A Brave & Beautiful Mom



Mothers face enormous challenges. They bring life into the world and if they are as loving as mine; they continue to breathe life into their child’s entire being even if it means there is little left for themselves.

For as long as I can remember, my mother has never walked ahead or behind me; rather always beside me.






Sometimes when you are a kid, you remain clueless as to how much your mother sacrifices for you.

I was never one of those kids.

I witnessed the ravages that Multiple Sclerosis placed upon my maternal Grandmother and as a child I stood by and watched my mother care for her selflessly, carefully and compassionately.

The fact that she managed to do that at the same time as caring for our family and holding down a full time job, returning to school for several degrees; is something that leaves me in awe until this day.

And now she rises again after another terrible fall – the loss of her husband.

She carries on and cares for us and her Grandchildren and anyone else who appears in front of her in need. 

She places herself aside as if an afterthought and although she is tired and has been tested again and again, she doesn’t walk in front of us, she doesn’t walk in back of us; she stretches out her steady hand and walks beside us.



The Person You Carry


We all have one.

It’s someone you loved (whether or not they loved you back), still love and think of often.

You carry them around with you everywhere and all throughout your life. You wonder if you will run into them at some obscure time for one intense moment and if you did, you wonder what you would say.

You remember their face so clearly that you can see it whenever you search the back of your mind.

Your life goes on and you share it with another and all of its complexities keep you busy and running but on a dark night while driving home or on a sleepy Sunday while hanging out on the couch; the memory of them seeps out from your pores and it brings all of the regrets, frustration, pain and happiness back in one mighty swoop.

Sometimes you consider looking them up – finding them – calling them and seeing if you can be friends. You imagine yourself showing up on their doorstep and everything being okay and embracing in a warm hug.


Other times you hope you never see them again because you are not sure you could bare the pain.







There is something special about loving someone so much that you carry them around your entire life. The love is so great, so intense and so overwhelming that no matter how badly things unfolded; you still want them back if only for a while, if only for the rest of your life.

We all carry someone.

You do.

I do.
And somewhere, someone is driving home in the dark with that song playing on the radio; thinking, wishing, remembering and carrying you.

Lonely Parents


My mother has always said that the sweetest time in her life was when we were little and she held us in her arms. We would rap our hands around her neck and stare up into her eyes and watch her lips as she spoke and it was the purest form of love and affection one could find in this life.
But what happens when children grow up, move out and starts lives of their own?
What happens when they end up living in another city or country?
Well, they have no choice but to learn to have less of us.
They suffer inside because they are not able to witness all of the magical moments in our lives on a daily basis.
Their Grandchildren come into the world and although they may be there for the day they are born and the celebrations thereafter, sooner or later they have to return home. The distance feels like a million miles away and every moment they miss will never be repeated.
I wonder how many parents keep secrets in regard to the status of their health – mental and physical from their children so as to not worry them?
They can’t bring them to their medical appointments or wait with them at the pharmacy. They can’t serve as their advocate when the medical system fails.
What is life really? It’s love, loss, happiness, sadness. It’s work and play and passion and friendship. It’s about having someone take care of you when you can’t take care of yourself and it’s about caring for them as well.
Life is also about how we treat and honour our parents. We protect them because they protected us.




We all run around worrying about making a living and getting the stove fixed and painting the house and going back and forth to the grocery store because we forgot something again and again. We all plan. We’re going to take a vacation, we’re going to get contact lenses, we’re going to renovate, we're going to get our grey done.
We pray for our kids to be healthy and happy. We want them to do well in school but more so to do well socially – to fit in – to like who they are and who they become. For a parent, this is an eternal prayer.
But somehow when it comes to getting the whole family together in one place at one time it seems like an impossible task. A week becomes a month, a month becomes more months and somehow someone can’t make it and the planning goes on and on and all the while, fate is setting the chess board and one of the players is going down.
No matter where you are or what you are doing. No matter how bad a day you are having or how many worries race in your mind or how many things you need to get done, sometimes you need to stand back and think about what is really important and remember that somewhere else at that very moment, your parents are thinking of you and wondering what you are doing and how you are feeling and wishing they could see you more often.


You are not invincible. You are not here forever and in most cases, your parents will leave you before you leave them and when that terrible day comes – you will feel lost, abandoned, alone and you'll wonder "What just happened? Did that really happen?"
Your mind will play tricks on you and day in, day out you will forget they are gone so you'll pick up the phone to call them or you'll save a joke to tell them or you'll hear a song that reminds you of them. You'll see them in your dreams, very much alive and healthy as if they are trying to tell you that even in death, they look over you and keep you safe.

So while they are still here:
  • Call them and listen to the sound of their voice as much as what they have to say. 
  • Visit them so you can look into their eyes and really know what is going on. 
  • Meet your mother at the kitchen table when everyone else has gone to sleep. Eat, laugh, confide in her as she holds your hand and looks at you as if you you are the most important person in the world.
  • And when the time comes, get up, put on your gloves and be in their corner when that bell rings.
 LOVE your parents.

Spirits That Hum

If you sit down

on the grass

in the sun

with the wind

quietly

purposefully

listening

for spirits

of souls you have loved

you will hear them

if you let your mind

at ease

and stop thinking

they will come to you

and speak

with a whisper

you will feel them

in the tall grass

with your fingertips

their voices

will tell you

they miss you

as much

as you miss them

they'll surround you

before

they leave you

they won't tell you

where they are going

just that you can't follow

you'll stand up and walk away

and just when you think

they will never return

the wind will blow

the sun will shine

and somewhere in the distance

you will hear

a hum

Falling Asleep to Shadows on the Wall


It’s that moment when you turn off the lights to go to sleep.

But sleep doesn’t come.

Shadows invite you to dance with them on the wall.

Your mind drifts along a river of worry and questions – so many questions.

There are trivial thoughts such as the list of things to do that you didn’t do and whether you have a stomach ache from the dessert you ate or was it that sandwich with all the mayonnaise you had for lunch?





Then the heavyweights move in. You miss those whom are no longer with you. Whether it’s a break up, a divorce or they have passed from this world;there is always going to be an emptiness in the depth of your gut.

There are many “what ifs?” and “what’s next?”

There’s a true appreciation for all that you have – for the person lying beside you, for your  children sound asleep, for the parents you so dearly love, some with you, some gone and some hanging on for dear life.

There’s money. There’s always money. It shouldn't be in the same pool of thoughts but it is because we face the challenge every day as we work harder and longer and wonder - "Is this really what I want to spend my life doing?"

There’s utter fear.

One in 3.

All of those you know who have already been affected and the looming question in the back of your mind - "Am I next?"

There’s something to look forward to – a vacation – a holiday – time away to relax and rejuvenate and to be with people you love more than life itself.

There’s a birthday, an anniversary, a reunion, a wedding and welcoming a new life into the world.
It's all part of the circle in which we find ourselves spinning.

And wrapped up in those moments before you fall asleep, you are always alone no matter how many people surround you.
You catch your breath just long enough to count your blessings and then you count them again making sure they are all still there.

Sleep pulls you in and just before you close your eyes, the last shadow dances across the wall and glows reminding you that life is precious and tomorrow is another day.


EMPTY CHAIRS - THERE ARE FAR TOO MANY

The Jewish New Year is quickly approaching.

There will be honey and Challah and prayers and rejoicing.

There will be families and loved ones and grandparents with grandchildren and aging parents with their own children.

There will be laughter and jokes while enjoying dinner and lunch and walking home together arm in arm, hand in hand with the people most important to you.

But there will also be fresh cuts that will turn into raw scars and never fully heal.

There will be lasting images of the end of a life well lived packed with pain and suffering that served as a great injustice and indignity to the person that they were - a person who cared for you with every molecule of their soul and left this world too soon and too brutally.

And you won't forget because you can't forget.

Just when you think you may be having an okay moment, your stomach turns and you feel as if you are going to be sick except you are sick already - sick, exhausted, beaten and torn and there is nothing you can do to dull the pain.

And when your family sits down to say farewell to the year that has passed and to welcome the year that is present, there will be an empty chair at the dining room table.





Some of you will choose to look away while others will stare in utter disbelief and question "Are they really gone? Will I never see them again?

And there will be a crude silence and an image will form for just a second - their face - their lips speaking your name - and then it will disappear just as you were starting to think it may last.

Every family has someone they miss and someone they wish they could bring back.

And then there would be no empty chairs at any tables - everyone would be together at least for that one meal, that one celebration, that one very sweet moment.

Empty chairs - there are far too many and they will never be filled.

Walking Around the Block

In the Jewish religion it is traditional to “Walk around the block” at the end of the Shiva/mourning period. As a Rabbi recently explained to my family, it is a way of saying “we are finished mourning and are returning the community rather than having the community come to us.”
For me, the “walk around the block” symbolizes the circle of life and the hard, cold fact that life goes on.
You lose someone you love. You open your home to friends and family and people who come out of the woodwork that you never imagined seeing. You sit on low chairs that are hard as rock and your back aches, your legs cramps and your neck becomes stuck in an unnatural upright position.


There are swarms of well-meaning people who “close talk” and touch and even kiss and hug you although if you ran into them on the street such acts of affection in many cases would not take place.
People come to pay their respects for different reasons. Some have recently lost a parent and can relate to the awful, sick feeling you have in your entire body while others knew the deceased and find it impossible to believe they are gone. There are strangers who knew them but never knew you or the rest of your family and if you scan the crowded room you’ll see people who don’t seem to know why they are there at all but still they are there.
And in some ways it’s beautiful, in others overwhelming and you feel as if you are drowning in it all and you just want to hide in a room so that you can be alone and really reflect on the tragedy that has unfolded. You want all the noise to stop so you can feel and not listen; so you can close your eyes and see their face and imagine them there with you.




This morning we walked around the block and cut through the park in back of my parents’ house, one of my dad’s favourite places where all of us played baseball and hockey and stayed out after dark under the watchful eye of the moths dancing in the glow of the park lights.
Did I feel his presence? Yes I did but truthfully I have been feeling him all around me since he passed. I don’t have to be in the park or on the back balcony or in the den or at the kitchen table.
He is with me no matter where I go. And this is so comforting because one of my biggest worries and one I am sure others share; was that I would lose him completely including the connection to his soul and his very being.
I watched my mother as she walked arm and arm with my older brother. I tried to imagine how she must feel. They had over 50 years together.
50 years – my God.
Their favourite part of the day was first thing in the morning because they always had breakfast together. Something as simple as sharing the paper and talking about what each of us was up to at work and in our personal lives and anxiously awaiting each of our phone calls that would come in by the end of the day so they could hear our voices.
I can’t imagine what it will be like for my mother to sit at that kitchen table and have breakfast without her life partner by her side. I know she will talk to him as I have been doing these past few days. I know she will feel pain, loss and bewilderment. And through all of this my wish for her is that she feels my father, her husband, her best friend – all around her like a walk around the block and the circle that is life that goes on and on forever.

Friendships are Trees

The friendships you create and nurture when you are younger are different than the ones you establish later in life.
The friends who grew up with you knew your entire family. They played in your house and sometimes their siblings and your siblings and a whole gang of neighbourhood kids joined together for a game of baseball or hockey or just to hang around in the park doing nothing and doing everything.
They also knew things that friends you meet later in life will never know like the smell of your house/family. You know the way every family has their “smell”
They also knew if your mom was a good cook and enjoyed her best meals and desserts and they knew what type of food was in your fridge and in your pantry and how much of it they could get away with eating without feeling uncomfortable.
There was that one house where everyone hung out either because the parents were away often or they just didn’t care if there were 20 kids in their basement doing whatever they were doing.
And together you all witnessed your first relationships – boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. They knew “how far” you had gone and “how far” you were willing to go and then one by one you each went “all the way” and it was this whole big amazing scary yet exciting thing. And when the breakups and the tears came, your friends were around you like family because when you are a teenager your friends are sometimes closer to you than your actual family. There is this unspoken “I’ve got your back and I’m in your corner” throughout the years that later in life you wish you still had or you are lucky enough to still have based on whether or not you stayed close and in touch with your childhood friends.




They knew your dog. They walked him with you and they loved him and let him sleep on their lap and he was everyone’s dog and he accompanied all of you throughout your escapades and adventures. They were there when he reached the end of his journey and they hurt for him but mostly for you.
You could always find a place to crash if spending the night at home was not ideal for whatever reason. Perhaps your parents were going through a divorce or you were in a fight with your sibling or you just didn’t feel like being at home. You would stay up all night talking and sometimes share a bed without a second thought and only in the purest way. Then in the morning even if you parted for a few hours to get things done or to go home and shower and change, chances are you were on the phone or back together by the afternoon.
Time was endless. You could be together hour upon hour and it still wasn’t long enough even if you were doing absolutely nothing.
Then we grow up.  We go away to school. We move to another city and start our careers and meet our life partners and have kids and buy a house and meet new friends – often the parents of your kid’s friends. We try to keep in touch with our childhood friends but life is tough and busy and a big puzzle with the pieces all over the floor and stuck in  between the couch cushions and rarely are you able to sit down and put it all back together again where everything fits and nothing is missing.
So the tree starts with the roots and those are your family. Then the trunk begins and that is formed of your childhood friends and then the branches grow and that is yet another stage of your childhood friends as you grow older. Then the tree, although very strong and healthy begins to bud and form leaves and these leaves come and go. They are aplenty in summer but there is fall when they blow away and there is winter when they don’t appear at all and there is spring when they are nothing but a bud and all of that is made up of the friendships you make later in life. They do not have the same intensity or staying power and they have no roots and no trunk because you were not there when those parts of their trees were formed.
The tree is always beautiful in all its seasons but the most special part by far are the roots from which our family has been planted and the trunk from which our friendships has been strengthened. And although the branches may crack and the leaves may fall, there will always be roots deep in the ground and a trunk that stands the test of time.

The Numbness & The Pain of Mourning

Mourning is an odd thing because losing someone you love does not necessarily put you in a constant state of crying and depression. It actually lifts you in ways you have not been lifted before.
And in the Jewish religion through the Shiva period, you are surrounded by people who truly care about you and in most cases knew the deceased and how many lives they touched.
And anyone who has experienced this week of mourning can attest to the fact that you are so distracted from the fire roaring in your gut that you are able to carry on without falling apart right there and then. But at night after everyone has left and you return home you feel the loss and the pain envelop you and it won’t let you go.
And accompanying that are those final images pulling you down under the water gasping for air. Sleep never comes and you feel lost and alone even if someone is right there beside you. There is an immense crevice of emptiness that cannot be filled.
Mornings are just as terrible. You wake up on automatic. You pick up the phone but you catch yourself somewhere in-between hope and loss and you hang up realizing they will never be on the other end again.
And then there’s the numbness. You are somewhere in-between the grass and the sky. Suddenly these moments come when you feel absolutely nothing and you know for the first time that there really is such a thing as nothing.




And what you really want at the end of that mourning period is to push the rewind button and while the recording tape is moving backward, you want to jump in and grab them.
But it doesn’t work like that because if it did, there would be all of these people tearing and ripping at the recording tape trying to make it stop as if it never happened. We’d all be jumping in there pulling all of those we lost out from the wreckage. We’d be waiting for them to open their eyes and see us and say our names and smile.
So what do we really have? Well there are dreams and there are memories and sometimes they are one and the same. Images of them as they were before the deterioration dance in front of us as they visit to make sure that we know they are alright and at peace.
And this brings us warmth and comfort but there is always the awareness in the back of our minds that the dream will end and we will wake up and they will be gone.

Saying Goodbye to my Dad

I lost my father this morning and in losing him I lost myself.

I watched him suffer for months and I deeply questioned and disagreed with the pain and indignity that was bestowed upon him.





You  often read in obituaries that the person fought a valiant battle. My father fought an impossible battle but he still fought it with all the realms of possibility and we were there right beside him around the clock as he was there for us throughout our childhood and later into adulthood.

He was a super extroverted person. He spoke to everyone, he spoke to anyone and he listened. He was a radio broadcaster, a DJ, a sports journalist, a talk show host, a radio school teacher, a community man who volunteered and hosted numerous charitable events, the stadium announcer for both the McGill and Concordia teams. At his prime in reporting, he knew all of the Expos, Habs, Alouettees, WWF, jockeys at Blue Bonnets and many celebrities he interviewed on his Sunday radio show for CKVL. He was liked and recognized for his skill in getting everyone to open up and tell him their life stories.

But mostly he was a simple man who loved cheesecake and ice cream and Irish coffee and any drink with an umbrella in it. He loved coaching my brothers teams and picking up my nephews from school and making a detour to McDonald's.

He was extremely funny and rarely serious.

He had several health issues and as they continued to pile up and fall to the ground, he was left beneath the wreckage. But under all of that soot and rubble, you could hear him and feel him hanging on.

My mom spent over 50 years with him - her best friend since they met on a double date at 18 yrs of age. He was with another girl and she was with another guy and my dad called my mother up after that date and asked her out and the rest was history.

Watching her lean over him today holding his hand and kissing him and making sure he knew she was there was healing yet terribly painful. Witnessing the end of their journey, I felt a slice of my life cut and removed from my very being.

I will never seen him again.
I will never see him again.

Losing him has left me floating. I'm not here, I'm not anywhere and I have no idea how to get back to the surface. 

So all I can think of doing right now is closing my eyes and opening my ears and listening for his laughter and his jokes and envisioning him eating a big cherry danish and smiling.

And I know that what I need to remember is not the last thing he said to me but all of the things he said to me that have made me who I am today.

Today I said goodbye to my father. I kissed his forehead and held his hand and told him I loved him and then when everyone left I placed my head on his chest and whispered in his ear "See you on the other side."

And one day I will.

Daddy .... love you ....love you ....and so much more.

Watching Someone You Love Suffer

I’ve been writing a lot about suffering lately. I realize that there are more cheerful things to write about but few as powerful. The truth is I would rather suffer myself than watch someone I love suffer. After what I have seen in the last 48 hours I would also say that being beside that bed in ER and in ICU is like watching a horror movie in which the images are so disturbing that you have to turn the TV off or change the channel; the obvious difference being that in real life you cannot go backward or forward when time freezes you right there in that awful moment.
And anyone who has been through the maze that is our medical system can tell you that there are days when you think they will stabilize and although they will never be back to themselves or on their way home; they are still somewhat okay or as best as can be expected. The light in their eyes is present and their personalities, sarcasm, jokes and all are in full swing. They just don’t feel so well and it becomes this rollercoaster of constantly being at the hospital other than work and lying awake at night at home and every day is different even though it is mostly the same.
The diagnosis changes and then changes again. The fire alarm is pulled and you all come running and the water is still dripping, more damage has been done but the structure is still miraculously standing and you wonder “How long can they hang on?” “How long can we hang on?”
And the family either unites or goes at one another with daggers. I am happy to say that we united and support one another and walk side by side with only our loved ones best interest at hand. As the end grows closer and the body starts to give in, give up and deteriorate, the person begins to vanish. The light has long since left their eyes, the face becomes almost glued and stuck in one single sad expression, the hands and feet grow cold and the confusion becomes their reality.




All of the families surrounding ours look as if they were taken on a long bus ride – the windows left closed, the stops for breaks few and far between, the ability to sleep sitting up and in constant motion impossible and no appetite for anything except prayers, prayers that are asked each morning before seeing the changes from the night before and each night wondering what will happen before we get there the next day and prayers that change as time goes on.
First you pray for a good outcome and that they will be home soon. Then you find out they are never coming home so you pray for them to deal with it and not be afraid and for the system to place them somewhere safe and clean. Then you deal with a sudden crisis, worse than the first one which was an accident or a medical condition that put them there in the first place. This crisis is a sudden shift in their condition and its downhill from there. So you pray for time and for things to turn around. Then you realize that time is running out and that something that only knows the motion of forward can never turn around.
And toward the end you begin to pray for the one thing you prayed against because you have seen it all and neither you nor they can take it anymore.
So you pray for a kind, gentle exit and you pray against suffering and carrying on with no quality of life.
And you pray that you will remember the magical moments of a life well lived rather than those final images of the little that is left of them that isn’t them at all.
In our lifetimes you will suffer and so will I but watching a loved one suffer is far worse. 

Sending strength to all those coping with pain and inevitable loss.

What You Remember and What You Forget


What will you remember about your life when all is said and done? Will it be the people who accompanied you on your journey? Will it be the places you explored and traveled to along the way? Will it be a cat or a dog that showed you the meaning of true friendship? Will it be the last word spoken to you by someone you will never get to speak to again?
What would you choose to remember if your memory could be wiped clean of just one thing that happened to you in your entire life?



Would it be the fist time your parents told you they loved you?

Would it be the first time you realized you loved yourself?

Would it be the first time you held your child?

Would it be the first lips that brushed against yours?

Who would you choose to remember?

What would you say to them if you could have them there right in front of you for just a few moments?
Isn't it amazing how much detail we are capable of remembering  when we shut out all the noise, close our eyes and feel our way around the fragments of our past?
And isn't it ridiculous that we take so long to lock up the stuff that worries us sick to our stomach and throw away the key?

In the end what you remember and what you forget is what gets you from here to there.

And somewhere there is a loved one long gone, looking over you and whispering in your ear:

"Let it go"

Watching a Parent Vanish Before Your Eyes


Our parent’s age and they either go suddenly or slowly – either way is awful.

And as much as we prepare ourselves for the obvious inevitability; we are never ready to say goodbye.

I would say the worst thing by far is witnessing their demise.

When they first become ill, injured or otherwise incapacitated, they are still themselves but as it drags on and drags everyone along with it, the family is left exhausted, spent and staring at a petrified, confused stranger in a hospital bed who use to be their parent.

There are medical professionals who are very kind and do all they can.  It’s important to realize that every patient who is admitted to their floor is followed by a long parade of characters consisting of family members all with their own personalities and idiosyncrasies, opinions and demands. They are upset, tired and fed up and that can make for a very unpleasant atmosphere for all.

It is hard to remain neutral when you find your loved one curled up, shivering in their bed, house coat open, bruises from falling because the bar was not put up or no one responded to the bell, a meal left sitting and rotting because they can’t feed themselves and the staff are too overburdened to do so and the tremendous guilt you feel in missing that one meal – any meal.

But the most gut-wrenching thing is when you come to the realization that they no longer know who you are and they just stare past you in oblivion. They mumble and nothing but a soft hum can be heard.




Yet you sense they recognize the crisis at hand and how scary it must be for them to feel locked up inside of their own bodies so badly wanting to escape and turn the whole disaster around.

All this while the family stands by the bed waiting for what is about to come down without knowing when.

And the other parent watches on as if it is a car wreck. They are in the passenger's seat, the car is on fire and they are unable to reach out and save them.

You stare at your cell phone and jump when it rings. You can’t sleep because you expect a call to come in any moment and you wonder if you should get in your car in your pajamas and head to their room to be there for everything – for nothing.

This time comes in all of our lives. It hits hard like a kick to the stomach and a punch to the head. One minute you are standing and the next you are down on your knees praying for them to go in peace and praying for them to stay.
 

 

When Your Aging Parents Reach a Crossroad

If there is one day we all hope will never come, it's the one where our life partner has to be taken from us whether in life or in death.

However it is all so common with the increase in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Cancers of every sort, that one of the two has to be hospitalized and evaluated and most always, inevitably the call is made by medical professionals who are doing their best but have far too many aging patients to monitor and evaluate and far too few specialists available to support them and so the call is that the said parent will never return to their home again.

This crossroad means so many different and sad things to various family members.

So I will use the Dad as an example. Your Dad has been told that he will never regain his independence - perhaps he can no longer walk or go without diapers or oxygen. Maybe he has a progressive disease that is moving at rampant rates. He is already frail, depressed and practically throwing in the towel after months that feel more like years of being in a hospital bed and away from his loved ones.

He hasn't eaten his favourite food at his favourite restaurant or watched a good movie, or enjoyed a glass of wine with a home cooked meal with your mother by his side.

Your mother suddenly is alone. After 40, 50 years of marriage and of having her best friend there every morning when she wakes up to eat breakfast and discuss one another's days and to pick up this and pick up that and pay this bill and bring the Grandchildren here and fill the car up with gas.

She is alone in the house you grew up in for the first time in her life other than the past few months that your dad was hospitalized with her always believing he would eventually return home to her side.

It's eating alone and having no one to discuss your day with or your latest worry or something fun you want to do together on the weekend. It's facing that fact that the vacation you had planned so long ago much like the Neil Diamond concert tickets you bought in advance for your anniversary will never happen.

Happiness has left town and sadness has moved in with all of its relatives.

And late at night when you both try to fall asleep, all you can do is look up at the ceiling and imagine the time you could have had together in this last stage of life. You reflect back on a black and white slide show that plays on the bedroom wall at all that you shared from the time you first set eyes on one another to the birth of your children, your first home, that vacation you saved up for so you could take the whole family somewhere new and exciting and share in the experience of travel.

There are the struggles as well to reflect upon. The good times always come with some bad times but as a couple you battled through them, sometimes against each other but always as one in the end and you did a damn good job of fighting the fight hand in hand.

So why can't you fight this one? Why can't you last more than a few rounds? Why can't you get up after that strong right hook to your jaw?

Because you've already fought so hard to stay together and you are both exhausted. One from visiting the other in a cold, uncaring atmosphere amongst strangers in the very same room and the other in great fear of never being able to sleep in their own bed and eat at their own kitchen table and say goodnight, turning the lights off knowing that the person you love most in the world - your best friend - your kindred soul - is not there next to you.





There is one person in a hospital bed.

There is another person in a bed at home.

These are two very different beds and places but if you combine them they withhold the hearts, the souls and the lives of two people who are still very much in love and can no longer reach out and touch one another as the night grows long and the slide show of what once was such a beautiful and fruitful adventure is now a memory somewhere in the distance imagined as dancing silhouettes that make up the shadows of your life.

Wishing strength to my dear parents and to all of those who are at this inevitable and really quite tragic crossroad.

There are few things as painful as what life brings us at the end and few things as wonderful as it offers us in the beginning but the real meat of it all - the best of the best - is right there in the middle and it's funny that it tends to be the part we mostly ignore and miss out on because we are so consumed by beginnings and endings.

Remember to enjoy the middle.

I'm a "Belieber" - How About YOU?

I’m middle aged and I’m a “Belieber” – This is my deep and meaningful story
I’m not alone. I’m not the only one. But other middle aged women may not admit this. They may be in the Belieber Closet. Not me. I’m coming out. 
When people question the value and ROI of Social Media, I say two words to them (and many more words in my head):
Justin Bieber.
Then I look away and just when they think they’ve lost my attention, I look them in the eye and await their response.
I have to admit that when Justin Bieber (whose name I will repeat as often as possible in this Blog post because hey if I do that, I don’t even need any other keywords – that is my overall SEO strategic plan) first came on the scene, I was skeptical. I figured it would be a passing thing, this cute little Canadian teen whose lyrics consisted of “Baby Baby Baby Baby” and whose haircut was just too perfect.
I am ashamed to admit that I continued to be a non-Belieber until a flight home from the Bahamas about two years ago when I made an odd decision and chose “Never Say Never” (Bieber’s bio-pic) to watch on the plane.
I learned about how multi-talented he is – plays drums, guitar and piano. He sings and has great range. He is a nice kid. He loves his Grandparents, his Mom and at the time of the filming of the movie, he still played with his childhood friends in his old  neighbourhood where he and his mother struggled with poverty living on food stamps and eating at a local soup kitchen.



He gives back and he pays it forward. He supports much of the funding for the very same food bank/soup kitchen that fed him and his mom. He visits a ton of sick kids all over the world (including a little girl who he flies with her family to meet him back stage at his concerts). He was on Ellen one day and she was featuring a school for youth at risk in a poor area of Vegas. He was so touched by the story and the work of the founder that he made a pledge to not only visit the school and do a live concert but also to provide them with much needed funding. There’s this shot of him telling the Principal (who has given her life, her blood, her soul to this project and to her students) that he is donating hundreds of thousands of dollars and then you see her break down and cry and he hugs her as if she was his mom with so much love and affection and it’s real.
That’s how I see Justin Bieber – I see him as a son I would be proud of and as a very wealthy, mega-famous celebrity who remembers where he came from and who has grounding from his upbringing and his mom’s awesome support.
I did have a concern that perhaps after his last album and him being somewhat of “girl candy” that he may disappear – take off in the night with his famous girlfriend Selena Gomez and settle down somewhere in Montana away from everything and everyone (oh no, wait that’s John Mayer).
However I just finished watching the two part documentary “Believe” which centers around his worldwide tour – 7 countries, 19 cities – something like that and let me tell ya – he has not lost his touch and if anything there are even more girls out there wanting to get a piece of him even at 18 yrs of age and without the infamous hair-do.
His warmth shines through in this documentary as well. He is still giving lots of love to sick kids including the aforementioned girl who actually joins his crew in a pre-concert all hands in cheer. He flies his father (we don’t know or hear much about him except that he is a musician of some sort and has his own new family) and his little step sister out to join him on part of the tour and he falls asleep with her in his arms after a long concert (beautiful shot).
He does everything he can to meet as many fans as possible even if he slightly endangers himself by getting close to the outreached hands, arms and other body parts of his screaming, crying, Beatle-like female fans.
He works crazy hours and can’t go anywhere like us regular folk do because no matter where he goes he is recognized and chased.
When a generator erupts during a free concert he is giving in an area of NYC where the kids could not otherwise afford to see him in concert, he gets right on stage, the room fully lit and silent except for the screaming fans and he does an impromptu show including playing the drums, singing without any music whatsoever, dancing, playing his guitar and simply talking to and with the audience.  He didn’t pack up and go back to the hotel with an announcer saying “sorry the show is done due to equipment malfunction”.  No, he went out there and did whatever he could to give them the show they came to see and to give them a piece of himself.
I am not the only middle aged or at least non teen that is a Belieber – he is visited backstage by Adam Sandler, Katie Perry, Kelly Clarkson, several late night talk show hosts and of course Usher – his mentor and founder and Carly Rae Jepson who Bieber signed to his label and as he put when announcing her onto the stage – "paid it forward like someone had done for him."
How much is Justin Bieber worth? Well he was recently on the cover of Forbes. They were talking about how he invests some of his money in various on-line companies and in the past 2 years has earned hundreds of millions of dollars. He doesn’t have much time to spend it and he is carefully mentored, supported, watched, loved and guided by his on-road family including his manager (and the person who really discovered him) Scooter Braun.
If you listen to the tracks on his new album Believe, you will hear a bit of Justin Timberlake, a bit of Usher and a lot of Bieber at an all new soulful 18 years of age.
Do I think he will still be around – rocking – making girls scream – touring the world to sold out concerts (each of his two shows in NYC at sold out in 30 seconds and his entire world tour sold out in less than one hour), visiting sick kids in the hospital, donating money to much needed causes, playing all those instruments and dancing and laughing and just being ever so adorable?
Yes – I do – because I am a “BELIEBER”
HOW ABOUT YOU?