The best of intentions

part of a recent painting of mine - the dolphin is a woodcarving, a posthumous gift for Owen from our trip to the Dominican

I made a decision over the holidays:  no more promotion of my book (even though I hadn’t really even started yet!)  I decided: I will speak to groups when invited, but for now I will lay low and stop shopping around my box of books and PowerPoint presentation.  Seems like a step backwards, I know.  I wrote the darn thing so I should be out there selling it.  But there’s something kind of awful about shilling my own story.  It’s draining and slightly embarrassing. I needed to regroup and figure out what felt right for me.

However, this new direction notwithstanding, I still had some January commitments to fulfill–specifically, a talk to some medical students and the book signing.  I’m glad these were booked previously.  Important events that each taught me something:

  • Speaking to the medical students helped me realize that I really don’t like the ‘presentation’ format for this (my) subject matter.  Too much of a show-and-tell, tug-at-the-heartstrings, here-is-my-disabled-boy-now-deceased performance that feels icky.  Especially since this particular audience didn’t know my story ahead of time and hadn’t read the book.  They were receptive and friendly and attentive–this has nothing to do with their reactions–but I don’t think I want to do this exact kind of thing again.
  • The book signing was fun!  I loved meeting people and feeling the buzz of the event.  I didn’t expect to enjoy it but it was a very special day.

So read into this what you will:  pretty much the same moment I decided to stop, opportunities started appearing.  I was asked by Holland Bloorview to kick-off a speaker series (Feb 15), then came a request to speak to the staff of a special-needs preschool (Feb 9), then after following up on an email trail with the CBC from back in the fall, I was invited as a guest on CBC Radio One’s Ontario Today (Jan 19), which then lead to booking 2 upcoming interviews on the equivalent lunchtime shows in Saskatchewan and Alberta (Feb 6, ‘Blue Sky‘ and ‘Alberta at Noon‘).

I’m learning to roll with it–maybe even enjoy it?– and see what unfolds. I am so happy that the book is sparking conversation and that Owen continues to live on in others’ imaginations.   There is clearly an appetite for more conversation, and I am humbled and honoured to be part of it.



  1. Oh, yes. Everyone has a story and stories should be told. Yours is particularly resonant for so many people — I can imagine how exhausting it must be and certainly respect your need to draw back, but I do hope your beautiful words and Owen’s spirit reach more people.

  2. Hi Jen you are doing great. I know what it is like to share a story like yours. I haven’t written a book though and it wasn’t my son. I also usually share it with people that know me really well or I am working for. You do what you need to to take care of your peace of mind. Owen lives on in my mind and others that knew and loved him.

  3. Hi Jennifer,
    I am so happy you have written this insightful book. I am also a parent of a adult child with special and complex needs, my 22 yr old incredible daughter. Your message is so incredibly important and I am so glad it is now out there. I heard your story today, as I stand on the brink of making some very long overdue changes in my care for my girl. I look forward to watching her more closely, to believe her when she shows me she needs to rest, to allow her to make those decisions to go out and reach out to the world or not.. Thank you for the reinforcement to what finally feels right. All the best.

  4. it sounds like the universe is unfolding as it should…your message is gathering its own momentum, and the concept of living to potential is gathering steam – no fake work, and advocates of those with special needs are feeling more empowered to follow their instincts :) and you are enjoying it … it’s a win-win-win!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *