“Well mom, it looks like you are ready to say good-bye. I want you to know that I will be okay. I will miss you however I feel strong and equipped. There is so much that you have taught me and I will continue to carry your love in my heart. I believe in me because you believed in me. Thank you for all that you gave to me.”
One year later…..
“You almost made it to your 15th birthday. We know that it’s been a challenging life for you. It’s been an honour to be your parents and yet so difficult to know the struggles that you faced every day. You have shown such determination and strength and you have been and will continue to be an inspiration to us and to all who knew you. I will continue to spread your message to whoever will listen.
6 months later…..
I heard the phone ringing. It was 3 am. I knew that it wasn’t going to be good news. My sister-in-law had passed away. She was only 45 years old.
3 years later….
“ I am not afraid to die but I will miss not knowing what the boys end up doing in their future. I know I wasn’t always perfect but I hope that I was a good grandfather.”
I lost 4 people in five years; four very important people – my mom, my son, my sister-in-law and my dad.
It wasn’t easy raising a child who had severe disabilities and I felt helpless as I watched how cancer transformed my vibrant and boisterous mother into a frail and weak person. To see my sister-in-law, become gravely ill and pass away within a week was a shock and very difficult to understand. It was so hard to watch my dad fight for every breath, knowing that he wanted to be there for us right up until the last breath that he took.
After each loss, I was able to pick up and carry on. I had always continued to work, for ironically, my job had always been my respite. Yet after my dad passed, the fourth death in 5 years, I was done. Life had taken its toll and I was emotionally and mentally exhausted.
I decided to put my work aside and give myself a much-needed rest. I had support from my family and friends and many people had admired how my self-awareness led to my decision. “It was a breakthrough,” they said and I knew it was something I had to do, so that I didn’t break down.
My “timeout” not only gave me a time to relax, it also provided me with an opportunity to reflect. I realized that no matter how challenging my life had been, I was continually learning and experiencing personal growth with every experience.
It didn’t take long before I felt better and I started to think about my next step.
I began to ponder the idea of family and corporate coaching. Knowing that so many people face unexpected change and difficult times, I wanted to take what I had learned and pass it on so that other people could discover their own road to resilience and renewed strength.
I knew that a deeper understanding the emotional impact of parenting a child with a disability could help families strengthen their ability to cope and have hope. Equally, if people in human services could have an opportunity to walk in a family’s shoes and gain a more intimate view of the family, they would be more empathetic and effective in their support. Increased coping mechanisms lead to greater resilience, which could lead to an increase in productivity for employees and staff within corporations and business.
Coaching is a process to grow and improve or cope with unexpected change. Resilience begins with realizing whom you can turn to for emotional encouragement and developing your circle of support. It helps you to define your vision for moving forward and it facilitates your learning and growth toward positive changes, new possibilities and defining the steps toward achieving both short term and long-term goals. Without this guidance, you may find yourself stuck in an emotional ghetto and not know how to get out.
Through challenge, I had found my purpose. My vision is that organizations, families and individuals will recognize the opportunity in change and use it to create positive outcomes. My mission is to help you see new possibilities, define the steps toward desired transformation and offer the tools that will help organizations, families and individuals adapt to life’s unexpected changes.