I’m a nickel miner’s daughter from Sudbury, Ontario. I love all four seasons and the beauty of our country. I love to sing, act and write, pretty much anything that gets the creative side of my brain jumping. A left-hander who is in her “right frame of mind” and takes on the challenges of living in a right-hander’s world. I have had many careers – Broadcasting, Business Administration and Marketing Communications. I am a wife, daughter, sister, crazy aunt, and a loyal friend. Currently, I am a Marketing Consultant with 20 years experience marketing to Small Business Customers. Now exploring the possibility of a new career as actor and singer to further unleash my talents.
Who inspires you in your life and why?
Rick Tremblay – husband, heart-mate, musical partner, and life-traveler is my inspiration. Even on our first date in June 1980 we connected on many levels. Those who knew us saw opposites – except for the music. There did not appear to be any common ground. How wrong they were! Rick is a philosopher, a deep thinker, an observer all of which is reflected in his song writing. As for me, I am intuitive, creative, and sensitive to the world around me. Rick tells me that my most redeeming quality is my sense of justice. Yes, it got me into trouble at times but my instincts were true and through it all, he continues to be my champion and my biggest fan.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your life?
2005 to 2011 would be an intensely dark time of my life. It would begin on December 22, 2005, when Rick, at a mere 48 years old, had a brainstem stroke. Our lives were brutally and abruptly shattered. I plummeted into a caregiver’s world and Rick was trapped in an altered state with a limited short-term memory. To this day he doesn’t remember having a stroke. He lives in the moment and I make sure those moments are filled with adventures, even if he can’t remember it the next day. In August 2008, when I thought I had adapted to our new way of life and with my health back on track I lost my job. This was four months before my 25th work anniversary. My benefits were cut-off leaving me with no way to pay for Rick’s long-term care. I struggled on but more tests were to come. In 2011 to add to the previous trials there were three deaths within a six-month period, the most devastating one was losing my Dad. It was then that I spiralled down a dark path where tears, fears, and fight were my constant companions. Rick, my champion couldn’t help me. I was on my own. I focussed on keeping him safe. I would become my own champion, a warrior scarred by so many battles and ready for more.
What did you do to move through them? What did you learn?
I have learned many lessons but the most important is my realization that I am a very strong woman. It has taken me years to appreciate and acknowledge that I am extraordinary. I could have thrown in the towel and walked away. I didn’t. I’m not wired that way. My creative side helped me pull through and I developed the defence of a wacky sense of humour. I have become more self-aware, though it is still a work in progress and difficult to attend to when others need my help. Working on my self-awareness has been key to my survival.
What are you most proud of?
My instincts have proved themselves. Despite obstacles, pessimists and evaporation of some friends and relatives, I honored my sense of justice with my whole heart. I would work hard to keep both Rick and myself safe and happy. It is 12 years since Rick’s stroke and each moment of each day is a gift. On Friday, August 25th Rick turned 60. I am in awe of this because I can’t know how much time I will have with him. So I make it count and I cherished celebrating with him on his special day. He recently said ‘We are quite the team!’ and I agree.
What do you want younger women to know?
Take the time to get to know who you are! That applies to any woman at any age. My journey has been and continues to be both heart-wrenching and enlightening. As part of any critical process, rethink your understanding of mortality. It is part of life. Sadly a high percentage of people walk away from a family member when they are uncomfortable about serious illness or disability. Instead of turning away analyse the discomfort you feel, find strategies to address your discomfort and develop the strength to truly be there. If you walk away you walk away from your own potential. Your true growth is in your humanity.
What does living fully mean to you?
Embracing the strong woman I am. Being proud of what I’ve done, what I’ve learned, what I’ve experienced. I am now working on a Rick and Monique memoir. As I write each chapter, I am amazed and again enlightened at the discoveries I have made about the person I have become, and I marvel at Rick the philosopher who saw this inner beauty long before I did.
Find out who you are and do it on purpose. – Dolly Parton
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