Friends From Unexpected Places

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

by Mike Chisholm

Daring to Share Your Voice

March 27, 2020 Edition

Welcome to the Perceptions of our Community Guest, Mike Chisholm!!

Editor: Diana Reyers

I like to think of myself as an observant person. On any given day, there have been times when I noticed folks driving down the street in a car I like or wearing shoes or clothes I would wear … or NEVER wear!! When I dine out sitting at an adjacent table, I notice a meal someone orders that I think I might enjoy trying. I am also grateful this armchair observance doesn’t go away during stressful times.

My family is currently going through a stressful situation on an epic scale and as we move through it, I am learning many lessons I otherwise wouldn’t. Long story short is that my 20-month old granddaughter had a cancerous tumor the size of an orange near her tailbone. Thankfully, it looks like she is going to be ok after a heart-wrenching 4-month ordeal that included displacement to Vancouver for mom, dad, grandmother, and grandfather - that’s me! - a massive surgery, 4 rounds of chemotherapy, tragic pokes and prods, and fundraisers to help us out. Most of our family is born and raised in the city of Kelowna, British Columbia and we still reside there. So, we have a network of people who know us that runs moderately deep. It is that very network I have recently observed and am writing about today.

I believe I am mostly a good friend and I have many long-lasting friendships, I’m a good listener when needed, and I think I contribute more than I receive within most of my relationships, whether business, personal, or philanthropic. I am a leader in my business, not just in title, but also in my actions; rarely a week goes by without someone asking me to go out for coffee to pick my brain about one thing or another. I even help people move and I loathe moving!!!!

When the shocking news of my granddaughter became widely known, which took less than 24 hours thanks to the hyper-connected world of social media in which we now live, people mobilized in many ways on our behalf. The ton of gratefulness I feel inside could stun a team of oxen. But with all that, a funny thing happened, many of the people I consider to be the closest to me, my real fox-hole buddies, I barely heard from. There are some I even reached out to and I was sent to voice mail or received one-word text responses. Please don’t misunderstand me, I realize that cancer in a baby can be an awkward conversation. In my life, I recall times when people I know went through some really difficult things like going through a divorce or having a loved one pass away or become sick and I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything at all. That being said, I find it’s...odd...being on this side of it.

On the flip side, more than a baker’s dozen of acquaintances have not only reached out but kind of body-checked their way into my life. They have become pillars of strength for me as I and my family navigate our way through all this. Along with more personal ways, these people have provided emotional, physical, and financial support, and some have catapulted themselves into the close friend column. Having talked to others going through similar situations, I realize I am not the only one who has experienced something like this.

What I have taken away from this experience is that there has never been a more prevalent time for me than now to be observant of those who came out of the woodwork when I am going through something as big and unprecedented in my life. I chose to not be bashful or to allow my ego to close the door on them and they turned out to be real friends who came from the most unexpected places.

Peace. Love.

Mike Chisholm, March 10, 2020

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