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.