Tag Archives: Family

My brother knows me, and I like it

A collage I put together for a presentation I was giving on my life’s transitions.

My birthday has come and gone this year, but I just came across this post on Facebook that my little brother (I have three older brothers – all just as amazing) posted as a tribute to me on my 54th in March.

I want to cherish this writing, so have chosen to publish it here. It’s not everyday we can hear a loved ones speak about you. Often that is reserved for our funeral.  I particularly like to do similar on family birthdays, to let people know how we feel about them, and to let them know that we are aware and understand the strides they are making or are attempting to make in life.

Nollind wrote, “My sister Robbin Whachell turns 54 today. While conventional minds might say she is entering the latter part of an already full life (and maybe needs to slow down a bit), it’s evident to me that she is just getting started with a whole new life in a whole new world unfolding before her.

In a simple word, Robbin is a pioneer, just like her parents before her. Perhaps unbeknownst to many, she has been peripherally settling and cultivating a new home in the wilds of a new world for many years, while sustaining herself and her family at the same time within the conventional old world. As such, she is a living bridge between what has been and what will be, giving others a wonderful glimpse at the future emerging in our present today.

Seeking more personal meaning beyond the limited identity and confines of the traditional work world, Robbin branched out within her social life, enabling her to spread her wings and achieve a heightened vision to help the communities that she cared about the most. While some might say this was time wasted due to a lack of monetary compensation, she saw and felt something greater within it, something priceless that stretched far beyond economic value to a deeper, social value.

While I’m sure Robbin herself still feels like she has many miles to go on her transformational journey, it is without a doubt that each day her purpose is becoming stronger with clarity. Yes, the wilds of this new world are a chaotic, confusing, and uncertain place but each day her purpose, as her internal compass, helps her slowly map this new world and her new identity, giving them both a deeper sense of meaning and empowerment to her life.

In closing, I just want to refer to a couple of quotes by Marina Gorbis from her book The Nature of the Future. These quotes epitomize what Robbin is becoming and already is. She is a pioneer, a leader, living and leading by example. She is an advocate of a better world by building and living a better world out of her own life. She is a teacher, showing others the time and patience required to weave a better, integrated life whose social fabric can contain the complexities and uncertainties of the future to come.

Happy Birthday Robbin!

“In the past we’ve been advised to leave the personal and social at the door when we go to work. But the new work is all about the social and personal. It draws on the power of personal connections and the diversity of personal tastes, talents, and quirks.”

“What the pioneers of socialstructing are doing looks less like management and more like community organizing. Yes, good old-fashioned community organizing, but with a new set of tools and motivations. And their efforts are more akin to social movements than to managed organizations. Much of the motivation for building and contributing to socialstructs comes from a sense of urgency and greater purpose. This drive has often grown out of a particular vulnerability or personal experience of founders, making them into powerful advocates for their causes.”

— Marina Gorbis, The Nature of the Future

A collage I put together for a presentation I was giving on my life’s transitions.

Join me at the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge on Saturday, September 12th

I’ve been climbing the Coquitlam Crunch for over a year now, and I love it as my daily fitness regime when I can get there. I aim to do the Crunch at least 3 times a week, but some weeks I get there 4 or 5 times.  I’ve burned out one pair of runners, and I still love the Crunch!   I decided to help out with a charity event involving the trail last year,  “The Coquitlam Crunch Challenge,” and this year I am even more involved.  I hope you will join me at the 2015 event.

Here’s the official event press release:

The sixth annual Coquitlam Crunch ‘Diversity’ Challenge is set for Saturday, September 12th, 2015, and raises funds for community grants that promote diversity awareness, respect and integration. The Challenge is held at The Coquitlam Crunch trail, which follows a route along the B.C. Hydro cut line and offers a great workout, and unobstructed views of the surrounding area including Mount Baker, Washington. The Crunch is a less intense version of the Grouse Grind and the 2.2km trail starts below Lansdowne Drive and finishes at Eagle Mountain Drive. The average round trip (walking) takes about an hour. In early 2014 the City of Coquitlam helped make the trail safer by putting in the 437 new stairs along the steepest section.

The event was created in 2010 by local resident, Alex Bell and his family. Last year the event raised well over $4000 for the Community Diversity Fund (held and administered by the Coquitlam Foundation) which provides grants to Tri-Cities’ individuals, non-profit organizations, or community groups initiating actions, programs or education aimed at improving integration and participation by diversity groups, identified by the community as being socially or financially marginalized.

This year’s event will have a new shortened 4-hour format, versus last year’s 10 hours. “For those returning to the event, the news of the 4-hour format for 2015 may come as a surprise,”said event founder, Alex Bell.  “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we had two choices this year; either to postpone the event one-year, or to put out a shorter format with less categories.”

“We are preparing for a larger event in 2016 coinciding with Coquitlam 125th birthday, which will have at least 4 categories,” said Alex Bell. “We know people have been training for the 10-hour format, but our hands are tied. The 4-hour format is still a fitness challenge and adds more of a speed component.”

The Challenge on September 12th can be competitive or simply for fun. It’s a great family event, open to anyone of any athletic ability.  There are two ways you can participate:

1. The “Make it or Break” category for the die hard Crunchers. Participants walk or run the trail as many times as possible in a 4-hour period between 8am to 12 noon. Matt Sessions holds the 2012 (12-hour) record of 17 sets (which he repeated in 2014) when there was 12-hours allowed for this category. Register online or on the day at 7:30am.

2. The “Recreational” category for individuals or families who can walk the Crunch at least once. Start time is formally at 10am, but people may arrive and participate any time between 8:30am and 12 noon. Register online or on the day.

Water and sports drinks will be available free for participants. Preregistration is underway at coquitlamcrunch.com.

Optional donations for participants is suggested at $20 for adults, $10 for youth or $40 per family, however no donation of any amount will be refused, and participation is welcomed without the requirement of a donation. (Donations can also be made directly at coquitlamfoundation.com by clicking on the Donate Now button and selecting “Coquitlam Diversity Fund” from the drop-down menu.) A food box will be on site for the SHARE food bank, which tends to be very low at this time of the year, and participants are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item.

In 2015, the Coquitlam Diversity Fund generated its first grant to the Tri-Cities Brain Injury Support Group to help fund social interaction and community recreational opportunities for brain injury survivors.

Volunteers and sponsors make it happen! Sponsorship opportunities are always available and appreciated. Already supporting for 2015 is New Earth Marketing, Eagle Ridge GM, Pasta Polo, MaxFit Movement Institute, and 98.7 CKPM FM Tri-City Radio. Event organizers are looking for people to assist with site set up, registration, water stations, verification stations, parking, ensuring safe road crossings along the route, as well as the tear down of tents and tables. If you can help please email coquitlamcrunch@gmail.com

“Although I started the event, my intention was for it to become a community-driven one,” said Bell who has seen the event grow exponentially, and each year a variety of local businesses and volunteers have stepped up to offer their help.  “Please come out and support this worthwhile cause!”

Building up to the event, Alex Bell will lead a recreational guided hike up the Crunch and beyond to Ridge Park Bluffs on Sunday, August 30th. This 3-hour hike will start at the Coquitlam Crunch parking lot at 8:00 am and is for anyone capable of walking up the Crunch. The 8-km route will circle back to the parking lot and will offer amazing views over the lower mainland. All are welcome, and it is suggested to bring water and a camera. Queries about the hike, or the Challenge can be directed to coquitlamcrunch@gmail.com.

See you at the Crunch!

Bravo Bruce Jenner!

abc_jenner_sawyeI watched the ABC Diane Sawyer interview tonight with Bruce Jenner, and my spidey senses were tingling, as not only was I moved by the interview, I knew that I was taking in a part of history. I tuned in by chance (channel surfing), and never intended to watch it. I, like so many, felt Bruce was some sort of ‘oddity or loser’ solely by the way “The Kardashians” depicted him on the show.

Watching the ABC special tonight, I revisited Bruce in his early years as the Olympic athlete; then his love for his second wife (a widow/ Kris); his love for his own 4 children and taking in Kris’ children – them having 2 of their own. The fact that he held all this in, ‘his story’ for all this time, and quietly let the girls strut; and now bravely steps forward, is the most courageous act I’ve seen in a very long time.

Most touching was how his children rivaled around him, showing that really, all we need is unconditional love, and acceptance…

All I can say now is, if he did that much as a man, I can’t wait to see what he will do as a woman!

Happy 80th Birthday Mom!

 

The many faces of Rose, Rosaline, and Corae. All my mother.
The many faces of Rose, Rosaline, and Corae. All my mother.

 

On December 23rd, 1933, a baby girl named Rosaline Heintz was born in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada. She was the middle child of three girls. Her mother died when she was four, and for most of her youth she was raised by her grandmother while her father hunted and trapped for the Hudson Bay Company. Her father remarried and after her grandmother died she went to live with her stepmother. That did not work out too well, or last very long, and young “Rose” moved into an orphanage on her own volition. Shortly after, at the age of 16 she met and married my father Bill, and the rest is history as they say.

My mother was the pioneer wife, the mechanic’s wife, helped my father run a construction business, a gas station and she operated her own restaurant. She taught catechism classes, and would organize events for her community and church. Singing is synonymous to my mother, and I have fond memories of her songs and voice throughout my life. She can also yodel.

As for being a looker, well I also have many many memories of the men ogling over my mother whether we were walking down the street or driving in our station wagon. She can also dance, draw like an artist, and sew anything. She taught me to never wait for anyone else to do something for you, if you can do it yourself. From chopping wood to carpentry, mom could do it all. Oh, and did I mention she raised 7 children!?

Today my mom lives in Alberta, Canada ( a 12 hour drive from me), and she will soon be entering a senior’s care center. Life passes us quickly…my father left us in March of this year. I wished she lived closer to me, but this is how it must be for now.

The strongest senses I have of my mother that will always remain with me, is her wonderful smell, and the softness of her skin. And of course the knowing of her love for me ….

I am so very grateful that I got to know this wonderful woman throughout my life, while she only has one or two fleeting memories of her own mother.

For our children’s sake

Jackie, bottom right
Jackie, bottom right

I’ve enjoyed watching the development of my youngest daughter Jackie as an actor throughout her life. From her first play to her most recent (now in grade 12) she usually has always had the lead.  I’ve marveled at her confidence on stage, even during times when life has been overwhelming at home, or at school, or in her love life. One particular year, I missed her opening night, and the second night she came down with the flu. I felt awful that I’d not seen my daughter perform, and vowed to always make ‘opening night’ no matter what thereafter.

In the rush of our lives, there are times when our friends, family, and yes even our kids say to us, “Don’t worry. You don’t need to come. It’s not very good anyway.”  This is what my daughter said to me this year. She’s been taking drama every year, so we have become accustomed to attending her plays.  She made this statement on the morning of the play. I asked her what part she had, and she said, she wrote , directed it and had to do the sound, lighting etc… the whole shebang.  I almost fell over, as her lackadaisical attitude toward her brother and I coming almost had us numbed out!

So of course we went and her play was amazing. Here she is (bottom-right) pensively looking on, and running the lighting and sound as her student actors did an excellent job delivering a play that made me laugh, and get a bit teary at one point, as I realized a lot of it was autobiographical.

And, she’d told us not to come…!

[Note to self] No matter how your kids (in particular, teens) tell you not to come to see whatever they are doing publicly at school (or elsewhere), just GO! They really do want you there… and you don’t want to miss it!

Jackie-Drama-2013
High school drama at Gleneagle Secondary. Jackie is far right.

Death, Grieving, Healing: In Memory of My Father, Curt Whachell

“I encourage any of you that may have unresolved issues with your parents, to discuss, resolve them and/or forgive, now before later...”

My father passed away at 87 years old on March 11th, 2013. I’d seen him twice this year before a visit just one week prior to his death.  He was doing so well those first two times, that the last time I saw him, was when it finally sunk in that my father was actually going to die. Until then, I naively never felt it possible.

I’d always felt blessed that all of my loved ones were alive around me, while so many families deal with sudden deaths, accidents and sickness. The whole idea of death and dying waited until now to visit my psyche.

My father lived a full and rich life. I have no regrets regarding our relationship, and have no thoughts or words left unsaid to my father, as we had a relationship that seemed even-keeled throughout my entire life.

On his last birthday I had the pleasure of reading this poem (see link at bottom) to him as he laughed and listened, and I am so glad I had that opportunity, as I also read it at his funeral, and I am glad it wasn’t only the latter.

This my first experience in grieving death and it is still very fresh. I’ve grieved lost love, and I have to say they are nothing alike. Lost love ranks up there with personally dying, whereas the grieve I am feeling now, comes in waves. There was the initial shock, sadness, and heart-wrenched outpouring of sorrow, that led to moments of disbelief, and denial, which were hit by the next unexpected wave of sorrow.

The funeral, or memorial, is such an important process to go through. My older sister reminded me that the funeral is not only for the deceased, but also for the living. It helps up to personally come to terms with the loss; to realize, and release, the attachment to that person.

How dad reacted to the poem  I read about him. This was his last birthday.
How dad reacted to the poem I wrote bout him. This was his last birthday.

Losing a parent is like losing a part of your identity. Another benefit of putting together a funeral is, that in the process and delivery, you revisit that identity. I know for certain that our family’s identity was strengthened through my father’s passage. What a gift he gave us.

With my 50th birthday approaching this month, I’d asked my eldest brother to convert our old home movies to DVD so we could show them at my party. How perfect that in doing so, they were ready for my father’s funeral and dad even saw a few clips on his last day on earth. We watched hours of old movies covering Wachell life from the 50s and 60s leading up to the days before the funeral, and the montage you see here (see link at base) was produced from those films by my nephew Davyde.

Curt-TBW-RobbinsNest

Our family and step-family came together to support one another and to grieve together as a family;  and of course to share our sentiments and honour the man that touched our lives individually, and collectively, in so many ways.  With seven children, and a divorce and second marriage, his life created a thread-work of stories and connections, and yes, even disconnections. We were able to share many stories, not only about my father, but about times gone by.

With the death of a loved one you end up having to honour the place you end at, even if there were things left unresolved. I witnessed this with some of my siblings.  I am content to know that I am at peace with each of my parents, but I realised that it’s ‘my decision’ to have that peace that really counts. Forgiveness truly is a gift one gives oneself. I encourage any of you that may have unresolved issues with your parents, to discuss, resolve them and/or forgive, now before later.  And if you have not told a loved one that you love them, do not wait another day to do so. Life is so very very precious.

Rest in peace my sweet father…I miss you so.

Link to HOME MOVIE MONTAGE (1950s/60s) on Curt Whachell: http://youtu.be/MvL_0Sftvn8

A WEBSITE created for my father: http://curt.whachell.com/

Writing-Dads-Birthday_1
What I wrote for my father on the last birthday he had… just 2 month prior to his death.