Category Archives: Uncategorized

In Grief This Means Even More…

via FOREVER CHANGED…

I don’t know why this past post popped up on my Facebook feed today, but it did. There is a backstory that makes this post even more special to me today.

On Feb.3, 2017 we lost our oldest daughter to suicide at the age of 19 years old.

After 6 days on life support, my wife and I made the decision to turn off the machines that were keeping our daughter ‘alive’ and let her body go. We knew the moment we walked into her ICU room that our daughter’s essence and spirit had already left her body. Neither of us could feel her there. Over the next 5 days doctors tried everything they could to help save her and bring her back to us, but, we knew; in our hearts we knew that she was already an angel looking down on us.

When she turned 18 and got her driver’s licence she was so proud to be able to register as an organ and tissue donor. Never did we realize how vital that decision would become just over 1 year later. Without a doubt, we as her parents, honoured her wish and directive and had the hospital contact Trillium Gift of Life and began the process of her becoming an organ and tissue donor. So many people then, at her funeral, and later, have told us how brave and selfless we were in this decision. I honestly don’t understand this reaction. This was not our decision to make; our daughter had made the decision on her own. Our job was simply to honour her choice. On my part it was almost selfish to want her to continue to live on; to continue to have part of here still here on Earth with me. I would have never, ever, in my wildest dreams, thought that I could have the choice to say no to her final wishes.

According to the law in the province of Ontario, Canada, even though a person has consciously made the decision to go through the process of registering as an organ and tissue donor, when the time comes and the situation arises that the decision has to be made, the loved one(s) responsible for the decisions of that person can choose to NOT donate their loved one’s organs and/or tissues. How can this be!? A person in their right mind makes this choice, but in the end it does not have to be honoured?! I was appalled when we learned this truth. In the 13 months since our daughter’s death we have made it our conscious decision to spread the word about both registering as an organ and tissue donor and the absolute and disgusting truth of how the decision to become one does not guarantee that it will, in fact, happen upon your death. For us there was no choice. Even if we did not personally agree with the choice to be a donor we would never, could never go against our daughter’s wishes.

My oldest daughter is the only one I physically gave birth to; not that it matters which of us gave birth to our daughters; our love is not dependent upon them growing inside of us. This poem reflects how I felt about all 3 of my daughters and how I still feel about all 3 of my daughters. My love for each one of them continues to grow each and every day. Nothing stops a mother’s love for her children;

not even death.

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Reality check

Reality check.

FOREVER CHANGED…

FOREVER CHANGED

Few phrases have the ability to change one’s life forever;

I love you…

Will you marry me…

I do…

All of these phrases surround us in a whirlwind of emotions.

We relish in the glow of the moment and watch our lives and love grow and change,

But we, as individuals, do not drastically change as a result of these spoken words.

We are going to have a baby…

This one short phrase

This one simple moment in time

Changes our lives forever.

Months of anticipation, appointments, planning.

Months of hopes, fears, and waiting

Wondering how your life will change

Wondering who this baby will be

Waiting to feel the first kick

Waiting to feel the first labour pain

And then…

That moment comes that redefines you

That moment that ends all of the waiting

That one phrase that completes you

“Congratulations, it’s a GIRL!”

Sheri Gaetz

Dedicated to the three Chicklets that have forever changed my essence and my life.

My New Year’s Resolution

My New Year's Resolution

Happy New Year! As we begin this new year, we are flooded with sayings and mantras over various social media outlets. This post I found on my Facebook account and over all of the ones I have seen over the past week it speaks to me personally.

So what if that is the only New Year’s Resolution I make this year; exact what does it mean?

Well, as I speak about in my healthier lifestyle blog, it means making positive resolutions instead of negative ones in my journey to a healthier lifestyle. It also mean accepting my body and loving it TODAY, not when I lose another 40 pounds, or fit into a certain size. The link to my blog is here for anyone interested;

http://fortysomethingandgettinghealthy.blogspot.ca/2014/01/new-year-new-you-challenge.html

I also believe that this mantra means that I am kind to myself every day. No more beating myself up over poor choices, but praising myself for the positive choices in food and exercises choices I make each day. I have spent way too many years putting myself down. I now commit to lifting myself up from 2014 onward!

If I love myself more, I also love my loved ones more. I am going to focus on being happier and softer spoken with my family and friends. I shout and speak harshly too much both to my amazing wife and wonderful Chicklets.

This is going to be by far the hardest Resolution year to keep! But it will also be the most rewarding. I invite you to join me on this journey and also to share your resolutions here in the comments. Together, we can accomplish anything!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Sheri

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Breaking Traditional Parental Labels

Breaking Traditional Parental Labels

Today was an uncomfortable day for me. I was placed in a position where I had to defend my parental label to my two younger Chicklets. I was asked by someone ( whom I strongly think is gay themselves) who the mother of my two younger children were. I stated that both my wife and I were their Moms. He said again, “Yes, but who is the mother?” I restated my answer saying that they are both children of our marriage. This, unfortunately, was not enough for this man. He then said, “Your wife is the biological mother of the two girls, so then who is their biological father?”

At this point, I am about screaming in my head, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?” Can this man really be this dense!? No, of course he isn’t; this man ( I just can’t bring myself to use the word “gentleman” to describe this individual) is purposely trying to insinuate that I am not really a mother or parent to my two Chicklets. A colleague of mine decided to step in at this point and remind this man that it is public knowledge that here in Canada we are fortunate enough to live in a nation where two people of the same sex are indeed legally the parents of any children born within their marriage when unknown sperm donors are used.

This man had no other reason to pursue this line of questioning other than to try to negate my role as a valid parent to my two young beautiful daughters. I can’t say I have ever been harassed or bullied in this way before. I have been reflecting on my feelings and I now understand one very sad truth about bullying and why so many gay teens see no better option than suicide.

Bullying a gay person does not just hurt. It attacks every fiber of who they are as a person; a person they as a teenager are still trying to figure out themselves! I am in my early 40’s now and confidently know who I am as a person, and I felt attacked, broken down, and judged to be someone or something that is undesirable and illegitimate. How can we expect teens, or children even younger, be expected to handle gender-based bullying!? The truth is we can’t. We as a society MUST begin to stand up on behalf of these individuals who are being bullied and say, “Enough! No more!”

I truly believe that change must start with ourselves and how we live our lives. As long as we continue to differentiate between traditional relationships and marriages and same-sex relationships and marriages, I don’t see how the bullying will ever end. As stated in this recent post on Facebook, someday…..someday we will all just be “beautiful families.” Until such time, the bullying will continue because we will be labelled as different, as the “non” normal. The definition of normal is basically, anything that commonly happens or occurs. So, in fact, we are examples of today’s “normal” families!

So the next time you see a family with children and their two parents, please, if you must put any label on them, may I suggest you label them with the term, “beautiful” family.

Thank-you for reading my rant today,

Sheri

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A World’s True Hero – Nelson Mandela

A World's True Hero - Nelson Mandela

My hero died today. I think the world’s hero died today. We mourn for the loss of a leader, an inspiration, an “out-of-the-box” thinker, a living martyr, an eloquent speaker, a man who could move nations with his words and his actions of peace. But few of us will remember that he is also a husband, a father, a uncle, a cousin, a friend. My heart breaks for members of his family and friends. They have lost a loved one and are unable to mourn their loss in private. I pray that they find a way to mourn, remember, and celebrate Nelson Mandela’s death in their own way, in their own time, away from the rest of the world. I also hope that they will take great comfort in the fact that this man that they knew personally will never be forgotten by so many people around the world.

He will be remembered for all of he successes over the 95 years he walked on this earth. As this quote suggests though, it is not his successes that Mr. Mandela wanted to be remembered for, but his tenacity. Nelson Mandela has been a symbol of peaceful strength for me since I was old enough in school to become aware that he had been jailed and why. I remember writing letters to Amnesty International for him to be released from his imprisonment. I remember hearing the incredible news of his release; something I never really ever thought would happen! This man was physically and mentally beaten down for 30 years while in prison yet after time spent in a life of privacy, he decided to re-enter the world of the public eye to continue his mission to bring freedom and equality to his home of South Africa as well as around the world. I cried and cried when he won the Presidential election and became the first Black President of South Africa. What a turn of the tide that represented and within my own lifetime! He continued to have his stumbles and falls over the years, yet, he continued to pick himself up and continue on. THAT inspires me!

When I am sitting on my pity pot, begrudging my “unfair” life, I will remember this quote of my hero’s and pick myself up and continue on with improving not only my own life but the lives of those in my community. Nelson Mandela endured discrimination and imprisonment for over 30 years, surely, I can endure stressful times of financial restraints, disappointments in my career, occasional arguments with my spouse or children and everything else life throws my way!

So as you continue on your life journey, remember;
Your strength is defined not by your successes but by the number of times you pick yourself back up after being knocked down.

You will be missed but never forgotten Nelson Mandela! Thank you for showing the world what a true hero and inspiration looks like!

Sheri

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Our first “Chicklet-free” Vacation in 7 Years…..

November 30th………WOW!! This month has been an absolute whirlwind! My wife and I decided that one of the things we wanted to do thanks to Grandma leaving some inheritance, was go away….just the two of us…..sans Shockley for the first time in 7 years. After about a week of researching ideas for destinations that were reasonable price-wise in our timeline, we decided, booked and left for a 5 night cruise.

cruise 2013 132  Those 5 nights away were wonderfully relaxing for us! We actually slept in until 9am the first day at sea. What an amazing 5-day experience to do what we wanted, when we wanted! We visited Jamaica and climbed Dunn River Falls. If you have not had that experience, trust me, DO IT!! It is nature at it’s finest; over 60 feet of the most beautiful waterfall I have ever seen in my life surrounded by lush jungle-type vegetation and even wildlife (we saw a crab during our climb). The beach was stunning and the people who worked there were the friendliest people I have ever met in my life! After the falls, we went back to town and shopped at the local market. This was such an interesting experience for me. I have shopped in poor countries before, like Mexico, St. Thomas, and Dominican Republic but nothing has ever prepared me for the poverty of Jamaica. These people are so amazingly poor that many of them hustle for survival. NEVER would they ask for handouts; they offer services. Jamaican are very proud people. I did feel over-whelmed at the market as I was repeatedly asked to visit each and every stall. Out of necessity they are fairly aggressive in trying to make sales. But I absolutely FELL IN LOVE with the country! I can’t wait to go back and spend a week or more exploring the lush island, and submerse myself in the daily life of the Jamaican people.

cruise 2013 220

Our second port of call was Grand Cayman Island. If there was ever an island that was the complete opposite of Jamaica we visited it! The island was tiny in comparison and completely flat. As we tendered in to the dock I was told that there was 100% employment on the island. 100%!!!! My head had a really hard time going 360 degrees from the poorest of poor countries to one of the richest islands in the Caribbean. I completely enjoyed my time on Grand Cayman Island; we swam with the Stingrays and went snorkelling. Incredible experiences I will  never forget, but, I felt like being on this island only solidified my love and affection for the country I had visited just the day before. I felt guilty spending money on such a rich island when I could have spent more on souvenirs in Jamaica.

The ports of call were one of the highlights of our cruise. Spending time as a couple was another highlight. Adult conversation, relaxing by the pool, walking on the track, or relaxing in the adults-only hot tub after our semi-formal dinner; we relaxed, rejuvenated, and completely enjoyed our time away. I know that it will not be 7 years before we invest in a getaway just for the two of us again. Every relationship needs time away from our children. This does not mean we love them any less, or can’t stand being with them; it means that we need time alone as adults, to be our adult selves. Life is too stressful, so take time to re-energize, relax, and re-connect. Your marriage, and your family will be better for it!

The Emotional Side of Weight Loss

The Emotional Side of Weight Loss

Join me on my journey to a healthier lifestyle. My next challenge, attacking and overcoming the mental chains that prevent me from being the healthiest, happiest person that I am meant to be!

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