Hodge Podge by Charlie Hodge – Kissed by an angel

As often as I vent my frustration regarding mean, insensitive people (or rather their selfish or bullish behavior), this past few weeks served up two positive examples of positive, healing, helpful people in this world.The sort of folk who make a difference.The kind of people who make a choice to do something kind or gracious.Thankfully there are those who share such positive energy and kindness on a daily basis, their genuine lust for life, and love for others never seems to diminish. They seem to have embraced early that their choice of action and reaction will be love, kindness, compassion and sharing.  They are rare. actually, those relentless angelsThe first angel we met in the Laboratory Clinic at KGH.When Tez and I arrived we sat across from a young woman perhaps in her early 30’s. We exchanged nods and a minute later she was called in to the lab. As she was excited some ten minutes later I jokingly said to her, “Oh good you made it – I guess it is safe in there after all?”She paused, looked at me with a small grin of knowledge and then walked over.”I’m glad you spoke to me. I wanted to say something to you but decided I would wait to see if you would say something first, then I would know. I am Diana. I am not sure why you are here (at the lab) but I assume you have something major going on. I feel I must tell you something. It is important. Never stop making plans.”She paused, I looked at her, eyes wide open.”I was told I had a brain tumour and that nothing could be done. That I had less than a year to live. That was one year ago today. I am here to tell you, please – whatever your issue is, do not quit. Do not stop making plans.”Then she left.I was speechless. I had just been kissed by an angel with a message. Just the night before in a moment of weakness and self pity I had moaned to Tez how tired I was and how I sometimes felt like just getting off the merry-ground.Two days later a respiratory nurse friend called and informed me that a client had passed on and that the family wanted to find someone who would use and appreciate a modern, relatively new, oxygen tank. I humbly jumped at the chance to have a lighter, more efficient air supply that I could use to be more portable and mobile.I had no idea what a marvelous gift was about to arrive. Ironically I knew of the donor as well which makes the gift that much more meaningful.Sadly for the community Cynthia Anne Hunter (Ellis) died March 16 from complications with COPD but insisted before she departed that many of her personal items be repurposed. That is the kind, thinking and sharing person Cynthia was all of her life.Known by many locals as the  president and founder of the Central Okanagan Heritage Society she was a driving force behind salvaging and preserving Benvoulin Heritage Church, Guisachan House and the Laurel Building among others.A consummate optimist and hard worker Cynthia’s poise made her equally at home in the drawing room taking tea or cutting firewood at camp. Her magnetic personality drew people together and to her. She had a unique ability to motivate others and was never short of friends or family around her. Her community service earned her the Queen’s Golden Jubilee award.In more recent years, her optimism manifest itself as bravery and a good deal of courage. When she was faced with daunting health challenges, yet did so with her usual indomitable spirit.Even in her final moments and gestures Cynthia thought of others. Today I proudly carry about a new breath of life over my left shoulder, a gracious gift from one I hardly knew. There is not a breathe I take that will not be a gift from Cynthia. I am humbled.Angels abound.Funeral service will be held April 3, 2017 at 2pm at St Andrew’s ChurchCondolences can be sent to the family by visiting www.firstmemorialfuneralkelowna.com

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.


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