The Bleeding Heart: A deep and passionate love between two people, A connection that goes beyond life and death.
Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favourite days of the year, after all it was a day to celebrate love!
Before we had our kids my husband and I would celebrate like most, with a date, dinner, gifts maybe a movie. When the kids came along, we had so much more love to celebrate and it became a tradition for me to make it a special day for all of us. Usually, there was school and fun activities for the kids, I was usually volunteering somewhere in the schools. Supper time was the time for our family to be together and that was when I would make a nice meal and leave special gifts at each of their place settings. One of the things I enjoyed the most was making a heart shaped chocolate cake. One year I was able to find heart shaped plates, which was perfect for the day.
When my husband passed away, Valentine’s Day was the least thing on my mind, but when that first Valentine’s Day came along, it hit me like a brick. I remember standing in the laundry room doing laundry thinking about what the kids were up to that evening, knowing they were all busy, when it dawned on me that it really was Valentine’s Day and I was going to be alone. I remember being over come with emotion. Being alone, wasn’t something I would have gotten upset about, and even in the previous few years, Valentine’s Day had taken on a different look as the kids were growing up. I think it just hit me how much I missed my husband, even though I missed him everyday, this day knocked me to my knees with the enormity of my loss. It was right then and there that I decided I didn’t like Valentine’s Day any more.
When you are going through grief there is so much in your head, and sometimes, although you are incredibly sad, it not always just about the person who is gone, it’s about everything. It has taken 8 more Valentine’s Days for me to finally feel like it’s okay. This year, remembering the love wasn’t so sad and the feeling of loss seems to have lessened. I guess that is how grief changes over the years, it stops being centre of your being, but instead it subsides and allows the memories to become sweet instead of heart wrenchingly painful.
This year, maybe because my own grief isn’t as hard to bear, I have been thinking a lot about my family and friends who have lost their own Valentine this past year. The day before last year’s Valentine’s Day, my Dad lost his girlfriend unexpectedly, it’s hard to believe a year has past and I know he is still reeling from it. My friend lost his wife only 8 days after Valentine’s Day and my sister in law lost her husband, one of my dear friends who had been there for me at the worst of times, just a month later. Other friends have lost their spouses recently and my heart is breaking for all of them. I know there is no words of comfort that will actually bring comfort, and telling someone it will just take time doesn’t really help either. But time is what it takes.
Valentine’s Day may never be the same for many of us who have lost our Valentine, some will move forward and find a new Valentine to share their life with, others will move forward on their own in their own way. For me, Valentine’s Day is not so much about the love of my husband, that will always be there, it’s more about, plain and simple, love. The love of my kids, family and friends, just having people in my life makes a day of love worth celebrating.
I hope for those reeling from loss will find that in the not to distance future, that the love and memories become sweeter, and the loss lessens.
The Bleeding Heart: A deep and passionate love between two people, A connection that goes beyond life and death.
Ask any artist what is the hardest part about their job and I bet 95% of them will tell you its the promotion and marketing. It was super hard for me when I first started out; you need to promote, you need to market, you need to say "Hey, look at me, look at my art!", and hope they look at it and think it's great. Better yet, they think it's so great they buy it. Promotion and marketing were so far out of my comfort zone I really didn't know if I could do it, but I did, I learned and I grew as an artist and I am still learning.
Being an artist is a pretty solitary job, but I have always been a big believer in artists helping artists. We know what we need, and for those of us with experience or in a position to help, that's what I feel we should do. Over the years, I've been fortunate to have been able to help quite a few of my artists friends and even artists I didn't know very well. It's been fun and very rewarding. I truly hope I have made a difference in some of their lives, because I know people have helped me along the way, people I am so very grateful to.
Last year I decided to step out of my comfort zone and put some information about my St. Albert Series on a local Facebook Page. I was a little bit nervous because I was new to the page, and wasn't sure what you could post, what I wanted to post was basically an ad. I read the rules and decided it would be alright. I got it ready, clicked post and then let it go (sort of, you know how that goes with FB). Not too long after the post I got a message from Steven Barry, a local (St. Albert, AB) internet channel producer. He asked me if he could interview me about my St. Albert series and other art. After the interview we got to talking and he asked me if I would be interested in joining his team; he pitched me his idea about doing a segment interviewing local artists in our community; he asked me if I would produce the segment and interview the artists. Seriously, me? Okay, organize, contact, that sort of thing is right up my alley, but the interviewing part, I have no experience with that. Being interviewed, I can do, but being the one to ask the questions, keep the interview going, hmmm, actually it sounded like lots fun! Let's face it, what a way to help promote more artists! How hard could it be?
Okay, so the first set of interviews turned out to be a bit harder than I thought; a little more nerve wracking than I anticipated, at least it was the night before as I was trying to prepare things for the next day. I started to get nervous and have self doubts about what I had agreed to do, but something inside me kept reassuring me this was going to be fun and I knew this was going to be a good thing. No matter how many self doubts and second thoughts, I was doing this! After all, getting out of my comfort zone was something I was really getting used to and it has served me well so far.
I set up the first set of interviews at the Art Gallery of St. Albert, invited four guests, Steven helped me with the questions and gave me lots of guidance. The next day, when it came time for the interviews, I took a deep breath, and proceeded. Luckily, I had dream guests and they made it so much easier. It also helps to have a very kind and understanding producer. After the interviews were done I felt so much better, it was fun and I figured I could do it again.
When the first interview aired I was excited, but I worried a bit about how it would all turn out. I admit, it was a bit harder than I thought to watch myself, but I also realized this was were the biggest learning opportunity would take place. So far, I have learned not to move around, your personal space may get a bit smaller, every uh uh, or comment comes through the mic, nodding your head a lot looks strange, making mistakes is okay because it's going to be edited out, the beginning and endings are the hardest, and as Steven always says "you only get better by doing". My guests have been great, many of them super nervous, but they all did a great job, and Steven with his editing wizardry fixed anything that didn't quite work.
I really hope this makes a difference in artist's lives. I hope they get a bit more notice and this helps further their career even in the slightest degree. At the very least it's one more opportunity to be in front of a camera and get out of their comfort zone.
Thanks to Jenny, Carol, Lewis, Berni, Barry, Tim, Rick, Vicki, Doris, Deirdre, Miles, Jeff, Cheryl, Karen, Jori and Judy for being my guests and sharing in on this new adventure. Thanks especially to Steven for giving me this opportunity and having a good sense of humor.
Stay tuned, so much more to come!
To see the interviews please check out tv7.ca's website or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tv7.ca
I grew up in Red Deer and met my husband when we were both in High School. When he passed away seven years ago it was devastating for me and my kids, and it's been a long road to move through the grief. I don't actually know if the grief will ever be gone, it's just part of who I am, it doesn't define me, but it's part of my life. I think about my husband a lot, not constantly as I used to, but he's still a pinnacle part of who I am and will always be.
I remember talking about him a lot after he died, never really accepting the fact he was gone, and not wanting to let him go. I still talk about him, but he's not front and center in my conversations any longer, nor is my grief. But I still miss him terribly, I miss my best friend and I miss our life together, but I have learned to move forward.
Sometimes, I worry people will forget about him, but then I stop and realize that would be impossible, he was an amazing individual and touched so many lives, and truly made a difference for many people. I remember hearing stories from people about how he helped them, or inspired them, how kind he was, and how he would listen to them, and of course how much fun he was and how funny. Even after his death he continued to inspire people to change their lives for the better.
It warms my heart when people talk to me about him and remember him for being such a great human being that he was. Yesterday, my son shared with me a Spittin' Chiclet podcast that Ron MacLean was on, and that he mentioned Bernie in the pod cast. Bernie and Ron were friends growing up in Red Deer. This isn't the first time Ron has mentioned Bernie out in the public, and each time I hear about it I am truly grateful. You see, Bernie was the person who got Ron involved in broadcasting, and then into refereeing. I remember when Ron's book "Cornered" first came out we bought a copy; Bernie was surprised and happy that Ron gave him a mention. I also remember one of the times Bernie met Ron somewhere in Edmonton, this particular time Don Cherry was with him. Ron off the cuff mentioned to Don that Bernie was the guy that got him into all of this, I don't remember what Don Cherry said, something sarcastic I think.
Now that Bernie is gone it means even more to me when he is talked about or mentioned; I love to hear the stories about his practical joke antics and just hearing about him in general. It means a lot when Ron mentions him and gives him credit for getting him in the business.
I know Bernie was so proud of Ron and it was always fun for us to share how we knew Ron and to watch him on Hockey Night in Canada. Bernie might not be here any longer, but I still think he is influencing and changing lives for the better.
You can hear the pod cast by following the link, Ron mentions Bernie at the -1:22:47 minute mark.