My girlfriend came by this afternoon for a visit. I’m so appreciative of the time we get to spend together.
Our friendship spans more than 4 decades. Almost a lifetime.
After she left, with a bag full of cherries in hand which she had excitedly picked from the blossoming cherry tree in our backyard I started to think about how special a friendship of this magnitude truly is and wondered what the secret is to maintaining such a special bond for this long.
It wasn’t hard to figure out.
Longstanding friendships will stand the test of time, through the many ups and MANY downs; through the many stages and phases and changes, to which there have been plenty for the both of us.
Longstanding friendships involve active and genuine listening; always making sure the other person feels heard.
Longstanding friendships mean always being able to be yourself around one another; that includes the good, the bad and the very ugly.
Longstanding friendships mean always being honest with one another even if it hurts sometimes.
Longstanding friendships mean being vulnerable and loyal; it means showing up for one another with gratitude and appreciation in hand (and an ice capp from Timmies).
Longstanding friendships laugh together, cry together and celebrate the important milestones and biggest moments in each other’s lives together.
Being able to maintain a longstanding friendship, especially ones that span more than 4 decades is like having a cherry on top of your ice cream sundae; it just makes something that is already so good even better.
New to @agentlereminderproject; KEYCHAINS with inspiring words and words of affirmation in support of Youth Mental Health and Suicide Awareness now available.
As many of you reading this already know that in September 2015 Ed and Jennifer Neville-Lake’s three young children and their grandfather were killed at the hands of an impaired driver in a nearby community. Their story touched the lives of so many and has continued to do so since then, including mine, through their advocacy work and fight for justice. Last week, the grief and pain of Ed Lake’s broken heart became too much for him to bare anymore and he took his own life.
No one deserves to endure this much suffering in one’s lifetime. I’ve been unable to stop thinking about both the Neville-Lake families, especially Jennifer since the news broke last week which is why, in keeping with my advocacy and our promise @agentlereminderproject to raise funds and awareness for youth mental health programs and initiatives, suicide awareness and prevention and to help end the stigma I have decided to donate 50% of the proceeds from our keychain sales to the organization “Many Hands, Doing Good”. This wonderful foundation was born from a community response to the unspeakable tragedy that occured in September 2015 with its mission to “nurture and inspire children and students who have suffered the effects of trauma through art, drama and music.” http://www.manyhandsdoinggood.ca
**Choose from a wide selection of sayings like “dream out loud”, “kindness is free”, “you are enough”, “imperfectly perfect”, “you’ve got this”, “believe in yourself”, “family matters”, “mental health matters”, “I choose me” and “breathe” or send us your inspiring words and affirmations to customize.
To purchase a keychain DM or email us at email@example.com. Feel free to follow my mental health journey and advocacy work on Facebook, WordPress (youareenough712.wordpress.com) or Instagram. And follow @agentlereminderproject on Instagram to learn more about our initiative and other products available.
Keychains – $10 each, 2 for $18. Further discounts available on bulk orders. Delivery in Thornhill area only, Pick up at Dufferin and Rutherford or shipping available.
First I just wanted to take a moment to say a ginormous thank you to everyone for their kindhearted birthday wishes, token gifts and the sweetest gesture ever from my 3 kiddos yesterday. They rock! I am beyond grateful and truly blessed for having so many beautiful souls in my life.
By 9pm on the evening before my birthday I was suddenly overcome with an overwhelming feeling of sadness and anxiety as the anticipation of my birthday drew near. It’s in these moments that the physical issues I’ve been dealing with of late become super flared up and the other night it led to an abundance of tears and a very restless and sleepless night.
I used to enjoy celebrating my birthdays but over the last many years, like most things in my life, it’s been really difficult and very emotional.
My birthday began with an early morning zoom call from my Psychiatrist, which in hindsight was actually a really good idea after the night I just had even though I may not have thought so at the time when it was automatically booked for me 2 weeks earlier. The rest of the day I’d planned on spending with Rich but not 5 minutes after my appointment with my Psychiatrist ended did the Neurology clinic call to ask me if I could change my previously scheduled appointment for the following afternoon to yesterday afternoon instead (in case you missed my blog, or my vent last week here it is again, (https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2022/06/18/sorry-i-just-need-to-vent/).
Birthday or not I made myself available.
The Neurologist read me the results over the phone of both my MRI and EEG and reassured me that neither of them showed any definitive “hardware” concerns in the brain which of course is a good thing but now leaves me with even more unanswered questions and even more referrals in the works starting with a different Neurologist who specializes in what’s called “functioning neurological disorders” to try and figure out the “software” issues going on inside of me. I’ve never been much of a techy person and definitely not a sciencey one either so many of his references to my brain being likened to a computer literally went over my head! But still I took lots of notes. At the same time he also referred me to a Clinical Psychologist who specializes in psychedelics and research medicine and I have also been anxiously awaiting another appointment with yet another specialist for several weeks now which my Psychiatrist had referred me to for yet another part of the anatomy! Fun times still ahead.
Once my appointments were both out of the way Rich and I headed out for a mini #summerofrich adventure and a leisurely stroll through Indigo on our way home; followed by an intimate family dinner at home.
After dinner we ate birthday cake. They sang happy birthday. But before I ate my cake I closed my eyes in order to make a wish and blow out the candles. As I sat there with my eyes closed I started to think about the whole concept of birthday wishes and how we are taught from a very young age to close our eyes and make a wish, but don’t tell anyone your wish because if you do then it won’t come true. Who came up with that silly tradition anyways?
Isn’t it better to dream out loud? Isn’t it better to have the support of others in your corner to cheer your dreams and wishes on? Wouldn’t the Universe hear you better if you wished out loud? Isn’t it more likely to come true if we just wish out loud?
So as I begin this new chapter today I’m starting it off by wishing out loud for the year ahead. Shouting from the rooftop with every birthday candle I blow out, every shooting star I see, every wishbone I break and every stray eyelash that falls. I’d much rather share these moments with others and continue to build upon my already incredible human connections and cheering squads that I am so fortunate to have. And I figure what more do I have to lose at this point anyways by giving it a try and besides, keeping my wishes to myself hasn’t exactly worked out so great thus far!
When I turned 50 last year I went in feeling hopeful that this could finally be the year where I would find my way to a better place in my life but instead as the curtain quickly draws to a close on my 50th year and a new chapter awaits me in the not so distant future I am left to reflect on the year that was and if truth be told I’m actually feeling pretty darn defeated right now and almost as though I’ve let so many people down, including myself along the way; and if I’m to be completely honest, 50 has undoubtedly turned out to be the hardest year ever for not just myself but for Rich as well.
But as that curtain quickly draws to a close on my 50th year and knowing that I can’t change what’s in the past I will instead anxiously turn the page to a new chapter this week and try to embrace it with that same hope I felt almost a year ago and with that same promise I made to myself last week to put more trust in God (https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2022/06/17/bitachon-hebrew-trust-in-god/) by placing my heavy burdens and worries on God and allow God to protect and watch over me and my family by trusting that things will work out the way they are supposed to.
I would also like to take the opportunity to share with you today a list I created of 50 things I’ve learned in the first 50 years of my life (and one for good luck). Many of these lessons learned have just been over the last year.
1. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
2. People you love may disappoint you sometimes.
3. Listen more and listen with intent.
4. Actions speak louder than words.
5. No one is perfect.
6. Life is fucking hard. Cherish the moments that bring you joy.
7. Write down everything before you forget.
8. A hug can melt your heart.
9. You can never go wrong being kind; be the reason someone smiles.
10. Change can be good.
11. Breakfast for dinner is the best.
12. Patience. Strive to have patience.
13. Show gratitude always.
14. No one is ever THAT busy.
15. Things can get worse.
16. Nature is truly magical.
17. Guilt and shame are the heaviest burdens to carry.
18. It’s okay to not be okay.
19. Family matters. Count your blessings.
20. Surround yourself with genuine, caring people.
21. Say you’re sorry, but only if you truly mean it.
22. Have forgiveness in your heart for those who have wronged you; it can be very healing.
23. When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.
24. Self-care is not selfish.
25. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
26. Bitter people will never be happy for you.
27. It’s okay if you fail. Making mistakes leads to learning.
28. Find your purpose and run with it.
29. Appreciate simple pleasures.
30. Not everyone is going to like you and that’s okay.
31. No one is immune from pain and suffering.
32. Sleep is overrated.
33. Not everyone will understand the journey you are on; surround yourself with people who are at least willing to try to.
34. Don’t let the mean girls or bullies take up space in your life.
35. Always make room at the table for one more.
36. Read more. Sing off key. Dance like no one is watching.
37. Self-advocacy is an important tool to have.
38. Don’t suffer in silence. It’s okay to ask for help.
39. How many chances is too many to give someone?
40. Having a mental illness is real and not a character flaw.
41. You’re never too old to chase your dreams.
42. Wear comfortable shoes and drink lots of water; your adventures will last longer and be way more fun.
43. Follow your instincts, honour your intuition, go with your gut even if no one else is willing to go along with you.
44. It’s okay to create healthy boundaries for yourself.
45. Show your vulnerability; it’s a strength.
46. Empathy and compassion go a very, very long way.
47. Give back more than you take.
48. Be nice to strangers. You never know what struggles they may be going through.
49. Eliminate negativity from your life.
50. Keep finding meaningful ways to learn and grow.
51. You are enough. You are not alone.
What lessons have you learned that you could add to my list?
Jacob walked in the door at 5:45 this morning after driving more than 18 hours home from a music festival in Tennessee where he’d spent the better part of a week living it up in the great outdoors with his friends as though they were at Woodstock.
He arrived home just in the nick of time to unload my car which he had borrowed for his road trip as it is more spacious than his own car, only to have Rich and Hannah load it back up again an hour later with all of her camp stuff (which literally included pretty much everything but our kitchen sink) so that she could get to the buses in time for her latest departure, this time for the summer to her home away from home!!!
There are no words to describe the heart-wrenching reality that this poor mother is facing yet again today after losing her father and 3 children to a drunk driver in September 2015 and now her husband to suicide just one day after Father’s Day.
My heart bleeds for this beautiful family. Their story touched the lives of so many in our surrounding communities and I will continue to hold a special place in my heart for the Neville-Lake family as they once again begin to grieve the pain and devastation of another tragic and senseless loss of life at the hands of this selfish ass murderer, who was pathetically granted full parole in February 2021.
No one deserves to endure this much pain in one lifetime.
Our justice system is beyond broken which is something Rich and I found ourselves talking about just yesterday afternoon as we drove by our beautiful brand new local hospital that bares the name of (his) family right on the front of the building since they had donated millions of dollars to its construction. It actually sickens me.
*If you would like to help stop drunk driving, support those affected by drunk driving or if you are in need of help yourself please call MADD Canada (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers), 1.800.665.6233
Even with my faulty DNA you’ve managed to raise some pretty terrific kids 😁.
I’m so in awe of you for your strength to keep hanging on as tight as you can to that rope on the side of the mountain, never letting go of it, selflessly making sure that the kids and I always make it to the top safely first.
We love you to the moon and back ❤️, forever and a day!
Last Saturday night I had an MRI. A few days earlier I had an EEG which my Psychiatrist had let me know showed some type of abnormality but I would need to wait for the results from the MRI first before the Neurologist could make any conclusive analysis.
When I originally went to see the Neurologist a month ago he told me that as soon as I receive my scheduled dates for both my EEG and MRI I should call his office (or email them because they never fricken answer their phones which I’ve had to learn the hard way) to book a follow up appointment for about 10 days following them to discuss the results. So last Friday I did just that. Or tried to at least.
I tried calling the office first, no one picked up and you can’t leave a message either so I emailed the admin to try and make my appointment. The Assistant who works hand in hand with the Neurologist and who had also done part of my original examination called me back. I was already feeling on edge knowing that my EEG had shown some “abnormality” and told him I was going the next evening for my MRI and as per the Dr’s request I wanted to schedule my follow up appointment. He said to me not to worry and that as soon as they receive the results of the MRI he would call me to schedule the follow up. I was upset and confused, after all I had just been following the Dr’s orders to schedule an appointment for approximately 10 days after my tests were to be performed.
Yesterday, late afternoon I decided to just check in with the clinic to see if maybe they had received the MRI results seeing as the EEG results came back within a day. I was anxious. I called a couple of times, they didn’t answer! So I emailed the assistant to ask if by chance he had the results, I know they are busy and even though he had promised to let me know when they arrived so I could book that follow up, which had he just done the previous week like the Neurologist had first discussed then I wouldn’t be venting right now and would have been none the wiser because a few minutes later I got an email back from a nurse in the office informing me that yes my results were in and that both the assistant and the Neurologist were out of the country and that they will get back to me upon their return in about a week to schedule a follow up.
That’s when I lost it. My blood pressure probably went through the roof. There was no intent to call me as soon as my results came in because they’d be out of the country when they did!!
I was pissed and the nurse quickly knew how pissed I was too. None of this was her fault but she was now caught in the middle. None of this had to have even happened had the assistant just allowed me to schedule the follow up appointment like I’d originally been told to do. I wouldn’t have known my results were sitting there or that they were out of the country.
By the end of our email exchange late Friday afternoon she had slotted me in upon their return for this coming Friday at 3pm.
My emotions have been on high alert for several weeks now. My anxiety feels like it’s eating away at my insides and the thoughts of suicide have consumed my every waking moment.
I’m exhausted and overwhelmed most days (and nights); yesterday being no exception but in the late afternoon just as I began to spiral deeper and deeper into that abyss, Rich and I happened upon an extremely kindhearted, patient, friendly, older and very wise Orthodox Jewish man. He had a long white beard.
I can’t get him out of my mind.
I have said many times before in my writings that I have never truly believed that God actually exists at all but still, over the past few years I have slowly begun to open my heart up to a more spiritual journey with the help and kindness of a few individuals in particular where I have been able to find some really meaningful ways for me to embrace the strength of God.
Knowing very little about me or Rich from our brief encounter yesterday (which did involve some tears on my part) our conversation quickly turned to God and when the extremely kindhearted, patient, friendly, older and very wise Orthodox Jewish man with the long white beard saw how emotional I’d become he asked me if I knew what the Hebrew word Bitachon meant. I of course did not. He then proceeded to explain to me that the word Bitachon translates from Hebrew to English to mean “trust in God”. Upon a further, more in depth explanation, a recommended reading of “The Gates of Trust” and with some reflection on my part I quickly realized that maybe what I’ve needed all along (and Rich too!) is to actually trust more in God.
In general I have a difficult time trusting people of late, which is probably because I used to trust too easily and over time it’s come back to bite me in the ass too many times to count. I also know that in general the majority of people aren’t good at trust either, it can be quite challenging. My guess is that also includes with God.
God is in every one’s life whether we believe it or not and maybe yesterday was a sign from God that I need to learn to trust in her more in order to get me to a better place. I’m willing to go along for the ride with God; what other option do I even have at this point anyways? I am ready to put the effort in to develop a trusting relationship with God and have faith that if I lean into God more, if I place my heavy burdens and worries on God and allow her to protect me and watch over me that I am trusting that things will work out the way they are supposed to.
And why not let God carry my stressors for a while?
There is a quote (and my apologies because I don’t know where it originated from) but I do believe that yesterday can be summed up by this one quote. “We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason.”
Yesterday was no accident. Yesterday I crossed paths with an extremely kindhearted, patient, friendly, older and very wise Orthodox Jewish man with a long white beard. He introduced himself to us as Michael or maybe he said Moses?
I just finished delivering a few copies of my children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?.
I am filled with so much love and gratitude each and every time I get to sign a copy of my book for someone who purchases one from me and I’m always hopeful that at the same time my family’s heartwarming journey could be helping another family, caregiver or loved one cope with and understand an illness they cannot see while reassuring a child that they are safe, loved and most of all not to blame for their loved one’s Depression.
Starting today until June 23rd (my birthday) I will be donating 50 % of proceeds from each book sold to #CMHAYork (Canadian Mental Health Association) in support of #MOBYSSinmotion which is a wonderful and confidential mobile walk-in-clinic that offers free support, a safe space and resources for our young people (ages 12 to 25) who may be facing a mental, physical or sexual health crisis right now. *Mobyss is staffed by a nurse practitioner, youth mental health worker, and peer support specialist.
Feel free to private message me or email to firstname.lastname@example.org for your signed copy today.