Monday, December 19, 2011

Traditions Old and New

It is hard for me to believe that Christmas is shortly upon is. Where did the year go to! We decorated the house in all its splendor over a week ago. It was another bittersweet day as we placed the precious ornaments which Kelly-Anne had made some years ago on the tree. Along with them were the newer ones which Kim,Jules and I had made a couple of years back.

That day I reflected on Christmases past as I looked at decorations that were given to me by people who were close to me and have passed on. I cherish the ornament from my friend Heather. She was my mentor and helped me alot in my career. I think of her often, but each Christmas as I look at her special ornament which she gave me on her last Christmas with us, it just fills my heart with happiness, sadness and appreciation. I often thank her for helping me be the person I am today.

Christmas this year will be different. Kim is in her new home out west with the love of her life. She will have a taste of home as the baking has all been shipped out by FedEx. We spoke last week and I said to her that now was the time for her to start her own traditions. Funny how I received a text today from Kim telling me that she can't find ground veal in the grocery stores. She was wondering how she would make my tourtière recipe without it. I did laugh as we were at the FedEx desk sending off the baking when the text came. I said to Jules that it was too late to send out ground veal! We had a good laugh about that. It did warm my heart that she would make our Quebecois traditional meat pie with her great pie crust and show the Westerners just what they have been missing.

Christmas this year for us will be filled with hope,joy and peace. We will enjoy our family,the four footed guys and friends over the holidays and continue the traditons which we have created together. As always, there will be a candle lit on the table for Kelly-Anne.

Jules and I look forward with excitement to the new year ahead. Good things will be happening for us in our careers and personal life. We look forward to traveling to visit Kim and to meet all the people who have become her second family.

From our home to yours, we wish you health,happiness and peace that will last throughout the year to come. Enjoy your families and your traditions and let the fond memories of Christmases past warm your hearts as those of ours will.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Kell




This picture was taken on November 28th 2003. It was Kell's 24th birthday and the last one that we were able to celebrate with her. Shelooks so happy and beautiful in this picture.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Living the Dream



I felt last night that I have come full circle since the devastating lost of Kelly-Anne seven years ago.Each year the cocktail fundraiser is bittersweet but somehow last evening it was different.I was thrilled that the master of ceremonies chosen was a former swimming teacher of Kelly-Anne. In more recent years he participated with her in competitive living guarding and became a close friend.

What touched me the most was that a couple of lifeguards spoke how the fund was helping them. These young women never knew Kelly-Anne, but today they are able to live Kelly-Anne dream of travel,training and competition. Bravo! Seven years ago, I intended to make a difference in other people's lives. Now Kelly-Anne's foundation is doing just that.

With close to $12,000 raised last evening,the fund will help competitors reach their goals. I must thank Aquam and McDonald's Canada for their generous support. Also thank you to my family and friends and the many others who I do not know personally who continue to support the foundation.

It was also reaffirmed to me last night that the memory of Kelly-Anne and how she touched her colleagues in the sport will never fade. I also realize even more so than before that reaching goals does take time, but the importance is that we never give up. Kelly-Anne's example of perseverance,implication and dedication are the key factors which I hold to.

I feel that I have moved mountains with my "making a difference project" within my career and with Kelly-Anne's fund. My life just doesn't stop here. It's now about continuing and growing all in those baby steps. I look forward in anticipation of my future and what lies ahead for my family. Kelly-Anne's foundation is touching many young adults within the competitive life guarding milieu. They can live their dreams and that excites me. It also excites me that many more lives can be saved by the continued training and dedication of our lifeguards. Our waters will be safer.

I toast my precious daughter, Kelly-Anne on the eve of her 32nd birthday. I love you and I thank you for continuing to inspire me from afar.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Another Struggle

Yesterday,the harsh reality of my cousin's medical condition hit me straight in the face. I am emotionally exhausted from crying and thinking of her. She is still alive but her condition worsens.I am angry that again 7 years later I feel the same way today as when Kelly-Anne was fatally attacked. There is no medical solution to stop her disease. I am frustrated that in 2011 with the money invested into research,the training of medical professionals and the multi- million dollars of pharmaceuticals available,there is very little that can be offered to my 39 year old cousin.

She has agreed to an experimental operation to see if this may help her. I fully support her going forward with this operation and I believe that she will get through it. I also believe that Kelly-Anne will help guide her doctor. Ironically or not, my cousin's doctor was Kelly-Anne's doctor. She could not save Kelly-Anne's life, but I know is is going to help my cousin.

My cousin's deep faith in God has brought her to a better place. This is what she had to say to me yesterday in an email.

" After everything you've been through, I know how upsetting and horrific this is to hear and I am so very very sorry. I wish with all my heart that I had something better for you. I hate the fact that you are upset. All I can say is that you must know that I believe with all my heart in God and that I know he will not forsake me. No matter WHAT happens, He will always be holding my hand and He is the all powerful to ensure that I don't suffer.

Please know that God will take care of this: in His own way and according to His will and that I am completely trusting of Him. He has NEVER let me down and He never will.

I've always told you that I know it for a fact that one day we will all be together again, with no more tears, suffering or death. So no matter what happens in this life, it is a test. We must prove our faith in God and Christ and we will be rewarded for doing so with eternal life, peace, and love with one another for always, if we follow the example Christ set out for us.

I assure you that this life is just a passing thing,full of trials and tribulations: but that one day we shall all reap what we sowed. I know it's going to be okay - one way or another.

Please don't be sad. I love you too much to think that you are sad, although it's obviously normal to feel that way, but please know that I am not alone and that I am not scared.

Please don't be scared either. And I promise to give you my surgery date and we'll talk before then.

I love you "


I cannot get over her faith, conviction and trust in the Lord. I am so proud of her and how she is dealing with all of this. I ask each and everyone of you irregardless of your beliefs that you pray for my cousin and her family.

It's hard for me as most of my adult years I have always been faced to find solutions to problems and different issues whether in my personal life or work life. I have convinced myself that there is a solution for everything. It's when medical situations like that of Kelly-Anne and now my cousin's battle do not allow for concrete solutions,I have a hard time dealing with all.

My own faith is now being tested again. I never blamed God for Kelly-Anne's passing and I do not blame Him for my cousin's illness. I do however question what is it that we all have to learn from this present situation? What message will our family and all her friends receive? For me,I am reminded that I have to continue to trust God more and not be afraid.

My baby cousin who I love has now reminded me as God is working through her to convey His message of putting our trust in Him.

And now, I pass the same message to you.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Kelly-Anne Drummond Cocktail Fundraiser, 7th Edition

The Societé de Sauvetage du Québec and the Family of

Kelly-Anne Drummond


cordially invite you to attend the Cocktail Fundraiser

in memory of

Kelly-Anne

On

Saturday, November 26th 2011

At

6:00 p.m.

The Dollard des Ormeaux Aquatic Centre

12001, De La Salaberry

Dollard des Ormeaux, Quebec



Donation: $50.00 per person

Come and enjoy this annual event as we remember Kelly-Anne. We celebrate her love of life, her accomplishments as a competitive lifeguard and her example of sportsmanship,as she has continued to inspire our lifeguards.

“ Competitive life guarding is the only sport that saves lives.”


To reserve your tickets, please call 514-252-3100

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay


It was such a bittersweet day. I was proud to be a part of the relay honoring Rick Hansen and his outstanding dedication to helping those who live with spinal cord injuries. He has raised awareness, while also raising millions of dollars for spinal cord research across the globe. The relay across Canada encompasses 7,000 Canadians who are making a difference, therefore I was honored to be apart of this selected group. Rick inspires me to continue to forge forward.It is possible for all of us,if we believe and work towards our goals.

I walked today in memory of Kelly-Anne as she too sustained a fatal spinal cord injury when she was attacked by her killer. I pray that through Rick's work, one day a cure will be found for spinal cord injuries such as Kelly-Anne's and for the many other types of SCI that do occur due to accidents,injuries and trauma.

I met incredible people today from Rick's team...and that's what they are... team players and other Quebecers who are also making a difference in their daily lives.

I thought about Kell and how she would of loved to have participated in this event. When the official metal was placed over my neck, I felt that Kell was with me and that that she was basking in those moments with me. Strange as life sometimes is, I passed the metal to a girl who now goes to Kell's old high school and trains at syncro at the DDO pool. Here mother told me that she always wondered who Kelly-Anne was as she noticed the conference room in her honor at the pool.

The above photo shows my hat and a replica keepsake of the metal which I received today.I have placed the metal near Kelly-Anne's photo as it is a tribute to her.

Today's event allowed me again to keep Kelly-Anne's memory alive!





Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

With the fragrant smell of apple pies baking this evening, Thanksgiving Weekend seems to be in full swing. However, I did remark to Jules that it seems more like Labour day weekend as he returned to don his shorts and flip flops.

We took our yearly drive to St-Joseph de Lac this morning. This quaint town is nested in beautiful scenery of little rolling hills and many apple orchards.We ate breakfast in a resto on the main drag then went off to pick up apples and other apple delicacies. Jules and I reminisced about the time Kelly-Anne made the trip with us. We remembered that both girls did join us on separate occasions for apple picking. I also thought back when the girls were in primary school and the many apple picking trips that they participated in. Anyone who has been apple picking will remember those long red ladders where the students easily climbed to reach the perfect red apple.

I had a nice surprise visit from Rachel today. Please remember to visit her blog at www.kadrummond.blogspot.com ( Remembering a Friend )

Even in Kelly-Anne's death, Rachel continues to be a faithful friend to her. Each time that I have seen Rachel in the past seven years she has continued to be strong and has forged forward in her life which includes a husband, travel and an amazing career. She, like Kim, remind me of what Kelly-Anne's life should of been like.

Today I also reflected on what I am thankful for. The list seems abundant and endless. Topping the list is being thankful for my health, Kim, Jules, the cats, my family,friends and that I was blessed with Kelly-Anne for 24 years on this earth. I continue to be blessed by her spirit, her love and guidance from above.

I wish each and everyone of you a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving and that you will share this occassion with the ones you love.



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Have We learnt from Kelly-Anne

As I was lying in bed last night, I started to think about how Kelly-Anne has changed the people around her and those who may have never met her. No one can change another person, but I feel that Kelly-Anne with her legacy is helping people to make the changes that they need to do for themselves.

I sat quietly in my office and reflected about her especially today being the anniversary of her passing.

I though about who she was as a person and the obstacles she faced to be a better student, to excel at sports and to be compassionate to others. Kelly-Anne taught me to persevere. That lesson I use everyday whether it is in the workplace,or with the challenges I face having her not by my side. Kelly-Anne also taught me to be positive about everything in my life and to take things one day at a time. She also taught me that I am capable of learning and to keep my mind open to opportunities and experiences I may of thought never possible.

I believe that Kelly-Anne is watching over us and that the people most closest to her in life, and to some who were her voice in court. I believe she has not forgotten anyone. She has taught us to BELIEVE in ourselves and everything that is possible if we really want it. I have learnt where my priorities are placed. Family and friends are first on the list. I don't sweat the small stuff as there are always more important things to deal with. Friends that are solely absorbed in themselves, I have no time for as the world just doesn't revolve around one person. I am fortunate to have true friends around me who I can share my life and theirs equally.


Strange things have happened over the last seven years. I have found myself at times saying to out loud 'hey, thanks Kell' or asking Kell to help me out on something that was stressing me, and she would. Kell even knows where we live. Soon after we moved into our new home, I was standing in the kitchen looking towards the living room. Sylvester was sitting on a chair and we both saw at the same time a "swoosh" going from the sofa to the door. I know it wasn't just me as Sylvester watched the motion to. (Cats have a good sense of these things I believe.)

Kelly-Anne taught me to laugh at ourselves....hey I do that all the time! So today in my daughter's memory I would ask you to smile at yourself for being who are and if Kelly-Anne has graced your world and helped you to make changes well "encore mieux" ( even better)!

Laugh, Love, Learn, Preserve and Smile!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another New Beginning

October 3rd 2011 will soon be here. It’s hard to believe that we have lived our lives the past seven years without Kelly-Anne. Yes, she is here in spirit, but I wish I could hug her and take my fingers and twirl them through her many curly locks on her head.

Monday is a new beginning. I will start to work in a happy place, a place of new life and new beginnings for pregnant women. I will meet young women, Kelly-Anne’s age having babies. The smiles, the anticipation coupled with the excitement of soon to meet their new little one. Mothers with their daughters, their first grandchild, oh I just envy them. Gosh, the smiles, they are all so very happy and that makes me happy.

Today I think of what would of been, what would Kell look like, would she of kept her hair long and curly, would she of had a baby of her own, how many other trips would she of taken. Seven years lost, seven years of our pain, tears, frustrations and adjustments.

I know that Jules and I have changed. Actually anyone who was close to Kelly-Anne or touched by her tragic passing has changed. It’s impossible not to of have.

Life has evolved on our merry go round. Some of it has passed me by so quickly, I can hardly remember certain aspects of my past. But what I am reminded of is my pain, my lost and that forgiveness is still not an option.

Many may think that I should forgive and that I will be healed within myself. I do not agree. I will heal my way in my time. My closest friend remarked recently that she felt I had made great strides, as I am able now to accept and love another man that has come into our lives. Just I being able to do so tells me that I am not bitter against other young men, that I am able to allow myself to love.

Kelly-Anne has helped me with all that. Marty was a bad apple and it doesn’t mean that all men are like that. She has helped me to open my heart again.

If anyone has to forgive Marty, it will be Kelly-Anne. Will that happen? Your answer is the same as mine. We will never know until we die.

My life without Kelly-Anne beside me has not been easy. I continue to ask myself often, what would Kell have done in certain situations that I face daily.

Even after seven years, the community has not forgotten Kelly-Anne. Just last evening Concordia Ladies Rugby hosted the annual match with McGill. Concordia continues to retain the Kelly-Anne Cup for its third consecutive year. Kelly-Anne’s friends were there to support the cause as were many who never met Kelly-Anne. Women Aware will receive the proceeds of the game. All for a good cause!

The community remembers Kelly-Anne’s life and also how she died. People still want to hear her story, as I as her mother have been fortunate to have opportunities to continue to speak about Kelly-Anne. She accomplished so much in 24 years and her legacy continues. We must never forget how she died and that story will help change and educate the lives of many others.

Even though working on projects is emotionally draining for myself, it also affects the people working with me. I have begun the first phase of a film that I know teenagers will find compelling. It’s all good even if it brings me back to 2004. If this is what it takes to save lives and build awareness, then Kelly-Anne death is not in vain. And for that I continue to be her voice.

Dear Kelly-Anne, you are forever close to our hearts and will never be forgotten.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thank You All Around the World

I am overwhelmed with my following. I am able to view the many countries from where citizens read my blog.

Please say hello and give me your comments! I would love to hear from you....There are many who are visiting the blog each day especially from California, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, Russia and even Newfoundland where Kelly-Anne was conceived!

The justice systems varies in all the countries. I would love to hear more about how domestic violence cases are handled in your country. Do you have any first hand experience? Do you work with assoications helping women?

I know that Correctional Services of Canada has taken the time to read my blog. We all have something to learn from each other.

I believe in an open forum. My goal is to widen the knowledge, the truth about the on going issues that I face living without my daughter, Kelly-Anne. You have heard about my fustrations, my challenges and about the people I love and the life I look forward in having. You have heard about my good days and my not so good days and you know that it pains me to see that women and children are still being abused, kidnapped and murdered.

I am a Libra. That is enough in itself to tell you that I believe in fairness and justice. I believe that sharing my stores about my life without Kelly-Anne and the issues that I face tells you that I am an open book and that sharing with you will bring an awareness about the violences against women, our justice system and the many needs of others.

If Kelly-Anne's story has changed your life in a positive way or if you are a mom like me who has suffered a loss, please know that you are not alone.

I do hope to hear from you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Words of Wisdom

I was invited recently to go swimming with a dear friend. She took me to a 50 metre pool which I really enjoyed. It was the first time that I did laps in such a large pool. Needless to say after one hour of laps I was tired, but happy. Afterwards we went to visit her father and brother. Her dad which I will call Mr. G is 90 years young. He is spry,intelligent and offered me great words of wisdom. We talked about different things and of course we spoke of Kelly-Anne and his grandson who was a great friend of Kelly-Anne. Mr. G said to me that when we face difficult situations we have to ask ourselves the question " Where do we go from here?"

Sitting with him for a half hour allowed me to be inspired,to reflect and to listen to his advice.I truly believe that people who live into their 90's and 100's are here for a reason. I believe that they are still needed on this earth to finish a job which is to teach others about life.

Each family has its' own struggles where life can bring a few big bumps in the road. No one ever told us that life would be perfect. For Mr. G he has suffered the loss of his wife and son in law and countless other relatives, but he still forges forward. He has a son who lives with him that lost both legs to cancer (and is an inspiration in his own right), he takes care of his home, he volunteers in his community and he offers wise advice to many.

With his positive outlook and his kind and compassionate character, he sat across from me and listened as I spoke. Without any interruption, he gently continued to encourage me to forge forward.

Where do we go from here...words that are now embedded in me forever, words to live by.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Prairie Girl


It was June 27, 2011. I was cooking up a storm. It was going to be the last supper as a family for a while. I wanted everything to be perfect. I cooked her favorite things. Seafood chowder, BBQ ribs, beet and cucumber salad,lamb kabobs and frozen yogurt in waffles cups surrounded with fresh raspberries. So much preparation for a meal that we would nosh on in a matter of an hour or so. She sat across the table from me. I looked at her and saw that something was changing. I didn't quite know then what it was, but change was about to happen. A new page of the book was to turn shortly. For me and for her. For me, today I can say it is about adjusting, for her was the new adventure that lay ahead. An adventure which has brought her new friends, new surroundings and love.

I asked Kelly-Anne to watch over her and to God to protect, guide and give her the wisdom to make the right decisions. I asked for myself the strength to accept change and that the future would be left in God's hands. Let go Doreen, you have no control,I reminded myself.

Once she arrived at her new destination she attended a wedding of one of her cousins. Needless to say, she looking beautiful for the occasion and met a young man. Love at first sight, well I would say yes. For the blissful couple they are taking is slowly while getting to know each other. Here we are three weeks later and she has met his parents,is attending his brother's wedding and are planning a camping trip together somewhere in the mountains. Maybe the prairie people do things a little differently than we Quebecers.

I am trying to breathe.So much has happened in the span of a couple of weeks. I said to my friends, she is not coming back, I just know it. She's off to start a new life, maybe it is time she no longer is looked upon as the" dead girl's sister". She needs her own identity. And I was right. The text message came saying that she would be home to introduce us to her new beau and pick up her winter things. My friends looked at me said that I hit the nail on the head with that one.

I teased her saying the the cats are going to give him the once over. I'll try to train them not to hiss,barf or stratch him. I also said that he would be meeting the Fockers. Jules re inactd the "I'm watching you" images of Robert DeNiro.

I am happy even thought she is moving for good. Actually I am excited for her. She will be surrounded with her cousins and her boyfriend and his wonderful family. New opportunities await her. For me, there is email, texting, skpe and airplanes.

I await with anticipation for her visit. She wants to learn how to cook some Lebanese dishes, he wants homemade bread. She wants to cook the stuffed vine leaves for his mother. When I read that from her text, I though back when I went to meet Jule's foster mother in Ontario. She too asked me to make her the stuffed grape leaves which I gladly did in her kitchen.

This week, she emailed and said that they had arrived at their destination for his brother's wedding. She was in awe of the beauty of the mountains and the glaciers. I teared up as I was so happy that she was experiencing the beauty of nature.

Kim's adventure continues........now that is what life is all about!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Kangaroo House

There was an interesting article in this past Thursday's Montreal Gazette about a safe house project being put in place here in Montreal. This home would be available to children of families in distress. I am mentioning this as a follow up to the continuing coverage of the Turcotte trial.

Sadly for many, Guy Turcotte was found not guilty of taking the lives of his two children. I did mention in my last entry that there has to be some sort of system available to families and children who are going through stressful times.

There is still not a location but people are working on the plan.Presently the organization is looking for non-profit status from the government. It will take six months before the project is in place with a team of care workers.

If you or anyone you know is going through a separation or divorce where children are involved, sending the children to temporary accommodations from parents who are in crisis is not a bad idea. It is not the solution but if it means that the children are protected while the parents get their own needed help, this house can hopefully protect children from the same fate as the Turcotte children.

The coordinates for The Kangaroo House are 514-524-4141 or visit thekangaroohouse.org

Another resource for parents is the Ligne Parents hotline at 1-800-361-5085

We all have to work together to prevent such sad and tragic events happening.Please pass on this information to anyone who might need it. Also supporting the project is something we can all do by contacting the organization to see what they might need in the way of furniture or financial contributions. Every little bit can help.

As for other parts of the North America and abroad, please contact you offices of social services in your area to see if such programs exist.

I do know that my blog reaches many countries. Thank you to all for taking the time to read My Daughter, Kelly-Anne.

Friday, July 1, 2011

In The Case of Guy Turcotte

Today is Canada's birthday and for many Canadians they are celebrating the presence of Will and Kate. For me, my mind is elsewhere. It has been a few days now that the jury has be sequestered to make their decision regarding the fate of Guy Turcotte the former cardiologist who took the lives of his two very young children back in 2009. I have followed parts of the trial via the media reports, but I must tell you I have also had to remove myself from some of the harsh descriptions of the actual murder. It is just to painful to listen to how the children were murdered from multiple stabs wounds.

We are told that Turcotte was depressed because his wife was leaving him. Reports tell us that he tried to commit suicide and drank antifreeze and then he viciously killed his children. His defense has tried to show that the murders were committed by mental illness and that he was a loving father.

My take on all this clear and simple. He may of been depressed about his breakup with his wife and he may of wanted to commit suicide. Being a doctor, he should of known better that drinking antifreeze would not be the best solution to end his life. He is a coward. If he really wanted to commit suicide that would of been his choice but for goodness sakes he could of left the children alone. I blame him alone for the crime, but I am bother by the fact that the children were left in his care. His ex wife was skiing for the weekend. He had been on the phone with this mother telling her that he was depressed. I feel at that point the police should of been called immediately to go to the house and remove the children.

In cases where a break up of a family has taken place, I feel that the courts and youth protection should be advised where children much too young to protect themselves are going to be in the care of a parent who many be having a hard time dealing with the break up. In this case the emotionally stronger parent was the mother as my understanding is that Turcotte had displayed difficulties adapting to the failure of his relationship.

Nothing will bring back these two little angels. The family will live under that black cloud forever. Even if the jury declares a first degree murder sentence, he will not be eligible for parole for 25 years. Twenty five years is just not enough for me. If this crime happened in the United States, Turcotte would be sentenced to die. In twenty-five years the little angels would of only been in their twenties. So unfair. The little ones did not have a voice nor anyone to protect them. Has society failed the children?

I can only hope and pray that the jury will not be swayed that the accused was mentally ill and didn't have a clue as to what he was going. That is such a cop out and I can only think that so many other cases including Kelly-Anne's murder that this poor excuse could of be insinuated by the defence.

I ask why is the jury still deliberating and my only response is that the judge has given them too many options of sentencing. These are Turcotte's peers,just regular citizens from different walks of life. They have the facts and have to make a decision based on these facts only and not on their own personal feelings. I feel that these twelve people may presently be having a problem to agree collectively on Turcotte's fate.

But what I do know is that the fate of his children was sealed by him and that should not be discounted.







Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gone too Soon

Today in Ontario a 32 year old police officer lost his life while on duty. He approached a van and the driver sped off dragging the officer some 300 feet. He leaves a 2 and a half year old child and a 9 week old baby. Hearing this on the news while eating dinner just left me in tears.

Such a dedicated officer,just doing what he loved and that was working in the police force. A police officer's job is not one to be taken lightly. Yes we may all have our reservations on how we feel about the police. Many tend to voice a negative opinion and we have heard lately some stories that make us wonder what is really going on in our local police forces.

But still, when an officer is killed by such unpredictable, cowardly people I can only hope that the murderer will be tried appropriately. This officer most probably kissed his wife and children this morning as he left for work never thinking that he would not return home for supper.

May he rest in peace and his family and coworkers be given the strenght and courage during this difficult time.

Relying on Help

This week in Brossard, Quebec a 78 year old women became a victim of a heinous stabbing which she died from. Another murder. This case really bothers me as it clearly shows a women who relied on help in her home as she was confined to a wheelchair.

Some forty years ago the victim, Mrs. Livingstone lost her daughter suddenly in a bar fire which many of us remember in Montreal. Since that time, Mrs. Livingstone secluded herself but as the years went by she decided to do something with her life.

The person who took Mrs.Livingstone's life is a women in her 50's who was living with the victim as her caregiver. Again we see control, intimidation and abuse. Sadly the victim could not fend off the murderer.

There is such a dependency on the caregiver when someone has a disability or is wheelchair bound. There is little that they are able to do for themselves so the caregiver is relied on for most duties. It pains me to think that the victim had no control and maybe felt very helpless. We do not have all the facts but as this case goes to court we will hear all the sad details.

Domestic abuse is not just between an man and a women. This case may be rare to hear of in the media, but I do not believe for a moment that it is uncommon. It's the silent secrets surrounded by four walls.

I believe that all people with disabilities or wheelchair bound should be guided about prevention of abuse. Did Mrs. Livingstone know that she could call 911 and leave the phone opened so the police would come to her home? Was she so afraid of this monster and felt all alone?

If you know someone who has disabilities, don't be shy to refer them to a community service where someone could stop in and see how they are doing or offer some information on prevention. Those who have no resources feel very alone and are sheltered sometimes by the wrong people.

On flip side there are people in our society who are very loving and caring to those they look after who are elderly or have disabilities. Love, respect and the up most care are given by these faithful caregivers. I've seen it first hand.

As I have mentioned it is not often we hear of such tragic stories, but we can't assume that there are not any others out there.

Help speak for those who can't.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Inquiries

For those who wish to contact me for conferences,presentations or round table discussions, please contact me through this blog.

I will respond immediately to your inquiries as long as I have all your contact information.

Thanks !

Friday, June 3, 2011

Another Message

It was a typical sunny summer day. I was in a pool which was very long. I was pulling a thin wired covered rope. There was a man standing on the edge of the pool encouraging me to keep pulling the rope. I continued to pull as I waded backwards in chest deep water. Suddenly, I wanted to show my true strength so I turned to face forward and pulled the rope over my shoulder as I continued to wade through the pool. The man was amazed at my strength.

Then all of a sudden I felt my right foot tipping over an edge as the pool was getting deeper. I abruptly stopped. And then I woke up.

Another dream with another message.I had this dream this past Sunday night. I couldn't figure out what it meant then. This morning I well understand it's meaning.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We have the Power

With great intensity and anticipation I watched the finale of the Oprah Winfrey show. The past three days have been of mixed emotions. Oprah spoke eloquently today which I do not think for a moment anyone in her audience or in their homes moved their eyes away from Oprah. I sat there in front of the t.v. listening and digesting every word. And again, Oprah continued to empowered me, she continued to remind me that each and everyone of us has a reason for being on this earth. Her message today was what I needed to hear again. I needed to be reinforced to continue to forge forward. I needed to be reminded that we must validate each other. I also cried as I remembered that at my last job,I would validate my boss but she would never validate me.I think of that as pure ignorance, since in all my other jobs,my bosses would praise me, but this one wouldn't. This past job as bad of an experience as it was, needed to happen as it allowed to me come to the realization that my calling is to be involved with people. I need to empower and make a difference in someone's life.

I was also reminded today that what goes around comes around. I recall a day a couple of months ago when I heard a women speak to someone unknown to her over the phone. She diminished an employee because she was an immigrant and not a Quebecer. She also complained about the numerous amount of blacks living in her neighbourhood. I was appalled at her unethical behavior and I know she saw the reaction on my face.

Oprah has taught us for 25 years that we need to be tolerant of others. Weather in the USA or Canada, we are melting pots and we should embrace that. Sadly,there are still people in our communities that just don't get it.

I had a telephone call this past weekend from a women who I had hired many years ago. She told me how grateful she was that I had given her a job and that I would never know just how much it meant to her. She recounted to me that when I hired her, she was going through a tough time and needed to save her home. I gave her a job unknowing of her plight. I made a difference in this women's life. I was touched at her recounting this to me so many years later. My point in writing about this is not to pat myself on the shoulder. It is only to explain that we are all important to someone and that acts of kindness and validation can have different meanings to so many different people. Kelly-Anne constantly validated people. Whether it was her family, her friends or the man that murdered her, she always had something kind to say. As my mother would often say, "if you can't say something nice to someone, don't say anything at all."

Today I also swam where Kelly-Anne's conference room overlooks the pool. The peacefulness coupled with the serenity of the water continues to give me solace. Again, my mind is clear and my thoughts are powerful as I swim non stop. My daughter is nearby in that pool as I feel her spirit.

I am determined as ever to continue my soul searching for where I really need to be...the place where I am suppose to be. I will not take a job because it's a job...it has to be the right thing as I need to be doing what I am meant to be doing. Right now, I feel my place is at home. I feel this is where I need to be. It may sound so "domesticated" to say this, but I am loving cleaning, cooking, baking and just being home. Cooking is one of my passions. If only you could see the faces of Jules and Kim when I give they something new and interesting to taste.

I know that the right thing will happen for me.I know I will eventually work where I am meant to be and I know I will have many more opportunities to be empowered, to empower others and to make a difference.

As Oprah said, we need to live out our passions whatever they may be. One does not have to always work for money as many who volunteer are giving back to the community.We each have a gift and I believe we should not shelter that gift but give it to others.

Oprah gave everyone one of her viewers a gift....a gift of knowledge,understanding, acceptance and tolerance. Why can't we do the same.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Stoning in Kandahar

Last evening I was captured by a documentary on CBC. The report was about women in Afghanistan and how they are starting to stand up for their rights. Many had their faces covered while others only wore scarfs around their heads. The reporter interviewed some as they were marching for their rights on International Women's Day. The report even showed a women who painstakingly had built her own home with sand and bricks.

My heart raced as I witnessed the stoning of a women. She was on her knees covered in her burka. Men threw stones at her until she fell to the ground and died. Why, because she was assumed to have cheated on her husband. Here we are in 2011, and still some countries treat women like slaves and second class citizens.I just can't wrap my head around this one. Witnessing this execution on t.v. was surreal. At first I thought it was just actors, but no it was real. As I watched the men throw the rocks and stones the narrator never made mention if the man implicated in the assumed affair received a penalty of some sort. I imagine not.

The plight of women in Afghanistan is a daily battle. Their responsibilities of bringing up their children remain, but they are also shunned against even when they encourage their daughters to attend school.

How will the culture and mindset ever change? I suspect only with those women who are engaged to move forward despite religion, government laws and tradition. The men will never change. Here again we witness abuse, violence and control.I only hope the the younger educated generation of women in Afghanistan will develop the tools and resources to understand that they will not accept violence against women and that they they have a right to voice their opinion.

It feels so wrong to sit back in our cozy white picket fenced homes and not acknowledge what is happening in Afghanistan and other countries where women are struggling. My question is what can we do to help these women live a better life?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Ball

Some years ago Kelly-Anne belonged to a women's gym in Dollard des Ormeaux. She had invited me to come to the gym to work out.I think the year was 1999. It was then that she introduced me to working on a large rubber exercise ball.She demonstrated with ease how to balance on it and to do sit ups. Of course I was a complete klutz and found it difficult to work with.I was impressed with her flexibility, well why would she not be as she kept herself in top notch shape.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to get together with two of my girlfriends. We call ourselves the sisterhood. One friend lives in Calgary and she and her husband made a surprise long weekend visit here in Montreal. We girls had breakfast together then set out to the mall. My friend from Dorval and I each decided to invest in the famous exercise ball.

I came home with my ball and pumped it up. Then I sat on it and to my amazement, I was able to balance well on it. I will start soon to do some exercises. My goal is to get fit this summer. It's a pack with my friends, lots of walking, swimming and exercising.

It's time to turn the new leaf of being more in shape,loosing a few un wanted pounds and feeling good. Even though our three some leaves one friend in Calgary, we feel that she is really not far away. We often skype together. For our next skype session we plan to exercises on our balls. That should be funny!

And the funniest of all will be that I will probably hear Kelly-Anne's infectious laughter ringing in my ears!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Power of One - In Kelly-Anne's Memory

Here is a link to a CTV series called Power to One which I particiaped in two years ago.


http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20091005/mtl_drummond_100509/20091005/?hub=MontrealHome

A Long Distance Relationship

It is all so clear this morning.It is now 6:28 a.m. I have awaken from another dream. This time Kelly-Anne is with me, smiling,holding my hand and very happy. She is in love, she has met this young man from Britain. Her friend set her up to meet him. Kell is making a film in Britain, but comes home to tell me her good news. We are walking in the summer in a city centre. She laughs, her curly locks are bouncing on her head...oh that smile. She tells me that she had a sickness, but she is cured.
At one point in the dream we are sitting in an airplane.

This morning I feel her love even though she is so far away in a distant Heaven, but ironically so nearby.

It's Mother's Day and I feel very blessed to have had this dream. The message is obvious. Kelly-Anne loves me and in her own way has sent me that message through my dream.

Today will be a good day. The sun is starting to peak through. Kim and I will go and see a movie that we have been anxiously waiting for it's release. It is called Water for Elephants. We both read the book and enjoyed it immensely.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Finding Jolène

A cold case that has been on our hearts since 1999 has finally come to the recovery of Jolène's body and the arrest of a suspect. Twelve years of agony and despair for Jolène family has passed. Twelve years of not knowing the truth about the whereabouts and wondering if she was dead or alive. Here is another family walking under that black cloud. The wounds has grown wider, and now the family must face the next steps of seeking justice and burying their daughter. Such pain.

I do not know how the family has survived all these years of living the unknown.I do not think that I would have been able to cope if I had to had faced this situation with Kelly-Anne. We were given by the grace of God time to say goodbye to Kelly-Anne and the murdered was arrested immediately. Were we fortunate...no, we were blessed even though Kelly-Anne died.

Jolène's murderer has been walking the streets for the past twelve years. He is also known to the police. How many other unsolved murders could he be responsible for?

My deepest sympathies to Jolène's family. I can only hope that they find closure and get the needed support during this most difficult time.

Rest in eternal peace Jolène.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Elections in Canada

The past few days have been busy as I had the opportunity to work as a Deputy Returning Officer for the Advance Polling. I accepted the challenge as I wanted to learn something new and experience the democracy of a free vote. Many people lined up to cast their vote.

For me, it was also a time to reflect on the role of the status of women here in Canada. Many years ago women were not allowed to vote. We didn't have a say in much. Times have changed as our laws allow women to have a place in our society as voters and as respected members in many government positions. Our say is important. Ironically my station was manned by women only.

I remember some years ago Kelly-Anne also worked at a polling station. I remember her telling me how she enjoyed that experience. I thought of her these past few days as I greeted many seniors who came out to vote early in the hope of avoiding the May 2nd rush. I also had the opportunity of greeting first time voters. Looking at the excitement in these young adults eyes, brought me much joy. Adulthood, the right to vote, and drink! Two responsibilities which I hope both will be taken seriously and maturely. I made sure that we all gave these newbies a round of applause as I wanted to assure that they remember their first voting experience as a special occasion.

Who will be the next prime minister of Canada? Canadians, get out and vote on May 2nd. It's your right to make the decision as to how and who will run our country.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Today I believe in hope,renewal and peace. That is the message I heard today in church. As I sat there,with Jules, Kim and her father, I realized that a very big part of our family was missing. Kelly-Anne should of been with us in the pew. However I believe she was there nearby, witnessing a beautiful baby being baptized and hearing the message that Christ has Risen.

The bread dough is rising. The lamb and ham will soon be cooked and Jules,Kim and I will share our Easter meal. There will not be an egg hunt as Jules and I have decided that we will only have our next egg hunt when we become grandparents.Those precious moments of the girls hunting for eggs are very much close to our hearts and I know that this tradition will once again take it's rightful place one day.

Whatever your belief is, I wish you today peace and hope for the future. I cannot take for granted that I and like you are here on earth for a reason. Let that reason be that we are the ones that will forge forward no matter what our situation may be.

I wish you a day of rejoicing.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Celebrating the Spirit of Kelly-Anne






Family and friends enjoying a lovely afternoon yesterday at McKibbons Irish Bar remembering Kelly-Anne. Thanks to the Montreal Barbarian Rugby Club for their great work and committment. Thanks also to Dave Moran for his music and entertaintment. How wonderful is it that Kelly-Anne's memory lives on.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Montreal Barbarian Rugby Fundraiser

The Montreal Barbarian Rugby club will host their annual fundraiser in memory of Kelly-Anne on :

Saturday, April 9th 2011

McKibbons's Irish bar- West Island (St Johns' Rd north and the 40 in the shopping mall across from Fairview mall)

2:00 p.m.


Tickets are available at the door for $20.00 which includes a drink, a light buffet, music, laughter and fond memories of Kelly-Anne.
Come and join us for a pleasant afternoon where we can relax and enjoy each other's company. There will also be raffles tickets sold. All proceeds go towards the club's programs.

Many thanks to the Barbs for contining to keep kelly-Anne's memory alive!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kelly-Anne & Friends



I received this picture today from the pool director. I was swimming and she said that she had a picture to give me. So typical of Kelly-Anne, enjoying her kids.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dr. Seuss

" Don't cry because something ended. Smile because it happened"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Kudos Kim

Today I watched Kim play in the final round of a squash tournament. I am also proud to say that she won first place. This entry is not about boasting her victory,even though I am very proud of her. Kim has been working very hard on herself. She eats well, is disciplined and exercises hard as she wants to be the best she can be. Kim has done great job of it and it her hard work has paid off.

Being a spectator at a squash tournament is not quite the same as watching your child play hockey or waterpolo. There is a certain composure that is expected of those in the stands with rules and regulations to abide by. Therefore I and her father restrained ourselves from any loud expressive words of encouragement.

However, I did notice something interesting during the match. Kim did not know her opponent nor ever played against her. During the match the opponent fell a couple of times. The play stopped and as natural as the day she was born, and the exact replicated actions of Kelly-Anne, Kim went over and ask the opponent if she was okay. That is what counts, clean competition and respect for others and for me that is all more important that winning the game.

When Kim was born, we were told that she was a loving baby. I am sure I have mentioned that earlier on in my blog, but even at 30 years old, some things do not change. I can't be more proud of Kim and Kelly-Anne when is comes to sportwomenship. Kelly-Anne demonstrated this when she played Rugby. She would whack her opponent, then run up to her to make sure she was okay.

Two peas in a pod. I can't be prouder.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Being Accountable

A Saint -Hyacinthe women today lost her life from being stabbed by her partner. She was 29 years old and a mother to a two and four year old. The children witnessed the stabbing. How despicable is this. How out raged and sick was the partner to commit this heinous crime in front of the very young children, let alone commit this crime at all.

Earlier this week a 25 year old Montreal women was stabbed by her boyfriend. Enough already with these stabbings. I've said it before and I will say it again, crimes with knives are used more than guns to commit murder. The government is not going to put a ban on knives. What are we going to do about this? You know I am not going to sit back and take it. We need to be accountable to work together to educate the youth and create awareness amongst men and women.

Here are some ideas to help you get started. You may be involved with the youth or are in a position in the workplace that allows you to create programs for your workers. Maybe you belong to a church group or organization and are able to create a forum amongst your peers or students. Here are some of my ideas that I hope schools, organizations, workplaces will consider doing to build awareness.

1. Do not be silent. We all have an opinion, voice it. Create discussions with your entourage about violence against women and children. Talk about domestic abuse. Thank goodness the children who witnessed their mother being stabbed were were not murdered nor hurt, but emotional they are scared for life and no longer have a mother.
2. Create conferences and workshops in yours schools or workplaces about abuse. Call your local police department or women's shelter to get started. Invite representatives to come and speak about violence and discuss preventive measures and the signs of domestic abuse.
3. Educate your children. Boys should grow up understanding how to respect people especially girls. Girls need to be informed that there is no shame in making a bad choice and that they do not have to be tied into a relationship that is riddled with abuse.
4. Lead by example...what is love and how do you show love to your children. Girls need to understand that being slapped around and bullied by a boyfriend is not love. I was horrified today as I sat in the car waiting for Jules to pick up a coffee at Tim Hortons's. A women was dragging her little boy into her car. As she was opening the car door,she was yelling at him and calling him an asshole. He was maybe 5 years old. What message is that little boy getting? What kind of young man will he turn into? Gosh I hope the mother reads this blog.
5. Create a fundraiser for a women's shelter....collect clothes,money,toys and ask to visit the shelter.It is when you go into that environment, you can gain a better understanding as to why the women and children are there and what their needs are.
6.Lobby your governments for change. Presently, I am doing that. It's about being passionate in what you believe in. Prepare a presentation, show some stats, explain why a law should be change and how it will benefit others. If one person does not what to listen to you,go to the next. That is what I have done and most importantly...follow up. Don't be shy to call and up and say .."hey remember me, what's happening with my proposal".
7. Again, it is silence that kills women and children.

' As loud as violence is in the privacy of one's home, it is so silent for the women who women who suffers at the hands of these men."

Doreen Haddad-Drummond

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What I Learnt this Month

I am happy in some ways that February is almost over. It has been a trying month both health and work wise. This past month we celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary along with St. Valentine's and of course I was pampered with roses, chocolates, cards and lots of love.

I also had a learning curve about life. Here is a list of what I learnt this month:

1. I learnt that we have a terrible shortage of family doctors and as Jules and I discussed with our doctor this past week, if we do not go regularly to our family doctor the government will assume we do not need a family doctor and soon the aging population of GP's here in Quebec will not be replaced.So please visit your family doctor once a year...not just to keep them happy but to make sure your health is in tack.

2. I learnt that my health is the most important thing that I own and that I will not let any job or stressful event in my life compromise that.

3. I learnt that Kelly-Anne touched people's lives unknown to me. I had the opportunity of meeting some of these people last weekend at the screening of Dreams & Mirrors and know that I now have created new and stimulating relationships.

4. I learnt that I really do not like Claims Management and want to work more with people.

5. I learnt this month that Facebook is so superficial. I left Facebook over a month or so ago and the majority of my friends on my Facebook list haven't even bothered to drop me an email to say hi. Needless to say I haven't emailed many of my friends so there you go, Facebook is really a waste of time.

6. I learnt this month that those golden relationships with my old colleagues at HBC are still so alive.One old friend who I considered like my younger brother called me this week. These relationships that have endured at least 17 years are so lasting and sadly no matter how many more jobs I have in my life, the relationships will never be as bonding as those I had at HBC. The people at HBC walked with me through my grief. These friends shared my lost and I know now that no matter where I work, any eventual employer will never understand the complex issue of homicide, sudden loss and it's impact. Nor can I expect them to understand.

7. I learnt this past month that the dolphins are protecting me.( read my entry about My Dream) I learnt that the man in my dream who I called Andrew Short does exist. The one I found when I Googled his name ironically has the same birthday as Kelly-Anne. I can't seem to figure out that one.

8. I learnt I can no longer drink coffee unless I make it myself and that water is my favorite drink of all.

9. I learnt that Vitamin B50 Complex really is a good thing.

10. I learnt that polyps on the cervix is a common women's issue and are benign.

11. I learnt that being true to myself is the most important thing and that I can continue to face my challenges with integrity and courage.

12. I learnt that things happen for a reason and that as my journey continues, more doors will be opened, but it will be my choice as to which door I will enter.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Another Loss

Being a news junkie sometimes has its negative side. I like to know what is going on in the world and around my community but when I read again about another Montreal murder, it makes me just wanted to scream in agony especially when an innocent person's life is taken so violently.

Today,I read that another young women is stabbed and killed in Montreal. Two men are being held by police. She was just 21 years old. We do know the facts yet. However, I ask the question again: why? Was this an issue of " If I can't have you nobody else will"
Again,is the weapon a knife? I am assuming so. Of course when I hear the word stabbing, I immediately think of a knife, as it is too close to home for me. We talk about gun control, gun registries and how the government debates these issues, but we rarely talk about knives as being the lethal weapon.

Recent statics have indicated that more crimes are committed with knives than with guns. Knives are easily accessible. We all have them in our homes. But nobody seems to really care about that. We will never band knives. To ensure that they are used for what they were intended for means that we need to continually educate the youth and adults about violence against others and that abuse of all sorts is not acceptable. It's this irrational, unspeakable rage that men use as controlling mechanism towards women that must stop.

I grieve for this young women and her family. Their lives are now forever changed. May she rest in peace and her family be surrounded with support and love.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And Kelly-Anne's Legacy Continues.....

In 2003 Kelly-Anne worked as a production assistant for a film being produced here in Montreal. I remember her telling me about it. She was excited as she had just graduated from Concordia in Communications. She had a passion for film, especially sound.

The years went by and I never thought throughout my grief about the film. I feel sad about that as I wonder now what else have I forgot about Kelly-Anne and her accomplishments.

Last week Kell's father received an envelope in the mail addressed to Kelly-Anne. Low and behold it was an invitation for Kell to attend the screening of the finally finished film called Dreams and Mirrors. We got in contact with the producer to let her know what happened to Kelly-Anne. She was totally un aware and in shock. It pained me to talk to her about it.I felt so bad for her and how she must of felt when she finally found out. The strange irony is that the producer called the writer and told her about it. The writer knew of our tradegy and our story but never knew that Kelly-Anne worked on the film.

This Saturday we will be there for the screening. The film is being dedicated in Kelly-Anne's memory.

Another irony, the film is about violence against women.

Kelly-Anne continues to life on through so many facets and now her dream has come true...to be a part of a film that has been completed. What an honor!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Dream

I had the strangest dream last night,or at least I thought is was strange until I really gave it some serious thought this morning. I dreamt that I was taking care of a little boy who was Kim's son. He was about four years old. I was taking him to a zoo, but in order to get to the zoo, I had to  carry him in my arms and wade through the ocean. Once we arrived at the zoo we met his father who surprised us with a visit. The father is someone that I know but in my dream his name was Andrew Short. ( I don't know anyone with that name).

When it was time to return back home I headed back to the ocean with the little boy but I became afraid as I saw sharks two by two swimming by us. I said that we can't go into the water so we headed for a wooded cabin on the beach. In the cabin were many people. I said to the people that I have to get home but can't pass through the ocean because of the sharks. Everyone ignored me. I walked back out to the ocean. I realized then that as I continued to watch the fish sail by me that they were not sharks but porpoises or dolphins. I then woke up.

Once I could think clearly, I realized that the dolphins in my dream were so beautiful,graceful and harmless. We all know that when there are dolphins swimming in the ocean, there are no sharks nearby. I guess the message I retained from this dream is that I do not have to be worried as I am being watched over by Kelly-Anne and her dolphins.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Another Cruel Reminder

Tragedy has struck the state of Arizona today. A gunman selfishly takes the lives of eight innocent people and critically injures others among them Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords. Why? A casual Saturday morning at a Safeway grocery store, people gather to hear the Congresswomen speak to her people. Citizens who Gilford respected and who in turn respected and looked up to her as their leader.

Sudden death, violence and again the black cloud hovering over the victims and their families. This heinous act reminds us of how precious each day is.

Earlier this week as Tony Proudfoot, former football player and teacher was laid to rest after he lost his battle with ALS, we were all reminded of his view on life. "Suck it up" were his words of wisdom to his family and friends that were reiterated at his funeral.

Each day is important as we do not know what the future holds for any of us. We wine and become frustrated over petty things. We stop talking to our friends and families because we are disturbed with their actions, beliefs or lifestyle.

For those victims murdered today, their families never got to say goodbye,never were able to tell them on their last day on earth how much they loved them. Is that what we all want? To live with the I should of's ?

Loosing Kelly-Anne suddenly, reminds me that life is precious and that going forward I am and will always be a caring and concerned mother, wife and friend to those around me.

So suck it up...get over it and embrace each day. I know I have.