Friday, June 25, 2010

Healing Through Helping

It really is comforting, satisfying, empowering etc to be able to talk about Meghan and what she means to this world. To share why I am determined to do all the things she wanted to do. I feel a lot of strength and healing through helping. I spent hours today talking to people, about how and why I no longer have a wife, about why I'm going to India in two months, about other's struggles with disease and about the advice I could offer when faced with something serious like breast cancer.  This time it was others crying and saying how unfair it is, how it doesn't make sense anymore. These are all things I think about regularly and it helps to hear and see this response. It feels like other people on some level understand, or are genuine in their effort to try to understand these processes I'm going through. It's not pity anymore, its empathy.

I want all of you to know that I, from the bottom of something deeper than my heart, appreciate every last bit you have done for us. This gives me strength and hopefully everyone else who is attached to Meghan. I want you to know that I will fight every bit as hard for these goals as Meghan did for them, because she deserves them. I want you to know that I am completely committed to putting in the very, very hard work for the seemingly unattainable goals (not unattainable for her, but really, I know a PHD seems a bit out of my league) . I know you won't let me fail. I know you won't let me back down from things that seem beyond my abilities. I know you will push me when I need it and when I don't. I know that by simply refusing to give up or give in I can come out on top. I have the best there is for a teacher. Meghan would absolutely be proud to know all of the people she has touched and those she has spurred on to greater things than they thought possible. She really is a hero.

To avoid confusion  want to outline how all of this will work. I don't want anyone to think I'm feeding off their donations and hanging out on someone else's dime.

Every single penny donated is going into the cause for each individual campaign. That means that everything above the budget for each place donated is going straight into the organization I am working for. Also included in this is money left over once the 3 month stint is finished.  The budget goals for India is $3000. If $4000 is donated, Merasi School is getting at least $1000. If I use less than $3000 during the 3 months, whatever is left over is also going to Merasi School. Your money funds my effort, not me. I am coming home after all of this with $0 in my pocket. I am not interested in profiting, I am interested in helping. If any of you don't want to donate money, but would rather donate similar effort, please come and help. India will probably get lonely.

After the five - three month segments I'm going to come back to Canada (hopefully) and enroll in a masters program, that is unless I can find a Phd program. I am hoping to take online classes while I'm gone to fufill neccesary prereq requirements. All of the documented volunteer work is going to show my intent and drive to succeed in obtaining the secondary degree.

I am halfway through the program to go from not running at all to running a 5k. Not a half marathon, I know, but baby steps. I've lost ten pounds and am definitely able to run/ walk 3 miles at this point.

The first book I read was Born To Run, obviously fitting, to get me motivated to run more and better. Its great, I highly recommend it.  Book two, I'm a hundred pages in and will finish before the 4th of July festivities. I can definitely finish 10 more books before decmeber.

The first instrument I'm trying to master is guitar. I have a pretty good basic understanding of it but again, slow progress. Nothing good and amazing comes without practice. The Merasi School is ALL about music, so I'm going to apply myself there to learning as much as I can from the folk musicians that are already teaching the kids.  I'm basically a 10 year old anyway.

Also, while there, I'm going to pick up as much Hindi and local dialect as possible. I'm pretty good with languages, I know I won't even come close to fluency, but learning languages helps learn other languages. (I'm half decent with Korean and Spanish already). This goal ties into the Phd. I'm going to go for linguistics. Language has always been something I've taken to and been interested in. I've tried to learn on my own, as for languages to be fluent in, I haven't decided yet.

The 3 months at five places will satisfy the living abroad in five countries, the goal of volunteering for over 100 hours and volunteering in an Indian orphanage. Its important to note that I'm not trying to check these things off like it's a checklist or a game. I need to do these things to learn. I don't understand that Meghan isn't here, I don't understand why. I need to do these things to understand more of her, to know what she was after by setting these goals. I want to understand what she was hoping to achieve by completing these. I need to see things she would've seen them. I want the experiences she wanted, so I might grasp hold of every little bit of her out there. I am very much in search of something that I don't fully understand or know

Monday, June 21, 2010


I really want to make sure that everyone feels involved in all of this. If I don’t know you already I would like to meet you at some point. I think everyone has a story to tell and there own reasons why Meghan affected them the way she did.
The way she dealt handled extreme difficulty, (seriously understating it) with grace, dignity and complete and raw honesty will forever change the way I handle things in my own life.

We are compiling this information to put together an article in the Toronto Star. I want to hear from you. I want to hear how she changed you, made you feel comfort or simply altered the way you think about disease.
Please, post comments, with your full name underneath. Email me at or Fabiola at

All of you are involved in one way or another and I appreciate the simple fact that you read Meghan’s words. Today is the longest day of the year; there is plenty of time today to do something impactful for others.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

work hard, be smart

The Current city is Chicago, which is great and different. You can bring your own beer to restaurants and your own food to bars. It’s bizarre and wonderful. Again, the notion of progress is at the front of my mind. Everyone has a different definition of that word and up until recently mine was a decision followed by immediate action. A complete lack of planning with everything depending on the process and the outcome was often not what I had hoped for.

Setbacks are surprisingly common with a lack of planning. For some reason I’ve been watching travel and adventure documentaries non-stop over the last two days (fine, I realize that link is pretty transparent and obvious,) and the lesson, the point, the rule that I keep coming to is that nothing of value comes to you easily or quickly. The culture I grew up in was one of trying to get as much as fast and as easily as possible. Work smart not hard.

It’s almost anti-human in a way. You spend your entire day sitting, often doing intangible work for pay that you never actually see. Everything is done via wire. Don’t get me wrong; I love technology, LOVE IT. I foam at the mouth every time Apple makes something new that promises to make me a better person. But I think I’ve lost the plot.

I’ve been missing out on a lot of learning because of a serious lack of exertion. Meghan completely understood the meaning of hard work. She understood what one gains from the amount of effort put in to something you don’t necessarily care about. The process is completely important. The struggle is where you find meaning and truth. Not the finish. Meghan never had a problem throwing herself into something that was difficult. She wouldn’t bat an eyelash at work. Real work. Real effort. Her mother told me about the time when she decided to go to University. She would come home from High School and spend the rest of the day at the dining room table pouring over textbooks to ensure her entry to the school of her choice. I spent high school taking naps and barbequing. Meghan graduated in four years from a difficult program at a great school. It took me six years, two schools and three different majors. I didn’t know what I wanted to do because I didn’t do any groundwork. And I get that now.

I’m becoming more comfortable making plans that are three months, six months and even a year out that I’m going to stick to and not waiver. I understand there is progress in a simple conversation with the founder and director of the Merasi School in India. I’m not leaving tomorrow or next week but I know that just talking to her and having a connection means something. Making a budget is progress. Running three times a week is progress. Talking to people about Meghan is progress. Knowing that Meghan would be happy with my progress is progress. Continually learning from Meghan is progress. Thank you, Meghan, for being the biggest and best part of my life. I will be eternally grateful for all of the lessons and the life to come.

Further proof that Meghan was dedicated to her work; this past saturday, June 12, 2010, Meghan was awarded the Personal Support Worker Certificate posthumously for the program she was enrolled in last winter. There was never a question she would have finished at the top of her class. As her father walked across the stage to accept her certificate, Mr. Baker and Meghan were met with thunderous applause from the thousands in the arena.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Worry Not


I’m having a lot of trouble slowing down or not doing anything. I don't like not having plans and things to look forward to. I don't like being sedentary; I don't like having to wait. I think I'm scared of being alone with my thoughts and having too much time to sit and think about everything. I’m pretty scared of what's in my head and I think I try to distract myself as much as possible from it. June and July are scary for that reason. I don't really have that much going on in either. I have a lot of waiting to do and a lot of alone time coming up. I’m not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I’m not sure if its good for me to sit, just sit, and think and let all of these memories and thoughts come. I don't really dream so its not Iike my subconscious is processing anything at night. I’m scared to sort things out, knowing that I'm sorting things out. I don't want to process Meghan. I don't want to lose any of it or move on or leave parts of her behind. I’m ok with talking about her, I don't get choked up or overly sad when I talk about who she is to me and what happened to her. I’m ok with that. I just get upset at the notion of forgetting. I don't have an outlet anymore.

She was my subconscious. She was how I worked through everything every day. She was that voice in the back of my head telling me I'm an idiot for wasting money on really dumb things (anything with flashing lights or buttons.) She was the first person I went to when trying to make nearly every decision. It feels like half of my thought process is missing. Like we finished the puzzle together. THE puzzle. Now half of that puzzle with it's crazy intricate pieces that could only fit in exactly one way is gone. I can’t redo that puzzle. I cant push other pieces in its place or make them fit. Even if I could I don’t want to.
Honestly, I don't know what to do. I don't know how to make myself better. Half of the time I don't want to be better. I know she would handle this a lot better. We all know how strong she could be. She would be there for other people and make sure they’re taken care of. She would be the last person she’d worry about.

Maybe this is my subconscious working. Maybe I know without knowing? Not ten minutes after she passed away I knew I had to finish her goals. And I think I knew that not so much because they were her goals but because of what they were. Almost all of them are altruistic. She knew that. She knew that there is a lot of personal gain in serving others. She knew that there's a lot of time, alone time, on a train across Canada. She knew there is a lot of love and support exchanged equally from doing things with her friends. She knew there is much wisdom to be gained through reading and teaching one's self new things. All of these goals, things, and steps along the way are keeping her memory alive and helping me to process the loss of her.

a friend wrote this in response to my editing request which I thought was especially helpful and real and honest:

Of course this makes sense! It's hard not to feel like you're repeating yourself when your mind is constantly on.... on replay, re-do, reject... rewind. There's this sense of undo... to allow yourself unwind, but the fear that that will take place in the most literal sense. That sense that if you do finally stop, even if for a second, you will just come undone.
The momentum of this project and the idea of pressing on with what would make Meghan proud is an extreme momentum. But like anything else in the world, there is no constant forward. There is always a lull ans always a moment of reflection and doubt to wade through, to get to the next froward step. You are making great strides, both in this project and in your personal grief. I'm sure Meghan is seeing you in the same light she always has and I'm sure she's impressed. How could she not be? Sure, she may have handled the flip side of all of this differently, but she has given you such vision that this is not something you would have thought of doing if it weren't for her. You can't blame yourself for not responding to all of this the way she would have. You are YOU and that's why she loves you. I know it isn't much comfort, but this IS a really epic way of handling your loss and the LAST thing it will do is push her memory further away. If anything it keeps her closer to you than your own skin. You seem to have a better grip on what her mindset would be than your own. It's terrifying, the idea of "letting go", like to do so would force you to feel all this all over again. When we allow ourselves to fall so deep in love, it's hard to see anything else. When it goes, it's much like losing limbs, your heart and having a stroke all within a painfully real dream. There's a fuzzy quality to it all, no matter how bad it hurts or how bitter it tastes.
It's ok to have things to run to, as long as you ensure that you're not running away. I know the idea of being still causes a lot of anxiety, like there's a wave the size of a skyscraper waiting to crush you as soon as you stop. The talking is the easy part. You say the words so many times they start to feel scripted, like someone else wrote it and you're just here to recite it..... hackneyed, over-used and distant. Most of the time I can talk about my step-dad without crying, in fact, I laugh a lot and have almost always been able to. There's something about telling the story, sharing that makes it bearable. Like if you say it over and over than the whole experience loses power. I think that a lot of the mourning we go through is mourning the future and all the plans we had. That stuff is so big and border-less it's hard not to miss it, even if we never had it to begin with. This is why we set ourselves up to look forward to new things. Trips, plans, projects.... it helps us see a new future. It's fine to do these things, as long as you know that they are only band-aids for the grief that will still come in the quietest hours.
You dream whether you know it or not. But your mind is quick to smooth away the things you have told it you're not ready for. You don't have to let her go, ever. No one would ever ask that of you. Don't be scared of what you might hear or feel when you're alone. Although, you need to be able to remind yourself that the darkest things you feel are not nearly as heavy as the weight of what Meghan means to you and how this project will keep her as big and as bright as she's always been. It's only in the darkest nights that the brightest lights can be seen.
THE puzzle. You have to remember that we don't always know what the puzzle is until it's finished. Meghan is a huge portion of your puzzle, but not the only portion of it. Nothing else is MEANT to fill that space. There's a whole other side that waits to be finished and everything you're doing is going to help you find the rest. There are so many places to go and people to meet and people to help. There are drinks and laughter, too. You said before that you thought your relationship with Meghan was mostly to your benefit and maybe this is all just another way for her to help you. Sometimes people help us feel stronger, more complete and safe. Like we'd never met ourselves before and like we couldn't go on without them. But sometimes, they come into our lives to help us see that we'd been that strong, complete and safe all along. They help us see life for the beauty that it is, even if it seems like the shine has worn off a bit once they've gone.
I wish I could streamline this for you. Make it easier or clearer. But it seems to me that Meghan would remind you that there is a lesson in all of this. I know it all weighs a million pounds even if the whole experience if full of holes. So lift what you can and remind yourself that the higher you lift it, the more all the excess will pour through it like a sieve. I know you don't want to get through it sometimes and that's because in all of this, your grief is your own. There are a lot of things on your future, some things you can control and a lot you can't. So let it come. Let pass through you too. The less resistance you have, the more easily it starts to make sense. The worst has already happened, there's nothing else to fear.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Travel Budget

lemme know if this looks ok, if you have ideas for it, if something doesn't look right or if you want the excel file to change it all around! I want your input! this is very, very, very rough draft

Monday, June 7, 2010


The big update for today is the list of all the things we've accomplished in the past 6 weeks. It amazes me to see a community continue to come together and grow because they believe so strongly in who Meghan was and what she stood for.

In the last six weeks we've:

-Grown by 50% as a community.
-We have a press release that has been sent out to news agencies worldwide.
-This week we will have a website up to use as a central location.
-We're building a Wikipedia page.
-Enhanced our social-media experience.
-Been interviewed by several worldwide publications.
-Sold out completely of our promotional material.
-Raised over $6000 to complete Meghan's goals and raised an
accompanying $6000+ for cancer advocacy groups (Kelly shires
foundations, Susan G. Komen etc.)

And the really exciting stuff:

-We are going to be filming a documentary about Meghan's life and me
finishing her goals.
-I've finished one of the twelve books I have to read this year.
-Joanna and I went hiking in Short Hills this past week, which I apparently forgot to add to Meghan's list of goals.(pictures at the bottom)
-I am about 1/4 the way to running a 5k, which is 1/4 the way to running a half marathon...that one is definitely still in progress but I've been running every other day.
-The baseball game and Canada's wonderland are happening later this summer.
-In August I'll be taking the train across Canada.
-AAAND Im going to India this September to kick off my volunteer trip. I'll be in Rajasthan, India working at the Merasi school for 3 months. (

I feel like I've forgotten a lot of things, I guess that's what the comment section is for, right?

This is the part where I want to extend a huge thanks to all of you. Thank you for recognizing Meghan as the light she continues to be. Thank you for feeling something from her honest words. Thank you for being affected by her hope. Press on knowing that you are part of something much bigger than all of us. The sum of our parts will add up to be more than any of us could have imagined. Continue to talk about Meghan, tell her story and convey why she means what she does to all
of us in different ways.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


DC was a different kind of fear altogether. I was scared to go to all those places that Meghan and I had been together. I was scared of how it would feel to be somewhere that both of us considered home. There were so, so many things that she and I did and had to do every time we visited. Traditions. I was scared to see all of our friends and of how I would feel not having Meghan next to me, scared of what it would be like to not be Meghan and Adam anymore. Just Adam.
I think it's safe to say we're all afraid to be alone. And I'm definitely one of the lucky ones to have found what I had. Meghan made me feel whole. She taught me a lot about being strong for yourself and by yourself. I know I'll be ok because of her. I know I'll make something out of all of this. I know all of us will. It means so much to Meghan's parents, friends and myself to hear how she affected and is still affecting others in such a significant way.
We have made progress and a substantial amount at that. It's because of you, because of what Meghan means to you. DC was progress because it was sad, it was hard, and it was fun.

Meghan doesn't want me to be afraid to go home. She wants me to face my fears, she wants me to deal with difficult things head on. She wants me to go into our old haunts, hug friends and know they want to help and help me get better. They miss her just as much as I do. No one grows staying at home being depressed. She constantly pushed me to be better, to be more, to be inspired and I felt that going back home to DC. I felt her there telling me this is helping, through hurting.
- Adam

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