Not Farewell...but see you again

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A farewell is necessary before we can meet again, and meeting again, after moments or a lifetime is certain for those who are friends.

So here we are! As they say... it all comes down to this! Today is my last day as Executive Director of the Mood Disorders of Ontario. Starting tomorrow, I can sleep in (yeah right!), as long as I want, sip a cup of coffee slowly, read the entire newspaper at my leisure, still have plenty of time to work out in the gym (yeah... right again!), take relaxing walks and generally enjoy all the benefits that are supposed to come with retirement. That’s the plan anyway. But as you’ve often heard me quote;”To plan is human... to implement divine.” But for now... that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

What a wonderful opportunity this affords me to look forward (golfing, Florida, yoga and bridge lessons) while cherishing the past. It is a time of a certain degree of temerity (all that time at home with David??) while embracing the memories of the past 10 years here at MDAO. There are so many things to remember... Check Up from the Neck Up, Kempenfelt provincial conferences, Head Strong, Mood Lighting, Laughing Like Crazy, 7 Mad About You galas, Mood Swings Golf Tournaments, WRAP programs, Laughing Like Crazy, Mood Lighting, Touched By Fire, provincial support groups, Toronto support groups, Changing Minds at Work, Shifting Perceptions, Mood Matters, Seeing the Unseen, the “Gifting of Bears”, Into the Light cookbooks ( still for sale $10) yoga, mindfulness meditation, Boost your Mood, Surviving the Workplace,  Working Through It, countless radio, print and TV interviews ( oh those hairstyles!), hundreds or workplace and community presentations... telling my story, and telling it again, and again and again.J And of course, more recently Mental Health M.A.P. (which WILL change the world) and Dancing in the Rain! All part of what others are calling my legacy but which I call my privilege.

More important than any of the projects and initiatives however, are the people... oh the people! My ( yes they have been mine, mine, mine)staff, my Boards of Directors, the hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers, the sponsors, the donors, the colleagues, and, forever, the individuals and families I have had a very small part in serving. The hundreds of phone calls and personal meetings in my office and in coffee shops trying to help so many people who are locked in the darkest of places to see that small glimmer of light; the smallest flame that I know so well and which, with enough support, compassion, and treatment can burst into a flame of light and wonder and joy. That’s who I will remember the most and who will never be far from my thoughts.

To me, you are all friends who will forever be part of my memories and part of my heart. I thank you all for the gift of your kindness, your inspiration, and your friendship. You will never know how much you have meant to me.

Just one more thing (I mean it!). I am thrilled to introduce and welcome my successor Colleen Cowman. She is more than ably taking over the helm of this mighty ship. I adore her already -- she’s bright, funny, compassionate, wise, and she totally “gets it”. I trust her completely with this precious place and I know you will join me in welcoming her and supporting her.

Thank you everybody for letting me serve you and for giving me the gift of your friendship.

Till we meet again,