Saturday, February 27, 2010

A sense of Pride

While other countries report that the Vancouver Olympics have been filled with controversy, tragedy and technical difficulties, my family and our nation knows that they have been a source of inspiration, a daily touchstone and a healthy and modest dose of pride.  For me the Olympics have been a welcome surprise that has transcended barriers in age, opinion and interest for our family.  In fact the Olympics has provided the first time that our family has shared a sense of excited awe day in and day out for almost two weeks!  I do not remember an instance in the past ten years, when, as a family, we have engaged, discussed and watched something where we were all equally invested.
 It is difficult if not virtually impossible to find something that a 2, 5 and 10 year old child would find commonly interesting and yet an Olympic sport has had them all sitting attentively invested in a national outcome.  In fact the 5 and 10 year old have taken it upon themselves to teach the 2 year old the Canadian cheer.  At any given time around our house you can hear choruses of AAHHHH, OHHHH Canada Go in voices ranging from broken toddler to giddy kindergartener to maturing kid and even sometimes the odd adult.  As a parent it is the type of comradery that you can only wish for but rarely see come to fruition and yet here in my living room I watch three boys hush as the puck drops or a snowboarder jumps and cheer for their country to bring home the gold.
It is not just our children’s eagerness for metal counts and Olympic greatness that keeps the family attuned to the events and news of the Canadian teams.  As adults, my husband and I are also invested in the national pride, the dreams of the Olympians, stories of success and the overcoming of obstacles.  We are acutely aware that this Olympics has brought us together as a family with a sense that we are watching history being made.  As a family our own moments are being created simultaneously as we root for team Canada.  We are all there to cheer, to hope and to dream of the possibilities that lie ahead for our Olympians and for Canada. 
The winter Olympics has given us many teaching moments with our children about challenges, success and even tragedy and installed in us a sense of pride, a national spirit that is invaluable in the building of identity.  In our family room, together in a common goal, we are able to discuss and encourage our children to dream, to strive for greatness and then show them that it can be achieved on a world platform.  The winter Olympics has provided a bond between siblings and as parents a bridge of communication and common interest to our children.  A place where our quest for gold is shared with a nation, creating memories on the west coast of Canada and on a couch in our family room where it will be remembered for many years to come.
This blog was inspired by encouragement from a fantastic friend, Nicola, check out her blog at

Monday, February 22, 2010

Today and Grief

I have felt a little stuck lately on what to write about. This blog is definitely about grief and the day to day, but I don't want to be giving advice, I wanted to talk about walking the walk, how the journey continues and at times I have found that a particularly hard thing to do (write about it, and walk it).
There are all different types of coping methods to make the grief manageable and at times you need to change them, reinvest in them because the grief changes as does the journey.
Flynn died 8 years ago in May, but right now, where I am in my journey, this all feels surreal. Not like the shock of the news in 2002 but more like an old movie that I have not watched in a long time, where at times I forget a good deal of the plot and only snippets can be pulled from the recesses of my brain. I am not forgetting Flynn and I am not afraid of that, after all I would not have veered off my life path, to who I am today, if it were not for his birth, but I am somewhere where I do not need to touch the pain of him as often. I am at peace with his notable absence from my everyday and as with all movements in the grief journey it is not static, what I am comfortable with on year 8 may look very different on year 10.
I encounter my grief everyday because it became a part of my life a long time ago, but right now it tends to be like the one breath in a day that I hold for a second before letting it out. A thought of my grandmother's hands or a flicker of Montreal with my friend or the weight of a heavy arm, warm and tangible under Flynn's weight. Just a second and then it is gone and in the past it would be followed by hours of sorrow or pulling at memories, right now it is followed by a small smile as I move through the rest of my day. I am comfortable with my grief, if I need it, it is there to remind me, to ground me, but here in year 8, in my journey it is in the peripheral and not in the road straight ahead.