Marie and Sue met at aquafit class. Marie was the instructor, Sue the student. After the workout, the class would often go for coffee where among the chatter, Marie would drop the odd comment that clearly referred to some traumatic event in her life. As time went on, other women from the class encouraged Sue to help Marie tell her story. So Sue asked Marie about that story and found herself hearing a Kafkaesque tale of shock, betrayal, fear, hurt, and damage that is horrifying, compelling and deep.
We, Marie and Sue, thought about telling this story through a podcast but didn't want to just drop Marie's story into the universe and walk away. It had to mean something, it had to have purpose. We struggled to define what that was. This took place against the backdrop of the pandemic and political upheaval and divisiveness around the world. We were talking about the pain Marie's experience had caused while watching the world in pain.
It was in those moments that we realized this was the purpose of the podcast.
To talk about pain. To talk about what causes emotional pain. To talk about the bitterness of emotional aches. To describe our pain in whatever words work for us without worrying that we’re not using the “right” words. To share our experiences of our emotional scars and how we deal with them.
Let's be clear. This is not an advice program. We don’t advocate or endorse any treatment or therapy. We're not counsellors, we don’t pretend to be and our opinions are solely our own, based on our experiences. But we do believe that unaddressed emotional pain can cause untold damage and that will inform some of our content.
The podcast is serious but it’s not morbid, or dark or dreary. We’re not wallowing in our pain. Life is not one note played over and over again and neither is our pain like that. It’s a symphony and we’re going to talk about the different instruments. We’ll look at the high notes as well as the low ones. We’ll explore the weird sweetness of pain. The sweets among the bitters. And to start we’re going to dive into Marie’s story.
If you live on southern Vancouver Island, you may have already heard Marie’s story because it was all over the media at one point. But that doesn’t mean you really know the story. All you know is a small part of the story, just one event, not the precursors, not the aftermath. And you definitely don’t know how Marie feels about it all. Through her experiences we’re going to explore all the pain, all the sadness, but also the laughter, curiosity, bewilderment and triumph in many of her stories. All of the Sweet Bitters.
When I started writing this biography I was initially stumped. I wanted to tell you a little about me, the real me, not just the wife, mother, grandmother, crazy fitness leader, business owner, politician, and consultant. But how all of these life roles/experiences have shaped and defined who I am and what is important to me. Ultimately, I have followed my heart. My passion for fitness led me to be a leader in an industry that encourages health and wellness physically, spiritually and emotionally. So easy to say, not always so easy to accomplish. My hope is I have touched people’s lives in a way that makes them smile, has helped them believe in themselves, and allowed them to be vulnerable in a safe caring environment. I have learned how precious time is and that life as you know it can change in an instant. I can’t tell you that I have always practised what I preach. Participating in this life can be so challenging sometimes, but it can also be incredibly rewarding in so many ways. Come journey with us and explore the sweet and the bitters of life.
When I'm asked what I do for a living, I say I tell people's stories. That usually elicits a response of "oh so you're a writer." Nope, I say, I'm a talker! That's why I worked as a radio journalist for 20 years in private radio in Montreal and then at CBC both there and in Victoria. After I left radio I became a personal historian, creating audio documentaries of people's lives as told by them.
Telling other peoples' stories is satisfying but it meant that I didn't really examine my own story. Meeting Marie and working on this podcast has helped me do that and I'm finding interesting insights on an almost daily basis. And I'm finally living by that saying, "success is in the journey, not the destination".
Oh, and dogs. I'm nuts about dogs, especially those ones who have been my constant companions through the years and have heard all my stories!