That Sunday, that winter

January 4th 1981 was a Sunday. It was also the coldest day on record at minus 37 degrees celsius. 11 a.m. in the morning in the palliative care unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital. He died of leukemia in his 38th year and has been gone 34 years –almost as long as he lived. But I still feel the grueling cold of his death like it was yesterday. Because he was my only sibling, my beloved brother.

You always made us laugh and you will never, ever be forgotten.Rest in the peace of love, my dearest, Bill.

Christmas socks reminded me

Santa & his reindeer

I love socks & Christmas socks are especially fun so I bought myself a pair with Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer on them. Lo & behold I was transported to my youth when life was magical and I believed in Santa.

Our house had the best decoration in the village. Why? Because before Christmas daddy would somehow climb up to our rooftop & put up Santa’s sleigh filled with colourful presents and pulled by Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and, of course, Rudolph. Daddy had a lumber yard & I guess he designed & had his workmen cut out of plywood & paint all the life-size figures. No plastic inflatable Christmas decorations for this girl ;)

I loved that time of the year; Daddy always spoiled me. I miss you, Daddy.

Merry Christmas from your “sweet dolly”.

Dad & Christine 1987, by the sugar bush

Bootiful Sofia wants to make your acquaintance

“Nana nana nana my 3 y.o. granddaughter squealed as I peak-a-BOOd around the door on All Hallow’s Eve. Sofia jumped into my arms, thrilled to see me, almost knocking off my witch’s hat. “You’re a witch!” she yelped. “But where’s the rest of your costume? You have to be dressed all in black, she sadly admonished, then happily figured it out: You must be a pumpkin witch! That’s it! A pumpkin witch!!

Wanna come downstairs with me to see the pumpkins Daddy carved?”

At supper, I sat beside her & she asked me to cut her slice of pizza into pieces so she could eat it with a fork. From a very young age, she has been a neat freak, unlike her nana.  Wide-eyed, she recounted stories of her time at day care and more of her little life’s experiences prefacing it with “When I was a baby…..”. I smiled. Then a little while later, “Nana can you feed me?” she asked, tugging at my heart strings.

“So, you’re Cat Lady tonight, Sofia?”, I asked. “No”, she corrected:  :cat woman. and baby Charles (our grandson, her 28-month old brother) is Spiderman.”

So off we went with Mommy & Daddy leading the way and Ben, Zadie & I following suit.

After we were all trick or treated out, Ben &I took our leave, and Sofia expressed one more wish to her nana: “Will you come to my birthay party, Nana? You will, won’t you?!” Sofia turns 4 next Marchn 17th, St. Patrick’s Day.null

But what about next month?!

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So, we are nearing the end of October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Alright, already,  I’m aware, having celebrated my 15th cancerversary in May.  But here’s the thing.  All over the media we are being bombarded with BCA — on the Today Show we are following the heroic journey of Julie London, TV anchorwoman and we see the picture of her bald and beautiful head on the cover of People magazine.

I hope this will make us take the matter of breast cancer more seriously. Don’t be afraid to check your own boobies for changes; that’s how I discovered the tiniest pea-sized lump in my breast in 1999 with my dear husband’s help.

And guess what? I am not out of the woods yet. In April, my yearly mammogram came back abnormal.  My ultrasound appointment is just before Christmas.  My dear husband will accompany me to my appointment because that’s what a man does, a man who loves you completely.

I hope and pray that I shall walk out of the examination room with a smile on my face and an audible sigh of relief.  But if I do not; he will be there for me, to hold my hand to the next room for perhaps a biopsy.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

If I can leave you with one message, it is do not be afraid. Do BSE, talk to you doctor if you have any questions whatsoever and trust, just trust.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

I used to tell a joke about March 4th being “Army Day” — get it? — March forth? Anyway, in 1987, all that changed. It was the year of the triple whammo. First my mom died on January 15th, 1987, then one month later, Dad with his Alzeimer’s Disease was placed in a home, then on March 4th, came the third blow.

I was spending the weekend up north at our family cottage with my boyfriend Rejean. We had taken a long weekend to enjoy some cross-country skiing. Relaxing in the afternoon in the living-room with a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire, suddenly I smelt something unusual. Rejean, I said, I smell smoke. I went into the kitchen and looking up to the ceiling, I saw smoke escaping through the ceiling tiles. I screamed to Rejean who opened the door behind the fireplace and saw flames escaping through the back of the fireplace. “The house in one fire”, he said. “Is there something you want to save?” I thought about the photo album I had shown him the week before, but, panic-striken, I couldn’t remember where it was — in the downstairs bedroom cupboard? in the upstairs bedroom cupboard?” “Never mind,” Rejean said, “grab your purse and we’re outta here.” On the way out of the kitchen, I grabbed the phone on the wall and called the fire department. Our skis were leaning against the wall in the kitchen so we pitched them into the snowbank and left the house, wading waist-deep in the snow down the unplowed road to Rejean’s car that was parked at the bottom of the hill.

We drove down the road to the fish hatchery and knocked at our friend Fred’s door. Sobbing, I said, “Fred, my house is on fire” and at that moment I cast one last look to the top of the hill where my house had stood and I will never forget that image of the flames shooting above the tree-line; the image is indelibly imprinted in my memory.

Heaven got better


In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places.

Today’s candle is lit For: William Oswald Lacombe, January 24, 1914 – February 25, 1988.

I remember well how in his last days, I kept a vigil at Dad’s bedside, watching him, comatose, taking one breath in, then one breath out, all the while I repeated “I love you Daddy”.

How close I came to lighting a candle by his bedside in his private room in the Centre d’Accueil Alfred Desorchers. What stopped me I don’t know — Mom who had gone before him almost exactly one year before, or Bill who had passed on almost seven years exactly to the month, or my angels and guides who are ever with me? In any event, had I done that, what with Dad being on oxygen, I would have set the whole Home ablaze!

But no, I went home and there by myself, lit a candle and prayed: Daddy, it’s OK; I’m OK, you can go now. I don’t need you anymore; I don’t want you to suffer anymore. Please go to the light. And I slept to be awakened in the middle of the night by the voice of the nurse who said you had better come right away. And I arrived, to find his soul had just left his body. My father was dead. Daddy, I love you immeasurably. You are in my heart and in my soul and in every breath I take.

Happy Birthday, Dad

98 years old today ! This call for a celebration. I have the tea on for you because you never did like a drink.

You know, Dad, I don’t remember celebrating your birthdays when you were on earth. I wonder why that is?! I guess because you never wanted a fuss made about you.

As a little girl, I’m sure I sat on your lap on your birthday like on so many other days.

I know you are having a party tonight in heaven with Mom and Bill and all of your departed relatives and the angels & seraphim. I wish I could be there with you, Dad, but for now I cannot. Nevertheless, my birthday gift to you today is my unending love. That doesn’t surprise you, does it, Dad? :)

I am planning a really big party for your 100th birthday in 2014. But until then, kisses and hugs from your “little dolly”.

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Chrissie