I officially started my first real contract as a Lecturer and Course Developer in the spring term 2016 for AHS. My contract was to create, design, and develop AHS 107 and AHS 100 and deliver those courses in the upcoming academic year (AHS 107 Fall 2016 & AHS 100 Winter 2017). I was also developing and delivering my Applied Mental Training Course that Fall term (KIN 453 Fall 2016).  

At the same time, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and given 5-6 months at the age of 60.  During that summer I travelled back and forth to Tweed, Belleville, and Kingston to care for and be with my mom every week. By August 2016, my mom was admitted full-time to the hospital. Between my brother and I, we did not leave my Mom’s side in the hospital for two weeks. This meant napping in waiting rooms, feeding, bathing and caring for my mother while also keeping up with course development for the largest course in AHS, my other courses and duties, plus my consulting business. Fortunately, we were able to bring my mom home to Tweed, per her wishes. 

My Mom died in the early morning Friday, September 2nd, 2016, at my parents’ house in Tweed. The next few days were spent making arrangements, sharing memories with family and friends, and hosting her service and delivering her eulogy (which was a very difficult speech to give - speaking in front of 300-400 students at once doesn’t have anything on that). It was a very tough, surreal, and speedy time (time seemed to move a bit quicker that week). At the same time, I felt I needed to get back to start AHS 107 on Monday September 12th and take a selfie with the president of UWaterloo (it was the start of the fall term that year, and the President’s Office arranged to come and take a picture with us to kick off AHS 107- it was a pretty big deal). So, after settling things in Tweed and leaving my dad with a short list of things to address in the coming weeks, my wife Amanda and I packed Murphy, my golden retriever in the car and headed right back to Waterloo to teach AHS 107 & KIN 453 the next week. 

I felt like I had to keep things under control and focus my energy to administrative type things (e.g., phone conversations, meeting with funeral directors, flowers, food, booze, lodging for out of town guests, etc.). Surprisingly, the feelings that didn’t arise for me were sadness, loss, or pain. I think that was by subconscious design/survival and I consciously went along with it. I didn’t want to unravel and be someone else’s burden or problem. I was so thankful for my wife and golden retriever of 12 years, Murphy –they were my emotional supports and pillars of strength (also, adding salt to the wound, Murphy died three months after my Mom). I also felt like I would be letting the UW AHS community down, as a lot was riding on the success of AHS 107 & AHS 100, along with my KIN 453 course which I was hoping to transform into my crowning achievement as a lecturer – hell, I was authoring and self-publishing the course textbook at the time. I “busied” myself to the point of exhaustion, because at least I knew I would get a few hours of sleep when I passed out.  

Interestingly, I haven’t hit the turning point yet of this story yet.

Dr. Wade WilsonThis is a story and experience of daily resiliency and coping.

I am still dealing with the loss of my mother (she died at the young age of 60 and I have been questioning what I really want to do with the short amount of time I have left, reassessing my values, and what is important to me) as I didn’t process and deal with it when it happened.  

It is a tricky balancing act as so I do not project those unchecked emotions onto my family – some days are better than others. I could easily slide into the abyss of my depression and let it consume me. This is another layer of complexity – I was diagnosed with depression in 2008, engaged in hard-core therapy for a period and use daily medication and many lifestyle changes to stay well. Sinking into depression would be quite easy, but wouldn’t be fair to the people who love and depend on me, and quite frankly would go against anything and everything my mother taught me.  

I am ever thankful for my wife, step-daughter, dogs (Murphy & Willa), family and friends, clients, and all of my students – I will continuously learn from you, and improve to serve you all, the best I can. It takes a village to raise a child it is said, but hell, it takes a village for anyone to get through life. I am eternally grateful for all the extended hands, boosts, patience and understanding, supportive talks and words along the way – even when it was shoved in my face and what I needed to hear, even though I didn’t want to hear it – and to all the opened doors and support that is yet to come. I will continue to and always pay it forward!  

The first insight and the biggest universal truth there is (whether you are a structural functionist, radical social constructionist or post-modernist – it makes no difference; shout out to AHS 107!) – TIMING SUCKS!! Nothing can and ever will happen at the “right time” or when “it is supposed to” (both positive & negative life events). Life will gut-punch you even if you think you are prepared for it or will take you on the ultimate whirlwind adventure when you least expect it. 

 ACCEPT IT. It is part of your experience!  

Along with this, it also shows that no one person is the center of the universe. There are times when you need to shut it down and process what just happened and set other things aside. AHS 107 & KIN 453 would have been fine if it didn’t start on time – one or two LEARN posts and everything would have been on track – I know and have confidence in that now. But let’s be real here, I was using work to distract myself from unpleasant feelings and emotions.  

Second insight! The show will always go on! Whether you are there or not. Take a detour if you need it, hell take a detour just to take one – again see Insight One above, timing will never be perfect!  

Third Insight! In the ever-uplifting words of Dr. Seuss – “Don’t cry because it’s over; Smile because it happened” I miss my mom, and wish she was here to see how my brother and I transformed into the men we are today. I wish she could see Scarlett (my step-daughter) out there kicking-ass in everything she sets her mind to. But (and there is always a BUT – shout out to KIN 453!!), I have a choice to make, I can let my sorrow and depression swallow me up, or I can be thankful and grateful for the lessons, skills and teachings of my mom (she prepped my brother and I to be thoughtful, tough, assertive, and self-sufficient, among many other skills and qualities) and the confidence she instilled in me; that with a mind, heart, and soul I can achieve anything I align my efforts towards. AND SO CAN YOU!!!  


I’d like to finish this by sharing some lasting perspectives that shaped my life passed onto me from my Mom:  

“Always leave it better than you found it.” &  

“You earn what you get and you get what you deserve; If you don’t like it, change it!” 

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. 

Be Well! 

Dr. Wade (aka Dr. Deadpool) 


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