Mackenzie’s Birthday

Today was a heavy day. It’s the second birthday of my daughter Mackenzie who was fullgrown stillborn. I won’t go into the details of what happened but it happened. It’s had a tremendous effect on life for me… both through work and domestic life.

Loss is a part of life… and I have put it aside whilst I carry on living and caring for my other two but every now and then it kinda gets me down.

I went to her grave yesterday and cleaned it up… cut the grass and pulled out the weeds. I had to be very careful because the whole graveyard on Dalles is covered in wild sage – for those of you who don’t know sage is a traditional medicine for Native people.

I put a new unlit candle on top of her grave. If it’s not lit, it can never go out… symbolising the everlasting memory of Mackenzie. Every now and then I’ll have her name on the tip of my tongue about to refer to my second daughter Alex but I’ve caught myself every time.

We had a feast at the community center… I went and put a little bit of food in a bowl out in the bush with some tobacco. For those of you who don’t know… tobacco is traditionally put down when offering something to spirits. Mackenzie was half Ojibway, one quarter white and one quarter black… but had she lived, she would have grown up as an Aboriginal person… so I keep the traditions that are not my own for her sake.

The food was actually pretty good. Leanne cooked some awesome mashed potato… I was very surprised by Linda’s bannock (frybread)… and Pat’s ham and beef was smooooooooooooooking!

On a brighter note… I got Alex to half-laugh… she tried and made two-syllable sound. I think I’m going to start feeding her tiny amounts of baby food starting next week.

More and more as I study the more and more ashamed I become of Britain’s military past. The horrors the U.K has committed in the past 500 years are shocking – war crimes in many places and criminal in others. But I have been rooting out some military news stories which are awesome and again make me proud to be British. One of our boys in Afghanistan, Corporal Bryan Budd was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery. Another load of our military were awarded by the Queen for different actions.

Ahhh the joys of being British are great sometimes!

Ryan Paul

A British expat living in a state of deep hatred for the types of people produced in Kenora.

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