Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Moving On (but I miss missing you)

I've said it before and I'll say it again (and quite likely again and again and again), I feel like I'm getting a grasp on life as I now know it.

Our extended winter mirrored my mood. I wanted to do nothing more than hunker down in survival mode throughout those dark, cold and windy days. The weather obliged.

The state of being alone is nourishing on one hand but it depletes a person on the other.

I have come out the other side of winter realizing I am grateful I had my regularly scheduled life (work outside of my home) pulling and tugging at me, even when it felt like it brought me to my knees at times.

I have listened to my inner chatter evolve from "You can do this"; "You can do hard things"; and "Only twelve hours to endure before I can crawl back into my pajamas"... to a far less desperate cry for help from within, as I lock the door behind me each morning.

The inner chatter within my head is becoming healthier. I still want to be home but my heart doesn't ache at the idea of walking out the door. I still live to sleep but I feel more wakeful within the hours my eyes are open. I still want to numb myself with food, surfing the Internet and sleep but I have tempered all of the above a little.

Baby steps. One day at a time. Quiet moments within busy days. Contact with people. It is all coming together. It's going to be okay.

I write this after going to bed at 8:30 last night. Exhaustion still settles in and overtakes me. But it is getting easier to crawl out of bed in the morning. The ache in my heart is subsiding ...

I remember the stage of starting to move past the extreme grief of losing our cat (Andre). I wrote this thirteen days after he died:

"I walked around "the week after" with a quiet emptiness. It was a sad place but at the same time, it was such an honor to hold onto that ache because it kept my memories and feelings close to my heart.

Life has taken over this week and carried on.

I still miss our little black cat but I know his time on earth was so uncomfortable it was time to let him go.

I miss mourning him. That sad, soulful feeling and the quiet ache in my heart filled the void he left.

We will forever remember you, Andre. I miss missing you so much."

It has been 33 weeks since Mom died. I could replace "the week after" with "the months after"; substitute Mom's name with Andre's ... and the words I wrote describing the process of moving out of the more acute side of grief and into the phase of a quiet acceptance, life moving on and the stage of "I miss missing you so much" describes a little of how I feel in this moment.

The mathematician in me is trying to calculate a formula for grief. Andre was 15 years old when he died. The state of acute grief lasted 2 weeks. 2 weeks divided by 780 weeks equals .... and my mind goes off into a silent wondering if there is any way of calculating the severity of grief for someone I've known and literally been a part of their being since before I was born.

There is no math in the world which can calculate the answers I seek. The honest truth is that I do not want to ever completely "get over" the loss of either Mom or Dad. Dad's death has taught me that one year melts into the next and emotions can overwhelm a person when you least expect them in a completely out of the blue moment in time.

There are times when I have felt Dad close to me. Those times seemed to happen as I was driving to work on a Saturday morning. Other times, on the highway between our home and Mom's. Or shovelling Mom's snow. Another time, while driving home on an old, familiar gravel road I only travelled with Dad or his brother behind the wheel. It is odd how keenly I can remember those moments. How they stayed with me. How emotion came up and enveloped me.

I think of those who no longer walk this earth and I wonder about the "energy" they leave behind.

When two people find a meeting of the heart, mind and soul and each of them has lost a parent, husband or loved one, could it be possible all of those heavenly presences are looking down upon the moments and smiling on what they see?

When lost humanly souls find a connection of friendship, support and understanding, is it possible their angels above have pulled some strings to help co-ordinate that meeting of the minds? Could they be hoping we find peace and acceptance within the life we have yet to live, just as much as we send them on their way wishing them nothing but a peaceful and pain free exit from our world?

The past week has involved some minor miracles in regards to the dynamics within my own little family. Incidents which have brought us together make me look upward and wonder if some invisible force has been pulling some strings to unite and reunite us in ways Mom has done in the past.

Two weekends ago, my Oldest Son called on me for some assistance. I walked by his side through a non-critical health issue but a serious one, none-the-less. He wasn't alone. I was there with him. And it was good.

Last weekend, my sister-in-law came for a visit and united our little family in her own unique way, yet parallel to the way we used to come together and meet when Mom would stay here. Dare I say it was even better?

My sister-in-law is the aunt to my two oldest and she is the common thread between them. They are planning a joint hiking adventure together this summer which has come with the added benefit of some joint weekend "training sessions". The dynamics of this grouping was nothing short of a gift. My youngest son was immediately taken with my sister-in-law's easy conversational ways and simply said, "I like her! She is so easy to talk with ..."

The last time I walked away from a weekend with my own siblings, my emotions took a nose dive I wasn't prepared for or expecting. "I'm on my own now" was basically the feeling I was left with, as I counted down the months until our next family gathering.

Then the next few weekends unfolded. I am not on my own. I have my own family. They don't need very much of me but we manage to come together in times of need. From the outside, looking in, it would appear that my oldest son needed me. When in truth, I believe it was the other way around. I needed the connection and I looked skyward wondering if Mom could have possibly have had a hand in the way things unfolded.

On one hand, I love this phase of being a parent to my adult children. On the other, there are some isolated patches along the way, because each one of them is building a life independent of me, our home and our family unit. That is the way it should be. And it is good.

My new reality is, that I have a little rebuilding to do on my own. My focus was "Mom" for the past long while. That was good too.

I don't have a burning desire to focus that attention on anything or anyone else at the moment. So I am simply grateful for life unfolding in a way which seems to present me with exactly what I need, when I don't even realize I need it the most.

The acute emptiness of missing Mom is subsiding. Life is moving forward without her in it. It is the only way and it is exactly what Mom would want.

We will forever remember you, Mom. I miss missing you so much.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Learning Curve of Living

It's been a while since I wrote out loud. I'm not sure how this morning's writing will go but I shall give it a whirl.

I've been on a "rinse and repeat" cycle of living and it is going fine. Repetition and routine is my thing and I do it well enough. Not perfect. Never perfect. Imperfection is exhausting.

Yes, it is "year end" in the bookkeeping business. All my sins of the year past are catching up with me. It is a very steep learning curve. Learning exhausts me. Day after day of correcting the errors of my ways depletes me.

Thus, I continue to live for the weekend.

The weekend past, I offered to work Saturday at my bookkeeping job to help meet all the impending deadlines. It is easier to go to work when I get to come straight home afterwards. That was the only upside of volunteering to work on a much anticipated weekend.

Always grateful to be home, I celebrated my homecoming with a Big Mac Meal from McDonald's in my own private mini celebration of a friend's birthday. She is the person who introduced me to the Big Mac. I called to wish her a happy birthday, as soon as I was finished eating. I wound up my working Saturday by visiting an old school friend. And it was good.

I woke up to an empty slate Sunday morning. I had tentative plans to meet up with a good friend but the day wasn't set in stone. I like that feeling. It energized me. So I was up, dressed, fed and ready for the day when my Oldest Son called me:

Me: "How are you?"
Him: "Terrible"
Me: "How come I always get these calls?" [Really?! Did I REALLY say that?? Yes, I did. Because this is how all his calls about 'girl troubles' start. I thought we were going down that road again. I DID say that. I'm sorry]
Him: "What?"
Me: "What's up?"
Him: "I can't see ..."

And so went our conversation from there.

He thought he had pink eye, so wasn't overly concerned. He just asked if I could drive him to the mediclinic when it opened. End of story. Except it wasn't.

Long story short, he has contracted a "bacterial ulcer" (corneal ulcer), most likely from his extended wear contact lenses. The situation can become bad, very fast so it is good he had it checked when he did.

Thankfully, the mediclinic doctor made an appointment with an eye specialist at the hospital, that very day. Sunday. I was impressed the doctor didn't put him off and suggest he wait until regular business hours. It was a wise move on the doctor's part because the ophthalmologist said he could have lost the sight in his eye if he had not acted quickly enough.

He was prescribed some antibiotic drops with the instructions of "one drop per hour", even throughout the night. He was to follow up with the specialist the following day.

He did all that and it wasn't enough. His eye got worse instead of better. The antibiotic had to be changed and the frequency of the drops, doubled. All day and all night. Along with the instructions that he would have to come back daily to have it checked. Or ... he could be admitted into the hospital.

With the welfare of his vision at risk, I did not stand up at this point and offer to nurse him through the every half hour drop schedule throughout the night. When it comes to eye health and vision, I felt inadequate to take over his care.

Remember, I am still working through fixing all the errors of my ways within my bookkeeping job. Numbers and accounting are tangible, fixable and one can go back in time and fix things to the way they should have been done.

Added to that, I am still a small bit haunted by "the errors of my ways" throughout The Year of Mom. I could have done so many things better. I tried so hard but I was (am) still an imperfect human being.

I waved my white flag and hoped with my heart of hearts, my son would choose to be hospitalized. And he did.

I was grateful to be the person my son called to walk this walk with him. We really thought the walk would only be to the mediclinic, the pharmacy and back home. But instead, we spent the better part of Sunday and half of Monday together.

In the time between appointments on Sunday, we came here so I could work on his income tax while we waited until it was time to go to the appointment. I finished his taxes. He rested on the couch in the living room. Soon enough, he was snoring.

He said he felt so peaceful in those moments in the darkened living room. We were still assuming best case scenarios so his mind was at rest. I felt relieved to have him "home" and to be available for him.

Once again, the errors of my ways continue to rise up and beg to be noticed when it comes to my Oldest Child's growing up years. I made so many mistakes. I believe I could forgive myself for them, if only he did. But he hasn't. So we walk a very tenuous walk, my Oldest Son and me.

As it is with my bookkeeping job, it is with life. My bookkeeping boss is very kind and reminds me often that I have learned so much and in reality, I haven't done all that badly while left on my own with her books. Making an error is the best way to learn. I keep telling people that is why I'm so smart [surely, I jest!😉], because if there is a wrong way to do something, that is the way I will do it. 100% of the time.

Numbers and books and accounting are one thing. Perhaps this is the reason I am drawn to a world where there are checks and balances; right and wrong; balancing to zero. One can attain perfection in math. Parenthood, daughterhood and being human? Not so much.

I just have to remind myself that errors are teaching tools. In bookkeeping and in life. The key is in learning. I am very open to learning. Forgiving myself for being imperfect? Not as easy. But I'm working on it.

Life is a learning curve. We never stop learning. I am grateful the lessons just keep on coming. One of these times, my son will forgive me. When he does, I will start to forgive myself.

There is always a silver lining in whatever life hands us. Always. Imperfection is actually a gift. If it gives us the chance for a do-over, we are fortunate. Very fortunate indeed.

I am feeling very fortunate. Very fortunate, indeed.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Happy Birthday, Mom

I know birthdays were never really your "thing", right Mom? Mother's Day was your holiday. Your birthday? I don't think you really enjoyed bringing attention to your age. This one would have been another milestone. There could have been a party in your honor...

I'm so very grateful for all the gatherings, celebrations and reunions we had, when we did. Upon your request, your 65th birthday surprise was never to be repeated, so your 80th birthday reunion was done on your terms. It was a marvelous day. I recently leafed through those pictures...

Ten years ago and so many people who were in those pictures with you are gone. Whispers of memories of you, of them, of the day and all the collections of stories before, during and after your birthday "extravaganza" waft peacefully through my mind as I write these words.

Your clock is chiming 8:00 as I sit here with my second cup of coffee, writing to you. I can hear our good-night conversation in the hallway from all the times I slept over at your place. You would always suggest, "Shall we say 8:00?" as we set our wake up time for the next morning.

I thought of you when the clocks turned back in the fall. I smiled as I knew you would be pleased you did not have to endure another winter of daylight savings time. Last winter you said you went to bed on Saskatchewan time and woke up on Alberta time. You had "beat the system". Or you were simply tired? Either way, you endured.

Speaking of "endurance", I do believe we are (still) enduring the longest, coldest winter season in history (they do say it's been the coldest winter in 100 years). Our first snowfall was on November 3rd and here we are. It is April 4th and there are still snowbanks all around us. It's -16 degrees at the moment (feels like -23 with the wind). The wind has been so cold. The snow has been around so long.

It has been the longest, coldest winter I can remember.

I smiled and thought of you when the clocks moved forward this spring. I think of you and the many conversations we had about the lengthening of the days, even when it still felt like winter all around us ...

I spotted two rabbits yesterday and they were in no hurry to disappear from view. They frolicked and played together in the snow for a while, then each of them went their separate way and found something to nibble on, in their own separate patch of grass. The tips of their ears were dark and there were a few splotches of brown on their back. The rabbits appear ready, willing and able to usher in the spring weather.

Your mom must have been pleased to have a "spring baby" when you made your way into this world 90 years ago. Although things still appear dormant, there is a stirring of "things to come" underneath the snow banks. We will blink our eyes and soon enough our world will be restored to full technicolor once again.

That is exactly how I am feeling, as I type these words. I feel a stirring of life within me again. I lost it for a while. The long, cold winter has mirrored the way I have felt inside. The blanket of snow that has enveloped our world these past five months has insulated the world in this dormant state, much in the way I hunkered in close to home and "insulated" myself from the world outside these doors.

I think I'm starting to thaw. As I watched one of those rabbits rolling around in the snow, shedding some of its winter layer of white fur, I felt the desire to shed some of my protective coat as well.

It is spring. Whether it looks like it or not. New life is on the horizon. It is time to shed our winter coats, find a spot in the sun, look up and beyond the winter behind us. Things will look a whole lot different by Mother's Day. Your day.

I felt you and Dad all around me this past Easter weekend as I tended to your taxes. Easter was traditionally the weekend Dad chose to come home to get his taxes done. Easter became synonymous with "income tax time" and through no plan or design, it quite accidentally ended up being the day the accountant asked me to drop by and pick up your completed tax return. Life has come full circle.

The circle has brought us to your birthday. All of your children will be meeting up this weekend and I'm pretty certain your name will be brought up a time or two as we reminisce and reflect upon the life you and Dad gave us. Thank you for giving us "each other". We couldn't have done this any other way. We have leaned on, guided, supported, listened and shared so much together. Mom, I would be absolutely lost without "family". They have been like oxygen to me - necessary to support my existence.

Although I miss you, I wouldn't have wanted "last year" to go on any longer than it did for you. Thank you for staying with us for as long as you could. Thank you for everything, Mom. Don't stray too far from me, okay? I'm so grateful for all the memories I have to sustain me. I still feel you "have my back". Thanks for that, too.

Happy birthday, Mom ... wherever you may be.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Living in a Bubble Wrapped World (or is it simply a "force field"?)

Is it just me, or is there anyone else out there who believes they live a rather charmed life? Protected from life's bumps and bruises and walking/driving away from what could have been rather catastrophic without as much as a scratch?

I lead such a life. As I wrote the above paragraph, my "protected life" flashed before my life in the moments when, for some unknown reason, I was saved from an accident of many sorts. I live such a charmed life, I sometimes wonder if I'm making up the whole thing in my mind ...

Anyway, I thought it was just "me". But apparently my car is living in a bubble wrapped world.

My boss drove her car for the first time in four months yesterday. I begged her to let me drive her but she is determined in a **"Margaret" sort of way. There was absolutely nothing I could say or do to deter her. But she did agree to me accompanying her to her car and seeing her drive off independently.

I then watched her drive out of the underground parking, turn onto the road and I knew she was on her way.

"Hmmm," I said to the person-I-didn't-know who was standing beside me as I watched my boss drive off, "My car is right between those two police cars and the fire truck with its lights flashing, across the street. I wonder if it's okay?"

I may be the only human being on earth who would do what I did. But I did it and didn't even question it until the end of my work day.

Whatever had happened had already happened. There was nothing I could do to undo it. And I had soooo much work to do and only hours to do it in. I turned around, went back to work and never thought about it again until my boss described the "accident scene" and the blockage of traffic right where my car was parked. Four hours after I had first witnessed the firetruck and police vehicles surrounding my car.

I shake my head, wondering what in the world I was thinking, to just walk away from what could have been my car in its time of need ...

Anyway, with my work day officially behind me, I finally went downstairs, crossed the street and told the police officers who were on the case, "That is my car..."

"Don't worry, it's not damaged", was their immediate reply. "Was it the cause of the accident?", I asked. Immediately feeling like my car must have somehow been to blame, as I saw for the first time, the car which had hit a tree and reverberated backwards. All within a foot or so of my car. "No, your car was not at fault" I was assured.

I asked if I should drive my car out of their way and they actually asked if it was okay if I left it there for a while longer. My car was part of the accident scene and they had to take pictures from above. No problem, I assured them. I wouldn't be headed for home for another three hours. Then I remembered I promised my aunt we would drive out to Costco. They assured me that I should be able to remove my car from the scene within a half hour.

I immediately went to my aunt's and told her my car's story. "Is it damaged?" she asked. "The police assured me it wasn't", I replied. "Did you look at it yourself?". "No ... it didn't even dawn on me to look at it" (I continue to astound and amaze myself with my head-in-the-sand responses).

While my aunt was completely incredulous that I didn't check out my car with my own eyes, I assured her that the police wouldn't lie to me. "What if it's damaged and you have to make an accident claim?" she continued. I assured her that everything was on record and I was quite certain that an accident that required emergency services to be on the scene five hours after it happened,  would be well recorded.

We walked to the doors at the end of the hall to take in the scene with our own eyes. This was quite literally the first time I had actually stopped to examine the circumstances. We watched the police drone fly over the scene and take all kinds of pictures. Everything had been measured, examined, recorded and from the angle we were looking at things, it seemed beyond amazing that my car hadn't been hit.

As we watched over the police in action, other residents from my aunt's apartment complex came by and filled us in on the details as they knew them. One, was a person who lived in the apartment mere feet away from the tree that was injured in the process. The second, was a person who cared about the tree.

Apparently, a senior lady was the driver of the car. She was taken away by ambulance. People were on the scene within moments of the accident and a police car was on the scene mere minutes after that. I became more concerned about the driver of the car than anything else. I hoped the accident wasn't due to a medical emergency while she was driving and her becoming unconscious.

The benefit of personally knowing people on both sides of the street where this accident occurred, is that I received an update from my boss within the hour. It was one of the residents of her apartment who had been the driver of the car. Apparently, she hit a patch of ice as she drove onto the street and careened into the tree across the street. They took her to the hospital as a precaution but she was fine.

I was so relieved that the driver was okay, I almost forget everything that preceded that moment.

It was only in reflection, that I reflected back on my thought processes as I had parked my car that morning. Initially, I almost stopped exactly in the spot where the car slid across the street and into the tree. Then I remembered the plans I had made with my aunt for later in the afternoon. We had plans to go out, so I crept up closer to the driveway out of her complex thinking it would be easier for her to walk out to the car if I was closer.

I continue to rewind the tape and think of the fact that I would have been directly in the path of the car that slid out of control. I vividly remember creeping up closer to the approach. It was a conscious decision on my part and I talked myself out of parking in the path of impending destruction.

As we gazed onto the scene of the accident, it seemed unbelievable that my car had been spared. Honestly, it was as though it had a "force field" around it and nothing could penetrate it.

My car and I live a charmed life. As I sit here and think of it, I feel the same sense of protection around our home and family.

If one didn't believe in guardian angels before, does this not give reason to ponder and wonder about the forces around us that we cannot see.

I so want to believe I have a guardian angel or two. I feel as though I have an army of angels watching over me at times. It is a great comfort and I am grateful. So grateful ....

**Mom's name is Margaret and she was THE Webster Dictionary definition of "determined"

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Day Before a Long (long) Weekend ...

Yay! I did it! I did it!! Yay! I hear Dora the Explorer singing "We Did It!" as I sing these words aloud in my head.

I want to describe in detail the "mountains" I've climbed, the days I've endured, the math puzzles I have helped decode in the long and winding road until today. I shall spare you the details but I just want to sing aloud "I DID it!!" I have made my way through another long and arduous (four day?!) week. Yay!!

I guess I get to describe myself as semi-retired, don't I? I work for people who say "yes" to everything I ask. My work weeks are flexible. Basically, I work only four days of the week (with my eye on the prize of a "three day" week).

I work like I don't need the money. I am not driven by the almighty dollar and I like it that way. My finances survived a year of being fully available to pick up and leave at any time. I spent money driving to my destination. My pay cheques reflected the lack of working hours. It was a tough year on the budget. But I managed. I always do.

This year, I have no reason to bail out on a work day. Yet I have done so. "I just need [want] a day off of 'everything' ", I would say. And the day was granted. "I need a snow morning [or day, but I settled for a morning]". My wish was granted once again. "I just need to stay home today...". No excuse. No alibi. And the answer was "Yes, and I'll see you tomorrow. Okay?"

I have next to no demands on my free time yet I continue to soak up those moments, savor them and wish for more.

I have found the energy to say "yes" again. I have not yet summoned the energy &/or courage to "ask". But I can say yes. Not all the time. I have some boundaries "Week days deplete me ... can we wait until a weekend please?" Yet, if I don't have to think about it, plan for it, write it down so I don't forget it and arrange my energy levels to survive it, I CAN still say "Yes" to a last minute diversion.

My finances recovered from last year's decline in income and excess in travelling and car expenses. It happened the month after my last trip to Mom's. It was quick. It happened without forethought or budgeting. It was a simple math equation: A regular work week + No extra-curricular travels = A balanced budget, with money left over at the end of the month (which will be absorbed quickly when I receive my income tax statement of accounts).

My energy and ambition levels have not replenished themselves quite as quickly. I feel like a sponge that cannot absorb water and all the time I have had to try to replenish my energy levels has felt like I have been filling a pail with a hole in it.

There IS something that is starting to stir within me though. The ease with which I accepted an invitation and "challenge" to invite others to join in an upcoming lunch date surprised me. Once again, there was no time to think. It was as simple as "Yes!" and "Yes, I will ask the others". I didn't allow myself to think. I just DID it.

Overthinking is (one of) my biggest downfalls. Yet the lack of thinking ahead has paralyzed me into doing absolutely nothing with any of the free time that comes my way.

I need to reform some good habits. Goal setting overwhelms me. Procrastination has overtaken my ability to persevere.

I'm doing the hard stuff. I'm getting out of the house (a challenge unto itself) AND putting in an (almost) full work week. The daily requirements of running a house and keeping on top of laundry, cat chores, (minimal) grocery replenishing and (barely) keeping atop of the cat hair IS being accomplished.

I just need to push myself to do one or two "hard things" per weekend. I'll see what I can do about that. But in the meantime, why all I can think of is how much I want to adopt a border collie puppy AND go on a vacation where I simply sit and absorb nature?

I do believe it is because my Dream Gene is starting to come alive again. Everything good starts with a dream. I feel it coming ...

P.S. I have talked myself out of adopting a puppy until after I satiate my need to vacation AND when I am able to work out of my home again. In the meantime, our fiesty black kitties continue to fulfil my need to battle pet hair and remind me that pet ownership is not all fun and games.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Send Me a Sign ...

She was the wind beneath my wings. 
She was my reason to recap each week in a letter, look for the highlights and send off the best each week could be. 
She was my sounding board, she gave a voice to those who didn't speak the words directly to me. 
She gave me the tools to be the best that I could be. 
She lifted me up and made me feel worthy. 
She fought for me. 
She spoke for me before I learned to speak on my own...

I wrote these words in July, 2011:

"Five years ago, I returned to our home town for a Homecoming reunion. Five years ago, a seed was planted which changed the course of my life. Five years ago, my mom found two of my cousins and an old friend. She gathered us together at a table and we visited as though a lifetime hadn't elapsed since we last talked. 

Little did I know, the chain of events initiated by that moment would alter the course of my life, my thinking, my confidence and my being. Five years ago ... I started to come home."

I have often joked that I didn't start talking until I was 46. After I became chatty, Mom would explain, "She's making up for lost time". We would laugh. I often wondered if I embarrassed her with my excess wordage. I never asked.

Mom was a catalyst to a change within my life that took me to exactly where I am today.

We "co-wrote a few books" together. I was the writer. She was the story teller. But the stories were not hers alone to tell so we invited all of her siblings together to write the memories of her family. Then she stood by my side as I compiled memories from Dad's family to forge their own book.

The feeling of "starting to come home" came full circle as I talked with and got to know Mom and Dad's families. I became deeply rooted within family and the gifts I have received as a result of finding my roots have carried me through and beyond everything life has had to dole out ever since.

This past week has been a tough one.

I took all of Mom's income tax papers and all of my knowledge about the land Dad farmed to the accountant and laid it out before her. We talked of "Capital Gains" and all the technicalities that entails. I didn't know all the answers so I had to reach out. I contacted Dad's family to ask questions I didn't know the answers to. But the biggest gift of all was in the gifts Dad left behind and the fact that Mom saved them for me to open at a later date.

I often state that I have Dad's income taxes "since income tax was invented". But I would be wrong. What I do have is each and every income tax form Dad filed from 1946 until the year he died. One would think that is pretty boring reading. But I held onto them. I kept thinking "there is a story within those papers". And there is.

The second gift I opened was a box of Dad's farm accounting books. His record keeping was meticulous. He recorded everything. Each and every expense, down to the penny. Every dollar earned. Long distance charges, telephone rental, how much he paid his hired hands and notations of all kinds.

My world outside of "Mom and income taxes" was crushing me and I found such comfort in reaching out to Dad's family, immersing myself in Dad's paperwork, grateful for the fact that Mom saved them and the excuse to contact my siblings to update them on the "tax situation at hand".

Give me numbers, black and white problems and accounting any day of the week. It is the messy part of living and working that has become so hard, that I start each morning I must leave our home to go to work with a chant I actually say aloud as I summon my courage to face the day, "You can do this.Yes you can!"

One day in particular this week, I was at my weakest. It took everything I had in me to leave the house and face the day. I sat down in the car, turned it on, looked to the radio and thought loudly, "Mom? Talk [sing] to me..."

I have become super-skeptical about the whole idea of "a presence after death". I want to find signs that Mom &/or Dad are with me. I haven't felt, seen or found what my sisters have spoke of. But what I have found hopeful is the fact that the radio waves seem to send me words when I least expect them. I can't scan the channels and bring these words up at will. They seem to need to find me when I'm not looking. But when the words speak to my heart and sound like something Mom would say, I gaze into the empty space around me and think, "Mom? ..."

Could music and lyrics be the "currency" she uses with me?

My sister told Mom that she heard finding a dime means the spirit of a loved one is watching over you (I could have the exact meaning misconstrued but it is something along that line). Mom knew my sister believed this. My sister found a dime the morning after Mom died. She found another shortly thereafter. She had just found another when we spoke this week. I have no idea how many dimes she has found. I haven't found one. Not one.

Dimes are my sister's "currency". Mom knew this. Hmmmm....

My other sister has commented on knowing Mom is with her. The eagle that came out of nowhere and flew directly in front of her husband when he was driving to our family farm to collect some old barn boards. The two eagles that showed up after our family gathered at our old farm to spread some of Mom's ashes " was Mom and she brought Dad along".

I try to be logical and not expect other-worldy communication but my heart would be comforted if I could believe again.

As I spoke with my sister yesterday, I could barely speak the words but I told her I was very skeptical of the belief Mom was still with us but I asked, "What if she could be ... and if she could ... she would "speak" to each us in a way we would hear her and feel her presence?" Dimes for one; eagles; lyrics ... what if?

The morning I asked Mom to "talk" to me via the radio waves, this is what I heard:

"Everybody says "say something"
Say something, say something
Then say something, say something, then say something"

I went to work and I said something. The entire day rotated on its axis. I desperately needed to SAY something. 

Thanks, Mom. You ARE the wind beneath my wings. Thank you for lifting me up and carrying me when I feel too weak to do it on my own.

And the real reason I felt Mom's presence behind the lyrics that told me what I needed to hear? Because the song ended with this line:

"Sometimes the greatest way to say something is to say nothing at all"

That line is straight out of the Book of Mom. I truly believe she did think I talked too much.😊

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Spring! At Last!!

Welcome, Spring! You feel like a long, lost friend. I have missed you.

I don't love the early stages of our friendship. The puddles, the mud, the mess and the general untidiness of it all. But I can easily overlook this (especially now that I'm not running a daycare and seeing "mud everywhere" within these thoughts), because I know what is on the horizon.

Earlier mornings. Later evenings. Robins. Signs of the world coming to life again. The sounds of summer are on the horizon. Trees going into bud. The hint of green within the trees which were in hibernation all winter.

Ahhh. It looks like we made it through another winter.

I have felt winter within me for (what feels like) two winters. I keep thinking "spring" is on the horizon and then another "winter storm" hits and I'm down again.

This morning, I am headed off to the accountant to prepare my income taxes and Mom's.

My duties of "executor" will begin to wind down to a halt after today. Everything will be in Revenue Canada's hands once Mom's final return is filed. There are a few more hoops to jump through, forms to be filed and wait for a few final authorizations.

My work here will be done. Soon...

Then what will I do?

I'm not sure. But I'm dreaming of a vacation via rail. I feel ready to dream again. I've missed those dreams. Perhaps even more than I have missed Spring.

Happy Spring to You! May some of those seeds planted long ago come to life and bloom in the summer sun. It's time to come out of hibernation!