He is free. He is free. He is free…

And so begins the long journey home…

I wasn’t due to make a trip north this Christmas.

I wasn’t due to see the snow.

I wasn’t due to travel.

And I knew the next time I did venture home, would likely be to say a final goodbye.

So here I am, on my way to say the final farewell.

Each time I’ve seen my Dad over the last few years, I’ve said my goodbyes.

I’ve told him it was okay to let go,

I’ve told him that I love him,

I’ve told him that he was tough, and he did us “Smith’s” proud.

I’ve told him I love him, and he is the best Daddy a girl could ask for.

I’ve told him I will be with him always, and I am okay.

I’ve told him I am strong.

So what do I say this time?

As I ready to board my flight and I reflect on all the years I’ve flown home to see my parents, I can’t help but realize that this is the first time a plural is hyperbole.

Parents has become parent.

In finality and permanence, his last breath has been taken.

And with a final exhale my Dad has found peace.

With one last heartbeat his body finally rests.

His mind finally freed from confusion.

So I contemplate. What do I say?

I don’t know.

I love you Daddy.

I wish you’d met Ruby. Like really met her.

In a way that you could appreciate the fire and mischief that fuels her spirit.

And I wish you could have known Brooklyn. Like really known her.

In a way that you could appreciate her thoughtful, caring, creative nature.

I wish you could have seen the marriage Kibwe and I have built together. Like really felt the love we’ve built, as partners, as parents, as best friends and as lovers.

I wish you could have seen my short hair. I think you would have scoffed and said “what’s this?” In a disapproving, yet playful manner.

I wish you could have taken me hunting.

I wish I had more time with you, since I’ve been the most like me.

I wish I got to know you better. Got to hear more stories.

But the thing I know to be true is, I still see you Dad. I see you everywhere.

I see you when I look to Dale and see his devilish grin, knowing he’s up to something.

I see you in Riley when he smiles with boyish charm.

I see you in Paige, the playful prankster with a kind nature for good fun.

I see you in Brooklyn when she raises her eyebrows at something surprising.

I see you in Ruby when her eyes twinkle with mischief and omnipotence.

I see you in the mirror, when I look into the icey depths of my own hooded eyes.

I thank you Dad. Your life and your death have been a tool for transformation in my life.

You taught me to be who I am. Authentically.

You taught me to say what you mean, and do what you say.

You taught me that sometimes you have to fight. Whether figuratively or literally.

You taught me to not take shit from anybody.

You taught me how to have fun and play.

You taught me a great love for a mountain peak and a pet.

You taught me to observe the world around me, and all the beauty that it holds.

You taught me presence.

A constant endeavour.

For years your memory has been filled with the weight of your current reality.

Finishing your days in startling contrast to how you lived your life.

That weight has lifted.

I’m filled with gratitude that you have found peace.

I’m filled with gratitude that you have been freed from your prison.

I’m filled with gratitude to have known and been raised by you.

It was my honour and my privilege.

I could be bitter that you ended in such a cruel fashion, but instead

I’m filled with gratitude that your fate sent me on a purposeful path that fills my life with great meaning.

As I fly across the sky, I look down on the mountains. It’s been too long.

Too long since I’ve been greeted by these white capped mammoths.

They rise from the ground with immensity and grace. Much like you…

And all I can think is…

They don’t make them like my Dad anymore. He was grown in the great white North. Not knowing plumbing or concrete sidewalks until his mid teens.

He was raised where the winter solstice saw no light, and the summer solstice saw no dark.

He flew planes, and raced cars and motorbikes.

He disappeared into the backcountry for weeks and returned with a beard and some wild game.

He was a pioneer of the Canadian tuxedo.

He worked pipeline and told stories of daring fights and wild nights.

He worked as long as the daylight still shone, and when it was cold

He would warm his icy hands on whomever he could catch first.

He could talk to anyone, anywhere exuding charm and charisma, including dogs, and horses, and cows, and even grizzlies, and

He likely preferred the animals to the humans.

After all, authentic beings resonate with authentic beings.

My Dad took pleasure in the little things, and he was at peace amongst nature.

And I take great joy in knowing he is free again to roam the back country.

He’s free again to explore the wild wilderness.

He’s free again to gaze upon the mountains and watch for a passing bear or deer.

He is free again to wander…

Free again to wonder…

He is free. He is free. He is free.

And although it is hard to imagine an Earth his feet do not stand upon,

I believe he lives on,

In every mountain, every stream, and every tree.

In all of my family, and certainly in me.

Free Diving

Imagine an ocean.

It’s wild and deep,


Many places that no man or woman has ever been able to reach,

No one knowing what exists in the abyss.

No light,

No air,

Just a deep blue sea.


What would it take to get to the bottom?

To explore that deep?

Imagine the pressure, the solitude, the darkness.


Sensory deprivatoin. Claustrophobia. Amongst other fears.

What else might be down there?

In the dark.

What else might lurk in the depths of the abyss?


We often think of exploring new places.

New cities, new beaches, new countries.

It’s in our nature.

We send ourselves into outer space, just to see what’s out there?

Are we all alone?

The eternal quest to satisfy our curiosity.


But do we do the same to explore what’s within?

Are we all alone?

There is a sea, an unexplored abyss, within all of us.

And the depth of our consciousness, the depth that you are awake,

Will determine the depth of the connection you experience in your relationships and with the most important person in this world. You.


How far can you free dive into the abyss that is you?

How far can you get before you suffocate?

Drowning on fear, rejection, resistance, ego…


And how well can you connect with someone if they can only dive four feet, and you’re all the way down at 24 feet?


We think it’s darker the deeper we dive into that abyss, like the ocean,

But it’s actually the opposite.

You dive down, you have the courage, and you plunge into the depths,

Not being able to see, to hear, to breathe. But you dive anyway.

And much like it takes lifetimes for the light of one star to reach us here on earth,

The same is true for our own light.


It might seem scary and dark and lonely when we first start to dive.
But as we get deeper, the light finally reaches us.

And the deeper we go, the brighter that light gets.

And you realize that instead of traveling out to the stars, you only had to go inward to find the most interesting galaxy that has never been explored,

And can ONLY ever be explored, by YOU.


The deeper you go, you realize there was no reason to be afraid in the first place.


You aren’t alone,

You don’t need air,

You don’t need sight,

You don’t need to hear,

You don’t need hands or feet to touch,

You do’t need a tongue to taste it.

You don’t need any of the things you thought you needed to explore the most beautiful thing you NEVER knew needed exploring.

You don’t need to be afraid because it’s the most safe place you could ever be.


Pure love. Pure awareness and joy.

Realizing you had access to all of it, the whole time.

All you needed was the courage to ask the right questions.

To examine yourself without judgement,

To have courage,

To love unconditionally,

To believe and have faith that the deeper you went, the closer to salvation you would get…

Salvation was never at the surface, it was always in that dark place you were too afraid to go.

Salvation was never outside, it was never meant to be given by anyone else, it was always within.

You just had to have the courage to dive into the dark, and have faith you’d find the light.

I’m grateful my Dad is dying.

What are you grateful for?

Often my answer is something like my family, my health, etc. And, I do believe we should be thankful for those things. However, it is easy to have gratitude for your blessings. It’s easy to be grateful for all the good things, the good people, and the good fortune that is present in your life.

But what if we decided to have gratitude for everything in our lives? What if we decided to have gratitude when it wasn’t easy?

Let’s think about it this way. Everything that is present in your life is here because of everything that has happened before this moment. You are a collection of every experience, positive and negative, that has crossed your path to this point. And even the positive or negative perception of those situations IS what shapes and forms your ethos. Why do some people handle, seemingly negative situations, like death and dying, more effectively than others? Why do some people succeed and thrive in the face of traumatic scenarios and others don’t? I think there are likely a myriad of reasons behind that.

I think Cavewoman would have had no other choice. Continue on, or die. When the stakes are that high, you either do one or the other. There was no time or luxury to become withdrawn, depressed, and/or a non functioning member of society. Resiliency was a necessity for her survival. When the options are imminent death or getting on with it, I think our survival instincts likely took over, or we perished…which, I surmise, happened too.

So, what does gratitude have to do with any of it? Well, fear and gratitude cannot occupy the same place for starters. It just can’t. So, whatever the scenario, if you can find the gratitude you can often find the silver lining, the positive side, or the meaning of why these things happen and expel a state of fear.

Example: during a recent gratitude exercise, it occurred to me that I was often thankful for the same things. My husband, my children, my health…. So, I decided to try something new: be thankful for the things that hurt, that sucked, that were seemingly negative, but no doubt shaped me more than the positive shit.

So, I thought about my Dad. I placed him in my heart, and I thanked him deeply and showed deep gratitude for his illness (illness here). Something that has caused me deep, deep pain, and I drank it in and said a labored “thank you.” Why?

What gratitude can I glean from this situation?

Honestly, there’s plenty. If my Dad hadn’t gotten sick, and if I hadn’t watched in horror as he deteriorated and became a shell of his mountain man self, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today. His illness sent me on a path. It raised my awareness and brought about a cascading of events that shape exactly where I am, and who I am, in this present moment.

Reflecting specifically, here are some of the ways my Dad’s illness has changed my world for the better:

  1. My attention wouldn’t have been piqued towards ketogenic diet. When a functional MD recommended the ketogenic diet as a treatment for the myriad of health issues my Dad was experiencing (that presented as dementia), I became keenly aware that this diet had an important role in health and longevity. I just wasn’t sure why or how.
  2. I wouldn’t have perked up and started using coconut oil. Around 10 years ago, I caught a segment on the news (which I never watch) about a doctor who was using it to reverse her husband’s Alzheimer’s.
  3. I wouldn’t have did the research, continuing education, and reading that I’ve done to educate and learn about brain health and longevity. I wouldn’t know what I know, if my Dad hadn’t gotten sick. It raised my awareness and empowered me to make changes in my diet and lifestyle that will undoubtedly lead to greater health and longevity for me and my family.
  4. I wouldn’t have been blessed with some of the people that have come across my path. I wouldn’t have found the company I am now a part of. I wouldn’t have met some of the amazing partners I have in that company, and I wouldn’t get to work side by side to bring awareness to these topics together.
  5. I wouldn’t be as inspired to live my life fully and take care of myself in the same way. The chronic awareness that I could finish my days rotting slowly….that’s motivating. I ought to take advantage and grab every moment by the fucking balls.
  6. Because my Dad got sick, I became aware of something that may help someone else’s Dad, brother, husband, wife…before it is too late.

These reasons give me deep meaning, deep purpose, and yes, DEEP GRATITUDE for my Dad’s illness.  And every time I feel broken and wonder “WHY?” What’s the reason? What’s the purpose? I’m reminded…if it hadn’t happened as it was, I would likely lead a less purposeful existence, a less honest existence, and above all else, an existence of entitlement or expectation.

Life can be ugly.  But it is these ugly, dirty moments that give the meaning to the beautiful, tender, passionate moments….  The bad is what can fuel the good, the purpose, the meaning….but only if you let it.

So take the ugly moments and fan those flames with the gasoline of gratitude and you will no doubt fuel an inspired life.

The Impermanence of Life: The Inevitability of Death

This post is brought to you by nostalgia, family, and Creston, BC. This video was shared with my by a dear friend, and brought tears to my eyes. It’s the home I grew up in. You may not know this about me, but I grew up in the mountains. I grew up in a tiny valley in the interior of British Columbia. Far away from so many things. I lived in this same house my whole life…until I didn’t.

I lived in this same house my whole life…until I didn’t.

I remember when my Mum had to sell this very same house. The house I grew in. The house I was loved in. The house where my brother beat me senselessly with “love” and taught me how to be tough. The corral that I got bucked off horses in. The shop that I needed yearly tetanus’ shots from, because I was a kid around a lot of metal and steel.

It was incredibly difficult to watch all that metal and steel (among other things) be auctioned off as my Dad slipped deeper into dementia… I remember watching the truck we took family trips in being driven off by a stranger, and listening to it fade into the distance… How could he just drive off in it? That was our truck….the one where our sweaty legs stuck to one another in the summer, and my brother would rip them apart to mess with me… That was our truck….until it wasn’t.

That was our truck….until it wasn’t.

I will always remember the same sound of that truck barreling down the road towards our house as my Dad returned home after being on pipeline for months – goodies for us kids, filling his suitcase. Each one a reminder that he had missed us, and was thinking about us while away.  Or when he’d return from hunting with a moose on the back of his truck.  I’ll remember all the times I saw his welding hat pass across the the bottom of our picture window as he came in from outside, the feeling of his icy hands as he tried to warm them on our necks, and I’ll remember hearing the gentle greetings of our horses as he walked down to the corral.

I remember house parties that I wasn’t supposed to have, target practice in the field with bales of hay, and king of the castle on even higher stacks of hay. I remember laying in my bed during the summer and hearing my dad make rounds as he cut hay, and seeing the lights trail across my wall as he passed each successive time, gently lulling me to sleep.

I remember looking off the back deck (picture above) and just feeling at peace.  I remember how quiet it was a night, and how bright the stars shone.  I remember hearing coyotes howl, and owls hoot.

I remember talking on the phone with a friend on that same back deck.  Laying and staring at the stars, hearing about his travels, and having hours and hours of conversation while being mesmerized by their brightness and his voice.  A friend that would one day become my husband, and the father of my children.

I remember the feeling every time I would drive back home. You wind down the highest highway in Canada, your anticipation grows, and you know you’re getting close.  Mountains on one side, creeks on the other, and every time you come around a corner, you know you are closer….until you’re there….

…and every time you come around a corner, you know you are closer….until you’re there….

And the whole valley opens before you.  It’s majesty unbelievable….and you know….you are home. Every time I descend into that valley, I am home (video below).

I was forged by this place: the mountains, the lakes, the rivers, and the creeks.  The home I spent every year of my growing years in is imprinted into my DNA. The smell of the pine and the view of those mountains is etched upon my soul. No matter what happens.  No matter how sad life can be, and the grief that comes with loss…those mountains will still be there.  They will stand strong and stoic throughout time no matter how strong the wind blows, or how hard the rain falls.

If I remember that much like the mountains, our souls were born from the strength of our ancestors.

There is beauty in grief and sorrow. I have so many memories…and I tuck them away safely. I will remember that much like the mountains, our souls were born from the strength of our ancestors. Like anything else, grief can be a resistance that builds the strength to carry on and move forward with greater understanding and purpose. I will be like those mountains, and I will hold my head high.  I will take comfort in that we have survived for millenia and embrace the understanding that there is a season for everything, even me.

And everything that has a beginning, has an end.

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