Skin Care, healthy living

Broken Hearts

Broken heart Tears are literally running down my cheeks.  Those who know me probably say “so what’s new”.  I used to say ” I cry at the Walton’s (a very dated example but you get the meaning). This is still true – a good heart warming story gets to me.  I also cry when I am angry.  God gave me a heart for others, a righteous anger and eyes to see, ears to hear.  I feel helpless in this situation.

This past week has been heartbreaking to hear of the plight of Central American and South American refugees who cannot find asylum from their circumstances.  Most of us have never had our lives threatened, or guns go off in our backyards. Probably we have not lacked for food/water and other necessities of life. Most of us can’t even say we have gone hungry for more than a part of a day.  And certainly most of us have not had our children torn from us and been left with no idea where they have been taken.

The stories have been hard to take – crying children, teens sent across the border alone, parents separated, misdemeanours turned into criminal convictions, metal fences holding children, cages and tent cities meant for soldiers not families.

Today, MSNBC released a news report with some pictures… images  which I cannot get out of my head. Young children ( under 10 ) now moved in the middle of the night to New York to be fostered.  By day they sent to a day care which is clean, bright and friendly looking.  You might say “that’s good”.   Facilities may be spanking clean, though crowded, staff may be loving and compassionate but children should not be 2000 miles away from their parents, who committed the “crime” of leaving an unsafe situation in desperate hope for a better one.

The staff worker in the news story  quit her job after taking hidden video of the detention centre.  With jobs scarce, and money scarcer, this is a brave lady to stand up for these children.   I am sure that was not an easy decision.  I have left a job when things just ‘ weren’t right but I never had to say ” They said we couldn’t hug them, but I hugged them”

I have never felt in danger or the need to leave my beautiful country.  But I have heard stories from those I have met who left Kosovo and other countries in previous war crises.  I have seen one woman jump and immediately cry when a backfire type noise split the silence.  I have heard first hand stories of what it is like to have your home, life and family torn from you.  But most of my learning about refugees is from what I read and hear.  My heart is blessed by knowing what you go through, dear refugees. It invokes a new kind of thankfulness.

I do remember anguish as a parent/grandparent.  I remember leaving my young children at a day care situation or nursery at church and hearing them howl as I walked away.  Heartbreaking for me, but luckily I knew it was temporary, and I was making a choice.  I have cuddled my granddaughter and desperately Face-timed her parents when she cried   ” I miss my mommy and daddy” when they were on a kidless retreat.  I have seen the fears of children who are adopted, and know they  worry about another abandonment.  I have spent two days in kindergarten with a child who couldn’t separate easily, and cried when the teacher told me my efforts were not working –  and it was time for me to leave.  (That child spent almost a week in the grade 4 class that year as if she couldn’t have mommy, older brother was the next best. When she felt safe, she became a thriving kindergarten student.). Will these children ever feel safe, know that their mommy and daddy won’t ever be separated from them again (that is if they are ever even reunited with their families.)

Friends tell me that I listen to the wrong type of news broadcasts and follow only left winged sites. Sometimes I hear that my lean to the left is not very Christian.  I try to validate most of my news but it is not easy.   Sometimes comparing the news stories is really all we have, and pictures tell a pretty good story.   I have been told that separating parents and children is  okay because,  after all, “Obama did it “.

NO.. it is not okay to remove children from their mothers for the “crime” of fleeing a life threatening situation.  It is NOT okay to house refugee children and teens in military camps and strange foster homes, or have a day care where the staff is told not to hug.  It is not okay to have to use DNA testing to match families that you separated. (thank you 23 and me for your assistance  but this shouldn’t be needed !)  It is not okay to tell children they had better not to tell their story or it can get worse for them.  It is not okay to say that judges and due process is not the method to solve this, even if you are Mr President.

It is not legal to cross borders without going through the right processes.  But if the line up for a due process is long, and  those in the line  hear that nobody is called a refugee if you are ” just” fleeing gangs ( rape and murder). They lose hope in the system and take the risk. There has to be a more humane way to handle this problem.  Countries with more open borders have problems with housing and costs and even crime. I hope that they have some of the same positive benefits that Canada has had for welcoming many immigrants and refugees. It may not seem fair to give hearings to people who cross the Quebec and BC borders illegally, but, whether you love our PM or hate him, you surely agree that it is not the Canadian way  to send them back to a certain death.

Imagine now holding your child, or your grandchild and having a customs officer remove him from your grasp, while the child screams. Imagine not knowing which tent or cage your child has gone to. Imagine facing criminal charges and wondering if you will ever see them again.   With that thought will the tears roll down your face too ? I hope so.

Whatever your religion, your political swaying or your life circumstance, by now I hope you are saying, even if just to yourself, – This just is not right.


grief, Living life, Tribute, trust

Though the Mountains go into the sea…


This blog post was written in April but not made public.  I have changed some it to reflect the now.  I just could not make it public at the time.

Unless my readers have been in a complete bubble, you will know that our province, and country was rocked by the news in April that a semi truck and a bus containing a Junior A hockey team collided on a lonely rural corner. First on the scene were family members following the bus for the playoff game.  Unprecedented calls out to three STARs helicopters soon followed.  Soon rumours of fatalities and then multiple fatalities came through the Facebook feed and news channels.  When all the news was in, fifteen passengers on that bus died in that accident and many more have critical and life changing injuries. Only a very few walked out of that bus. Our province, and country were stunned and in grief.

I don’t know how it feels to have PTSD, but I do know what flashbacks of memorable moments feel like – flashbacks of good days, and flashbacks of the most terrible days. There are days, and dates and times that one will never forget because they are days of our “worst nightmares.” That night  was so many people’s “worst nightmare”. So I know that for some, that weekend will remain with them in great detail for all of their lives.

I have never been a first responder or EMS staff to first encounter any accident, nor have I been a part of a team tragedy big or small.  I do, however, have some significant events in my life that have made that weekend one of flashbacks that help me to relate to those more closely involved.

I remember the feeling when the door rang one morning to have a police officer at the door to tell me that my dad was involved in a fatal rollover and the shock and grief as we travelled to identify his body and get his personal effects. I can’t forget turning away from the demolished car.  I remember hearing of his accident on the news – over and over.   But, that only gives me a small window into what happened that weekend.  I have never  heard the breaking news of a bus accident and known that my  son or daughter was on that bus. I don’t know what it is like to be part of a huge news story and not know what part I was to play, or to sit at a community hall with others- waiting for news and knowing the odds were not good.  My experience, though at the time, mind boggling, pales in comparison.

I  remember the deep, deep grief of being a bereaved parent.  I was humbled, through our involvement in Compassionate Friends to hear the sharing of many parents who have had children die – in surgery, in accidents, from cancer and SIDS.  Children are not meant to die before their parents. But I do not know how it feels to be part of a national tragedy, your son’s death or son or daughter’s injury being one of many. Or how it feels to not even have your closest friends for support, for they are grieving as well.  I don’t know how it feels to pray ” not my son” when that prayer answered means someone else’s son.  I pray for those families.

I remember what it was like to receive the phone call that a kidney was available for my husband and knowing that in order for that to happen, a young life was taken. Unfortunately, this weekend, those who died at the scene would not have had the opportunity to make that decision – a gift of their organs.  Those that could, perhaps have that wee small comfort that their decision made a difference for several people and families.

I remember the one time that the equivalent of a Code Orange was called at the hospital I worked at.  We prepared. We feared. (no cell phones and information overload like today) and breathed a sigh of relief when it wasn’t as severe as what was anticipated.  It still was a tragic highway accident where one person died. I remember as clear as if it were yesterday responding to a Code Blue of a child, or of a young person.  Horrible moments lived through as a medical personnel stay with us forever. I can only imagine the setup, the chaos, the tears, and the despair as our hard working health professionals worked and volunteered to make sure of the very best outcome for these people. I know, that details of Friday night will burn in many people’s memories and many tears still will fall. But Friday night continues for many health care workers, nurses and doctors, as the continued fight for life and healing continues at Royal University hospital and perhaps at home.

So perhaps this is why the news of last Friday’s tragedy set me up for a lot of memories, some anxiety and tears.  Perhaps these experiences give me a small glimpse into what it might have been like.   I felt, I am sure like many, lost, angry and sad, as we listened to the news over and over.   We sat glued.

But my sorrow, and my fear is so minor compared to hundreds preparing funerals and waiting at bedsides, flying in and continuing to save lives in the jobs that they love. There are parents, coaches, billet parents, sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, classmates, neighbours, teammates and medical personnel that still need our thoughts and prayers.  Not just quick thoughts or one prayer, but support for days, weeks and months to come.


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.   Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.                                                                                                                              Psalm 46 1-2