Finding fun on Valentine's Day when you are single
Valentine’s Day can be a minefield when you are living single.
My husband of 22 years passed away in February 2020. Despite this sad chapter in my life, it hasn’t stopped me from celebrating love in all its forms.
As a widow for four years, I've learned a thing or two about managing the "trigger" days and this is a big one. I'm here to offer the single people a bit of advice.
When a widow starts to date again
No one who is currently married and in a happy relationship envisions themselves being out there in the single world again.
Comforting a grieving heart this Father's Day
I'm writing about a topic here that I've covered in interviews, articles and in this newsletter many times before. Managing grief over the holidays.
As Father's Day approaches, I'm thinking a lot about two men who were important in my life...my dad and my husband.
Both are now gone and I'm thinking about how I'll be feeling this weekend.
What I Know At 54
This year I turned 54 years old.
It’s a day that I used to celebrate with my husband as we shared the same birthday. Same day. Same year. Until February 2020 when he passed away from brain cancer.
Sharing a birthday with a loved one carries with it a double-edged sword.
When they are alive, it’s one of the days of the year that you look forward to the most.
And when they pass away, it turns into something bittersweet.
Sam's nut-free granola
Here's my recipe for delicious nut-free granola. The main reason I started making my own, is because I have a son and a brother with an anaphylactic nut allergy.
So many store-bought granolas contain nuts, so I thought, "Why should Sam and Bill be left out of enjoying something so good?"
As often as I can, I'll make my own take on a popular dish that contains nuts like granola so they're not left out of enjoying it too.
Why cleaning is good for my mental health
Cleaning is not just good for your surfaces but it’s also good for the soul.
The act of dunking a mop, gliding a duster across a table and passing a vacuum across the floor lets me focus on the task at hand and not my worries for a while.
Honestly, cleaning is one of the best ways for me to stay sane.
Our fundraiser launches a new app for brain tumour patients & caregivers
It has been over two years since we lost Adam.
At that time we established The Adam Fanaki Brain Fund to support charities like the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada in their efforts to help patients and their caregivers.
Our vision has been to help relieve some of the stress in living with a brain tumour. To date, we are proud to say that we have funded numerous programs and services including a new initiative at the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.
Thanks to our fundraising, they reached an important milestone when they launched a new digital app, making their essential handbooks available across different platforms and to people with varying needs.
Knowing homelessness firsthand by Cory Resilient
In my life I have experienced nothing but pain, corruption, death, abandonment with no good influences or guidance.
I wanted to know what a “good life” felt like. To me, it’s a car, a dog, a nice place, healthy friendships and a woman in my life.
To be one step closer to a good life, I visited a homeless shelter for the first time. I also got a job thanks to a local employment centre.
Contributed to RESILIENT PEOPLE by Cory Resilient. (2/24/20)
'And Just Like That' shows reality of young widow life
I just watched the tenth and final episode of ‘And Just Like That’.
Like most fans of Sex And The City, I was skeptical about watching this reboot.
Would it measure up to my perfect ideal of the original? Could it even come close?
How to survive Christmas with grief
For those living with grief, the Christmas season can be especially difficult to navigate.
If you’re a widow, widower, have children who have lost someone close to them or a parent who has lost a child - I’m talking to you furry baby moms and dads - this article will hopefully provide you with some relatable advice.
Learning to move forward from grief during the pandemic
I lost my husband only a couple of months ago but have been grieving for the last few years.
COVID-19 has altered life for everyone around the world. As a young and newly minted widow, the personal challenge is different during this pandemic.
Staying resilient during tough times
People who are admired for their resilience display different coping characteristics. What can we learn from them?
What it means to show-up
It's taken me a long time to figure it out, but thank goodness for good people and them teaching me how to be a better person.
When did chipper become a bad word?
As I turn 52, I'm approaching life and my perspective with so much more clarity. Life has a way of doing that to you.
2020 has been a heavy year
We celebrated New Year's Eve with a lot of anticipation for the year ahead. Even just saying 2020 sounded fun.
But only in the first few months of this year we've seen the Olympics postponed to 2021, movie houses closed indefinitely and a US election that many speculate will be fraught with heightened anxiety and violence.
2020 has not delivered on the fun but instead brought a lot of bad news and heaviness.
The power of empathy in building resilience
"Can you talk to a woman I met whose husband was diagnosed with brain cancer too?", was the text I got from a friend. Only a few weeks later she would send me another note asking me to speak with someone else.
Within a month I met two women whose husbands were diagnosed with the same terminal illness as my husband. G. was the first, and then N.
New book offers advice to brain tumour caregivers
The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada recently released the first "Brain Tumour Caregiver Handbook".
The purpose of the book is to address the specific needs of caregivers when caring for a loved one with a brain tumour.
Over a year ago I was approached to conduct interviews and write the background stories of four caregivers.
The wisdom and experience of seniors in building resilience
Today my elderly neighbour Kay passed away. She was a lovely lady, full of spunk and an avid knitter.
She and I had a few nice chats over the years. Nothing deep or allowed either of us to really get to know the other but she said something to me once that I'll never forget.
Make mine a triple decker - the sandwich redefined generation when caring for parents, children and a spouse
The sandwich generation has forever been defined by people in their 30s and 40s who are caring for their children as well as their parents.
My sandwich has an added layer - my husband who at only 50 years old has been suffering from glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Flying on her own - how my daughter exemplifies resilience
My baby, my first born, the one who has trained me in parenting. She's left on her first solo flight. Albeit on a school credit trip, with many others studying the same marine biology course, but she is not travelling with us.
As many times as I have encouraged her to take advantage of these opportunities, I couldn't deny the mixed feelings I had while leaving her at the airport.
I reflected on the story that Alana Salsberg contributed to RESILIENT PEOPLE on motherhood. As she put it, "This is what I wanted: happy, excited, confident, resilient kids who have become happy, excited, confident, resilient young adults."
The Tragically Hip's farewell concert and our own brain cancer story
The Tragically Hip were one of Canada's most beloved bands. Although I couldn’t count myself as one of their lifelong fans I did get caught up in the farewell fandemonium.
Part of my reason for wanting to watch the show was to see the band’s lead singer Gord Downie perform that night. Only a few months earlier it was announced that he had stage 4 brain cancer, specifically called glioblastoma (GBM).
Little did I know that watching his performance would signal my own family's upcoming battle with this same illness.
How The Ring Theory helps people in crisis
When my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer and our family was in crisis mode, it became clear to me who was in my inner circle.
Toronto centenarian on living for over 100 years
Anastasia Belbas was born in Ukraine during World War I. She is 104 years old.
When she was twelve, she moved to Canada with her mother and three younger siblings and still remembers the harrowing boat ride over the Atlantic Ocean.
“I remember it being so windy and dark with the ship making loud noises that scared me,” she says. “The sea was so rough and the boat went up and down with water splashing everywhere.”
She thought that she would die.
What volunteering has done for me
I was young when I started to volunteer.
My first memory is being around 10 years old and calling constituents on behalf of our local municipal candidate in a Toronto election. All I remember is saying to people, "I hope we can count on your support for Yuri Shymko."
Are we jolly?
This time of year we are hard-pressed to go anywhere and not hear jolly carols, receive happy greetings, and watch movies about the joy of the season.
Beating the bad weather blues
Fall is here.
The leaves have all turned different colours and the trees are halfway bare.
As much as I love this season, I still feel apprehensive about what's to come. Winter.