2017 – Better or Bitter

“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” – Rita Mae Brown

Happy New Year and am I ever glad 2016 is finally in my rearview mirror.  I have some friends who had an exceptional 2016, Eugene Stickland for example, congrats buddy.  When I knew Eugene a few years back in Calgary it was in the context of a Cheers style “hanging on the bar stools” after work for a casual drink.  Usually a handful of regulars from around the neighbourhood would congregate between 4:30 to 6:30 then everyone was off with their life’s.  From what I’m hearing from others 2016 wasn’t as fruitful.

For me 2016 ranks right up there as my second worst year to date with 2015 having been the worst from a psychological point of view.  So 2017 isn’t about just turning the page, it’s about starting a new book.  There have been damages done in 2016 that are basically irreconcilable.  Those are damages that occurred as a process for change established back in January of 2016.  My commitment for 2016 was to be sure conditions were in place to make 2017 a better and not a bitter year.

Due, in part, to inadequate access I was becoming increasingly socially isolated in 2015.  I felt that taking a heavier than usual emotional tole on me.  For the first time in my life I sought out a therapist I was feeling that bad and for somebody who values independence to a fault this was a big step.  I should have done this twenty years ago.

I’ve noticed a pattern in my life where every fifteen to twenty years some major event comes along which offers me different pathways.  Which path I take can make a world of difference.  I have just past a twenty year cycle where I ignored so many of the important things.  The signs were there but I ignored while becoming increasingly depressed, a low grade depression (I told myself) that I just kept to myself.  I say low grade since recent studies have shown many people who grew up in institutional setting are likely to experience PTSD symptoms very young and grew up thinking certain feelings are natural, like depression.  We know what the residential schools did to the First Nations.  Kids that grew up in hospitals had a different type of trauma to deal with but it was trauma none the less.  In a hospital you become very good at being who we needed to be for those people around us.Continue reading “2017 – Better or Bitter”

Remembrance Day 2012

To me every day is a remembrance day but today is the official Remembrance Day of 2012.  Today is that one dedicated day of the year when we pay homage to those who gave so much for our freedom and democracy, our veterans.  Today is that one day of the year when our collective soul takes time to remember those who gave and are giving so much so we can remain safe by our hearth and in our home.

For fifty years plus I have participated in Remembrance Day events as a way to acknowledge the sacrifices of a previous generation, my parents’.  My father, many of my uncles and their peers were veterans from that generation who were lucky enough to make it back from the wars.  Not all of my uncles (one’s I never know) made it back from the battle fields of Europe and the Pacific front.  However over the years they have been joined by the many that did make it home only to succumb to the reality of the circle of life.  My father passed away in 1998 but he is never closer to my heart than he is on Remembrance Day.  May they all rest in peace as we continue to recognize their successes and sacrifices in building this compassionate democracy we call Canada.

In the Remembrance Day services of today my generation has added brothers and sisters as well as our own children as an observance.  The bulk of our veterans have taken on a new face, a younger face however they continue to fight for the same concepts that my father and so many others fought for.  However now they fight to help bring a level of democracy to other parts of the world assisting the less fortunate in overcoming tyranny and fascism.

They do this because my father’s generation accomplished what they did, not only for democracy but in building a compassionate and caring Canada.  From my perspective a democracy isn’t a real democracy if there is no caring or compassion for the less fortunate.  That is what my father fought for and any time I read or see an act of compassion or caring I have a remembrance moment.  I don’t wait for November 11 to remember what went on before us.

Despite the adversity many of our vets are facing today I will remain non-partisan in this article and just focus on what our vets have given us.  I will celebrate their accomplishments and mourn their losses.  I will remember while I watch for the ripple effects of their actions in the community around me.  I will acknowledge the acts of kindness and compassion I see happening around me every day despite the growing negativity we read about daily in our papers or see in our news.  I will also share as many of those acts as I can through my writings and through my Facebook posts (yes I use Facebook).

And for today I would like to acknowledge the actions and write-up of a gentleman I like to consider a friend.  The action he speaks of in his blog, in my opinion, captures that compassion and caring that so many vets gave their lives for.  His actions on this day is about using a talent he already has to help out a hard working single mother battling a serious illness while maintaining a positive approach for her seven year old daughter.  To me this is what remembering is all about, so Eugene I salute you along with all of the vets that stood by my father and continue to stand today.

Dad you, like so many before you are sorely missed, but your actions have not gone unnoticed.  And the results of your deeds are reflected in the actions of so many caring and compassionate people.  Every day should be a day of remembering so we don’t repeat the past.  Lest we forget!

Juts one man’s opinion.