Friday, August 31, 2012

Life Choices

A beautiful young woman
I am extremely sad.
 
I normally blog about the lighter side of my life, but today I need to express my frustration, my anger, and my deep sadness. I  am an emotional roller coaster of emotion the last few days, and I am a wreck. 

A couple of days ago my niece was admitted to hospital.  Overnight her condition worsened and she was placed into the intensive care unit (ICU).  Late into the evening the next day she was flown to the University Hospital in Edmonton after her condition continued to deteriorate to the point that she required life support. It didn’t need to be this way.

She is in her thirties.
 
She is a mother.

She is a wonderful person with a bright smile and a kind heart.

She is an alcoholic. 

My frustration stems from feeling helpless. My anger is from wishing she had made better choices, and my sadness, is acknowledging that she is powerless against the disease, which is alcoholism.  This is a disease that is preventable. And it only makes life look hopeless.  

Alcoholism has plagued my family for as long as I can remember.  The difficulty for me is watching while my family wage their personal battles with alcoholism . The battle is sometimes won, but not always.  The battle continues as they fall victim to it again and again.  It is one day-at-a-time practice and the goal being to never give up on sobriety because there is always hope and a new beginning. There is always another day, never give up. 

There must be so much pain. When did all the pain begin? Was it because of residential schools? Was it the loss of our indigenous language and traditional lifestyle? Is it intergenerational trauma? Did it escalate after we tried to mask the pain, which created more pain? Did it have to do with racism? Low self-esteem? When will it end?  

I admit that I don’t understand it.  I don’t appreciate what it's like to walk in their shoes. I don’t know what it feels like to crave that drink in spite of what it means and how it will impact us and the people we love most.

What I do know is that it's not a fight you take on alone.  The truth is people are hurting and in pain. A pain that is hidden behind smiles and laughter.  A supportive loving and compassionate system is the only chance to win this battle. It takes a community.  Family.  Friends.  People who can help you face the difficult truth.  

Most importantly you must love unconditionally.  And by that I mean you need to demonstrate your love not by encouraging them to join in the “party” thinking that after "a few" you'll not be hurting anyone.  But rather by being there for them when they are sober.  Being there for them when they are weak.  Being there to listen. And being there to say the hard truth while letting them know that their life holds value. 

In happier times!
My niece is fighting for her life.  She is demonstrating with her life the very real possibility where this lifestyle could take you.  If, she makes it through, she is going to need support because she can never have another drop of alcohol for the rest of her life.  Which on the whole is not a bad thing.  If she doesn't make it, this will be a terrible tragedy and a huge loss for our family. 

Still, either way, if you have this problem, I challenge you to make a commitment to her that you won’t follow her into the lifestyle that had her in her prime end up in the hospital fighting for her life.  If you can do that, perhaps her tragedy will not have been in vain. The cycle of alcohol and drug abuse, including prescription drugs, must end. 

Follow Up April 3, 2012



I am pleased to write that she is living a great life without alcohol.  Life is not easy, but without alcohol she has one less complication. Newly engaged, and enjoying everyday, feeling blessed, and is making the best  of her second chance in life. She has two beautiful grandchildren.  Living life and helping out with her mom who has dementia.

When you see her, give her a hug and let her know she is loved.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday's What the Heck / Where has the Summer Gone



Here we are, already it’s August 3rd with only 32 days before school year begins for some of our children. 

In Ottawa the weather thus far is amazing… if, that is, you’re not a plant or an animal who enjoys this hot draught weather. In all things there should be balance. But the weather has been extremely hot and dry. Yup, beginning in June the temperature has barely dipped below the 25 Celsius and coupled with below levels of rain made this one of the hottest summers ever.  In fact, Ottawa has had a drought level 2 for most of the summer.  I’ve never seen the Ottawa River this low before.

The pool covered with cement dust!
For me, the frustrating part of this summer has been waiting for the pool repairs to be completed.  

The target date for completion was by hubby's birthday in mid June.  As I write this post, the concrete having been poured yesterday, the men are doing something out there, not sure what, other than making a lot of noise with a saw and spewing clouds of fine dust everywhere, including into the pool (not sure why they didn't cover the pool). How long is it going to take to clean the pool, I wonder as the layers of dust settle on the pool surface.  

Friday before another long weekend and we are without a swimming pool, and once again, the weather is expected to be hot. In fact, according to our national paper, Ottawa public health issued a heat warning as the forecast called for humidex levels of above 40 Celsius on Saturday and Sunday. Whew! 

On the bright side, can't wait for next week when the pool will finally be done, leaving us with the balance of summer and perhaps even the fall of pool time.  

Meanwhile, thankfully, we do have air-conditioning!

And a river!

And, I bought a new vehicle! Now, hubby can have his car back. And I must say hubby gives it two thumbs up. That means a lot  because, he, of course, has great taste in cars. You can read about his car here
my new ride!

A Range Rover, Evoque is a dream car. But I didn't buy the special edition Victoria Beckham one!  Still, I am stoked and immediately it called for a road trip. So, off I drove with Andrew to Montreal, where he was taking a two-week summer course.

Simply the best cake!
Montreal is fantastic!  On our first evening there we ordered in from room service and Andrew had the best chocolate cake ever. Of course, in the following days he  had compared other chocolate cakes from around Montreal, but nothing measured up to this one. 

I enjoy the friendly people, the scenery, and going to all the places we went to last summer. My favorite, place was “CafĂ© Smoothie” in Pointe Claire.  Each day after Andrew was done for the day we would slowly drive along the beautiful lake to Cafe Smoothie. He would have a mango smoothie, and I, would have fresh carrot and apple juice.  It was yummy,  but I think I'm turning a shade of orange. LoL!

Andrew got into reading the Hunger Games while we were in Montreal.  After he completed reading chapters, we would listen to the audio book up to the point he had read, in the car (a good reason to drive around in my Evoque!). Admittedly, finding any excuse to drive around was not too difficult.

I think the reason summer appears to go faster than any other season is because we do different things in the summer.  We change our routine. We do things we enjoy, like hanging out and visiting with people, sleeping in, and this summer watching the Summer Olympics.  The energy of the olympians is so inspiring! 

Taking my time by being present, savoring each and every delicious moment.   My app for meditation is insight timer, which lets me know I'm not meditating alone. The design of the app is  insightful providing information on who is meditating with me world-wide.  No matter what time I meditate, I know I'm not alone.  It also keeps stats of my meditation times, and allows me to journal my sessions. I love this app!  

I hope you are all enjoying your summer too! 

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