The Forgotten Fairy Tale of Should’ve, Could’ve, & Would’ve.

hannah brencher.

Like any normal child, I started writing letters to my One Day, Some Day daughter when I was 11-years-old. I’ve been writing her into the margins of my diaries for eleven years now in hopes that one day she’ll find these books buried somewhere in the attic and know through the etchings of my messy cursive that I wanted the most for her. Even when I’ve had no idea what to want for myself, I wanted the most for her. The following post is for her– my One Day, Some Day Daughter.

To my One Day, Some Day Daughter:

This is a story made for the day when you wake up, hair all knotted by the pull of your pillow, and stumble straight into Should’ve & Could’ve & Would’ve: a trio of sisters that the world should call witches, for they’ll snatch up your dreams and scarf down your…

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50 Awesome Truths My Sister Wrote Down Before Dying

Thought Catalog

Shortly after graduating from high school in 1996, my older sister Céline gave each of her friends a handwritten booklet listing some of the things she’d learned by age 18. It was a DIY graduation gift of sorts. As sisters, we shared a lot, but I wasn’t aware of this booklet’s creation until Céline’s death, at age 30, in the spring of 2009. At her funeral, one of Céline’s closest friends kindly supplied me with a copy. Of course it moved me that he had kept it for so long since I’d like to believe that Céline did a lot of things that had a lasting impact on others.


Mostly, however, reading the booklet made me smile because the decision to distribute something entitled “A Modest Compilation of Truths” at age 18 was so very pretentious—and yet, so very acceptable from a person like my sister, to whom people turned…

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Mental illness: How do I find treatment, and what happens next?

Global News

Deciding to come forward and seek help for a mental illness is tough; it can be tougher still if navigating the treatment system’s a struggle.

To accompany the personal stories of  Canadians with mental illness, we spoke with Dr. Donna Ferguson, a psychologist in the Work, Stress and Health program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, about how to seek treatment, how to talk to family and friends and what barriers remain to getting better.

Do you have a mental illness story you want to share? Tell us.

How do people access treatment? What do people do if they think there’s something wrong?

It often begins in your general practitioner’s office, Ferguson says. Ideally, a GP will refer a patient who may have serious mental illness to a psychiatrist. But sometimes, Ferguson says, family doctors may try to treat something out of their depth.

“There are a…

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Alberta triplets battling eye cancer receive another trio’s support

Global News

WATCH ABOVE: Alberta triplets battling rare eye cancer are getting some support from another young trio from Regina. Su-Ling Goh has the update.

EDMONTON – The Alberta parents of triplet boys battling a rare eye cancer say their babies are “troopers” and that the whole experience has “changed their view of the world.”

Thomas, Mason, and Luke – who are now nine months old – were diagnosed with retinoblastoma just three months after they were born.

The Low family has been making trips back and forth to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto for treatment of cancerous eye tumours.

Two of the boys have one prosthetic eye each. Mason has had to have chemotherapy. In total, the triplets have had close to 20 surgeries.

But, on Monday, their mother offered some good news.

“[They’re] quite stable,” said Leslie Low, “just appointments about every six weeks and they’ve had some – not…

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A “life is so fragile and quick” kind of letter.

hannah brencher.


I used to think I would live a really short life.

I mean, I used to spend so much time wondering about funerals, and eulogies, and people slipping through my fingers when I was younger that I wondered if I’d die young. I couldn’t picture the white of my own wedding day. I never envisioned the texture of my children’s hair. I guess I wondered if that mean’t I would live a shorter life.  If some tragedy would happen to me. If I’d be here one day and gone the next.

I know that’s morbid. It’s not the way to start a letter but the news told me yesterday that life was fragile. And a funeral told me last week that time is kind of like scratch-off tickets: you win sometimes but most of the time you’re just gambling.

My mind winds back to you and I, sitting in the…

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20 Things I’ve Learned About Being A Grown Up

Thought Catalog

Orange Is The New BlackOrange Is The New Black

1. That life will always, always, seek to categorize you. You can spend years trying to fight it or you can embrace and understand it. After accepting your ‘label’ you can then confidently say ‘fuck you.’ In the words of a fictional character, “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.” (Ten points to Gryffindor if you know who said it.)

2. Your gender is what you make it. Be feminine, be masculine, be comfortable in your own skin, and screw the rest. Ultimately you’re the only person with the ability to define your existence. People may (okay, will) treat you differently based on your gender but you can choose to make it the bane of your existence, or learn to let it go, be you, and move…

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Memoir or Revenge

Live to Write - Write to Live

Memoir is among my favorite work to read and write. Apples_01
No matter how ordinary, there is something quite wonderful about a life well lived, well loved and well told. That’s a great thing about memoir; interesting stories are not the exclusive domain of the powerful, rich or famous.

Writing memoir makes you vulnerable. Like all writers, you put yourself out there as an artist, for people read and critique. When you write memoir, you also put your life out there. You invite people to read about the choices you made, your mistakes and your successes. Telling your tale opens the door to admiration, condemnation and everything that lies between.

But what about the people you met along the way? While you choose to tell your story, your family, friends, colleagues and enemies didn’t. They didn’t ask you to bare their souls or share their wins and warts. So … should…

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