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November 2nd, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 47
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All My Firsts
Rick's Corner
In this issue of the Pass Herald you will see an ‘In Memoriam’ for my mother and an 18th Birthday Celebration for my oldest son.

It seems like yesterday that I held my mother in my arms while she took her last breath.

It seems like yesterday that I sat in the hospital waiting for Dr. Irwin to deliver my first child.

And in some ways it feels like a lifetime ago.

What have I learned in the past year since my mother died and my son is becoming an adult?

I have learned some amazing lessons in death that I’m not sure many ever learn until they are at the end of their lives.

I have learned that time is precious. That every moment, every second that you are privileged enough to spend with those you love is the ultimate gift.

I have learned that things really don’t matter. After a lifetime of living I have six containers of things that I felt precious enough to save from my parents house. Six containers.

I never take anything for granted. Not holidays, not birthdays and not kisses from my boys as they leave for school. I don’t take any of it for granted.
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I have learned that I am tough, not tough like my mom, but a steady kind of strength. I made it through their deaths, an assault, a lost love and can now self reflect on my actions. Some I’m proud of and some I’d rather forget.

I have learned that we all make mistakes, some bigger than others, but it is how we gain knowledge from it, how we make peace with the people that we hurt and how we rise from our failures that show our true character. We all make mistakes but those mistakes do not define us.

I have learned who my true friends really are, and they are only a handful. They are the ones that have seen me screw up, call me on it, dry my tears and rub off my knees as I raise from the mud.

I have learned that each of my boys is completely different but each is showing me their kindness and compassion. It is not how smart they are, or how many friends they have, it is how they treat their teachers, or the young boy or girl sitting alone in the corner. I know each of them will sit with ‘that boy or girl’ and ask about their day.

I have learned that I am more like my mom than I thought. I will call a spade a spade, I will tell someone exactly what I think about them and I will never second guess that decision. I won’t say anything behind your back that I won’t say to your face. It may not make me popular but it is right and right is not always necessarily easy.
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I have learned that loyalty isn’t always assumed. You can treat people like family only to have them turn their backs on you. It’s a horrible feeling to be betrayed, however, I will not let that change who I am. I will still give away more than I receive. I will still do the little things to make someone feel special even if it is seldom reciprocated. Isn’t that the premise behind a gift?

I have learned that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone.

These are the lessons my mom left me.

Holidays matter! Putting up lights at Christmas to rival the Griswalds like my dad used to do for me as a little girl matters. Making Gail’s famous Candy Apples at Halloween matters. Making birthdays super special matters. Having values matters. Having an opinion matters. Sticking up for the underdog matters. Loving with everything you have matters. Having and expressing your voice matters.

I have learned that strong is way more powerful then beauty.

Taking care of the people you love matters, whether they are healthy or sick and learning to let go with grace matters.

These are all my reflections one year since my mom has died and 18 years since I gave birth to my first child.

I have buried my parents and have to let go of my boy so he can become a man hoping that he has learned all these lessons.

All of this matters.
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November 2nd ~ Vol. 85 No. 47
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