Ordinary days

• June 5, 2013 • Comments (2)

Yesterday I went to a talent show at Branksome Hall, in support of a young lady named Sophie Sullivan.  Sophie was in Emily’s grade 3 class at Branksome.  Last winter, she fell while skiing and triggered a rupture of an AVM (arteriovenous malformation, a tangle of arteries and blood vessels in her brain that she’d probably “silently” had since birth).   She has not yet been able to return to Branksome.  She is in a wheelchair and is able to express herself via her very beautiful eyes and some sounds, although she cannot yet speak.  She enjoys watching Glee (every show, in fact), and the lovely Dot Jones (Coach Beiste on the show) flew from Los Angeles to be with Sophie for the talent show.

And in late May my buddy Peter Mockler , a very fit 60 year old, fell while visiting Montreal for the funeral of his brother-in-law.   (Peter is the president of Lenovo Canada, who donated the computer we use in the voice clinic’s waiting area).   Peter hit his head when he fell, and was in a coma for over a week.  He was on a ventilator for a while, underwent a trach, and is now breathing on this own.  His eyes are also now  open, although he is not yet “awake” (I think this means that what his eyes see does not yet trigger any brain activity).   In another couple weeks, the docs in Montreal hope to replace a piece of his skull so that he can return home to London.  All his friends are pulling for him and recounting funny Mockler stories (Peter is hilarious) on his site, www.posthope.org/petermockler.

All this reminded me of how grateful I am for ordinary days.   Days when you wake up, work, volunteer, ferry the kids to school, go to the grocery store, meet a friend for a beer, generally run around like a crazy person….and nothing bad happens.   No cancer fights, no struggling for your voice, no strokes, or muggings, or falls, or news that takes your breath away.   Just ordinary days.  Today I was driving Haley, Em, and Grace to school.  Grace (5 years old) was reading her Grade 1 guided reading book aloud.  She got bored with that, so she started reading the author bios, including some pretty big words like “illustrator.”   Her “sounded out” pronunciation was very cute, and directionally correct (must’ve gotten Grandma Brown Hair’s big brain).  Just an ordinary day, and I am very grateful for it.



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Category: Emily's House, Sophie Sullivan, Uncategorized

Comments (2)

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  1. I am an alumnus of Branksome, and so when I heard about Sophie I googled her and your posting here came up right away. Her story (and her beautiful photo in the newspaper) hits me very closely and I hope some day I might be able to find a way to be in contact with her Mom. Ordinary days! I totally appreciate what you are getting at here, for I have none of them myself. I have an Emily too, who at the age of ten (after a very vibrant, energetic life in and out of Embassy communities overseas) was suddenly diagnosed with a rare neuro-degenerative disease which was eating away at her white brain matter. She quickly lost all her functions (except in her mind) and was told she would not live to age 13. She is now 20, and an inspiration to people who follow her story in various parts of the world. A voice without a voice. In fact, Toronto’s very first Children’s Hospice opened up last week, at Gerrard and Broadview… Emily’s House, named after her. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts on ordinary days. They are indeed priceless.

    • heathertalks says:

      Lindsey, thanks very much for your heartfelt post, and for reminding us all to cherish our ordinary days. I think I can connect you to Sophie’s mom – please see your email. If for some reason my note does not come through, just email me at heathersimmons@rogers.com. Heather

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