Spirit of Edmonton 

It has been an emotional week. My co-worker gave me this.


I live in Edmonton. about 8 hours south of Fort McMurray. The McMurray fire is larger than the City of Calgary. 2000 square kilometres. 80,000 people have been displaced from their homes. I refuse to use refugees because these people are fellow Canadians, they are Albertans, they are family. They are not coming from a different country, they belong to us. They need to be rescued. They need compassion and they need help.

I have been overwhelmed but the generosity of Canadians but by Edmontonians is particular. People have opened their homes. Facebook after Facebook post was “I have room for a family” “I have farmland that can hold 100 RVs”, “I have $10000 to give”, “I have pasture for horses”and the list keeps growing.

80 000 people have been displaced while Fort McMurray burns to the ground. Families are homeless, Adults are unemployed and yet the city keeps giving. The amount of love that is felt is overwhelming. I cried when the Syrian Refugees who came to Canada banded together to give what little they had because they understood how Fort Mac felt. Think about that.

I sat in my living room yesterday and surveyed my surroundings. What would I take with 15 minutes to decide? Easy, All my important papers, my ID and passport, food for my dog, and the same for my family. It makes moving from my home seem really easy because suddenly you take inventory of what is important and my home is filled with stuff. Not very many things are important. I don’t have an attachment to things, I have an attachment to people and animals. It is times like this that you really understand what you need and what is not necessary.

It makes me think about the hate I see in media coming from the elections in the US. It makes me think about the hate coming from the middle east and it makes me think about the rivalries between races and religions. All of these things do not matter when you are shown disaster on this level. All that matters is what can you do to help. Not everyone can give with monetary items but everyone can give of time and effort. Everyone can give with kind words and gestures.

I met a women yesterday who was evacuated from Fort Mac. All she had was the clothes on her back and her purse. She went to Northlands to check in and services were there to help her get started with survival. She is now in temporary lodging but has been giving money for the immediate. She was buying clothes because she had none. Women were surrounding her in ways that gave me hope for humanity. Several women chipped in and bought her clothes, another gave her a Tim’s card for food, and another offered her house as a safe place to live. We all cried and hugged and she could not express how overwhelmed she was with the generosity of Edmonton. There is no where I’d rather live than here. Here in Canada. We are a nation of amazing people.

In the months ahead, I fear the fires will spread and most of the province will burn to the ground. We have had very little snow and no rain. We have been in a drought cycle for a long time with no end in sight. It will get worse before it gets better.

I need to remember but for the grace of God go I. Next time it could be me. Be grateful for what you have, give where you can and hug your family a little tighter tonight. You are one of the lucky ones.




A year ago, my parents sold everything and decided they would spend my inheritance and travel the world. We track their travels an a page called Postcards from Everywhere. Its been fine. They have a home base set up at my sisters new Dynasty/Dallas Epic Soap Opera type home. The sister lives 1.5km away from me. WAY farther than before which was 1.5 blocks. They are super happy. We refer to my parents as ‘foreign workers’ who live in the basement suite and make the dinners and tend the garden when they are in town. Soon they will be back on the road living in Kent, England for the summer.

I have become accustomed to not calling or texting my mom because she doesn’t answer her phone anyways, so I text Sister who then gets mom to call me. Its like I have become the centre of attention again. Its awesome. AND the best part is Sister gets the help calls…not me. So I win!

I didn’t expect to feel so lost yesterday… I’ll explain.

Saturday morning at 4:00 AM MST, my parents old home burned down. It was gutted. Nothing is salvageable. It was a couple of blocks away from me. My parents lived there for 15 years. It wasn’t my childhood home, but it was the home of my kid’s grandparents. The home they would go to after school for milkshakes and cookies. They home we hung out at for Christmas and Summer BBQs. The home where my puppy like to visit because Grandpa gives great ear rubs.

I received a text from my neighbour saying, “Please tell me your parents no longer live in that house a few blocks away”


We had heard on the news that a house near the park burned to the ground. I had thought, “I hope no one was hurt” but because it didn’t effect me, I was fine.

I felt the need to go and drive by. We drove past the house and I was stunned. I told the Hubs to stop because I had to get out. I stood in front of the house and told the Firefighter that my parents used to live here. I was in shock. I couldn’t process what I was feeling. I wandered around outside the temporary fence investigators put up, covered my mouth and just stared.


It was surreal.

I swear I saw ghosts of Christmas Past wandering around through the rubble. I saw my kids run through the house and their giant cousins chasing them. I saw my parents sitting on the front porch. I saw my niece and Chatter Box sitting in the kitchen window decorating cookies.


I didn’t know how to process what I was feeling. It was final now for me. It was no longer my parents home.

I went to my Sister’s home and shared the news and photos. Sister was stunned like me. My mom seemed okay…. it wasn’t her’s any more. Dad said he didn’t know how to feel.

But still…

I posted the photos on Facebook. I received a lot of lovely comments from everyone. But really…it was just a building that my family had no claim to anymore. Why was I sad?

Then my mom wrote something that snapped me out of my dazed and confused feeling,

“Actually I was relieved when I saw it burned. The new owners never looked after the yard so I can only image what the inside looked like. For some odd reason it feels better having it destroyed than abused.”

There you have it. None of us would drive by it because it was upsetting to see how those people looked after it. Sure it was their home, but they did not have the same values as us. No pride in their home. Thats fine, it was theirs to do with as they please. We just didn’t want to see. So we traveled a different way.

I have come to realize that I am melancholy for a different reason. My children are no longer small. Everyone is growing up with girl friends and boy friends and careers and life plans. I don’t want to hold onto them as little beings. I love that they have become amazing adults and have made great choices for their future. I love that they are so independent and our family moves together through the future independently, yet come together to celebrate success and support each other is time of stress and sadness.

My family is safe and sound. That other family needs to rebuild. They will somehow figure it out. We all do in the end.