To The Woman With The Heart of a Dragon
A tribute to a fierce woman.
You were born in 1964. The year of the dragon. You’ve always admired dragons. Dragons, lions, eagles. Creatures larger than life, that represent strength and courage. I think it’s because you’ve always seen yourself in them. I do too.
Strength, isn’t quite enough to describe your presence. Fierce, feels a little more accurate. You are and always have been a force of nature. You make an impact on every single person you meet, and as your daughter, I’ve been lucky enough to feel that fierce love, day-in and day-out.
You are fierce, in most everything you do. Your style, your life choices, your career choices. I mean, you were named Miss Parallam when you were the only woman working in the pulp mill in your town, at only 24 years old (Parallam was the name of the mill). You were also often the only woman going out with the crews of guys on week-long tree planting expeditions in the bush. It didn’t matter to you what the “norm” was. It seems to me, it has never mattered to you what the norm is! Whatever you want in life, you go after it, no holds barred. I know it is because of you that I have always truly believed that I can do anything I put my mind to.
You’ve taught me to be strong and calm, in the times when it has mattered the most. I remember that one horrible afternoon that my little sister, your daughter, looked up at you with fear and panic in her eyes. You knew something was wrong right away. She was choking. Choking on a metal marble, just the perfect size to get stuck in her throat, not willing to pass. You went to her immediately, and orchestrated calling 911, with my Dad. All the while, you were totally cool under pressure, doing everything you could to help my sister.
At 10 years old, I was horrified with the scene, not knowing how else to handle it I ran into a different room, buried my head in couch cushions and started crying hysterically. I could still hear you from the next room though. So calm, so strong and confident, in the face of immense fear. The strength in your voice reached my ears and soothed me. I wasn't ready to have that same strength, but I knew I wanted to be able to do what you were doing. I look back at that moment, and I so admire your agency in an emergency situation. I can only pray that I am able to take care of the ones I love, in the way that you were able to.
You are also strong in your word. By that, I mean you are honest. Fiercely honest. You are not afraid to speak your mind, and it is easy to know how you feel about any given situation. Most importantly, you speak honestly where many others may not. When you are worried about a loved one, you speak your mind. It’s true, this doesn’t always sit well with the person you’re speaking too (the truth hurts), but it always 100% comes from a place of wanting to help, because of this, I know that you have truly changed people’s lives. You are not afraid to go to those messy places in order to help the ones you love! Thank you so much for that.
It’s because of you, I’ve learned strength, but it’s also because of your immense strength, that I get to be soft. You might wonder, how it is that a dragon raised two such emotional and sensitive girls. It’s because your shelter allowed us to be soft. Not in a bad way, but in the best way. I carry that with me every day, the strength you gave me, and the softness you allowed. It is your true gift to me.
So here is to the woman with the heart of a dragon! The woman who started 3 of her own businesses. The woman who raised two more strong women. The woman who, when she met Mike Tyson, whispered to him before a photo, please don’t bite my ear off. Yes, this actually happened.
Here’s to you, Mom. A certified badass and certifiably, the strongest woman I know.
“A dragon's heart burns fiercely, even in the face of evil.”
― S.G. Rogers