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Longevity

Fighting the good fight: Sara Part 3

Sara and her father had been living in Toronto under assumed names; Yones and Sara Kohan. Her father worked as a carpenter, and she was enrolled in grade one at a local school. Her father had filed a refugee claim with Canadian immigration, but they were not flagged because of the assumed names. They had managed to escape detection for three years. When we left the interview room, I locked the door behind me. I took Sara to a large meeting room and asked Marge, my secretary, to take her to the bathroom. I was extremely relieved that I had been able to separate Sara without a scene. I have been in many situations where children were wailing as their parents clung to them and refused to let go. It’s a situation you never want to happen, and it only occurs when the child’s safety is in imminent danger or

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Longevity

Fighting the good fight: Finding Sara (part 1)

One of the most challenging aspects of being an RCMP officer is children. Having to bear witness to the trauma, abuse, violence, neglect, and harm that happens upon children is the stuff of nightmares. I don’t know if it is ever possible to completely exorcise those images from my mind or heart. They sometimes kept me up at night; they sometimes distance me from others, and they sometimes have me clinging to others, particularly my children. So, when a situation came my way that tipped the scale in a completely different direction, and I saved a child, really and truly saved a child, the hardships of my job at that moment were absolved. I woke up early on February 6th, 2002, to a cold and bright sunny morning. I had a quick shower and got dressed before I sat down to read my newspaper and sip a hot cup of

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Longevity

Fighting the Good Fight: Second Shooting

I woke up for work on December 18th, about three months after being at the Roode’s house, with the start of what seemed to be the flu. Not being the type to take a day off for minor ails, I started getting ready for work. I was sweating, so I decided not to wear my bulletproof vest. I had a couple of slices of toast and a quick coffee before saying goodbye to Marianne. We had plans later that evening to attend my wife’s staff Christmas party over at Jeannie Riordan’s, her intern’s house. We were looking forward to the party, and I was hoping this bit of a bug I’d picked up would be out of my system by the end of my shift. It was a beautiful sunny day, the kind of December day that is bright but frigid. It was near minus eighteen degrees Celsius outside. It’s the

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Longevity

Fighting the good fight: the first shooting

When I first sat down with my editor to write this memoir, the Darren Roode shootings were the first stories I needed to write. It was as if they were the cap on top of the well, and unless I exorcised them, I felt nothing else would come forward.  There are always a limited number of cases that mark one’s career as an RCMP officer. The Darren Roode shootings are part of those cases. I was on afternoon patrol in Colchester County, Nova Scotia. Truro, where I’d first been stationed, is the shire town of Colchester County. We had an area of just over four hundred kilometres to patrol with a population of roughly thirty thousand. I had entered the small village of Bible Hill where my current detachment was situated. Bible Hill is a small community on the north side of the Salmon River. It had a population of

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Longevity

Fighting the good fight: Trial by fire

This is the second in a series of stories about retired RCMP officer Patrick Guy Roy who is slowly slipping into Alzheimer’s. I’d been with the detachment for approximately five months when I got a complaint from telecoms (police radio) about a possible death at what appeared to be a house fire. I was alone that morning when I headed out. When I arrived at the house, the firemen were already there. They led me inside and showed me the body of a dead man. This was my first time witnessing a dead body. He was lying on what was left of his burnt bed. All of his clothes had ignited, and the only things left on him were a melted belt buckle and a pair of melted boots. The smell was unbearable. It was a mix of burnt flesh, blood, organs, a kind of copper metallic, musky, fecal odour

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Longevity

Fighting the Good Fight: The Memoir of Patrick Guy Roy

This is the first in a series of stories about retired RCMP officer Patrick Guy Roy who is slowly slipping into Alzheimer’s.  I still remember walking past the house where a gang of boys stood waiting to taunt me. There was no way around them if I wanted to get to my cousin’s house. I would stiffen inside, my heart would pound, and I’d keep my head and eyes firmly fixed on the ground. My pace would quicken almost to a run as I listened to their jeers. I was seven years old. Every time I approached their house, the churning would start in my gut, and I would feel ashamed of my fear. I wanted to cry and run home, but I didn’t. I’d hold my breath, grit my teeth, lower my gaze and hurry past. The taunting went on for what felt like years. It was always the

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Mind

The power of therapeutic writing

No, we’re not talking about a gratefulness journal or a daily affirmations journal either. This about using some different writing techniques to help deal with a trauma in life, or when in a difficult time period. And fortunately, it doesn’t mean having to relive that trauma either. That said, it can open fresh wounds that haven’t been fully treated, so if you have a recent experience, it may be worth it to wait a little longer. ‘I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I write and I understand.’ Chinese Proverb A study in the British Journal of General Practice found that “expressive writing” or “therapeutic writing” helped patients in several ways, from decreasing stress and anxiety to improving breathing and reducing chronic pain from issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS.) Therapeutic writing also helped reduce physical symptoms of people with breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. A

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Mind

Top 5 Mental Health Apps

Our smartphones are with us everywhere we go, often that includes by our bedside. While we use them for everything from shopping to listening to music, there are some apps that can help us with mental health too. Here we rank our top 5 favourite mental health apps. While they can help, we do want to point out that they won’t cure issues such as anxiety or depression. It’s important not to self-diagnose and seek help if you need it. Moodfit: This is a great all-around app for mental fitness. It’s available on iPhone and Android. The app includes breathing exercises, journaling, you can set daily goals and track them as well. Well designed and easy to use! Some items are free and some cost. You can find it here. PTSD Coach Canada: Created and managed by Veterans Affairs Canada, this free app has great resources for those who may

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