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


Anonymous said...


Here's the thing with a PhD: it's one of the most selfish endeavors a person can undertake. I know from experience. I don't mean, at all, that it's a bad thing to pursue (I'd be a hypocrite if I meant it that way); however, it needs to be viewed as an investment in the future. In other words, you'll have to view it as a time of selfishness used for a *future* time of selflessness. Believe me, it's almost all-consuming.

Here's the point. Do you have an ultimate goal (something service-based--you said in an earlier post that these things you're doing for Meghan are meant to be service-based) that the PhD will help you accomplish (better: is *required* to help you accomplish)? If not, it's not worth it. And I don't mean a crossing-off of a point on your to-do list. Don't do a PhD unless you must do one, and I can't think of any reason for you have to do one unless you wish to teach at the university level or do serious research. Maybe you have a good reason for needing to do a PhD that I haven't thought of, but it doesn't seem like it from your posts. I don't mean to paint a grim picture. Furthering oneself through education can be an awesome and spiritually rewarding experience. But, it's a huge endeavor that shouldn't be taken lightly or without the most serious consideration.

My two cents. Since this is being posted anonymously, perhaps that won't matter. But, for what it's worth, there it is.

iamthenarwhal said...

This definitely matters and I know getting a phd is incredibly intense. I also know I barely know the half of how hard it is. My ultimate goal with the phd is to do research with languages. I've always been fascinated by communication and the many, many forms that takes. The concept that there are language out there, basically dying off blows my mind and I want to do something to lessen that. I do plan on teaching again and I'm sue throughout this process there will be many opportunities to do so.
I know I seem naive in wanting to try for this but this isn't something that I just recently decided to do. The goal of the PhD is but graduate school for linguistics isn't. Meghan and I planned for her to finish her nursing degree and then I would go back when she could support us. So, it's been in the works for a while.
I want to have a very deep understanding of language and then be able to relate that to others in the future. To explain how important communication is and how important it is to keep a record of where we are and what we've come from.
Thanks for the feedback. Again, it strengthens in my head what I am doing and the ultimate goals. You're two cents definitely matters.
(I almost said your two cents was worth a lot more, but that's either a really 'dad' thing to say or has to be followed by a winky face or some I didn't.)

BSW said...

I admire you, I truly hope you accomplish what you set out to do and I wish you all the best.

KOS! (Keep On S'myelin!) said...

I just finished reading the article in the Toronto Star. I commend you on your love and dedication to keeping Meghan's spirit alive. She sounds a lot like me -- the love to help others, a positive attitude and smile even at the most difficult of times and to live life to the fullest! I read the list and wish I could do many of those things as well but Multiple Sclerosis has me at bay at the moment (but always fighting to stay strong). Volunteering in India sounds wonderful -- to add some sunshine to the lives of those who could use a little extra. I read the part about Wonderland. This is the first year our family has bought season passes. Maybe a day in honour of Meghan this summer -- to have as much fun as I'm sure she would have had soaring and looping the rollercoasters and the rush of others having just as much fun!

Enjoy your journey! Wish I could join those who help you on your way.

Anonymous said...

Just read The Star article.

GOOD LUCK with everything.

PS - I suggest you spend a couple of months in Bolivia. Great country, cheap, many volunteer opportunities, and you can improve your Spanish.

Suerte, amigo!

Teena in Toronto said...

Your story is in today's "Toronto Star":

Take care!

N said...


Just read the story on Toronto Star and came to check the blog! Just wanted to drop by my best wishes. I will actually be in India for three weeks in October on a vacation, but it would only make it so much better if I can drop by and see your efforts and give you a hand even for a few hours! If you're still going to be around in October, feel free to let me know which city/cities and I will give you my contact information.

Good luck!!!

- N

Jenn McKay said...

Hi Adam, I just read the story in The Star. I want to help you accomplish the goals that Meghan laid out.

I don't have any money, but I do have a book to send. It's short and faced-paced; should be an easy read.

Do you have a PO box?



P.S. You can email me:

Bryonie said...

Dear Adam,

Meghan's story came to me this morning through The Toronto Star, and I have spent the past few hours laughing and crying, absorbed in Meghan's story, and your continuing journey.

I am so grateful to Meghan, (and I'm sending love and thanks out to her spirit), for sharing her life so openly and honestly. The courage to fight cancer every day, and share in detail all parts of that battle with the world is beyond amazing.

Thank you, Adam, for continuing to share with us all your sadness, heartbreak, and the aches that come with losing the people that we love.

There is no rule book when it comes to grieving - one moment everything makes sense, and the next, nothing. It comes in waves, and it can be surreal and numbing. It can be inspiring, and devastating. Your world is forever changed, and you are different - there is before, and there is after. Know that where you are is where you need to be; what you feel is what you need to feel, and that everything is normal, in this new world.

Meghan's words, her images and her story, which are yours as well, have found a place in my heart. I will spread the word as much as I can, to aid you on this journey. How else can I help?

With love and compassion,


Anonymous said...

For the guitar:

Fantastic site for learning.

vinci said...


I read the article about Meghan's courageous fight in the Star today. Just wanted to say that I am deeply touched and encouraged by your story of love and courage.

As a young adult, I am also currently fighting cancer and is in the process of planning a wedding for August. It's been a tough journey so far (I was diagnosed in April and is currently undergoing chemotherapy).

Meghan's blog & your loving support for her has given me & my fiancee a new "burst of energy" in fighting this disease.

We will be praying for you as you discover more about Meghan. We truly believe that God's hand and plans are upon you and Meghan throughout this process.


ms. pixie riot said...

Read The Star article, and wanted to toss in some support. I think what you're doing to honour your wife's memory is incredible!

If you're ever in Edmonton, I'd be happy to give you some knitting or crochet lessons, because I've taught both of those. And if you're not in the area, I'd love to send you some yarn from my stash, something soft and wonderful that would be fun to learn with!

eri at pixieriot dot net

Anonymous said...

Hi Adam, My heart goes out to you for the loss of your very ambitious wife. The world is going to miss her. Kudos to your for your desire to fulfill her goals. Maybe others could lend their help to your cause by taking on her goals with you. There's plenty of people who have dreams, goals and ambitions, but just no reason to do it. What a great reason to kick start someone into getting busy. Bonnie, London, ON Canada

Michele said...

I read the article in the Star today, and just read the entire blog start to finish, so incredibly moved by someone I'd never even heard of yesterday. To put it simply, Meghan just seems like a truly, genuinely beautiful person. The kind of person you can meet once and remember forever. You are so lucky to have had her in your life, and we're lucky that you shared her story with us today, I wish you all the best.

That B and B Guy said...

Hi Adam...
My sincerest condolences to you and your family members on your loss. With that said, I am incredibly moved by your efforts to see life through Meghan's ambitious list of things to accomplish. Perhaps one of the more interesting one's to me for apparent reasons was her interest in owning a Bed & Breakfast. No doubt her outgoing personality along with her ambition would have made you both wonderful innkeepers.

I own a B & B and wonder how my partner and I might help in having you experience part of what Meghan's interest in owning and running a B & B was all about. My guess is that in part it is due to the satisfaction one gets in helping travelers experience new and different places. Our B & B is ironically called At Journey's End and is located in St. Augustine, FL.. so our Inn's name alone may have lots of meanings behind it too. Consider how we might help in accomplishing this item in Meghan's list.

My personal thoughts and well wishes are with you!

Innkeeper Tim

Pauper said...

I read the article in The Star this morning and spent the rest of the day off and on reading through Meghan's blog. Her ability to share her life so openly and with such eloquence is truly touching.
I so admire her strength, even when things got very grim for her she had that unique ability to see the light inside the darkness.

It's amazing how you can open the newspaper one day and something can so positively change your way of thinking, which is what Meghan's story did for me. Even with a cancer diagnosis of my own last year at 29, it only woke me up for a short time that I should get out there and experience the world more fully, just as Meghan hoped to do, before I let myself get bogged down in the banalities of daily life again. I realize how lucky I've been so far with my own brush with cancer and I thank you for sharing Meghan's story and honouring her life in this way, it has profoundly inspired me.

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