The Gift of a Step-Mom

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Once upon a time, I met a woman named Gil. She was an unexpected addition to my life, an add-on to a cherished relationship. I was polite during our first meeting. I behaved as graciously as I could, considering I didn’t trust that she would stick around. She was my Dad’s new girlfriend, and while my Dad was a handsome and charming fellow most times, he also hosted a dark, brooding side. When he slid into that state of dispiritedness, the demons that haunted his past eventually escaped into the present, and he would become a miserable man. I knew from experience it would take a strong woman to put up with this type of episodic behaviour. So, when Dad brought Gil into my life as an unexpected gift, she was a gift I didn’t ask for, and one I thought was fleeting at best. Boy, was I wrong.

My mom died twenty years ago, and in her absence, she has missed watching my kids grow up and graduating, she has missed chiding me over my tattoo’s, she has missed encouraging my pursuit of writing, and she has missed meeting her great-grandchildren. My mom missed so much by dying too young. Yet, despite the absence of my mom, I was fortunate  enough to share all of my family’s milestones with a wonderful woman named Gil.

This once upon a time stranger, became a treasured friend enriching my life with her never-ending wisened words and exuberant laughter. Our relationship deepened even further when my Dad became housebound with cancer. After his treatments were done, and all hope for recovery was gone, the only wish he had left in his heart was to die at home. Gil made that final dream come true, and while I often went to help, it was Gil that bore most of the burden. She never complained, and her empathy for him was inspiring. It is only in the most difficult of circumstances that we finally come to understand the true nature of people in our lives. During this terrible time, Gil was a stone of strength.

So, it is with great sadness that in the midst of this chaotic world today, the best gift my Dad ever gave me became tattered and worn, a thin shadow of her former self. She was diagnosed with cancer, and in only a matter of months, it had extensively invaded her body, and quite soon after, death rapidly spirited her away. 

Gifts, as I have learned, come in all shapes and sizes, in all styles and wrappings, in all colours and patterns, and the best ones are people. In honour of my step-mom, Gil, I hope that you become one who steps forward to offer themselves as a friendly soul in difficult times. 

It changes lives. God bless you, Gil.

Loving Misery

Thank you.

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Photo by Panos Sakalakis on Pexels.com

Dear people, I appreciate your existence,  you are continually adding dimensions to this world through either positive interactions or negative ones. A balanced life conducts both. We are an amazing species which is complicated and special, our lives are a varied experience of opposing dynamics. For, how would we ever know darkness if we never saw light? How would we ever know joy if we never felt sorrow, and how could we ever appreciate health if we never suffered through sickness?  Encountering and reflecting upon oppositional events brings depth and wisdom to one’s consciousness.

Just imagine? Whenever you have an interaction with another person you either lift them up or add to their misery. The choice is always yours. This opportunity is etched into every communication whether you are driving in traffic, standing in line or writing a comment on someone’s Facebook page. The decision as to how you relate to the next person you meet is always yours. Are you building bridges or ripping them down?

So there you have it, I simply wanted to remind you, to behave however you like today. It really isn’t up to me, or anyone else whether you present yourself as Happy, Grumpy, Dopey, Sexually-frustrated, or Grateful. You, have all the freedom, and you better use it while you have it, because it won’t be long before the liberals decide your emotions are racist too. And on that note I will take this moment to genuinely thank the darling grumblers and scuzzballs and dagger eyed devils in the world; their diversity is appreciated and defining. They’ve shown me exactly who I don’t want to become.