This will be a collection of some of my writings that you will often see me post via my blog entries. I wanted to also keep a copy of them in this collective catalogue page.
Thank you for reading through my writing adventures and my writing growth.
- This Child…
- My Masquerade
- And Death Will Lose
- Keeping Promises
- I hate you ALS
- LinkedIn Profile Pic – Do’s & Don’ts
I watched him stumble
I watched him fall,
I watched him cry
Then laugh through it all.
His delicate features
From his head to his toes,
Soft silky lashes
And a cute freckled nose.
He lights up my life
And brings me such joy,
Finds the simplest of pleasures,
In a rock or a toy.
So when life feels so crazy
And things run so wild,
It is then I must stop
And see the world as this child.
© 2018 Judith Mallard
I heard you call my name today,
in the whisper of a morning breeze
I felt your touch upon my skin,
such a gentle sweet caress.
But then the darkness came,
in all its’ thundering fury
Scoffing at my weakness roaring,
Love is not for one like you.
So I hung my head in shame,
And I trembled in its’ wake
Tears slid down my face,
No heart was left to break.
I saw you walk my way today
with loves’ light in your eyes,
I quickly turned away,
to find my next disguise.
© 2018 Judith Mallard
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 God himself to come down beside 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, a 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. Maybe we can wear it down, this affliction we call death.
Even the mere mention of it makes our skin crawl.
We’re all seeking understanding, purpose and more importantly hope.
But when we stand on that precipice of pain, of death and dying,
we’re lost – I’m lost.
I don’t have all the answers. Maybe my heart can help.
If it is strong enough to bring me to my knees,
to cause me to mourn what I have lost in ways I had thought unimaginable,
then it must be strong enough to help me understand.
Because that is what hurts us the most, we don’t understand.
And when we don’t understand – we get scared.
We get so scared.
So come, show me what you are capable of.
Lead me, guide me, protect me.
I refuse to believe that this pulsating mass,
this beating hearts only purpose, is to cause me pain.
Let’s just stop for a moment. Look around.
Can you say with absolute conviction, with total sincerity
that your heart has only shown you pain?
Do you toss it aside and all that it is capable of, because you are hurting.
Has it not also shown you… love?
Connect with your heart and your mind –
and let this love be your bridge.
Individually they can bring us down.
But together, they allow us to rise.
Listen to your heart, yes, but don’t let it reign supreme.
That’s way too much burden to put on it.
It wasn’t created to carry the load alone,
to become the matriarch of your existence.
You are more than your heart.
You are more than your mind.
But when you allow both to exist, in harmony,
that is when you discover you and
all that you are capable of thinking, feeling and doing,
in this precious existence we call life.
You can learn to embrace love even with all its’ foibles,
let downs and losses, chaos and pain.
For it truly is – “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
So, find you.
Even when you’re hurting.
And death will lose.
© 2018 Judith Mallard
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 kid, was I?
I’m sorry it took me so long to understand how much you loved me or why. I really didn’t get it. I guess my scars were a lot thicker than I thought and much deeper than I wanted them to be. No one else had loved me the way you did. No other mom came to my rescue. Even though I spent many years waiting for one to come riding in off the sunset.
I’m just sad that you couldn’t find me earlier. But I have you now right, that’s all that matters.
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, 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? We’re silly humans just being human I guess.
I understand that some people struggle with the passing of a loved one but I do 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. And I’m learning to be okay with that.
That day I walked into the Home 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? My brother was there that day. I told him 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 laughed when I told you.
But that day in the Home was 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……
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? 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 pain. We come into this world screaming and sometimes it seems we must also leave screaming – that is totally whack. Some cosmic bad joke. The universe getting its wires crossed.
You lay propped up in bed – looking so frail. A beautiful tiny doll in her pink cotton PJ’s with soft white lace trim. You looked so fragile, so small. How 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?”
Without any hesitation I responded, “no mom you’re not, I promise.”
Maybe you have gone on to a different place or time – who knows Mom, 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.
I will continue to celebrate loving you and especially being loved by you each and every day.
Because a promise is a promise.
© 2018 Judith Mallard
Several years ago – I remember sitting with a good friend and mentor as he shared with me his own personal wisdom of the many do’s and don’ts that exists within the business world. I was just about to launch my own Recruitment Agency and I figured I could use all the help I could get.
I knew if I ever need help with anything at all – I could go to him – he would know the answer. He always knew the answer. And he was never too busy for me. He just wanted to see me succeed and that’s just the way he was.
One day in particular stands out more vividly than others. We were sipping our Tim Horton’s coffee in downtown Toronto, right at the corner of John and King, my friend was telling me about an upcoming surgery he was going to have.
“The doctors think I have carpal tunnel syndrome,” he said “they figure it should help.” I remember taking his hand in mine and running my fingers along the smoothness of his skin – I told him he had baby soft skin and we both started laughing.
I could see how the muscles on his hand seemed to cave in, “that doesn’t look like any carpal tunnel I’ve read about,” I mentioned to him. We both shrugged. Maybe because we didn’t want it to be anything else. Isn’t ignorance supposed to be bliss?
Needless to say it wasn’t carpal tunnel syndrome.
“ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is a rapidly progressive, neuromuscular disease. It attacks the motor neurons that transmit electrical impulses from the brain to the voluntary muscles in the body. When they fail to receive messages, the muscles lose strength, atrophy and die. ALS can strike anyone at any time, regardless of age, gender, or ethnic origin. It does not affect the senses, and only rarely does it affect the mind. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is 3 to 5 years. (Excerpt from © ALS SOCIETY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA)”
Why is it for such an intelligent species, we tend to put on blinders when it comes to illnesses and dying. Why do we believe that we have all the time in the world to do whatever it is we desire. And more importantly, why are we so afraid to even talk about it. But therein is the reason, isn’t it. We are afraid. And if we don’t talk about it – it won’t be real. How’s that for naiveté.
And while we all will vehemently state “everyone has to die one day”, it is with reckless abandonment – that we try to distance ourselves from actually feeling this and the weight that often comes with it. In some childlike way, we rationalize that even though we are aware of it – it just happens to everyone else around us.
Then one day it happens. The “around us” gets closer. And we’re shaken to our core. We get scared, we get angry and sometimes we even hate.
We feel insulted when we have to go about our regular day as if everything is the same or dare I say it, normal. We want to scream and yell at the injustices – something to mark the occasion – something that brings attention to the fact that, “this isn’t just another day.”
We get up the next morning; go about reviewing our same daily tasks, perhaps in between booking doctor’s visits and some other mundane appointments. Most within our circles or network of connections are none the wiser. Because you see – it is just another day. And life does not stop when you are handed a death notice. In fact – in my opinion, you are never more alive, or aware of it.
I’ll be very honest, it was hard to see my friend. I was often at a loss. I didn’t have any magic words – I didn’t have anything that could make it better. And that made me so very angry and very scared.
We chatted, as best as we could – he would get frustrated sometimes – but dear god who wouldn’t, with the battle he had before him. I couldn’t always make out what he was trying to say, which also frustrated me, because I didn’t want him to get frustrated – but between the two of us, we did the best we could With each passing week – it was harder, and I was often unsure what to do. I wanted to fix it – and I knew I couldn’t. You just feel so damn helpless.
At times, I just wanted to rip this evil thing out of him. And that is the only way I can describe it. I wanted to take away his fear when he would tell me how afraid he is, especially when he knew what his future was going to be like. I listened to him when he would tell me how much he worried about his wife and how he was so amazed at how much she actually does. He was aware of this, every single day. I smile when I think of that. She’s such a tiny lass. Yet her strength in facing such devastating adversity was simply beautiful and inspiring and so filled with love. At times it did knock her down, and even though it was not easy to get back up, she always did.
And still our daily lives go on. Emails are answered, messages are texted and appointments are confirmed.
One thing that initially caused me a wee bit of confusion with my friend, was how persistent he was in wanting to make sure his business kept moving smoothly. I’ve had to wrestle with that one, and still do at times. My instinctive reaction was, “what the hell, forget about it, how can that be important now.” But for so many of us, it is. I know his motivation was also based on watching his wife. He had to look after her, he still saw that as his responsibility – I saw that in everything he pushed himself to do. And that’s just the way it is. Life goes on – for everyone. No meanness meant or cold heartedness. Regardless of what a doctor may tell us – there are still things that have to be done. And we have families that we will worry about until the day we take our last breath. That is who we are and that is life.
There were times when I thought there was such cruelness afoot, some bad cosmic influence. How can one be expected to go about their day when given such horrible news? But people are doing this every single day. They get up each morning – put one foot in front of the other – when possible, and they face their day. Because they know what the alternative is, and they choose to live first and foremost, as painful and as difficult as that can be. To me they are true heroes, they are the magical markers in our lives.
And the first thing that we should do, is applaud them – recognize them – and help whenever we can. And never, ever, dismiss the obvious elephant in the room. Some things cannot be hidden, nor should be.
I didn’t know how to tell my friend how much I hated his ALS and how it made me angry. It confused me in ways that I can’t really explain, even to myself. So I would tell him how much I love him – I would make him laugh, he would make me cry – and we would also make each other strong. I never say, it’s not fair. I understand – it just is. Once you realize this, it’s then that you can try to make a difference, no matter how big or how small. You help out, you listen and you try not to get caught up in thinking that you have to fix something that can’t be fixed.
I don’t see my work day like I use to. I don’t see any day like I use to. Is it my maturing age, or is it in the fact that too often I see my friends and family just not being there anymore. What we do each day, work or otherwise, is supposed to be a choice and not a chore. We can find joy and choose joy. Even amidst the pain, the trauma and the not so fun parts. It’s also a day where we should never forget to reach out and let others know they are being thought of. I try not to take anything for granted. I cannot reiterate enough, that life is so short, but you can do a lot with the one you have, you truly can. Just open your eyes.
“Understand your WORTH. Value your LIFE. Appreciate your BLESSINGS. Be GRATEFUL.”
As much as there is sadness afoot, there is also an abundance of love and joy around us. You have to believe this. No job placement or new business will ever replace that. And it is with that humility and gratitude that everything else just falls into place, and begins to make sense.
If I could wish anything for anyone – it would be to find that balance.
I sincerely believe we all do have a purpose and that we all can make a difference, no matter how big or how small. It is up to each and every one of us to choose to make that difference.
For myself, I find that I am no longer searching for those definitive answers to “why this or why that happens.” As corny as it may sound….”it just is.” I’m actually astonished that I find peace in such three simple words.
I remember an interesting passage I once read in a book, called Laws of Attraction, it makes more sense to me now.
” If contrast were to cease, so would expansion. We need expansion for eternity. Without it there wouldn’t be more. There wouldn’t be us.”
And I am so thankful for “us,” in whatever shape or form.
Even when I am angry and even when I hate.
© 2018 Judith Mallard
The Do’s & Don’ts
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 pic The Recruiter has 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.
When choosing your profile picture you should choose one that makes “you” feel comfortable – while at the same time also reflecting who you are as a professional in your respective industry.
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 colour 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 we may think we are as individuals – 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 even 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.
Though 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.
Remember, first impressions can be lasting.
© 2018 Judith Mallard