Red Lake’s first Pride

It was an amazing day! That’s about all I can say about our first Pride day! I felt totally happy and free all day and I hope everyone else felt the same way , whatever you identify as.  It was like I was able to just be me for the day and to just love and be with other people who felt the same way I did. I’m trying to hold onto that feeling but it’s like trying to hold onto the feeling of Christmas.

Our mayor made us hug the person next to us. Wow.

 

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Motivational stuff

I like a good motivational saying, something that is witty and wise and that might stick in my head for awhile to give me a push when I need it. These days with Facebook, it seems that there is motivation galore out there, total websites and blogs about it. I wonder if we need it more these days than we did back in the day or if it just more accessible. I can’t remember any of them from the top of my head, but I know I can find one when I need one.

When I was a kid, back in the ’70s, we had a few plaques and posters and t-shirts that we got our motivational mantras from. Remember the kitten hanging from a tree branch that said, “Hang in there baby”?

Others I remember having hanging on my walls at times were: “If you love something set it free, if it comes back to you it’s yours, if it doesn’t it was never meant to be”,

“Keep smiling”,

“Peace”,

“Keep on trucking”,

“Take time to smell the flowers”,

“Never give up”.

I also had a t-shirt that said, “You have to kiss a lot of toads before you meet the handsome prince!”

Today I read that Mother Teresa was once asked if she would be part of a march against war and she refused but said that she would be part of a march for peace!  That has stuck in my  head all day.  Can we have some peace? Some love?

What’s your motivational saying?

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My Trip to Fort Severn, on Hudson Bay

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This week I was privileged to travel with a co-worker to Fort Severn First Nation which is at the mouth of Hudson Bay, way, way up north from Red Lake.  It is actually the most northern community in Ontario. Check it out on google maps!! It was a two and a half hour flight on a caravan (Superior Airways) from Sioux Lookout. This was another life changing, spiritual experience for me in my life journey.

I thought I was a northern girl. Ha! Not even! The people who live there are incredible! It was 7 degrees with a wicked icy wind when we landed. About 18 degrees in Red Lake when we left. Our guide, Sinclair, told us that it had been hot the day before, but the fog had come in and we were lucky because there were no mosquitos. Umm, Sinclair, isn’t that a mosquito by my head?

It is far enough north that it doesn’t get dark until midnight at this time of the year and they have the fantastic northern dancing lights. I would have loved to have seen them! But alas we were on a charter flight and had to return that same day before dark.

Why was I there? Well, the Red Lake women’s shelter and the Sioux Lookout shelter have received funding to travel to communities in the north that are in our catchment areas. We are able to connect with the people we serve. It is a fantastic opportunity! It allows us to see how the women we work with live and also for our two shelters to get together and support each other.  Fort Severn is not in our catchment area but we traveled with two staff from the Sioux Lookout shelter as it is in their area.

We met with the Chief and council and community, shared food and talked about the issue of violence against women. We were also able to visit with the two police officers who are there. The community consists of 400 people and have two officers who work for two weeks around the clock and then leave for two weeks while two other officers work.

The air was the purest air I have ever breathed down by the Severn River! It felt like it was pure oxygen that could heal all of your problems and give you good skin at the same time! The tundra was incredible! You are one with the creator when you stand there and behold the creation.

The people were quiet, friendly and so, so nice! I would go back in a heart beat. So on this Canada Day, it has made me feel more like a person of the planet.

We are all one. We are all spirit. There is no you or I. There is we. And the most important thing is love. Love each other. We’re all related.

Healing with the Earth

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When Ryan died I was in a Godless vacuum. I was alone. I felt totally abandoned. It was a hell. It has taken a lot of work to find peace in my life once again.

It is the beginning of a long weekend here in Canada and many people will be out enjoying the beautiful area that we live in.  I look forward to starting my little flower garden and filling my flower pots with flowers and vegetables. And watching them grow! This is one thing that makes me feel good.

Touching the earth and the water brings God to me.

Put your hand in the soil, caress a stone, some grass and dip your fingers into the cool waters of a river, a lake or an ocean. Can you feel God?

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Suicide – what is it?

That word is the word I couldn’t say for months after my son was found dead in his apartment. I physically couldn’t say it. My mouth could not get the sounds out. Eventually, I was able to say it but it was still such a bad, horrible, scary word to me. Ryan would not have done “that”!!! It was an unbelievable thought.

Over the past ten years since his death, I have read a lot, talked to a lot of people and learned a lot about suicide. I still don’t know anything. Suicide seems to mean different things to people. I have come to live with it as a part of my life.

We are trying to decrease the stigma of suicide. We now use different vocabulary and it is always changing as well. People do not commit suicide, they die by suicide. I like that. It takes the crime out of it. I really do not think of my son as having committed a crime but as having tried to end the pain he was in at that time.

People think about suicide for so many different reasons that there should be different words for different reasons. (I think). There are some who are depressed or have had somethings happen in their lives that have made a change and don’t want to live anymore and plan their deaths; some who are angry or sad in the moment, most often under the influence of drugs or alcohol and end their lives and there are those who are ill and want doctor’s help to end their lives.

I truly believe that if my son had told someone about his thoughts, his drug use that he would have lived; that he wanted to live. That is why I believe in talking about suicide in the hopes of others talking about it as well. I don’t have answers but I am always open to talking and sharing my story as a mom who has been left behind by suicide. I have also had suicidal thoughts due to the trauma, so I know what that is like as well. It is scary when thoughts come into your head without your control.

There has been much discussion on the new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. I cannot comment on that because I have not watched the series and I won’t be watching it. There are still some things I can’t watch. But I am happy that it has brought a lot of discussion on suicide to the media. I have learned that talking about suicide doesn’t cause suicide.

 

Three Months at the Lodge

I haven’t had a phone call from mom for a few days now. I don’t jump when the phone rings. Last week was a different week. There were daily calls to me at work and sometimes up to five in a day. They were all similar. She wanted out. She wanted out of there now. She wanted her own apartment. She wanted to go to her reserve to live. She was going to escape and go into the bush. She was going to kill herself. She was angry. I was no longer her daughter. I was mean for locking her up in there.

I wondered if the record would ever change or if the needle was stuck and would just keep repeating that for awhile until it got bumped and jumped to a new song. Just never know with dementia. So this week is quiet and we’ll have to see what tomorrow will bring.

I time my visits to mom for when I know she will be in her best moods; just before dinner and then leaving before dinner is over or on a weekend when I can take her out to the restaurant or to church. It is a constant guessing game. My stomach is tense as I approach the doors to the Lodge and step inside each time.

There is comfort in knowing that she is socializing with other residents now, and has visitors and friends. I am focusing on the good visits that we have when she is happy and laughing and I can kiss her good-bye and tell her I love her. And she tells me she loves me.

Walks with mom

My mom always loved walking. She especially enjoyed walking in the bush all by herself. And she loved walking on the frozen lake. I find that I am now enjoying those same walks and thinking about her as I walk, remembering the days when she was healthy and able to enjoy the walks. I always felt it a privilege when we walked together and we have walked together many times during the last few years.

These days, as she is in the Lodge and at times phones me three to five times in a day and is angry and accusatory, I have to remember the walks. I have to remember her as a healthy person and pray that she will get peace and that I will too.

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