Kathryn Burke http://kathrynburke.ca Author and Speaker Wed, 17 Jul 2013 15:29:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.6 My Sister’s Creation: The World of Genetrix http://kathrynburke.ca/a-sisters-creation-the-world-genetrix/ Wed, 18 Jul 2012 17:08:38 +0000 http://kathrynburke.ca/?p=359 I am a non fiction writer. My sister, Nancy Popovich, writes fiction! I have enjoyed, more than I can imagine, reading chapters from her new book, entitled, Genetrix: The Amity, as they roll off her computer in raw form. I find my self heavily invested in the characters in her book, and enjoy arguing about …

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I am a non fiction writer. My sister, Nancy Popovich, writes fiction! I have enjoyed, more than I can imagine, reading chapters from her new book, entitled, Genetrix: The Amity, as they roll off her computer in raw form. I find my self heavily invested in the characters in her book, and enjoy arguing about what they would and would not do. The opportunity to participate in this manner has been a gift. My sister is also an accomplished artist and has been having a great deal of fun creating cartoon style pictures or possibly charicatures of the protagonists and villans in her latest novel. She is posting these pictures, and some of the back story of each character over at her site. The book is with beta readers right now, and the reviews are great. One was that Nancy's book would make a great movie. Another is an expression of love  for the kick-butt personality of the series hero, jewel thief turned ghostly protector, Cee. For more information about my sister's work, visit her, Nancy Popovich, over at her website!

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The Measure of a Man http://kathrynburke.ca/the-measure-of-a-man/ http://kathrynburke.ca/the-measure-of-a-man/#comments Sat, 28 Apr 2012 16:33:28 +0000 http://kathrynburke.ca/?p=330 My brother-in-law is dying. Sam is in hospice care. His life is ebbing away. Yesterday, he struggled to wake-up. There was a parade of people who came to see him. They wanted to cheer him up, to help him pass time. They were shocked and uncomfortable with his obvious physical changes, changes which mirror cancer’s …

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My brother-in-law is dying. Sam is in hospice care. His life is ebbing away.

Yesterday, he struggled to wake-up. There was a parade of people who came to see him. They wanted to cheer him up, to help him pass time. They were shocked and uncomfortable with his obvious physical changes, changes which mirror cancer’s final assault on his body. My sister told me that Sam struggled to greet his visitors, but that he was confused and kept lapsing into sleep. He tried to rally to recognize and greet his friends, but it was difficult for him. They rapidly realized that the true purpose of their visit was not to socialize, but to say, “good-bye.” Nancy, my sister, told me that some people froze upon seeing him, standing, mute, barely entering his hospice room. Other friends will not come to visit because they are unable to cope with Sam’s impending death or possibly their own mortality.

I have walked with my sister during this journey of loss. Sam has been her soul mate for the last 40 years. It has just been the two of them, as a couple, taking on life together.

With the ever present companion of terminal cancer casting a shadow upon our conversation, the three of us have chatted about the meaning of life. We have sat in their den, and spoken about “after.” I have held Sam’s hand when he has taken a moment, away from my sister’s ears, to express his worry about the wellbeing of his wife, my sister, when he passes. I have promised him my commitment to be a constant in her life but realistically, Sam knew such a promise was unnecessary. My family – my sons and husband, are her family. His request was just a reflection of love and concern for his wife.

Are there things that have been left unsaid? Possibly, but I don’t think so. The comments I would make in a eulogy would be the same as those which I have already said to Sam and my sister.

"Sam, I am glad you married my sister. I am eternally grateful that you have built a wonderful life with her. I am glad you lived that life together with joy, mutual love and respect. You have made each other happy. It is heartwarming to see how proud you have been of her. I am grateful for how kind you have been to me, the “kid sister” when I was much younger and facing the struggles I did. I am grateful for your concern about me, my wellbeing and the hopes and dreams you have for my children and for my husband. You are a man who has always strived to live up to or exceed your commitments. You are a loving, kind and ethical person. Those are the measures by which I will always evaluate your life and contributions on earth. I will miss you."

Update: Sam died, peacefully, in his sleep at 2:40 Pacific Time, Friday, May 4, 2012 . We mourn his loss.

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Back in the Writing (Saddle) Again! http://kathrynburke.ca/back-in-the-writing-saddle-again/ Thu, 23 Feb 2012 23:19:31 +0000 http://kathrynburke.ca/?p=307 I wear a number of different hats! For some, having multiple roles might lead to an identity crisis. This has not been the case for me though others may have a different perspective! Part of the reason I generally do not suffer from identity confusion is that there is huge overlap, indeed synergy, in the …

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I wear a number of different hats! For some, having multiple roles might lead to an identity crisis. This has not been the case for me though others may have a different perspective! Part of the reason I generally do not suffer from identity confusion is that there is huge overlap, indeed synergy, in the roles in which I have been cast.

As a mother of a boy with exceptional learning needs, I was catapulted into the special education community. My husband and I are both advocates for our son. Over the years, we have been on parent councils, committees, have worked fundraisers, within both the education and health systems. Our son is now 17 and we are approaching the end of a second decade of advocacy. I have gained insight as my son's advocate, insight I have been able to apply to the role I hold as part time Executive Director of the Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta. It is a role of which I am passionate. I care deeply about needed change and am dedicated to making it happen. Aside from the activities of daily living as a mother, wife and sister, the rest of my time is spent as a management consultant, author and speaker!  I write and speak, almost exclusively about special education reform. The problem for me — there has been no "rest of the time 'time' " over the last six months!

I get "twitchy" when I don't write.  Writing helps me makes sense of my world. It is a release, a catharsis. What has saved me during my externally imposed writing ban, is being involved with the writing process by proxy. My sister, Nancy Popovich, has just completed her latest novel. I had the delightful job of being her muse. I read raw chapters, challenged her on character continuity, and generally had fun. But, it wasn't my writing. It wasn't my genre. She writes fiction. My passion is non-fiction.

It is now time for me to reclaim my "writing time!" I am putting my writing back on the metaphorical front burner. I have resurrected the work on my second book. The working title is, Preventing Conflict in Special Education: Boxing Gloves not Needed. I am presenting the work associated with this book at conferences, and will be conducting a workshop for parents and teachers on the Irish high holiday of March 17. I am so excited, motivated, energized, and enlivened by getting back on task. I have just climbed back onto the writing saddle, and couldn't be happier!

 

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And why do you need another website, Kathryn? http://kathrynburke.ca/blog/ Thu, 12 Jan 2012 14:40:30 +0000 http://kathrynburke.ca/?p=1 As the editor, founder and owner of LDExperience.ca, the question might be raised, "Why create another website?" It is a fair question. Over time, LDExperience.ca has grown. Initially, it was my "baby," a project I nurtured with the help of webmaster extraordinaire, William Radvanyi from Trendsetting Services and the ecouragement of many others. But, as the …

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As the editor, founder and owner of LDExperience.ca, the question might be raised, "Why create another website?" It is a fair question. Over time, LDExperience.ca has grown. Initially, it was my "baby," a project I nurtured with the help of webmaster extraordinaire, William Radvanyi from Trendsetting Services and the ecouragement of many others. But, as the site has matured, I am but one of many contributors. I am very happy about that evolution.

With the publication of my book, An Accidental Advocate, it became obvious that there was a need to distinquish my commercial and general writing activities from  "LDExperience." I will still continue to write my column on LDExperience, promote it to the best of my ability, and nudge it along.  I will remain as its founder and editor. There will most certainly be overlap between this site and LDExperience.  But, from this time foward, this will be the place to come for people who may be interested in my projects or curious about where and when I will be speaking. I will use this blog for pieces that  scream to be written which may not not be about exceptional learning needs. 

So, thanks for visiting and reading. I am looking foward to connecting with you soon.

Kathryn

January 12, 2012

 

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