The Dinosaur in the Room

“If anyone asked me, “What is hell?” I would answer, “The distance between people who love each other.”

The Minds Journal

Normal differences of opinions used to be an elephant in the room, slightly awkward, but dealt with in due time. These days, there isn’t merely an elephant in the room, but it’s more like a dinosaur, and the space between loved ones is enormous. Differences which typically would have been discussed are now off limits. Ears are closed and hearts are blocked. Severe damage and even the death of many relationships has become just one more type of casualty in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Discussion of the dinosaur was forbidden in many house holds; a stance supported by media and politicians who consistently inflated the size of the dinosaur during every morning and evening news cycle. Belittling and name calling others with a differing opinion was encouraged and even applauded. Many of those shamed individuals held their tongues and ignored their trepidations to keep the family peace. Sadly, when people feel unsafe to voice their concerns they inevitably become disconnected and distrustful of those relationships.

Some worried individuals did not heed the giant beast keeping them separated from their loved ones, they simply wiggled past the weighty dinosaur, and leapt into a discussion. Unfortunately, all too often it resulted in a challenging and fiery argument, sometimes erupting to the point of flaming eyes, spitting words, and boiling blood. The outcome of those types of conversations were doors slamming, phones clicking, and the dinosaur moving swiftly to take up even more space than before. Family members or friends ousted.

A civilized pachyderm would have been preferable, a dawdling being that mused self-reflectively while painting naked in the moonlight; an embarrassing but approachable subject. The Tyrannosaurus Rex, on the other hand, crashed around unpredictably flashing it’s ticker-tape death toll, and bellowing terrifying threats day and night; an intimidating subject to broach.

What a nightmare these last two years have been on kinship and connections. So many lives in ruins. I spoke with a lady outside a grocery store a couple months ago, she and her husband discussed the dinosaur regularly. It became an insurmountable block in their relationship. Their marriage ended. Name calling and shaming happened, just like it’s done on the news and by the politicians. Unfortunately, it was done everywhere and done by both sides of the argument— family and friends being banished for wrong thinking, and family and friends being banished for playing follow the leader.

Oddly enough, if you step back and ask yourself why the division became so large, the answer is the same—It is because people cared. Everyone had the same concern. Everyone wanted to protect the others. It was simply done from an extremely opposite viewpoint. There was no hate, or ill intent by those with the unpopular opinion, there was only concern at an absence of facts and an absence of information on potential harms.

Today we are entering the season of spring, it’s an ideal opportunity for fresh beginnings. It’s time to set the dinosaur free. It is time to turn our energies toward the things we’d like to see happen in our world. We all want health, prosperity, and the dignity of being heard, and we want it for all. It’s time to step away from those things that tear us apart and put our focus on those things that bring us together. Love heals and fear divides, let us find the exit to hell together.

The Gift of a Step-Mom


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.