This week is Valentine’s Day. In honour of that day, I want to thank people who, possibly without knowing, touched my heart when life was particularly crazy. They did it through small actions. Those actions helped me be resilient in facing my husband’s crazy medical ride. In sharing here I wish to demonstrate how even simply actions touched this old overwhelmed girl.

One of the things these lovely people have in common is they were my chocolate suppliers in one form or another during trying times and I associate Valentine’s Day with chocolate. I may have thanked them at the time but doubt they understand the lasting mark their actions had on me.

So  let me thank Ms. T., David and Pa. You know who you are…or maybe you don’t?



The first to have shown me that support is a very dear friend who was nicknamed Pa so many years ago. Pa would discretely leave me a little something on my desk every once in a while and this included pieces of chocolate.

These little surprises continued even when I left the campus to work in another building. On Valentine’s Day I received an internal mail envelope to find:

A heart from Pa



I still have this stress ball I received about 9 years ago. It is fittingly in the shape of a heart which is what Pa is, a walking heart.  It is still on my desk and I remember not only him but the feeling his little actions gave me each time my eyes land on the stress ball.

Silly, it is not.

Appreciative, I still am.

Along with notes and e-mails, he has been a quiet sweet angel. I have told him but I doubt he understands to what extent his little supportive acts were a salve to my tired and scared soul through the years.

Ms. T.

Ms. T. was a lovely surprising support. She was our go-to gal for the kids. She was their vice-principal. When I had information to give the school about my hubby’s crazy medical ride, I went to her. Since the most intense part of his medical ride lasted more than 6 years, I had more than a few meetings with her to share information. She then would be my ears and eyes for the children as well as my voice for the teachers.

That is not where her sharing ended. She shared chocolate from her stash. She also shared the moment. She made it easy for me to share the bad and I saw the joy she had for us when it was good.

Thanks Ms. T.


My third thank you is to David. He was in charge of getting the snacks the morning after a particularly long parent-teacher evening (For those who haven’t figured it out, it seems I am a teacher in one of my lives). A colleague asked for higher-end snacks. I piped in that I wouldn’t mind a chocolate croissant (chocolatine) in honour of my birthday which was going to start 30 minutes after that conversation. (like I said it was a long day and evening)

The next morning, I arrived at work to find all the chocolate croissants were already gone. No problem. It was up to me to show up earlier. David noticed me and called me into his office. He opened a drawer and pulled out a chocolate croissant that he had saved for me. I was very touched that he had remembered and bothered. After all, his day had been as long as mine.

These seemingly little acts might seem banal but they left me touched in moments where my life was crazy scary and exhausting.

So to recapitulate, simple acts can help so much.

They may include but are not limited to:

  •  a pat on the back,
  • a coffee,
  • a snack,
  • a breakfast out (thanks Mary),
  • an arm to poke (Merci Luc)
  • a word of encouragement or of recognition (Merci Michel and Steeve)
  • a hand at a task
  • or to take something off the person’s to do list

These simple things can give the overwhelmed a second wind.

I will also  take a moment to mention what I found to NOT be helpful.

  • to be excluded from what is going on.
  • to have people change the subject when they see me ( I understand being tired when you have been up all night with a sick child; don’t feel you have to change the subject)
  • to ask me for unusual favours
  • to treat me like my situation is catching
  • to decide for me what I want or should handle.

When the world is crashing around someone, hopefully you can send out lifeboats. As a spectator you might think lifeboats are big. You would be wrong. Some of the most amazing lifeboats are the little moments or encouragements that arrive unexpectedly and touch deeply.

You have the power… and it doesn’t have to be chocolate…but it can be.

See you next week for the continuation of the importance of having something that belongs to you with: For the patient.

Feel free to drop me a line or ask a question.

Please share in hopes that this lands on the screen of someone who is discreetly starting their own medical ride.




Une réponse à “Ahhhh…chocolate”

  1. You have a great gift for writing dear Nicole; but the greatest gift of all is to be able to be thankful and to know how to appreciate the little acts of kindness.

    It’s wonderful to cease the occasion of Valentine’s day to personally thank the concerned people.

    Bravo et bonne St-Valentin!!!