Nourishing the Soul

Life is connected by indelible moments. Some take our breath away, while others pierce our hearts. Not always earth-shattering revelations, memorable experiences nourish our soul and knit together threads of life’s learning. What impacted me, wouldn’t necessarily impact you. Following are three diverse examples from my journey. No doubt, you have nourishing memories that resonate for you.


When my son was a toddler, parental questions sought answers, while a firm diagnosis was years away. Although Williams Syndrome was suspected, Matthew lacked what was then, considered the definitive diagnostic trait. In those pre-internet days, I scoured to find information about this rare condition. I came across an article in a British magazine. It was written by the mother of a teenager with Williams Syndrome. The maternal description of her son’s intriguing traits resonated in my heart. Her loving portrayal still stays with me.

Gossamer threads of connection tied me to this unknown mother in Britain. She grounded me. We were bonded by unconditional love for our lads. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to track down the source of the article. I’d love to thank her for that lifeline across the ocean. She offered the precious gift of heartfelt connection and understanding. In turn, I try to honour that gift by sharing my truth with others.


To this day, my eldest has a penchant for being curious about how things work. That fine trait first became evident when he was four. However, it doesn’t feel so fine when a preschooler becomes curious about the workings of his waterbed that’s upstairs… Can you see where I’m going with this? Matthew asked questions about the bladder’s plug when his dad was doing some routine waterbed maintenance. We didn’t give it much thought. But obviously it intrigued our proactive youngster. One laundry day, when Matthew’s bed had been stripped, the plug called to him. Within minutes, my soggy pyjama clad boy sought me out. He asked for a towel to wipe up what he called a big bed puddle. Thankfully that puddle hadn’t overflowed to the floor and ceiling below. But it could have…

A dear friend and neighbour rushed over and pitched in to sop up the mess. Always perceptive, Laura recognized that I was replaying worse case scenarios. She’d have none of that. She took charge, cranking up the stereo, blaring our rock favourites and insisting we dance until we drop. My strenuous objections were ignored. Reluctantly, I awkwardly began dancing. Laura’s enthusiasm was contagious. Before long, my tension dissipated and my heart lightened. My wise, proactive friend gave me the invaluable gift of perspective. She reminded me that life is good and this incident was simply a blip in time. Even now, I sometimes lose sight of that lesson. Does that ever happen to you?


The Covid pandemic arrived shortly after the publication of my book Warrior Angel. I told myself that pandemic realities prevented me from having a book launch. Eventually I faced the truth…I was chicken. I don’t like the limelight. Realistically, how could I pull off being the centre of attention? Would my voice croak? Undoubtedly, my hands would tremble as I tried to do a reading. Eventually I decided to face my fears and planned an intimate book launch in a cozy, familiar setting. I was wrapped in the embrace of family and friends, within a warm and welcoming venue. Amazingly, the event unfolded organically, without awkwardness or stress. Then an unexpected magical moment.

The event was wrapping up, having finished my readings and answering questions. I asked Neil and our daughter, Kate if they’d like to say anything. Their deer in the headlights reactions spoke volumes—no way! When I asked the same of Matt, his reply was “Well, I guess I could.” With a twinkle in his eye, he confidently stepped forward, snatched the mike from my hands and began speaking. He was charming and the audience was smitten. With Matt, you don’t know what he’ll say, but rest assured, it will come from the heart.

I love sharing the launch event picture of Matt speaking, while I beam in the background. Far from a man-child, he’s a man with his own voice, and the confidence to use it. That digitally captured moment represents the fruits of our family’s labour—independence and interdependence for both parent and child. Priceless!

What memories nourish your soul?

Susan Dunnigan

February 2022