Tag Archives: pioneer

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.

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.

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.