Home CFB Borden Grief advocate offers tips to help you thrive on International Women’s Day

Grief advocate offers tips to help you thrive on International Women’s Day

Monica Bobbitt lost her husband in a military training accident in 2014. She now shares her experience to help Canadian Armed Forces leadership and families understand military grief, a topic that is still not widely discussed. (Photo: Emily Nakeff, Borden Citizen)

Grateful. This is the word Monica Bobbitt chooses to describe the last nine years of her life.

It might surprise you to learn that nine years ago, Monica became a widow after her husband died suddenly in a tragic military training accident. She shared her story as a guest speaker at the 2023 International Women’s Day event at CFB Borden.

Today, Monica focuses more on staying active and speaks virtually and in person to military groups and families to shed light on grief in the military context. She’s a different person than the woman her husband knew, but a version of herself she knows he would be proud of.

“Life is a series of transitions, and at each one we have to redefine ourselves,” Monica said. “Who am I now? Who do I want to be?”

For Monica, transition is just another word for opportunity. And grabbing onto those opportunities can help you live life to the fullest.

A vendor market at the Borden International Women’s Day event featured local women-owned businesses. (Photo: Emily Nakeff, Borden Citizen)

“You don’t need to make massive life changes in order to thrive. […] You can start today. Small, concerted efforts can help you thrive.”

To the crowd filling the ballroom in the Officer’s Mess, Monica shared these tips:

  • Be careful with the language you use – words are powerful in transforming a negative mindset into a positive one.
  • Practice gratitude – start each day writing down three things you are grateful for.
  • Spend time in nature – just 15 minutes outside can have a positive impact on your mood.
  • Give back – become a volunteer for a cause that is important to you.
  • Take time to laugh – even when it seems impossible.

“Embrace the opportunities that those transitions offer you, but don’t wait for them. Don’t make the same mistake I did,” Monica said to the group of military members, DND employees, and family members in attendance. “Don’t wait until something catastrophic happens to choose to live the best life you possibly can. You can’t wait to live your best life or to be the best version of you. You can’t wait for the next posting, or for the deployment to end, or for the kids to start school, or for them to leave for university, or for your spouse to retire. Don’t wait for the perfect time, because guess what? There is no perfect time.”

Colonel Jonathan Michaud, Commander of CFB Borden and Military Personnel Generation Training Group (MPGTG) and Chief Warrant Officer Bob McCann also spoke at the event about the progress towards women’s equality at Borden, and the ongoing work to be done.   

Col Jonathan Michaud addressed the crowd at the 2023 International Women’s Day event at CFB Borden. (Photo: Emily Nakeff, Borden Citizen)

“It’s an immense privilege to work with so many women who are key actors in building our future,” said Col Michaud. I know that our collective success is dependent on women’s involvement in our military and all of our national institutions.”

In addition to the guest speaker presentations, the Free event included a morning yoga session at the Buell Fitness and Aquatic Centre, a smudging ceremony at 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (3 CRPG) Headquarters, a performance by the Borden Military Wives Choir, and a vendor market featuring local women-owned businesses.

Learn more about Monica’s journey on her blog, A Goat Rodeo (English only).

By: Emily Nakeff, Editor