April 20, 2010, I remember it like it was yesterday.
We were waiting for an opening at the local school and got the call. My daughter was 14 years old and my son 9. We crammed our little Volkswagon full, including the cat and drove to Nan and Pops. We said our goodbyes, all of us waving for a block or more, we were off on our adventure. Although my babes moved many times with me over the years, it was always within the City of Chilliwack, a population of 84,000.
This move was different, they were now leaving everything they knew and loved behind. Their Dad, grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, friendships they had since birth, for new beginnings in a town of 4600 accessible by ferry. I really had no idea what to expect. There were a lot of changes and adjustments the first year here. Being on disability with brain lesions, meant making ends meet, didn’t always meet. Family and friends had helped so much and now for the first time in my life, I was having to utilise the local food bank. How on earth could I do that without shame?
The smiles I received pulling the door open sure helped. Our first Christmas was made with the Salvation Army gifting us with a Sponsor who had me in grateful tears on Christmas morning. It still chokes me up thinking about it. A short while later my Mom was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Family and friends were asking when I was coming home; they didn’t understand that I was home. The only one that understood my need to live here was my Mom. She helped work through the guilt I had for not being by her side.
It was a couple years later, I learned that although my children enjoyed coastal life, they initially didn’t want to move like they had said, they just wanted to see their mama happy. I was thinking of the love my family has for me to support my need to fly. This beautiful oasis has embraced me like I have embraced it, and is my home today. I used to have to drive somewhere to feel peace, living here I just feel it. There is something healing to my mind, body and spirit living here gives me. The amazing people that have come into the lives of myself and my children helped them gain their wings and fly too. They still call the Coast home and come to visit when they can.
My daughter left for University in Kamloops 3 years ago and works with at-risk teens. My son completed his first year Red Seal for carpentry with Elphinstone Secondary’s ACE IT Program, now called Train in Trades and is working in his chosen field in the Fraser Valley area. I live with gratitude for the acceptance, and immense love and support I’ve received from this beautiful community.