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By Jocie Ferron

One of the things I was really excited about when my husband started this job with his company was the potential opportunities we had to move to different parts of the world.

This was perfect for me, because ever since I was a teenager I had dreamed about nursing in third-world countries. When I was 22 and had the opportunity to start on this life dream (by landing a volunteer nursing position in Mongolia) I took it with no reservations even though friends were looking at me like I was crazy. What a great experience! It was exciting, adventurous, scary, empowering, and those nine months were an amazing eye opener and really whetted my appetite for more.

What I didn’t anticipate about my Mongolia time was coming face to face with my future husband, who happened to hail from the opposite side of the world. Meeting him temporarily derailed the dream and slightly changed its direction. However, I was never worried by this postponement, as he also was an adventurous spirit and we planned to one day return to a third world country to live and work.

A couple of years ago we decided that now was the time. We were ready to cart the kids off for a grand adventure and began seriously contemplating a move back to Mongolia or a similar place. We were excited at the prospect of adventure, of showing our kids another country and way of life. It was the dream that we had been talking about since we first met (and my dream from when I was a teenager) and one we were both looking forward to.

We began discussing with my husband’s work the real possibility of being transferred. I started researching schools, places to stay and things we could do. It was going to happen!

Unfortunately, my husband (who has Crohn's disease) developed some serious complications which resulted in his doctor saying "NO travel, you need to stay in Canada and keep taking these specialized medications".

Our dreams were stopped in their tracks! I remember the weeks after the new diagnosis, going through many feelings. Anger because his Crohn's got worse; guilt at feeling upset about it when there was nothing he could do to change it; sadness that we wouldn’t have the chance to go and experience our dream; and lastly feeling trapped in Canada and losing that freedom to roam.

It took me a while to work through these feelings of loss and adjust to the new direction our lives had taken.

This week got me thinking again about those feelings and in hindsight they were expected reactions to loss.

I currently have a friend going through a separation and in her effort to deal with her feelings we got to talking about the stages of grief and loss. I remember in nursing school learning about Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief which focus on anger, denial, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance (for more info do a quick Google search!).

I remember the discussions in class about it not only relating directly to health (for example loss of a limb, or of a loved one) but it can be the loss of anything. For my friend it’s the loss of a relationship, the loss of her best friend and husband. For myself all those years ago, it was the loss of a dream. A dream that I had held onto for many years.

Now we have new dreams to work towards. A new bucket list to conquer. Lots of new adventures to experience. I suppose that’s the way of it, that ever-changing road map we call life.

So last time I toasted to spring, this time it is the toast to summer:

  • To dreams that propel us forward and can change direction as quickly as a hummingbird.
  • To those people who have to suffer through silent illnesses like Crohn's disease and still manage to astound us with their perseverance and courage.
  • To Canadian summer thunderstorms and torrential downpours that remind me of Aussie summers.
  • To trampolines, bikes and vivid imaginations which keep the kids entertained.
  • To the summer holidays and warm sunny days which bring with them an idyllic sense of laziness and relaxation.
  • And finally, to those wonderful products of citronella and DEET, which help (sort of) to drive away the hordes of mosquitoes and black flies that have begun to descend on us in droves in this wonderful Canadian summer.

More articles from the joyful Jocie Ferron:

Australian nurse Jocie Ferron was volunteering in Mongolia when she met her French-Canadian husband, who was working in the mining industry. After a few years living in Australia they decided to settle in Canada with their two young children. They enjoyed a few years in a north Quebec mining town (where Jocie had daily adventures navigating life in French) and they've now settled in New Brunswick.