Writing is my passion and my saving grace, as I discovered in 2014. ♥
In January 2014, at the age of 39, I embraced the stillness and, without judgement or fear, listened to my soul. I really listened.
The truth is…I was tired. The sheer weight of the compilation of my heart’s journey was about to break me. The vast remnants of loss, sorrow, and regret suddenly chose to show their presence after I thought I had nestled them away in a place where they could no longer touch me. I felt everything with such acuity, it was as if I stepped back in time. My mind knew I couldn’t dwell there, but my heart seemed eager to stay. So…I began to write. It was my saving grace; as the words flowed so did my healing.
I tell you this because maybe you can relate. I believe we are connected by similar and relatable experiences. We all love/loved deeply and most likely have been on both sides of goodbye. We know the exquisite and profound beauty of love. We know the immobilizing force of grief and the anguish between letting go and holding on. We know the acute distinction between second chances and new beginnings. These trials could easily dishearten us, but instead we choose to be more loving, compassionate, and kind. Isn’t that incredible?
We all have moments in our lives that unequivocally leave a divisive mark; life is now conveyed in terms of before and after. Many of us have more than one of these divisive marks. I know I do.
On August 30, 1992, I sustained a spinal cord injury as the result of a car accident returning home after a fun weekend away with friends. I was 18 years old and just four days shy of starting University. Life changed in an instant. Thankfully, the driver and other two passengers were okay (all dear friends). I fractured two vertebrae in my neck (C5 & C6) and lost all movement and sensation from my neck down. Instead of University, I spent the next nine months in the hospital and rehabilitation centre. It was tough, and looking back on that time is rather surreal. I fought every day to regain movement and independence I once took for granted. Moving my big right toe was indeed cause for celebration. It was hope – my heart’s currency. The doctors were cautious and said I probably wouldn’t walk again. I know they meant well, after all, few people did recover, but I did walk away from that rehabilitation centre. The injury did not leave me without challenges, though. I never regained full mobility. I require a crutch to walk and always will, but it was a victory considering the odds against it.
I was also blessed to have the most generous, unconditional support of family and loved ones. I never would have made it without them; my hopeful spirit would have only gotten me so far.
Learning to adapt to my new body has been a battle of mind, body, and spirit. I still grieve for what used to be. To claim otherwise would be misleading to you and me. In my dreams I can walk just as I used to, but my crutch is always with me. It’s quite odd and comical at times. I have dreams where I’m running after the taxi because I left my crutch behind. Crazy, right? So, every now and then, at the cusp of where my dreams lay way to consciousness, I sometimes try to fall back to sleep and do one more run down the ski hill. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m enormously grateful for my recovery, but accepting and adapting is a continuous endeavour.
The following September, I began my University studies along with my twin sister (Nicole), who postponed her start to be with me. We are best friends to the core, and I thank God for her every day. Every single day. We enrolled in the same classes so we could be together. Beginning University under such different circumstances was quite intimidating, but I made it through because of her.
I graduated with a BA in Psychology, and Nicole earned a Business Degree in Commerce. But before we graduated, life would leave another divisive mark. Our mom passed away suddenly on October 6, 1997. Just like that she was gone. She was only 50. I was so angry at God, and I pleaded to understand it. It took time and the anger subsided, but the pain of such loss never goes away. We manage it, yes; or at least we think we do, but it’s only a whisper away.
As life moved on I was hopelessly optimistic. I survived life’s storms and made it to shore. I was safe. Okay, maybe I was a little naive, but I thought I was handling everything okay. I guess the heart of the matter is: we are all ships sailing in search of our safe harbour. But here’s the thing… our ships stow the scars of our journeys. In the end, we either mend our ship or go down with its tattered remains. How we choose to mend it, though, lies solely in our hands. But a ship is meant to sail, discover, and endure. Sometimes the winds take us off course and steer us into rough waters, but that is where self-discovery begins. Have faith in all that you are, and you will reach calm waters.
After working in the Counselling field for the past 15 years, I hadn’t realized I absorbed the pain of those I worked with. My writing helped immensely to release this. I’m a passionate person and wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s nearly impossible for me not to cry when I see others doing so. But on the flip side, I catch myself smiling a lot at the joy of others. There’s tremendous beauty in that. It’s nourishment for the soul.
We witness the remarkable power of the human spirit every day – it’s in our compassion for others, generosity to strangers, and sheer fortitude to defy the odds. It’s astounding how resilient we can be, when truly tested. But our hearts are fragile too; we are mortal souls who love deeply; loss is evitable, but we choose to love anyway. We actually sail into the mystic.
I never imagined that I would become a published writer. I have loved the idea of writing – choosing words and weaving them together to capture a moment, claiming its place it time; but I never imagined I’d release my work into the world. So, when I published my first book of poetry “The Heart’s Journey Home” in February 2015, I stepped miles outside of my comfort zone.
From my journey I know this: in the tapestry of our lives we see each moment etched in time, never to be erased; it’s a part of us. We can embrace it or try to nestle it away somewhere, but inevitably it will show its presence. This I can assure you.
So my plea for anyone who can relate to my story… allow the stillness to embrace you and listen to your soul. Discover your passion and/or your saving grace. Give yourself permission to feel the sorrow, anger, anguish, and then carry on. Mend your ship and set sail again. And always remember…it’s okay to smile and cry at the same time. That, my friends, is a gift – the calm waters.
In October 2015, I officially launched my website “Whispers of the Heart” because I believe, wholeheartedly, that stories that touch the heart and awaken the soul must be told. Let’s celebrate the fragility and resiliency of our hearts. Let’s find the calm in the chaos as we continue to sail into the mystic.
A little more…
I was born and raised in Newfoundland, Canada, with my two brothers and twin sister. I now reside in Ontario, Canada, with my husband of 13 years. He is a Soldier with the Canadian Armed Forces, and I’m immensely proud of him. We enjoy a comfortable life with our little dog, Bella.