My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 5 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.Thanks for your help, Eric!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Time to get out of Dodge -- and I don't mean my Caravan

I'm still knee-deep in anger and self-pity. But I often think of my beloved Aunt Kathy, who always said, "No one gets a free pass through life."

She would know. She was a palliative care nurse in Sudbury--one of the best. She and her colleague were killed by a transport truck while en route to their patients in 2001. She was a beautiful person and is still so sorely missed.

I thought about Aunt Kathy a lot this past hellish week when we had to go and identify my brother in law at the hospital after his fatal snowmobile crash. Every step of this awful journey I've thought of Aunt Kathy's husband, children, mother, brother and sister (my mother), and what they went through eight and a half years ago.

I think my uncle knew that and that's why he and his youngest son came to Ottawa for the funeral to be with us. And why his daughter sent me gourmet homemade lasagna and his friend made my favourite cookies and fudge and why my parents and sister and her family came and supported us so completely.

The kindness of others is humbling. I feel so grateful for that kindness, but it makes me cry.

And then I get angry again. I know it's irrational and many people have it much worse, but right now, all I can think is that Ottawa has done us no favours. It's just been a litany of bullshit, sickness and now, death.

If I were Jewish, I would think all this hardship was a divine message to move to the Holy Land. But I'm not. I'm not religious at all. I wish I were, but I can't suspend my disbelief.

I’m thinking the message here is that “it’s time to get out of Dodge.” This is what's known as "seeking the geographical cure".

But my mother says that you can’t outrun tragedy. It always finds you. I wish tragedy was blind, deaf and crippled, so I could stand half a chance on the run from it.

Where would we go? Sudbury. That’s where my people are. But we won’t. Lack of employment opportunities “up North”, better medical care in Ottawa, and my husband's parents and some pretty terrific friends are what hold us here.


  1. Unfortunatley, sad and tragic things can happen to us anyone. But I understand the feeling of wanting to move when you've has so much hardship in one place. Most important is that you have love and support wherever you are in life.

  2. I hadn't thought of it that way, and it makes me doubly unhappy to think that living here has been so plagued with misfortune for you, since we've been so happy that you're here (not that we see you nearly enough). I so fervently wish you hope and healing.

  3. Hi Patti,
    I'm so very proud of you. Thank you so much for mentioning my Mom. It's time like these that we really really need her. Mom truly had a special way to comfort anyone in pain (both physical & emotional). One thing that helps me with the anger of it all are quotes from Great Grandma McGrath as told by my Mom. 1. "Anger is like acid. It kills the container that's holding it." 2. It's okay to "turn your sails" when the weather gets rough. 3. "There's nothing worse than being absorbed in your own thoughts." In short, I hang out with the people I care about, I allow myself bad days (and moments), and I talk, walk or find distractions when I need to. Another line I often use in situations to contain my anger towards "certain" people came from a beautiful, wise, and kind cousin of mine. It goes like this "that's unfortunate." I love you lots Patti, hugs to everyone. Steph

  4. Patti, did you ever notice the faces of persecuted people, who made it through the war? I couldn't understand why they found it so hard to smile. I was 55 years old, when your aunt Kathy died, when I experienced the unimagineable... and I then started to understand. Your youngest cousin was sixteen when he lost his mother, and now when others are stricken, he "gets it". I could go on at length about the times he has been a pillar of strength to others even though his heart was aching. You have entered a new world (new to you), been pushed through the door so to speak, not enterd willingly. You're going to hurt for some time, but you'll be OK. You'll figure out what you have to do. Most of us have to "walk through the Fire" at least once. Millions have gone before us, and many millions more will follow. Some may never do so.
    Remember this. YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. You can make this a good thing or a bad thing. It's your choice.
    Love Ya

  5. Thank you all for your kind words. Steph, it's a good reminder to see those sayings in print. UJ, you're right about being pushed through the door. I remember when the first Matrix movie came out and I couldn't figure out why people would "unplug" from their tanks of floating unawareness. But they didn't do it willingly. They were pulled out of there. You can either try to "plug" back in with denial or mood altering substances or you can try and make the best of it. I'll try and aim for the latter.

  6. I have no great words of wisdom, but I hope that you find peace and healing. And a sense of place that isn't mired in grief, whether it's in Ottawa or Sudbury or someplace else entirely.

  7. In the morning, I will have an award waiting for you at my blog. Hope you'll stop by when you can to pick it up.

  8. I'm so sorry. From experience, I know that all you can do is feel your feelings and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    Thinking of you and your family.

  9. I am so sorry for your loss. I know that words are clumsy and don't help much, but I wanted to leave a comment and let you know that, though a stranger, I am thinking about you and your extended family during this horrendous time.

    I am so pleased to have found your blog through the lovely Suzicate and will be back.