Monthly Archives: September 2011

Thoughts and Prayers

The mother of two of my students is coming to the end of her life. She was diagnosed with leukemia in June and her condition is deteriorating rapidly now.

For the family’s privacy, I shall call her Jane.

Words are failing me. I have no way of expressing how sad I feel for her family. Her children are aged 11 and 9. The idea of these two sweet kids growing up without their mom just breaks my heart. And I just can’t believe how fast this has all gone down. To go from the picture of health to being at death’s door in just a matter of a few short months…just shocking. She’s had no time to prepare, for her family to prepare.

But such is life, I suppose. Countless others have had even less time to prepare.

As if a person can truly prepare for these things anyway, no matter how much time one’s given.


I just feel sad.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Jane lately, ever since I was told of her diagnosis. I too was 11 years old when my dad was diagnosed with cancer for the first time. I remember feeling so scared about what was happening. I remember having vivid, intense dreams from which I awoke with tears streaming from my eyes. In these dreams, my dad would be wanting to leave for some unspecified place, and I would be sobbing, begging him to stay just a little longer.

I didn’t lose my dad at age 11. Against all odds, my mom and I went on to enjoy nearly 17 more years with him. That is how we consoled ourselves when he eventually passed away from an entirely different cancer. Even though my dad was only age 56 at the time of his death, even though we felt so much grief and regret at the thought of all the things he never got to do, we reminded ourselves that he could’ve been taken from us so, so much earlier. We think of those blessed 17 years as an unexpected gift that we were given. It was time with him that countless others never got or will not have with their loved ones.

Never have I felt more grateful or blessed for those extra 17 years as when I heard yesterday that Jane was not going to make it.

I am so, so glad that Jane has a wonderful extended family around to help. And friends! I teach a number of families who all live in her area and who are all good friends. Their children are also good friends with each other and all attend the same school (and take piano lessons from me 🙂 ). One of the other moms told me today that they all have a “food calendar” going for Jane’s family; they take turns delivering food to them, and meals have already been scheduled all the way to the 1st week of November. As well, they take turns inviting Jane’s children to their homes, and keep them occupied and in good company.

That is simply wonderful to hear. Jane and her family are in the midst of the Great Crisis of their lives. And these are the little things that one can do to ease the burden, to make a crushingly difficult time just a little bit lighter to bear.

I know they will all be ok. Somehow, some way, we all come out of these crises eventually. The world will be forevermore changed, but we do all make it through in whatever way we can.

For now, all I can do is keep Jane and her family in my thoughts and prayers.

I know it’s almost become a cliche these days, but please, tell your loved ones that you love them, hug them, and find that place in your heart to feel grateful for all the blessings in your life today.


Posted by on September 6, 2011 in Thoughts



Lidingo Ate My Baby

Home renovations are finally underway. It feels a bit overwhelming at times, as we are attempting to do most of it ourselves, but we’re so excited for the changes to come!

We ordered the new kitchen cabinets a couple days ago, and they arrived today. 330 kg of IKEA Lidingo white cabinets now await my assembling prowess!

I sorted all the boxes into piles according to the cabinet they comprise and labelled the piles along the wall. My inner Type A-ness is coming out with great enthusiasm!

Oh, and dear 1970’s, your love of popcorn ceilings is gonna be the death of me. Hopefully not literally as I seriously inhaled buckets of the stuff as I waged war upon it tonight.

One super dirty Sauce later, the popcorn ceiling is no more!

We are completely re-doing the lower level of our house to make it into a lovely suite for my mom. New kitchen, new bathroom, and new flooring comprise the bulk of the changes we will be making. So far, kitchen has been completely demolished and electrical outlets have been moved, all thanks to my super smarty-pants of a husband! 🙂

Our reno plans are rather ambitious for two almost complete newbies, but we are excited and (pretty) confident that we’ll figure everything out. And when in doubt, we have our mentor, Mr. YouTube, to guide us!

As the to-do list gets longer and longer, and my anxieties start to surface, I remind myself daily how incredibly lucky and blessed we are to even have this opportunity to do this. A few short years ago, I never would have imagined that we’d be homeowners, much less in the position to do these types of renos. In the midst of drywall dust and sore arms, I recall myself 5 years ago, living in a basement suite, and I instantly have a new perspective on it all.

I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about my dad, for various reasons. And as we embark on our reno plans, I find myself missing him even more than usual. He was the ultimate handyman, and no project was ever too ambitious or difficult for him. He was a man who moved slowly in his decisions, and any project was always thoroughly planned and triple-checked before he began, but he was never afraid to challenge himself and learn something new.

Len and I have lots to learn, but we hope to channel my dad’s spirit, full of enthusiasm and perseverance, as we work towards our dream home.


Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Adventures, Thoughts


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