The Scoop

Mother's Day Thoughts

by Abagail Vanmerlin May 08, 2018 1 Comment

Mother's Day Thoughts

Like any holiday, Mother’s Day is not one size fits all—it can span the range of emotions from gratitude and love to sadness and grief and everything in between.
I, however, am grateful. On days when I am overwhelmed by work, or my kids, or memorizing lines—or all things that weigh on me day-to-day, like laundry, groceries, pick-ups and drop-offs—I remind myself of one moment in time, the moment that served as a wake-up call and drove me towards entrepreneurship, acting, volunteering, and loving life.
Three and a half years ago, my SUV was hit by a car that ran a red light.
The intersection’s red light camera captured my SUV as I entered on green in a middle lane, followed by the moment a silver car made impact with my passenger’s side door, and lastly, an uneventful photo of my SUV on its roof nowhere near to the final place or position of my vehicle when it did stop rolling. I could see it coming, but no amount of braking could stop it from happening.
On that day, my husband, Ryan, decided to stay home to prep Thanksgiving dinner—the first one for our little family. It was the reason I was downtown shopping with our 6-month old daughter, Hallie.
I’d just picked up some last-minute things from Safeway, loaded everything in, and buckled Hallie into her seat. I then drove 6 blocks. One of the strangest things about that day was the feeling of impending doom—I had a knot in the pit of my stomach and a cold clammy sensation on the surface of my skin. I felt afraid, so much so, that I called Ryan while shopping because I thought that something bad was about to happen.
I didn’t know it at the time, but when the car collided with us, it became wedged under my SUV with massive forward momentum; this sent my burnt orange Dodge Journey soaring through the air, literally.
The upward force was so great that my SUV was launched first to the beam of the driver’s side roof and then directly onto the beam of the passenger’s side roof, crushing it. We then continued to roll. During the collision, there was eerie silence and an internal stillness. There was noise and chaos, but everything external fell away and my thoughts became clear. Maybe it was the adrenaline, but I was struck with wonder at how precious life is. Even if you have a long life, it is a blink of the eye. And still, even that blink can be erased in under 3-seconds. One moment you’re getting ready to have your first Thanksgiving as a family, and the next you’re surrounded by glass, groceries and air-bag dust as you hurl towards an unknown destination. And you can’t do anything to stop it. It’s already in motion and you are powerless.
When the vehicle stopped, there was a loud, piercing ringing in my ears—and then came Hallie’s bloodcurdling scream.
We both hung from our seats and it was so odd to me how the base of Hallie’s car-seat was no longer laying flush, it seemed to just float, suspended by the anchors. I couldn’t see her—I didn’t know if she was injured or had been impaled by groceries, which were now no longer in standard grocery format. Save for a glass jar of coconut oil, everything had spewed its contents on the interior of my Dodge Journey. Milk, cranberries, whipped butter, pie, ice cream, olives, pickles…dripping everywhere and on everything.
Ryan picked up that glass jar of coconut oil from the crash scene, which was 5 minutes from our house, we were already gone by the time he arrived.
Hallie was taken to the Alberta Children’s Hospital, there she was carefully removed from her bucket seat and examined. She was uninjured. I was bleeding from shards of glass in my arms and legs and a cut on my head…but that was it. And life went on, but in a different way for me.
As bad as it wasn’t, that accident served as a launching pad for my life.
I stopped worrying about failure and instead, I started Chomp a’Lomp with my brother, Eric. I started living more freely: caring less about my flaws and people’s opinions of me—because opinions are always correct—it’s an opinion after all. And I am sure the consensus is, I have way too much energy…pretty much all the time, unless I’m sleeping…I’m a bit too animated, too straightforward, too longwinded, too overscheduled, too often late, and I have a terrible poker face. But I realized something on that day: it was equal parts horrifying and liberating to watch my life flash before my eyes and to recognize that I had abandoned my potential because of my fears—whether failure, judgement, the unknown, or any number of things.
A few days ago, I was asked why we started Chomp a’Lomp, and I thought for a moment.
I wanted to say, “because my daughter and I walked away, uninjured, from what could have been a tragic car accident. And for some reason, at the last minute, my husband also decided not to come, but if he had, he wouldn’t have walked away.” I didn’t say any of that, it seemed a bit too dramatic to incorporate into a 30-second pitch. But I do want to say something, to everyone, everywhere: if you have ever dreamed of doing something—do it. Now.
What if you truthfully imagined living your life without the assumption of more time? What if you only had one more tomorrow or one more month or one more year—what would this truth mean for you? Would it help you find your next open door, or change how you look through your own lens?
Be in awe of your fragility and the fragility of those you love, and make every moment count. Be a little bit crazy. And to all the mom’s and future mom’s and honorary mom’s out there, of every age, my wish for you this Mother’s Day is that you remember the dreams of your childhood, and pay attention to the ones that you still dream of. It’s never too late to chase them. May you always do what makes your spirit feel least a portion of the time. But make the time.

Abagail Vanmerlin
Abagail Vanmerlin


Hello Internet world, I’m Abagail. I live in Calgary, Alberta, with my husband and three children. I'm a wildly passionate entrepreneur and a lover of life! I am an adventurer, a want-to-be world traveller, and an aspiring extreme athlete. I am also an admirer of beautiful graphic design, witty copy, stunning packaging and strategic branding. I love these things because I’m a creative at heart. Whether it’s dance, drama, writing, stone carving or visual design, I have dedicated my life to the arts, and my latest creative endeavour is Chomp a’Lomp. Personally and professionally, I now have the opportunity to spread more love and laughter in this world and be a positive force for good.

1 Response


June 21, 2018

Oh Abagail. I’ve always admired you. Ever since we met during my interview late April/Early May 2012.
Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story.
I didn’t have an accident or anything sudden happen to me as you did, but sometime 2 years ago I came to the same realization you did. I needed to take risks and stop letting my fears of failure and judgement prevent me from living life to my potential.
Mother’s Day is this weekend… and although I’m not a mother in the true definition of one, I am grateful for so many people and experiences in my life. If it were suddenly all to end, and there was no tomorrow, I can confidently say that I loved my life and I regret nothing.
Thank you Abagail, for reminding me of this. You are truly a remarkable woman.

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