It wasn’t just the blood of the Scottish highlands and an ear for bagpipes that Irene inherited from her trailblazing parents. They also gifted her with a love for words, a non-conventional spirit, and a deep compassion for the vulnerable. Handy stuff for a writer (except for the bagpipes, of course).
No surprise then that one of Irene's favourite childhood memories was the whispery weave of her mother's voice, finger pressed to lips, "Shhh, don't tell Dad. Let's take the car out for a ride!" It was the start of many secret outings with her mother at the wheel of the family’s 1950's secondhand Mafioso-type car, with its sleek back and wings and running boards and enough mother-daughter stories to break your heart.
Through decades and over oceans, this bond of story-telling only grew. And whenever Irene returned from years away in France, Italy, Scotland, and the wilderness of northern Canada, there was always one promise: “We've got to write that book and tell those stories.”
What Irene was referring to was her mother's experiences as one of Canada's early pioneers in palliative care and the great, scathing, sad, tender, heartfelt and loving stories they shared. After pestering for years, her mother agreed.
A collaborative book and rallying cry to bring heart back into healthcare. Stay, Breathe with Me: The Gift of Compassionate Medicine is a plea for unconditional care for those who need it most and joins a growing international movement to invite compassion into our lives.
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Irene, a former technical communicator, author and teacher, practiced for years in France, Italy, the UK, and Canada, and taught in the Writing and Publishing Program at Simon Fraser University, a program from which she also graduated.
Today Irene writes stories about healing from the heart. She has a Post Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Humber College (Toronto) and has attended both the Arvon Institute (Scotland) and UBC's Booming Ground (Vancouver).
These days, after a stint of living on the remote edge of nowhere, Irene is happy to have returned from the wilderness to settle with her mountain-man-husband on a lovely (and mostly civilized) Canadian island where there's not a single predator in sight!
Ah …. but now that is a whole other story…