Tia's Story:

Hi let me introduce myself.....I'm Tia.  I don't consider myself anything special or unique. I'm a mom with two grown kids, four fur babies and a dream. I was married for 19 years, living in a nice home, good job, the happy life right? 

Well, the fairy tale was soon to come to a crashing halt when the doctor diagnosed my husband with stage 3 terminal lung cancer in January of 2012. 

Our eldest had just arrived home after spending time working in Banff and was planning on moving to Germany to be with her true love when the black cloud floated over our lives. 

We all experienced first hand that feeling of having the wind knocked out of us.  It's a day I'll never forget.

Thoughts flooded my mind, "how will I cope?", "how will I take care of everything?", "how can I go on?", "who will do everything now?" I admit there was even anger at him.

Then as the disease progressed I felt sorry for everything he was going through.  We had fights all stemming from the anger at the disease and the turmoil it had caused. 

The youngest who was 16 at the time was losing his dad.  I was mad at all the times he didn't spend with him; all the things he didn't say to his son.  I had a lot of emotions to work out and come to terms with.I didn't want to be left with all the responsibility and I didn't want to be left a single parent. 

During those six months I saw no light at the end of the tunnel since the only thing I focused on was his care and what he wanted.  To be home until the end.

I would have been lost without my son.  He was my strength; my reason to get up everyday and go to work; to come home and tend to my husbands needs which were meds and feedings by a tube in the stomach.  His esophagus had been closed off restricting any possibility of swallowing even saliva. He went from a stocky 200lbs down to 120lbs in a matter of months.  

My boy helped with everything.  Things a teenager shouldn't have to be responsible for right down to changing IV lines.  I couldn't be more proud of the way he handled himself or the strength he exhibited.

On July 25 I woke before his 7am med and although he had lapsed into a coma at this point, I told him, "Ok Jimmy, you have a half hour before your next med I'm going to lay on the couch again until it's time." I fell asleep and woke 45 minutes later to find him gone.  He hadn't moved. He looked the same... as though he was sleeping, but he was gone. 

It may sound bad but I was relieved. It was over for him: no more pain; no more meds; no more tumours growing.  It was time for our healing now. 

It's true what they say when someone is ill that everyone comes around and after no one does.  The house was suddenly very quiet. It was only my son and I.  

In January we had told our daughter to continue on with her plans.  There was no need for her to linger as  we knew what lay in store over the next few months.  She went to Germany and built her life with her now husband and I'm so glad she did.  She was with people who were there to support her and give her love and guidance when it was needed.

My son had a tough time over the next year after losing his dad.  I made the decision in August of 2013 to resign from my position with a major company and seek a dayshift position that would have me home on a regular basis providing more stability and more contact for him. Financially (Continued at Right)


it was a 50% cut in pay, but emotionally it was what needed to be done. 

Everything was going well until I was laid off in January of 2014.  What should have been a huge trauma ended up being a blessing. That's when my long time dream came into play. 

For thirteen years I was an ECE (early childhood educator).  I remember one day sitting with a little girl who was 4 who looked up at me and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I laughed then said, "I think I would like to be a hairstylist 'if' I grow up."  She laughed. and probably forgot all about our exchange. However it was an "AHA" Moment for me! On the brink of turning 50 I suppose I've grown up to some extent.Yet there was still an urge to find my true passion.

After my husband passed away I decided to have my photos done. I hate having my picture taken. To capture forever the sudden joyful emotions and feelings that I was filled with a good friend obliged and began snapping photo after photo. 

For the first time I was doing things I wanted to do... not because I needed to to provide or please others. Everything I am doing now is for my own pure joy: I have learned to play bass guitar; I've bought a vehicle on my own; I learned to do house repairs even turning my home into an open concept,(LOL... that wall that everyone said couldn't come out well apparently according to the proper people it could and did!). I mow the lawn, weed and do everything I was worried about doing not so long ago.  

There is a saying, "when you come to the end of all that you know you will either be carried or given wings to fly". I think I was given the wings!

This August (2014) I will return to school to fulfill my dream of becoming a hairstylist.  I've always loved working with hair, cutting, colouring, experimenting (on my own I will add). 

Hair and aesthetics gives me the opportunity to connect with people, brighten someone's day and give people a bit of a self esteem boost.  For the elderly it's a connection to another person, company and conversation for an hour and a half.  For those in need of a change it turns on the light inside and allows their beauty to shine.

For me it is the satisfaction of helping others by using a human as my creative easel and knowing I have made a difference in someone's life for the better. 

It's not just cutting hair. There is so more: people's personalities; physical traits; likes and dislikes all have to be taken into consideration. They are trusting me with a precious part of themselves and I am honoured to be trusted with this part of their physical being.  

Life can begin at 50! Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you.


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