Dad posing in front of the Acadia – Halifax harbour, 2014
My father, Reginald Keith Robicheau, died last night. He was 79 years old. I cannot make it to his funeral. I will use this space to pay a tribute to his life. I loved him dearly and he was a wonderful Dad to me but I said my good-byes to him while he was alive. When you live so far from home, this is part of the deal. It’s hard but I’d rather focus on savouring all he gave me.
There are two great lessons he taught me. They are things that he always said to me and my brother Keith and sisters, Susan and Laurie.
“Keep your chin up” – was what he said when he wanted to encourage us. And, “Where’s your common sense?” – came out when he wanted us to question our own behaviour. Continue reading
Tonight, on a perfectly calm and warm summer evening I stood at the confluence of the Elbow and Bow rivers, surrounded by roses, in the garden of Deane House restaurant in Calgary. I sipped an Italian rosé wine and ate halibut cakes, duck arancini, cured salmon and seared ahi tuna. My loving husband of 27 years stood beside me. Sounds ideal, except for a knot in the pit of my stomach.
Why the knot? Despite, the glorious day and the chance to catch up with a few caring friends, we were actually there to learn more about a grotesque subject – the fact that human slavery which is also know as human trafficking exists in our city and our country.
According to the Criminal Code of Canada, trafficking in persons occurs when “someone recruits, transports, transfers, receives, holds, conceals or harbours a person, or exercises control, direction or influence over the movements of a person for the purpose of exploiting them or facilitating their exploitation (Criminal Code of Canada 2015).
This is modern day slavery. It is time to abolish it but that can only happen if more Canadians become aware that it is happening right here in our cities, our provinces, our blessed country. Tonight Calgarians, Paul Brandt and Paul Hardy launched their #notinmycity campaign to tackle this subject and raise money for both the Sheldon Kennedy Centre for Child Advocacy and the Joy Smith Foundation. Continue reading
Filed under Grief, Health
Sometimes a record, a song, a voice, just creep into your soul. Michael Kiwanuka’s album and single both entitled Love and Hate are filled with enough sorrow to reach me there.
The Guardian’s review of the album spoke of authenticity. I hear the authentic sorrow for the deep contrast of how far we are from the dream of how we could be. This is an artist rising to the challenge of sharing his feelings in a time when we need a reminder of the common thread holding us together.
Surely that thread is our humanity. Though masked in an infinite expression of genetic code that unseen oneness exists. If our our every act is guided by what is humane, no one will take us down, no one will break us down. Choosing what’s humane, that is the something wonderful Kiwanuka is asking for, I believe. The lyrics follow.
I used to look forward to watching my favourite Christmas movies each holiday season. Now I look forward to a four minute video from an airline.
I watch my favourite movies because they capture the spirit of Christmas – love, peace, generousity and all that’s best in humanity. I watch these WestJet videos for the same reason. They remind me how connected we are and what magic we can make for our fellow human beings just by caring for each other. The movies may be classic, the videos fresh but, the message is the same. Out of profound loss and grief, joy can arrive out of caring. And THAT is the coolest thing of all.
This post examines the healing power of art. Artists are brave. They create a thing and then let go of it. We catch art’s beauty for our own inspiration, joy, comfort, consolation or bliss.
The song in the video above caught my attention today. Continue reading
After almost a decade of Stephen Harper as Prime Minister of Canada, I’m tired of secrets so I’ll not keep it a secret that I won’t be voting for his party in the October 19 election.
Why? Watch the video by Blue Rodeo above.
Muzzling scientists? Getting rid of research institutions that were self-financed by the industries they researched? Destroying freedom of speech? Lying and cheating and insulting Canada’s collective intelligence by thinking we don’t care or NOTICE politicians who lie and cheat? Denying that 1200 aboriginal women being abducted and murdered is not a massive human rights and societal issue? Dismantling a national public radio service and news broadcaster to the point where reporters are capturing content on their iPhones? Not spending the allotted money for social programs that could prevent poverty while watching food bank use rise by 30%?
I rest my case and I hope Stephen Harper will be resting his briefcase somewhere else October 20th.
Please Vote and let the world know this is not our CANADA! If he wins, I’m going to need grief counselling for I will have suffered the loss of my country as I’ve always known and loved it.
There is no them
There’s only us
I can’t see him but he’s not invisible
The plain truth delivered in U2’s powerful black and white
If my 18-year-old son were alive would he be rebelling and saying
you can’t see me but I’m here
I’m not my father’s son
doesn’t matter, that’s all drama, invented by my brain
my body knows we are all just bodies in one soul
There is no them
There’s only you
and there’s only me
There’s only us
Thank you to U2 for helping me see what’s not invisible
and for giving me the glue to keep it together
it’s always fiction if we imagine we are separate
There’s only us
I will not turn away from the one, not today or any day
I’ll take the pain and savour it all
and besides, this song is about helping bodies on this planet who are invisible even though they are physically present
and that’s where I’ll turn my attention today
my son would have liked that
taking care of our oneness
there’s only us