be walking the streets as a free man....just like you and me! It that fair ? Kelly-Anne will not be returning to her family in 8.5 years.

Our laws allow criminals like Cousineau the opportunity to plead and ask for an appeal because life is just too hard and long in prison and their sentence was just too harsh... a life sentence should be a life sentence. Let's remember it was his peers that deemed him guilty and the facts of the murder did not justify a manslaughter case.

We Canadians need to write our MNA's , speak out to make change..... create petitions,do what ever possible to convince the government to change the old laws in this country. We need to be like the is life never to see the light of day.

It's time to make that statement. Please do your part. Again today another women's body is found in a wooded area. Was she murdered? If so, another murderer walks our streets and if he gets caught a defence lawyer will work hard like hell to get him the smallest sentence possible.

Is that fair?

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Fifth Anniversary

Another October 5th is upon us. The weather seems similar to what is was five years ago on this day. As for how I feel, that hasn't changed much neither. Painful memories of that day still, still are so vivid....they will never fade.

As I have said before, life is not worst or better than pre October 3rd 2004, it's just different. I have had to work through the guilt. I, at times take myself back to that time in Kelly-Anne's life was she was dating Marty. I ask myself those hard questions of why I didn't do something harsh like kidnap Kell....what the hell was I afraid of? Going to jail, having my daughter very angry at me, or did I just think that Kelly-Anne would take care of her issues with him.

The past five years have gone by so quickly. Many changes have happened in my life, but the one thing that hasn't changed is my desire to continue to be Kelly-Anne's voice, to send the message to women everywhere that violence is not acceptable and cannot be tolerated. One slap is too many slaps. There is a way out and women do not have to fear their aggressor.

I have a spoken before about a law in Quebec that was changed in April 2006. Any women who lives in a domestic violent relationship can leave their residence and not have to worry about being responsible for the lease.....the catch is that the women has to tell the police about her situation....and it's a good catch. Please send this message to any women that you may know who is in this situation. For my readers outside of Quebec, check with your provincial or state laws.

Let's pay tribute to Kelly-Anne today by reaching out to someone who is in need...a women who needs a shoulder to cry on, a women who you suspect is a victim of domestic violence.

May Kelly-Anne's memory be eternal.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Excepts Part 3

As I sit here in front of my computer I realize that it is now 8:03 p.m. the time that Kelly-Anne was fatally stabbed five years ago today. Realizing the time gives me a chill, my poor baby you did not any way deserve this . Oh, how I wish that I had kidnapped you from this disgusting vulture.....I should of known better.

I continue to read Kell's diary. We have a picture of her standing in front of the Fontaine Trevi . She is throwing a coin over her shoulder into the fountain. As she does this, Kelly-Anne makes a wish.

"I ventured up to the Trevi Fontaine. There were alot of people in a small quadren. I threw a E .05 into the fountain, touched the H20 wished that I hopefully remain young....."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Excerpts Part 2

Here's an excerpt about Kell's flight to France, her impression of Air France and air travel in Europe.

"When the light for the seat belts turned off I had the urge to wretch. And that I did. Just before that I looked in the pocket in front of me for those convenient vomit bags. Ironically this time, when I might have used one , there was none. I found a lavatory soon after."

" Today I realize that I do not like Air France and would like to avoid the Charles DeGaulle airport if I can. The plane left us off in the middle of the runway as it would for an evacuation. It took forever for the passengers to get off the plane. We finally got to the terminal, the passengers were going up an escalator to stand in line for something else. When we got to the top of the escalator it was as if were were at a rock concert. The line ahead was not moving, so the people on the escalator were being crammed up against one another. I said out loud " This is how people die, by being crushed to death." I pushed my way through to avoid being crushed in the Nationalist airport.

Finally I arrived to the gate on ward to Florence only to find out that the bus that takes passengers to the middle of the runway had already left. I was told to get another ticket from AF. I did so, the ticket agent gave me a ticket for a free sandwich and drink. I tried telling him how discontent I was with missing my flight due to nonsensual (sic) reasons.He smiled, didn't nod. Basically he didn't care. I walked away.

When I arrived to the Florence airport, once again they left us off in the middle of the airport. Must be a European thing.The airport security was almost unheard of. There was no customs which means no stamps in my passport. I was pretty upset about that."

Remembering Kell Part 1

As we approach the fifth anniversary of Kelly- Anne's passing I thought I would share with you some of the excerpts from her diary which she wrote while on her trip in Italy. I loved the way she can feel that they are with her experiencing the trip. Of course the humor is so alive, just like the way Kell lived.

Here's a excerpt which I'll call The Human Compass Story

" I walked around trying to find Ponte Vecchio. I being the human compass, walked completely in the opposite direction for 1.5 km. If I had looked to my left I would of seen the bridge, I made it there finally.

I had wanted to go to where Michelangelo lived on top of a hill. I read that the sun sets were nice. So I found where it was, went there and saw Florence under a setting sun. The roof tops were shinning in the sun, just beautiful. After so I walked back to the main centre. On my journey back to the hotel I asked some locals where I was on the map. They pointed out that I was on the complete opposite side of the town that I wanted to be on. Well done, again. "

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wondering Why

Reading the late edition of the Montreal Gazette on line, the caption tells us that a Montreal police detective is being accused of transmitting police data base documents to criminals.

Readers have written into the Gazette to voice and for most their negative comments about the police and this particular event. I find it hard to believe that the detective in question who is someone whom I have had the up most respect for would do something like this. This detective took us under his wing when Kelly-Anne's family were in court back in 2006.

He and his team were like gold medal winners. That is how Kelly-Anne's family and our friends viewed he and his colleagues.

I ask myself what leads these events to happen? What we need to understand it that there is an immense pressure placed on police detectives. We forget that they are human beings who see things that we never hope to see in our lives....imagine being the first to arrive at a crime scene and seeing all the horror. I only thank God that we were spared of the sight of Kelly-Anne's apartment at the moment of the assault. But someone did see it. These cops go home to their families at the end of their day. They also take these crime scenes home with them.

I can only imagine that the pressure eventually gets to a police officer which can make them weak. I ask myself if the police department is giving enough support to the officers.

I am not making excuses for what has allegedly happened, but he has not yet faced the courts, so we shouldn't judge.

Whatever the outcome, I will never forget how good this man was to us.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Perseverance Pays Off

After seven months of being at home, I now have a job to go to each day. This past weekend I did some reflection of what it took come to this point of being hired and the first word which comes to mind is how I persevered.

I had faced rejection such as "your over qualified for this job", " we decided to hire somebody else" and "you don't have all the qualifications for this job". Being turned away had left me at times doubting myself and my future.

The past months I was fortunate to be a part of a group called Executives Available. They are a group of experts who help professionals who are over 40 to market themselves. I met some great people who are in search to find jobs. I learnt tips from the experts and had wonderful support from my counsellor.

Through all the changes of loosing a job and finding a new one,I realized that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Kelly-Anne was always near by....,her spirit, her example of perseverance was close in my heart. Kim displayed everyday to me her perseverance as she recently started a new job working with special needs children. I marvel at her patience and perseverance as she impacts these children's lives. Kim has skills that many do not have. Kim and Jules have been my support team over the past months...always being encouraged to continue my job search. As Jules says, I don't give up easily.

Well, the brief case is packed, the clothes are ironed and the sensible shoes are at the door. I'm off to work in a law office and will give my expertise and commitment once again in a new career.

Doreen Drummond
Health & Safety Consultant

Saturday, August 22, 2009

August Crickets & Summer Fun

For the past few weeks, I have been going to bed with the sound of crickets coming from my bedroom window. Those late August crickets bring me back to my own childhood growing up in Montreal. Remembering those evenings where the family would gather to share a refreshing cold watermelon are priceless. As a child, I thought summer was never going to end.

Our activities were not entirely the same as they were when Kelly- Anne and Kim were children. We went to the pool, biked around the park and played on the swings and some evenings were filled with a neighbourhood game of hide and seek. Kelly-Anne and Kim 's activities were more structured. Swimming lessons and biking were priorities. Activities such as Christmas in July, BBQ's and rants were also on the list. Just having good clean fun.

I am grateful that the girls had each other as playmates to share those special times. I can remember when Cabbage patch dolls were all the rage. The girls each had one and would put them in their back pack with their faces showing and bike with them. One day they enrolled in a first aid babysitting course at the CLSC. They had to bring their dolls to practice on.

Summer is the time for safe fun, family get togethers,and watermelon. The sound of the crickets is my bittersweet reminder of happy summers gone by for myself and for the girls. Enjoy the rest of your summer and listen to the crickets!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pool Safety

Hearing the news of a 4 year old who died today following a drowning yesterday in a Montreal city pool breaks my heart. It also relives the days when Kelly-Anne and Kim were that age and learning how to swim.

On a hot summer day, the pools are bound to be busy. A lifeguard's job is one that must be taken responsibly. I believe that young lifeguards should be managed by a lifeguard with maturity, experience and management skills. That being said does not remove the responsibility from the parents. Any child who cannot swim should not be left alone in a pool. Even if a child can swim, the parents still need to be sitting at the water's edge watching them.

I remember in the old days being in the water with Kelly-Anne and Kim as they learnt how to swim. How they enjoyed the water but they also knew the potential for danger.

When Kelly-Anne taught swimming to youngsters, she also taught them about water safety. She would gather them on the deck and have little cards with drawings on them which describe water safety issues. I can also remember Kel sitting up high on a lifeguard chair watching attentively the children. Never would she turn her away from them.

I am fortunate that Kim still works as a lifeguard. Somehow I feel just a little bit safer knowing that she is on duty. Kim also teaches swimming to youngsters. As I observe her as she guards the waters, I see the maturity and responsibility taken to heart. That's my girls !

I hope the parents of the 4 year old find peace. The road ahead of them will be difficult filled with guilt, anger and pain. Many the little one rest in peace. For the lifeguards at the pool, I hope they review their responsibilities and get the support and guidance which they need.

Loosing a child like this is preventable.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom

Today, my Mom would have been 88 years old. I thought alot about her today. It seems that this time of the year brings back alot of bittersweet memories of my Mom and Kelly-Anne.

In my mother's good years, she would play on the floor with the girls. I can still see there three of them frolicking. I can remember the day I returned home from the hospital after having Kim. Mom showed up soon afterwards with Kelly-Anne . Kelly-Anne had stayed with my parents while I was having Kim. In fact, Kelly-Anne took her first steps on her own during that time with my parents. I remember Mom telling what a joy it was to have Kelly-Anne with them...let's remember Kel was only 11 months old! Mom mentioned to me that she told Kelly-Anne that I had given birth to a baby sister for her and she insisted that Kel understood what my mother was saying as she became very serious and attentive.

Mom's last birthday party was one which I will never forget. We knew that Mom would not see her next birthday, so we had a party at her house. Dad was ill too and I remember saying to myself as I saw the two of them standing next to each that they were both dying in front to me.

Dad had cancer and died on Thanksgiving weekend in 1992 and Mom had Alzheimer's and died eight months later. I can remember how sad the girls were to loose their grandparents.

I am only thankful that they were not alive when Kelly-Anne was murdered. That would of killed the both of them. I do know that they must of cried when Kelly-Anne met them in Heaven and to know that they are all together gives me some peace. The sadness that I do have in my heart today is that Mom, Dad and Kel are not here with us to share our lives. I always said that my parents died to early and that Kelly-Anne and Kim got robbed out of not having their grandparents around to see them grow up...oh how they would of been so proud of their accomplishments!

Mom, rest in peace....I hope everyone is around you today...we miss you so very much.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Rekindling with the Family

Today, Jules Kim and I attended a family BBQ. Between the food, the chatter, the children frolicking in the backyard, it was a beautiful day to be with family. Some of us reminisced about summers past when our families would meet on Sundays at Ile Ste- Hélène for a picnic. I can recall being young...oh so young and climbing a hill from the parking lot on the Island to where we would set up our multiple picnic tables and break bread together. Today brought back those special memories of summers past.

We gathered for a family group photo and as I stood there between Jules and Kim, I felt a sense of loss, that Kelly-Anne should of been there with us enjoying the day. I bravely smiled for the camera and let on that all was good.....but a piece of my heart sanked again.

There was one particular person who was there today with whom Kelly-Anne would have marvelous conversations with on different occasions. I missed seeing her talk to my cousin's husband.

I remarked today that is was great to see the family gathered as through our busy lives, time is rarely set aside for fun occasions. We usually see each other at funerals.

As I have often said , life is too short. Taking the time to be with extended relatives is so important. For me, having Kim there to get better acquainted with the family makes me very happy. It's about our roots and our culture. It's about sharing memories and special events with very special people.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Another Tragedy

A helicopter crash took the live of a much loved cameraman for CTV, Hugh Haugland today. Looking at his picture I remember him filming me for one of the many interviews which I did for CTV. The media reports tell us about Hugh's passion for his work...the long hours, the challenges he encountered as he filmed in many difficult situations. This type of sudden tragic death always leaves a hole in my heart. I think of his wonder father Bill, who we all shared in our living rooms for many years, his mother, his siblings, his wife and his beautiful daughters. My heart goes out to all of them.

Hugh's death also leaves a hole in the hearts of his co workers. These situations in the workplace are always difficult. I am sure that CTV will do all they have to in supporting their staff through this most difficult time.

Rest in Peace Hugh.

Messages can be sent to the Haugland family at:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Six Months

Time has passed very quickly. Today I recognize that it is six months that I have been on this new road towards a job search. It has been six months of re energizing my spirit...finding myself, meeting new people, facing new challenges and finding the true meaning of life. I've learnt alot these past months. Today I cried....still, the lost hurts but I have turned the leaf and as I continue to move forward.

This time away from the workplace has given me a chance to set those priorities straight. The only difficult issue is that there is too much time to think...thinking of Kelly-Anne and how much I miss her. She's been swimming has improved and I know she is right there along side me in the pool. Strange you may think...I don't think so.

Today I attend the funeral of my cousin Sonia. Sonia was fifteen years older that I so we weren't brought us together. Her life was very different than mine. Sadly, she died all alone in her apartment and for me that is painful as I firmly believe that no one should die alone.The service in true Orthodox fashion was beautiful...there is something very mystical about the Orthodox faith, a beauty that goes far beyond the usual. Sonia's life touched everyone she new in a different way. She loved her dog Brandy, the church and the radio shows. I only want for her now is to rest in peace.

Today as Sonia passed into eternity, I feel that my life will now take a new turn in the road. I was asked a couple of weeks ago " What do I want to do when I grow up?" I think it is time now to think about's time for me to grow up, return to my roots, continue to forge forward with my beliefs, find work, reconciled with others, love my husband and daughter even more and be happy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Funny Story about Kelly-Anne

This summer has been a very different kind of summer for me. Despite the erratic weather here in Quebec, I have had the opportunity to enjoy the pool and absence of employment. Oh those lazy days of summer which I remember as a child ...carefree, no responsibilities and just having fun. Well, I can't say that it is entirely the same...but close with the exception of looking for a job.

These past couple of months has allowed me to reflect more about days gone by and about the things Kelly-Anne did in her short but abundant life. Each day at the pool, I ask Kelly-Anne to swim with me. I can say now that I am 95% cured of my post trauma of deep water. I know she has helped me get over that. I can now swim one hour without stopping...yes I do come up for air !

I reflected one day about a time where Kelly-Anne really like Ashley McIssac...a singer from the east coast. Kell had a thing for Celtic music. One day, later in the evening, Kell had come home from Waterpolo practice. She had been to school that day, and decided sometime in the morning to leave school to go downtown to find McIssac. He was in town doing a show and Kelly-Anne decided that she would like to have a one on one with him. I was shocked that she just left school without notifying us or her teacher. I said Kell..".how did you do that?" She responded..."Mom, I opened the front door of the school and put one foot in front of the other and left." She rode the bus downtown, walked Ste. Catherine street and low and behold found McIssac walking out of a resto. She spend her quality time with him alone chatting on the street, then made her way back towards home to go to her waterpolo practice.

Meanwhile, hundreds of other fans waited patiently including her sister Kim at a record store for an autograph. All this to say, when McIssac saw Kim with the same waterpolo jacket, he mentioned that he had met Kelly-Anne.

What determination Kelly-Anne had! The message in all this is that we have to put one foot forward to move forward and get what we want. I am learning so much from my daughter. We can't wait for someone to give us things on a silver platter. Thinking of Kell gives me the daily determination to find my new career. Even in her death, Kell motivates me.

Thanks Kell, I love you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another Sudden Tragic Death

We learnt today about a wonderful young women who's life was instantly taken from her while she and her husband dined in downtown Montreal. A vibrant young women with her whole life ahead of her died from a falling piece of cement.

I'll say it again...we all take life for granted. We do not know what tomorrow will bring.

Another life taken so quickly. I feel for her family's and friend's pain. I hope Léa will rest in peace and be an angel watching over her husband and family.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett

Today we hear of the passing of Farrah Fawcett. What really saddens me is that she never got the chance to marry Ryan O'Neal. We heard last week that he asked her to marry him. She was on her death bed being proposed to after all this years. Such a waste of years gone by and now it is too late. There is a lesson to be learnt from all this....never put off doing today which you think you can do tomorrow. We are all so good at procrastinating, but life has a way of throwing curves at us. When death comes, it is fast and definite. The loss of that person no matter what the circumstances are is a void for all those who loved that person. I would of loved to turn back the clock and had one chance to talk to Kelly-Anne, to my parents and many others close to me who have passed on. Just one more day to day I love you and I appreciate everything that you have done for me....just one more day.

We need to remind ourselves that the people who mean much to us or have meant a lot to us need to be told so and that reconciliation is so important if we want to live our lives without the guilt once that person passes on. You know those famous words..."I should of "or "why didn't I".......we are all guilty of that.

My heart and prayers go out to Farrah's family and I hope that she will be at peace cradled in the Lord's arms.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


After attending an intimate funeral this week of the husband of a swimming friend , I was enlightened by the minister's message. I thought I would like to share some of it with you. It somehow touched a cord with me and has made me look at life again, just a little differently. Even though I consider myself a humble person, sometimes we need a little shake up.

Have you ever looked at a tombstone and noticed that each has the date of birth inscribed of the deceased, then a dash ------- then the date of death? What really is important here? Sure we were all born and we will die but the reality is it is the DASH which is the most important. That Dash represents our life, the time we spent on this earth. For some , the Dash is short and for others, very long.

What we have done in our DASH is not measured by how much money we have earned or how much money we have saved. It is not measured by what we have acquired as worldly things. It's about what we have done during that DASH. What have we contributed or gave to our family, friends and society. Who have we nurtured or cared for. What child has learnt something from us. What kind smile have we given a homeless person?

Even though Kelly-Anne's DASH was so short, she was able to do all the above and more.

I want my DASH to be filled of stories and memories that I and my family can be proud of...the giving , the sharing, the love, the nurturing, the selflessness. We all have that inside of's up to us to set the priorities straight and live out faithfully, no matter how short or how long our DASH is.

What will your DASH be?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Baby's First Birthday

Today Jules and I went to participate in the festivities of a baby's first birthday. Lilah is her name. A darling little girl who is the daughter of Kelly-Anne and Kim good friend. Besides the goodies and cupcakes, the house was filled with little children. All happy and adorable little ones playing and munching on treats. The party brought back many memories of birthday parties which we had for Kelly-Anne and Kim.

For Kelly-Anne's first birthday she had a baby sister to celebrate with her. Isn't that something! Kim was just 4 weeks old but nevertheless she was with her sister.

I remember making those wonderful character cakes out of the Wilton cake pans....doggies, Big Bird etc. Some parties were held at McDonald's and Chi Chi's. We usually had one party in between their birthdays. One birthday party, Kim received her first cat....Katnip. He somewhat freaked out coming home to a children's costume party. I think that is why he was always stressed out.

Looking at the gifts that Lilah received today made me see that some things just haven't changed...Strawberry Shortcake was a big thing when the girls were small. Lilah must of received at least 3 Strawberry shortcake cards and we gave her a Strawberry Shortcake book as part of her gifts.

It was a lovely party which really warmed my heart...the sweet innocence of youth.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kelly-Anne & Rachel

Kelly-Anne's best friend is Rachel. Today is a special day for Rachel as she has married her sweetheart.
It's a bittersweet day as I sit here and think of years gone by and of the relationship the girls had together. They say that there is no greater bond between mother or daughter or sisters but I feel their bond was
the same as blood sisters. I remember the laughter, the fun shared and of course the adventuring. Kelly-Anne, I know would be very happy and proud today for Rachel. I am sure that her spirit is near Rachel as she starts a new phase in her life. I am also glad that Kim is there today with Rachel sharing in the festivities.

Here is a picture taken of the girls adventuring in the USA.

I wish Rachel a beautiful day and a happy and loving marriage.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

We are all One

Tonight I experienced the solidarity of a community. I attended the first year memorial service for Andrew Hunte-Longshaw. He was the young man of 22 years who was murdered this time last year in front of Concordia University. Looking at his mother, his grandparents, brothers and little daughter, they stood strong and united. The church was packed, the gospel choir shook the building.

Amongst the people were many families from the English community who lost a child or family member from murder. Between the hugs and tears, I felt that we are a community of soldiers. Our fallen soldiers have only our voice left to speak for them. Pastor Danny Eason said it all too well...we judge people by the car they drive or the clothes they wear...but really those materialist things are not what is important. God doesn't judge us by what we have, it's what we have in our hearts that is important. Also, God gives us as much as we can handle...and for the families who have lost a loved one...we are strong , we can move on, we can give meaning to the loss of our loved ones.

Tonight only reinforced what I have been trying to do......forge forward, find meaning in my life now and keep Kelly-Anne's name alive. The week ahead will bring more changes to my life... I sense a turning point is coming. Change will happen...good things are going to happen and I have to believe that the right job or the right situation will be with the Lord's guidance.

I will be put in the right place and will find meaning in whatever I will be doing. As I learnt from Kelly-Anne in her ability to persevere, I too will continue to do so.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Question of the Day

Yesterday, Jules and I headed to Vermont to enjoy the day of sunshine. We arrived at the US border early and was greeted by the All- American looking young male custom's officer. Jules warned me ahead of time , not to say anything stupid. I reminded him to watch how he answers questions as you just really don't know what they are going to ask you. Each time we cross the border, we always get asked the strangest questions...Like " So, what going on down there or Is there a reason why you should not be entering the US?" I really think that the American Customs Services pays someone to sit at a desk and write up the questions for the guards.

Yesterday's question was " So , what do you do for a living?" I smiled and told him my story.... what I did for a living and what I do now. He seemed quite impressed. Then he asked Jules. I wanted to tell him that I was a high price call girl, but didn't think that would go over very well.
Without thinking that I was speaking to an American, I asked if there were any job openings here. He laughed and said yea, and then he reminded me that I should apply on the Canadian side. I said oh ya right. I really thought he was going to invite us over some time for a coffee.

Jules and I drank lots of Green Mountain coffee and bought some in Waterbury. Then we ended up in Williston and went to the Christmas Shoppes to do some shopping. I love that store. It has everything and the prices are really cheap.

For a blast from the past, we had lunch at Ponderosa steak House. We sat there and reminisced about our childhood experiences dining at Ponderosa in Montreal.

We drove home stuffed and were told by a miserable young Canadian custom's guard that the next time I buy anything, I will have to pay duty. We only spent $60.00. It's amazing how different rules apply to different people. I have have crossed the boarder on day trips with friends who have spend over $200.00 and nothing was said.

Needless to say, you know when you are back on Quebec soil...your car has a way of telling you that. Bump, bump , bump.

Vive la Quebec !

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Saying I Love You

Our morning routine has not changed even with me at home now. Jules wakes up at 4:00 a.m. and get really for work. He wakes me at 5:30 a.m. and I dress and throw water on my face. We get into the car and I drive him to work. First we stop and pick the paper and a coffee. I keep the car because I need it during the day.

We arrived at his workplace and he, as always leans over and kisses me and tells me to have a nice day,to drive safely and that he loves me. I joke to him and say the same even the drive safely part because he drives a walkie...remember I still think like a Health & Safety Specialist even though I no longer am one.

Jules tells me this afternoon after work , that an employee was seen in his car in the parking lot after I left him off with a shot gun and ammo. Two other employees managed to convince him to get out of the car and leave the rifle alone. The police were call. Was this employee so depressed that he was going to shoot himself or was he planning to take his co-workers down with him? If the two employees didn't convince the man to get of his car, the employee could have gone into the building, directly into the cafeteria and blown away my husband and his co -workers.

Each day is a new day and we do not know what it will bring us...therefore say "I love you" to the ones you love as it could be the last time.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Little Angels

The past few months of family murders has really bothered me to no end. The children in Piedmont and the little girls in Laval and other family dramas in Quebec have been just too much to consume. Why take the children's lives? Let's not blame the recession...there is no excuse. If the parents are so f----ed up, then maybe they should just leave the children with a relative and kill themselves.....leave the kids alone.

Today the Laval girls were buried. Mother is in jail undergoing a psycho exam and dad is too much of a coward to show up at the funereal as he is on the lam...probably living in a nice warm climate and figures if he returns to Canada, he will be picked up at the border and jailed. Such a coward ! He can't sacrifice the rest of his life in jail, but it's ok that his girls have been murdered. I know, I am assuming that he is alive and living the life of Riley. For all we know he may be dead too wearing cement blocks for shoes.

It has gotten to the point that I prefer not to watch the news on T.V. anymore. There is just too much crime and too many people being murdered. The days of my childhood and probably yours were all so innocent and carefree. I wish we could take back those days.

Rest in peace Amanda & Sabrina.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Living in Fear

The past two weeks I have read a book written by Canadian journalist Brian Vallée. It is called the War on Women. The book talks about a couple domestic abuse cases in Canada which happened in the 1940-1950's. I read it as part of the research for a special project I am doing for Women Aware. The book allowed me to better understand what a victim of domestic abuse lives. The one word that best describes these victims is FEAR. That is why it is so hard for them to leave their abuse relationships. We have to stop judging women who stay in these relationships. It's so easy to say "Why is she with him. If it were me, I would be out in a flash."

The first night reading the book, I just couldn't sleep. Thoughts in my head were that of Kelly-Anne and what she lived in her relationship with Marty. So many other women even today continue to live in fear. I only hope and pray that the more we speak out, more women will break the silence. Being with Women Aware is challenging, but this is where I have been brought to.

I would like to be congratulated for being laid off as a door closed and another opened. I am in the right place with incredible colleagues. I understand now all those dreams that I have been having since Kelly-Anne's death. There is always a door opening in my dreams. Now I have the answers.

I will celebrate my challenge and continue to forge forward...never to be silent about abuse.

Kelly-Anne's Fundraiser

Last Saturday we enjoyed songs, laughter and a couple of beers at McKibbon's in Pointe Claire. Kelly-Anne was honored as the Montreal Barbarians Rugby Club raised $ 2, 071.00 in her honor. Way to go Barbs! The money raised will help the up and coming rugby players with training and equipment. Special thanks to the organizers for doing a great job.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Already One Month

Here we are March 4th 2009. Exactly one month today I received the earth shattering news that I was canned from my job. This past month has been a world wind of ups and downs, tears and laughter. I have had the privilege of hooking up with old friends, acquaintances and former business associates.

I have also learnt some rules of life that have changed me. I have learnt to take time for myself. Hey, I've worked hard this past month. Looking for a job is a job in itself. I have also been able to take a step back and take care of me. I have gone to the gym, I have swam and I have slept in...something that have not done in years. I look in the mirror and now see a rested face...the puffiness around the eyes has disappeared. I realize that my knees no longer was those steel cap shoes and cement floors all that time killing my knees. I have also slowed down. I was always in a rush before to get done what needed to be I say to myself that I have all the time in the I take my time and am no longer stressed out.

I have realized that I have the strength and courage to carry on and to adapt to new situations. My confidence had been diminished on February 4th by the company who made a decision regarding my life and that of 999 other employees across Canada. Today, I regained that strength and confidence as I will embark on a exciting project for the next few months.

I will join WomenAware. I have written earlier on about this great association helping women who are victims of domestic violence. They have been around for 15 years and are going into schools talking about violence. They have a hot line for women who need to talk and need help and resources. There are support meetings and there is always a need for funding. There web site :

This summer I will kick back and relax. I haven't done that in years! It's going to be one day at a time. Finding a permanent full time job is not going to be easy, therefore I have to be creative and be my own boss.

I know that Kelly - Anne is helping me regain my spirit. I feel her near me in the water and there I am at peace. I know that she wants me out there helping women and now I can help WomenAware with their projects.

I'll just put away those steel cap shoes or maybe I'll sell them on EBay!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Our Anniversary

This past week Jules and I celebrated our second year of marriage. Despite the sadness of my job lost, our anniversary was a day of smiles , admiration for each other and love. So much has happened in the past two years. It seems as we get older, life has a way of moving in first gear...did I know two years ago that I would no longer have a job and that I would have moved on from being with AFPAD ? Did I know that I now would have to be faced with some hard decisions about how I will live out the rest of my career years?

One thing that I do know is that I have my darling husband behind me all the way. His support and love has been overwhelming. He keeps telling me that he wishes that I could just stay home and not work.....but we all know that it is his big heart talking and not the reality of the today's world. I'll have plenty of time to stay home....right now I am energetic and looking for a stimulating challenge.

Tonight, Jules took me to our favorite Italian resto in St. Laurent...DiVino's. The wine and meal was superb. Days like today are's the time to remember all the ones we love whether they are here with us , or have passed on, or are friends and family who we don't have contact with. Valentine's Day doesn't have to be commercial. It doesn't cost anything to tell someone that they are cared for and loved.

Happy Valentine's Day !

Monday, February 9, 2009

Food for Thought

Someone special sent this to me. I really need to share it with you.

There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind.

She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her.
She told her boyfriend, "If I could only see the world, I will marry you."One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend.He asked her, 'Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?'

The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn't expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.Her boyfriend left her in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying: 'Take good care of your eyes, my dear; for before they were yours, they were mine.'This is how the human brain often works when our status changes.Only a very few remember what life was like before, and who was always by their side in the most painful situations.

Life is a gift. Today before you say an unkind word, think of someone who can't speak.Before you complain about the taste of your food - Think of someone who has nothing to eat.Before you complain about your husband or wife - Think of someone who's crying out to GOD for a companion.Today before you complain about life -Think of someone who went too early to heaven. Before you complain about your children -Think of someone who desires children but they're barren.Before you argue about your dirty house someone didn't clean or sweep -Think of the people who are living in the streets.Before whining about the distance you drive -Think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.

And when you are tired and complain about your job -Think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your job.But before you think of pointing the finger or condemning another -Remember that not one of us is without sin and we all answer to one MAKER.And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down - Put a smile on your face and thank GOD you're alive and still around.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Dust is Settling

The past few days have been a roller coaster of emotions...the tears have finally dried up, but the pain still hurts. I've had this pain in my I'm not having a heart like my heart is broken. Yesterday, I went swimming and starting crying while doing laps...I felt that my spirit had been ripped from my soul. How could someone do that to me? I repeatedly said to my self that nobody is going to take away my spirit.

Tons of c.v.'s has been emailed off to companies...the pain of knowing that I will never in my working career ever have six weeks of vacation time really hurts. The pain of knowing that I will never have the time off to do any public speaking...the company really has upset my life.

I went to the office today to pick up my personal effects. I told myself that I would not cry, do my quick in and out and not dwell on the lost of my office or workplace.

Today I also tried to draw the analogy to my lost and this is what I came up with.
1. Loosing a job is like a bad divorce, hard feelings, going to take your belongings and out the door you go, never returning.
2. Loosing a job is never ever saying again "I love my job"....because loving a job only hurts more when the time comes to leave.
3. Loosing a job tells us that the next job will be just that - a job that you work and honestly earn your keep, then detach the moment you walk out the door at the end of the's like having a pillow pal, not being in a committed relationship.
4. Loosing a job reminds us again that everything in life is temporary , therefore the next job will also be temporary.
5. Loosing a job is having your routine broken, not seeing special coworkers who have become like family over the years.
6. Loosing a job is like a death....especially the sudden trauma of feeling like being a displaced person and loosing total control of your emotions in front of bosses who one can see have their own difficulties containing and expressing their own emotions. They are human too but don't have the training to deal with people like me.
7. Loosing a job brings together the solidarity of those employees who lost their jobs at the same it's about helping and supporting each other.
8. Loosing a job allows those affected to explore who they are, to step back and get excited about the future. I started to feel that way today.
9. Loosing a job will bring new adventures, new people and experiences which we hope will be positive for all.
10. Loosing a job which we worked so well at, allows us to be proud of our accomplishments and know that all our skills will be transposed in a new company who will appreciate what we have to offer.

And at the end of the day, we will be the winners!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

On the Road to Moving Forward........

Well , this morning I became another statistic...I lost my beloved job after 27 years of service !
My two bosses took me into the office and gave me the news. I somehow deep inside of me knew it was coming. I wonder too if the recent economic crisis is actually used by many companies as a excuse to downsize. What ever... it's out of my control !

Anyhow, I will mourn my lost, miss my work friends deeply and move forward. One door closes and another will open, only this time things will be different.

I kept repeating to myself and others this morning that the worst has already happened in my life........this is going to be peanuts.

Guess what......I don't have to dream anymore about playing hooking ( and I never have)....I'm going swimming on Friday and Kell will watch over me.

Monday, February 2, 2009

How to get a hold of Me

I realized that there are some readers who have been trying to contact me directly and not through the blog.

I can be reached at :

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Turning the Page

Sometimes in our lives we are forced to look hard at ourselves regarding our true feelings, our priorities and what our objectives are. I have been in that phase for about a year now.Maybe I can say that I have been trying to find myself..hey 54 years old and still I don't know the real meaning of life you?

I am the type person that uses instinct and feelings as my guide. I know what I am good at and I know what I am not good at. I also know that I have to take care of myself as nobody else will....but of course when I say something like that, Jules always pipes up and say that he will always take care of me even when I am old and grey...well the grey is already here but thanks to Garnier hair products I'll keep my hair red for now!

In my last post I spoke about my swimming day and the inner peace which I had in the middle of the pool. It was there that I was able to make a decision about my future. It was there that I decided to submit my resignation to AFPAD. It was there that I said to myself that I have to work more on prevention with young women and adults. That is where I want to make a difference.

We hear so often how after a tragedy something changes...remember the overpasses in Laval, Quebec which fell and innocent people died. It's after these tragedies that governments decide to invest money, do repairs, rethink their strategies...always after the fact. My daily job is working in prevention....that is what I know best and that is what I want to continue doing. When the employees in my building complain about something, I often tell them to not be a part of the problem, but be a part of the solution. I want to live by my owns words.

2009 is going to be a good year....a year of transition, a year of meeting new people and spreading the word. I will speak to many more young women and young men about abusive relationships. Remaining silence is not the answer....breaking the silence will save lives !

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Violent Crime takes a Dive

Here is an article from the Gazette about our wonderful major crimes division of the Montreal Police. The officers that work this division are dedicated into giving their 100% + to solving cases. Many may not want to agree with me, but my experience with the men and women of this unit has been incredible. I have the up most respect for them. Let's remember they are the first ones to appear at a crime scene. They are the ones who see first hand the horrible things that we do not even want to imagine and they too have to go home to their families .

I am pleased to see that the crime rate has declined in 2008. I wonder why that is happening. Are there less domestic homicides because more women are getting out of their situations? Are people taking more responsibility for their own safety? Is it because people like myself are speaking out more? Are associations, schools and people in general working more on prevention? Are women realizing that they don't have to accept abuse and are taking charge of their lives? Are there less youth getting involved in street gangs because there is more structured activities available in the community for them?

What ever the reasons, let's work together to make 2009 an even better year.

The article :

Killings Dropped in 2008. So did attempted murders. Montreal police say their drive to stop street gang crime is having an effect, but criminologists say it's also part of a trend seen across North America

By PAUL CHERRYJanuary 2, 2009

Commander Clement Rose, of the Montreal Police major crimes division in the division's east end headquarters Tuesday, December 16, 2008. Montreal has witnessed its lowest number of homicides in decades.
Photograph by: John Kenney
The list of names on the board is what always catches your eye.
Any visit to the Montreal police major crimes division's headquarters at Place Versailles always causes a person to glance at the white board on which investigators maintain a list of the homicide victims for the year.
Just as in the bestselling book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets - victims' names are written on the large white board in two different coloured markers, with unsolved cases standing out in a brighter colour for all to notice.
But today, there is something reassuring about the length of the list on the board.
With 29 homicides reported on the island of Montreal last year, the squad investigated the lowest number of cases since 1972, the year several police forces on the island were merged to create the Montreal Urban Community police (now known simply as the Montreal police). The previous record low was 35 in 2005. There were 42 homicides reported in 2006 and 41 in 2007.
While reflecting on the drop, Commander Clément Rose, head of the major crimes squad, said he is sometimes skeptical of numbers but 2008 also stands out because of the noticeable drop in other violent crimes reported in Montreal.
"When you see the number of homicides drop along with the number of attempted murders, that is very significant. It means a real drop in violent crime in Montreal," Rose said.
As of mid-December, there had been 59 attempted murders reported in Montreal, compared with 99 in 2007 and 136 in 2006.
Rose attributes relative peace among the city's organized crime groups over the past six years as one factor in the reduction in violent crime.
"There are groups in the criminal milieu, the biker gangs or the Mafia who control certain parts (of the city) where they sell drugs, but there is no war. There are conflicts. Sometimes there are incidents between groups, but there is no war over territory where they are following each other and are plotting to kill each other," he said.
Rose also credits his police force's policy of making street gangs its No. 1 priority, through prevention programs and enforcement units like Project Eclipse, for contributing to the lower number of homicides. Over the past few years, he said, the Montreal police have developed important ties to neighbourhoods where street gangs are a problem and have developed more sources within the milieu than they've ever had before.
There were seven street gang-related homicides in 2008 compared with14 in 2007. There were 39 attempted murders related to street gang activity in 2008 compared with 54 in 2007. Rose said the street-gang killings in 2008 stemmed from conflicts between individual gang members rather than a rivalry between groups.
When asked if one homicide in particular stood out in 2008, Rose answered without hesitation.
A young woman was killed in her home on 5th Ave. in Rosemont and her killer tried to cover up the crime by setting her apartment on fire before leaving. No one has emerged as a suspect, which bothers Rose because he knows an unsolved homicide like that is disturbing, especially to people who live in the same neighbourhood as the victim.
"They are all tragic, but that is a particular case that stands out," Rose said. "We've made a lot of effort to solve it."
Charges have been filed in 13 of the 29 homicides investigated in 2008 and, when interviewed, Rose was confident charges would soon be filed in at least two others.
In addition to the year's caseload, the major crimes squad solved eight homicides that happened in 2007 or earlier.
When those numbers are merged with the 2008 cases, it gives the squad a high solution rate.
A significant drop in armed robberies - 68 in 2008 compared with 93 in 2007 - gave investigators time to close older cases, a trend Rose said he hopes will continue.
University of Toronto criminologist Rosemary Gartner said such drops in violent crime are part of a trend that began several years ago.
"In Canada, as far as very serious violent crime goes, that has been pretty much the trend across most major cities and the nation as a whole," Gartner said of the numbers witnessed in Montreal this year.
"Despite the tendency to believe things are getting worse - they're not."
Gartner also said the widely held theory that North America's ageing population is contributing to reduced violent crime rates explains only part of the drop
"I think the best estimates on that are that the changes in the age distribution of the population can attribute for five per cent of the decline. But it is certainly not an overall explanation," Gartner said.
She added that much analysis has been done on the trend in the United States and most of it points to things like increased imprisonment rates and zero-tolerance policing.
"But those don't apply to Canada because our imprisonment rates have not increased and we haven't gone toward the zero-
tolerance policing they have in the States," Gartner said. Because of this, some U.S. criminologists are now rethinking their theories.
"There is something else going on. What that something else is is presumably very hard to measure, like something to do with demography or a larger cultural change."

Friday, January 2, 2009

Feeling like a Dolphin

This week I had the opportunity to swim at the Dollard des Ormeaux Aquatic centre. The city of Dollard graciously in 2005 dedicated a conference room in Kelly-Anne's name as she had been employed by the centre. Kelly-Anne's university grad photo sits on a plaque commemorating the room and can be seen by all who are in the pool.

I swam Monday and went back today. Monday's swim was great, but today was unbelievable. When I returned home, Kim asked me how the swim was. Without going into an emotional dialogue I answered her saying it was awesome.

Nobody knows who I am when I am at the pool. Nobody knows that it is my daughter who watches over me from the conference room as I swim. Today I swam about 36 laps and felt such an inner peace. My timing, strokes and breathing was all perfect. It seemed like Kelly-Anne was watching over me and coaching me all at the same time. At one point I swam across the pool and was in the centre of the pool surrounded only by the vastness of the water but I did not feel alone. I felt so at peace and felt like a dolphin enjoying the water.

Today was another turning point for me....another step in finding my inner peace...of acceptance...I don't tell me.

It's back to work on Monday. I will have to find a way to get back to the pool hopefully on the weekends if there is lap swim.

I also went to the gym this week and will go there tomorrow morning. I go to the gym because it is important for someone my age to exercise and keep the muscles and heart happy, but it's so boring!

The pool beats it all by a long shot !