Erin's Journals

Monday, March 4, 2024

Just a thought… A happy life is not a life without struggle, it’s a life of meaningful struggle. [Mark Manson]

This is a day on the calendar that I always said, in my corny fashion, tells you what to do: March Forth! Of course, I’m using a homonym there, but bear with me; it sets the table for this week’s blog.

It was five years ago this week that this book came out (followed by soft cover in 2020) and went to #1 on the Globe and Mail non-fiction best-sellers’ list.

Like much of our lives, its publication and reception still feel like a dream, and one for which I will never stop being grateful. I was tempted to try to pitch a 5th anniversary update, but you know most of them: my stint in rehab to try to get my self-medicating under control, and to deal with the reasons behind my drinking, the life-after-radio developments that include three podcasts, one of which has branched into video. They’re all accomplishments of which I’m proud and, again, extremely grateful.

But there was a little icing on my book’s fifth birthday cake last week, when this arrived in the mail.

Last year, a tweet alerted my Gracefully and Frankly podcast partner Lisa Brandt (also an author) and me to a program offered through the Canada Council for the Arts. It tallies how many times a writer’s work has been taken out or downloaded to read or listen to from the library and then provides compensation. I didn’t expect anything this year, and I was delighted to realize that people (like you) are still sharing in our story.

So I wanted not to take this time to boast or gloat (hopefully you know that’s not my style) but to thank you. To each person who shared their copy of my book or recommended it to someone who had lost a loved one, especially a child: thank you. We (and I say “we” as Rob was an integral part of this book’s creation and success) only wanted readers to know that there is hope and life after loss, that they’re not alone in what they encounter and that, yes, it does get better or at least the sheer awfulness shifts into ways that are slightly more manageable.

Now, through therapy, I’m realizing that we still have a distance to go as we approach the nine-year mark of Lauren’s death in May. In addition to the message we share, we still feel a huge responsibility to make sure that prescriptions for the drug that is pushed on struggling nursing mothers like Lauren are accompanied by the proper testing to make sure they don’t suffer from Long QT or other undiagnosed heart ailments.

Domperidone was even mentioned in last week’s episode of The Good Doctor when Sean’s wife considered taking it. Thankfully, her husband said it wasn’t recommended in the US, (though she pointed out that it’s used in Canada and Mexico). I wish the writers had used the word BANNED, because it is banned in the US, but thank you to those folks who emailed me to give us the heads up that it was part of the show’s discussion.

The fact that you’ve accompanied us on this road, shared our story and given us support, concern and kindness is never taken for granted.

We will always choose gratitude; it’s the only way we’re surviving whatever life still throws at us.

As you March Forth, may your triumphs – whatever their size – far outnumber your challenges.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, March 4, 2024