Category Archives: Life Reflections

Reflections on life

A Tribute to Cst. John Davidson

A Tribute to Cst. John Davidson

On a rainy day in Abbotsford, British Columbia the landscape of ordinary streets changed into a sea of uniforms, flags and citizens. They came from all over Canada, Scotland, England and the United States to pay tribute to a fallen officer, Cst. John Davidson of The Abbotsford Police Department.

As my friend (who knew of him through her daughter) and I walked towards the centre in which his Celebration of Life ceremony would be held I was struck by the amount of people, the security presence, the sounds of air traffic but little to no talking. There were no cell phones ringing, no laughter, no children at play or any of the usual noises that permeate our neighbourhoods; just the sound of boots walking.

The main centre was reserved for “blue bands” which was all police and emergency personnel. A centre, a short distance away, would hold the overflow of people who wanted to attend and watch the proceedings on large screens. We sat in quiet contemplation, stood when asked to stand and when guided towards moments of silence it was as if we were one mind.

Scrunched up in so many hands were tissues ready to meet the eyes and cheeks that carried tears for someone we’ve never met. For those that did know Cst. Davidson it was particularly hard to fight back emotions as they spoke about their beloved friend, colleague, husband, father, brother and uncle. His life played out to us through stories, pictures and video. We understood that he would not at all expect or enjoy the focus that was being placed on him but people like John Davidson – who selfishly give – don’t understand our need to give back.

When the service was over we walked towards the final procession area. For miles again a sea of officers, first responders and civilians stood along a street, in the cold, with rain pelting down upon already soaked uniforms -all of us ready to say our final “Goodbye and Thank you.” The gun salute rang out to momentarily end the silence and then the police motorcycles rumbled passed. With lights flashing and cars approaching the shout signifying to stand at attention was next and as the car carrying the body of Cst. John Davidson, and the cars for his family passed by, arms raised in salute.

When I got home I shared the experience with my husband. I showered to try to get rid of the bitter cold that ate through my clothes to my bones. My mind stuck in time, November 19, 2017. Later that evening as I laid down in my bed I couldn’t help but think, as my husband arrived next to me, that at least we have this moment again. My mind wandered to Cst. John Davidson’s wife who now faces long nights in a bed without her love. I think of his siblings and mother along with his children who must rely on their memory for pearls of wisdom and the essence of who he was. I know all of this well, having experienced at the age of nine what it’s like to hear my mother cry herself to sleep after my fathers sudden death. I know the emptiness of a house that was once a home because of the absence of someone so loved. But this isn’t about me.

It’s about a brave man who chose a career that is both dangerous and rewarding. It is about a man who loved nature, physical fitness and who pushed himself and others to be the best they could be. He believed in the power of people to change and had a way about him that even those receiving a ticket would shake his hand. He had no tolerance for drunk drivers. He helped youth to reject drugs that were taking them out one by one and cycled to raise money for cancer. He had a sense of humour and so much more that made John Davidson a soul that will be missed.

Thank you to the family for allowing us to mourn with you in such a public way. Know that when you think there is nobody remembering you or him, you are wrong – I am. (And I suspect many others beyond your police family will be too)

Coverage of Tribute

Remembering Our Veterans

For the first time in my life I was not in Canada for Remembrance Day. My husband and I, plus a couple of our friends, were away in the United States. During our trip we proudly wore our poppies and this morning – before heading back home – we sat for a moment of silence at the 11th hour. I’m not sure that everyone who passed us by in the lobby of the hotel knew what we were doing but we didn’t mind. Quietly in front of the fire we sat and paid respect to our veterans.

I have to say I missed watching the ceremony and so I’m not sure in the future I would be away for this day. I also couldn’t help but think about the death of a police officer in Abbotsford BC, Constable John Davidson who died in the line of duty only days ago. So many brave people for generations have put their lives on the line for us and I remain eternally grateful for one and all.

Is Fear Taking Over Us All?

Is Fear Taking Over Us All?

I’m sensing fear is taking over on a global scale and we are letting it win.

In conversations with friends, family, students, colleagues and acquaintances the mere mention of the word “energy” often leads to a larger discussion on how the energy of the world seems chaotic, imbalanced and just plain weird.

I’m trying to keep myself insulated from all of that but from under my protective rock I peek out just long enough to see and hear what’s going on in this world. I look for sources with a ground level understanding about what’s transpiring but it’s hard to find the truth these days. Is it in a book, through appointed experts, social media or mainstream media?  I don’t know anymore.

Speaking of truth and the media….

According to the Book of Trump all we have is “Fake News” which isn’t helping to lessen the dread. (Has he trademarked Fake News yet? That seems like something he would do.) His anti-news media campaigns have extended beyond the borders with plenty of fear and speculation to go around. Sharp tongues lashing and poison keys typing we are swimming in a sea of bad vibes.

Nothing attracts the power seekers or fear mongers more than an opportunity to advertise internationally on social media. What if an excerpt from their life or well-thought out quote wasn’t glamorized through video or retweeted? If we don’t give the person(s) the kind of story they imagined or re-post the images they wanted us to see, will that pot of bad energy they’re trying to stir up dissipate?

Maybe the media is being used as a pawn – especially by those that want to tap into the worst parts of our nature – or selling doom is just the only way to stay in business. Channels are being broadcast figuratively and literally tuned to incite hate, cultural division, gender bashing, corporate slashing and much more. From what we see on the news there’s no vocal harmony just yelling, no peaceful protestors just angry sign-wielding marchers. Learning to be afraid of each other appears to be a theme.

Are we becoming so accustomed to fear that it now becomes the only way for us to feel alive?

Is it possible that I/we could be losing grip on our own purpose by being swept up in the energy of others?

How do I/we begin to tap into that sacred space, the inner guide, when it is being drowned out by world noise.

If my intuition says, “What is happening around you is wrong!”, is it OK to ignore that warning?

How do I give meaning to my life if I witness the absence of hope, joy or human civility?

Is it possible that I’m allowing bullies and fear peddlers to shape my surroundings?

These are some of the questions circling in my head right now.

It doesn’t appear to be enough to think positive, hide from the world or tweet inspirational quotes. I think we are in dire need of a reboot. If only we could create an update button that would be pushed not by the conspiracy theorists, attention seeking  commentators or those with a Napoleon complex but by people who truly want to see humanity, civility and dignity survive.

 

How Terrorism Made Me Feel Guilty

How Terrorism Made Me Feel Guilty

First Manchester’s concert now Kabul’s diplomatic area, targets hit by terrorists within weeks of each other. With every attack that has happened over the years I see images, hear stories and then I run a spectrum of emotions that are likely common for us all. But lately one emotion is standing out over the others – it’s called Guilt.

I wonder if I’m the only one who feels a sense of guilt for the many of moments of joy I felt today when I know others are crying. My biggest problem in the hours that just past was how to fit in time to practice scales for singing lessons. I washed sheets today and it is with great pleasure that this body will lay in a cozy bed next to my husband on those fresh sheets.

Outside my window people are walking and driving by because it is safe to do so. The fire truck drove past without sirens blaring – probably on a little run around the neighbourhood – no emergency.  I made sure there was fresh water for the birds outside and threw peanuts out for squirrels because nature is worth preserving. We’ll have pizza tonight made from fresh ingredients we bought at our local stores, I might have a glass of wine.

It is with all of this in mind and more that my guilt grows. I had a day that will likely not be memorable to me over time but for others in this world it will be a day they will never forget.

Easter Tradition Brings Special Memories

Easter Tradition Brings Special Memories

As we head into the Easter weekend I am reminded of a tradition my family held well into our adulthood – The Annual Easter Egg Hunt! I wish I could say that it was respectful, polite and all that wonderful stuff but really it always turned into a near blood bath sport. Highly competitive – and driven to get out months of pent-up energy – my sisters and anyone else brave enough to join in would run around the house looking for those little chocolate eggs.

Crashing into furniture, falling down stairs, executing last-minute dives that resulted in an elbow to someone’s face were all part of the crazy hunt. The person who was victorious didn’t savour the moment gracefully but instead held their bounty close and recounted every detail of events that led to their win. Does this sound like the spirit of Easter to you? Probably not.

Through it all we laughed so hard. I know there were moments that were out of hand but it still brings a smile to everyone’s face when we remember those days. We are much older now (not necessarily more mature) and getting together has become more difficult. I know none of our bodies could take that kind of punishment anymore.

When I think of Easter that is where my mind goes. I don’t remember the meals, the weather or conversations, but I do remember running with abandon and laughing all the way to find what the Easter Bunny so kindly left for our enjoyment. Oh, if only I could turn back the hands of time.

 

All Tangled Up

All Tangled Up

Couldn’t help but share this picture of my cousin’s dog caught in his favourite carpet. Yes, there will be days like this but thankfully someone will come to help when we get all tangled up.

 

Celebrating the Life of Mary Tyler Moore

Celebrating the Life of Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore lived 80 years but how do we sum up the life of Ms. Moore without really knowing her? I guess it can only be done by honoring our own experience, sharing research and recognizing the consciousness of her presence.

Some people, celebrity or not, become an influencer. They don’t necessarily set out to be influential but it happens as a result of doing what they do best. Mary Tyler Moore was one of those people.

Her career began through an interest in dance and acting. Starting at 17 years old with appearances in commercials  she made her way up to landing roles in a list of TV series. She is best remembered for The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

For me, her influence was best felt through The Mary Tyler Moore Show. My mother used to watch it – I think everyone in our family did – but I really took to her character. She embodied what every girl and woman was striving for at the time. Her role inspired me to dream about all sorts of things like renting my own apartment one day, living by myself, having a good job and a strong voice when needed.

I remember an early episode where Mary stood up for herself to Lou and I thought, Wow, she’s got guts! Of course, it was played with comedy added but still a woman saying something so direct to a male boss? Wow! Even at my young age I knew enough to be impressed by Mary’s drive, compassion, friendships and barrier breaking position.

As an actress her comedy timing was perfect, facial expressions said it all, and she managed to strike a balance between the character’s small town innocence and her larger responsibilities. Of course, this was only a character she played but it meant something.

In real life Mary actively participated in raising awareness about diabetes and animal rights. She too had her struggles and overcame what she could but this made her a good embassador for causes.

If you want to see how much she positively impacted and inspired the life of someone you would have seen it when Mary made a surprise appearance on the Oprah Show. Oprah was a HUGE fan of Mary Tyler Moore and when her staff arranged for a surprise walk on to the stage Oprah broke into the ugly cry. I recall my own tears welling up as I knew Oprah was having a moment that many of us dream of having, the chance to meet the person who changed our world.

I have all the DVD’s of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and I cherish them. From the iconic hat tossing opening, to the music that is so familiar. Each hilarious and touching moment of episode after episode I, like many of you, were invited into Mary’s world. Surrounded by an equally talented cast Mary Tyler Moore turned the world on with her smile. We are fortunate that she has the capacity to still do that as she is immortalized on screen.

This actress and inspiring woman leaves us a little better. What she chose to do with her life and craft made a difference and isn’t that worth celebrating.

May her family, friends and colleagues find comfort in so many wonderful memories she left behind.

 

Rescue Pets – Alternatives to Pet Stores and Breeders

Rescue Pets – Alternatives to Pet Stores and Breeders

When there are so many pets waiting for homes why are we still going to pet stores and breeders?

My husband and I were in our local pet store picking up bird food for our budgies. Often we walk over to the glass enclosure – that sits about waist-high – filled with budgies of all colours. It looked like they had just got a few more in because it was Christmas. As the store clerks tried to capture a budgie for a woman, who wanted to buy one for her daughter, I couldn’t help but wonder why is she at a pet store?

We adopted our little feathered friends last year from a local shelter. I had seen one of them on a Pet of the Week site and instantly took a liking to him. When I phoned the shelter they assured me he was still there along with many others. When we got to the shelter we saw that he was in a cage with one other budgie and we didn’t have the heart to leave one behind so now they both have a home.

If you look on Craigslist or other similar sites you will find an abundance of birds, dogs, cats, and reptiles waiting to be rehomed. Many people either can’t or won’t take care of their pet and are trying to find them a new home. It is a sad fact that many of these animals will end up in a shelter or worse dumped off somewhere like one of our budgie was. Not all animals survive the stress or lack of care that happens when they become a burden to their owners.

Adoption is a better option. Even pet stores have tried to be more ethical in their approach to pet sales by promoting adoption and supporting animal welfare charities.  Breeders are interested in profiting as a business so lets not bother to look for their support.

It is so important to consider the suitability of a pet to your home, children and lifestyle – whether you are adopting or buying. How stable is your living situation and financial situation? What’s your long-term plans? Many birds for instance can live longer than their owners and so planning for that pet is important.

Please consider adoption more seriously the next time you or someone in your family wants a pet. Move beyond “fad” or “cute” or “status” and instead realistically become part of the solution to animal overpopulation, homelessness and cruelty. Check your local area for rescue associations.

BC SPCA Alternatives to buying pets online or in pet stores

PETSMART PEOPLE SAVING PETS

Petfinder