January 10, 2017


“Every cloud has a silver lining….”

author unknown to me


I don’t know where that quote originated. But it is one we have all heard often, often times grinned and agreed, and frequently said, sh.., I don’t think so. I think we sometimes feel ashamed when there does not seem like any silver showing at all. We maybe blame ourselves for not looking deep enough or high enough or around enough.  Probably the concept began with someone who felt very desperate and needed hope and that was the best they could come up with.

I give Shirley MacLaine credit for the statement: there are no mistakes, only lessons to be learned. And you have all heard me say more than once, another fu…….g growth experience, huh Nance. My quote from my dear cousin Gail as I say every time. And then of course there is the Pollyanna syndrome: weird sunshine no matter how bad the storm. For me Stevie the Skunk belongs somewhere cozyed up amongst the desire to see some good out of what at least at the time, felt like disaster and my ever present longing and expectation for life to be easy.

Truth be told, Stevie had a message and now that the smell has settled, loathe as I may be to do so, I owe him some gratitude. I mean, for heaven’s sake, I am all about gratitudes, right? Sooooo, Stevie I am grateful to you for the following: my home is ready for selling and moving. Because of you dear Skunk, Joyce and Rick and I, plus a groomer and friends, have washed, laundered, cleaned, scrubbed, sorted, thrown out, picked, unpicked, wept and rejoiced over every item in my current home. I have said good-bye to mattresses, pillows, foam, clothes, quilts, rugs, stuff, and let go of large amounts of unneeded and unwanted detritus. My return to Michigan will be almost as sparse as was my entry into Canada nearly 27 years ago.

Stevie the Skunk stank me into big clean up, throw away and progress toward decision-making. Thank you Stevie. Please promise you will never visit me again!

When I think of silver lining in storm clouds, I think of Clo and cancer. She used her time left on earth once she received the diagnosis well. I would not have been as creative, sensitive and calm as was she. She allowed herself to feel loved by her father, she partied with her sisters, she bought new colourful clothes and hats that gave her pleasure and she would never have invested in if she had not been so clear that time was limited. She planted a myriad of flowers, she bought a glorious bird feeder and rejoiced in watching the bird world that convened in our back yard. She ate and drank with pleasure. She allowed herself to be cared for without apology or noticeable shame and she smiled and was quiet as she faded into another world that did not trouble her. A world where she heard her mother’s voice comforting her.

My eyes saw Clo living gratitude for the life she had. I did not experience her living despair or regret for the life she would not have. The silver lining is worth looking for, expecting, using, accepting. That is what I witnessed with Clo, what I believe she wanted me to learn. I don’t intend to be stupid: cancer is awful, early death is sad and difficult, financial distress is frightening, relationship trauma is painful, our world is full of war and terror and poverty. And there are always lessons to be learned, adventures to attempt, change to face. It is always a blessing to find the moment of hope.


  • I am grateful the skunk smell is gone
  • I am grateful for all those who helped me
  • I am grateful to not be going out into snowy weather until later in the day
  • I am grateful for a cleaned out home
  • I am grateful for decisions being made toward what was feeling like an onerous moving experience and is now way less so.
  • I am grateful to be me in my life process, learning, loving, happy, hopeful

Hugs and love always, Nancy

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