Though I decided to publish fewer personal (family-related) posts on this site a few years ago, every now and then there’s just something that impacts me, my writing, and the online community as a whole that is worth sharing and worth discussing. That being said, it’s been a rough 2011 so far, that’s for sure. I have attended a wake, a living wake, and delivered a eulogy at a funeral all within the last two months. These things not only affect our daily lives and our work process, but they deeply impact our state of being.
This morning I read the news that our friend, local blogger and podcaster, Derek Miller had lost his battle with cancer (that he had been fighting since 2007) and everyone been sharing his story on Facebook and Twitter – as he wanted it to be shared throughout his entire struggle.
I was debating whether or not I should write a tribute to my grandmother (my Oma) as this was a recent family tragedy that is still sinking in for me. I continue to struggle with it. I keep thinking that she can’t read it so why should I share? However looking at Derek’s writing over the years, including his own farewell post, sometimes things need to be said – not for public display and presentation, but for the healing process to begin. Getting the words out there, letting thoughts flow, and preserving memories are worth the effort – even if the words flowing from your fingers to the keyboard only reach a mass of people you have never met.
Oma & one of her great-grandchildren
I don’t want to share what I said in my eulogy for my Oma but I will say that I saw her several times a month, throughout my entire 31-year existence. We were very close. I was with her in the hospital on and off for the last three months, and near here bedside when she came home for palliative care. There is a void in my heart that will never again be filled by the love of my Oma, however I know that she gave me enough in the years I knew her to last me a lifetime.
There are people you meet in life that inspire you. Whether that inspiration is to step into your flip flops and enjoy the sun on a warm spring afternoon, to reach out donate your time to help educate others in any capacity, or to be a better person and commit to doing what you love each and every day. I’m thankful that I know who those people are to me.
There is no lost value or sentiment when an email, Facebook message or Tweet offers consolation. Even if I sit at the computer and allow tears to stream down my cheeks as I type, it helps. It helps to read a sympathy card you receive in the mail as much as it helps to write a farewell message or thank-you note, regardless of the medium.
If you are looking for some worthy causes to support this year, please consider the following (in memory of Oma, David M Kane, Derek K Miller, or someone in your life):
BC Heart and Stroke Foundation
BC Cancer Foundation
Update Derek recorded an interview with Stephen Quinn from CBC’s On the Coast back in November. They just aired the audio and it is archived here. Very worthy of a listen.