Sunday, July 18, 2010

Milestone: Arrival of Good News

The other week, I received some exciting news on the job front. 

Since my late teens, I've worked in the media -- in broadcasting, specifically. I lived and breathed this wonderfully creative industry! I was fortunate to work for two incredibly innovative companies -- two of the very best in Canada -- and I was always so proud to be associated with both of them. 

Unfortunately, a short time ago, the broadcast landscape changed. Buy-outs and mergers were the name of the game. After years in the biz, I was laid off. My beloved TV company (my 2nd) was gobbled up by another, and while the successor celebrated its latest triumph, many of us were caught in the first wave of redundancies and kicked to the curb. Well, it wasn't actually that violent, but it sure felt like it at the time. 

It does sound like a cliche, but in many ways the loss of my job, one that I loved so much, turned out in retrospect to be a good thing for me. The company culture changed, many other people were later let go in the layoff undertow that followed and the place was suddenly different. 

Companies change. People move on. Life goes on. Re-invention while tricky at the best of times, is always a positive step. 

I decided to follow my other passion and become a freelance writer.

The new career path started hesitantly. My Mum's illness was one of the reasons why my new gig began with a whisper and not a shout. I wanted to be there for her hospital stay, her subsequent healing at home, and doctors' appointments. At least dabbling in freelance, I could be there for her on my own terms. I didn't have to ask anyone for permission. I didn't have to feel guilty that I was often absent. Being cut free from a 40+ hour a week office job was a very good thing at a time when family must come first. 

My Mum was the first person that I would call when exciting news came my way. She was always my #1 fan. She never had an agenda, or felt obligated to be happy for me. Her joy for my little victories was genuine every single time. Since my Mum passed four months ago, I have had countless instances *daily* when I really wanted to call her up and tell her my news. Most often it would be just minor stuff but still... the stories of everyday life where you share tidbits back and forth. I shared so much with my Mum on a daily basis. Life has felt somewhat hollow without her at the other end of the telephone, or dining room table.

The other week, I received news that one of my pitches to a new potential writing client had been accepted. This news was a huge deal for me - a first step to working for new people, getting more exposure, getting truly in gear for this new career that I am really enjoying. Yet, the one person that I wanted to share it with more than anyone else was not here. Even now when my dialogues with her seem somewhat one sided, I still want to make her proud. Hopefully somewhere, she is. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rona Maynard's When Your Mother Dies

I find great comfort in reading the accounts of other women who have lost their Mothers. Often these real life stories are heartbreaking and at times difficult to read, but when you have been stumbling down a motherless path yourself, there's always something tangible in such prose that makes you feel not so alone.

Rona Maynard, who many Canadians know and love as the former editor of Chatelaine magazine, published an incredibly affecting piece a few years ago. It's a credit to Rona's writing that this beautiful article stands the test of time. It's as poignant now as it was in 1996 when it first captured the attentions of millions of readers. Revisiting Rona's article, I cannot quell the urgent tears that so desperately want to trickle down my face. A more moving editorial you will not find. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

I hope many of you find When Your Mother Dies as wonderful as I do. 

Want to read more from Rona? Please visit her website for a collection of her published works. Once at her site, you can also find out more information about her book, 'My Mother's Daughter' now available in paperback.