By Andrea Shewchuk
I went into my stationery and boxes to find wrapping for the trinkets I would take to Susan tomorrow.
I had wondered late last week, before, where the calendar had gone, through our recent move and other clearings, what had made the “filter” process, my mind drifted momentarily into the bigger concept of change, impermanence, importance…
I rooted around in the envelopes and cards, and there at the back, peeking out, was Anne’s 2011. She had given it to me and said that hopefully it would be marked with many more times getting together in the future.
Anne had sent Susan to buy a gift each for me and my mother when we had lunch late in 2010 – mine was the 2011 calendar, The Twelve Muses.
Mitch Albom’s have a little faith is ironically, by accident, deliberately, by the hands of coincidence, well-placed next to me as I write.
Anne, her husband and my parents were mostly, almost, lifelong friends, intertwining business and pleasure and the cottage and boats and families and travel, sharing party sandwiches, deli food and everything else that presented itself on the path. This is how I came to know one of the best friends in the world, Susan, the daughter of Anne.
Anne was part of every stage of my life, and now.
She offered advice that, at younger ages, was not necessarily well-received, but always true and helpful, secretly, at any age.
Poised, graceful and sophisticated through any storm, appropriate to every occasion and celebration, Anne was picture-perfect etiquette and outfitted to every detail.
When her health was slightly compromised, she carried on.
When her health worsened, she carried on.
She was never without support for everyone around her, always, if even when she needed it most, it was not returned or nowhere to be found as it happens sometimes, in the emptiness, she carried on.
She always had encouraging, positive words for any challenge that life brought, lending light to its end, a wisdom of knowing that the pain would not last forever, and reminding everyone of this.
Anne’s condition only propelled me further to learn, know, work harder, educate and cure myself of my own similar issues.
If it were not for her, I am sure I would not have found the strength, energy and will in her reflection, in myself, to keep breathing.
Anne changed the world.
The Muse for January is “fearless”.
- More from Andrea Shewchuk
I experienced appendicitis twice – which is physically impossible anatomically except in the case of attempting 2 routes of healing. My first choice was to be treated by an intravenous deluge of antibiotics, as it was presented? sold? to me as an effective alternative to an appendectomy, appealed to my greatest fear (the profound invasion and alteration of my body) and, I knew how to repair my constitution following this therapy. Upon recovery, I became consumed with the creation of a document dedicated to the improvement of the patient experience in the area of abdominal conditions and surgeries. Based on Read More…
I happened to catch an episode of the CNN series “The Sixties” which featured the rise of the feminist movement. It caught my immediate attention as we here at Patient Commando were hard at work preparing our 2nd Annual Canadian Women Changing Healthcare. It had escaped my memory that in my lifetime there was a time when there were quotas on the spaces available to women in medical, dental and law schools. There was a time when airline stewardesses had to be single, with soft hands and were forced to retire at the age of 32. There was a time Read More…
I was compelled to begin this review having not yet finished the last page. Perhaps it’s that while the “end” is important in some way, no less – or perhaps even more significant and relevant - is the inspiration at any moment in Passage to Nirvana. An unconventional autobiography, we come to know Carlson as he comes to know himself again after an ironically-charged event leaves him to live a life transformed irreparably by Traumatic Brain Injury. It is the story of a writer, now struggling with writing, writing to heal, writing to learn, writing to share the specific and Read More…
By Andrea Shewchuk I began the process of rebalancing my intestinal flora, cleaning and rebuilding my liver tissue and nourishing my body with cocktails of antioxidants, freshly-pressed juice and a variety of fibres almost 2 months ago, addressing rapidly spreading and debilitating eczema from a systemic perspective. Until now, the process had expressed itself very logically and linearly as not only the eczema cleared before my eyes, but the many other side effects of candida pollution, emergency pharmaceuticals, passive exposure to chemicals, my emotional toxins, elusive unhealthy dynamics etc. gracefully disappeared. Only very once in awhile did I want to Read More…
By Andrea Shewchuk I went into my stationery and boxes to find wrapping for the trinkets I would take to Susan tomorrow. I had wondered late last week, before, where the calendar had gone, through our recent move and other clearings, what had made the “filter” process, my mind drifted momentarily into the bigger concept of change, impermanence, importance… I rooted around in the envelopes and cards, and there at the back, peeking out, was Anne’s 2011. She had given it to me and said that hopefully it would be marked with many more times getting together in the future. Read More…
By Andrea Shewchuk What is care? What is caring? Who is the “care” in healthcare”? What is the worth of a pear. It’s Sunday September 30th, and in 6 days it will be one year since I found myself in the Emergency Room for the second time, afflicted with appendicitis (which I fondly refer to as “Appendicitis II”). Now, I am enjoying a day of knitting, yoga and quiet and, a pear. This time I was in a cozy ER room within earshot and a good view of the nurses’ station. I had been at a play earlier that evening, Read More…
By Andrea Shewchuk Almost 11 p.m. We looked out of the 14th floor wall of windows at the orange CN Tower. The CN Tower was lit different colours to mark seasons or occasions. It was that time of an evening or that time anytime when something happens and all truth can be spoken and it’s safe. You just “know” that “time”. We had just come back from a walk around “the lap”. “The lap” was the obstacle course of gown and other disposal units, nurses’ trolleys and other walkers rather than safe passage for people with disconnected abdominal muscles and Read More…