You may have noticed that I've been away from my writing desk for a while. Well, it is with encouragement from a lovely lady who reads my column, and our wonderful editor, Cam, that I’m back in the saddle. (It’s more of a standard gas-lift office chair, really.)
See, I fancy myself a writer of funny stories but, simply put, life just hasn't been funny for my family lately. My wonderful mother, who I often reference in my writing, has suffered a devastating stroke. We are quite a close-knit family and we are doing what families do; gathering, coping, loving and healing. My Mom is one tough cookie and is determined to recover.
I shouldn't be surprised by her determination. She knows of adversity. She is the daughter of a proud family who took a huge chance on this country called Canada. Her parents came to Saskatchewan from Ukraine under circumstances that are unimaginable to me. Consequently, education became the biggest priority for their family and most of them went on to become teachers.
Mom received her teaching certification at Teacher's College, and began her career in some very isolated one-room school houses. She spoke about the 'Winter of the Blue Snow' where the huge snow drifts made it impossible to go anywhere. She persevered, raised a family of five children and became an integral part of her small community. In the early '80s, she decided she wanted to attend the University of Saskatchewan to obtain her full education degree. She did just that and in the span of her career, made education a memorable experience for a whole bunch of Grade 3 kids from Leoville, Saskatchewan.
Above all, my mother is a woman who extends kindness and a smile to everyone she knows. That kindness Mom has shared so generously throughout her life is coming back to her in so many ways. More ways than I could have ever imagined.
One example of many I have experienced was one particular day at work. I'd received numerous well wishes for my mother and my whole family. One dear lady came into my office, laid a card on my desk, said very few words and left. I looked down at the card and it was addressed to "Tracy's Mom", a lady she had never even met. What generosity of heart... It was a brilliant reminder to me that the smallest choices we make, specifically when we choose acts of kindness over indifference, create a positive ripple that is without measure. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that all of these small acts of kindness contribute to her strength and her recovery.
It's not as though this whole experience is without its funny moments... for example, a few weeks ago I was doing some left-handed writing exercises with Mom. I gave her the pencil and encouraged her to just write any word that came to her. She shrugged and wrote, "churk". Well, we simultaneously dissolved into a fit of giggles at this wonderfully nonsensical word. It was clear to both of us that she intended to write ‘church’, but it felt so great to laugh! I've learned that the ability to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake is invaluable to moving forward.
They say laughter is the best medicine, and I hope we are prescribed a lot more from here on!