Family bonds, a Thank You to my siblings

The bonds between siblings remain throughout the years. Whether we speak often, or have long periods of time when life keeps us busy, I know my siblings are there for me – always! My siblings multiply my joys and share my burdens so they become lighter. We grew up in rural Newfoundland in a little house on a hill that looked out over the bay. As I travel back in time, I am filled with nostalgia for those happy days playing in the fields that surrounded the house or in the woods behind the “back forty”. I was one of nine children – number seven of the bunch. I am so grateful to be part of this family. The eldest took such good care of the younger members. I always felt secure knowing they stood between me and anything that threatened harm. Growing up in a large family can have its challenges, but the blessings far outweighed these. My heart is overflowing with gratitude for each and every one of my sisters and brothers. They have taught me, guided me, stood by me, and always, always loved me. And I thank God for the blessings of growing up with such caring and compassionate people. Life can wound us, but if we are fortunate enough to have a sibling that truly loves us and supports us we will find healing. So, this is my thank you to each of my brothers and sisters who enrich my life, lift me up, and support me. I am so very glad we have each other.

Celebrating a wise and wonderful woman: my sister

“The best thing about having a sister was that I always had a friend.” – Cali Rae Turner

Carol and Peg


“A sister is a special kind of angel on earth who brings out your best qualities.” – Author unknown

“Sisters are for sharing laughter and wiping tears.” – Author unknown

I have been blessed to know so many beautiful souls encapsulated in female bodies. Today I just wanted to give a shout out to one such incredible woman that I am blessed to call my sister. She is the eldest of our family and was like another mother to me while I was growing up. I will forever be grateful to her for all she did for me as a child, and all she continues to do today. She was my hero when I was a little girl and I worshiped her. She has been my protector, my anchor, and an unfailing supporter of all I do. Words hardly seem adequate to describe all she means to me.

Peg helped raise all of us younger siblings. She helped cook for us, clean the house, and performed a myriad of tasks. The fact she did all of this with love and a commitment to our family speaks volumes. She taught me the meaning of love and sacrifice through her actions for our family.

When I was eleven years old she had the first of two sons. In 2012 she and her husband were faced with the deaths of both their boys. The eldest died of a brain aneurysm in March and his younger brother of cancer just six months later. My heart broke for them. It just seemed so cruel to me. It made me question my faith – my sister, however, did not. She was (and remains) a paragon of strength, even as she grieved. She is a pragmatic person and firmly believed with all her heart that they were both in a better place, and her faith demonstrates her belief in a loving and merciful God. An example, that I have no doubt, has helped her granddaughters tremendously.

She is astounded that people think of her as strong – but she is. She walks the walk of faith, demonstrating her belief, not by preaching, but by the way she lives her life. She champions the underdogs and works to make life better for her family and friends. These are just some of the reasons she continues to be a hero to me. For it is the little things – a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, a hug when you’re sad, and a hot cup of tea when you are cold – that make life good; that make it worth living.

I am grateful to have had her in my corner as a child, a place she continues to occupy today. The depth of love I have for her cannot be described, but I want the world to know what a huge difference it has made in my life to have such a wise and wonderful woman to light my path and shelter me from life’s storms. Today is her birthday, and I celebrate her life and all she continues to be for me and all who know her.


My three mothers

I was blessed with the best. I had a good mother, a woman who sacrificed much to ensure I had what I needed. But more than that I was blessed with two older sisters who cared for me, nurtured me, supported me, and loved me. I have been fortunate to know many loving and caring women in my life, but these three women are my rock, my foundation, and my heroes. They still are. I was chatting with a friend yesterday who had a very different experience with her mother and sister. I felt bad for her, but she made me think again of how blessed my life has been.

I cannot say enough positive things about the woman who gave me birth, and I have in past blogs, but today I really want to focus on my “big” sisters who gave so much of themselves and continue to do so. My Mom died many years ago, but the kindness and compassion that were the hallmarks of her character live on in all my sisters. My eldest sisters were my Mom’s constant help, often doing household chores and helping to raise us younger siblings. They helped with cooking, cleaning, and all the rest, but more than all that, they helped nurture and love us. I just wanted to write something to honour them all, for I am deeply grateful for all the gifts they imparted.

And then there is my younger sister, who, though younger, was also a very important part of my life and continues to be. She, too, is a loving, caring, and nurturing person. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and if I could have one wish it would be that all the kindnesses freely given to me by all my sisters would be returned to them a thousand-fold.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the nurturers in my life!

A shout out and celebration of all the women I know on International Women’s Day

Today is a day set aside to acknowledge the achievements and efforts of women around the globe, whether political, social, cultural or economic and, of course, to work toward true equality for all people everywhere. Equality is far from a reality in many places and is a goal we continue to strive toward.

I cannot help but think of all the women who have been a positive influence in my own life and give thanks for them. Naturally my mother is first and foremost on my mind – the sacrifices she made as she worked to raise her family. She cooked, cleaned, sewed clothing for us, nurtured and guided us – for many years in a house without electricity or running water. She was a wonderful woman for whom I will always be grateful. I stand in awe of her every time I consider all she lived through and all she overcame. She was my first hero and remains an example of the kind of woman I hope to be.

And then there are my sisters – two older and one younger than I. My older sisters are the most giving, thoughtful, and wisest women I know. I cannot begin to describe the impact they have had on my life. In many ways they served as surrogate mothers helping to take care of all of us and nursing us through the pains of childhood and the heartbreak and angst of the teenage years. My younger sister was and is my confidant and my best friend. All three have been a source of loving support, friendship, and wise counsel.

On this day I celebrate all the women in my life who have given generously of themselves time and time again – my mother, grandmother, sisters, aunts, daughters, sisters-in-law, cousins, nieces, teachers, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. None of whom are famous, but all of whom I celebrate today. I thank them for their strength, their courage and fortitude and for the heroes they truly are. For it is the everyday hero who make the biggest impact and whose strength and support keeps us moving forward.  I hope they know how deeply grateful I am for each and every one.

The Trial – day 2

I find myself reminiscing a lot – about my childhood and about my parents and siblings. Today was day 2 of the trial and again I am not there. I live in another province and between work and family obligations I am unable to be there at this horrid time. I had a nice chat with one of my brothers though, hence the reminiscing. I had five brothers and three sisters. Chris was the youngest. He was killed when an impaired driver plowed into him as he was heading home from work. Sorry if this is repetitious, but I don’t know who may be reading this. At any rate, my brother brought me up to speed on the happenings of the day. By all accounts it was rough for my niece (Christopher’s daughter, though she has been a real “little soldier”) and for all the family that was in attendance.

I am doing my best not to dwell on that though and instead I am sitting here with happier memories – like all nine of us children doing “the  twist” in the living room as old-time 50s rock blared from the radio (at least I think it was a radio). Dad hated that “new fangled music” so while he and Mom were gone shopping my elder siblings let it rip. That is one of my favourite memories – the older siblings teaching us younger ones how to dance.  Or the time we were all playing baseball up in the “back forty” of our property.  Chris was so little, but very determined. He played his heart out, his little legs pumping furiously as he ran for home plate. He was the baby of the family and the apple of all our eyes. It was impossible to stay angry with him for long because he had such a sunny and generous nature. I am trying my best to honour him by remembering the good times and all the best facets of his character – of which there are many.

Fair warning, if you are following this blog it will be filled with anecdotes about my younger brother. I am so glad to have had him. I will honor him. I will honor his memory today and every day. Despite the heartache of his passing Chris continues to bless us all by bringing us closer together once again – I just wish he hadn’t had to die to do so!