Posted in Art of LIving, Education, Fatherhood, Fathers, Fearless Living, Graceful Living, Gracious Living, Healthy Living, Joyful Living, Life, Life Lessons, Living, Meaning of Life, Mindful Living, Motherhood, Mothers, Parenting, Simple Living, Single Parenting, Single-Mothers, Student Life, The Art of Living, Uncategorized

First Day of School for Parents of Intelligent Boys

backtoschool

You will cry, and they might cry,  but everyone will be fine.

Trust me, I know this.

He will be curious. His first report card will subtly let you know that he talks… A LOT.

He will be bored – because you taught him his ABC’s, and how to write and colour and explore. For this you will be rewarded with years of him finishing his work early and wiggling around in class, likely getting into things, and making you worry he’s going to end up in jail.

He won’t.

Your boy will comfort others who are struggling, and get away with all of the activity he can.

And all of this because you loved him like crazy before our world was ready to tame him.

Stay strong mom and dad. He will be just fine, and so will you.

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Posted in Andshelaughs, andshelaughs writing, Criminal Justice, Current Events, Fearless Living, Healthy Living, Life Lessons, Living, News, Toronto Star, Uncategorized, World News

Saturday Morning Coffee; Child Killers & The People Who Have to Be Nice To Them

saturday morning coffeeLast night I had my sweetheart, his son, and my son together around the table to enjoy a meal together for Easter. With young adult children and their crazy schedules, family time is precious, and to have both families blend together during these holidays is a true joy.

Simple things like having dinner together every day, and making sure you say, “I love you”, before you head out the door are mandatory at my house. Maybe a little too obsessively-compulsively so.

You see, my career is death and dying. The fragile nature of life is not lost on me, and maybe I have some PTSD going on. Ok, I do have some of that going on,  but I think that’s normal under the circumstances.

Easter dinner with the kids was extra meaningful for me in ways that I’m sure people who don’t work around loss and trauma will never know. Nor should they.

This morning I sat down to my little window, with my coffee and kitty mentor, Mr. Willy Nelson. I cruised over to www.thestar.ca and read the article about Ontario’s Chief Pathologist, Dr. Micheal Pollanen.

Basically, the crux of the article was that Dr. Pollanen has been guilty of confirmation bias;

Among them was confirmation bias — reaching a conclusion and working backward to find evidence to support it, and professional credibility bias — being unwilling to change an opinion once stated.

 

Fine. I get it, and god forbid I was on the receiving end of a case where a professional reasoned that I was guilty and then tried to prove it. Basically, you’d be screwed.

But the point of my little blog here isn’t to crucify Dr. Pollanen. I worked with him. I didn’t really like him – let me be clear, that’s my personal opinion. He seemed to be book-smart-brilliant, and socially awkward. But most of the doctors down there fit that description.

At the Office of the Chief Coroner, one finds that ego-with-a-capital-E runs rampant, and the term Doctor warrants a god-like-untouchable-status to anyone who doesn’t have the same credentials. Humility has no place there. There are few exceptions.

The reality however is that those coroners are human too, and I would argue, because of their perceived status as stronger, more intelligent and wiser-than-the-average-bear, they are at higher risk for PTSD, burn-out and the other psychological monsters-that-go-bump-in-the-night. Sure, they have  access to support, but there is no system in place to monitor it. There is no formal support in place to insure that the mental health of  professionals subjected to the most brutal trauma imaginable is cared for.

During my training, a past Chief Coroner ended his lecture to my graduating class by telling us that if we ever felt that we needed counselling or help coping with trauma, that we should suck it up because that was our job. This was hands-down the worst advice I’ve received in my career.

I too have seen the trauma of a child’s lifeless body marked by abuse, accidental injuries or what appears to be a cold-blooded homicide. I’ve looked into the teary eyes of grieving siblings who are too young to have know what grief feels like.  I’ve done it many times, it’s part of my job.  Unless you’ve physically had to take part in the autopsy or preparation of the body, you do not have any idea what it’s like to be a professional in death care, so stop judging and proselytizing.

You don’t know the deeper level of concern that we bear when our child or spouse takes the car, or is running late. Working with trauma brings you face to face with the fickle nature of mortality every. single. moment. of. every. day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not excusing Dr. Pollanen, I’m simply empathizing with him. You might want to try it sometime.

Ask yourself this; In a courtroom full of adults unwilling to admit that they either abused or neglected a child to the point of death, I wonder what the average reader of the morning paper would do? Part of me likes to think that they would rage and deliver a little eye-for-an-eye justice, the other part of me is a passive Buddhist.

So, as I sit here this morning, sipping my flavoured coffee, looking out at children in the courtyard giggling and scurrying during the annual Easter Egg hunt, I ask you to think of Dr. Pollanen as a human being who has dedicated his life to making our society a safer place.

 

 

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Entertainment, Girl Stuff, Health, Humor, Humour, Life, Men's Issues, Relationships, Singles, Spirituality, Women's Issues, Writing

A Father’s Day Meditation

coffeemorningToday is the day that we celebrate Dads. Fathers, step-dads, adoptive dads, and for some of us, those men who became mentors and ‘father figures’ to us fatherless sons and daughters.

If you have a father who loves you, mentors you, and is an example of kindness, goodness and integrity, I hope that you celebrate him well today.

If you have a father who, provided mentoring in a much more zen-monk-beating-you-with-a-stick kinda way. Raise a glass. Yes, I’m being deadly serious my succulent little tarts.

Maybe having a jackass for a father has made you a better person? Perhaps the experience has inspired you to a deeper spirituality, taught you the wisdom of forgiveness, or just simply clarified how not to be. If not, then you really need to work on yourself darling. Seriously…

Being ‘fatherless’ has been a blessing in disguise. At first there was pain, anger, hatred, and a deep desire to roll my pretty little sleeves up and spew fire and hate his way.  But after awhile, slowly, like a fog lifting, I began to realize just how wonderful my experience has been. I know that being fatherless has opened up a whole new world of goodness and hope.

I have been blessed with a plethora of wonderful men in my life. Really, really great men who are kind, thoughtful, ethical, and a whole lot of fun. These men are all my fathers, and I thank them all this Father’s Day, from the bottom of my fabulous heart!

For all the ‘Dads’ in my life, this is for you;

Posted in Advice, Advice for Writers, Andshelaughs, Anne of Green Gables, Art, Book Reviews, Canadian Writers, Children, Children's Books, Children's Literacy, English, English Literature, Geeks, Gift Ideas, Gift Ideas for Children, Gifting, Girl Stuff, Guy Stuff, Life, Literacy, Living, Meaning of Life, Meditation, Poetry, Poets, Reading, Reviews, Shel Silverstein, Sunday Morning, Teachers, Teaching, Writing, Youth

Sunday Morning Meditation: Book Love is Nothing Unless You Give it Away

booklove
The Little Engine that Could, Frog and Toad, Anne of Green Gables….

Sunday morning. Yah, I’m not a morning person. Not at all.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve grown to appreciate the quiet of morning. It allows me to sip my coffee at my little writing desk or on the patio when the weather is warm, take in the sunshine, and contemplate what is.

Sunday I try to read the paper, do some writing, and if I’m really lucky, I can quiet my mind enough to read a book. If I’m not working.

When I’m on a roll, I devour books like Fred Flintstone devours Whateverosaurus ribs.

I love sharing that passion for reading with little ones, especially those who are so tiny that they sound out each word letter by letter.

When they finally make sense of an entire word or an entire sentence, their faces light up like they’ve unlocked the secret door to a new kingdom. And they have.

I remember the joy in reading Shel Silverstein’s, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and the bittersweetness of life captured so poignantly in the The Giving Tree, in such a simple way that even a small child could relate to. I rediscovered Silverstein’s work as an adult in such giggly classics as My Uncle Oswald. If you need a laugh, you need this book.

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

~Shel Silverstein~

My favourite books as a child were; The Little Engine that Could (which as turned into a mantra of mine), Frog and Toad, and Anne of Green Gables. What were yours?

Years ago, I struggled to read. I was not the first kid in the room to raise their hand at circle time to give it a go. No, I suffered from shyness, and was sent for remedial help. Today I have a bachelor’s degree in English literature. We all come to reading, knowledge, and the wonder of the world around us in our own time.

Wishing you the joy of reading, and the magic of sharing that joy with a young person. Happy Sunday…

PS; For the adults out there, some favourite books that I would suggest are:

Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss, The Dark Night of the Soul by Gerald G. May, Bring Me the Rhinoseros by John Tarrant, and The Heart of the World by Ian Baker, Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version, Moon over Marekesh by Nazneen Sheikh and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (because we all need to be reminded that there is magic in life).

Wishing you the joy of reading, and of sharing that with some of the younger people in your life.

Posted in Health, Life, Writing

In Defence of Big Goblins & Ghosties

I wrote this a few years ago, but I think it’s worthwhile reposting.

This is my first year goblinless.

My kiddo is officially too old to go out for Hallowe’en, and even more than that, too tall.

At just over 6′ tall, the tallest in the school, he is not welcome on Hallowe’en doorsteps. Other kids the same age will be going out, because they’re small.

So, tonight, when the big kids show up on your doorstep (not the ones who show up at 10pm with beards and a pillowcase), be kind, and remember, they’re just kids on the inside, even if they’re tall on the outside.

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Entertainment, Girl Stuff, Health, Humor, Humour, Life, Men's Issues, Poetry, Relationships, Singles, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Weddings, Women's Issues, Writing

The Power of a Belly Laugh

English: Pu-tai, a chinese monk who, for his c...
English: Pu-tai, a chinese monk who, for his contented nature, was and is well known as the “Laughing Buddha”. To laugh is – following many Zen Masters – the most ancient meditation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A belly laugh can shake off a bad week, a break-up and any number of disappointments.Sometimes they’re hard to find, all tied up in your shadow self as you become a deeply spiritual, deeply serious adult. Bah humbug!

A fully developed self, balances the light and dark, it allows the shadow side room to breathe and express.

If you find someone you can relax with, laugh until you snort, until you’re sooooo breathless that you can’t breathe and are only able to squeal in delight – cherish them dearly.

If you find a child through whose eyes you can see the world fresh and new, let them mentor you so your spirit stays young even though your body ages.

If you find a friend who indulges your silliness, feeds your imagination, and performs mildly illegal night-time manoeuvres with you – hang on to them.

If you find a lover with whom you can walk freely in your naked splendor, laugh with, and fall asleep in their arms – love them wherever, whenever, as much as possible.

Life, as ever, becomes more precious with each day that passes.

Love those whom you can laugh with. These are your angels on this earth.

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Entertainment, Girl Stuff, Health, Humor, Humour, Life, Poetry, Relationships, Singles, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Women's Issues, Writing

Finding Your Joy

tuesdayPerhaps you haven’t quite made it. Perhaps you’re struggling with a bruised past, a less than perfect present, and an uncertain future.

What? Is that right my darling? Me too. I’m not perfect either. I have something important to tell you though sweetie. Scooch over just a bit closer and lean in so I can whisper in your ear….

“You deserve this kind of  joy.”