Remembering a Remarkable Woman

This coming Saturday is my birthday!

It’s been such an incredible year with numerous ups and downs but overall such a blessing. This time last year, I was just 2 months postpartum, already back at work and trying to find my way back to myself. While at the same time I was also opening up to a whole new way of walking through life, forever changed by Baby E. It’s crazy to think about how many shifts occur in such a tiny span of time.

This year I decided that I wanted to celebrate my birthday a week ahead so my mom took Baby E for a sleepover and we went for an early dinner and a movie. It doesn’t sound like much, but I was so excited to be able to have a glass of wine, go to bed early and SLEEP IN! It was amazing and perfect.

The reasons why I celebrated early, is that this coming Saturday (my actual birthday), my entire extended family is coming together to celebrate the life of my Grandmother Eileen. She passed just before Christmas last year, and it’s a little weird to not have her here anymore.


I wanted to take some time to reflect and share with you how amazing she was and how our journeys together shaped who I am and what I do in this life.

My grandma was an amazingly resilient, hard-working woman. She was incredibly smart, witty and man could she bake. One of my fondest memories was going to her house when I was little for Christmas, and she had every kind of pie imaginable. Each of her kids and their spouses liked a certain kind so she made them all so that everyone could enjoy their favorite. To a little girl that didn’t get to have sweets very often, time spent at grandma’s house was always an exciting experience as she let me help her make cookies and sweets until my belly was full. As an adult, I love to bake and it allows me to connect with my grandma as I do it.

Like many farming families at that time she was pregnant 10 times total, and raised 9 children. My Aunt known as Baby Marlene was stillborn and in the course of her lifetime she lost another 4 children, one due to an accident in his teens and 3 as adults due to various cancers. I can’t really comprehend how she managed to say goodbye to each of them and keep living. My mom talks about how each time it changed her, (how could it not) but she remained present to the rest of her children as best as she could.

What a lot of people don’t know, my grandma was the reason for me choosing to be an acupuncturist.

Approximately twelve or so years ago, my grandma got very ill. She spent months in the hospital having every test imaginable to try and figure out what was wrong. All of her test results came back normal and she continued to slip further away from us. She was eventually discharged and was told to get comfortable and live out the last moments of her life. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong so they really couldn’t estimate how long that would be.

My family has always been on the fringe of medicine and started to look for alternatives to see if they could help or at the very least give her comfort as nothing had worked thus far. A family friend introduced us to an acupuncturist and he thought he could assist her.

While all of this was happening, I had been studying pre-med in university and was a complete sceptic about all of what was happening. Thankfully before my eyes I watched my frail grandmother become stronger with each treatment she had and herbal tincture that she took. I was so amazed that I started to inquire about what he was doing. I attended her sessions and asked questions and started receiving my own treatment. I was in complete awe of the medicine; I was infatuated by its intuitiveness and precision to heal. The acupuncturist Dr. Jagdeep Johal become my teacher and mentor, I convinced my parents that Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine was the direction for me rather than medical school and I made plans to enroll upon completion of my degree.

The rest they say is history, my grandma continued to receive treatment and achieved a level of health that was thought unimaginable and lived until last year at the age of 92. I went to Acupuncture school and opened up my practice TerraSana Health here in Calgary.

I will forever be grateful to my grandma, for the lessons she taught me, the recipes, and our journey together and how it brought me to my current path. I will miss her spark and her giggle; my world will never be the same now that she is no longer here.

I love you Grandma..



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