If you know me, you know that I am a calm, level-headed and pragmatic person. Life, up until 4 years ago, came and went and I took it all in stride and was grateful for the affordances granted me, even after losing my dad. I am a problem solver and am resourceful, qualities I owe to my dad’s teaching. But even the most steadfast get knocked down; and boy did I get knocked down.
Working to stand back up was no easy feat. Time, love, therapy and work was necessary to push me forward. Taking up my advocacy work gave me a sense of control and productivity in a time when I had no control over our circumstances. The advocacy work, in the beginning, was part of my grieving process and it was an effective mechanism. Now, it is a mission. Preventing harm from medications is possible, but people continue to have negative experiences of varying degrees. With my work at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) Canada and Patients for Patient Safety Canada, we are focusing on reducing these incidences, every day.
This work is not fulfilling anymore – it is a part of my whole being that I cannot be without. Maybe because it keeps Andrew close, maybe because I am already seeing changes that are resulting from my work. Regardless, I have found myself on a path that I never saw coming, and it’s a roller coaster. This work is exhausting; emotions are exhausting for me. There are days and weeks when I feel like I have literally run a marathon and everything just needs to collapse. But there are times when I am fuelled by the impact that this work is having, and that is what drives me and makes me push forward through the valleys. Sometimes, while I am looking for information at work or listening to presentations that are for my own learning, out of nowhere, a picture of Andrew and his story appears. It’s satisfying to me that his story is teaching and informing people, but it takes a toll on my emotions at the same time.
This Friday, March 13, marks 4 years since we said goodbye to Andrew. His legacy continues to protect people from medication harm and while I am so incredibly proud of this and dedicated to it, it guts me. How is it possible that 4 years can feel so fast and so painfully slow at the same time? All I know is that I will power on, I will continue down this road that I have started, because there is a lot of ‘Andrew-work’ to do. Love you, Buddy. #Andrewslivinglegacy