Love is Love

This is my Pride.  It took a lot of years, but then this lady happened and suddenly everything made sense.  I was no longer ashamed or worried about what people would think.  The door opened to a world where love is just love, and families and just families, and I get to spend every single day with this woman who makes my life so much better than it ever was without her.

IMG_9058

IMG_0655

IMG_9298

IMG_7493

IMG_8132

IMG_5421

IMG_5517

IMG_2341

 

Advertisements

What is Lily Looking For?

IMG_1514

She’s looking for number 100!

100 what, you may ask yourself?

A while ago, we asked the people we love to take a few minutes out of their lives to register to become organ donors.  Originally we set our goal at getting 25 people to register.  We reached that goal and then decided to double it.  Before I knew it, our message had reached 50 people and we decided to double it again.  And now, after checking in tonight, we are at 99 people – one person away from reaching this incredible number!

In Ontario, there are no more cards issued with your driver’s licence asking you to indicate whether you wanted to be an organ donor.  Now, if you want to be an organ donor, you register online with the Ontario-wide Be A Donor program.  You just need to have your health card and 5 minutes of your time and then your choice is linked to the rest of your health card information – simple and straightforward.  Beyond that, it means having the conversation with your loved ones, to ensure that your choice is fully understood.  Sadly, as we all know, so many deaths happen unexpectedly and we don’t have the chance to work out the logistics – those decisions are left to our friends and family.  It can be hard sometimes to have the conversation before hand, it’s such an easy topic to avoid, but it’s such an important one to have.  We’ve had it in our family – multiple times in fact, when dealing with health issues that have come up.   We know who wants to be an organ donor for life-saving purposes, and who would donate organs to research as well – when my Aunt Gail passed away a few years ago, it was an easy decision because she had been very clear about her wishes.   People avoid having the conversation because it’s hard – it’s dealing with unpleasant subject matter, but it’s so much easier to have the conversation now, when that’s all it is – a quick chat – then having to make that decision on someone’s behalf without being sure of what they would want.  By doing these two things – registering through Be A Donor and sitting down with your family and talking it out – it’s one less thing that needs to be “decided” – it just becomes fact.

And sometimes we all just need a little fact to hold onto.  It’s hard sometimes to watch the news, or listen to people speak, and not feel slightly overwhelmed and powerless.  I heard it over and over again with the recent election: why vote when all of the choices are awful? Why should I waste my time when they don’t listen to what I want anyways? This is one thing that we can control, that we have the absolute power in.  Beyond that, to hold on to the fact that something you have chosen is going to directly make someone’s (lots of someones!) life better – if you think about it, just allow yourself to really imagine the gift this person will receive – that’s a pretty amazing image to  hold on to.

So please, if you’ve reading my other pleas and you haven’t registered yet, just grab your health card and 5 minutes of your time before going to bed tonight and register.  If you’ve been reading my pleas and you’ve already registered, then as soon as you stop rolling your eyes and telling me to stop talking about this already, please take that extra 5 minutes to share this post with someone, anyone and hopefully we can hit reach our 100 person goal – and then I can double that again!  With your help, we’ve already done it twice and as they always say, “the third time’s the charm”.

Do it for you, do it for someone else, or Do it for Lily.

Tomorrow Came

And of course, tomorrow was different.  Hours after posting my last entry, I had a conversation with Jess where I asked her to remind me that when I’m struggling like that, that the best thing I can do for myself is to take 15 minutes to just sit and write it out.  Thoughts that are so jumbled in my head while I’m trying to work through them become so much clearer when I finally put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard but that doesn’t sound nearly as poetic).  As soon as I hit “publish” I felt some of the weight lift off of me and I was able to focus again on how to make “tomorrow” better.

Now of course, it didn’t hurt that the actual next day was the 2014 Toronto Buddy Walk, and I think it’s fairly impossible to be anything but happy when you’re immersed in such an amazing experience.  We were lucky enough to have the perfect weather – sunshine and wind and just warm enough to enjoy the walk without feeling like it was work! The Down Syndrome Association of Toronto did an incredible job putting the day together, there literally was something for everyone: face painting (my personal favourite), puppet shows, police cars, Carlton the Bear leading the warm-up, and cupcakes at the end!  Everywhere you looked, people were just happy to be celebrating our kids, our siblings, our cousins, our friends.  If I had been feeling any of the darkness of the past week, it was erased – wiped clean that day, and I was able to start fresh.  And of course, a huge part of that was because of our very own Team Lily Bug.  I’ve said it a million times and I will say it a million more, we are so lucky to have some of the best people surrounding us and having some of them walking with us brought tears to my eyes a couple of times that day.  It’s just overwhelming to me sometimes how much love Lily gets and especially on this day, I need to thank our new friend Lori.  We met Lori about a month before the Buddy Walk, at our friend Joey’s 5th birthday party because her son Jack is one of Joey’s favourite people.  During the party, Lori stole Lily from us at some point and spent ages just snuggling with her, telling us later that she had just fallen in love with her.  Fast forward to the week of the Buddy Walk and Joey’s mom, Theresa, emailed me to tell me that Lori really wanted to join us for the Buddy Walk and just wanted to confirm that it was okay if they tagged along.  I was touched and was just excited to have a bigger team, but I was blown away when they arrived at the park that day – not only were they there, in blue and yellow (our team colours), but they brought with them a crazy huge and totally unexpected donation that they had managed to raise in just a few days.  It was overwhelming to say the least.

IMG_6888

IMG_6861

IMG_1793

IMG_6959

IMG_7028

IMG_7125

And life has just been a crazy ride since then.  My dad had his surgery, successfully, a couple of weeks ago and that’s a huge weight lifted off everyone’s shoulders.  He enjoyed some snuggle time with Lily just before he went in, which made me happy.  I wasn’t incredibly worried that it wouldn’t work out, but with surgery there’s always that thought in the back of your head, and I was happy to know that IF that had been my last memory of him, it was a great one.  But there was no room for such morbid thoughts, as he came through with flying colours and is happily back on track with his life goal of dying at the age of 99, being shot by a jealous husband.  At least I know I come by my dreamer personality honestly!

IMG_2015