“To Empower. It is not just a question of doing things for others but of helping them to do things for themselves, helping them discover the meaning of their lives. We human beings are all fundamentally the same. We all belong to a common, broken humanity. We all have wounded, vulnerable hearts. Each one of us needs to feel appreciated and understood, we all need help. To love means to empower.” – Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche
Happy Canada Day! Today is a celebration. A unique and special day for me, as it is also the birthday of my mother. Today I celebrate her memory with the announcement of my next RUN FOR A CAUSE.
On July 31st 2008, my mother passed away tragically. It would be on this day a fire would break out in her North Vancouver apartment in Edgemont Village; at the same time her fight against alcohol addiction and mental illness would take her life.
This quote, my mom and I always loved and it is so true! As women we MUST stand outside the norm, and be a force to reckon with. My mom in her sobriety was one of these great women who spoke her mind and her heart. her most powerful message, follow your heart and dreams and the rest of life will follow.
Tragic loss and the question of suicide are two struggles I accept every day. It is not something you “deal” with, it is purely a never ending journey of self love, compassion, and forgiveness, more importantly it is a journey of empowerment. For anyone, who has suffered loss – you know this journey well and I applaud you for the self responsibility you have to strive to love and understand it’s every step.
You see, as much as my mother struggled with her inner demons, she was a beautiful, compassionate soul and it is because of these attributes that I celebrate her best qualities and I pay tribute to each and every day.
On July 31 2011, I will be running the San Francisco Marathon in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association of North Vancouver and the YWCA’s single mothers & families network. My dad and I will embark to visit one of my mothers favorite cities.
My mission is to promote the liberation of the human heart, to change the landscape and perception of mental illness and addiction. To liberate the human spirit from the tentacles of chaos and from the fear of those that provoke us to exclude and reject others based on societal mis conceptions and lack of understanding. It will be a 26.2 mile journey that (I hope) will become a liberation that opens many up and leads us, as a unified front, to the discovery of our most common humanity.
At some point in time mental illness or addiction may affect us all, and most often it is not fully understood, nor is the journey many walk appreciated for it’s courage, bravery and multi-tiered levels of human spirit.
The key to unlocking understanding is to support the resilience and recovery of people with mental illness though advocacy, education, research and service; which the Canadian Mental Health Asscoiation of the North Shore and the YWCA Single Mother’s Netowork aims to do.
It is not enough to reveal to people their value, to understand and care for people living with mental illness – we need to act and protect their rights. To love people is to celebrate them. Too often we are bombarded by the ‘tragedy” of mental illness, people living with disabilities and addiction face every day.
On this race day there will be no sad faces, no pity, and only tears of celebration. Every child, every person living with mental illness and their supporters will know that they are celebrated and they are a source of immacultate joy!
Please join me in celebrating my mothers memory, a women of valiant strength and courage and lets change the face of mental illness and women living with and transforming their lives out of addiction! Together we can make a difference!
For more information on the CMHA of North Shore visit: http://northwestvancouver.cmha.bc.ca/
For more information on the YWCA Sinlge Mother’s Network of Programs visit: http://www.ywcavan.org/content/WOMEN___THEIR_FAMILIES/113