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Alberta

What My Brother’s Suicide Taught Me About Living

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7 minute read

My brother Brett died 3,285 days ago today. 9 years. It feels like a hundred. It also feels like yesterday. But whereas others have moved on with their lives, I am one of the few left counting. Please don’t get me wrong, I am glad others have moved on. He would be glad too. But my life and how I see it has changed forever.

The morning I learned of my brother’s passing was a day I will never forget. I miss him very much and at times I am still overwhelmed with enormous grief and paralyzing sadness. All these year later when I think about him, warm tears instantly well up in my eyes and roll down my cheeks.

Typically, those feelings catch me off guard: a song, a memory, a family event like our Uncle’s 70th birthday last year where for me his absence is always felt. Or a wedding or the birth of a baby, events that bring so much joy and happiness, yet I always remember that my brother will never experience two of those life’s greatest moments.

It may not make sense to some but my most of my hardest hitting moments are at times when I am happy, not times when I am sad. I am forever left with the feeling of “I wish my brother was here.”

The last time I saw my brother is etched forever in my mind.

A surprise 43rd birthday party for me in December of 2011 filled with love and laughter. That cold, snowy evening ended as usual—a hug, a kiss on the cheek.

“I love you,” I whispered in my brother’s ear.

“I love you, too,” Brett replied to me, like a thousand times before.

That was the last time I would ever see my brother.

Nine years ago, a little after 3 a.m., on March 19, 2012, I was awoken by my husbands’ words, “Jodee, I think someone is here.” I still remember vividly the image of four black pant legs with yellow stripes on the doorstep as my husband opened the front door.

My brother had taken his own life.

The World Health Organization estimates that each year approximately 800,000 people die from suicide, which accounts for one death every 40 seconds. Some sources predict that by 2021 that will increase to one death every 20 seconds.

These deaths are our sons, daughters, moms, dads, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. And in the approximately five minutes it takes you to read this article, seven people will have taken their life. Seven families, friends and loved ones will very shortly feel a pain like no other, their lives changed forever.

My brother’s death taught me so much, not about dying but about living. I try to remember to cherish life every day, to be open-minded, empathetic, and understanding, and to tell the ones I care about that I love them. I strive and am successful in not being bitter, angry and blaming as those emotions serve no purpose other than to break my spirit and keep me stuck. I work hard to remember that not everyone has the same opinion, that we all experience life and the circumstances surrounding it differently. So, I never get argumentative when others do not agree with my perspective. They have not lived my life, nor I theirs. Without realizing it, my brother and his complicated journey taught me that you never know what someone else may be going through, so I try to be kind.

Because of my brother and his absence, the beauty of life is always fresh in my mind.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t wish he was here, or that I don’t love him. It doesn’t mean I’m not feeling an underlying sense of sadness. But in his memory, I try to appreciate and enjoy life everyday.

I have made a conscious choice to celebrate how precious life is. That it is filled with so much beauty at the same time can be filled with heartache, challenges and hardship. I am blessed to live in the small town of Sylvan Lake; the water brings me joy and peace. It always has, which I believe stems from my childhood with my brother. Family vacations where we were blissfully happy and constantly in the water.

As much as I can I breathe the fresh Alberta air; I swim in the water and feel the warmth of sunshine on my face. I love the sand between my toes. Because of my brother, I remember how short life is and you can’t take any day for granted. You never know what tomorrow may bring. In fact, you never know if there will be a tomorrow at all.

Today, I celebrate the lives and memory of everyone who has lost their lives to suicide and the families that love them.

Today, my sweet brother, I celebrate the memory and love I have for you.

 

Jodee Prouse is a sister, wife, mom, and author of the powerful memoir, The Sun is Gone: A Sister Lost in Secrets Shame & Addiction & How I Broke Free. She is an outspoken advocate to help eliminate the shame & stigma surrounding addiction & Mental Illness. Follow her on facebook @jodeetisdaleprouse

If you or someone you know needs help, call the Canadian Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566. If you think someone is in immediate danger, do not leave them alone, stay with them and call 911.

Sister. Wife. Mom. Friend. Business Owner. Author of the powerful memoir The Sun is Gone: A Sister Lost in Secrets, Shame and Addiction and How I Broke Free. Outspoken advocate to help eliminate the shame + stigma surrounding Addiction + Mental Health. Follow her on instagram @jodeeprouse

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Alberta

Cenovus Energy to buy remaining stake in Toledo refinery from BP for $300 million

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CALGARY — Cenovus Energy Inc. has reached a deal with British energy giant BP to buy the remaining 50 per cent stake in the BP-Husky Toledo Refinery for $300 million.

The Calgary-based oil producer has owned the other 50 per cent of the Ohio-based refinery since its combination with Husky Energy in 2021.

Cenovus says its U.S. operating business will take over operations when the transaction closes, expected before the end of the year.

The company says the Toledo refinery recently completed a major, once in five years turnaround to improve operational reliability.

It says the transaction will give Cenovus an additional 80,000 barrels per day of downstream throughput capacity, including 45,000 barrels per day of heavy oil refining capacity.

The deal brings Cenovus’ total refining capacity to 740,000 barrels per day.

Alex Pourbaix, Cenovus president and CEO, says fully owning the Toledo refinery provides an opportunity to further integrate the company’s heavy oil production and refining capabilities, including with the nearby Lima Refinery.

“This transaction solidifies our refining footprint in the U.S. Midwest and increases our ability to capture margin throughout the value chain,” he said in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 8, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CVE)

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Nutrien names Ken Seitz president, CEO amid sweeping changes in agriculture markets

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Saskatoon-based fertilizer giant Nutrien Ltd. has named Ken Seitz president and CEO following a months-long global talent search. 

The company says Seitz, who has served as interim CEO since January and previously headed up its potash operation, brings 25 years of experience in agriculture and mining to the role.

Nutrien says it has achieved record results under Seitz’s leadership amid sweeping changes in agricultural markets and unprecedented global food security challenges.

Russ Girling, chairman of Nutrien’s board of directors, says the company’s record performance during some of the most turbulent times in the sector underscore the strength of Seitz’s leadership. 

Seitz, who grew up on a dairy farm in Saskatchewan, says he’s “honoured and humbled” to work alongside growers during challenging times.

He says Nutrien is well positioned to help meet the global goals of food security and climate action.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 8, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:NTR)

The Canadian Press

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