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Dr. Turecki event reminder: Happening tonight!

Just a reminder that this event is happening today. Hope to see you there!

“Ten years ago, Dr. Turecki, (professor of Psychiatry and Human Genetics at McGill University,) presented in our Region. He will now update us on ten years of research on the suicidal brain.”

On April 3 & 4, the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council in partnership with Grand River Hospital will be hosting four free presentations featuring Dr Gustavo Turecki. All four presentations will focus on the suicidal brain but will be targeted to four specific audiences:

community based clinicians (Thurs April 3rd, 2:30 – 4:00pm)
general public (Thurs April 3rd, 7:00 – 8:30pm)
primary care providers (Fri April 4th, 7:00am – 8:30am)
hospital staff clinicians (Fri April 4th, 11:00am – 12:30pm)
Seating is limited. To register contact Tana Nash, Director of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council, at or call (519) 884-1470 x2143. Please indicate which session you would like to attend.

For more information please refer to the attached flyer.

Brain Science - Dr Gustavo Turecki FINAL

You can now subscribe to my AUTHOR BLOG at

Since the launch of I’ve been creating duplicate posts to keep all of you who have followed my journey thus far in the loop. At the same time I don’t want to risk inundating people with duplicated information, which is why I’m happy to let you know that moving forward you can now subscribe to my AUTHOR BLOG by clicking here.

What’s the difference between the two blogs?

Although I will continue to write grief-related articles on from time to time, most event updates and book release notices will go through also has its own blog which will be used to keep followers informed about my journey as an author. For example, readers will find out how my book Breathe became published, how I came to write with such raw transparency, my recommendations for aspiring authors, and more. Readers can ask me a question in the comments section or by sending me an email, and I’ll be sure to answer them there.

In addition to keeping readers informed about up-coming events I’ll also post pictures and write ups of events gone by.

As new books are released notices will be published on Over the next couple weeks I’ll post excerpts from my newly released book Breathe, too.

Please continue to journey with me at by entering your email address at the top right hand side of my author blog page where it says “Don’t miss a thing. Let’s stay connected! 🙂


What’s new at Good Grief Guru?

If you’ve come to this page by visiting


As you may already know my published book, Breathe, is about to be released. That means I’ve needed to make some changes.

1) Since Breathe is published in my maiden name, it was time I made that change legal. I’ll be sure to post more on that experience another time.

2) My grief was an important part of my life journey, but looking ahead my future is more than my past. For that reason I am adding a new site:

Good Grief Guru is an important resource and will remain intact. will become an additional resource with a link back to The purpose of is to enable guests to see where I’m speaking next, what topics I’m covering that may or may not be related to grief, and to find out what other projects I have on the go (i.e. perhaps there’s a published children’s book in the future…who knows 😉 )

3) will also give visitors the opportunity to tap into new resources, and purchase Breathe: a true story about marriage, faith, and attempted suicide.

Thank you for your patience while I get this set up. Once these changes are complete I’ll make another announcement letting you know it’s official.


In the meantime, please be sure to “like” our new Facebook pages:


talking today, changes tomorrow.



Proof that speaking out about suicide and mental illness saves lives! (video)

In Raimundo’s TED talk, you will hear her share her personal story, which includes an experience she had on the Go Train where a man, struggling with suicidal thoughts, overheard her share her story.  It saved his life!

Alicia Raimundo has been a mental health advocate since she was 13, after she experienced serious bouts of suicidal ideation as the result of her depression and anxiety. She knows she came perilously close to being part of Canada’s grim suicide statistics. Ten years later, she spends her days finishing her undergrad degree in psychology, while volunteering at half a dozen mental health-related causes.

For more information on Alicia Raimundo and the important work she is doing, please visit her website:


It is a night for the senses (video)

I have my head phones on.  Not those ear-buds that curl up in the hub of ones ear.  I have my big ear muff, acoustic-paradise head phones on.  My ears are devouring a delight of poetry and lullabies.

Anis Mojgani speaks visions and substance through his spoken word, Come Closer:

What else is on the tip of his tongue?  Don’t leave before you Shake the dust:

Did that wake you up?  Might as well stay up a little while longer.  The juxtaposition of Poison and Wine by The Civil Wars always reminds me that someone understood my marriage.  Nothing was clear, and yet it all makes sense.  There was no closure, and yet we are at rest.


Good Grief Guru interview with CTV for Bell’s Let’s Talk day

CTV’s Meghan Furman arrived at my house this morning to interview me about my story as an individual who has gone through the loss of a loved one by suicide.  This story is currently planned to air in mid February as part of the Bell Let’s Talk series.

Be sure to look out for links in February to the CTV website where you’ll be able to watch personal accounts of survivors.  In the meantime, check out some of the talks from last year, perhaps starting with CTV’s interview of Clara Hughes, Olympic medalist, depression survivor, and the face of the Bell Let’s Talk campaigns.

Here’s to collaboration, and the progress that is being made with every voice that speaks out, every courageous story shared, every survivor of mental health issues who educates us, and every action-oriented step that is taken towards breaking the grip of stigmas.

You are making a difference!


Happy thought #47 (cont’): Twitterment photos

What is Twitterment?  “A non-traditional Golf Tournament that creates powerful conversations & lasting memories through social activities, challenges and the sharing of unique business and personal stories through social media.” ~ Twitterment

Andrea (Van Houtte Coffee Services) and Shawna (Good Grief Guru, and Van Houtte Coffee Services)


Each Twitterment sponsor created a Tweet-worthy event for the golf teams to complete at each of the 18 holes at the Galt golf & country clubVan Houtte Coffee Service‘s event? A speedy, and delicious, Brew Over Ice relay.

Mission #1 – Balance a kcup pack on your head and walk to the Keurig brewer table

Mission #2 – hop in a coffee burlap sack from the coffee table to the curb

Mission #3 – toss a kcup pack across the lane way, into the open coffee burlap sack.  Great catch!

Mission #4 – run from the curb to the Van Houtte Coffee Services Keurig brewer table, make a Brew Over Ice beverage, and chug!


And the winners are…TEAM 8B!

Congratulations to the winning team who were the only ones to complete the relay in under 1 minute (59.4 seconds to be exact.)  Wow!  Their prize?  A Keurig home brewer, and Van Houtte variety box of Kcup packs, for each member, complements of Van Houtte Coffee Services. Way to go guys!

Here are some of my favourite photos from the Van Houtte Coffee Services Twitterment sponsorship relay:

The 4 amigos – I love the costumes!

50 shades of pink

The strategist from The Smile Epidemic

The most colourful team

High 40

A great cause – Meals-on-wheels & more

Team pride

Van Houtte french vanilla iced coffee

Celestial Lemonade iced tea

Team spirit!

Thanks to all the great Twitterment sports.  We had a blast, and clearly you did too!

Shawna MacDonald, National Account Manager, Van Houtte Coffee Services   

Who would you choose? The baby or the dog?

My sister and her husband brought a beautiful husky pup into their home 13 years ago.  Her name was Nikita.

My sister and her husband loved this dog.  Nikita was their only child for over a decade.  Then my daughter was born, and we learned Nikita was a jealous pup.  She had spent over 10 years having much attention to herself.  A couple winters ago, as my daughter crawled along the ground at a chalet we were staying at with extended family for the holidays, Nikita bore her teeth at my baby girl and for the first time we all realized she was a possible danger to kids.  My husband immediately removed our daughter from the situation, and we never let the two of them get that close to each other again.

A year later, my sister became pregnant.  After a decade of trying to conceive, my sister’s belly swelled with the delicate package that was to be my niece.  After a rocky pregnancy, the miracle that was her heart and soul, was born.  My sister and her husband were torn.  What should they do about their beautiful dog?  They took every precaution to keep their precious baby safe and still keep Nikita, their dog, living at home, but one swipe towards their daughter was, understandably, all it took for my sister and her husband to start searching for a new home, a good home, for their beloved Nikita.  It broke their hearts to let her go, but how could they live with themselves if anything ever happened to their baby girl?  Disallowing any negligence on their part to come between them and the protection of their daughter, they put their baby’s safety above all risk.  Three times they found a home for their dog, and three times she was returned.  Each time their dog left they struggled with mixed feelings, between the sadness of letting her go, and the peace of mind that their child was not at risk.  Plus, with a new job for my brother-in-law, he was traveling so much that Nikita was often in a kennel.  They wanted her to have stability.  Each time Nikita returned, they felt they had failed.

The third time Nikita returned, they diligently looked for another good home.  They contacted the humane society, rescue agencies, posted ads on Kijiji, Facebook, and so on.  To no avail.  Then, their dog bit my brother-in-law’s hand and drew blood.

Today, with dreadful hearts, they took their 13 year old husky to the vet to be put down.

Encouraging emails were spatted with heinous letters and phone calls.  One disturbing individual cowardly phoned my sister with a blocked number, asked for her by name, and said, “Shame on you.  You should have given away your baby before you put down your dog.”

You should have given away your BABY before you put down your dog?  Really?

Our family are animal loves.  My sister has had birds, cats, and a dog.  My father has had three huskies, a number of cats, two rabbits and a mouse.  I have enjoyed the company of two cats until they both passed away.  We love animals.  We also know where to draw the line and prioritize between the safety of an innocent baby, and the life of an animal who, as loved as she was, made three attempts to threaten two children and one adult.  What kind of phone calls would they be receiving if they neglected to make the hard, but right, decision, and an attempt on their child’s life was successful?

My sister and her husband exhausted every attempt to find a home for their dog.  Every attempt failed.  You might be thinking, “Did they try this?”  Yes.  “Did they try that?”  Yes.  Putting their pup to rest was a last resort, and it became they only option left at their desperate disposal.

I want to show my sister and her husband that they’re supported.  They are missing their sweet, but jealous, husky girl and feel guilty enough, but as parents to a vulnerable little human girl, there is no doubt in my mind they made the best choice they could.

Will you join me in helping to lift their spirits?  If so, please leave a comment here so they will be encouraged that their tough decision, was the right decision.

Loving the body my spouse left behind

My late-husband and I chose to have a baby.  It was a good decision.  It changed our lives.  It changed the capacity we thought our hearts had to give.  It changed our perspective.  It changed my shape.

Now that my spouse has passed away, sometimes I look at my changed body, and I wonder how another man will love it.  My body was not changed by a choice I made with another man.  It was changed by a choice I made with my husband who’s no longer here.

I had a caesarian birth.  There is a scar across my abdomen I lovingly call my kangaroo pouch.  The skin around my lower stomach is stretched out like a stretched, and then squished, marshmallow.  Silvery jagged lines scar my thighs, hips, and breasts.  My breasts became larger than I knew what to do with while I was nursing.  They were incredible.  They were incredible because they fed a human being.  They sustained my daughter’s life and growth.  And then, the milk went away, and they shrunk.  In fact, I don’t think they’ve stopped for a map to know I think they’re going in the wrong direction, but that is exactly the problem.  The question isn’t whether another man will love the body my late-husband and I decided to change.  The question is, will I?  Will I love my body, and admire its beauty, so when another man sees me he’ll admire it too?  Only, I’ve come to notice something.  It’s not about a person’s shape and size as much as it is about the one thing that cannot be seen.

Photographer: Jade Beall (used with permission)

Photographer Jade Beall recently posted the above photo.  It struck a cord.  Not just in me.  In many people.  In many woman.  Woman who are calling this image “beautiful,” because it is.  It’s not the typical photo one would expect to see.  It takes the piece many try to hide away and gracefully brings it to the light of true elegance.  This image has that “thing.”  The element that cannot be seen.  It is confident.  It is love.  This confident love is resonating with others.  It is beckoning them to love their bodies too, because they are beautiful.

My body is changed, yes, and I love my changed body.  Its modified shape, its redefined silhouette, my coconut-shaped bum and my tangerine-shaped breasts, every limb and scar and stretch mark is beautiful.  These lines are the road map of my story; a story I want to share.  A story I wouldn’t change.

If you want to participate in Jade Beall’s “Beautiful Body Project,” click here.


What’s better than a “hallelujah?”

The honest cries of breaking hearts, are better than a hallelujah sometimes.

All I can say is this song resonates with me.  Whether laughing with joy, or crying out in honest transparency, precious is the authentic heart.

Click here to watch “Better than a hallelujah” by Amy Grant.