The Rollercoaster Ride of Divorce and a Parent’s Tale of Hope
By Karen Kaye
I was blindsided. I did not see this coming. Sure, we had our issues, but I was not prepared for the volcano that would erupt and continue to overflow for a solid decade. I was a stay-at-home mom. I was focused on raising my 18-month-old baby when my husband dropped the bomb that he wanted to get a divorce and began to pack his things to leave the home we built together. The first question I had was, “What did I do wrong?” I was sleep-deprived, but I was meeting my baby’s needs without help and figured that was quite the accomplishment. It is amazing how a trauma can suddenly wake you up in a jolt! Prior to the divorce, I was lucky in the sense that my biggest worry was, “What is the best diaper to buy?”
All of a sudden, I was in a new state of panic as I had to ask myself, “How am I going to feed my baby and keep a roof over our heads?” I was clueless, but fortunately the clouds above my head lifted as I was offered a position at a local community center where I served as a volunteer. A year and a half later, I was let go. I recall looking up to the heavens asking again, “What did I do wrong?” I had finally seen the light at the end of the tunnel only for it to return to darkness and despair. It appeared the universe had other plans for me. On a whim, I decided to use my unemployment money to start up a private practice. At that point, I honestly felt as if my angels showed up, as every courageous yet frightening step I took led me to somehow receive another client. To this day, I call it a miracle! I was able to keep my precious child and start a business that no one thought I could keep afloat for a day let alone the last four decades or so.
So now you might be asking . . . why the rollercoaster reference? Well, you start off with anticipation, worry and fear. You question every choice you make, like when you are waiting in a very long line for a rollercoaster ride that you have to talk yourself into every few minutes or so. Once on the ride, you have to hold on for dear life as it twists and turns your fragile, human body. You feel as if the ride will never end and even when it does, you are left with this sickening feeling in your stomach. I call this ride “divorce” and it has several stages that require processing as well as learning life lessons.
So, what are these life lessons and how can we establish a new hope as single or remarried parents?
- There are no guarantees in life. Spouses leave. Jobs end. Friends fade away. Be ready for the ups and downs that life brings you to teach you to grow.
- Learn to rely on yourself and in that process, you will be learning how to love and care for yourself.
- Trust comes first from trusting yourself. Trusting others will then follow.
- Being a better parent to yourself will allow you to be a better parent to your child. Self-care is crucial before, during, and after a divorce!
- There is no perfect way of reacting to a divorce. It is important, though, to see the big picture.
- It is okay for you and your children to feel the pain and grief of divorce while learning and growing together.
- Remember that you are the roots from which your children branch. How a parent reacts, i.e., hopeless or hopeful, will directly affect the children’s response to the divorce. (A stable parent DOES make a difference.)
- Parents will need a “village” to stabilize themselves first before taking on their children’s needs. Surround yourself with people going through this process as well as people that genuinely care for your well-being and the well-being of your children. It might be difficult to identify the people to keep in your circle.
- Be aware that as an adult, you have some power over the outcome of your divorce and its effects, while your children are powerless.
- In hindsight, you will be amazed by how courageous you were in this process and you will learn who you really are.
My book, My Parents Are Getting a Divorce . . . I Wonder What Will Happen to Me, is the legacy that I give to myself, my daughter, and all who are going through or have already experienced the rollercoaster ride of divorce. It serves as a healthy, creative, safe place for children to explore and process their feelings by initiating discussion as well as discovering the power of self-affirmation and drawing. Another unique layer of the book teaches parents as well as other professionals (i.e., teachers, guidance counselors, mediators, lawyers, etc.) to better understand the emotions and needs of each individual child who utilizes this book without applying their biased viewpoints and/or influence.
Karen Kaye, LMHC is a licensed mental health counselor with the State of Florida and received her master’s degree in family therapy from the University of Maryland. For fifteen years she has written a column titled “Ask the Therapist” in the Natural Awakenings Magazine of Broward County, Florida. My Parents Are Getting a Divorce came to life through Karen’s efforts to keep her own child out of the middle of her divorce when Hara was young. The book has been an evolutionary healing process for her and her daughter. For more information, visit www.imstillmebook.com.
South Surrey mother wants to thank Good Samaritan
Sasha Risi, a South Surrey mother of three children under the age of three is searching for a Good Samaritan to say thank you.
All three children were in the back seat of her car last Thursday. They were stuck in traffic on 152 Street when her two year old son, Lyon, suddenly couldn’t breathe.
“I see his lips are turning blue and he’s really struggling, he’s choking and puking everywhere,” Risi said. “I knew right then and there, I have to do something now.”
She was stuck in the left lane at an intersection during rush hour and could not pull over, so she put the car into park and jumped out, which caused traffic to stop.
“Cars are literally just detouring right beside us,” Risi said. “It was a terrible situation and they’re just honking and giving me the middle finger. I’m whacking him on the back screaming and yelling asking for people to call 911.”
Fortunately, one person did stop to help. A nurse.
“She was calling out all the things we needed to do and she just went into action and she was helping calm me,” Risi said. “When everything was under control, she helped clean up all the puke and even offered to drive me home.”
Amid all the chaos, Risi never got to ask for the woman’s name and now wants to find her.
“I’d love to meet her and hug her and say thank you,” Risi said. “She really helped save my son’s life and she put herself at risk.”
She said the good Samaritan is an Indo-Canadian woman in her 20s, possibly early 30s, who drives a black Honda.
Risi can be found on Instagram @mylyonkingarmy.
Gift Giving Season: How to Give Gifts Without the Risk of Spoiling Your Children
It is entirely understandable to want to give your children everything that they ask of you, especially if you did not grow up with too many things as a child. It is only human to want to provide for your children the support that you might not have enjoyed yourself. However, there is always the risk of spoiling your kids, as they may grow used to the coddling and gift giving to the point where they expect only the best.
It is why many parents often feel frustrated and unsure of what to do when it comes to the act of giving their kids gifts. After all, if you give them whatever they want it could be setting a bad example, which could lead to bad habits forming as they grow. Here are just a few tips to giving gifts without the risk of spoiling your children.
Do not be afraid to say no
The first and most vital step is to learn when to say no to your children. Even if you might have money to burn, if your kids demand that you give them toys or gadgets so soon after you have just given them what they asked for, you will be setting a bad example by caving into their demands. Set expectations for your kids and for yourself and let them know that they cannot always have what they want; otherwise, they will not learn to appreciate the value of money.
Give them gifts that will allow you to bond with them
While your kids might ask you for the latest video game console or a high-tech smartphone, it is often an excellent idea to go for a few classic choices. For example, while they might not ask for a scooter for kids, the opportunity to learn how to ride a scooter or a bike while bonding with you is often more than enough for them to enjoy such a gift. It is no stretch to say that for most kids, anything that helps them bond with their parents is great.
Help your kids earn their gifts
Even if you might want to give them gifts, it is a common scenario for kids to ask for something that might be more than your budget. In those situations, it is a good idea to help them earn what they ask for. They could work on a few odd jobs around the neighbourhood, or perhaps they have a set amount of chores to work on every day. You would be surprised how willing kids can be to earn their keep, as the thought of earning their money is often a novel idea at a young age.
It is understandable to be worried about spoiling your children with lavish gifts. Fortunately, you do not have to suffer through trial and error. Following the steps above will ensure that not only will you be able to give your kids the gifts that they want, but you can do it without worrying about spoiling your children.
Gifts That Can Help Your Kids Grow
While you might prefer to be the responsible adult and not spoil your kids with expensive gifts, it is more challenging to resist the temptation of getting them what they want than many expect. While it might be preferable to go for gifts that will instead help them grow, it can be difficult to accomplish when you do not think your kids will be receptive to the gift.
Fortunately, there are a few examples that stand the test of time as gifts that your kids can enjoy while simultaneously helping them grow into responsible individuals. You do not have to give in to the pressure and buy the next best smartphone or gadget when you have these gifts to choose from!
Starting with the most controversial – a video game console
It might seem strange that a gift which could help your children grow would be a videogame console, but it is more useful than you might think. Many of the games that come with consoles today are often challenging to finish, with stories that will have your children think about new perspectives and possibilities. That said, you would have to do some research about the console and games that you might want to purchase to ensure that the game library is sufficient.
A good example would be the Nintendo Wii and Wii-U, which comes with a library of games geared toward kids and adults alike. The best part is that most of the games will allow the whole family to get in on the fun, giving you a chance to bond with your kids.
When it comes to helpful gifts, never forego the classics
Have you purchased bikes for your kids yet? While it might not necessarily be on the wishlist of most kids today, it does not change the fact that learning to ride a bike is still a lot of fun to do. What makes it fun for most kids is that you get to be there to teach them. If you are looking for more time to spend with your kids, consider buying them a bike, or perhaps a scooter for kids. While they might have their sights set on the latest laptop or smartphone, teaching them how to ride a bike or a scooter could result in quality time between you and your kids.
There are plenty of gifts that are viable if you are there to enjoy them with your kids
For most kids, having fun with their parents and bonding can be quite satisfying, and is the reason most gifts on the list become fun. Even something as controversial as a gaming console can be a learning experience for your children if you are playing it with them. You could also ask them what they would like, and see if it is something that you can enjoy together.
On the other hand, if they have their sights set on a brand new gadget and it is within your budget, you could have them earn their gift by doing a few chores around the house. It will help them learn the value of money and teach them a thing or two about responsibility.
Newton Days is bringing back the Summer Fun!
Let’s kick-off summer in Newton! The Newton BIA is bringing back Newton days with events all summer. Complete with a farms’ market, kid fun zone, face painting, food trucks, henna and Science World demonstrations, Newton Days has something for everyone.
Throughout July and August, Newton Days will be taking over the Newton Grove on Saturdays from 12-4pm. Open to the community, everything will be free! Each Saturday will feature something different, so be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook events for more details.
Newton Days is a push to create a more vibrant community within the Newton Town Centre. Get out, enjoy the weather, enjoy the activities, and get to know your neighborhood! Positive events like these in the community are key to the success of Newton and will be more successful with your support!
Science World demonstrations
Friends of the Grove
Surrey Fire Prevention
Black Belt Academy
North Surrey Minor Football
Newton Recreation Centre
Surrey Parks and Rec
City of Surrey
For seniors, with complex needs in a complex setting, the answer is simple
Aging shouldn’t stop you from getting the most out of your life.
That’s the foundation that holistic care facility, Live Your Life Homecare is built on. The White Rock-based company provides in-home support for residents in Surrey, White Rock and Delta. No matter what stage of life you’re in, Live Your Life provides the opportunity to remain in the comfort of your own home, while also alleviating the strain on our current healthcare system.
As Registered Nurse Dana Huggett says, “we want to help seniors not only maintain their independence, but also live their lives to the fullest.”
For companies like Live Your Life, this means looking beyond the health charts and identifying what our senior population actually needs. From a helping hand around the house to intensive palliative care, the nurses are on hand to ensure that quality of care meets quality of life in the setting where we feel most at home.
Huggett, with over 15 years experience both in and out of hospital settings, has seen first-hand the deteriorating effects our tapped healthcare system can have on a mounting aging population. With a shortage of hospital beds and big waitlists for long-term care facilities, for the 16 per cent of Canadians currently over the age of 65, homecare is becoming a necessary option.
“There’s no place to put anyone in hospitals anymore because it’s all taken up by people who don’t really need to be there,” she says.
Patients are ending up in beds placed in hallways, or being released much earlier than they should. Or they end up on long waitlists for short-staffed care facilities. Live Your Life is the bridge between these problems.
“If you can get back, with support, into your own home – even if it’s a temporary bandaid – having support put in place while you wait to get into long-term care means you are not taking up that acute care bed. That’s the way backups in emergency happen,” Huggett says.
A senior patient, on average, loses 10 per cent of their overall muscle mass every day they remain in bed, according to the experienced nurse. With seniors used to living an active lifestyle, the sudden confinement means their health may decline faster than if they remained at home.
“It’s a broken system and if we can help even be the temporary fix while somebody is waiting to get into care, they would do better. They would keep their freedom and independence, and it would keep them out of beds they don’t need to be in,” Huggett advocates.
Besides providing assisted living and care, Live Your Life also offers courses aimed towards enabling seniors in areas like technology, nutrition and transportation. Their offices are easily located across from Surrey Memorial Hospital.
Stop by Semiahmoo Mall on Monday, May 1st and speak to representatives from the company. Huggett will be on hand to field questions from 10am to 1pm.
Visit Live Your Life Homecare and request your free consultation today.
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