Without Gabbie



As we enter the 11th month of our grief, I feel a collective fragmentation where once there was connection. Tragedy pulls and tugs at the heartstrings amongst us and we return to a place that is forever changed. Life without Gabbie. What does this mean?

On November 28th 2014 our beautiful Sarah lost her soulmate. The beautiful boy that brought laughter and joy and hope to us all, took his last breath beside her in a mini-bus on a rainy afternoon in NZ. Their adventure ended in tragedy through exhaustion and I remember getting that call like it was yesterday. I remember the words spoken amongst parents and children and family and friends, the frantic planning and flights booked in a blanket of shock and denial. These are details that are etched in my mind, raw and fresh. Others fade with time. All are part of my story.

After the accident, we floated through each day in a surreal landscape, riding waves filled with pain and shock and disbelief. We held each other. We cried. It is indescribable. I felt as though I had been punched in the gut and I could not catch my breath. The wind was taken out of my sails. Although I was not in this accident, my body seemed to remember a pain from long ago that led to an understanding that rocked my soul. I too, lost a friend at a young age when he was hit by a drunk driver. My empathy for Sarah came from an inner knowledge buried long ago within my 15 year old self and I identified my own pain alongside hers. What an epiphany! This led to many conversations and questions within. Sometimes these questions came in the middle of the night, sometimes during the day and in time they have become less and less. When they do come, they are hard hitting and sometimes unexpected. I breathe and I sit with it and I send out my Love to the Universe.

When tragedy strikes and we lose someone we love we go into fight or flight mode. We re-evaluate and analyse our life. We ask the “big” questions, or at least that is my experience. Sometimes we get the support we need and other times we have to work through it on our own. Never the less there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do grief. We just do it!

Our daughter is alive and well and thriving despite this great loss and she has matured in so many ways beyond her years. As a mother, I wish I could take all the pain that lingers away but I cannot. Only time can do this. We have a long way to go but we are getting there. We miss you Gabs!


Our Inner Voice

“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”Good Will Hunting (1997)DSC_3221
There are times to speak out and times to be silent. When your heart feels that it is filled with shards of glass and you reach out to those you love but feel unheard and ignored, those shards dig deeper. Often silence wraps a blanket around you after the explosion and you sit with it, waiting for the light to shine and lead you in a new direction. When the direction comes, the path you choose is entirely up to you alone but when shared with others, perhaps that can lead you out of the dark.

The past few months have had sharp contrasts of highs and lows. People have let me down and others have surprised me with their kindness and compassion. There have been shades of gray that lead to reflection and self -evaluation. In these gray zones is where I let my intuition and truth guide me, dropping ego and looking for the path to balance.

Depression. What is it? How is it that some survive it and others succumb to its disastrous effects? We live in a world that is ever increasing in isolation and disconnection led by greed and destruction. The values that make us most endearing as humans are being lost in the cluttered world we live in. However, on the other side of this is the yearning for connection and the increasing rise of people coming together in collaboration and spirit.

Robin Williams died this week. The world was shocked by the sudden surprise and the grief rippled from households across the world. Memories of “favorite” movies and moments and quotes poured from the pages of social media and in conversations had. I know that I have been depressed but I do not have clinical depression. My life has been touched by others who were clinically depressed; by those who have taken their own lives through suicide, and they have left their mark. The act is so final and so complete and yet it’s effects ripple through families and friendships and lead us to question and sometimes judge. Is this judgment cruel or is it an attempt to understand something that cannot truly be understood unless you are “in” it?

I know that I have questioned whether or not I have said enough, did enough or supported enough when I lost a dear friend to suicide. I cannot imagine if it had been someone in my family. I do not know how their family coped and went on.

We are all touched by a bit of madness in this world. Can we create balance when mental illness, drug abuse, alcoholism, addictions and an overall race to go nowhere seem to be the driving factor in many around us? Can we speak our truth without causing pain and destruction? When we come to understand, truly listen and practice principals of kindness in our own homes then we can give better out in the world. When we set boundaries of safety around us and those we love, then we can show respect through our self- discipline. Letting go of the destructive forces that drive and manipulate some are difficult when we are wearing blinders within ourselves as to how we see the world.

The music of nature and its balance are the cures I wish for the world. When we see the perfection and grace of joy and laughter as well as pain and tears, then perhaps in balance the fulcrum will rest in the middle of the depth of human perception and all we are created to be.

Blessings to anyone who is struggling in this crazy world we live in. Love each other and importantly love yourself enough to not destroy the goodness within. Show respect to those that differ in opinion and rest in the knowledge that you are unique and special in a vast wilderness of sky, space and eternity. Step out and do your best. We all beat to an inner rhythm that in unison creates harmony and peace. Perception is the heart of our reality.

Muse of Spring in WInter


When I was 12, every day was exciting yet simple! I couldn’t wait to go to school and see Bill every day. I thought I was in love yet the love was the muse of a young girl waiting to escape. Escape what, you ask? The perceived pain of the unknown in our family was what I feared.

My father was very ill and I felt this deep within long before the crisis hit. I just chose to ignore it. I lived the life of a teenager filled with angst and trepidation. Only my closest friends knew. My confidence hid the mask of fear I didn’t acknowledge. Perhaps I am just beginning to understand this now.


Our garden sloped down to the Niagara River. It actually just dropped! A rope swing hung in the precarious branches that stretched over the swift waters eddying and pooling beneath the lone rope. The river represented life and danger and my playground. No matter the season, it was magic! The rock on the riverbank was my safe place and I found myself often perched upon it, dreaming of love and security and attachment. It was a place for reflection.


The house itself had large picture windows that opened to a stunning view of the oak trees and the river. Cardinals, Blue-jays, Eagles and critters that frequented their hollows and branches were my friends. I never felt alone as I would study them for hours and tell them my secrets through whispers. I dreamt of being a vet one day.

Within the rock wall beside our kitchen scurried chipmunks. Squirrels and raccoons visited and set up home in the hollows of the shed at the base of the slope and amongst the trees. The raccoons even had a little family and they would curiously sneak up on us when we were down on that rock only to scurry back to safety once discovered.


I was an only child adopted by a loving couple in Western NY in the USA. We lived simply in a small town and I could walk just about anywhere. I longed for something but rarely knew what that was. I spent my time drawing, running, singing or riding horses with Jackie who was Bill’s twin sister and a close friend. I longed to own a horse of my own but we couldn’t afford it. My first kiss was in the old barn so in my angst, I would count the days between riding sessions. Although I saw Bill in school, it was the time spent in the woods and at the barn that were what I waited for. We experimented and danced close to slow music. We held hands when we skated. We sped down the country paths on a snowmobile in winter. In summer, it was a bicycle. He loved animals but he loved cars and engines more. It was Jackie and I who shared the rest.


If I could do it all over again, I would return to the place where I grew up and spend more time. I would share it all with my grown up kids.

Today, their dreams are just beginning and I return to mine with vivid memories. The stone cobbled house along the river represents a piece of me that lay dormant waiting for spring.