Love has many flavours. We can have love between friends. Love can be romantic, and
love can be tragic. We can love money, possessions, and our favourite dessert. Love is a risk. It has the power to break our hearts. Love can cause war. Love can be ecstasy. Real love is believed to be a choice that can be given freely, without wanting anything in return, an unconditional give and receive.
During the past few months I have dedicated my passion and energy for ostomy awareness, advocacy and support, with a focus on Pediatric Ostomy. This new direction for me has been a powerful experience indeed.
January 2019, I published, Why Buttercup Wears a BAG!. I was inspired to write this children’s book for the littlest persons with an ostomy as there are very few books and toys that children with an ostomy can relate to, as they read, play, and live their lives.
In addition, this month I have written an article on Pediatric Ostomy for a leading Canadian ostomy magazine. Working on this endeavour, I have had the pleasure and honour of interviewing several parents of children with an ostomy for the purpose of shining a light on the important and often invisible topic of Pediatric Ostomy. It has been through this experience that I’ve had an extraordinary encounter with love.
Two of the remarkable young people I have met, (through interview), are Mallory, (4 years old), and Delia, (13 years old). Mallory’s health and ostomy journey began Day 2 of her life. Delia’s at 8 years of age. The messages the girls and their parents have shared for everyone are many. The following are a few of the love messages that have profoundly touched me.
Delia and her family want everyone to know; “Having an ostomy doesn’t change who you are. You can love yourself well, embracing whatever challenges you have. Don’t look at limitations, but follow your heart and you will do whatever you want in life.”
“Delia thrives as an individual. She is confident in herself as a person with value. She continues to feel good about her body at 13 in a culture that does everything to undermine that. She gives back to the world always. She has embraced her challenges with humour, acceptance, and grace”, says her Mom.
Delia lives pure self love, (self love can be very challenging for most of us). Her message is universal, with or without an ostomy, our lives are enriched.
Mallory’s parents are working with her to shape her fearless spirit. They embrace their medical parent role, and are often asked; how do you do it? Mallory’s parents’ response is profound. “We are full time professionals and parents of Mallory (medical miracle), and Collin (healthy 7 year old). The answer is simple, it’s just love. We love her the very best we can at home and at hospital. Any parent could be a medical mom/dad because it’s just love.”
February is the month in which many celebrate Valentine’s as a day set aside to express their love and affection. Through special gestures people remind one another, love is not taken for granted. There are some folks who view this day as an extravagance imposed by commercial interests. The little ones and their families remind us; love with all of its flavours is a never ending story. It is the truest and deepest gift we can give to ourselves, and to one another.
Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
“Everyone you meet has a story to tell.”
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