Off to a book signing at a Chapters in Mississauga. The day was dreary. Sleet was covering the roads and threatening to freeze as the temperature read 2 degrees …then 1 degree. Ok, good, back up to 2 degrees. To be honest, and at the risk of sounding ungrateful, I wished I could have stayed in my pyjamas and blocked the cold outside world out. But, Heather and Matt were waiting for me. So, I salted the walkway and stumbled along what was left of the ice from the day before in my high heeled boots.
I got to the Chapters happy to find everything set up already – Heather is great like that. I was even happier to see Matt’s, “A Medic’s Mind”, banner and his books on the table. This moment was very full circle for me – sort of a proud mama moment. I had been introduced to Matt via a mutual friend several years ago, and we connected on Twitter. Instantly, …and I mean INSTANTLY, I was so impressed by his writing and creativity; this guy had talent – and I was happy to retweet what he shared. We became fast friends for many reasons: our love of writing, our dark humour, but mostly because we were both former paramedics now battling PTSD. Matt was a military medic. And I was a medic in Simcoe County, but the colour of our uniforms were irrelevant – we were the same.
Back then I was a bit further along in my recovery than Matt, and could tell from our conversations that he was still working through an early anger and frustration phase. (I could remember being there myself very well.) So, I was a friend and helped as much as I could while he navigated his emotions. (Once again, I could remember being there myself very well.)
Deep down, I knew there were big things in Matt’s writing future. He just needed a bit more time to get healthy enough to rip open some old wounds. He eventually did – and, “A Medic’s Mind” was born.
I was honoured to be at a book signing beside Matt today.
After I put up my, “Save~My~Life School” banner, we sat beside each other to await the interested book-lovers. Little did we know that what would ensue would be a healing and amazing moment for both of us.
With Matt in the figurative, ‘driver’s seat’, and I in the ‘passenger’s seat’, we became paramedic partners, reminiscing about the good ol’ days. It was like the clatter and busyness of Chapters disappeared, and we were back in the truck again. We instantly chatted in our paramedic lingo. And laughed so hard about some memories that will always make us smile! I had tears running down my face as he described an impromptu zombie apocalypse plan that needed to make happen on a call, and when my partner accidentally made a hoarder house, ‘a mess’. Without even noticing, we were back there, in the truck, remembering what we loved so much about being paramedics, and then, with a blink of an eye, a person wanted a book signed and Chapters had returned.
It was a magical day; I’m so happy I didn’t stay home. Being able to reminisce and smile together was super healing. We both reminded each other that we were ok with what our new futures held; were ok with that being our last ride.
We got to roll up our banners at the end of the day, and go home to our new futures. We had an opportunity to see that we were really only a moment away from laughing at the good times – all we needed to do was sit beside each other, like a driver and a passenger… and we didn’t have to do a night shift to get there.
I’m proud of you Matt! The future is so bright for you! And of course safe with your zombie apocalypse plan 😉
I have a necklace with a ‘wish’ inside; a dandelion seed to be exact. It’s beautiful, and I have made an actual wish while holding it. My wish was…wait, I can’t tell you, or it won’t come true. Isn’t that the way wishes work? Well, what if I told you that you are already living in the wish? What if I told you that your adversities will become your biggest triumphs? What if I told you that every birthday candle you blew out, every wispy dandelion you caused to drift in the air, every penny (when we still had them) you tossed into a fountain, didn’t make magic happen? What if I told you that you are already living in the wish.
I can’t take credit for the phrase, “already living in the wish”, my friend said it one night as we travelled a dark road to be speakers at a 12-step meeting. We talk about life a lot, (I love those talks), and after I taught him what, “as the crow flies” meant (that’s a side-bar), he remarked about how much of a gift it was to share our recovery stories with others, and how wishes don’t need to ‘come true”, because we are already living them now.
This phrase reminded me of a tool I learned when I was a patient at the Homewood Health Centre for my treatment of PTSD and alcoholism, called reframing. Simply put, it refers to viewing the world covered with light, instead of darkness. Now let me be clear, this is not an easy task for many! And sometimes it can be physiologically impossible to do so if you suffer with depression; I know this because I have suffered with depression for many years (gratefully it has been in remission for quite some time now), and when I was in this phase of my life, nothing could convince me that a smile wasn’t fake. Nothing could teach me how to ‘look on the bright side’. In fact, while I was in depression mode, if someone said to me, ‘look on the bright side’, I would have needed to restrain myself from punching them in the throat. The bottom line is, I am completely aware that sometimes it’s impossible to see happiness when the world is draped in a cloak of sadness.
However, sometimes we fail to see any positivity in this world even if we don’t battle with a clinical illness. Sometimes we don’t see that we are living in the wish. We stop trusting the universe’s brilliant ability to put exactly what we need in front of us. Caught up in daily doom and gloom, we stop letting our gut lead the way, and we in turn we travel down a road filled with wishes that don’t ever seem attainable. What I have learned from contemplating, ‘living in the wish’, is that my life right here, right now, is the wish. And that every mountain I have climbed has allowed me to see a new horizon. Every tear I’ve shed has washed away pain. Every sleepless night due to my PTSD has brought me to my role of being a City Councillor and has made me a better mom. Why you may ask? Well, because I have learned resiliency through these moments. I have learned how to feel my emotions and trust that they will always pass; good or bad. I have learned that I can demonstrate that recovery is possible, and that our wishes are coming true as we speak.
So, right now I challenge you to have faith that the universe is holding your hand. I encourage you to put a new frame around your sadness, and to trust that there can always be hope in any tribulation. I have swam in the deepest darkest waters of sadness, and I am so grateful to see that those difficult times in my life were my wishes slowly coming to fruition. Like a lotus flower blooming from the mud, my granted wishes were always there, they were just difficult to see sometimes.