I was kind of lost the last time we spoke. Somehow our positions had gotten reversed.
I’m not really sure when or how that happened.
You were always the strong one. You who never forgot a single birthday or any other special occasion for that matter. Christmas, Easter, even Halloween, believe it or not (laughing). And to be honest, I didn’t always understand why. Because, I wasn’t even your child, and you were not my mother.
Over the years you watched as another foster mom would take me into the store where you worked standing behind the counter in your spotless white coat. You told me many times how you would tell your own mom how much you wanted me for yourself. I never understood that either. No one else seemed to want me, so why would a complete stranger even look at me like that. I was just a dirty welfare kid.
But love is like that, isn’t it Mom. She is not concerned with where you have come from, what you may have or how you may look. She wants to show you great things and limitless possibilities. She sits in the beat of your heart and rises in the precious air that we breath into our bodies. She is always there and everywhere. You cannot measure or restrict the depth nor breadth of her reach. She is omnipotent.
I am so sorry it took me so long to understand how much you loved me or why. I really didn’t get it. I was so broken. My scars cut so much more deeper than I had thought they did. But that didn’t stop you, did it? No one else had loved me the way you did. No other mom came to my rescue. Even though I spent so many years waiting for one to come riding in off the sunset.
I’m sad sometimes, that you couldn’t find me earlier. But I have you now right, so that’s all that matters. That’s all that should matter. Because regardless of how much time we were given, I got to love you and be loved by you. It is the quality of that love that truly matters, even though our hearts will always ache for the quantity too.
You must think I’m silly. Talking to you so much. Saying goodnight to a picture frame. If Dad is sitting next to you, he’s probably just shaking his head saying, “that’s our little girl.”
Come on now Mom, you have to see the irony in all of this. I talk to you more now than when you were alive. What’s up with that? Am I a silly human just being human, or a woman who is just coming into her own.
I understand that so many of us struggle with the passing of a loved one but I find solace and comfort in honoring your life, by keeping you here with me – in as many ways as I can. Don’t get me wrong, It still hurts, very much, but in a different way. It’s a heaviness now more so at times, rather than that initial piercing through the core of ones’ very being. And I’m learning to be okay with this, and in time I will be. But not just yet though.
That day I walked into the hospital to see you, was the day my heart broke in two. I cry each time I go there in my head. It makes my heart hurt so much. No more would I walk into the house on Marine Drive. Dad would have my ham in the oven, already half cooked and you would be fussing all about. Lord help us if Dad or I left something out of place. You walking around like a sentinel making sure we didn’t.
Do you remember that one time I purposely put a candy wrapper in the ashtray in the living room? I had a friend with me there that day. I told her you would catch it within seconds (laughing). And sure enough, in you came, walking through the house – and before you even had your coat off – there you were scooping the candy wrapper out of the dish. You pretended to be affronted when I first told you but I could see you holding back the laughter. You loved when I teased you like that.
But that day in the hospital room was so very different, wasn’t it. I started crying as soon as I saw you, then your niece starting crying, then you began to cry and then the other lady in the room started crying. I know they were crying because you and I were smiling ear to ear while bawling like babies. But it was beautiful wasn’t it mom. They were tears of joy and love and, and……
That was also the day I learned why your arm was hurting you so much. It wasn’t the diabetes was it? Cancer had spread to your bones. It was in your arm, your hip and even your shoulder. Cancer that we didn’t even know about. It was supposed to be diabetes remember? You said it was just your diabetes and the doctors just wanted to do more tests.
It seemed to happen overnight. Just mere months to announce a life must now come to an end. That seems so cruel, don’t you think? But then again we all live with not knowing when, don’t we? Why is it we seem to believe that death only comes to those who appear ill or frail? None of us are immune, are we Mom? The one thing none of us can escape.
I could see that it was causing you so much pain, so much unnecessary crippling pain. We come into this world kicking and screaming and sometimes it seems we must leave the same way as if it were some bad cosmic joke that none of us really gets. Is it the universe getting its wires crossed or is it just doing its own thing.
You lay there propped up in bed – looking so frail. A beautiful tiny porcelain doll in her pink cotton PJ’s with soft white lace trim. You looked so fragile, so small. How did you get so small? When did you get so small?
I sat on the bed facing you. I was very careful not to sit on you, because you know I can be a total klutz sometimes. I just wanted to scoop you up and squeeze you so tight, but I knew I couldn’t. It would cause you too much pain. So I sat next to you, gently holding your hand, trying not to break in two, trying my hardest to be a mom for you. You looked up at me with the saddest most vulnerable expression I have ever seen and asked me, “Judy, am I going to die?”
And without any hesitation, and tears sliding down my face, I whispered, “no mom you’re not, I promise.”
Maybe you have gone on to a different place or time – who knows, sometimes I can’t make any sense out of it all. Life, death – they confuse me. But as you can see – to me, you didn’t die and you never left me.
And I will continue to celebrate loving you and being loved by you each and every day.
Because mom, a promise is a promise. And you taught me that. And whenever I have any doubt I will always do what you told me to do…
I have always been fascinated with the law. And never more so than combing through the unending stacks of research materials for writing my Memoirs.
I go through so many emotions. Disbelief is a common one for me. Especially when reading about the case of Mary Francis Dinn and how her legal team tried to launch a defense based on her age and what she suffered. As if that in itself made it ok or somewhat justifiable for her terrorizing so many children in her care as a foster parent.
I found these proceedings to be somewhat of a slap on the hand in comparison to the injustices that were done to so many innocent children. While at the same time – I was also grateful that at least some light was shone on these same injustices – even if only for a short while.
In reading the Order brought down by the Supreme Court – this has to be one of my favorite lines from the full 142-page document…
Finally, I thought, an adult really saw her as we had…
“A sadistic, remorseless person, who now happens to be old.”
COMMENTS: Judy, I will never forget reading the book Derek O’Brien put out a number of years ago & will always remember the part of what they (Derek & his brother) went through with this horrible mean person, Mary Dinn!!! You poor innocent kids will never forget & my heart certainly goes out to you all who went through such terrible attrocities caused by these mean people!!!1Delete, hide or report this
COMMENTS: But after all that……only 5 counts of assault!!! She had 46 kids in her home……….what a wicked witch!!
When I was younger, I didn’t know how to speak. Who would even listen or believe me?
But child neglect and abuse is very real and it is an epidemic. People are aware but we need to be MORE aware and to talk about it consistently and openly.
We have to shine a light bright enough to bring Child Abuse & Neglect completely out of the shadows once and for all. And even for the adult survivors so that they can find peace and comfort in the fact that they are not alone and that they never ever did anything wrong or ever have anything to be ashamed of.
“It is in our silence we condone the actions of others“ I won’t be silent anymore.
Below are comments from my Facebook Writer Page.
AuthorJudith Mallard – Writer,
Blogger Yes – I believe Social
Services created the environment – from the top down. And I have no doubt that
there were many social workers that even felt helpless at times. Perhaps even
more that tried to do their best. But the results remained the same on a much
broader scale – and children suffered. There is no excuse for that.
COMMENTS The courage you are displaying in speaking out is remarkable! If half of the adults who were complicit in the abuse by not protecting you and thousands of other children from monsters like Mrs. Dinn had shown any courage at all and stepped up to protect you, how much suffering could have been avoided? It enrages me! I hope they’re all haunted more than you and the other children who endured the unthinkable. And I hope that those who are responsible for the welfare of children now and in the future are listening and learning how to protect the most vulnerable innocents in our society.
COMMENTS I was also a ward of the
court. I spent many years in a home that should never have been allowed to foster
children. My story is too long to get into but I believe other children who
lived there can attest to some of the horrors. They took children in for the
income only. They never showed any care, love , nurturing or compassion…never!
I’m pissed off and I’m angry. We all should be angry. Why aren’t we? Just take a look at today’s news headlines – see where the final chapter of a precious little girl’s life is finally laid to rest, stacked up against the other headline stories. It seems there is more of a kerfuffle over things such as – “Trump’s idea of buying Greenland” or “Harry and Meghan branded hypocrites for using private jets.”
Really? This is what is monopolizing headlines today?
I have never been a mom. But I have so much deep respect for all women who give everything that they’ve got to be the best possible mom they can be. I have heard countless stories of mothers working multiple jobs, raising children primarily on their own – and still never even consider giving up. I envy and admire their resilience and strength and I stand in awe of their courage and unfaltering love.
I have read that it “takes a village to raise a child” – but what happens when the village cannot – or chooses not to. What happens to those children then?
I will admit – I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I think I have more questions than answers. But maybe, just maybe if enough of us, keep asking more and more questions – than perhaps we can finally find answers that mean something other than a headline that triggers a million likes or whether or not Harry and Meghan are using a private jet – and who cares if they are. If I had access to one I would probably use it too.
As a child, I was one of many who was put into a very flawed and broken foster care system in the ’60s and ’70s on the east coast of Canada, St. John’s Newfoundland. Over the years I have heard random indications of “oh it’s because of the times, etc.,” which totally pisses me off. That’s like saying assaults against women and children is more acceptable “based on the times” – and THAT pisses me off even more.
I was one of five children and the only little girl. I had thought that would make me special – but it didn’t.
When I started writing my Memoirs, The Match Still Burns – it began as a journey of healing and trying to find answers. I just wanted to try and put back together all the broken pieces that kept popping up as I grew older. As I got deeper and deeper into my writing it became so much more. As a young child growing up in an abusive and neglected environment – I never felt I had a voice. But I do have one now. And even though I could not speak up for myself then – perhaps I can find a healing space and a place of courage in speaking up for other children.
There were so many of us left unattended and forgotten. We were the lost kids. And from what I heard – it paid well too. It had all the remnants of an easy and profitable cash and grab. Get the kid, grab the money and with little or no quality checks or operational monitoring. I’m sure there were people signing up in droves.
And it was not “because of the times” but because of the individuals and organizations that failed in their tasks and responsibilities to look after the vulnerable children that came into their care – and a responsibility that should always be held to the strictest and highest standards of accountability – but it is not. Or we would not be still telling these stories time and time again.
Where is our anger? This isn’t something that should be buried in one report after another that touts of all the amazing things that can be done and should be done. This is a call to action.
And still the stories come – day after day. One more horrifying than the next. When will it be enough and why hasn’t it already been seen as such?
Last week through many of my off the wall chats and conversations I heard someone casually make mention that “ohthat was back then” – as if it was most likely just because of those times. Does anyone really believe this?
Which brings me to an article that I discovered on my newsfeed today, August 19, 2019.
I can’t begin to say how many types of wrong and who to blame is peppered throughout this article. I wouldn’t know who to shout at first. The tremendous sadness of it all just sucker-punched me right in the chest. Hours later and I’m still trying to process it. How could this happen?
Then I came across another section in this heartbreaking story:
“Baldwin had strong words in her decision for the Children’s Aid Society, pointing out that the organization was supposed to see Kaylie at least every 30 days, but at the time of her death they had not been to her home in three months.
“Despite knowing Kaylie’s medically fragile condition, and being told directly by Meredith and Kaylie’s school that Meredith was struggling, the children’s aid worker allowed Meredith to cancel five appointments,” said Baldwin.
“These canceled visits should have been alert signs that all was not going well with Meredith and Kaylie. On two occasions, Meredith canceled, reporting that Kaylie was sick. What more information could the children’s aid have possibly needed to take action in this obvious crisis?”
Baldwin said the children’s aid had a responsibility to see Kaylie and had the authority to take her to a hospital for medical care if required.
“They failed to act upon their mandate in this tragic case,” said Baldwin.”
This tragic incident occurred in 2017 and was brought to trial in 2019.
From my own personal story, the first holding home that I was placed in was with foster parents James and Mary Dinn of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. Go ahead – do a Google search – if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you will have a pretty hard time finding out anything about them. They too are buried down in one of those infamous “what we are going to do now” type of reports.
But perhaps these next few images will give you some insight.
So ask yourself this question – how can a foster home go from being “an excellent home & all children placed here improve greatly” – to being closely supervised and then closed – all within a one to two-year timeframe?
As you can see in this newspaper excerpt below – where there is smoke – there is definitely fire.
And remember to keep in mind – this woman had 46 children in her carebefore they decided to close her down.
When I sought further information from my so-called legal guardians under the Freedom of Information Act – I received numerous documents that had me wondering if they actually took the time to read what they were sending me.
But the one section that stood out the most that had me shaking my head in complete and utter disbelief and boldly typed on their official agency letterhead was a section that read:
“Records indicate that you did eventually become a ward of the province. Where, When and under what circumstances is unknown.
You were in the care of James and Mary Francis of 2 Norma’s Avenue, Mount Pearl from August 8, 1967, to December 30, 1968.
Why you were placed here before eventually being placed with the Nolan’s of Torbay is unknown.”
Unknown? I can honestly say that I have no response to that – even now, years after reading that two-page letter that summed up my life in five tiny bullet points. How can you not know how you took legal guardianship of a young child?
My story began on August 8, 1967. And the sad thing is – even as a young child of six, I do remember how I ended up in that wicked woman’s house – I guess Children’s Services forgot to update their files.
So excuse my skepticism, if when asked if I believe that things like this still exist today, I will reply without hesitation and with a profound sadness – yes, most definitely I believe they do.
I’m not writing this article to point out emphatically what is right or what is “more” wrong. I can only write it from a perspective that I have nurtured and grown over the years based on my experience in the Recruitment industry and hopefully it may provide you with some additional insight.
As you can see – my own LinkedIn profile pichas somewhat of a business casual flair (moreso than a night out with my buddies at the local watering hole). However I have to be honest, I’ve never been a fan of sitting in front of the camera. Ask any of my friends and family who have tried to take my picture over the years and it’s close to impossible. But I really do believe it can make a difference, especially when you are out there trying to promote yourself.
This particular picture for me was an accidental snapshot – which ended up being my profile pic. Because to me – it does represent that this is how I feel when I am doing what I am passionate about. And yes – that is running my own recruitment agency. If you ever want to see a real life sample of that passion – just ask me about my company.
And that is how I determined which profile picture to use when presenting myself in the business world. Which one makes “me” feel comfortable.
Don’t put up one because someone tells you that you have to, or you will just end up grabbing the first one you can think of, which may not always be the best route to take. You have to be motivated by presenting YOU. A picture truly can “paint a thousand words“. Not to mention it’s also a good exercise for you to practice putting yourself out there with confidence.
I’ve also spoken to both friends and colleagues about their views with respect to the infamous profile pic. One colleague gave me a very interesting story. She said she would never post her profile pic because she fears judgment based on her skin color and her personal style.
I didn’t like hearing that.
But she had a point – and it really bothered me that she did.
Regardless of how open and diversified we may think we are – there will always be judgement based on personal bias. Yes – even in the business world. There are just more places to hide it.
I can only hope that with an awareness of this, that “ we the people,” will perhaps hesitate in passing immediate judgement.
As a recruiter I do prefer to see profile pictures when searching for new candidates and talent. But even though it is my first preference, I do not dismiss a potential applicant if their profile is strong from a content perspective. Content really is King in my business, especially in the early screening stages.
At times I have had to wrestle with my own perception of “what is right or wrong”, especially from a societal perspective. Something we are all often influenced by.
And my deciding opinion is – yes, put up a picture if you are comfortable with it. We all have that one picture where we have to admit “yes, I do look good in that one.” That one picture that makes you smile and say “that’s me.”
You can also base your picture selection on what industry you are in and/or what seniority level you are currently at. I for one do not want to see a senior level executive seeking new opportunities, with a picture showing him or her out dancing with friends or “having a few”. Even though I have absolutely no issues with either social function, I do believe there has to be some level of decorum.
Keeping in mind, I would also have no problem seeing a profile pic that reflects a funky kick ass illustration, if I happen to be looking for a 3D artist.
My final recommendation – is whenever possible – try and put your best picture forward and particularly one that reflects who you are and maybe even what you do. Find a balance that best supports both aspects.
There are many ways that scammers today can target those who may be actively seeking new employment opportunities. We may not be able to stop them all – but we can use the internet to bring attention to what these scammers are attempting to do. Let’s not make it easy for them. You too have to be diligent and thorough for yourself, with the added bonus of hopefully helping others.
Education is the key – and being aware and spreading the word on being cyber aware is how we do it together.
The following image depicts a sample of a generic email that potential scammers were promoting for their own nefarious intent and purposes. I have also highlighted key parts of this email that you should pay special attention to which should more easily help you identify fake emails and spot any inconsistencies in their attempts to deceive you into giving up your personal information.
I wanted to post this warning with the request that you REPOST, SHARE and pass it along to everyone you know as this can happen to anyone at anytime and unfortunately it is happening more and more each day.
Multi-layered targeting approach:
If you respond to the fake email sender (that’s their first hook) – the scammers will then send you back an Employment form requesting additional information such as references with contact information (that’s their second hook) – they will even go as far as sending you an actual Labour Employment Agreement with a Bogus Employer signature and requesting that you sign the Offer and send it back (this is a 3rd hook where they are collecting your digital signature). And they are getting even more clever and devious – by going to the degree of making sure that the bogus employer signature matches a profile that is actually applicable to the industry that the applicant is applying for.
There are other Warning Red Flags, such as:
Asking that you only contact them through email – this is a major red flag!
Email Address – Verify that the email address that they are contacting you with matches the domain of the URL that they are saying is the company contacting you. In the sample I have attached – you can clearly see the company domain is at www.recruitingnow.ca – yet the email address is email@example.com. I’ve also noticed that more recently they have switched to using firstname.lastname@example.org or other similar variations – but never matching the company domain.
Our recruitment process (as is standard with most agencies) does not allow any of our recruiters to send out a job offer or labor agreement via email if you haven’t had an interview with both the recruitment agency and the client who would be hiring you. We also would have requested a full Background Check at the same time and all of our Background checks are officially carried out through Sterling Talent Solutions. Even if location or timing is an issue – then a face to face would be carried out via Skype interview – but we would never send out a job offer without going through a strict screening process that far extends past email-only communication.
To have one email sent to you – followed up by a job offer – is a major red flag to watch out for.When in doubt, call or email the agency – AND do the research that I have mentioned in this bulletin.
This scam and fraudulent behavior was actually brought to my attention by some very smart and intuitive university graduates who were questioning the authenticity of the job offers that were being sent to them. As recruiters – we take our role very seriously and it is our innate desire to help and encourage individuals who are seeking out new career opportunities. Unfortunately, not everyone has that intent, so please stay alert and stay informed.
The internet is not a bad thing – it’s just that sometimes, there are bad people using it.
Ok. So jokes on me. Yesterday I was outside fretting about a caterpillar 🐛 lying helplessly vulnerable on the cold barren concrete step. It’s common knowledge by now that I’m a hopeless romantic when it comes to Mother Nature and all her little creatures.
My 1st attempt at “rescuing” her from potential predators was to carefully place her in a flower pot while balancing her furry little body on a thin slab of stone. This, however, was not very successful as you can see by her hasty escape. But still being fully committed to the rescue at this point and time, I then plopped her down below the towering concrete steps into a voluptuous array of flowering plants. That was it, my job was done. I was a hero 🤔
Within 24 hours this is who showed up right back on the front step. Now how the heck did she get back up there. That had to be quite the trek for her short stubby little legs.
My goodness, what resilience and determination in one scruffy little caterpillar.
So after several minutes of deep and at times heated consultations “we” finally agreed on a compromise. She could stay on the concrete steps but she had to accept some form of leafy camouflage – which involved a much juicier hibiscus leaf.
Sitting peacefully on my front porch with my new found friend, I figured out why the little bugger wasn’t fearful of being gobbled up at all with the help of Mr. Google. It seems the birdies and other critters in the neighborhood were well aware that my bright little yellow needle sticking out caterpillar was no other than a poisonous (only mildly I think 🤔) Acronicta Americana – American Dagger Moth.
Yup. Jokes on me 🦋 I do not think that Cati P was scared at all. (I had to give her a stage name for her international online debut)
I wrestle with this. A lot these days.
Especially the death part.
And not out of any morbid
I try not to think of what if,
what if it has all been in vain?
I want Him, It or Someone to tell me,
tell me it’s going to be ok.
He hasn’t done that yet,
or has He?
Then one day, you get a call.
She fought a brave battle.
Your heart sinks.
The pain. The confusion.
This fear that you feel inside.
You can’t see it. You can’t touch it.
At times you can’t even describe it.
But you know it’s there.
You stumble around in the dark,
this maze of broken glass.
Every turn, every step
more painful, than the last.
We try to help each other.
Whispered collections of jumbled thoughts,
I think, I hope. I pray.
Maybe I can wear it down,
this albatross of affliction,
this spectre of death.
Its mere mention makes my skin crawl.
The confusion, the fear,
as we stand on this precipice,
of death and dying.
Would I change it?
And then I look at her.
Knowing what I know, would
I take it back. When I press pause,
rewind – or even delete?
just wipe it all out.
Take away the memories,
her memories, her love,
No, I wouldn’t, I couldn’t.
She is the air that I breathe,
she is the beating of my heart
she is the light in my life.
And therein lies the secret
of who will win this race
of David and Goliath
the fear we fight in spite.
If you can choose love, every single time, even when you’re hurting,