Archive for Widowhood Posts

Reflections on Canadian Police Memorial Service 

“A broken heart heals when we allow the healing to go as deep as the wound went.”

– Beth Moore

A lot can change in 18 years.

On Sunday September 29th, I was in Ottawa for the annual Canadian Police & Peace Officers’ Memorial Service. I decided to attend the ceremony because this year’s service fell on the actual 19th anniversary of John’s death.

For moral support, I brought along my brother, Pat, his partner, Mary, and friends of the family, Dennis and Teresa.

On the Saturday evening before the Sunday service, there was a Next-of-Kin Candlelight Vigil. I must confess I didn’t really want to go this event…and I’m not quite sure why. But I’m awfully glad I did.

Pat, Mary and I arrived at the evening event a little late, so we stood at the back of the room, listening to the presentations. Afterwards, I was gathering up my coat when a woman walked over and threw her arms around me.

“Maryanne Pope!” she cried. “You FINALLY made it to the Ottawa service!”

“Yes,” I said, a bit baffled.

“I LOVED your book!” she said. “You told it like it is…right down to how being a new police widow at this service is about as much fun as having a knitting needle poked in your eye! That was PERFECT.”

She introduced herself as another police widow and it all came back to me. We had communicated via e-mail and social media years ago but hadn’t been in touch recently. We chatted a little then she waved another woman over.

“I thought that was you at the back of room!” said the second woman, another police widow, who also gave me a big hug. “I’m so glad you came! I loved your book. I cannot tell you how much it helped me and so many others.”

Then she waved another woman over and it happened again. “I loved your book! Why didn’t you tell us you were coming? You could have joined us for our widows dinner!”

Then we all walked from the building – quietly sharing our stories and heartaches, lessons, hopes and dreams – to the glass panels outside, where the names of all the fallen Canadian peace and police officers are etched.

We found the names of our loved one and placed a tealight at the base of the panel. Someone was softly strumming a guitar and a few family members were singing. It was beautiful. Then people slowly started drifting off.

When I return to Ottawa next year for the 20th anniversary of John’s death, I will most definitely join the other widows for dinner. It would be an honor.

The next day was the actual memorial service. It, too, was beautiful…the weather, the surroundings, the people I was with, the ceremony, the music,  the man I was remembering, the profession for which he gave his life.

The service itself was similar to the one I had attended eighteen years ago as a shattered young police widow. But I am different…my heart has healed.

Here’s an excerpt from my book, A Widow’s Awakening, about my experience of being in Ottawa one year after John’s death (John is “Sam”):

On September 30th, Sam’s family, Ed and I have front row seats at the national memorial service for fallen officers at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. I’ve tried to mentally prepare myself for today. Tom will be carrying a police hat, representing Sam, on a pillow. There will be thousands of officers from across North America. The media will be filming family members of officers who have passed away in the line of duty during the past year. There will be speeches. There always are.

What I’ve forgotten to factor in, however, is that although I’ve survived a year of widowhood, I am nowhere near healed. Thus it isn’t pride, respect and honour I feel as the pipe band marches by; it’s anger. Boom, boom, boom goes the drum and I’m back at Sam’s funeral watching the pallbearers climb the church steps, struggling beneath the weight of his casket. Who did take more than a fucking date square from his funeral? Has any positive change come from his death? Are workplaces any safer?

You tell me. Since John’s death in 2000, nearly 20,000 Canadians have died as the result of a workplace injury or illness. In 2020, the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund will be producing our ninth public service announcement to raise awareness about this shocking statistic.

Yes, my heart is healed. But the work continues…in the hopes that other people won’t have to go through what I – and thousands of others – have gone through.

Here are a few more photos from the Ottawa service: 

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 weekly blog, please sign up here.

published in A Widow's Awakening Book, Animals, Death, Dogs, Grief, Inspiration, Synchronicity, Widowhood by Maryanne | August 1, 2019 | No Comment

Podcast – Heartfelt Interview with Karin Sieger

 

Sometimes you really have to wonder at the timing of it all

The day before I was to leave for Ecuador, I had a phone interview with Karin Sieger – a therapist, writer & podcaster out of the UK – for her podcast, Soul Cravings.

Karin is a delightful person and I felt comfortable sharing some pretty personal material (about organ donation, grief, being widowed young, falling in love again, the role my dogs have played in my life, etc) in our 50-minute heartfelt interview.

Halfway through our phone call, my dog, Sadie, gave a few cursory barks from the back yard – just to let me know she had finished the chewie I had given her (to keep her quiet while I was on the phone…so much for that idea).

Sadie was insistent enough in her barks that I had to stop the interview to give her another chewie…which, of course, she didn’t really want. What she wanted was my attention. All this, of course, was being recorded in our interview. So much for professionalism. Thankfully, Karin was very understanding (she has a Diva dog of her own).

I ended up bringing Sadie inside, where she promptly lay down and fell fast asleep. Karin and I finished our interview and that was that.

Not quite.

Two hours later, I took Sadie to the vet for her ear infection – and ended up hearing the diagnosis of bone cancer. The next morning, I had to put her down. And let me tell you, it was really strange (not to mention heart-wrenchingly painful) holding Sadie’s paw as she passed between life and death…right after I had been telling Karin what it was like to hold my husband John’s hand in the ICU, as he succumbed to his injuries.

At any rate, after Sadie passed away, I e-mailed Karin to let her know. And she kindly dedicated our podcast interview to Sadie. Thank you, Karin!

If you would like to listen to the 50 minute podcast entitled,Coping with the death of your soul mate,” please click here.

Related blogs by Maryanne

Awakening the Soul – Loss as a Wake-Up Call

Walking the Line – Ecuador Photo Blog #1

Celebrate Good Times – Saying Goodbye to Sadie Pope

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 weekly blog, please sign up here.

published in A Widow's Awakening Book, Book Reviews, Death, Grief, Life After Loss, Widowhood by Maryanne | April 26, 2019 | No Comment

Grief Reiki Weighs in on A Widow’s Awakening Book

 

“I cried, I laughed, and found compassion for this woman who was courageously trying to navigate through what seemed like a terrible dream. This book is a must-read for anyone who has lost someone they loved and struggled to find their way in the aftermath of tragedy.”

– Sharon Ehlers, Grief Reiki®

Are you grieving the loss of a loved one?

Sharon Ehlers is the founder of Grief Reiki® LLC. She is the author of “Grief Reiki®; An Integrated Approach to the Emotional, Physical and Spiritual Components of Grief and Loss” and co-author of “Grief Diaries; Surviving Loss by Suicide.” Sharon is an Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist and a Reiki Master Teacher. I was very honoured when she reviewed my book, “A Widow’s Awakening,” recently.

Here is what Sharon had to say…

“Based on a true story, A Widow’s Awakening is a hauntingly beautiful story of enduring love, overwhelming heartache and discovering resiliency. After the tragic death of her police officer husband Sam, Adri struggles to breathe let alone move forward in her life. With descriptions that are heartfelt, painful and often humorous, author Maryanne Pope artfully paints a picture of what it is like to have your entire world pulled out from under you. Having lost my own loved one tragically, I could so relate to everything Adri was feeling, experiencing and describing…”

Please click here to read the full review.

To purchase A Widow’s Awakeninghere is the link to the list of on-line retailers.

About Grief Reiki®

Grief Reiki® LLC is a small business based in Los Angeles, CA. They specialize in providing The Grief Recovery Method® educational programs to individuals, small groups and corporations. They also integrate the emotional, spiritual and physical aspects of grief through the Japanese Healing Art of Reiki. They offer individual and group grief recovery education, Reiki healing & relaxation sessions, as well as in-person or online classes and webinars.

For more information, please visit Grief Reiki.

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.