Communication is Key


“Jordon, honey, wake up.” “Try and wake up, please. Jackson is here now. He’s in from school to see you.” We were at hospice and it was 4:00 and Jackson had just come in from school to see him. Jordon woke up slightly and opened his eyes and said as clear as a bell- “Hey bud, how was your day?” That was the last clear sentence Jordon spoke before he died. I was focused on Jackson, his reaction, his well-being, my own voice, the room, at that moment. Jackson needed to leave soon after and I understood. Too much for an eleven year old. Too much for any year old….

We didn’t know this would be his last day and last night. We didn’t know if it was the medicine or the cancer that was causing this alarming downturn that day. I suppose he didn’t know either or he would have said something different to Jackson. I think we all thought he had time. I try to make meaning out of those last words he spoke so clearly. Those are words he spoke to Jackson everyday after school when he would come home. Jordon was always interested in Jackson’s life. Genuinely interested. He was an amazing father and that was a huge reason why I loved him so much.

All I can glean from this last conversation is the fact that it occurred. And it occurred between Jackson and Jordon. And I am so thankful that it happened. Back to simplicity. A simple conversation of a few sentiments between a father and a son who love each other very much. How fitting. A question so important and simple that Jackson can keep with him for the rest of his life. My dad cares, he cares how my day was. He still cares, Jackson. He’s watching over you, protecting and guiding, and showing you a path if you watch for the signs and believe. Notice and believe are two words I will make sure he fully understands and never forgets.

The next day was Father’s Day. He played in a championship flag football game and his team won. They won big. Jackson caught an interception and ran the ball in for a touchdown. Jackson is an amazing, beautiful, talented human being. At the end of the game I took a picture of him and the team. He had his finger pointing up as if to say “we’re number one!” but also it was pointing up for Jordon. He was saying, “Hey Dad! My day was great!! Thanks for asking!”Image

Scarlett O’Hara



Scarlett O’Hara is my all-time favorite character and “Gone with the Wind” is my favorite movie. Her plight in the movie resonates with me at a certain level. I love how innocently selfish, driven,ambitious, beautiful, and loveable she is. I have said, “Fiddle Dee Dee, I will think about that tomorrow” for most of my life when things don’t go well. I admire her passion for survival and her inhibition to do what she is driven to do. Nothing stopped her. She had many character flaws and she lost in love and never did win over the heart of Ashley Wilkes. He preferred his cousin. Gross.

Anyhoo…One scene in the movie is constantly running through my mind, and as often is the case, it will not leave me alone until I write it down.

Scarlett has just lost her first husband that adored her. She was young and stupid and married him for money but never loved him. (This is not my case of course). But that’s not the point of this journal. The scene starts at a ball to raise money for the war effort against the Union. Scarlett wants to go, but because she is officially in mourning, it is not appropriate for her to go to the dance. She manages to make her way there anyways. She is wearing a black mourning dress and hat and she has to stand behind the offering booth where people are donating their wedding rings and silver and other valuables to the effort. Scarlett is bouncing in her shoes behind the booth and chatting with the soldiers and the beautifully dressed ladies in their ball gowns. Her face doesn’t look at all like she’s in mourning. The music starts and off go the beautiful couples in a beautifully choreographed Southern dance. She is leaning over the table and the camera focuses in on her shoes dancing the steps to the dance. She knows the dance well. She not allowed to go out and dance. Society dictates her behavior. Gone are her beautifully colored ball gowns and replaced by a black dowdy mourning dress. She just wants to live and be happy and dance. Poor Scarlett.

I wonder what people’s expectations are of others when a tragedy like this happens? Do people expect the black mourning dresses of themselves? Do they stand at the sidelines and watch all the others dance, and then they get stuck in a self-fulfilling prophesy? Or do they kick up their heels and dance the night away knowing their loved one is smiling from above and saying, “That’s it! You got this! Go be happy! I love you!”

Dropping Bombs

Well, I have a funny story to tell you. It’s actually quite cruel what I did but my lack of filter for showing love also allows for the opposite end of the spectrum to be realized as well. Both feel good I have come to understand about myself through this process. But,my goal is to stay in the sharing of love and appreciation for those around me with an occasional setting straight of those who need it, according to me.

So here’s the story.

It had been an awful day. Paperwork involving the affairs of Jordon’s death seems to be a bad trigger for me. It seems final- closing down his SIN card,health card, drivers license all mean permanence and the end, and that is not in keeping with my beliefs of reality. It hurts.  I had to fill out a 6 page detailed report of what happened in order to satisfy some stupid requirement of process with a company in the USA. That was gut-wrenching. So at the end of the day and the end of a couple of well-deserved drinks, a knock came at my front door. I answered it and the person at the other side was Beaver Cleaver selling newspaper subscriptions for the Hamilton Spectator. He was a university student he let me know quickly and that he was making money by selling these subscriptions. He started going into all my options. I said politely, “No, thank you, I don’t think I will be reading the paper any time soon”. So his sales training I guess taught him how to overcome that objection, and he thus commenced to up-selling me on the on-line version and deliveries only on weekends. Again, I politely (being concerned about the environment in not wasting paper) said, “I don’t think so.” AGAIN, he started. Then, I dropped the bomb. I couldn’t help myself.

I said to him, “Look dude, my husband just died a week and a half ago, and I really don’t give a shit about what’s happening in Hamilton right now.”

The look on his face I would have paid a ransom due to have a camera shot of it! His face told me he had just swallowed his tongue. He nodded, excused himself, and ran away. Poor soul.

I have a wickedly raw low threshold for anything annoying right now and that was as much of an eye-opener for me as it was for him. It might have actually ended his sales career, or it might have improved it greatly. The choice is his.

I closed the door and it hit me. You know that funny feeling of laughter that absolutely paralyzes your legs and you almost drop to your knees? It felt good, wickedly good.

The Karmic Boomerang

This is how the story plays out for all of us…..


It is my belief that karma originates in intent, not in actions. Intent guides actions and karma follows suite. It is a smooth simplistic process, much like throwing a boomerang. This is something very deeply personal I am sharing with you without details from a bird’s eye view. It may trickle down and give some of you pause, as it should. No one escapes karma.

Imagine a boomerang and an aboriginal man in the desert of Australia. He throws his boomerang out into the open air. He is practicing his hunting skills. He is a provider for his family. His aim is true, steady, and his intent is just. Jordon is this man. The boomerang hits its target and returns home by gliding and landing firmly in his hands. Karma works the very same way. Intent. Action. Return.


Conversely, another man with anger and resentment in his heart is going out to throw his boomerang.  Denial of his past. Self-rightousness.  Bad communicator. Blaming others. Bad intent, even if the outcome turns out well, still starts with bad intent. It is the same act with a different outcome and vastly different karma. Here’s the hidden truth that you cannot run from.

The boomerang knows your intent. And the boomerang is karma.

If you have bad intensions, but follow with good outwardly-appearing actions you will still have to deal with the boomerang. Unfortunately, if your intentions originate in goodness, but somehow go awry, then you are a couple of notches up, but you will still feel the effects. It’s like punishing a good kid to help them remember right from wrong. It’s done in their best interest.The boomerang is also a teaching tool.

Now, both men are walking back from their practice in the sand. The clearing and purification of our thoughts and intent is a good investment for us to make in our lives. One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is to look back at our footprints. What do our footprints look like in other people’s lives- the lives of our children, our families, our friends and co-workers? Are the prints showing up beside them or did we walk on them? Did we walk away? Did we carry them? Did we stomp on their hearts by telling them they would never amount to anything and leave lasting scars? Did we play footzies in the sand with them and say “I love you’s” all the time?


Deflection, avoidance of the truth, and non-communication show foot prints moving out into the desert. It is hot there and the sand burns. Good intent followed by positive actions puts one’s feet on the cool grass in the middle of a meadow on a spring afternoon.

Some great advice was given to me by a good friend recently.  When connecting with others “Respond rather than react. Co-create your relationships with people around you by letting the energy flow with an open heart that allows for unselfish understanding, focus your intent on loving and sharing positivity with others” and the boomerang will know…

Nature and Art are Healers of Grief

Being in the forest is art and life in motion. The greens, browns, grays and blacks, reds and purple, and white flowers abound. I now have an amazing appreciation for seeing the cycle of nature unfold and I allow it to show its beauty to me. I find value and understanding in getting out into nature and looking at the new shoots rising from the ground preening for sunlight and raindrops. I see the dying tree trunks slowly returning their wood to the earth in respect and gratitude. One can really find acceptance in life and what it brings to you if you open your eyes to what is really going on around you. There is so much parallel in nature as in our own lives. The cycle plays out for us before our eyes and it wants desperately to show us all the beauty in life and to not be afraid.

Enjoy your seasons.  Enjoy the change it brings into your life. If you are hurting or need a sign – be drawn to your environment to look for healing.  Let your spirit guide you! Feel open to express your view or experience with your pen or paintbrush, your footsteps, or your camera. Open your ears to the sounds around you. There is healing in the sounds of the forest and the birds. They can remind you that you are alive and your presence here in this world still has purpose.


The same goes for the music in our lives. Allow music to guide your heart. Music will help you play out your emotions and carry you through to the end of the song. Play it. Really play it out. Over and over and over again until you feel at peace. Find a song that fits your journey and let the vibrational words and rhythm fill your soul until you are full. Music can draw out pain like medicine if you let it.


I took all this photographs during the first year after my husband’s passing from cancer.  I found photography and writing to be a way to help me heal from my pain and trauma.  I encourage you to find a passion for releasing your own pain.  It will give you something to look back on and remind you of how far you’ve come!



The Injured Athlete



There is a changing up of rituals that are familiar to you that often happens after someone close to you passes away. The activities that you once enjoyed together no longer serve you. The feeling of the void is too much and it sucks out the enjoyment of it all. Such is the case with Jackson and I. As I have not spent time in the kitchen these days, Jackson has whole-heartedly decided to give up hockey. He and Jordon were so connected when it came to hockey. Practices, skate sharpening, lace tying, playoff games, all of it has complete connection with Jordon and the pain of losing him is too much too soon for Jackson. I completely understand what he is feeling. He is self-directing his healing process and I am amazed at his progress thus far.

Jackson and I are forging new territory right now. We are blazing through new ideas and activities and creating new memories and fun. He is trying out a new sport right now and I am excited for him- football. And he’s damn good at it too. I am sure it’s his American roots coming out in him. As I was thinking about this process and his new interests, I had a vision today that I want to share with you all.

An analogy came to me today that is a perfect example in my mind of recovery from grief. When an athlete has an injury, that person can get knocked out of the game. Sometimes it’s a quick sit-out, other times it’s career-ending. Grief is much the same way and how you heal makes all the difference. Through physical therapy, an athlete goes through the motions, working the injury towards recovery. Moving to “act as if” you can jump again or swing out, or press forward teaches the muscles to regain flexibility and strength. The act of trying helps strengthen and lengthen and lessens the chance of scarring setting in and creating long -term damage. If you are grieving and you go sit on your couch and you do not move and you do not nurture yourself- you can create permanent emotional damage and possibly not be able to return to the game of life that you once loved. You have to stretch your mind, exercise you body and soul, create a “living as if” environment to be able to move forward and get back in your game. Seize your day, score a goal, and celebrate with your friends.

The Heart of the Matter



I am getting emails, phone calls, letters, cards, and text messages from family and friends on a regular basis. The care and concern and love coming from you all keeps us afloat. It lifts Jackson and myself up and makes the day a little less heavy. My general response is “We are doing well. We have good days and bad days, good moments and hard ones.” That is true, but also generic and probably not the answer you are really looking for. And most of the time it is the easiest way to describe our days. It is easy to say those words because never before have I paid more attention to my own voice. I internalize and listen to my voice and thoughts and it seems a separate part of me on many days. I don’t have to hear me speak with my voice when I write. Maybe that’s why it is so easy for me right now. So tonight I write.

Tonight I am going to share what is in my heart. What my days are like. What I think about. I often share what I feel in terms of living in connection. Tonight I will share what it feels like to live in the separation. I lost the love of my life and the father of my son. Maybe in some way, this will help seal someone’s marriage, heal an emotional wound, strengthen a bond, or validate someone’s love for another. AllI can say to you is to see the horizon in life when it comes to the ones you love. The big picture. Sometimes the details are painful, but it is the big picture that counts. Now, down to the details.

In the morning I wake up and I feel a burn in my heart and a sting in my eyelids. I am starting the day without him lying next to me. The day is mine, not ours. I feel a little lost, and then I get my mind straight and continue about my morning. I think of calling my parents back. They are always worried and I often don’t have the energy to talk about it. I cant imagine what I would be feeling if Jackson had lost his wife and lived twelve hours away from me. Helpless I’m sure. I also get my coffee started and sit out on my deck and listen to the birds and noises of people going off to start their day. My days aren’t normal right now so I think about what it will be like when they are. Sometimes I write a journal entry, other times after I have sent Jackson off to school I start with the appointments and paperwork that is plaguing my life right now. It’s complicated when you are an American citizen living in a foreign country. That’s my morning.

The afternoon usually gets going and I involve myself in whatever it holds. This is the best part of the day-the busy, active part. It’s a distraction, but also I am practicing living “as if”. It is therapeutic and I know I will get there one day soon. Don’t know when, but I have the upmost faith that it will happen. I really want to start a book so maybe that will begin to unfold for me soon but I don’t really know what it should be about.

The evening. Jackson is home from school and the day is starting to slow down. This is often a tough time for me and sometimes for Jackson too. He once told me, “Our house feels so big now.” He feels the void as much as I do. I loved to cook dinner with Jordon. He would sit at our island in the kitchen and watch me dream up fun dishes for us to eat. I did the creative work and he would do the grilling-always the main course. We loved each other in the kitchen. It was our place. Now- I get in and I get out. I don’t care about cooking. I cook for Jackson, healthy foods, as often as I can. I often go to sleep at night feeling peaceful. I think this is his gift to me. He was always worried about my sleep. Truthfully I don’t sleep well and I don’t think Jackson does either. I think both our subconscious minds are still processing what has happened to us like a computer screen that is locked up and the “circle of thinking” is stuck on thinking. I have a dream catcher in the widow that I placed there with intent. It catches the bad dreams and it is working. Now we sleep, and in eight or so hours we start it all over again. There you have it- the beginning and the ending, the alpha and omega of our physical day, from a separation point of view. Maybe that’s the real question you have been asking, so I am sharing. Love you.

The “Perfect” Marriage

No marriage is perfect. Or better yet, the term “perfect” when it comes to marriage needs to be redefined. My definition of perfect was totally different. Jordon and I were two alpha peas just trying to get along in a little pod. We were madly in love with each other and crazy jealous and protective of what we had. But we could scrap it out like there was no tomorrow. I even got so mad at him one night I cleared a coffee table with one sweep of my arm. Wine glasses, remotes, and coasters and whatever smashed everywhere. God that felt good. And you know what? We had a good laugh afterward and we never forgot it. The perfect marriage is not about always getting along with each other and living in La La Land. That is complete BS and if you think all your neighbors around you have it any different, guess what – they don’t.

My marriage to Jordon was perfect. We laughed together, cooked together, loved together, parented together, and we also fought like cats and dogs. He always took care of me and Jackson, and in the end I took care of him and held his hand and said “I love you”. He challenged my flaws, and I helped him overcome the obstacles he faced. We made each other look in the mirror at ourselves to try and be better people. We truly lived out our vows to each other.

To have and to hold.

For richer or poorer.

In sickness and in health.

Forsaking all others.

Til’ death do us part.

Back to basics like I always say. The truth is simplistic. Be there for each other the best way you know how.



The Surreal


I find myself in a mind-flex sometimes. I guess the official correct term would be feeling the surreal. It is an out-of-body experience that you feel when something on a grand scale impacts your life. If it is a positive impact; for example, it could be excellent news, the birth of your child and when you get to hold him for the first time, the moment after you get married and walk back down the isle, the moment you realize you have met the love of your life, or when your son takes his first steps. Those are cherished surreal moments. Those are the ones that are fun to remember. And I am so grateful that I experienced so many positive moments like these already in my lifetime.

The other side of surreal doesn’t feel so good. It hurts. It is a temporary ungrounded feeling with a touchpoint attachment to a different plane that we do not see. It is the past colliding with the present and not being sure which dimension you are in. I hate those moments. I’m going along about my day and it hits me. What. Just. Happened this year…..Oh my God, he’s gone. He’s actually gone. Flashbacks of him in his hospital bed in our living room make their way to my mind. Scenes. Terrible ones of pain and suffering, worry, and lost hope. It can happen while I am driving to the store or while I am making breakfast in the morning. They are often when I least expect them and they throw me backwards for just a moment.

The negative side of surreal, when it hits you, has a vibration and internal sound to it in your mind like a musical narrative in a movie with a low, slow draw of a bow on the low end of a string of a base. Its resonating sound goes away when the bow reaches it’s end, and so does the memory, thank goodness.

Mind Stumbling



Mind-Stumbling. Electricity. Connectivity. Today I want to share what I now understand about disconnecting and re-connecting. It is a physical, mental, and emotional process. There is an outlet in the wall. I have always used the “3 prong approach” to all we do as a family whether it is grocery shopping, weekend trip planning, or connecting to those we love. Jackson, Jordon, and I were a team and we approached our lives and the ones we love in that fashion.

I met his wonderful group of friends a long time ago at a wedding. I fell in love with their laughter and their ability of stick-togetherness through thick and thin. I knew I was meant to be a part of this group. I wanted to be a part of this group. That weekend so many years ago I got to know Jordon even better. Any guy who has friends like this has to be a good guy. It sealed the deal for me. That “3 prong approach” is now a “2-pronger”. That first week after Jordon died and that feeling of physical separation was incredibly intense, which has since subsided slightly. Along with that terrible pain came this weird feeling and confusion. Honestly I am a little lost for words to describe it. I think the reason I cannot describe this concept well is there is a physical part of our minds. For example, when we lose someone whether through death, divorce, break-up, or what have you, in our minds we feel the pain physically. That pain manifests in our mind and spreads to our muscles and joints and heart and lungs. It affects our breathing and heartbeat. When we lose someone we love, our connections with those people (whom we have bonded to because of that person who has died) leave our mind during the physical separation after that person dies. It’s like physically losing half of what you know. Then the ability to reason and think and love fills that gap in your mind and a reconnection to those people you love takes over, re-adjusts, filling the other half of your physical mind. Through the “2-prong” approach you reconnect. It can happen instantaneously, or through a more detailed process. It is god-awful and it throws you into a tail-spin headed towards the ground. But you crash-land, begin to reason, love kicks in and so does memory. Those people haven’t gone away; you just have gone through the process of reconnection.

When people feel at loss for words and a sad awkwardness I think the process is happening to them too. In their minds a desire to reconnect with me is happening subconsciously. What to say, what to feel, and taking a first step towards a new relationship with an old friend is hard. Maybe it lasts 3 seconds, or weeks, or that process is so painful and confusing to some that they just disconnect all together. I haven’t had this happen yet, but I bet for some it sadly has.

I am a very analytical person, I know. Maybe others don’t feel what I feel. I have been to some great parties recently and half way through I have had to leave. The reconnection process is so strong and painful that it overwhelms me. The light at the end of the tunnel is that love over-rules and so does reason. It trumps fear and heartache. I am grateful for the reconnection process because it has helped brighten my love for you all and cleared any doubt that you all are incredibly important to me. What a purification process. An enlightenment. And it makes me smile and after the re-connection it puts an ease into my heart and helps heal.