It's that familiar feeling at the offices of The Outlook/Outlook Printers this week as my coworkers and I begin our yearly summer holiday.
I don't know what it is, but for some reason, I just feel like this year's break has been especially earned. I think we as a team really stepped it up in the past year, tackled a lot of various news items that kind of ran the gamut and told a lot of different stories that provided plenty of viewpoints. It's been a sizable year in stories, so I think this two-week pause on everything came at just the right time.
I think I know why we were so busy, too. Life in these parts, and around the province to be honest, has pretty much resumed back to normal since the COVID pandemic of early 2020 caused things to either get shut down, get cancelled, or become incredibly minimized. Flash forward to 2022, and we reached a point where we could say, 'OK, everything good? Cool, let's all get on with our lives now.' I like that we've been able to do that. As a result, we in the media have been kept busy, which is something else that I like. Community events, important meetings, local sports, all of it resuming back to normal has been what this province has needed.
But like I said before, I think our summer break has been earned and that it came at just the right time.
I'm looking forward to things that my brother and I have planned in the days ahead. Personally, to be completely open and honest with you, I'm approaching the next couple of weeks with a bit of a "do-over" mindset, treating the holiday as a chance to hopefully make up for 2021. That's because last year's summer break was not a good one for me. Allow me to reiterate.
As many of you know, my family lost our matriarch in March of last year when my mom, Lynda Ruttle, passed away. Our world was crushed, our minds became a blur, and everything in life just became this huge question mark over what to do next. Luckily, with the undying, waving support of friends and family, I think we all managed to come out of the immediacy of her passing just fine. We mourned, we reflected, and we accepted an incredible amount of food gifts from some wonderfully generous people. Before we knew it, time had gone on and it was the end of April, then it was May, and then June just kind of came and went in a flash, and it felt like July arrived out of nowhere.
Things were good. Things were content. The end of the month came and I was once again on summer holidays from work. On the very first day of my break, Brendon and I threw some towels and a change of clothes in the back of my SUV and headed up north to Candle Lake. It's pretty much become tradition to make that the first stop of any summer holiday because it sort of sets the tone for how the rest of the vacation may end up. It's just a great starting point, in my view.
So we made the drive, saw all the usual things up north, made all the usual turns here and there, and before we knew it, we had arrived. Gorgeous surroundings with bluff, green trees everywhere, and all the usual markings that can be seen up at Candle.
We arrived at Waskateena Beach and saw it was very popular on this day. Brendon and I unfolded our beach chairs, sat down, and just took in the lake scenery.
Somewhere in the next five minutes or so, it happened.
I don't know what you would call it, but the only way I know how to describe it is that I could just feel the enthusiasm, the positivity, and the excitement in my body make a very harsh and quick exit. Just, SHOOM. Gone. In the blink of an eye. What it was replaced with was a very painful form of mourning, the kind where it feels like you're almost physically being crushed by something invisible. I sat on that beach with my brother just inches away to my left, and meanwhile I'm surrounded by dozens of other people, but I just felt so.....alone.
We spent the rest of the day up there, but I don't really remember much of anything too memorable. We then spent the rest of the summer break doing things like having supper at a Louisiana-style restaurant in Dalmeny, and we also spent two days in Moose Jaw, but I've got to be honest here; I was just 100% on physical auto-pilot. I was the driver, so it was my responsibility to get us from Point A to Point B, fair enough. But as far as my enthusiasm for all that we were doing, it just wasn't there. I was in pain, and it wasn't subsiding.
If anyone talked to me or spent more than a few minutes with me in August, they were either fooled by my intent to mask everything I was going through or they just said something to the effect of, "Hey, you're pretty quiet today." I knew what I was going through, but I just felt like it was my burden to go through, you know what I mean? I know that in this day and age with mental health being so important, I should know better than to keep things so bottled up. Looking back, I think what happened was I went through a sort-of delayed sense of mourning for my mom. Don't get me wrong, I was definitely feeling it in the immediate aftermath back in March and April, but maybe I put the rest of those feelings on a shelf somewhere in the back of my mind. Either way, they spilled over last summer. We had Mom's service in August, and that did wonders as far as giving me an emotional release for my feelings.
I like to think I'm better now. I'm not 100%, but who is after your mother passes away? But I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks because this is my chance to do things over and take back my summer vacation. Fingers crossed!
Sometimes you just have to press the pause button on your professional life in order to nurture your personal one.
I'm looking forward to doing just that.
For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.