Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Faith, Hope & Love

Re-post! I'm nothing if not completely predictable. On the anniversary of my uncles passing, I always re-post this blog. I wrote it on a train on the way back home from Montreal the next day - January 29, 2012.

Everything was so different three years ago. I was in a bad, bad place. So was he. Unlike my clumsy downward spiral, he met his challenge with grace and dignity. He was and always will be an inspiration, a role model and a beloved member of our family. Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for awhile. 

And the only way to truly be immortal is to keep living. In the pictures of you in someone's living room, in how they still remember the really good advice you gave them when they consider making the same mistake twice. In the memories that still make other people smile when they think about you.

We still think about you. More than you probably know we do. And we will always love you. You are our immortal beloved.

Faith, Hope & Love

Three things will last forever - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13

I love my family. I just don't know some of them very well. Until the past year, that was the case with my uncle, Ken. We were rarely home at the same time in the summers, he lived in Montreal, I was in Toronto. He was on the quieter side, and although I always enjoyed any time I did spend with him, I really didn't know who he was.

On the outside yes. Ken was cool, he was a dancer, he's travelled all over. He loved cats, he spoke French, he smoked Peter Jackson - the white package. Our whole family has always been so proud of his career, he was one of those rare people who didn't sell out but instead followed their dream and made a success of it. Ken is a well known and well respected dancer and dance teacher. His students loved him.

It wasn't until he got sick though that we became close. I started going to Montreal more often, spending time one on one with him. For me, there were a lot of firsts, learning about the people he's worked with, travelled with, danced with. Looking at pictures from all his trips. Hours spent talking about life, relationships, death, religion, God, family, friends. Food - he loved food. Making meals, having snacks, drinking coffee and eating croissants in the mornings. Getting to know his partner, Louis. The times I've spent in Montreal over the past year are very precious memories of making a very good friend.

And not just one, but many, as Ken had so many people who really loved him and were there for him through this time. After finding out he had cancer, Ken didn't give up, but he kept himself busy, reading books, cooking, collaborating on new dance projects. He was good natured and easy to be around, even on bad days when he felt so sick.

I feel very grateful and humbled to be a part of a family of such loving, hard-working and accepting people. Watching my grandma, aunt, uncles and mom rallying around Ken, providing support in any and every way possible was truly inspiring.

Seeing Ken's "Montreal Family": Louis, Brett, Sarah, Sioned, Heather, Luc, Francis and others consistently showing up and doing all they could for their friend solidifies my belief in true friendship and true love.

We all hoped he would get better. But he didn't. And now we need to take solace in knowing he's no longer suffering and have faith that he is somewhere kinder, better and happier than here. Hope and Faith can keep us going during even the darkest, saddest times. In the end though, without Love, the faith and hope wouldn't actually mean all that much.

I say it all the time on this blog, but I truly believe Love is an action. Sure, it's also a feeling, and a great one, but without the proofs of love, can we ever be sure it really exists? When Ken breathed his last breath, he knew he was surrounded by people who loved him, accepted him, believed in him. They had shown him this through their actions over the years, but it became especially evident when he really needed them to be there. And they were.

Having lost three family members this month alone - my grandfather, my great-aunt and my uncle - I feel more than ever the importance of demonstrating love to those we cherish, as much as we can, as often as we can, as vocally as we can. Lots of phone calls, visits, hugs, kisses and "I love you"s.

It's so easy to let busy lives, careers and the day to day issues crowd out time and energy we would like to spend on our important relationships. It breaks my heart to see what Ken had to go through this past year, but I'm also grateful for the time it afforded us to know him better, love him more, and prepare to say goodbye.

Healthy or not, none of us really know whether we'll live to see tomorrow. So no regrets! As Picasso said: "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone."

Rest In Peace, dear Ken. I love you.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Eat, Pray, Love

Alright, I'll be the first to admit I hated that book. But she picked a really great title. :)

People at work have made a lot of comments since I've been back from Christmas holidays. That I seem happy. That I'm starting to look like my old self, whoever that was. That my smile is back for real. It probably helps that I'm no longer that skeletal girl who came back from sick leave scared of what I was going to find. 

Eat

For the longest time, I couldn't eat. Everything made me feel sick. Then one day I dusted off my Nutribullet and started making green smoothies every morning. Kale, spinach, some fruit. All of a sudden, I started to get hungry again. 

Pray

I don't pray. We all know that and I won't lie about it. But I have gotten into the habit of getting up super early (like 5:30 am) and doing yoga every morning. Then I sit by the window and watch the sun come up. I don't pray to a God but I talk to the Universe. It's different than praying. Prayers, I always asked for help with something. Now I just say thank you for all the things I already have. 

Love

It was Martin Luther King Jr. day on Monday. He said: "Hatred paralyzes life, love releases it. Hatred confuses life, love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life, love illuminates it." 

Beautiful words. I've worked very, very hard to get rid of my hatred and embrace the love. I think I've surrounded myself with good people. On New Years Day, a friend I don't know very well asked me to take care of their puppy for awhile. Just until they found a new owner. When I picked him up, with no food, no treats, no toys I had no idea his owners would walk away and never respond to my messages ever again. 

He's a good puppy. Animals can give us the best kind of love, it's unconditional. Friends, boyfriends, even family, can come and go. But a pet? They stick around and love you no matter what. This terribly irresponsible couple promised to pay any vet bills that came up but when I asked them about shots, dog license and the surgery he needed they just never responded. 

Would I have willingly adopted a dog who needed $1500 worth of work? Of course not. I'm much too practical and responsible for that. But I don't abandon strays either, whether they are people or pets. That's why I'm asking for your help. I set up the campaign (link below) to try to get Max fixed up so either I or some other loving person will decide to keep him forever. Please feel free to share it with your networks...I guess part of the reason I can't turn anyone away is that I've been there. 

I've been homeless. I've been friendless. I've been broke and alone. And I needed the love of the strangers I've found along the way who have become my cherished friends. Anything helps, even a few dollars. 

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-a-puppy/x/9652905

Sullivan out. 



Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Me & Max

Have I told you that I want to get a dog? I've been waiting, out of respect and sadness of Cats passing before deciding how I wanted to move forward. It's been over a year now and I think she'd understand that it's time for me to move on. I still miss her. Her photo and urn will always be in a special place where I can see her every day. But I'm an animal lover and I don't like coming home to an empty apartment. 

Not like I've had to for quite some time now. My friends make jokes about how this space is "Margaux's hostel" because people are always passing through. In the spring it was my girlfriend, she and her boyfriend broke up and she needed a place to crash. It was perfect actually, she worked a lot of nights, I work days and we each had our alone time in the apartment. When we were home together, if we felt like having a glass of wine and chatting, we did. If we felt like being on our own, we'd just put in earphones and watch our own shows on our laptop/ipad. She left a lot of long, red hair in the bathroom but I loved having her around. One day I came home to a half finished bottle of wine and it had a note on it that just said: "Don't judge, just enjoy."

Then it was my ex-boyfriend. He needed a place to stay between apartments so I said, sure, you can move in. The next night my brother showed up, he needed a place to stay between apartments too. He brought his own couch and we all worked it out. 

Next came The Jailbird. I bailed my friend out (long story, don't worry he's lovely it's all just a stupid mistake) not realizing that when you bail someone out of jail they have to come live with you. With their two cats. The kitty litter smell used to bother me until I took possession of a puppy. Then the puppy pee smell took over. 

Some people I know got a puppy and realized they couldn't take care of him. They called me on New Years Day, asking me if I'd take care of him for awhile until they found a new owner. 

He's so sweet. Gorgeous dog actually, he's a Cane Carso. I'd keep him but he's going to weigh more than me soon. He's about 5 months old and still very much a puppy. He thinks he's a lapdog even though he's enormous and likes to climb onto my lap and put his paws on my shoulders. He sleeps on top of me in bed and has almost completely mastered the art of going to the bathroom outside. He knows a few tricks, he's a quick learner. 

If you know any serious families looking for their forever dog, please contact me by posting a comment below. Max is super special and deserves a loving home. If you met him, you'd be as madly in love as I am. 

Sullivan out. 





Friday, 9 January 2015

Wicked

I realize I haven't written anything lately. Even though I was off work for two weeks (which was awesome by the way). I spent those days with friends, watching TV, reading books. I even took in a friends puppy as a foster mom for awhile until they figure things out. Puppies are awesome :)

I guess I've just had some writers block. I'm not sure what to talk about right now. There's a lot going on, but most of it I can't speak of on this forum. I know I said I'd stop with the JW stuff but I read a new article they just published this morning and I just can't ignore it. 

http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/w20150415/disfellowshipping-a-loving-provision/

They won't stop with this stuff. "Disfellowshipping: a loving provision"??

I don't even know where to start with this article, except with the amount of times they use the word "wicked". The Oxford English dictionary defines that word as "evil". Are we evil? 

I think I'm a pretty nice girl. My disfellowshipped friends? Lovely people. The article claims elders lovingly try to help these lost souls find their way back to the congregation. My experience? That's completely untrue. The elders on my committee would laugh at me when I tried to go back, say they were making "an example out of me". My husband, also an elder, would scream and swear and call me a sinner. 

My girlfriend tried to go back too. The elders would walk into their meetings with her and make jokes about how big their file on her was. I actually hate the fact that there's a file on me at Bethel with carefully written notes on the one thing I ever did wrong or against the rules. 

The article also talks about how to help and support family members of people who have been disfellowshipped. When I got kicked out, our best friends never once saw my husband or gave him any kind of support. For over a year. 

The last paragraph is the best - a sterling example of how if you just stick to this arrangement you can and will be successful in blackmailing your family member or friend into coming back to this crazy mind-control environment, because without you, they will be too sad and lonely to carry on. 

I don't judge anyone who makes the decision that this lifestyle if for them. It helps a lot of people, provides them with a sense of community and inclusion. But to whoever you are who wrote this article, you are sadly mistaken. This is not a loving provision. This is an attempt to manipulate and control people, to take away their freedom of thought and action. To deny them the chance to be who they are, to love who they choose, to be themselves and still have their family, who they desperately love, as a part of their life. You're not doing any favour to their family either...everyone loses in this situation. Their family is miserable, sad, struggling. And so are we. 

What they don't reference in the article is the one thing I'd like to mention. Yes, I'm sure, some people are so sad and lonely that they do whatever it takes to make their way back. But SO MANY of us don't. We find family, friends and acceptance out here in the real world. We realize that the Armageddon that has supposed to have been here for the last 100 years is never coming. That this life is what we've got and we're going to make the most of it. That the least loving "provision" in the world is disfellowshipping and...in the end, we're really not all that wicked. :)

Sullivan out.