As of December 25, 2020, I will have completed 63 years, a number that hardly seems possible, a sentiment I suspect anyone who makes it this far shares. I grew up in the Old North End of Saint John, New Brunswick with my Aunt, Fran Killen, and my paternal grandmother, Genevieve Killen, both my parents having died young (my mother, Mary, less than three months after I was born, my dad, Emil, when I was eight). I had a brother, David (15 years my senior), a Holy Cross priest, who died in 1982 and I have a sister, Alison (14 years older), who continues to challenge me by being in better shape than I am.
I attended school in Saint John, graduating from St. Malachy’s in 1975, and eventually went on to university where, over the course of the next 22 years, I obtained a B.A., a B.Ed, and a M.A. I taught high school for 28 years before entering provincial politics in 2010 and serving as the MLA for Saint John Harbour from 2010-14.
From my first marriage, I have two remarkable daughters (thank you, Marianne!) while my second marriage, to Susan, provides me with three wonderful stepsons. Taken altogether, I’ve ended up with four grandchildren as well. Very sadly, Susan died Dec. 30, 2013 of cancer but she continues to inspire all those who knew her and remember her.
But, as fate would have it, I have another companion, Catherine, who has chosen to accompany me on the latest chapter of our unfolding story. As stepmom, wife, knitter, fellow baker and cook, and in many other ways, she challenges me daily and reminds me that life, always, is something to be embraced whole-heartedly.
So here I am, essentially retired, and finding lots to fill the days. I don’t know what’s next but of one thing I am sure: for as long as I am able, I will do my best to “live life to the lees”.