Be Leaving a Rose from My Rose

My husband, Sexy Neck, has always been a rock to me. His tower of strength and stability have always grounded me and sometimes annoyed me.

In the last five months since mom’s diagnosis and now her death, Sexy Neck has not only been a rock, but a sweet, sweet rose.

His words have been velvety rose petal smooth to my soul.

He has been sweet to my mom and has always displayed a deep connection to her that goes beyond my understanding.

Sexy Neck has stood by with class as many things unfolded in and around our family.

Today, he saw the rose from hospice sitting in our van. He said, “Why don’t we take the rose and put it on a x-country ski trail for your mom?” This is exactly what dad, our boys and I needed to hear on this first ski without mom.

We carried the rose on the side of the chariot out to Woodland Bell.

We skied into a sunny meadow, wrote mom’s name in the snow and placed the rose beside a little spruce tree.







Happy New Year to my sweet rose, Sexy Neck, my beautiful boys, my dad, my family, friends and blog readers.

May you have many roses in your life even when you are in the desert and may you stop to smell the roses this year.

35 The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them,
And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
2 It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice,
Even with joy and singing. Isaiah 35:1 & 2

Be Sharing Your Story – Jan & Don

I grew up on Clark Crescent. I think it was the best place in the world to grow up. Walking distance to schools, Moore’s Meadow and the store. Plus, we had the best neighbours.

Here’s our neighbours from three doors down. Mom and dad of three boys! Gotta love that!!

Hi Joanna and Michelle, Mike and all your family. I just wanted to add a bit to your wonderful blog. Some things I remember:

Your Mum -taking a course where she needed to study a child. She asked if she could do this with Ryan. I said sure as long as he was ok. Of course, easy going Ryan assented. Then you Mom said what if I do all three boys? Again. Sure if they are ok. So she did. Because all she did was confidential I never really knew what was asked or answered, but she did tell me they were classic: oldest, middle and youngest. When I see and hear of your fun exploits with your three boys Joanna, I can’t help but go back to my own years with 3boys.

Just one other thing. On your wedding day, when our friend Jean Rapaich was here at our home, doing your hair, I can’t begin to tell you how special it was to me. A GIRL in my home getting ready for her wedding day. Wow.

And your wonderful selfless Mom easily and willingly sharing that with me. Little things mean a lot. I picture Gwen- always with a wonderful smile on her face. And that’s the smile she is bestowing on your family now.

Sending love to all. Jan and Don

Be Salt of the Earth Friends

Often, I have described my friends as being the salt of the earth.

Tonight, these lovely people walked through my parents door. My dad was moved to tears.

He said definitively, “These people are salt of the earth people!”







Thanks to all my parents ‘salt of the earth’ friends! We love you deeply. Thanks for being here!





….and here’s some of my salt:


Be Sharing Your Story – Pam

I met Pam in 2000 while paddling on Okanagan Lake. She has been a friend to me and our family ever since. A rock silid, dependable friend. Pam even delivered me breakfast at the hospital last week while on her way to work.

Rock. Solid. Caring. Friend. Pam.

I headed up to Sovereign on the weekend. Your mom and your family were on my mind. I saw your mom a lot at Sovereign. I always called her “Joanna’s mom” as I never felt like I knew her well enough to call her Gwen. She was either skiing with a big smile on her face by herself(laps of carl wylie – i saw her lots of times going around again)or helping out with your kids at bunnies(again with a big smile). I always thought she was who I wanted to be like when I was her age. Whether she was up skiing at Sovereign, sitting on her paddle board at Kal lake with your family, biking around town, out at Friesen’s for breakfast with you and your cousins, sitting in a fort reading with your kids or chuckling at your Labour Party – she always seemed to be active, adventurous, fun, kind and happy to be surrounded by family.

Your blog posts are heart warming and heart breaking at the same time. It is evident in the people surrounding your mom that she is a truly special person. She truly is blessed to have you all with her on this journey.

I read some of your older posts the other day Jo(I don’t think there has been a time in the last week where you haven’t been in my thoughts). You wrote about hoping you could feel okay with who you are this holiday season. Jo, you are so much more than enough. I wish you could see yourself with another person’s eyes. I watched you that morning I brought you breakfast at the hospital. You were talking to someone, so I stood and waited. It was obvious it was a difficult conversation, but you handled yourself with such grace and maturity. Then when I saw you,I wondered how you could look so beautiful after all you had been through that week. Honestly, you are a beautiful woman with incredible courage and strength. Your mom must be so proud.

Please let me know if I can bring a lunch or dinner in the next few days. It is quiet around here. Please let me know, I am happy to provide more than Rice Krispies.

I am headed up to Sovereign today. I am going to ski 2 laps of Carl Wylie for your mom. Our family will light a candle for her tonight.

Love and big hugs

Be Sharing Your Story – Loralyn

This is from an old family friend in Prince George. Loralyn and I also went to University together. Our hearts are joined together in grief this year.

Thanks for sharing Murdoch.


It is with a mixture of emotions that I write you today. I am happy that your beautiful mom is now laughing and hanging out with my beautiful sister. They can both agree that cancer sucks!! But both were such amazing women that they will find positives and I’m sure be looking over us proud of the influences they’ve had. My dad will also be driving them in his Polaris too. Wind in their hair and smiles on their faces.

Nobody can take away your journey, your pain or the amazing memories you have to share with your boys. May your mom rest in peace and you enjoy the rest of the holidays with family and loved ones.

From my family to yours please share hugs, laughs and smiles. Xoxo

Loralyn, Sofie and the Murdoch clan.

Be Preparing to Celebrate a Great Life

The lights streams in down the lake as I sit at my parents kitchen table.

Dad eats his lunch and adds to our dialogue.

Jamie sits and writes my mom’s eulogy.

20131228-143403.jpgAuntie Gail is on the phone to fill in the gaps. Thank God for her great memory.
JC and CC practice memorizing their poem.

Marnie keeps the copious amounts of beautiful flowers and food organized.

Sexy Neck is gathering and testing AV equipment. He is so talented and a pillar of faith.


Me, I walk around in disbelief.
I gather photos and memorabilia that represent my mom and her life.
I add what I can, as I love having this time to talk about my beautiful mom.

I am privileged to be walking this journey with such selfless, thoughtful, caring, loving people.

My prayer is that tomorrow God’s love, peace and light will shine on us tomorrow. I pray that my mama would be proud.

See you tomorrow in person and in spirit.

20131228-145005.jpgAnd no I am not going to sing!!