Do you mind if we talk about grief?

I felt pretty sheepish messaging Tracey on Facebook – it was the kind of invitation that warranted a hand-hold, or a hug, or at least some eye contact – but I’d had a powerful 2am thought, and was emboldened to ask, in case, perhaps, it was the universe that was nudging me, and not just garden-variety insomnia.


Tracey Rozsypalek has been on my mind, and in my thoughts, because it was the 5th anniversary of her husband Rudy’s death.

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Photo by @oldmanloon

“Would you consider exploring your experience of grief and loss as a guestagrammer?” I asked.

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Hi Pemby Peeps. My name is Tracey Rozsypalek and I’ll be taking over for a week. My husband, Rudy, and I moved to Pemberton in 1993. We started a business, raised our two boys and formed many good friendships here. We created a wonderful life in Pemberton together and were very happy. Five years ago, my husband was in a tragic accident and died as a result of it and more recently my father passed away from cancer. Lisa asked if I would take over this page with the suggestion to do so about being the best version of yourself through loss. Loss is something I know about, and unfortunately many people do as well. Grief and loss comes in many different forms, and no one goes through life without having to go through it in some way shape or form. By sharing a bit of my journey and perspective my hope is that perhaps it can shed a glimmer of light for others who are dealing with any kind of adversity in their life. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but today I’m thankful to say, i have more and more days feeling happy and grateful for what I do have in my life and that is something I would never had imagined five years ago. Grief is something that can’t be rushed it’s a process, and an individual one. There is no road map and no right or wrongs, but one important thing to know is that it does get easier with time. Grief can be all encompassing and impossible to see through. In my experience, bit by little bit, with setbacks in-between, life enhancing moments happened and then they happened more and more frequently with the passing of days, weeks, months and years. I’ll start off with that thought for now. So please join me this week and I’ll try my best to communicate some of the lessons and positive influences which has helped me get to where I am today. This community, and the lovely people who are as lucky as I am to call it home, have played a huge part in my healing. #lifewithmeaning. #seehappy. #ilovepemberton. #lookupnotdown. #bepositive #pembylife. #embracelife #everydayisanewday. #livelife #celebratelife #lifeisshort

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Her week unfolded slowly, thoughtfully, as a brave and beautiful reminder that you never really get over great loss, but you can continue through it.

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Today I visited three different lakes. I paddle boarded in one, swam in another and walked around the last. I went to each lake with different friends. Not everyday is like this, which made this day all that more special. Unless I have other plans, or pressing chores to get done, I rarely turn down offers to connect with my friends. I cherish them and time with them. I’ve said recently that friends and family are truly life’s glue. It’s true. It can’t be stressed enough to surround yourself by good positive people who enrich your life. Leaning on my friends, family and a professional counsellor during difficult times was helpful. I’ve often felt sorry for those close friends of mine for having dragged them through this journey with me. They’ve said they wouldn’t want it any other way, and well that just brings me to tears and speaks volumes of their character and the depth of their friendship. I know that it can be very easy to want to shut people out when life is rough, ugly and difficult, but that’s when we need them the most. Your friends certainly don’t have to have all the answers, but by letting them in can make all the difference. #goodpeopleareeverywhere #friends #family #cherishthoseyoulove

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I so appreciate the vehicle I have. It’s the first new vehicle I’ve ever owned. This picture I have tucked in my sun visor above my steering wheel. It’s a picture of Rudy’s first vehicle when he escaped from Czecholavakia and came to Canada. His car was nicked named ColtyCzech. I placed it here to remind me of Rudy’s journey in immigrating to Canada with his few words of English, $5 in his pocket and his can do, don’t take no as an answer, attitude. It helps to give me perspective and meaning of the life he led, the sacrifices he made and the life we created. The poppy represents the day we met, which was on Remembrance Day in 1990. Celebrating and honoring Rudy in my life helps me embrace his memory while fulfilling my present day realities. #honorthosewelove #presentdayrealities #livelaughlove #lifewithmeaning #lookupnotdown

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I think there are probably better places to have these conversations, than on instagram. But where are they? I don’t go to church. I am often accompanied by a kid, when I’m socializing. Girls’ nights are few and far between.

They’re not easy subjects to broach.

I hope that, with courageous friends amongst us, like Tracey and Dawn and Diane thoughtfully putting words to challenging experiences, for us here at The Wellness Almanac, we can create some safe spaces to begin to articulate these things, and to offer the possibility that we can talk about it, we can lean on the people around us and we can live through it when one story comes to an end.

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from the children’s book Finding Winnie




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