Valerie’s Voice in La Ronge

A fairy trail for skiers in the Lac La Ronge Provincial Park on a beautiful winter day. Photo by Valerie G. Barnes Connell Jordan

Friendship is a precious and sometimes illusive thing. I have several friends who are really my family.
Having outlived my nuclear family a long time ago, my friends are the next best.
Although, perhaps they are more.
My father said to me one time, it’s a good thing you can choose your friends because you can’t choose your relatives. I don’t remember the circumstances of the comment, but, I know it was an unusual one for him to make. At least, it stood out for me.
Over the years I’ve heard many different renditions of the comment.
Friends are precious people in one’s life. They are often people you can bare your Spirit too, when you can’t to others for various reasons.
Friends accept you for who you are, support you when times are tough, and are a delight in your life.
Sadly, sometimes friends come and go, for different reasons. Whatever the circumstances, it can be hurtful and sad. It takes a while to come to a place where you can find some peace with the change in your life.
I have moved a great deal in my lifetime. Recently, I thought about that and realized that I have, more often than not, moved before I was really ready; I often miss a place I have lived in the past.
Again, I have taken some time to get to a place where I can say, thank you for the gifts offered in this or that place, by the people, land and more.
At 15 I was forced to move from the home I knew growing up. I loved the big old house that my grandparents build years before. I never knew them as they died long before I was born. But, the house was my connection to my ancestors.
My neighbourhood was a secure place where I knew the neighbours well and we were a small, close-knit community in many ways.
Suddenly, a decision was made to move; I fought it, tooth and nail. But, it happened anyway.
I was angry. And, I think much of my moving was trying to find my way back to that home and community.
I was in a Family of Origin group many years later and one of the things I did was a visualization. I wrote my story, visualizing my home back at 15, and walked through thanking it for being a wonderful place for me to grow up.
It was an old house with some creaky sounds and huge closets in the attic with many treasures from the past for a little girl to find.
My Thank You tour brought me peace, finally after so many years. I still take an interest in the house after all these years, because it’s part of my heritage, even though other people live there now.
In a province where so many communities have disappeared, mine remained intact. I went back in 2000 and found few changes. Even the big puddle across the street my friend and I ran through every spring, was still there, a dent in the pavement. I was amazed.
Friends are like that, sometimes they leave and, although it may take time, it’s good to come to a place of saying thank you for the experience of friendship and find peace.
In the end, it’s about me, taking care of me.