Life Tracks – Helen Reddy… Grateful

Don't let your struggle define you.(1)

You can bend but never break me ’cause it only serves to make me more determined to achieve my final goal. And I come back even stronger. Not a novice any longer. ‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul.

“I am grateful for my struggle.”

“Say it again,” she said.

“I am grateful for my struggle, ”  I said through my tears… and at that moment,  I truly meant it.

I am grateful for the way it has broken me wide open allowing me to see things from a depth that I didn’t have before. I am grateful that I know the darkness so that I can truly appreciate the light. And the light is so, so bright after the darkness. I am grateful for my lessons that have threatened to break me… but haven’t.

My son is an addict. There. I said it out loud. More people need to say these words without the fear of shame. There are so many of us affected by this deadly disease but no one wants to talk about it for fear of being judged. You must have been a bad parent to allow this to happen. Right? Wrong. Addiction is a disease that doesn’t discriminate – whether you come from dysfunction or harmony, it doesn’t matter. Unlike cancer or any other horrific disease,  we have to show our support by not helping… not in the usual sense of the word. This is counter-intuitive because as a mother, it is deeply instinctive to want to protect our children and to try to ease their pain. Addiction is the only disease where saying no is the antidote and turning away from the ailing is the only hope for a cure. It is a disease that magnifies the pain that the addict is so desperately trying to numb and all you can do is hope that they will finally hurt badly enough to want to help themselves… because helping themselves is the only way out.

Oh, oh, yes I am wise but it’s wisdom borne of pain. Yes, I’ve paid the price but look how much I’ve gained. If I have to, I can face anything. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman.

So… yes, I am grateful for my struggle because it has made me stronger than I have ever been before. It takes a lot of strength to give up the need to control and to just trust. Trust that everything is as it should be even if it seems so. totally. messed. up. Just trust.

I will not let my struggle define me but I will allow the growth that has occurred as a result of it, to shine from me and through me, beautifully.

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Choosing Love

Photo: Kyla Macdonald

Photo: Kyla Macdonald

On the morning of June 15, 2011, the city of Vancouver was in the grip of Stanley Cup fever. Even those who didn’t normally watch hockey, like me, were jumping on the bandwagon. Amidst the hope of the beloved Canucks claiming the Cup for their own, our newest little player, my grandson, Aiden, quietly made his way into the world at 5:43 am.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful for him to be born on the same day that the Canucks won the Stanley Cup?” we mused. My son even joked about naming him Stanley.
As anyone who follows hockey knows, the Canucks did not win the Cup. This, in itself, is somewhat disappointing but not insurmountable. We are proud of our team and the efforts that they put forth to get them as far as they did but clearly, the better team won.

What is truly disappointing sickening sad scary is the events that took place downtown after the game. We watched in horror and disgust as these little hoodlums took out their anger at life under the thinly veiled guise of support for their team. Make no mistake, these were not hockey fans and this had nothing to do with hockey other than the fact that it gave them an excuse to gather and incite.
My heart broke as I watched the shameless acts of defiance and rage. I was saddened for those youth who were so lost that they felt anger was the only way to express themselves, saddened for the parents of some of those youths who would bear the brunt of their children’s actions in the form of blame and guilt, even though they had done all that they could to provide a loving, stable home and saddened that this day, the birthday of my grandson, was tainted by these senseless acts.

While it is important to note that “hurt people hurt people”, we all have choices. What causes some to make these negative, self-destructive choices, I don’t know. But I know that I can make a choice to remain loving and positive in this volatile world that we live in. I can choose to provide my grandson with as much love as possible and hope that this is enough. And I can choose to diminish the effects of those senseless, angry acts by not dwelling upon them.

For me, June 15, 2011 is the day my grandson, Aiden, was born. That is all.