The day my brother-in-law lost his battle with cancer, the weather turned cold, the gold fish died, the cat was officially declared missing and the news on television was full of fear for a father who had gone missing.
It was the eve of Mother’s Day, which, as a result of all of the above, was also a complete disaster.
It was the same week I had to explain to my 13-year-old daughter what a sex slave was, after she learned from a classmate about the abduction, confinement and sexual assault of three girls, who endured the abuse for years.
Forgetting all my parenting book advice, I told her the truth, direct and to the point. There are sick people in the world. Being born female makes you prey to some of the sickest of our kind. Trust no one. Watch your back. Don’t talk to strangers. Oh, but be kind, polite and trust your heart. Okay?
Like most of you, I’m sure, it felt like there was a vibe of craziness, a sense of the world unraveling, as it does in cycles. The ground beneath our feet was shifting. Nothing made sense.
As the week unfolded, it just seemed to get more dark and sinister. Shock ripped through most of us as we learned of the horrific outcome for Tim Bosma. We will never fully understand why it happened and it doesn’t even matter if we do. It changes nothing.
As a seeker of meaning and purpose in life, someone who believes that everything happens for a reason, it seemed a fruitless endeavor that I continue to look for the good in anything. And it turns out that I was right. I didn’t need to look, but simply needed to see what’s all around me, every day. When you stop looking for the good or searching for meaning, life will surprise you with reminders to keep the faith, in whatever faith means to you. In fact, we really don’t have a choice, do you we? Nothing makes sense for a reason. We just aren’t always privy to what that reason is. It’s a matter of perspective, sure, but if you lose your perspective, you lose your purpose – and if you are on this earth, you have a purpose. That much we can be sure of, I think. Geez, I hope.
In the midst of the chaos, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield returned home to earth, having forever changed the way we think of our planet. His images from space reminded me of just how small we are; a humbling reality in the grand scheme of the big picture; a beautiful speck in the cosmos. That message was not lost on me.
As the week unfolded, I was reminded that where there is dark, there is also light. It’s as random and illogical as everything else in life. Yet miracles happen all the time. I saw strangers rally together for a widow and her child. I watched my children embrace their dad in his grief and honour their uncle, as we prepared for his formal goodbye. I was reunited with a friend I haven’t seen in years who fought cancer, and won, because it can happen. Cancer can be beaten. What a wonderful reminder to see her beautiful face.
And then it happened: the cat came back. After more than a week away, she was home, safe and sound. Everything for a reason.
Writing has been my passion since I learned how to hold a pencil (which I still cannot do properly). Despite my father’s insistence that I would starve to death in this career, I remain well fed and eager to write more. They say you should do what you love: I love to write.