Well, fall has arrived in Alberta. Actually, I think we skipped fall and woke up to winter last week. There was a small blanket of snow covering the ground, our poor tomato plants are done, and the windchill is already nasty. I haven't given up though! I'm praying for what they call and "Indian Summer". I'm just not ready for winter yet.
I drove out of our neighbourhood yesterday and noticed that the beautiful garden of sunflowers that lined one of my neighbour's fences and looked so happy all summer was replaced by drooping, dead sunflowers.
If you are blessed with a beautiful fall full of wonderful colourful foliage and enough crispness to the air to invigorate but not freeze you, fall can be a wonderful time. However, if the snow and cold come quickly, turning things to black and dead, and the sun just cannot seem to peek through the clouds, then this time of year an element of sadness to it.
I was thinking about the many first responders that Canada lost over the summer. It was, no doubt a very challenging summer for our heroes that lost so many of their peers to senseless violence, and also had to attend and provide help to so many Canadians that rely on them every day as they went about their summer business and leisure probably not even thinking about the blessing of knowing that these heroes are literally on standby, waiting for our call to deal with the carnage of another car wreck, or ATV accident, or senseless violence. Those memories will also gather in our heroes heads and become part of their summer memories.
As I think about the struggles that come from job related trauma, it reminds me of the need to support them and let them know that they can talk about what they are going through. and ask for help for their mental struggle. It's okay to ask for someone to help. It's okay to reach out. Lifting the veil of anathema and finding a place of rest and support should not bring shame and isolation..
I know many of us think that there is nothing we can do for our heroes. Let me tell you that there are many avenues of support. If you walk into a coffee shop for your cup of coffee and there happen to be a couple of uniforms walk through the door, buy them a coffee! Thank them for their service. There are many first responders out there who aren't in uniform right now because they are struggling and not able to continue working. Find an organization that supports our heroes and see if you can volunteer or support these organizations. There are coffee suppliers that you can buy your coffee beans from, or set up a fundraiser with at an event; there are organizations that provide respite that can always use financial support, and often need volunteers for events that they handle.
Quilts for Everyday Heroes provides quilts to our struggling first responders. We are pleased to announce that we will be working with Legacy Place Society to provide quilts for the first responders accessing their many services, in particular, those who are staying in one of the houses that provide respite not only for our heroes, but also for their families where there is need.
If you would like to help through Quilts for Everyday Heroes, contact us! We are always looking for donations of throw sized quilts, quilt tops, or materials to assemble the quilts, such as thread, quilting fabric, and batting. Hold a work bee in your community and assemble a quilt!
So as fall surrounds us, and winter sits on the threshold, lets not forget those who sacrifice so much for us. Buy a coffee, say a prayer for them, or
help provide a warm quilt to wrap a first responder who work tirelessly and risk sacrificing their own lives and mental health to provide us with the safety and security that we so often take for granted.