The Reminders….

Sometimes the seemingly little things in life are the biggest reminder that you’re not alone, not invisible, not unnoticed.

A phone call from a friend.
A phone call from your boss to say thanks for doing such a bang up job.
A friend taking time out of their busy life to share something interesting with you.
A hand written note saying ‘Hello.  I hope all is well.’.

I’ve received most of those reminders the last few days…  and it’s so very nice to know that, despite everything, the world still sees me…  the world still thinks of me.

After an extensive sifting through my friends on Facebook, I received a message “I’m sorry if I’ve done something.  We’re friends.” from someone who I thought had forgotten about me.  It was nice to catch up briefly.  Thank you Rosa.

I opened my email today to find an interesting picture in my inbox.  Thanks for sharing Kristine. You’ve become very dear to me.

My boss called me today.  My new boss at the job that I’m hoping will soon take backseat to something out of the house.  She thanked me for doing such great work.  Me.

I got home from piano today with Wee and we found a box on our front step.  Wee loved the box and the contents.  I loved the fact that someone cared enough to take their time to look for something for me…  And I loved even more the absolutely beautiful handwritten note inside.

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This card now has a special place in my heart and on my desk.

It may seem trivial, but it’s not to me.

To me, handwritten speaks of care and thought.

And it is a gorgeous card.

I love it.  Thank you Beth.  Thank you for taking the time to tell me that you care.

That means a lot to me.

Especially right now when the road is pretty damn rocky.

I’d tell you all about it, but honestly, it seems so impersonal.  And I’ve never been one to spill my woes randomly…  But if you were here, if you were sitting RIGHT HERE…

Oh how I wish many of my friends lived closer….

How I would love to be able to go and sit with you and your ducks Beth and just enjoy some time….  Meet your Tim….  See your life.
How I would love to share some laughs and some stories with you Juliana…  Grab a few drinks…  Tell a few stories….  Catch a college football game.
How I would love to wander where you live Michelle…  See the sights… Meet your horses…  Bitch about work face-to-face…
How I would love  to actually share a pot of coffee with you Eric instead of just doing it via email.
How I would love to see all of your beautiful children Angela…  See your smile… Hear your laugh….  Listen to how your life has grown and changed so much.
How I would love to share a bottle of wine with you Denise in front of a fire or on the deck…  And just talk about anything that comes to mind.

Honestly, the list goes on and on…  The people that I would love to be closer too… The people who mean so very much to me that live so very far away.

It’s small things…  the little things…  like a beautiful card with a handwritten message that let me know that you feel the same.  That let me know that, no matter how rocky my road may be right now, I’m not alone.


Pensions, Paperwork, And Paying Your Dues….

There was a story posted on the CBC site a while back.  It gets posted about every eight to twelve months.  It’s always the same story, it’s just usually worded differently or focuses on a different major issue within the larger issue.

Every time the story hits, it hits hard and fast for two or three days.  During that time, there is public outrage, there are people screaming for change.

And then the story dies.  The outrage stops.  The screaming for change stops.

But the pain and suffering doesn’t.

Here’s the story:

When people hear these stories, they’re shocked:
How can the government be doing this to our soldiers?  How can this be allowed to happen?  They protect our country, they should get anything and everything that they need.

Then the blame starts:
It’s Harper’s fault.  It’s _____ fault.  It’s_____ fault.

And then the thoughts start:
What can we do to stop this?  What can we do to help?  What can we do to make this right?

And then the story passes and the silence starts.  And people forget.  And nothing gets done.

What I’d like to ask of you right now, right at THIS SECOND.  Think.  Think about your family.  Is there a pension in your family unit?  Something that will take you to retirement? Are there benefits to cover things like medications?  Do you feel secure in talking to your doctors, your boss, your ANYBODY about what is going on with you good times and bad?

Okay, now picture this:  You are the main breadwinner, the one with the pension that makes you feel secure about your later years.  You have the benefits that cover your health needs.

You feel like you’ve got life by the balls.

You fracture your leg.  Surgery is needed.  Time to recover is needed.  You’re finding all of this out through a haze of medications to help with the pain.  All you can think about is: ‘Man, things are gonna be a bit different until I’m back on my feet and back to work’.

You assume you have the luxury of that time to get well and heal.

And then your boss walks into your room.  Your boss sees that you are in pain and heavily medicated.  Your boss sees that you need time to heal.

But he does the unthinkable.

He hands you two sets of documents and says sign one set.

He give the quick explanation of what those documents mean.  Basically they boil down to go back to work right now without time to recover, or lose your job and take all of the time you need.

Imagine that decision.

Imagine then that you’re told:
‘Don’t worry, everything you’ve worked so hard for will be protected if you decide to quit you job and take your time.  Your money will be safe, your benefits.  We’ll help you.’

Well shit, this doesn’t sound so bad.  So you sign.

Only to find out later that all of that was a lie.  Nothing was safe.  Your money, gone.  Your benefits, gone.  And your life has been turned upside down.

That’s a small portion of what our Members here in Canada have faced.  And I know for a fact it occurs in the US as well.  We are not the only country doing this.

And this is not the first time this has happened.  After every major conflict, THIS HAPPENS.

So you can’t blame Harper.  You can’t blame the Conservatives.  You can’t blame the Liberals.  You can’t blame Obama.  You can’t blame Bush….

This has been going on for a long time.  After EVERY MAJOR CONFLICT.

You have to be wondering a few things; I’m sure top on that list is:
“Why don’t they speak out?  Hold a protest?  Fight for what’s theirs.”

Okay, well, the hard facts are, we do.  We fight every day.  Every day.  But we have to do it carefully because I’ll be quite honest with you, all it takes is a few careless strokes of a pen by a Psychiatrist or a Physician to have you put in for psychiatric evaluation.  Once that happens, you lose everything AGAIN.  You are revictimized AGAIN.  Everything is at stake if you make one wrong move.


So we try to handle things quietly.  We try to follow the rules to the best of our ability.  We try to choose what is best for us in those rules; ignoring some, heeding others.  But we try to fight for what’s ours.

All the time we’re fighting we’re being handed prescriptions for medications that don’t make sense or, that if we decide to take them, can completely alter our lives.  Or we’re being handed paperwork.  Or lies.  Or bullshit.

So now, on some level, you have to be wondering:
‘What can I do?’

Help.  Stand up.  Keep up that screaming and yelling for change that goes on when the headline first hits the paper.  Fuck. Cut the article out and hang it on your bathroom mirror so that you can be angry every morning and every night.  Call your MPs and your MPPs.  Touch base with the Legions, the local Veteran’s Associations.  Find out how you can help.  If everyone starts helping, the Members will no longer be handling this burden alone.

Alone is a horrible way to handle any burden; especially when you’re scared.  Especially when you feel like you’re trapped in a maze with no possible escape.

Especially when you’ve just had horrible things said to you by the organization that is supposed to be there to HELP you.

“Sir, this seems like an excessive list of medications.  I’m sorry, I can’t justify taking any of these.”
“You’re addicted to one drug already, what’s it matter?”
“I have a life to live.  I have a daughter to raise.  I have things to lose.  That’s what it matters.”
“Yeah well, if you won’t take the pills I’m telling you you need to take, we can’t help you with anything that you are asking.  Our regulations state–”

*Two people stand up and face off over the desk*

“With all due respect sir, you’re a fucking asshole.  I just came to ask for help with my dental bills for the damage that your pills are causing to my teeth.  I deserve that.”
“You my dear are a loose cannon and need a lot more medication and help than you are willing to admit.  Until you see that and start taking your medications, we can’t help you.”

I’m sure he was calling me some pretty vicious names after I stormed out of his office.