Monday, November 27, 2006


A very special word of appreciation for the generosity of a group of anonymous donors from our community at Runnymede UC that collected $1050 for Jan's rehab. You are a concrete expression of the Kingdom and make life very beautiful with your love. You make our Father proud and make us feel embraced by a thousand arms.

We will always treasure the imprints you have left in our hearts and in our lives.

Fede and Jan

Feeling and healing

Dear Jan:

Last night you couldn't make it to the Sunday Night gathering. Your heart wanted to attend but your body just refused to cooperate. Being forced to sleep just highlighted the frustrating slow pace of healing and its side effects. How can you find some satisfaction in your everyday life when the choice is forced on you to stay and sleep instead of doing something fulfilling with your community? It seems that you have to subordinate even the simplest desires of your heart to the healing imperative, and everyone who knows how independent you are, also knows that this proposition won't work for you. You face a real quandary.

In this sticky situation, you are being pulled in many more directions. On the one hand, your healing implies staying with medication just to avoid more seizures which could cause more damage, the drawback is the drowsiness it causes, "my eyes want to stay closed all the time, my body does not want to stay awake, I sound and look dumb when I am not..." you say again and again. The process of healing looks as if it is a slow awakening to what life might be.

On the other hand, your emotions are very much on the surface of almost every interaction you haven: you cry when you can’t get your thoughts out, when movements are too fast, when you can’t remember where you left something, when the voices sound too loud, when the world just don’t seems to be the same, and there is little to laugh about, you sob, “this isn't life, it would be better just to go to sleep for good..." Some days disappointment and discouragement are so big that they look like the only option in the horizon is to push the stop button.

On the other hand, there is the resilient Jan we know that keeps walking tall and maintains faith high, this is the Jan that wants to think in the long term to keep things in perspective, this is the one that asks: “what is the lesson I need to learn from this? What is what I need to see in the middle of these circumstances? How can I internalize that God’s time is not my time? How can I live the fact that I am not my circumstances?” The inconveniences of the healing process are insignificant compared to the new lease on life you have been given and the new vision you have about pain, illness, suffering and life.

On the other hand, we know that we have each other and that one day we will look back and say: “Where did we get the strength to walk this far? Where did all these footprints on the way come from? How many people were walking alongside all the way?"


Saturday, November 25, 2006

2 lessons from pain

Dear Jan:

You are very familiar with pain. You wake up with pain, you take your breakfast and the medication reminds you of pain, you go through the motions of the day and the constant presence of a dull pain forces you to cry, to slow down, to struggle with the movements of life. I am surprised of how valiantly you set aside this pain and sometimes enjoy life.

Many people have discussed the nature or the reason of pain. Take for example the book of Job from the Bible where the reason for pain is a bet between God and the devil; or take any article from an American newspaper where you can see that the main reason for their fear is the pain they remember from 9/11.

Pain, fear, dissapointment, sadness. If we go beyond trying to assign guilt, we are left with a question about what is the purpose of this pain in your life? How are we supposed to understand the tremendous disruption of our lives as a result of the aneurysm? And, I don't mean only the physical pain, because there is a sustantial emotional and spiritual pain that has been part of our lives.

I read a dozen books on pain in life. But this does not alleviate the experience of pain, it just provides a framework to answer the big questions. The irony is that it is the small questions, the constant dull pain, is what breaks the soul and the resilience.

A poet said that love and pain are the two wings of life. Lesson one is that you can't have one without the other.

Lesson two, is that however despicable and horrendous is the experience of pain, it can produce a beautiful character or a bitter attitude.

How paradoxical!


Sunday, November 19, 2006


Dear Jan:

Here is another picture from the dance:

We went to Lindsay on Friday to make some minor improvements to the kitchen. It was a long day for you. at the end your body was just refusing to even walk from the car to the apartment. It is so easy to forget that your energy sets imposes sharp limits to your working time. The house is not selling, so we will have to re-list it with a new price. I wonder what the lesson is about the house. You said,"wouldn't it be nice if we lived here and you commuted to work?" but we both know that the cost is too high.

Yesterday we decided to finish a project started before the aneurysm: to complete the upholstering of two old arm chairs. You were having fun choosing fabrics and directing the work. We'll see the results...


Thursday, November 16, 2006

A note from Angela

Hello Everyone

This is Angela (Jan’s cousin).
Wasn’t that a party!!!

On Sunday my husband Barry and I had lunch with Jan & Fede. We went down to deliver the proceeds from last weekend. Jan was thrilled with the results and so were we. Together with the help of so many people we raised $4558.23 so far. I say so far because there is still money coming in.

If you didn’t get a chance to donate and would still like to, please mail cheques payable to:
Janice M. Walton de Carrillo
c/o 80 North Heigts Road,
Toronto, ON M9B 2T8

This would not have been possible without so much help from friends and family. Jan has some great friends and I feel privileged to have worked with them on this dance. Orest you have the biggest heart in the world. I could not possibly name all the people who gave so freely of themselves. Jan, you are truly blessed to have so many people who love you. Kate I will never forget you!

I must say that I am proud to be a “Walton”. We don’t see each other near as often as we should but when this family was called upon we were all there supporting each other. Thank you so much to my fellow Walton’s. A special thank you to my sister Tina and her family, couldn’t have done it without you. A special thanks also goes out to my precious mother, Lil, you worked tirelessly as usual and gave so much of yourself.

To every person who donated items, donated time, and donated money, thank you so much for your generosity. Money is necessary in this world, that is a reality, but the most important thing in life is Love. More than anything I wanted Jan to feel loved. I believe that she was overwhelmed with Love. You are all responsible for that, Thank you!


9 months after an aneurysm

Dear Jan:

This week is nine months since an aneurysm ruptured in your brain, destroying with a massive bleeding the language centre, and later reaching the back cavity affecting the short term memory. After two operations in two days the medical team gave us a bleak description of where you were. They said that you probably had lost your first language, that probably you would be hemiplegic, for the rest of your life. They didn't know the type of person you are...

It's been seven months since you were transfered from the hospital where you were operated to a rehabilitation hospital where they began the long process of reconstructing language, intentional thinking and movement in your right side. It's been five months since you were sent home to continue SLT, OT and PT as an out-patient in the same hospital.

Earlier today we run into a former co-worker at a store. She was very surprised to see you so slim and to hear your story. She mentioned that one of her cousins, 31 years old, died of an aneurysm last year, in her eyes, you are a walking miracle because you are doing so well in such a short time:
-you have recovered more than 70% of movement in your right side, you can eat, write and hold things with your right hand and your right leg functions at 80% of its capacity.
-your language skills are far better than what they were four months ago, your capacity to recall words is doubling every month and your pronunciation and grammar are improving substantially. In a good day your language is at 75%.

Your rehab program will come to a close in the next couple of weeks. Now, you will have to continue on your own. So far you have demonstrated a lot of resilience and determination to get where you are. You have been already in conversations with health professionals that will guide you in your search for applications of glucoscience to your recovery. They told us a while back that these treatment is costly and not covered by the provincial health insurance paid for by our tax dollars. That is why the fundraiser was so important for you. The aprox. $4,600 collected will go towards that treatment. It is moving to see so many people giving freely and lovingly to help you in your recovery.

On the down side, you have had a lot of trouble with the side effects of medication to control the seizures that were caused by the operation when your bone plates where replaced in June. Dizziness, depression, irritability and who knows what else these drugs cause in your body are tough challenges to face. Add to that the expected fatigue that is part of the healing process and you have a lot of aggravation and frustration for feeling drugged up all day. You will have to flex the muscle of your faith so that the seizures stop all together and the fatigue grows smaller until it dissapears sooner.

You have come a long way! Many people have been with you shoulder to shoulder all the way. Keep up the good fight to get back all of the functions affected.

For what is worth, we send you our love,


Monday, November 13, 2006


Dear Jan:

You are really struggling with the medication this week. Fatigue, drowsiness, trouble sleeping, but perhaps the most difficult is the effect on your emotions. The whole week was a roller coaster of times of relative tranquility and many bouts of depression. On Sunday, Angela got a glimpse of this change when you told her that it was not worth going living like this, with these effects. I wish there was a way of getting rid of those effects because there are not many other options that you and the doctor have not explored.

On a positive note, I am absolutely impressed with Angela’s loyalty. Single-handedly she organized with Tina the whole event 110 Kms. away! And brought to you the results of the event! Bless her heart! They are the best cousins on this hemisphere!!! (hmmmmm…) I wonder if this could be developed into a lease a cousin operation for those who don’t have a cousin like Angela or Tina. Louise and Sue were also really involved and then all the spouses, children, friends and even neighbors. You have expressed your gratitude to them already, but I take any opportunity to acknowledge their practical love for you. If they read these lines: Many thanks, adoptive cousins and sisters in law. You made the world a better place with your act of generosity. I hope you continue practicing random acts of generosity because that is the only way we have to save the planet.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

One step back

After a month of bliss without any medication, Jan had a seizure this morning and we ended up in the ER the whole day. That place is not our favourite one! She was kept under observation and given medication which made her very dizzy. She slept most of the day amidst the noise and chaos of nurses, paramedics and doctors running around patching up broken people. She went to bed as soon as we got home. This may mean the Doctor will put her back on medication. You win some battles, you lose some. The Master knows why this is happening. We are thankful for what she has now and look forward with hope and conviction.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Shall we dance?

It's about family and old friends (and young ones too)! The music and the dancing still resonates in our hearts. Here is one of the wonderful dancer who astonished everyone with her energy.

You can find 110 more pics from the event (courtesy of Julia and David) at:


Of Roots and Riches

Dear Jan:

I’ve been learning about the depth of parables (short stories). Here is one for you.

A certain man came to the North leaving behind friends and family; mother and father, everything he could call roots stayed behind. He left nice weather, a beautiful country, and generous people and in the process he lost a wife. He wanted to start a new life; he was looking for those things everyone says bring roots, security and happiness into your life. He yearned for friends and a large family that would live around.

This man waited and waited for a long while and almost had given up. Life would have to go on without roots or warm hugs.

The time went by and this man met a woman from the North, a woman who grew up in the middle of snow storms; a woman who was used to the harsh cold and to the warm summer breeze in the afternoon. She also had certain nostalgia for something missing in her life but she didn’t know.

She had a father and mother, a brother and a sister and many a friend around. This filled one side of her heart, but the other side was still yearning for a certain pazzas in her life. She wanted to have someone whom she could love in a special way and be loved in return. It was not that she didn’t have plenty of love, but she needed something extra…le crème de la crème, instead of the old chicken soup for her soul. She wanted to feel her knees rattling and butterflies in her stomach again and again.

They met one spring just before the blooming of the flowers in May. She was wearing long beautiful curls and walked with a gait that made her look five times as tall. She wanted to be healed in her eye but first, she needed to be healed in her heart. He wanted to come home to have conversation and a warm hug full of love.

Summer swelled their friendship a both fell critically ill of love -–it was grown up love, solemn and mad at the same time-- and in less than a blink they went got two rings and found each other dancing at their own wedding, formalizing the link. She sang like an angel, he wrote like a madman, both were ecstatic with the dream of having a shot at a shared life full of love.

But dreams get interrupted sometimes. She became gravely ill and for weeks she walked that thin line between life and death. But it was not her time yet to go with her God. An explosion of blood in her head took away her most precious gifts: her words and her voice. She spent months finding ways to get her words back. He spent months at her bedside learning to trust that the good Lord would bring her back to his side, words and everything.

Much has been said about the mountains of love she received during this time. He found himself surrounded by love from her people and people he didn’t know.

One day, he opened his eyes and was overwhelmed when he saw the deep roots that somehow had grown during these months. He had felt a thousand embraces of love; they have showered the man and his wife with oceans of prayers, hours of visits and good thoughts.

He found himself at the core of the life of a clan. She had taken a long journey to come back to her man. All this time she always knew that her clan walked every step of the way by her side. The roots were hers, as well as the loved ones, but she made them his.

She told him one morning right after muffins and tea: “a man without friends or loved ones is the poorest of the poor. My wealth is my family and friends. All of them are also yours. Now, you are truly a rich man”



MANY THANKS! to Angela, Barrie, Tina and the Walton Clan who organized a terrific party for Jan. Your effort is gold in Jan's heart. Our gratitude extends to all those who donated items, money, time, love, prayers, smiles and a good dance for this event. God bless you all!