I thought about the length of this post and perhaps I should prepare it in smaller versions. Then I thought about what it represents and I am over short versions. As really I am relating to the long haul, the journey and the path along with which we travel. So I will not apologize for the length, I will however invite you to pour yourself a bevy of choice, put your feet up and take a moment to read this. I hope you enjoy the story and perhaps share your own inspirational journey with me.
This story begins in Winnipeg and ends in British Columbia.
Some 38 years ago when I first heard a name Terry Fox, I had no idea what his journey would mean to me personally.
For those of you who may not be familiar with Terry’s story let me share a bit about it.
This tenacious and determined young man was born in Winnipeg Manitoba in 1958. A city I know well as I was born there in 1956. His mother Betty would become a cheerleader and advocate for his cause something that I can relate to having had the amazing opportunity to do so for my family. He grew up in Port Coquitlam British Columbia and loved sports. Something I do not share although I do admire those who can and do have talent and the ability find joy participating in various sports. Terry competed in basketball and cross country running. He had the mental toughness to succeed. I on the other hand always doubted my abilities in life and did not have much confidence to stand in any kind of power in my early years.
In March 9, 1977, Terry discovers that he has a malignant tumour in his right leg which results in being amputated above the knee. In my life I was planning a September wedding to my high school sweetheart. Terry’s life being impacted by a diagnosis and mine starting a life full of adventure and hope, both of us unaware what life would require of us. Each one at different ends of a scale both with equal opportunity to dig deep when life goes sideways.
Terry’s heroes journey begins the month of February 1979 as he decides to train for a run across Canada from the east to west coast to raise money and awareness for Cancer research.
April 12, 1980, Terry dips his artificial leg in the Atlantic ocean in St. John’s Newfoundland and begins his marathon as he runs 43 km (23 miles) per day which takes him through 6 provinces. I have visited St. John’s Newfoundland as my very dear friend and Soul Genesis mentor resides just outside the city. It is a breath taking province with beautiful but rugged terrain. I cannot fathom running along side the highway in winds and weather that can be hurricane quality. Terry did, with his small crew following behind in a van collecting the funds that the scores of people in various communities were giving and being there when he needed rest.
In the year 1978 until 1981 my life was in the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario. My husband’s career had us living in the port city with beautiful Lake Superior and amazing landscapes.
September 1,1980 after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles) in a news conference held in Thunder Bay, it was announced that Terry’s primary cancer had spread to his lungs and his Marathon of Hope would be suspended while he received treatment. My husband and I heard this sad news while we were on holiday in Toronto, Ontario. I remember weeping feeling so sad and compassion for the handsome, curly haired young man who brought a nation together in courage and hope. His message to the country was “I’m gonna do my very best. I’ll fight. I promise I won’t give up.”
Sadly on June 28, 1981 Terry dies in New Westminster British Columbia just shy of his 23rd birthday.
My life has now been moved to another northern town and in time my husband and I settle in Mississauga Ontario, just outside of Toronto.
The Terry Fox foundation to date has raised $750 million worldwide for cancer research. Betty Fox became the spokesperson and familiar face at the events. Before her death in 2011 she had spoken to more than 400,000 school children and her parting words in every speech, “Never, ever give up on your dreams.”
My life carried on with the birth of 2 children. We returned to Thunder Bay one summer on a family vacation and took our children to view the statue of the young man that they learned about in school. It was a poignant moment and it will be a several years before my husband and I return.
As our children grow and we go through life transitions that only family can bring about, I have many times had to dig deep into my resources to find strength and courage to fight and to not give up.
Through this period I am learning new knowledge through many self awareness courses, certifications in wholistic practices and have started to help people through their own life transitions.
In 2013 my husband was one of the casualties of the economy and after 16 years working globally for a company found himself in the land of unemployment. It was devastating news however with his skill set he was not too concerned that the opportunities would come. The wait was on and on and on.
As the realization that the economy was not aligning opportunities we decided in 2015 to relocate to British Columbia. Our destination was not totally defined however we had strong feelings to around the Coquitlam or Abbotsford area. The early dream to retire in this province was going to become a reality, except we were not ready to hang up our businesses and thought it would a nice gateway to a slower pace for that next transition.
Then life throws a curve ball. The kind that takes your breath away and has you grasping on for dear life.
Through all the planning and the moving and the packing my husband had his right foot in a cast resulting in me doing the all the preparation work. A May injury to his ankle results in many trips to Drs. before the correct diagnosis is given.
Nothing is going to stop us. My husband has Terry’s mental toughness to succeed and determination to make his dreams come true. I was not sure about my own abilities. The sale of our home is to be finalized on Oct 1, and another curve ball, seriously the universe really had us in the “dug out”.
Our 38th wedding anniversary was on that September 23 and we celebrated that day in the hospital. The cast had been removed earlier in the month and my husband was in a walking boot. This created a small wound which in 3 days became a raging infection. And yes, for those who are wondering he is a diabetic. The announcement came on September 22 that his right leg would need to be amputated below the knee.
“Hold on….did you say amputated?” We have a move happening, our house is closing in 9 days! The whirlwind of activity that took place and the love that started pouring over us was like a Tsunami.
The surgery took place and I shall share more about that another time of how the universe has your back and I say that with complete utter trust and confidence.
The rehabilitation was quick and my husband very focused. The goals he had printed on the white board in his room was out by Christmas driving by February. Which of course he did make happen.
We set up household in a rental condo with only the necessary boxes unpacked. We settled into the new life, the hallway of never again and not yet. I found myself having to physically be able to move locations, care for a husband who was recovering from a surgery that for a period of time left his mobility limited, while dealing with my own dreams being crushed. Totally, vaporized.
I was not only in a hallway I was in what felt like the hallway of hell. Of course I was not alone my husband felt the weight of how his life would continue from this point in time. Our fear, anxiety, anger, grief was the emotion of the day. Some days we could support each other completely and other days all we could muster was getting out of bed.
I had self help tools that I had been collecting for about 14 years. My journey of spirituality and self awareness gave me quite the selection. I did from time to time require a friend or mentor to shine some light for me when it got too dark. I had early on decided I would honour myself with what I called “Barbara’s pity party” for a maximum of 15 minutes per day. I could rant, swear, stomp, scream, or cry and then that was it until the next day. The rest of the day was about moving forward, creating positive moments, planning dreaming and building. I still had clients to work with and I did not want to let them down. I did learn during that time that I did have mental toughness, I did have courage and I could do anything I put my energy into. Talk about a mind blowing freaking ah ha moment! My “pity parties” became fewer and fewer.
As we both healed and life became the new normal British Columbia still beckoned. However the emotional and financial toll on us was heavy and when my sister who is my earth angel, and yes they are real (and that too shall be another time and story) extended help by moving in with them in Manitoba it became a full circle.
So with boxes packed yet again, my husband and I took to the highway. Each in our own car, music blaring and the big city lights in our rear view mirror. The prairie town where our story began is in the windshield.
A few days before our departure I have a dream and I see Terry Fox running along the highway. He had a distinguishing hop and run and I could see it very clearly.
I felt that determination, the never give up attitude.
It was not myself who could be compared to this young man as it was my husband who had the life altering amputation.
I was the “crew”, coming along in support.
I am sure Betty Fox had dreams and aspirations for her son and family and then became the spokes person for others who experience the outcome of Cancer.
The night before we arrived in Thunder Bay the decision was made to stop at the Terry Fox memorial site.
It was a beautiful drive. The hills and turns of the highway as you drive along Lakes and rocks is a motorcyclists heaven I am sure. For me as always when I have returned to Thunder Bay I have a deep connection, a soul connection and that day was no different. The Sleeping Giant or Nanabijou as it is known in the Ojibway traditions has always held a special place in my heart.
As I approach the park my husband is waiting. Together we join hands and walk along the path up ahead to the statue. So large, so commanding, like Terry was. We both take our time walking around the statue and each of us wiping tears from our eyes. Each in our own space of what the past few years of this life transition has held. Each of us deep in thought about the young man who brought a country together, inspired others to live their dreams and lived a full life. There happened to be a young man just about to leave when I approached and ask if he would mind taking a picture and he says “sure”.
My husband and I with our arms around each other smile, knowing that “we won’t give up”, that we will “never, never give up on our dreams.”
I wanted to share this story with you as a message of not just hope, but of community, of love, of courage and of perseverance. We had so much support and love from community during our hallway experience and it continues.
Our journey is not complete as yet we have not arrived in British Columbia and we have not given up on the dream that it will happen.
What we have surrendered is holding on with tight fists we are open to allow the space for God, or Divine Source, The Universe or Dude what ever you call the amazing Creating Energy to step in and help unfold our divine soul plan.
I have learned that it is ok to seek assistance when you are in the hallway. Sometimes we need an extra pair of eyes, or stronger light to see the path and a hand that will reach out and let you know you are not alone and to be your “crew”. And even when your destination has a totally different outcome and one you never ever would have consciously chosen, you can experience joy, love and excitement in the new one.
Yes, there may be a period of transition and acceptance and that is ok. It is when you look back at the journey and you see all the surprises and gifts along the way that you would not have had, or otherwise understood the statement “for your highest good” which becomes very clear indeed.
So when I close my blogs and postings with I am happy to help I truly do mean it.
When I say I know life transitions I truly do mean it.
When I say that I have experienced help and support along the way and want to be that for you I truly do mean it.
When I say that you have courage and abilities that are waiting to be uncovered I truly do meant it.
If you know nothing else, be 100% assured that you are not here to struggle you are here to thrive and you can be the Terry and Betty Fox to someone. A way-shower or a support crew we each and every one of us ordinary people have opportunities to discover our extraordinary experiences.
Thank you for hanging out till the end!
I hope you see your life transition journey in a different light.
I am happy to help!
I cannot pack your house for moving.
I could…but seriously I am over it!
I can however help guide you on your journey through a doorway of the unknown. I love being part of the support “crew” and I have acquired a few tools from my own journey that I am happy to share!
Until next time,