“2020 was a stressful and disorienting year. I lost my wife to cancer in January. Then the pandemic shut down my practice as a naturopathic doctor and I was left isolated and without an income. Then I lost my father in May to COVID.
As I was trying to reboot my life, a new acquaintance asked me if my rough edges were normal for me and suggested that I might want to check out a mindfulness program. I looked into it and found that it was a good fit for me. I just wanted to get my life back on track.
I was reacting to things not as myself but out of stress. I wasn’t addressing my grief appropriately. I started the nine-week program in October and it taught me about my grief. It showed me how to slow down and how to think about things in a different way. It taught me how to approach conflict and how to diffuse my stress.
We met once a week online and always had homework and meditations for the week to do. It worked as well online as it could have in person. We learned about ourselves and how we think and react and we learned and grew from that.
I learned how to speak to those I’m locking horns with and to help them hear me more clearly. I also learned I could choose to diffuse the situation and let it go.
The new friend who suggested the program has become a very good friend. They see the changes and improvements in me.
My wife was my introduction to the United Way. Kim volunteered for the United Way through her workplaces in Toronto and Vancouver. She managed an employee giving program and United Way was a main beneficiary.
She was always getting people to understand the great work that United Way does. It feels full circle that I turned to a United Way-funded agency for help when I needed it.
Kim fought her cancer at every turn and never let it get her down. She taught me about being positive, that was the essence of Kim.
After losing her, I needed to pick up and carry on. Kim would have wanted me to do that and not be mired in grief so that I’m not living. This program has helped me to keep moving forward and to be the best person I can be for my family, my friends, my co-workers and my patients.
United Way is there to help people face the challenges in their life. It’s there for anyone who needs it. You can count on that. I just want to share the message to give what you can. One way or another, we all benefit from United Way’s work in our community.