Bittersweet Symphony


Last week, I gave up another responsibility of mine...

…For the last three years I have been fortunate enough to work with a fantastic First Nation organization called Mi’kmaq Family Support, which is part of the Jordan’s Principle initiative that helps provide care & services for First Nations people across Atlantic Canada (7 different first nation communities)...

..My part was minor. I was merely their tech support, which wore many different hats but one of which was to build and maintain their website. If you wish to learn more about Jordan’s Principle you can check out the website:

Thursday’s handover, came bittersweet. Nothing particularly bitter about it, they are a great organization and the staff are fabulous, doing fabulous things for families who are often disadvantaged. Only thing bitter is, I no longer have the opportunity to support the organization in the same capacity that I was. Sweet, well, it’s no secret I am sick with Cancer and as much as I’d love to help, I simple can not. I can barely keep up with my day to day living. Some days it’s a struggle to get out of bed. So being relieved from these duties, is a good thing. And I wish my replacement the very best.

So I already mentioned the group of staff are fabulous, here’s just one example of how thoughtful and fabulous they truly are. I would consider some of the staff my friends. My friend Jaime gifted me some Sweet Grass which is used in the Mi’kmaq culture for Spiritual Health. Maxine actually carried out what they call in the Mi’kmaq culture a ‘Smudge’ Ceremony.

With the Smudge Ceremony, four elements that are a representation of the medicine wheel are put into a shell. With me, Maxine used Sage (North) for mental health, Sweetgrass (East) for spiritual health, Tobacco (South) for emotional health and finally Cedar (West) for Physical Health. All of which I need, all of which I am sure everyone could use a little healing with. Small amounts of all four elements are put into a seashell and burnt (not like a fire, kind of like a incense burner), the smoke is wafted over the face and body, either by a feather (ideally an eagle feather) or by hand. In this case, we used our hands. I guided the smoke towards my body with my hands, inhaling the smoke as it comes your way. Essentially washing my body with the smoke, and the smoke is said to carry the prayers to the creator. Prayers were said privately at the start and during the ceremony to the creator.

Now who is the creator? I hope this is no offence to the Mi’kmaq culture, but my idea of the creator is God. God, Allah, HaShem what ever name is given, ultimately in any religion their God, is the creator. Do you I believe in God, of course I do. I would consider my religion to be Christianity, to which I was Baptized when I was 15. What is Baptized / Baptism in Christianity? It’s basically a church service where you publicly announce you believe that JC is your Lord and Saviour. What does that mean? It means, I believe whenever my days here are over, I’ll be going to the pearly gates, where I’ll meet the likes of Elvis, John Lennon, and possibly.. 1980 Michael Jackson. 😂
Point being, I pray to God. So Praying to God at the start & during a Smudge ceremony, to me is no problem. Now because I consider myself a Christian does make me better than anyone else? Hell No! I am a sinner just like anybody else, some days I was surprised I didn’t burst into flames at the church we attend, but I’m still here! And I know the power prayer works. I mentioned this documentary before, but I highly recommend anyone to take a glance at the documentary on Netflix called ‘Heal’, there you’ll see the power of prayer.

Friends Jaime, Maxine & Mr smile no teeth me!

Friends Jaime, Maxine & Mr smile no teeth me!

Anywho, how I’ve digressed! Hopefully I haven’t opened up a can of worms talking about religion. On that note, I’ll stop right here. haha

Wela'lin Jaime and Maxine! Wela'lin Marie, Katie and the Mi’kmaq Family Support team. I am especially thankful for the smudge, and the opportunity you gave me with Mi’kmaq Family Support!

Dave Gillham1 Comment