Fort McMurray

Thank You

Every now and then, we’re lucky enough to have moments that help to remind us that the actions of a few people can make a big difference.

My birthday was on Friday. And I’ll be honest, I wasn’t feeling it. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t bring myself to be excited or really care about it. I’m not sure why. Some sort of indifference, maybe? So I downplayed it. When people asked me what I wanted to do or how I wanted to celebrate, I changed the topic or simply responded with “I don’t know.” That was the truth. But more than that, I couldn’t really bring myself to figure out what I wanted to do. It’s not entirely out of indecision either.

Living in a remote northern community in the middle of a pandemic and economic downturn has taken its toll. While I hate saying it, mainly because I usually advocate the opposite when I hear it, there really isn’t much TO DO right now. There are no movies, no escape rooms, no theatre, and no parties. The requirements for social distancing and closures have taken care of a good portion of that for me. And while restaurants are now open (again), between fire, flood, forced closures, and financial hardships, the list of available options has been shrinking rapidly. Social gatherings of any kind outside of your immediate household are met with disapproval and fines. Throw one of the darkest, bleakest, and coldest months in recent memory into the mix and you are left with a “who the heck cares?” attitude. If this kind of stuff doesn’t affect your mental health negatively, nothing will. But I guess there is some strength in recognizing that.

I am not the kind of person that seeks or likes attention. I generally feel awkward when people make a fuss or go out of their way for me. Not that I don’t appreciate it – because I do. And granted, there are times when I do put myself in those positions. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, perhaps, but there we are.

Despite all of this, however, my birthday ended up being something special this year. Even though the world has gone to hell, we’re stuck in our homes, and I can’t even give someone a hug without theoretically being arrested, fined, or tackled by AHS, Bylaw, or RCMP, I will not forget the sense of kindness, love, family, and friendship you all showed me on a day when I couldn’t be bothered to give a fig.

Over the last few days, I’ve received an overwhelming amount of messages and well wishes, been treated to some of the finest food and drink, and I’ve even been made to feel like a princess in a fairy tale (yes, that last one is true – I’m not exaggerating one little bit). I was also lucky enough to witness one of the most impressive displays of the northern lights I’ve ever seen since I moved here nearly ten years ago.

I may not say it often enough, but…


Liani Dickason, Ron Bowers, Liz Bowers, Erin Bowers Chak, Dave Chak, Noah Bowers Chak, Emily Bowers Chak, Margaret Deane, Carl Deane, Jon Bowers, Ania Bowers, Sebastian Bowers, Jon English, Brianne English, Ria Dickason, Cecil Dickason, Dave Boutilier, Carol MacKenzie, Pamela Martin, Anmarie van der Walt, Corette De Jager, Richard Wootton, Glynis Snow Bowers, Linda Van Der Berg, Teresa Bowers MacKinnon, Doug Paulson, JJ van der Walt, RW Dickason, Trish Dickason, Geedes Casino-Sparks, Rika Vanderwalt, Dalene Stewart, Michelle Dickason Farthing, Gary Dell, Marie Rusell George, Heather Bratt Heggie, Ashley Rebecca Laurenson, Zenon Campbell, Hanna Fridhed, Diane Morrissey, Elizabeth Wells, Zach Barrett, Tammie Austin, Michell Kennedy, Nicole Cestnick, Danielle Donovan, Daina Wootton, Heather Wootton, David Barrus, Steve Mccrea, Kathy Filipovic, Charne Dickason, Sheldon Ray Dahl, Shelby Currie, Stacey Northcotte, Wayne Ferguson, L. Elliot Pierre, Robin Fay Hughes, Joey Zeller, Sheri Reed, Leann Brown, Janelle Leask, Allan Alexander MacDonald, Valerie Hawkins, Damon Calderwood, Steve Reeve, Michelle Thorne, Lorna Webb, Mark Durocher, Brittany Sutherland, Holly Grams, Dave Martin, Greg Lupul, Becky Ter-Voert, Spencer Biegun, Natasha Gale Fulton, Sheila Sutton, David Rowbottom, Natasha Meller, Mike Bowers, John Dickason, Jessica Fielding, Monique Hopkins, David Wright, Scott Meller, Nyssa Anola, Richard Steele, Selena MacIsaac, Mel Schneider, Luay S. Eljamal, Dallas Dodman, Cara Conway, Terri Ward, Alexandra Durocher, Stan Wootton, Jeff Thomblison, Jillian Treadgold, Weiner Quinn, Rob Bennett, Geoffrey Tennant, Gary Winship, Kimberley Matchem, Amanda Baxter, Jen Long, Carolyn Blake, MaryAnne Quaglia, Angela Gale MacLeod, Bob Bowers, Jeremy Androsoff, Mike Jones, Courtney Sabby Munn, Raili Boe, Shannon Elizabeth, Morgan Best, Schyler Kelly, Ocean Norris, Kaela Elliott, Sarah Barrett, Bailey Yarkie, Gil Beresford, Dogar M. Shafiq, Mallaz Najmi-Beauchamp, Lynn Evans, and Gerry Wong,

My apologies if I’ve missed anybody. I would thank each of you in person if I could.

But please know…

You’ve all made a big difference in my life.


CJ Bowers

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