Bangor Claude Christmas

Holiday Season Reflection & Goal Setting

It seems that every year around the holidays we tend to reflect on another year coming to a close and for me at least, I try and look at what’s going to take place the following year and begin to do some planning!  So this year was one of those that will go down in history as one of the most challenging years I can remember and will be forever branded in my memory.  And as difficult a year it has been, there were some amazing hidden gifts that were presented to me that only these experiences would have allowed me to receive.

I’m coming close to finalizing our first entire year since I left my engineering career in business development and have been 100% involved with our real estate company Canuck Investments.  Who would have thought that finally sleeping in my own bed every night would create so many challenges and road blocks??  I mean really, now Daddy is Home and can inject my own personal flavor into the house in terms of discipline and expectations and frustrations.  What is the problem right?  Shouldn’t everyone be able to see things your way?  When I was on the road for a large portion of the time these things were easy to hide and leave unaddressed, but not any more!  So this year has been a year of HARD work for both my wife and I to get to another level in our relationship and it has been worth every bit of it.

So on top of this transition, we found ourselves dealing with my mother’s battle with breast cancer that had returned.  For over a year she had travelled to and from the hospital to deal with chemo and radiation and then spent a nice winter season in Florida with my father but upon return discovered that it had now migrated to her scull, bones and literally everyplace you could imagine.  Over the next couple months I was blessed to have had the flexibility to travel back and forth to New Brunswick to spend time at their new Townhouse style condo that they had very little time to enjoy together.  She was one of those people that told you how it was and what she thought, had a great sense of humor, and an extremely caring and compassionate person as she spent her time as a palliative care nurse. Her battle ended in August although there are countless gifts that will continue to circulate in this world because of her existence.

Tough year for sure…but it didn’t end here, we then found out about a month later that my wonderful father-in-law Claude “Mouse” MacDonald was having some recurring memory issues and after an MRI was diagnosed with Glioblastoma which happens to be the most aggressive form of brain cancer.  So not only is this an extremely aggressive brain cancer, but the advanced stage of the tumor was such that operation or treatment would not have provided any significant life extension of any quality so in less than 2 months he was no longer with us.  Claude was an incredible friend, father and husband.  This guy was fun to be around for sure and an incredible athlete…. small in size but big in heart and he will be missed dearly.

I’m not writing this so that people feel bad for our situation or quite frankly to complain in any way, but to simply state how lucky we are!  Not lucky because we had 2 extremely important people in our lives that are no longer with us, or that my wife and I had one of the most challenging relationship years ever, but lucky that these experiences allowed me to see things now that were not clear to me before.  So often we hear the same shit all the time…..  Go after it! The time is now! Life is short!  blah blah blah….  but this year really sent this message home for me, death is so very difficult to understand and one thing that is for sure is that there will be no more shared experiences in this physical world with either of these loved ones.

So what are the takeaways for me moving into 2018 that may be something for you to consider;

  • Stop Lying to yourself and tell the fucking truth!  If shit needs to improve, the fastest way to become better is by going through it….NOT around it.
  • Be Present!  We have so many opportunities in a day, a week, a month to be present with our friends and loved ones.  Put the distractions away and be there 100%
  • Never QUIT….  Shit will get bad for everyone at some point.  It never stays bad and there are gifts hidden inside of these moments.  Be on the lookout for the gifts!
  • Have a plan for yourself…. What do you want? No plan = No change

I believe that our purpose in this world is about progression,  improvement,  and growth and I wish for you and your family the best 2018 possible.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Please share or comment if you got any benefit from this post.

4 replies
  1. Paola
    Paola says:

    Phil—you are so right! My father passed away 13years ago & it feels like yesterday, I can’t believe how fast the days/months/years go by.I’m so grateful to have you & Steph as such dear friends. 2018 is going to be a great year, thank you for the reminder, the truth & inspiration. Love you!

  2. Ruth
    Ruth says:

    So wonderfully, lovingly said Phil. I thank God everyday for having had Claude in my life, I was truly blessed. Our greatest accomplishment…our beautiful, loving daughters ! Over the years we were fortunate to add to our family three loving, caring son in laws and eventually seven beautiful, awesome, grandchildren, they are our pride and joy! My journey without Claude is and will continue to be difficult but oh how wonderful the memories…as a very wise little boy said to his Gramma …don’t cry because it’s over- smile because it happened. With my family and friends walking the journey with me, I’ll somehow get there. Family is everything ❤️ Ruth

  3. Joe
    Joe says:

    Great post, Phil. What a year for you and Steph. It’s amazing to know the challenges you dealt with and see your ability to recognize and appreciate the gifts, regardless. Thanks for sharing this with me. It’s certainly thought provoking in terms of applying some of your lessons to my life. Best, Joe


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