Mr. Toastmaster, fellow toastmaster and welcome guests.
When I realized that my icebreaker would have to be about myself, my life, I panicked. How the heck do you get half a century into 4 to 6 minutes, not that I wanted to, after all my life is personal and I certainly didn’t want to share it with a room full of strangers. What I decided to share with you is the last 5 months with you because I believe they will become my peak, because life is peaks and valleys, but to get to the top you have to start from the bottom.
On oct.8th 1996 I took my husband to Toronto General Hospital for an angiogram which should have been a Ed had grown children from his previous marriage so I immediate called them to come to the hospital. While I could not admit then I realize now that he was slipping away. He passed away on Sunday morning at 7 am and from that moment I knew my life as I knew it would never be the same.
Because Ed had been a very successful business person, father, grandfather and uncle I decided to have the Service in Toronto.
After the service ( which was packed to the very last pew) I packed up my two dogs and headed home to begin the laborious task of Letting Go
My sister Sandy had come from Quebec City to be with me for the week and we sort of did nothing. I remember we drank a lot of wine, raked leaves, packed up Ed’s clothes and just passed time.
The hardest part was when she left to go home, then I had a sudden jolt of reality, Where does one go to find solace. How dies someone start over. How will I ever manage alone, we had been inseparable
Ed and I had spent the last 10 years in Florida so I’d seen plenty of our friends lose a spouse and each one coped in a different way. The one thing I knew was you can’t replace people that any resolution I was seeking had to come from within. I had to be the one to save me from myself. I had to be my own knight in shining armour on a white horse. riding to my own rescue. Where do I look for answers, then I remembered a time in my life when I was down and out in one of the valleys and at that time I found my answer in books. My prescription was in reading so I started to look for some answers.The one thing that I had to know was that Ed was at peace that there really was a spiritual being out there and that he was with his family and friends who had gone before him Someone recommended a book called Embraced by the light” it was a book about a woman who had an out of body experience, one of the things she claimed was that we picked our parents why what an absurd though, if that is the case surely I would have picked Donald Trump or Malcolm Forbes as parents but then I realized I never would have met Ed if that had been the case.
The book left me somewhat bitter and I moved on to read another called “Healing the child within” it’s a book about learning to love ourselves and healing the shame that sometimes bind us. It about families , hell most of the families I know are dysfunctional in one way or another. I was grateful for the past experiences that put me in a time and place to meet the kindest, gentlest and most wonderful person that I would spend the last 23 years with,
The third book was called the “Artists Way, it’s a book about discovering and recovering your creative self. The author suggested keeping a morning journal, three pages of whatever you feel like writing about. It works, there’s something about putting your thoughts on paper that is very theriputic. I was able to let go of a lot of anger that I had built up over the years. The very people I thought had caused me the most hurt and damage in my life have been instrumental in creating a bond a special friendship a special marriage , They had shown us how luck we were to have found each other, if they hadn’t been the way they were we wouldn’t have known what a special thing we had found
The next book was by Tony Robbins called “Unlimited Power one of the things he suggest is “mirroring people he says that we should find someone we admire who is successful and copy them.
If we walk in there shoes as they did, we’ll end up where they did and avoid the mistakes they made. So I thought who would I mirror? John Kennedy, Martin Luther king, Margaret Thatcher, heck by the time I read all these books I would be an old lady, then it came to me I would mirror my husband ED who came from humble beginnings. Ed who saw potential in a “Common Waitress” (Me) , and elevated her to the position as his wife, friend and business person.
This is dedicated to you my love
Now 15 years later I have made many mistakes but I still want to the the best person I can be because that is what Ed would want for me