Archive for John Petropoulos Memorial Fund Posts

Map of Heartbreak – Loss as a Catalyst for Change

 

“What breaks your heart? The warrior knows that her heartbreak is her map. It will lead her toward her purpose, her tribe.”

– Glennon Doyle Melton, “Hurts So Good” article, O Magazine, Feb 2017

Pain as Fuel

In her article, “Hurts so Good,” author Glennon Doyle Melton wrote about a group of women in Iowa who had all lost an infant – and started an organization called “Healthy Birth Day,” with the goal of lowering the stillbirth rate in their state.

“Instead of withdrawing after their losses,” explained Melton, “or finding ways to disconnect from the magnitude of their suffering, they ran straight toward it. Their pain became their fuel. Their courage saved others from the misery they’d experienced.”

This is similar to how we chose to proceed in the aftermath of my husband, John’s, death as the result of a preventable fall at unsafe workplace. By “we,” I am referring to the police officers who started the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund and all the people who have (and/or still do) work for, volunteer with, or lend support to the Fund in some way.

In the early years, pain and anger certainly fueled our passion and guided our purpose. Nothing we did could bring John back but we all agreed that the workplace safety campaigns were better than doing nothing at all. We will never know the number of lives we have saved, or the injuries we’ve prevented…and we’re okay with that.

Would I recommend this path to others in a similar situation?

Hmmm…

Working closely with the JPMF to help raise public awareness about why and how to ensure workplaces – and the roads – are safer for everyone, including emergency responders has been my path, yes. I knew in my heart and soul, very early on, that workplace safety was an issue that I would need to tackle.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

But being a workplace safety advocate did not come without sacrifice in other areas of my life. The time, money, effort, love, and attention I put into the JPMF meant there were other areas of my life that didn’t get that. And that’s okay. I chose the path I did…every moment of every day. I have no regrets.

However, now that I have 17 years of experience behind me, I can safely say that trying to transform a tragedy into positive change so that others don’t have to experience similar suffering comes at a cost. We cannot do it all.

“Pleasant experiences make life delightful. Painful experiences lead to growth.”

– Anthony de Mello, Awareness

Thankfully, we get to choose how to respond to whatever loss we have experienced…and forge our own way forward. So regardless of whether we allow loss to be a catalyst for growth and change for ourselves and/or for others, just remember:

“Allow heartbreak to guide you at every turn.”

– Glennon Doyle Melton

When the love in your heart is your road map, you cannot go wrong.

Related blogs by Maryanne

Chick in the Road

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life

 Do You Believe in Soul Mates?

 

“Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.”

– Stephen King, On Writing

What if your dream was handed to you on the same platter as your soul mate’s life?

Not all fairy tales have happy endings…but perhaps the best ones aren’t meant to? Maybe true love is also tough love?

Here’s a little story for you…

Please click here to watch a 2-min video.

“We must own our true stories. In doing so, we begin again to belong to the world in the way only we can. The door to soul opens.”

– Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft; Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and the Psyche

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the door sill where the two worlds touch. 

The door is round and open. 

Don’t go back to sleep.”

– Rumi

About A Widow’s Awakening

With over 2000 copies soldA Widow’s Awakening is touching the heart and soul of readers. This extraordinary story is a candid portrayal of Maryanne’s journey through the first year of grief after the on-duty death of her police officer husband. Engaging, powerful and heart-wrenching, this book captures the immense difficulty of accepting the unacceptable while learning to transform loss into positive change.

What Readers Are Saying…

“I started reading A Widow’s Awakening on Sunday and finished it Monday. The first third of your book touched me in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I cried so hard, my eyes became swollen; the pain was so real. I haven’t cried that hard in a long, long time. The grief you expressed was so real to me, as I experienced my own grief in a similar way. Reading your book has been healing for me.” 

– Cristy

“What an incredibly powerful and moving book! Although I had tears in my eyes as I read each page, I think your messages are uplifting and are so important in challenging the human spirit to make our lives mean something meaningful in this world, by helping others and doing something more for society. It is so cleverly written and thought provoking. I haven’t enjoyed a book this much since I taught classic literature to high school students a few years ago.”

– Sarah

“WOW! As soon as I read the first line, I couldn’t put the book down. The truth on soul-mates, hope, after-life, happiness, sadness…you definitely told your tale as it is. I can’t stop talking about this book. I’m glad you shared your story with us.”

– Parveen

For additional reader testimonials, please click here.

About Maryanne Pope

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. She is the executive producer of the documentary, Whatever Floats Your Boat…Perspectives on Motherhood. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. Maryanne lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

About Pink Gazelle Productions Inc.

PGP creates entertaining and authentic works that inspire and challenge people to effect positive change in themselves and the world around them. From books, plays, films and e-mail campaigns to greeting cards and inspirational quote cards, PGP products encourage and challenge people to reach their highest potential. The company was started in 2002 by Maryanne Pope. Please visit pinkgazelle.com for details.

About the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund

The JPMF is a registered Canadian charity that was started after the on-duty death of Cst John Petropoulos of the Calgary Police Service. John was investigating a break and enter complaint at a warehouse when he fell to his death after stepping through an unmarked false ceiling. There was no safety railing in place to warn him – or anyone else – of the danger. The JPMF raises public awareness about why and how to ensure workplaces and roads are safe for everyone, including emergency responders. For further information or to view the safety videos, please visit jpmf.ca.

Maryanne’s Chicago Presentation on You Tube

 

“In order for us to achieve excellence in our lives we must ask ourselves this simple, but powerful question throughout every day – What’s Important Now?”

– Brian R. Willis, Life’s Most Powerful Question

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may recall I was in Chicago in April. I was one of 9 speakers at WINx – which is a TEDx Talks style event for growth and advancement of the law enforcement profession.

WINx is produced by Brian R Willis of Winning Mind Training Inc and Roy Bethge of the Virtus Group.

My presentation was entitled, Behind the Scenes of a Line of Duty Death – a Police Widow’s Perspective

I spoke about John’s fall and the subsequent workplace safety education initiatives of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. Then I did a post-game analysis of sorts, looking at our reaction to John’s easily preventable death from the perspective of the “What’s Important Now?” question.

“The simple act of stopping to ask this question causes us to briefly pause while our mind imagines the impact of the choices we have and almost immediately brings to mind the most desirable choice. When I say most desirable I do not mean the choice that will give us the most immediate gratification. I mean the choice that will have the most positive impact for us in our lives, based on the foreseeable future. This one powerful question allows us to prioritize decisions, choices, actions, and events in our personal and professional lives.”

– Brian R. Willis, Life’s Most Powerful Question

I also touched upon the challenge of knowing which answer to listen to, when we do stop and ask ourselves, “What’s Important NOW?” Often our monkey mind chatter – and the influence of others – is far louder than the quiet voice we need to be listening to.

“Some call that voice intuition; others say it’s God, or wisdom…the point is, what we call it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that we hear it.”

– Glennon Doyle Melton, O Magazine, July 2017

To view the 20-minute presentation, here is the link.

Related Blogs by Maryanne

The Question That Took Me to Chicago

Dealing with Dread & the Benefits of Being Back in the Saddle

The Chick in the Road

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.