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The day that changed everything: a critically important message from Kelsey Cross

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By Kelsey Cross – Originally written November 13, 2019

30 years today. Still remember it like it was yesterday.

It was a Sunday, and I remember how strange it was that dad wasn’t coming to church, as he NEVER missed church. I remember all morning, the feeling I was going to bury someone very close to me. very soon. Such a strange thought, came from nowhere, and yet I’ve never felt anything like that, before or since. I could feel it, though, just like if you reached out to pinch me.

There had been a lot of conflict in our home in the week leading up to my dad’s death. Dad and Wes had gotten into a pretty heated argument a week or two prior, and Dad took it too far, as he usually did. Wes moved out, but things just wouldn’t settle down.

My grandparents had come down Wednesday night to talk to my dad, try to help mom show him how out of hand his temper had gotten. He just seemed to be angry at everything, and all the time. Lying in bed, it was easy to overhear the entire conversation. There were suggestions, or rather, pleas for counselling, and always the same response… ‘I don’t need counselling’. Funny, I would say the exact same thing to my wife 19 years later.

Thursday night, mom was at bible study, so it was just Dad, Terence, and me at the house. My father sat us down to talk about what he perceived was his failure as a father… he wasn’t at enough of our games, he didn’t make enough time for us after work, he was too hard on us, and so on and so forth. I remember thinking he was being too hard on himself, but stayed silent, as did Terence. At the end of it, he gave us a big hug, and one of only three apologies I can recall in my entire life. He promised he would do better moving forward and I had no reason to doubt him.

Saturday night, he sent Terence and me up to grab a couple movies, so we could enjoy a family movie night. I remember the movie we watched, I remember why I rented it, and I remember his comment when it was finished. ‘Well, that was a weird one’.

Sunday morning just felt off from the start, and looking back, I recognize it more now that I did at the time. I think if I hadn’t been so self-absorbed for so many years, I may have been more attuned to what was actually happening that morning. I remember waiting in the car after church, thinking mom was taking her sweet time. She’s since revealed that she was stalling, knowing exactly what we were going to find at home.

When we got home, I failed to notice the rifle missing from dad’s gun rack in the porch. I did notice the half eaten bowl of cereal and a family photo on the table, but didn’t think much of it. Mom had already picked up dad’s suicide note, and headed straight to the phone to call my grandmother.

Meanwhile, I headed to my parent’s bedroom, still blissfully unaware; planning to give my dad a hard time for lounging around and not being out of bed yet.

My hand was on the doorknob, all it would have taken was a twist and a push, and I would have never recovered. But I didn’t open that door. To this day, I can’t give you a reason I wouldn’t have. I can only tell you why I didn’t.

I grew up in a Christian home, so I’ve always known God, but He showed Himself to me that day when He took my hand off that door and nudged me to my room.

There were a lot of questions, and even more rumours about why. I think that’s the case any time someone takes their own life. Ask me today, and I’m still not sure, and I’ve had 30 years to ponder it.

I suppose dad told us in part, that Thursday night when he promised to do better… He simply felt he had failed us. I wonder if he was hoping to break the cycle of anger, trying the only way he knew to prevent that anger from taking hold in his son’s lives as well.

I can tell you it didn’t work. I’ve been angry for most of my life.

After 30 years, it’s hard to imagine how life would have been different if he was still around. I often wonder about the relationship he would have had with his three grandsons. I think he would have been a pretty good grandpa, much like his own father was. I think the boys would have loved him dearly, and he would have shared a passion with each of them..For Caden, horses. Brody, cars. And my Brody? Well, he would have finally had his fishing buddy.

I’m curious as to what his relationship with Wes and I would be, if we would be the men we are, had his influence still been prevalent in our lives. How would he have handled the death of his youngest son? Would it have changed him, would it have softened him?

Most importantly, I wonder about the life he and my mom would have, if they had a life at all?

I used to think I was special because of what I’ve lost, that life owed me something to make up for the shit it had piled in my lap. As I get older, I realize I’m not so special. Everyone has endured tragedy, some much more than I. I think of my good friend Pete, who recently lost his mom, and my buddy Darcy, who just marked 5 years without his dad.

I don’t know that I’ve ever really talked about the loss of my dad, outside of counselling. Today I realize that I lived a lifetime with him, and I’ve since lived another two without him. People often say ‘it gets easier’, but I don’t know if it does. Over time, you find ways to cope, and life itself finds ways to distract you. There’s never been a day; however, I haven’t wished he was still here.

I don’t know that I’ll ever stop wishing, but in the meantime. I’ll keep counting… to 40, then 50, and so on and so forth. And I’ll try to be the best of him, as well as the best he had hoped to be, for my own son.

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The Iron Society steps up to boost Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre

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From the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation

Iron Society has Big Heart for giving back

Every fall for the last 7 years, a group of motorcycle riders drive up to the main entrance of Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre with a cheque in hand.
It’s a trip the members of Iron Society IRC look forward to every year, when they hand over the funds raised from their annual Big Hearts Charity Ride in July.
Since 2012, the Big Hearts Charity Ride has donated proceeds from their poker run to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s neonatal intensive care unit.
“We’ve all got kids. Let’s support local, our hospital needs help,” says Randy Hellmer. “When we sat down as a group of friends, we did a lot of research. The Foundation was one that kept coming back to us. Every dollar that we donate to the hospital goes to purchase equipment.”
Last summer, over 50 riders travelled more than 250 kilometres across Central Alberta. The ride attracts participants from all over and is family friendly and is not limited to just motorbikes. It’s not uncommon to see a couple of classic cars show up.
Iron Society IRC is a small but mighty group of 16 members that love giving back to the community. In addition to their annual Big Hearts ride, the group does a number of other charity events and supports other community causes. They love giving back to the community.
July 2020 is the 8th year for the Big Hearts Charity Ride: “When it comes to fundraising, the motorcycle community is very generous. It’s great to see people come out”.
Do you want to host your own fundraiser for our hospital? Visit our website for details on how we can help.

Red Deer Hospital Lottery & Mega Bucks 50 launching soon!

Construction is nearly complete on the 2020 Red Deer Hospital Lottery grand prize dream home built by Sorento Custom Homes located at 121 Larratt Close, Red Deer.
Ticket sales will launch March 13

Let’s Rally Together For Better Healthcare!

There are still medial scopes on the equipment list that need to be funded.
You can help us fill the gap and make a difference.  Your donations will help fund these urgently needed medical scopes for Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.  Give today!
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I Did Everything the Family Nurse suggested and it Worked like Magic!

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Dionisio wasn’t feeling himself. He had very little energy, he was always sleepy and thirsty, he was craving sweets and needed to urinate often. When he described these symptoms to his doctor, the doctor sent him to the Family Nurse to review his lifestyle.

Dionisio listened to the nurse carefully and followed every suggestion. She suggested he make changes in his diet such as more fruits and vegetables, smaller portions, less treats and lots of other fine tuning. She also coached him on increasing exercise and exercising regularly.

He now uses the treadmill, bikes and lifts weights regularly and enjoys these activities. His goal was to lose at least 5 pounds with these changes, and he accomplished that. In a four-month period his hemoglobin A1C went from 16.6 to 6.5, a huge improvement in blood work and in how he feels.

Dionisio’s advice to anyone in a similar situation is, “To make change you have to follow the suggestions. That got me to where I want to be.”

Here are some other success stories from Red Deer Primary Care Network.

Elizabeth: Better Balance and Strength

Achieving Mental Health is an Everyday Task

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january, 2020

mon06jan(jan 6)8:00 amfri31(jan 31)12:00 amJanuary is Alzheimer's Awareness Month8:00 am - 12:00 am (31) Event Organized By: K. Jobs

sun12jan(jan 12)2:00 pmsun22mar(mar 22)5:00 pmAnne Frank: A History for Today opening at Red Deer MAG2:00 pm - (march 22) 5:00 pm mst Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery Address: 4525 - 47A Avenue, Red Deer

mon27jan11:15 am1:15 pmLuncheon With Arlene Dickinson11:15 am - 1:15 pm Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre, 3310 50 Avenue

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