My Symbiotic Friend

Mutualism: Symbiotic relationships Credit: ThoughtCo

My symbiotic friend

On whom I often lean

You lift me up,

Help me smile

On days seemingly cheerless and grim

Oh, how I’ve come to depend on you

And I wonder what it is

I give to you

That keeps you here by my side

I hope I cheer you

As you do me

I hope my strength is enough

To buoy you up on days too bleak

I want so much to give to you

All you’ve given me, and more

Ah, my symbiotic friend

My senses are keener

Because of you

My mind clear and sharp

For the questions you ask of me

Forcing me to mine deeper

Until the answers flow

My symbiotic friend

I thank you

Remembering a friend long gone

Funny how a song can take you back to your youth. My best friend through my teens died many years ago. She was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when we were fourteen years old. She died when we were thirty-eight. She was fierce. She was funny and she was a wonderful friend. She managed her diabetes better than most. It took her a fair amount of time to come to terms with it though. I remember her sneaking French fries from my plate. I remember her begging for a bite of my chocolate bar and other goodies that she was not supposed to have. Her mother was very strict about what she ate. Understandably. But when you’re a teenager the idea of dying seems impossible, so I would indulge her, even while I scolded. Perhaps if I had known more I would not have eaten such junk in her company. But I was equally in denial. It would take many years before I became aware of the toll the disease would take on her body. By then it was too late.

I was her maid of honour at her wedding. The marriage lasted less than three years. They never had children. I remember her visits – she eventually moved to British Columbia, while I went in the opposite direction, back to Newfoundland where I’d been born. She visited us there once and we took her around to see the sights. I guess the Long Range Mountains were not nearly as spectacular as the Rockies, and I was disappointed she was not as enthralled with them as I was. Yet we did spend many pleasant days on beaches and on forest trails. I would not see her again. A year or so later her mother called to tell me of her passing. I wish she would not have told me of the circumstances – she had died alone in her small apartment and it would be a few days later before a neighbour found her body. I think that is the worst memory and the despair I felt (and often still feel) knowing she was alone.

Still, I treasure all the memories and the friendship we shared that helped us through the minefield of adolescence and the rigors of our young adulthood. Her brother told me about spreading her ashes on the waves of the Pacific. One day soon I hope to make the trip to view the splendid redwoods and listen to the waves lapping the shores of British Columbia and say a final good-bye to this friend of my youth.

Edmonton Adventure #2: Blessings and signs of hope

Coming home after round two in Edmonton I am still harboring feelings of apprehension. The past few years have been fraught with difficulties and challenges where my hubby’s health is concerned. Fear seemed to be a constant companion with each and every hospital visit. I am still holding my breath. He’s still in hospital and while there have been successes such as his recent surgery other issues remain.

Doctors had said he was at a very high risk for surgery, in fact they warned he may not survive it. All these thoughts were on my mind as I sat waiting for the operation to be finished – as I waited for news.

I had met and made friends with two women from Northern Saskatchewan during his last hospitalization. I was grateful when they offered to come sit with me while hubby went through the surgery. They were a wonderful source of strength and a welcome distraction as we traded stories about our lives. Words cannot express the relief when I received word that the operation was successful and he was in the recovery room. I will always be thankful for the support and friendship gifted to me by these women.

Life and death take on a much deeper meaning when your days and nights are spent in a hospital. I was blessed to meet many kind and compassionate people during my time in Edmonton. People whom had been total strangers prior to this. People who I will keep in my thoughts and prayers for a long time yet to come. People who have become friends. Friendships forged in the fires of fear. Friendships that gave hope, support, and sustained us.

A rainbow over the skies at the airport where we awaited the air ambulance that would take us home

As the day finally came when hubby was transferred back to our local hospital, I bid good-bye to one and all – friends, doctors, and nurses who had aided me in so many ways – not least of all in lending their strength when I was at my weakest points. At the airport a beautiful rainbow arched across the sky – that age-old symbol of hope.

As the plane flew us back home the scene outside the window was serene and beautiful. We were flying above the cloud cover and the sun shone. It seemed an apt metaphor: no matter what storm clouds may gather I hope I will remember the sun will always light the way again.

The sun above the clouds made for an idyllic and tranquil scene as we winged out way home

The Conversation

The conversation 2


“Come, rest upon my petals here and tell me of your story.

Where have you been, My little friend?”

Said the flower to the moth

“I roam high above, where you can never go.

I visit plants and trees and flowers sweet everywhere I travel,”

Said the moth to the flower.

“Oh, to fly up high, to soar upon the winds.

To not be planted in one place, to see beyond the wall.”

Sang the flower to the moth.

“Aw, but you are treasured, for your beauty and your scent.

No worries about foes like birds that would eat you, if they could,”

Said the moth to the flower.

“There are pros and cons to every Life,”

Continued he to she. The moth thought to comfort her with his words so wise

And yet the flower pined and pined for freedom to travel far.

“It’s true, I am admired, and watered every day, but if you think me safe right here

You know not all my visitors,” replied the flower,

“For there are bugs that chew my leaves, And spiders everywhere. Not to mention

honey bees That feed upon my nectar.”

“Aw, so you serve this world,

Nourishing the pollinator,” the moth cried out.

“Oh silly moth, I know the truth – that you as well

Pollinate us flowers,” she answered,

“And so, you see, we have need of thee.

When you brush your soft, soft wings

Against my little petals, you do more than tickle me

Like some ethereal feather. And when you chance to nibble me

And drink deeply of my nectar,” she shyly whispered, “you too carry my

Essence to continue seed production.”

The moth stretched out his wings and proudly strutted his stuff

He thought about all the good he did and didn’t remember why

Venus flytrap chewed up his kind, that naughty, naughty flower.

It was because the caterpillar he once was did damage to her leaves

and ruined her every finery….

The flower knew this, but did not say, for his friendship she treasured

After what seemed a lengthy pause, the moth did once more speak

“We each do our part, to bring beauty to this world, and I will speak to north wind

And ask him when you’re ready, to blow your petals far above the wall so you can see

The wonders of this world,” the moth proclaimed.

And so, it came to be, that during summer’s warmest days the flower bloomed and blossomed. But in the fall the north wind kept his promise and lifted high her petals. She traveled far beyond the wall and lived at last her dream.









A shout out in gratitude

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

A shout out to all the writers, photographers, poets, and artists of every stripe – I just want to thank you. I want to thank you for expanding my horizons; for making me think; for helping me dream. For all the times I have smiled, laughed, or cried, I thank you. For your camaraderie and support; for your friendship across the miles. For granting me a small peek into your lives. Thank you for your generous sharing and for your courage to do so. For helping me see places I may never get to visit, except through your eyes. I thank you for your humour that brightens my days. I thank you for your wisdom and compassion. I thank you for exposing me to new ideas and allowing me new insights into life. And most of all I thank you for affirming for me once again that humanity is wonderful and good. I am so grateful for the miracle of each and every one of you. Thank you!




Angels in human form

Admonishing, sometimes

Approving, sometimes

Always near

Administering aid

Administering support

Always helpful

Always friendly

Admiration soars for

Angels in human form

Just a cup of coffee



The smallest things can make a big impact. I remember my first day of work at the library. I was a bit nervous and wondering what this new job held in store. My manager was giving me a tour and introducing me to all the people who worked there. I was hired to work in the circulation department. That’s where I met Margaret. As I was standing there chatting with my new coworkers she came up to me with a cup in her hand. “I don’t know if you like coffee or hot chocolate, so I got a half coffee and half hot chocolate blend for you. I hope you like it. Welcome to the library,” she said as she handed it to me. And that was the beginning of our friendship. It was January – in Canada – it was a cold day, so a hot drink was most welcome. But more than that, it was not just a cup of coffee. it was one small act of kindness that made a big difference to my day, and ultimately to my life. Whenever I think of my friend I think of that cup of coffee and how it is symbolic of her character: warm and welcoming.  Little things matter, a lot!

The blessings of friendship

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing….not healing, not curing…that is a friend who cares.” Henri Nouwen

Refecting on life - photo by Anastacia Hopkins

I once read somewhere that ‘some people make life better just by being in it’ – that resonated with me.  I am blessed to have many such people in my life, but I am thinking of two friends in particular who have been loyal, caring, supportive and kind throughout the past several years; And the past two in particular. Friends may come and friends may go, but some become like family – people who have your back when you’re up against a wall. I am so grateful, so very, very grateful for these wonderful, warm, and caring friends. Naturally they seem to have no idea how special they are. The truly humble people never do, do they?  And the thing is they have so much stress going on in their own lives, yet are able to reach inside themselves to provide the support I need when I need it. Other times it is the shared laughter and pure joy in living that they abundantly share. The gift of time; the gift of self – that’s what it’s all about, right?  I am grateful. I am grateful for friendship; for people who are willing to sacrifice for others; for people who give me the strength to keep going – no matter what their own circumstances. God bless them all!

It’s all about support

Many of you who follow this blog know my family is faced with a tremendous challenge in the form of a court trial, which began a week ago. It will be ongoing throughout the month of November. In case you don’t know this trial came about due to the death of my brother. He was killed when an impaired driver crashed into his vehicle as he was headed home from work.

It’s been hard – enough said. But this blog is about the support I have received, including that given by my coworkers. People may not realize how much it means, the gestures and the kind words.

My coworkers have lent a sympathetic ear, have given hugs, and have given me reasons to smile. The opportunity to be silly for a few minutes is very important to me – I need to take a break from the stress and pain, it is healing. Laughter acts like a tonic, easing the agony and reminding me of all that is still good in life. So I just wanted to give a shout out to the team at work who have helped me so much, even when they don’t say a word!

A Fond Farewell

“The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected. Maybe they always have been and will be. Maybe we’ve lived a thousand lives before this one and in each of them we’ve found each other. And maybe each time, we’ve been forced apart for the same reasons. That means that this goodbye is both a goodbye for the past ten thousand years and a prelude to what will come.”
Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

shadows on the rocksThere are people that cross your path and leave you a better person for having met them. Hillary is just such a person. She is wise well beyond her years and I feel genuinely blessed to have gotten to know her a little. Every interaction with her is like a golden opportunity to soak up her wisdom and bask in her kindness. The thing is I don’t think she knows just how special she truly is.  Sadly, the time has come when we will part ways. She is going to university this fall and although her school is a mere 4-5 hour drive away life just won’t be the same. For I will no longer see her on a regular basis and I will miss her. She brings a ray of sunshine to my life, a sweetness that is difficult to describe. So I have been grieving the loss that is fast approaching, while trying my best to celebrate her next steps into the world.

Saying goodbye to those near and dear to us is never easy. It is as if a small piece of one’s heart goes with them – but perhaps this is a good thing, for surely they also leave a small piece of themselves with us for safe keeping. That is the joy and the beauty of relationships. So I will keep treasured memories close to my heart and take them out from time to time and remember… is such a fleeting thing and to have been blessed with the goodness of people like Hillary makes me feel rich indeed. My cup truly runneth over.