“Not to worry, Stacey. I know you are not a criminal.”
Well, I knew I wasn’t too. But it still made me review my life with a fine tooth comb and really think hard about whether I should have “released my DNA” to the world. I questioned whether I should have spit into that tube for Ancestry.ca. I questioned whether I should have released my organs for cancer research. I questioned… well really anything I could.
As it turns out – my fingerprints did voice my innocence. Well. No dah.
I was invited to be a member of the “Family and Patient Advisory Committee” for the Cancer Unit with Royal Victoria Hospital. Well, this invitation was given after a series of interviews and screening. I was so honoured. I studied and I researched the position to determine if I felt that I was going to be able to contribute in a meaningful way. This position matters. And it matters a lot to me. I have a sense of worth, once again. I have a sense that what I do will count, once again. And I have been given an opportunity to make a difference, once again. To be a volunteer with Royal Victoria Hospital, one must do a Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Screening. No biggie. Makes sense. I went and did my paperwork. I submitted it and then waited. It takes a while. A few weeks later my results were in. And I was asked to come in to do fingerprints.
Holy smokes. It was like being called to the Principal’s Office. You know you haven’t done anything wrong – but you search your memory banks anyhow. And you stress. Because you can’t think of anything you did wrong. So – you create odd scenarios in which someone may have stolen your identity – or someone had a hate on for you and wanted to “burn” you. ETC. Yes. It’s like being called to the Principal’s Office – only worse because the end result would be you being taken away in hand cuffs.
I think it is obvious that I was cleared. But what happened?
I understand now, that if a person is convicted of a crime, serves their time, and then is released, he/she often changes his/her name. Makes sense. Everyone deserves a fresh start. A new name gives that fresh start. But no matter what the name – no one can change their birth date. And it was this detail that scored me a hit on the RCMP’s watch list. Someone with my same date of birth had committed a crime. Well – I’m sure there are many people born on my same birth date. And it turns out – many people born outside of Canada with my same birth date.
Thank goodness for finger prints. Honestly. My prints spoke for me. They spoke of my innocence. They spoke of my hard and honest work as a teacher. Their reputation as a good person proceeded me. Thank goodness.
I don’t think I’m the only one that doesn’t like getting called to the Principal’s Office. I highly doubt I’m the only one who automatically thinks the worst. At least – I hope I’m not. Cuz that would suck. That would mean I’m abnormally paranoid. Which I don’t think I am – right? No. No I’m not.
In any case – this clearance allows me to begin my volunteer position at RVH.
I am thrilled.
I am finally healthy enough to use my brain once again.
I miss teaching. I miss everything about it. I was so very fortunate to have had such a rewarding career. Yet, I know I cannot return to it. I just don’t have the energy or ability anymore. I like to pretend it is not cancer that has prevented me from teaching, rather, that I have “retired”. And when one is retired, one is able to volunteer. And that is what I am going to do. I have closed the chapter on teaching – at least in the way I had taught for 28ish years – and am about to open a new chapter on ‘advising”. I have a new chapter to write. I have more to give. I have more to contribute. I am excited. And I need to pace myself.
I know that I will somehow leave my mark at RVH. It’s the least I can do to give back for the life they have given back to me. And to my family. I am so grateful. I am filled with appreciation. I will do my very best to make a difference and help others to have the same quality of life that I currently enjoy. Why not? Indeed why not? After all – it’s in my DNA!