How to Say We Care

Today’s blog is inspired by Pastor Duncan’s sermon last Sunday. He talked about how we tell someone we love them with the gift we give. He then went on to some of the ways we say we care, and I have added to them…

The gift is thoughtful

Preparing a favorite food

A warm, meaningful hug

A telephone call

A surprise visit

Sharing a life event

A helping hand in time of need

A hand written note

There are so many more ways to say we care…



Stand By Me

On Thursday I attended another end-of-life celebration. A dear friend in her 95th year had been declining for a few years after breaking a hip which never completely healed. This robbed her of her active life and eventually landed her into a long-term-care facility where each year she longed to be closer to her Maker.

Not long ago as I entered her room for a visit she called out, “Oh, Pat. I’m still here and I don’t know what to do.” “Well, Carol,” I replied, “there is a long line of people waiting at the gates of Heaven and you will just have to be patient and wait your turn.”

Carol had been very active in our church and community for over sixty years and as one of our elders, cared deeply for those in her care. She, too, had been a comforting visitor to many people and had seen many of her friends climb that stairway to heaven.

I had the opportunity and pleasure of meeting her two sons and daughter on many occasions while visiting Carol. Their love for their mother was very evident in the way they each attended to her needs at various times. There was affection, gentle chiding, wholesome conversation and endless hours of just being with her. They were always standing by her side.

Yesterday I heard that wonderful song, “Stand by Me” and it brought tears to my eyes as Carol and her devoted family came into my mind.

Don’t we all need somebody to Stand by Me? Enjoy this rendition from many parts of our world and have a Happy Saturday.

Condolences to Congratulations

It was my privilege once again to attend funerals for two members of my church, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, Scarborough. One took place on Saturday, April 22nd and the other on Monday, April 24th. The only significant difference in the lives of these two people, besides their gender, was their age. Alfred was in his 102nd year and Debra had just turned sixty.

The love, admiration, and accolades directed to these two wonderful people by their friends and families left the rest of us wishing we had known them better while at the same time conveying the feeling that we knew them well.

Debra had been an operating room nurse, well known for her caring ways, sunny smile and warm hugs. She was also known for her tenacity in dealing with health problems, and for continuing to love unconditionally in the face of all adversity.

Alfred, had been active all of his life and even at the age of one-hundred-and-one, was still doing aerobics, walking, and standing tall and straight. Our Pastor remarked that when Alfred walked down the aisle to his familiar pew, everyone else automatically straightened their posture.

As end-of-life celebrations can be, these two were so inspirational that one could not help but offer congratulations along with condolences to the loved ones left behind; congratulations for having shared in the lives of these two remarkable people.

Condolences to congratulations…it was so fitting to offer both.


In the Moment

Living consciously involves being genuine; it involves listening and responding to others honestly and openly; it involves being in the moment.”  So says Sidney Poitier in his book, The Measure of a Man.

What does it mean to be genuine; to listen and respond to others honestly and openly; to be in the moment?

It is enough to just ponder these words and glean something from them. It is more than enough to act upon them. There are people waiting to be heard, to have their concerns responded to honestly and openly, to know that someone is in their moment.

Living consciously is being aware; not just going through the motions of day-to-day life. Living consciously is also a responsibility, not only to ourselves but to those who inhabit our world, both our own little world and the world at large. By living consciously we can make a difference in someone else’s life. Maybe we should take a page from Sidney Poitier’s book and take a moment to be in the moment.



Whatever It Takes

Someone needs to hear that they are making a difference in someone’s life. They need to hear that because they exist, life is easier, happier, and more fulfilling. They need to hear that their contribution to a relationship is what makes it stronger. They need to hear that they themselves are strong, resilient, and someone to be proud of. Someone needs to hear that they are loved, appreciated, easy to be with; they need to hear that they are passionate, compassionate, considerate and caring; that a certain someone wouldn’t know what to do without them in their life. And to top it all off, someone needs to know that they are beautiful inside and out and that no one else could hold a candle to them.

Is this someone you? You may have to be the someone who makes another person feel the way you want them to make you feel. Life is reciprocal…you get what you give…reap what you sow. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31) It’s widely known as “the golden rule”

So, if you are the someone in question and are not being fulfilled to your expectations, even after doing the sowing thing, then perhaps it’s time to borrow the mirror on the wall from the evil queen in the Snow White fairy tale…whatever it takes.

(The idea for this blog came from a post on someone’s Facebook page and I decided to mix being serious with a little fun and fancy. However, it is always uplifting to hear nice things about one’s self, so let me tell many of you that my life is much brighter and happier because you are in it, and all of you are beautiful.)



A Human Being vs Being Human

Here’s a quote that came my way yesterday: “There is a lot of difference between a human being and being human.” Interesting concept, don’t you think?

We could never fully define either, but to my mind, a human being is just that…being alive, being busy, being active, being in love, being joyful, being sad, being hungry, being here, being there, being sick, being healthy…and on and on and on…boundless descriptions of what a human being is all about.

Being human on the other hand is being all the things we are meant to be as humans: caring, loving, compassionate, thoughtful, truthful, considerate, kind, faithful, fruitful, interested, attentive…and on and on and on…boundless descriptions of what being human is all about.

Please feel free to add your input. It would make me very happy to hear from you…after all, I’m only human.

It’s Called Alzheimer’s

Being in a pastoral care environment, dementia is one of the major issues we see. It has also touched my life personally, and inspired the following poem.


My love, where did you go?

How many times were you warned

that you would make yourself sick with worry?

And you did.

Not that worry robbed you of memory,

but it left little room for enjoying your life

before it was claimed by dementia.

I look at the shell that is left of you and my heart hurts.

Your eyes are still sky blue,

but the twinkle is gone…replaced by a vacant stare.

When a hint of recognition breaks through,

my heart soars, only to plummet

as the flash of memory disappears once again

into the distance of the disease.

It’s called Alzheimer’s.

It has robbed you of your life, and me of my life partner.


To all whose partners have succumbed to this disease, and to those who are caring for loved ones while watching them disappear little by little, my heart and prayers go out to you.

Appreciating Appreciation

It seems yesterday’s blog, A Prayer for Energy, was a timely one. Three people that I know of found it helpful and I got the best hug from a church friend.

What a hug, I can still feel it! Thank you, Christine, it was very energizing.

It is very rewarding when the written word touches a chord somewhere, and people voice their appreciation.

I truly appreciate that.

Thank you.

On The Sidewalk of Life

On Monday of this week, I had the sad opportunity to attend the funeral of a fifty-two-year-old young man who was a long-time member of my church. Andrew was the epitome of good nature, good deeds, and good looks. He was also the recipient of ominous cardiovascular genetics. His father and brother both died of this deadly disease at a very early age. Although his mother also had the gene, she did live a longer life, and Andrew became her solitary caregiver after she suffered a stroke in her early seventies.

This young man took care of his mother in the same way she cared for him as a child. He was always by her side, taking her to movies, out to dinner, to church functions, and to church every Sunday. When Andrew smiled, it lit up a room; when he laughed, it could be heard clear across Scarborough, and if Andrew cried, nobody heard it.

And his good works didn’t stop with his mother. On one occasion, I met Andrew when he was shopping at a Superstore where I had just purchased a patio set of table, four chairs and an umbrella. Seeing me trying to cram this whole set into my little Kia Magentis, totally without success, Andrew promptly pulled his van up behind me and loaded my patio furniture into it. “Where to, Patricia?” he asked with his famous brilliant smile. He followed me to my house, unloaded my set, and offered to put it all together for me. But I declined that extra service and sent him on his way, with a huge hug of thanks, to get his mother’s groceries. Not long after that, Andrew’s mother suffered a major stroke which ended her life, and saw him handle the final act of seeing to his mom’s last wishes.

That’s how Andrew walked the sidewalk of life. Everything he did was from the goodness of his heart; one that never functioned physically the way it was meant to.

After his mother’s death, Andrew began admitting to having problems with his heart. In spite of that, he picked up the pieces of life without his mom, and carried on living with a new sense of freedom, when he wasn’t in hospital for one procedure or another.

And then Andrew was gone. A massive heart attack took him in his sleep. I’m told he knew his days were numbered, but not for one moment do I believe that he gave in to self pity. I’m told that on his final day on earth, he mentioned to a neighbour that he wasn’t feeling well but went about filling the bird bath and feeder so that his feathered friends were looked after. That’s the kind of guy he was.

As the clergyman who did his funeral service told us, this good natured young man got off the sidewalk of life and onto the stairway to Heaven.  And he only did so after a final act of kindness.

Can you imagine how many angels were waiting for Andrew at the top of that stairway?





What Would You Think?

Because I have unstable angina, and a very caring physician, on June 24th I wore a heart monitor for twenty-four hours, to detect any abnormalities.

On July 6th I suffered a broken heart. Not a heart attack…a broken heart…almost as painful, but in a different way.

My question is, would the monitor have picked up on what my heart was going through that day had I  been wearing it at that time?

I think, perhaps it would have, because hearts are not meant to be broken, and therefore constitute an abnormality.

What would you think?

P.S. Is my heart still broken? No. Thanks to the Great Physician, Himself.