Love remains

Like vapours we vanish

The thoughts we had, the life we lived 

suddenly gone

Love remains, in the hearts of those still living

Like vapours we vanish

The fights we had, the feelings we felt 

No longer matter 

Love remains, in the hearts of those still living 

Like vapours we vanish

The goals we set, we strived hard to achieve

Dissolve with us

Love remains, in the hearts of those still living 

Like vapours we vanish

The wealth, the fame, the celebrity; ego in all its faces

They all stay here, not bound to the soul

Love remains, in the hearts of those still living

Like vapours we vanish

We loved freely, gave selflessly, poured kindness into the world

That meant something to those who received 

Their hearts ache in memory

They find comfort in having known our soul

Love remains, in the hearts of those still living

Personal growth

A83EACDE-7470-4F17-A344-65DA559E2614There is one reason that souls re-enter the realm of the living, in my understanding.  It is for growth. With each ‘life’, the soul gains new understanding, learns lessons, then it takes them with it when one life is snuffed out and another begins.  When all is learnt (is that possible?), it is released from the cycle of birth and death. In our religion the belief is that you are born and re-born until you have lived a life where you are truly good, reach close to God and then you achieve Moksha, released from this life of suffering, the endless cycle of birth and death.  I suppose my own understanding must have developed from this background knowledge that I absorbed growing up.

The reason I am thinking about it is that recently I watched a movie, “At eternity’s gate” and in it there were several scenes of a mental asylum, back when there was such a thing. In one such scene, two residents of the mental asylum were depicted to make the viewer think that they did not understand much, were at the mercy of the world but not of it, were in some ways not truly living.  The thought crossed my mind, ‘how do the souls in these individuals experience personal growth?’. After all, if the purpose of a life is to experience personal growth, to pick up lessons while we are here on this earth, how do these individuals grow?  Just as soon as that thought crossed my mind, I had a realization.  My understanding is flawed.  How much more must I have to learn, if I believe that individuals who are in some way less mentally capable than everyday regular functioning ones, do not experience personal growth.  What a disastrous way to think!

At face value it may appear as though someone who has been chalked up as having a mind of a 3 year old in a 40 year old body cannot possibly experience personal growth, but that is the limitation in our own thinking! After all personal growth does not occur by virtue of what we are capable of exercising, what we show the world; rather personal growth occurs at the level of the mind, or rather the consciousness. We are all conscious beings, regardless of the level at which we may appear by worldly standards.  Ahh what flawed thinking and how much more personal growth do I need to go through…It is stunning to me, this lack of understanding in myself.  I see now, that, no matter your mental capabilities, as conscious beings we may have so much going on inside us that no one by merely observing us, could ever gauge.  When I was growing up, I often heard my mother say, roughly translated,  “We have found the limits of the oceans, but not of the human mind”. Today, I finally understand in it’s entirety, the meaning of that phrase.

We cannot gauge what someone else is going through, what they are experiencing.  Our capacity is so limited, how could we ever propose to know what goes on in anothers’ mind and heart.  It pains me to think how much suffering someone must be experiencing, which we are not able to respond to appropriately because we don’t see it, don’t understand it, don’t feel it.  We’re so limited. We will never truly know but we cannot think any being is impervious to experiencing growth, no matter how small, no matter in what form they arrive here on earth, no matter what we perceive their capacity to be.

I do understand now that everyone goes through personal growth while here, on this earth. Some individuals are quiet successful in their own lives, yet, may experience minimal personal growth, while others may not be self-sufficient and may need many supports, just to exist, but go through monumental personal growth. Our capability to be self sufficient is not proportional to our capacity of personal growth. Some individuals in fact are only here a short time, what growth do they experience?

Personal growth takes place in just this way, a fleeting image portrayed in a movie, leads one to think, reflect, conclude, adjust one’s perspective.  I’m grateful for that movie, that allowed me to go through this bit of personal growth. ♥️

9 Jan 2022

Reflections- at year’s end


The last day of the year is here

Tomorrow, today will be yesterday

here today, gone tomorrow, a few smiles, a few sorrows

then there is the year ahead, promising, beckoning

You step into it and realize, it’s just like the one behind

there isn’t much difference; a day is a day whether today or yesterday

It’s up to us to make it stay

Do something good, to make it stay

Do something with love, big or small

Smile at someone, lay a reassuring hand on a shoulder

Give of yourself without expectation

Exercise kindness and compassion

Give your heart with every smile

Hold the others’ heart in delight

Allow yourself to be kind

Let ill will pass, don’t hang on

For it’s poison to you, if you do

And a potion if you let it go

let today not be a regret, for it will tomorrow be yesterday

let today be lived with joy, in every moment, every breath

then you’ll remember it tomorrow, with a smile upon your face

and a warm glow in your heart

It’s up to you to make it stay.


31 Dec 2021


Summer nights

Here I sit, content in my front garden. The candles are lit all around me, there’s a soft evening glow casting shadows on the path, the scent of flowers and candles hangs in the air, as if it has no place else to be but here, with me.  I have to pinch myself because it almost seems too perfect. Nothing is hurting bad enough just now either.  The sound of a  teenager’s skateboard  quietly traversing the street and the evening birds, mixed with the somewhat uninvited sound of the air conditioner are all part of the scene, making it perfect.


I wonder when it was last I felt this way.  Lately, I’ve had several of these nights, where I sit out in the Muskoka chair and lose myself to the mild summer night.  Maybe it’s the caress of the gentle summer breeze with the temperature just right, the nostalgia and romance of the summer garden, and more than likely, the knowledge that soon this will all be gone as the summer passes, so I need to get every last drop of goodness out of the season.  Every night that I can spend in this beautiful magical garden is a night I can hang on to when the weather turns cold again.  I will have had these summer nights that’ll remind me that winter won’t last forever.  It is what will get me through the wintry days when the chill keeps me indoors.  I turn into a hermit then, not wanting to step foot out of doors, even for things I enjoy.

It is interesting though that the cold winter, makes the summer all the more inviting. The anticipation of summer months has a certain delicious feeling.  If it was summer all year long, would I enjoy summers as much or appreciate the special pleasures only the warm weather can bring?  After all, the hard won battles are all the more gratifying than those we didn’t have to struggle to get through. When we have so little, we appreciate everything we have; when we have too much, nothing seems special.  You only take for granted things that  come easily. When you’re learning a craft, every achievement is a victory to be celebrated and marveled at.  Once you’ve learnt the craft, all those early achievements seem run of the mill, forgettable.

There is a lesson here. Too often we forget all that we have achieved. We think of the next goal, eye on the prize we think…forgetting what got us here, in a position to achieve ever greater things. It is here, at this juncture, we must stop and reassess our motives, confirm to ourselves that our reasons for wanting more are sound, that we are not losing ourselves in the strife to gain more and then, be grateful, systematically for the very first thing to the very last one that got us where we are. For if we do not appreciate every little blessing in our lives, we lose ourselves to mindlessly running after more without enjoying the season and at the end of life, all seasons have been lost and time once past, cannot be retrieved.

Here in our mortal lives, every day is a gift, every moment precious.  May we all chose wisely how we spend our summer nights. ❤️


The power in unseeing

8D915D18-54BD-4211-ACCC-048185FAF448I clearly remember the experience of getting my very first pair of eyeglasses. My parents had finally realized that (at the age of 11 i think), my vision had started to deteriorate enough to need glasses. I went with my dad to get my eyes checked and next thing you know I was looking through magical pieces of glass at what seemed like EVERYTHING! I could read ALL the signs.  It was a moment of re-discovery. On our drive home, I annoyed my dad, unintentionally of course, by reading every single sign, billboard, graffiti, everything.  It was a heady experience, one I thought it would be hard to ever replicate or beat. I guess along the way I had slowly accommodated for my deteriorating vision and didn’t realize just how little I was seeing clearly. I was so grateful for the glasses, for the genius who figured out how to correct myopia, for my dad, for my eye doctor. I brimmed with joy and gratitude.

Fast forward 30 or so years and I had a far more gratifying experience but this time without the gift of sight, yet the experience itself was a gift of unparalleled proportions.  Having gone beyond the small worries of elementary school, moving countries, rearing children, fighting off illnesses and so on, life was feeling a bit more complex than when I was eleven.  My mind was full on this particular day, I felt ragged, overwhelmed. My husband was driving us somewhere and I was wearing glasses. My myopia has steadily worsened many degrees since I was 11 and without glasses I can only see silhouettes, vague colours and shadows where details of people and objects would clearly be visible when looking 7-8 feet out. Sitting in the passenger seat I took of my glasses to rub my tired eyes, closed them to rest a minute and heaved a sigh just to get a proper breath in my lungs. The next thing that happened put a perma-smile on my face, one that a child naturally breaks into when they’ve caught sight of a surprise ice cream cone being handed to them.  With my glasses still in my hands, I opened my eyes and what I beheld was a scenery that I couldn’t make out, it was bright but fuzzy. There were hues of various colours and some darker areas of shadows signalling objects or people in the distance but I couldn’t make out any of it clearly.  When I tell you that visual stimulus produces a reaction in our brain, I’m merely stating a fact I recognized on this particular -otherwise forgettable drive.  I realized in that moment that my joy arose from NOT being able to see clearly what I was looking at head on.  I couldn’t see people frowning or smiling or scowling; I couldn’t see the dirt on the road, the litter on the sides of the street, the long lines at the gas pump, the road raging people fighting over parking spots, red or green lights…the absence of it all in my newfound fuzzy world made it all suddenly bearable. In fact, it made everything joyful.

So much of what we’re feeling in any given moment stems from our reaction to things, people, their expression, society at its business. If there is no stimulus being absorbed, there is no reaction being created.  It leaves our brains with so much more time and space.  With less junk to process, our brains are less occupied and more open to absorb and digest that which we have already consumed in stimulus or experience.  While I had vowed to remember from that moment on to take regular breaks from “seeing”, I have promptly forgotten that because of too much else crowding it out. As empowering as it was to be able to see clearly over 3 decades ago, it was just as freeing to abandon that gift of sight for a short while in my forties. It allowed me to have perspective. It allowed my anxieties to melt away just like that.

You may just have the power to unsee too. See if you get out of it what I did.  You will have found another tool in your toolbox to temporarily gain perspective and feel free. Go ahead and give it a try. What do you have to lose? 😉

It’s time to hit the reset button

Last day of chemo

Last day of chemo


This is my state of mind today; like my brain has been reset. It’s been 9 months since I stopped treatment. I met with my oncologist today and he reassured me that he does not see any signs of a recurrence (despite my own apprehensions).  Strangely, I felt slightly lost. Not jubilant- lost!  I asked him what I should do now. I don’t know what he said to that. Isn’t that odd? Cannot even remember when I close my eyes tight and will my mind to remember.  I did reflect on where I stand and what I’ve been through and I finally knew what I needed to do.

I need to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop and carry on with the rest of my life.  No matter how positive I’ve been all my life, the past several months have knocked the stuffing out of me; Just because I had to face this difficult predicament does not mean that will be my lot forever.

I need to keep in touch with that fact.

Cancer came, it socked me a heavy punch, I’m still recovering from it, but it hasn’t taken me down and I can still carry on. Bruised-yup, battered-yes, throwing in the towel- Not a chance!

Revisiting the past year, I admit it has been the hardest time of my life but cancer was just one part of it.  I lost a friend to breast cancer last year (quite unexpectedly) and that, coupled with the hardest part of my treatments nearly did me in.  Maybe it was her good will and that of everyone who has loved and cared for me so deeply, that I did not turn into a pile of dust along the way.  She has been very close to my thoughts this past year and giving me courage even when I could no longer see her or speak to her. It’s incredible what we can go through and still survive, thrive even.  While I’m not at the ‘thrive’ stage of my journey just yet, I am definitely surviving.

I’ve heard people answer sometimes to a well-meaning, ‘how are you?’, with, ‘oh, I’m surviving’ followed by a chuckle and while there may be some truth to that, that use of the word, ‘surviving’ may be slightly different than the way I use it here.  I mean to say it in a way you might say, ‘I survived a head-on collision’, for that is what the past year was like- a head-on collision; where you are shocked to your core, where fatalities are expected and if you get away with your life, you survived it. You may be badly banged up, barely holding on to life, but you survived it.  It is beyond the daily exhaustions and frustrations of life.  It leaves you breathless, in a desperate state that you need to recover from, and yes, traumatized.  It’s akin to fighting an enemy loaded with guns, grenades etc. I imagine, but the enemy is camouflaged.  You hide in the trenches, firing your own weapons all the time but you’re not sure you’re getting any of them, until…until you go to your follow up visit and the doc tells you to relax, you got this thing beat (at least so far).

Sure, there are plenty of reasons to fear. In fact, the more I read, the more I start to tag my fate to those that won’t survive this thing but I’m asking myself, why? Why do I tag my fate to the statistic that says x percentage will recur? Why don’t I follow along the statistic of those who’ve managed to survive? It’s my choice how I think of my chances.  There is nothing my oncologist could find that makes him think I’m relapsing, so why don’t I hook my boxcar to his engine and believe what he’s saying? It leads me to open pastures of possibility.  A place where I might live out my normal expected life expectancy. No reason I should deny myself that possibility unless I am decidedly fatalistic. I don’t want to be. There are too many possibilities, so I’m going to choose to be pro-life in this instance and believe that I need to live out what life I’ve been given and not worry about if and when that other shoe will drop.  I have a clear choice to make and I pick life! Life, with all its’ ups and downs, rewards and challenges, thrills and valleys.

The news is not always good. I’ve had the privilege to stand by those who have not been as lucky as I now find myself. They’ve surprised me with their attitude, willing to look their mortality in the eye and continue with what courage and grace they can muster towards the end of their life.  In those situations I cried for them, I wished them strength, I wished they’d be able to tie all loose ends and continue to the end of their life with dignity and love to carry them through.  I hope when that time comes for me, as it most certainly will, that I’ll make myself worthy to be counted in that class of souls who continue to live, until there is no longer life left in them.

For now, I am choosing to press the reset button and am keeping my mind on all the life I have yet to live.❤️

Kindness and compassion; inspiring words, inspired thought.

Sometimes in a passing moment, we feel inspired, profoundly touched, and close to our one great truth. I experienced such a moment yesterday.

Many years ago, I watched the movie, Seven years in Tibet. I know, thinking back that it was an important movie but like many other things in life, I had forgotten the story line, the details etc.  Yesterday, I felt like watching a movie but wasn’t in the mood for most subjects. I scrolled through many titles on Netflix and not one touched a cord with me.  Seeing the cover of Seven years in Tibet somehow felt right for the mood I was in.

I watched the entire film and felt moved by one scene in particular, so much so that it made me feel like I suddenly changed tracks on the path of life.  In this scene, the Dalai Lama asks Brad Pitt’s character what he loves about mountain climbing. Brad Pitt says he loves the absolute simplicity, how the mind is freed from all confusion, becomes clear and is in focus, the light becomes sharper, the sounds are richer and you are filled with the deep powerful presence of life; “I’ve only felt that way one other time”, he says. The Dalai Lama asks, “when” and Brad replies, “in your presence Kungo.”, he says referring to the young Dalai Lama. That exchange touched me to my core. Everything else became buoyant in that moment, light filled and somehow explicable. The struggles we feel in life and how we are always looking for the meaning of the struggles (the why) and how we are looking for the solutions to those struggles ( the how), suddenly felt resolvable. It is what I needed to look to. A presence in which all other voices quieten…

I finished out the movie, then looked for the teachings of the Dalai Lama on the web and came upon the 25 teachings of the 14th Dalai Lama  I read through those simple statements of wisdom and read over some of them again and again. They spoke to me, simply, effectively, and with great emphasis. All other voices quietened. Two words resonated with me at a deeper level than all others: kindness and compassion. Below are some of the teachings found at the aforementioned website that embody the feeling And essence I hope to thread through my being. Clearly, the concepts are simple and perhaps even ones we are familiar with and we feel we know, but to inhabit your being within these words, such that they flow through us in our actions, ceaselessly circulate through our minds, in our hearts and with every movement or thought towards all human beings, that is what I hope to work towards and some day hope to achieve, in my remaining time.

It is a tall order but one can always hope and one can try. ❤️

2. “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive”

~14th Dalai Lama

3. “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion”

~14th Dalai Lama

4. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible”

~14th Dalai Lama

12. “When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace”

~14th Dalai Lama

22. “A truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively or hurt you”

~14th Dalai Lama


The state of affairs- where is humanity headed?

IMG_2163I’ve always avoided watching the news. The negative, disturbing events that most often get vast and obsessive media coverage tend to haunt me for days after I’ve let them seep into my psyche. It cannot be undone, I can’t hit the rewind button and jump over the messy, demoralizing parts.  Yet lately, having found myself with time on my hands, I have been reading the news on Flipboard. Initially, I was just skipping over the sad news stories but a couple of days in a row now, I found myself opening the story and reading about it.  It’s left me feeling like a guitar string that was pulled too hard and let go. The feelings of despair are reverberating through me and around me. I can’t shake it.

Here are some of the stories I read about:

  • The President of the United States encouraging police brutality.
  • A teenager who encouraged her boyfriend, also a teenager, to commit suicide.
  • Increasing number of child deaths from being left in over-heated cars.
  • Alarming number of deaths in Toronto from Fentanyl overdosages

I recognize that these are not new, that is, this sampling of inhumane, dumb as anything, despicable human behaviour has existed for as long as we’ve been around, only the accessibility to the news is heightened; however, that in itself is appalling! Should we not be making progress, rather than repeating, watching our race continue to repeat such abominable acts?

For one thing, we have come through decades of human rights demonstrations time and time again, achieved high ground, declared all humans to be equal, only to go back to square one where the man incharge of a nation is goading the people whose goal is to serve and protect, to rather do harm?! It’s unthinkable, alarming, and unconscionable!

Then we have a teenager, who encouraged her boyfriend to complete his suicide attempt, which he did, upon her insistence. A young man, on the brink of the rest of his life, was taken away from his parents, sister, friends…I cannot begin to imagine the horror for this poor family- it is permanent. The girlfriend too, if she realizes now her mistake and regrets it, there is no turning back. This life she encouraged to its end, cannot be returned. It’s gone. The permanence of death is not to be misunderstood.

I don’t even know how to begin understanding the phenomenon where 29 children have been lost to overheated vehicles, this year alone. In one instance the mother left a toddler and an infant in the car as punishment and both succumbed to the heat. It makes me scream inside, so loud that my soul feels hoarse. How is this possible? How can we allow this to go on?

Life, the greatest gift of all, has become a cheap, dispensable thing.  How did this happen and how can we undo it?  Human life is taken in a fit of rage, under the influence of drugs, on the grounds of war (religious, territorial, racial, etc.), to satisfy ones ego, due to irresponsibility, to get money, and so many other such insane and completely unnecessary reasons. How is it that in the last century, or two or longer we have become immune to such atrocities and unable to come up with a solution? We have found a way to transport oil in pipelines, thousands of miles from where it was found, send our race to the moon, work out a way to send information anywhere in a matter of moments, beat diseases that were unbeatable, change the gender of a person but somehow, all this collective brainpower has not manifested itself into a solution to prevent unnecessary death and reverse motion on high ground gained in human rights.

I am not myself so bright that I could cause such a solution or set of solutions to appear, but I could contribute. I do hope though, with all my might, that we start thinking about and each of us join our voices in a chorus to affect a change, where solutions are created and put into motion, so that lives are not unnecessarily lost and are instead respected, for this highly regarded gift is only here to stay so long before it turns to dust. Collectively, we can affect a change. If each person, everywhere, joined their voice together, there is no knowing what could happen. We could overcome all the tragedies of our times and times past, to truly make progress, as one race, the human race.

No matter where we are from, where we end up, we all started with with a body made of the same materials and we are all going to end in the same dust that covers this earth. The differences that cause us despair, are immaterial. Some day I hope we achieve oneness of thought on that. I hope humanity is headed towards all that is good and peaceful, I hope we cause that to happen. ❤️IMG_2414

Spring; a new lease on life


I know I said I was going to write at least once a month but who truly keeps their new year resolutions? Kind of like those gym memberships…ahem! We won’t go there. After all I did want to write about spring, not New Years resolutions 🙂

You know that moment when you open the front door and smell that distinct flowery fragrance? Well it happened a few days ago; strangely, at night. I opened the front door to get a whiff of fresh air and I smelled that beautiful lightly fragrant air that reminded me that somewhere downstream from my house the spring blooms had cropped up.  That one whiff breathed new life into my soul.  The way the fresh little tender green bleeding heart plants did at my back porch all these years at my last house. I miss them, that first sign of the thaw, a reminder that it won’t always be frigid.

The sun has been shining its good graces upon us lately and I am so grateful for it. Something happens over the course of the winter. I think I know why bears hibernate in the winter, beyond the biological reason… They want to avoid the cold that settles over your heart and soul during the winter months, when the landscape goes gray and white. Gary and white is beautiful, sure but it cannot compare to the vibrant flourishes of colour in the spring! The beautifully crisp blue skies, the gorgeous green grass against the newly budding trees and shrubs. The tender, bright green leaves popping out of the dark earth, the beautiful purple flowers close to the green grass, the lovely robins and chickadees, no, winter’s got nothing on spring.

Then there are the heart warming sounds…birds chirping at your window in the morning, calling out to their kin; instead of a shovel scraping the ground or a snow plough backing up (you know I’m right!)  Then there are the sounds of the kids playing, running through the streets. I don’t know about you but that’s not a sound I hear over the winter. I might hear the rushed footsteps of people walking, trying to get indoors as soon as they can make it. It just does not compare to the ringing laughter of kids having fun in the streets.

Over the winter, I frequently find myself yearning for freedom that warmth affords. We’ve found a way to make things comfortable indoors of course. We have a furnace that keeps us warm and for added comfort we flick on the fireplace and roast our buns (there’s no place like home) but we’re confined ( those of us who have the bears’ personality).   We’re confined to our however many comfortable square feet.


This post was written and left unintentionally but decidedly unfinished due to technical difficulties of the mind. 1 May 2016.

Life in the fast lane, for now…

I don’t recall what I thought my life would be like when I grew up but I never imagined this. Not that it’s bad and I am not complaining, just observing my life from a little distance.

Even for a big city, my life was slow paced as a kid. Sure I had to wake up at a torturous hour to head to school but it was easy going. My parents didn’t force me to get good grades nor did they instill competitiveness or pining for wealth in my psyche.  No, they allowed me to float, as long as I stayed out of trouble and didn’t fail anything, they were ok with it.  I remember coming home in the afternoons and laying on the stone floor to beat the heat.  I’d spread my arms out, lay spreadeagle, face cheek down on the cold stone floor so the maximum surface area of my body could absorb the coolness from the ground.  When I felt cool enough, I’d run outside and shout out for my best friend who was also my next door neighbour. I would call up to her rented first floor house next door till she came out to talk to me. We would make plans to hang out (sometimes our plans were dashed by her mom who wanted her to study hard) but most times, we would hang out, talk silly kiddish stories until it was dinner time, then we’d each head home, eat dinner, and go to bed.

There was no google in your back pocket, no snapchat conversations being had while you hung out with your best friend, no one was snapping pictures and there was no pressure to look good for selfies that your 2000 followers could see and instantly comment on. Life was easy, uncomplicated, with no microchips attached.  I remember asking my dad if I could get a job when I was in high school and he said you don’t need a job, just volunteer your time. So I volunteered to teach tuitions to kids slightly younger than me. It felt good and since I wasn’t getting paid, no expectations and therefore no stress.  The kids I taught, did well anyway but it was most likely due to their own motivation to do well.

Then at 19, I moved across the globe. I got a part time job in a child care centre and for the first time, saw the real world. One where people could be petty and childish ( I’m talking about the adults😯). I was astounded. I didn’t quite know what to make of it.

The kids were awesome. I enjoyed every minute of my time with them. I was usually with the toddlers. Oh my goodness! What an amazing time I had playing and singing with them, watching them be lulled to sleep at nap time as soon as the lullabies were played on the old tape recorder ( I know, remember those? Nostalgia…) and of course all the while getting an education in the real world.  That wasn’t my favourite part but it was necessary.  Life was still fairly sane.  Then I decided I was ready to finish my education. I started nursing school and after a while when the day care became difficult to juggle with the assignments and exams, I finally said a tearful goodbye to the toddlers. They clung to me and gave me special cards and momentos to hang on to.  The affection they left me with, is palpable even now. It was a beautiful time in my life. I didn’t have much to call my own, except love and affection. I felt rich in love and affection, poor in wealth, but still sane.

Then 3 years later, I was lucky enough to call myself a nurse.  I got a job as a nurse and started a new life. It was righteous, sincere, honest, and I felt extreme responsibility descend on me every time I took report.  I was literally taking on the duty to nurture and protect some of the most vulnerable people and a misstep could cause them their life. I worked hard. When I slept I had nightmares about forgetting to give a patient his medication or sleeping through the entire shift. Of course none of those things ever happened and I learnt that other nurses suffered similar side effects.  It eased my mind a bit.

In those days a degree was not required to become a nurse in the province.  So after my diploma and certification exams were done, I was able to start practicing but my heart yearned for more. I am academically inclined and I thought I should finish my degree, maybe even apply to med school. My husband was supportive, so while working at the hospital, I enrolled at university and started the road to my BScN. I was excited. Shortly into my first semester, I learnt I was expecting. I was thrilled.  It also meant that some decisions had to be made. I couldn’t very well work, finish a degree and have a child all at the same time. There are people, superhumans, who are capable of such feats but there was nothing super about me. I needed to focus on this important guest who was soon going to dictate every breathing moment of my life. I decided to put my degree on hold while I tended to the most precious little bundle who was only going to be a newborn once.  It was an important decision, a good one at that. Instead of the six month leave allowed back then, I took nine months, to really soak in the pleasures of being a mom, of having a child with a heart of gold. Her every smile put me over the moon.  I was enamoured with this little creature who could set my heart aflutter with a little giggle.

Six months into this new journey, I learnt my dad had terminal cancer. I took My baby and headed across the globe to see my parents. It was a difficult trip. Coming to terms with your parents’ illness and mortality is hard. Especially if all your life you thought your dad was superhuman and immortal.  Six months later my dad passed away. The feelings I endured on the flight home were some of my deepest, most painful and despairing ones. I wonder when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly if she endures the same feelings. It is, it was a metamorphosis. I don’t remember ever before that time, being so deeply sad that I thought I would never smile again, nor did I feel life could ever be the same again. A part of me was numb, yet another was feeling so deeply, I thought I would break in half; like immersing a freezing cold glass into boiling hot water. It was torture.  I did emerge out of those feelings eventually but it was a heavy heart that I tagged along.

As they say, time is an incredible healer (funny that it should also cause us to age and succumb to our vulnerabilities, on the other hand). Time did dull the pain of my wounded heart. I emerged on the other side, still believing that everything happens for a good reason and we just have to believe. Just believe. I believe. I have faith in a higher power. It saved me, allowed me to go on.

My mom accompanied me back to my home here. It was wonderful to have her here so my daughter could stay at home in the loving comfort of her arms. I went back to work but my heart wasn’t still. The changes that took place on the floor I worked on, were strange. The unit went from being an interesting mix of acute cardiology and general medicine, to part day surgery and part general medicine. My heart wasn’t in it. I told my best friend and she immediately asked me to consider a move to the oncology unit she was working on. She said I would love it. I agreed to interview and before I could say goodbye, I was working at an oncology hospital, looking after complex patients afflicted with cancer. I will forever be grateful to my best friend and for fate to get me over there. It changed my life, quite literally. I found my passion.  The gratification it brought me remains indescribable. While I spent myself in each twelve hour shift so fully, that by the time I got on the subway to head home, I could barely keep my eyes open, I was at peace.  On the commute home, I absorbed all that happened that day and my insides glowed with a strange satisfaction. I was happy,

Two years later, I had my second daughter, a little bundle of peaceful joy. As much a joy as the first time around, I decided to throw myself into caring for her full time. I stayed home with her for a full year, loving the days of pure joy, a second opportunity to love so wholly and deeply that your heart feels full to the brim. I never imagined how one could love someone so much, yet have so much more to give, to your other child and your partner. It’s one of life’s great mysteries.  What a pleasure that year was, focusing on this little miracle and then having the unique pleasure of watching the two interact. I felt I had won the lottery.

At the end of that year after my second daughter was born, I did go back to work but it was a difficult transition. Daily, I tore myself away,from the girls to go work at the hospital, cried half the way to work. Though I was fully composed most of the time, any signs,of a child (a car seat, a soother, a stroller) would send me into a tearful meltdown on my drives to and from work for a while.  That too eventually passed.

I was working in outpatient clinical trials by that time. I did spend a lot of time at work and slowly got pulled into a part time position on top of it at the hospital next door to help out an oncologist in a rare, and difficult position. It was a great opportunity and one that I learned from immensely but the full time day job and the part time evenings and weekends job, coupled with responsibilities of raising a family may have started to put strain on my otherwise easygoing style.

In time, I decided the commute and the emotional strain from my involvement in my primary job were too much to allow me to continue.  I took a pay cut and a job in the industry, into what I thought would be more manageable work. Boy, was I wrong. My chronicles as a CRA could easily fill the pages of a memoir but we don’t have that kind of space here🙃

I continued in that job and allowed it to get the better of me, till I could not deny that it was harming my physical health. I resigned from the position and soon discovered I had rheumatoid arthritis.

I attempted to get a hold of life, right my sailboat and focused on my family and health. For a while things were difficult but eventually with my health steadily improving, my confidence was restored and I felt I had prevented a bad downturn. Soon opportunity came knocking and I went back to work for a major pharmaceutical company. It was a busy but good time with fair balance. Managing my health, work, and home was a challenge but one I thought I was managing well. Then a change in the company’s business model coincided with an offer from another company. I moved to the other company and while for the most part I worked from home, I literally never left work.

Striking a work/life balance is tough but never tougher when you’re trying to balance it from your ‘work from home job’!!


Life was clearly getting ahead of me, stress was getting a hold of me, in more ways than one for a long time  now and I’ve just ignored the signs too long.

I started to write this post in February this year but never had a chance to finish it. I started having odd symptoms at the end of February, which have culminated into a cancer diagnosis. I wish I stopped a little sooner to truly take notice of how much stress my body and mind have been under, over a sustained period of time. I have not loved myself enough and it’s time to take the next exit and even take the path less traveled.

I’ll see you on my journey through Part II of my life.❤