Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Remembering Clare

“I know my time is limited and I always think to myself when I start to fall really hard, a day of depression is a day lost and what a shame that would be.”
 - Clare Kowaltschuck (on her philosophy of living with cancer)

Clare Kowaltschuck, May 31, 1973 - Jan 8, 2011
A girl I went to high school with - someone with blonde hair and a shining spirit that touched everyone who crossed her path - is someone I want to talk about today. Although she was not someone I knew very well, I knew her well enough that she and I chatted a few times when we bumped into each other and she always made time for people.

Clare was diagnosed with cancer more than four years ago, while she was pregnant with her first and only child - her son Nathan. From that moment on, she set out to build her legacy and to savour every moment by sharing her passion for life, not only with her family and friends, but with everyone she encountered. Clare refused to let her illness stop her from living. In fact, those fortunate enough to have known her always left her company feeling more alive.

I regret that I never saw Clare while she was ill, but I know she was busy living life to the fullest, travelling the world with her husband Adam and Nathan - creating memories, continuing to shine her light on the world.

Clare, husband Adam and son Nathan on the day they renewed their wedding vows in 2009.

At one point during her valiant battle, a friend asked for stories about Clare to be submitted for a memory book that was being created for her son. As I was not a close friend, but someone who wanted to contribute, my heart pushed me to write a poem for Clare and Nathan as it was this courageous act of building wonderful memories for her son that moved me so - as the mother of boys myself.

Clare passed away on January 8, 2011. I was honoured to be asked (because Clare had requested this) to read my poem at her funeral service along with a close friend of hers.

I share this poem with you, in memory of Clare and the wonderful person and mother she was.

Clare and son Nathan

Lullaby of the Sun
(For Clare & Nathan)

She looks at him…
little hands, her sweet boy
and lives,
and gives
gifts greater than the sea.
They are grand,
they are wondrous,
they are tender from her heart…
she’s a part
of what will make him
her strong, gentle soldier.

And he keeps her from the cold
with his wiggles,
and his giggles…
his wide-eyed smiles
that last for miles…

They embrace her.

He’s her cocoon.

And it’s then quiet,
it is still.
she opens and unfolds
her colours, her wings,
like songs of butterflies
she always sings.

He reaches up high,
little fingers to the sky,
he needn’t chase…
he knows her grace…
and feels her beam across his face.

And he basks in the warmth
as he knows who it is.
he’s compiling,
the memories…
sweet melodies…
that keep him looking up.

The wind is her song
that will hold him tight
her warm light,
so bright,
he hears her whispers through the night.

It’s her lullaby for him;
like a kiss
against his cheek.
About a son and the sun…
about a boy and his mom.

  - Lora Rossi (May, 2009)

Clare and Nathan enjoying a treat - smiles all around.

To read more about Clare's life and spirit, I encourage you to read this lovely article about her from The Toronto Star (published on January 26, 2011 - shortly after her death).

On September 10th/11th, 2011 a group called The Favourite Ladies & A Few Good Men will be walking 60kms to raise funds for Princess Margaret Hospital. Clare loved the walk and supporting a hospital that helped her so much. Each walker needs to raise a minimum of $2,000 and as a team, they have their sights set on raising $50,000 this year. 
If you care to support this cause please go to and donate to team members that are under $2,000. They will be walking with Clare every step of the way!
Clare and some of her closest friends walk to fight breast cancer and they will do it again this year. Go team!

In closing, I just want to say something that was brought to my attention by my sister-in-law who is an Oncologist. She reminds people that those who pass away from cancer have not "lost their battle". Yes, they have lost their life...but they did not lose their fight.

It is obvious that Clare is still fighting strong - her spirit continues to brighten many lives - and one day, the effort that she put forth will kick cancer in the ass! And many will also fight with her - like my friend Rachel Brown, who is also a wonderful mother of boys who has had her own battle and continues to fight against this disease like the champion she is.

Clare at Machu Picchu - a painting by Tino Paolini

Breast Cancer sucks. But life is wonderful. Clare continues to instill this message and I am forever grateful.



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My First Article for Wellx!

Hi readers!

Today I bring to you the happy news that as of yesterday, I am a new Contributing Writer on Wellx (Your Wellness Exchange).  For those of you in the wellness profession, here is some information - right from their website which you can access here.

Wellx is a free, online community of Wellness Professionals.

As a member of Wellx, you can serve your clients more efficiently, more effectively and more professionally. Most importantly, you can spend more time doing what you love.
If you are a student you can also join for free and learn from the best in the industry.

Included in Free Wellx memberships:
  • A complete online profile describing where you practice, what services you offer and your pricing.
  • Professionals profiles which are searchable online so you can build your client base.
  • Student profiles which allow great networking opportunities.
  • Access to the new Wellx community which allows direct networking with other wellness professionals, industry leaders and product manufactures offering great discounts.
  • Access to high quality professional and general liability insurance for massage therapists.
  • The ability to trade services with other professionals.

I encourage you to read about the great Wellx members-only features and how they can help you succeed.

Wellx also has a blog that shares wellness-related articles and information. Under the blog's section on "Self Care", my first piece, which was first published here on The Hugging Home, was re-published on August 29, 2011 by Wellx and you can check it out by clicking on the link below:

Wellx: An Attitude of Gratitude By: Lora Rossi

I have plans to be a monthly contributer to Wellx and have two more pieces already approved that will run in the near future. I'll keep you posted! 

In the meantime, please connect further with Wellx by following them on twitter @WellnessX and on Facebook at WellnessX.

Of course, I must express my gratitude to Melissa Kniazeva for welcoming me to Wellx. Many thanks!



Monday, August 29, 2011

I'm Happily Exhausted

OK, I admit it. I am exhausted. I am tired. I am overwhelmed.

I wished this is how I looked when I am tired.

In short, I need to take more of my own advise.

I started this blog as a fun little hobby because I felt I had a lot to say and I tend to express myself best through the written word. Simple, I thought. And it is simple. But it has now taken on a life of it's own. Or perhaps more accurately, I have breathed life into it and my readers have breathed life into it and now it has become something that people - friends, family and strangers - actually follow. Cool! story.

But I have always been somewhat of a perfectionist. A little anal retentive, if I may. If I do something, I like to do it to the best of my ability and when I see momentum I don't want it to let up. I don't want to let anyone down. I don't want to let myself down.

So I push. I push and I market and I social media like a madwoman sometimes.

Yeah...I know.

So..follow me on Twitter @thehugginghome here 
Follow me on Facebook by "liking" my fan page here 
Connect with me on LinkedIn here
Find my Klout profile here

OK...I'll stop now.

Because I have discovered that this writing thing...this blogging thing...this connecting with others thing...well...I love it. I know I have said this before, and I apologize if I am repeating myself, but I think I have found my calling in life - besides being a mother. That - I know - has always been a calling. And Lord knows I answered that call people! Wait one sec...someone just tweeted me!

Did I tell you they are writing an After School Special about me?

But that is really all part of what I am oh so un-eloquently (is that even a word??) trying to say here. My callings intertwine. Being a mother and reaching other people - especially moms - through my writing. Writing about motherhood. About how wonderful and frustrating and magical and difficult it is all at the same time.


But as I sit here writing, it is just after 7:00am, my baby boy is playing happily in his crib and my other two sons are still sleeping. I got out of bed when my husband rose for work because I wanted to write. I needed to write. I actually need to sleep...but I felt I needed to write more. And let me tell you peeps, anything that gets me up in the morning like that...well...I must either be passionate about it, have no choice about it, or be getting paid for it.

These days, what gets me out of bed is my kids and my writing. Pure love and passion. As mentioned before, I do get paid for some of my writing, and it is my goal to get to the point where this is happening more...but for now, I will just keep wagon-training.

Ahhhhh...but I digress. I know, I am famous for that. Maybe if I stop getting so off track people would pay me more for my writing. ;)

So, yeah, I am exhausted. So much so that I had to look up "exhausted" because I can't remember how to spell it. Actually, for someone who loves to write so much, I can't spell to save my life. Honestly, I am better at math. And I know I have not caught all the little mistakes here on my blog and that bugs me. It bugs my parents too because they like to point out typos. If my mom could get in and fix my typos she would.

But don't get it twisted sister!

"We're not gonna take your typos...ANYMORE!"

My parents are pillars of support. They are not telling me to be reasonable. They are not telling me to stop this writing silliness and go back to my nice comfortable life as an Association Executive making a very decent, reliable salary. No. They are actually telling me they have never seen me so happy. Too bad I may have to go back. At least for a while. We will see how that unfolds. But my parents are telling me to follow my heart. They always have and they always will. My parents are awesome.

...a whole lot!

So Mom...Dad... I konw tihs is sepelld wonrg, but you can raed it awynays, rirhgt? Isn't it cool how out brain works? How, as long as the first and last letters are in the proper place, the rest of them can be jumbled up and out brains can still read the words?

I guess that is kind of related to what I am saying. Things in my life seem jumbled up. So much is going on. I need to take better care of myself. But, all this extra "work" I am writing, promoting my does not feel like work much of the time. It somehow makes me feel happy. Overwhelmed, but in a good way, if that makes sense.

Sorry...just had to grab another coffee before I ramble too much here.

But I do need to be careful to remain balanced. I sometimes get so wrapped up in being a mom and this writing thing that things like eating right, getting enough exercise, getting enough sleep...they fall by the wayside a bit and I have to watch it.

But I continue on, riding the wave, sometimes falling, always getting back up. Hugging my kids tight, playing my keyboard like a piano, sharing my heart with whoever wants a little piece.

And now, time for breakfast.