Dear Santa #thankyou #salmonarm
December 4, 2017

Dear Santa,

I really should be writing
You more than once a year
Alas it’s now December
So my Christmas list is here

No shiny wrap required
Nor finely-tied up bow
It’s something more important
I need for you to know

From you this special season
I have a kind request
An opportunity to thank
Our city’s very best

Our awesome volunteers
Who give so very much
Improve community
By the kindness of their touch

And for our social workers
Who give past point of hurt
We really must do better
To recognize their work

For those who build the trails
Delivering without fail
A place for us to walk
And hear our nature talk

And for our fire fighters
Who always put us first
And bravely keep us safe
From flames that do the worst

The mounties up the hill
Barely a moment still
Who watch upon the town
And never let us down

And for our first responders
Who witness oh so much
But show up for each call
And make it safe for all

Our talented musicians
Whose fingers strum the notes
To fill our hearts with music
with joy and song and hope

And to our gifted arts groups
Who battle scarcity
But always paint a picture
We love to share and see

For small and local business
Many a risk they take
A vibrant little city
Gives thanks for what they make

Youth leaders and team coaches
Who give much of their time
And always do it for the kids
And never for the dime

Hard working health care teams
All experts whose esteem
Is well deserved by us
And always will be thus

Our gratitude is deep
For those who climb the steep
This season is for them
And so is this po/em

In thanks for your kind favour
You can expect from me
Cookies from local baker
and a gift to charity

I do please ask for one wee thing
Before I let you go
If not too much to ask of you
Perhaps, a little snow? 

Merry Christmas. Thank you for 2017.

Louise

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On Loss and her Lessons
March 6, 2017

This column first appeared in the March 2017 All Month edition of the Friday Am in Salmon Arm, BC

It has been a challenging few weeks for many of us, I think it fair to say.

On February 15, we learned of the death of Stuart McLean, Canadian icon and beloved CBC host.

On February 17, we learned of the death of local man Al Boucher, father, partner, former owner of the Blue Canoe, softball superhero and stalwart supporter of the arts.

On a personal note, while my son is fine and recovering, on February 19, I watched as the amazing staff at Shuswap Lake General Hospital wheeled  him into the operating room for emergency surgery as a result of a ski injury.

When Lorne of the Friday AM sent me my regular e-mail to check in on the column, I knew, in my heart, it would have to be about loss. But also about its lessons.

For Stuart McLean, a great journalist and gifted storyteller to be taken away from us far too soon, reminds me how important our stories are because our stories are the witness to the path we follow, the contributions we try to make. And no two stories are alike because no two humans are the same. We need to remember that because we share a collective narrative that shapes the stories our children will get, or not get, to tell.

For Al Boucher, a renaissance man of only 39 years, whose memorial service drew a crowd of hundreds, many of whom would have never known each other had it not been for him, I’m reminded that it’s not about the years in your life so much as the life in your years. Despite the grief of his loss, we must pay his gift forward and commit to his boys that we will do whatever we can to mitigate this tragic loss. A trust account has been set up at CIBC for them. Please consider making a contribution and, in doing so, honour the incredible contribution he made to this community in his mere decade with us in Salmon Arm.

For my son, for whom a seemingly innocuous sore foot led to an emergency surgery to save his leg, I’m reminded how precious time really is. And how what we think is important really isn’t. We obsess with busyness, with winning, with accumulating. But sometimes, the universe reminds us that winning is really about how you face loss. And when you don’t lose, it’s not a win, it’s a gift of gratitude.

So, in life, you might lose a game, or an argument, or a deal. That kind of loss doesn’t really matter. What really matters, is the loss of a dream – like the loss of Stuart and his stories, and Al and his passion, or my son and his independence.

Humility has graced us these last few days. She has helped us through some dark hours. She has reminded us that we need each other everyday. She is our truest friend. And if we turn our backs on her for the sake of winning, we lose the lessons of loss, even if we would turn back time not to have had to learn them.

With love and humility,

Louise

@lwmediability

The real meaning of Mother’s Day for me
May 11, 2014

Of all the things I’ve learned, motherhood was the most surprising and as it happens, the most humbling. 

It’s not something you can train or prepare for. In fact, if you try to train or prepare for it, you will be sorely disappointed. It’s not something you make happen, it’s something that happens to you. And the difference is important.

Motherhood is a ritual that is passed down from generation to generation and not just from mothers to mothers. It takes a team to raise a parent, regardless of their gender.

When my eldest was born, I admit, I had no idea what i was in for. I worried about the pain. That seems to be the overriding message of pre-natal classes. What they failed to explain was the overwhelming feeling that you would be the ultimate provider for a teeny tiny human being on the planet. I was ready for diapers and late night feedings. I was ready for crying and discomfort. I wasn’t ready for the responsibility.

When my son was born, I was subjected to horrific medical procedures. I don’t even like getting my eye brows tweezed. So you can imagine my horror in the delivery room. Anyway, after a very long day of “monitoring” it was decided that my son would arrive by C section. The call went out to medical professionals across the Shuswap: nurses, anesthesiologist and surgeons, who willingly made their way to my bedside at an ungodly hour. My husband signed a piece of paper acknowledging that if he passed out, nobody could help him. Bless him. He signed.

I was strapped to an operating table and cut open to get the baby out safely. And I have never known so much gratitude in my entire life. He was safe. And our family was born.
 
In the days and weeks that followed, my whole world changed. Suddenly, I understood what I was put on this earth for. And not a day goes by that I don’t think about those professionals who got out of bed, changed out of their pyjamas, jumped in their vehicles and drove to the hospital to save us. 
 
My baby nurse was amazing. We connected on some level that I had never experienced. While her children were grown, she understood that my experience was changing me as a person. A mother was also being born. She was gracious, kind and supportive, for which I will be eternally grateful. 
 
So for me, mother’s day will always be about health care professionals. God love ’em. You could live in any country in the world, but only in Canada would this happen. We are so fortunate.
 
When you are next at the doctor’s office and you’re waiting longer than you expected, remember, there is someone in emergency who needs them more. Please, take the time to appreciate that if you needed them more, they would be there for you, too. 
 
A  year after my son was born, I stopped into the hospital with some timbits and a cheque for the hospital foundation to say thank you. They were surprised and busy. It seems that some professions are greater than the sum of the acts of kindness they deserve. 
 
That I even have a mother’s day is because of them. Happy making of a mother’s day. My gratitude knows no bounds.