Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dear Mom (Oct 15/17)

Sun, Oct 15/17

Dear Mom,

It happened without me thinking. I saw myself pulling out the chair at your dining room table so I could sit in it and I thought "Oh no! It's happening. I'm not honoring her space..."

I get very testy, very fast when others do it. Patience? I think I have a lot of it. Until someone crosses a line. Then I have none.

This has happened more times than I care to admit since you died. Almost every time, I have been in your home. My thoughts come out of nowhere and I don't even feel like myself.

It is then, that I feel your spirit in and around and through me. This is not how I thought it would happen.

I thought I would hear wind chimes on a windless day. I thought I would find you in nature. I thought I would feel you close to me at your graveside service. I thought for sure I would feel you at the farm.

But there are times, especially when certain lyrics from a song reach out and touch me, it is as if you are speaking directly to me. Then there has been "this week". This week? I have felt "the universe" speaking to me. Loudly. The messages are hitting home.

I spent one very first mindless day in front of the television set. It has been the first time I have sat still and not thought for a long time. I watched TV show after TV show.

I found my way to a program about a mere mortal who has become "chosen" to save the world or some such concept. It isn't a serious show, but I kept coming back to it because at the end of the episode there was a nugget of something solid to have and to hold.

One particular episode, the "chosen one" refused to acknowledge the signs and prods that were urging him down the path he was meant to take. The signs kept coming and he refused to listen. It was then, when the episode's message was revealed. "The universe is always sending you signs. It is up to you, whether you notice them or not".

Then my signs started revealing themselves to me. This is not new. I often wake up and find my early morning motivational email speaking directly to me. It was eerie how close to the heart those messages were during your last weeks and days with us.

Your last day at home, this was the message that found its way to me: "Letting go of something precious may be as simple as saying, 'Thank you for the journey'."

The day you died, I found this: "The waiting .. the meantime ... the in-between ... it all serves a purpose. Trust your process. Even the delays and plot twists" and "Honor the space between 'no longer' and 'not yet' ... it all serves a purpose."

I was weary with exhaustion when I found this message one Sunday morning: "Take today slow and give your soul a chance to catch up with your body".

Then this week arrived. The new week dawned and there was a subtle change to the way I was starting to feel and the messages that found their way to my consciousness started becoming a little less kind and subtle. It was as if "the universe" was shaking me by the shoulders and telling me it is time to move beyond the past year.

"Your new life is going to cost you your old one" ... "The person you're becoming will cost you people, relationships, spaces and material things. Don't give up on that person you're becoming, it's OK to choose your growth over everything."

"Let it go. Something beautiful wants to grow in its place." "We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us" ~ Joseph Campbell

Last year, I focused on creating a life where my work schedule did not govern my actions. Flexibility served me very well. I was where I wanted to be and my life felt in balance because I was simply available to do "the next right thing".

This balance resulted in a life I enjoyed. I was in a "pick up and go" mode at all times. It sounds more unsettling than it was. There was a richness that money can't buy, that was gained by simply following my instincts and my heart. I stockpiled thoughts and memories like I was saving for a rainy day.

I love how those thoughts and conversations waft through my mind. They seem to be on a never ending loop. And "the universe" is prodding me to move forward.

Where do I go from here, Mom? I don't know my way right now. I don't want to build a life around work. I want to create a life where work is secondary to a world I want to wake up to and enjoy.

What I have is close. I am doing "things that matter". The people I work with and for, are like mothers to me. This is a comfort. But it is also a little scary.

I relistened to the last "real" conversation we had, when you leaned forward and solemnly asked me, "What is your ten year plan?" You asked me that, because the life I have built is heavily reliant upon those who are over the age of 80 years old, didn't you?

Which brought you to wonder (and rightfully so), where will I be in ten years?

No one knows what tomorrow will bring. I can't obsess about the future. I just need to keep creating the best "todays" and "tomorrows" that I possibly can. When that no longer revolves around the leg work of dealing with your estate, I don't really know where I will place that energy.

The universe is telling me to start building a new foundation. "Let go" ... "Something beautiful will grow in its place" ...

Those are pretty vague messages, Mom. If you have any control of such matters, do you think you could find a way to knock me over the head with it? It sure beats this irritation I feel when I see your home being dismantled and boundaries being crossed.

I'm crossing a boundary right this very moment. I'm sitting in "the best seat in the house". And it's yours. I can see why this was your spot. You can keep an eye on everything from here.

Now ... if you could just send a rabbit my way, I would know you are listening.

I'm starting to miss you a little bit, Mom. Thankfully I have a lifetime of memories (and a closet full of paperwork to deal with today).

My heart is full. Thank you.

Love,
Colleen

P.S. Accolades and credit for the messages and inspiration which have been coming to me daily are thanks to ProjectHappiness.com

Monday, October 9, 2017

Dear Mom (Oct 9/17)

Mon, Oct 9/17
Dear Mom,

I thought this may be an easy letter to write. But I was wrong. With each forward step we take, we are walking further away from this "Time of Frequent Family Connections". We will soon run out of excuses to gather together. And here we will be. Standing in the middle of life as we know it. Without you.

We gathered the family together in your honor one last time yesterday. The day was nothing short of amazing. If you had been with us, I think you would have enjoyed watching three generations of your family lapping up every moment and memory of the farm where Dad and you started your lives together.

We walked around and explored. We climbed "the big hill". We checked out the old buildings and the fallen down playhouse (even more meaningful because it was part of your very first home). We tried to find the shortcut through the bushes to the school. Donna and Wendy told stories of "remembering when" and I heard their inner child with every nuance, the subtle change in their voice and the look in their eyes.

I am beyond grateful to have the memories I have of the farm. They aren't as plentiful as Donna and Wendy's but they are so much more than Trev had. But by being able to go back and revisit your old home place, we all have so very much more to hold onto.

How do we hold onto all of this "greatness" and still move forward? Dale is reminding me I must look to the present to create my own future. Not a future that revolves around my trips out to see you.

I cannot lie. I can't look that far ahead. I am stuck in the moment. I am revelling in the "now". Now? Is okay. Tomorrow? I can do. I can look a week ahead. Maybe two. But I see a vast panorama of emptiness in the weeks that are in the not so distant future.

In the meantime, I shall simply revel in the small things. Boiling eggs in your new pot, slicing aforementioned eggs with your handy dandy egg slicer and ensuring the candy jar is filled with ju-jubes for the family. 

Packing up your old picnic basket and taking it out to the farm soothed my heart. I'll just keep doing those "little things" that embody my memories of you and take it a day at a time. 

Thanks for the memories, Mom! And the picnic basket too. 😊

Love,
Colleen

My meagre contributions to our Family Thanksgiving Potluck at the farm
(transported with care, in a picnic basket that brings back memories of harvest time on the farm)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Dear Mom (Oct 2/17)

Mon, Oct 2/17

Dear Mom,

Where do I start? What do I want to say the most to you right now? I must begin with gratitude. "Thank you". That covers it all and it is only the beginning. Those two simple words encompass most everything I have on my mind.

This past weekend was yet another gathering of your children within your home. We know this time is winding to a close and it hurts our hearts a little. Your home has been the family gathering spot for ... forever. For that, we are grateful.

We sorted through cards, letters and pictures. I found a few of my old English assignments. Thank you for saving them. It took me back to where I was when I was sixteen. This was neither entirely good, nor entirely bad. I believe we all stepped back in time as we sorted through the time capsule you created within your hidden treasures.

We laughed, we reminisced, we talked of recent past, our shared past, individual memories and sometimes of a past which is best forgotten.

You held onto a little piece of everything, didn't you? How do we honor and hold onto all you have left behind without losing ourselves in excess?

I gravitated towards holding onto the history because of the memories I have of you continually telling us the story of your life. Your words will fade over time and I am scrambling to find a way to hold onto them. I want to preserve this feeling I have in my heart when I think of you and your stories.

I am so grateful for your memories which have been collected, recorded and shared. I love that they have been intermingled with recollections of your siblings, for it is somewhere within that entire mixture of stories where a true picture starts to emerge.

I am fearful of what we may not find as we sort through your lifetime collection of papers, pictures, documents and the miscellanea within a seemingly endless supply of boxes, envelopes and paper galore. 

Your essence is still here but it is fading. I don't know for sure what I believe about the hereafter, but I feel that if there is a place for you where you could have one foot on earth while the other was taking a step away from us, it would be a hard step for you to take.

If your spirit is wafting somewhere in and around and through us, I hope it is at peace. I hope you can witness the family you and Dad created. The harmony, the ease in which we decide amongst us how to sort through and divide "your worldly belongings" is a gift I hope to pass along to my own children.

It is hard to disassemble and dissect your home, your belongings and all you left behind. But the task is made so much easier by hearing a sibling say "You should have this!" The statement is echoed and reiterated in every variation, time and time again.

We have turned a time which could have been unbearable into a time we are cherishing. We know we will never have "this" again. This time when we step together as your children and gather as your family within your home.

I think you would be pleased to know your home has become a haven to us throughout this time. It has given us a "bridge" from life with you to a life we must navigate without you.

It is a busy time. My emotions are at bay right now. I'm going to really, really start to miss you when this "Time of Family" is over. My head is in total control right now as we deal with the realities of moving ahead and through this.

Thanks, Mom. I could not have chosen better siblings to have at my side. I'm grateful for the memories we share of our "spunky Mom". Stubborn? Yes, that too. But you were true to yourself. We heard your "inner Margaret" throughout the years, shared by those who knew you then. You wrote your own thoughts down twenty years ago and your voice came through loud and clear. Right to the end. You stood your ground and you did things your way. And it was good.

Your way has given us the gift of spending time "with you" in your home. Home is where your story begins. But it will not end there. You have left with us your biggest gift. Your spirit is interwoven within all of those you have touched here on earth.

With love,

Colleen

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dear Mom (Sept 24/17)

Sun, Sept 24/17

Dear Mom,

I came "home" this weekend. I needed and wanted one weekend alone with you, my memories and to soak up all I could before your essence leaves your house here on earth.

There were no rabbits to greet me this time around. I wandered through your home and yard and my heart caught up with my head. I knew you had moved out and moved on in every sense of the word.

I sat on the chair I used to sit in when we chatted and I simply gazed into the air which surrounded me. Your library of books stole my focus and I simply locked my eyes in that direction and set my mind free.

I look and listen for "signs" from you. I truly believe if you are looking, you will find what you seek. My connections from the world beyond what I see in a physical sense seem to come from the radio waves.

The first time I was alone in my car alone after you died, I turned on the radio and the lyrics from this song sang to me:

"How can we not talk about family when family's all that we got? Everything I went through you were standing there by my side ... It's been a long day without you my friend. And I'll tell you all about it when I see you again. We've come a long way from where we began. I'll tell you all about it when I see you again. When I see you again ..." 

Then the same song came on the radio when I set off for work this past Friday. Yes, it is most likely because it is in the "Top 50" playlist, but why does it seem to come on the radio as soon as I set out towards my destination, despite the differing times of day? It soothes my soul to think of you sending that message to me. So I let myself believe it to be true.

I set out on my solo journey to your home yesterday morning and these are the words that came across the radio waves as soon as I left the city limits: "I remember every sunset, I remember word you said..." Then minutes later: "...without you now, this is what it feels like..."

I was entering Alberta when I heard these words. A lifting of my heart came at the thought of letting go of the worries of the past and moving on: "I feel like for the first time in a long time, I am not afraid. I feel like a kid. Never thought it'd feel like this. Like when I close my eyes and don't even care if anyone sees me dancing. Like I can fly ..."

Then: "In the middle of September ... Now it all seems so clear, there is nothing left to fear ... Now the days are so long now that summer is moving on. Reach for something that's already gone. Oh the things I still remember, summers never look the same ... but the memories remain". And finally: "If you fall, I will catch you. I will be waiting. Time after time..."

I set foot in your home about a half hour after that. You were gone. Your house no longer your home. But you are still in my heart, my soul and my memories. And it is enough.

I woke up this morning and when the clock struck "8", I thought of you and your usual comment before you called a night. Each night you would set a time for waking and it was usually 8 o'clock. It was sometimes a little earlier but our last mornings together were later. Until the morning you simply stayed in bed. Life changed on a dime that morning but I continued to hold onto the hope that maybe the next morning you'd rise to greet the day.

Hope is what we hold onto when we are adjusting from one reality to the next. Reality bites you in the back when you aren't looking but hope keeps a person grounded and eases you through the transition.

I sat with my coffee this morning and could feel the tug of my subconscious mind tell me to reread the poem you had written out in longhand, at the end of your "Once Upon a Lifetime" collection of your thoughts and memories:

Miss Me But Let Me Go

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little but not too long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me but let me go.
For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It's all a part of the Master's plan,
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss Me But Let me Go!

~Christina Georgina Rossetti
I felt if you had been sitting across the table from me this morning, you would have been telling me this. My head knows all of this. My heart is not far behind.
"Why cry for a soul set free?" I don't, Mom. I miss you but I'm going through the process of letting you go. I am simply doing it on my own terms and letting my heart guide me through the process.
You are in my thoughts. Now and forever.

Love,
Colleen

Monday, September 18, 2017

Dear Mom (Sept 18/17)

Mon, Sept 18/17

Dear Mom,

A new week is dawning. The week spells "the return to normal" in every way. Though I know this is good and it is time, I am going to miss being immersed in family and the memories that continually wash over me as we tend to business at hand.

We all returned to your home this past weekend. One of your rabbits was waiting for us upon our return. He didn't beckon me forward. He simply acknowledged me and headed in the opposite direction. He's moving on...

It is good to have a purpose and reason to return to your home. I am grateful for the excuses we have to keep coming back for a while longer. My heart is aching at the thought of removing your essence from the home which was such a big part of you.

Your home was an integral part of our "coming together" as a family. It symbolizes so very much. Christmases past. Reuniting in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. The list goes on and on...

Your home was more than a piece of real estate. You put your heart and soul into your house and it sheltered you through many a storm. You stood your ground and stayed in your home when we thought it would have been better for you to move out and into a "simpler life".

Simpler for who (or is that whom?), you ask? Yes, you are right. We had our own agenda. We worried about you on your own and we would have worried less, if you had been in a community where support systems were in place. But in the end, you did it your way. And your way was good.

Your home housed all of us as we came together and walked through the last of your days at home. When you were hospitalized, your home sheltered and embraced us as we walked through new and foreign territory. Your house was a port in the storm. We were surrounded by the essence of "you" and it was good. It was the best we could have hoped for during a time when the ground we were walking on was shaky and unfamiliar.

We brought out the outline you created for and with us (approximately twenty five years ago, when death and dying were the furthest thing from your reality) and we talked about the contents of each of the rooms you had earmarked for us. We used your guideline. It was a good one.

We shared what you wanted shared. We compromised. We acknowledged and respected each other's wishes. We gave more than we took.

We each have our strengths and weaknesses. My weakness showed up in a very big way when it came time to sort through material possessions and forty years worth of living at one address.

Wendy and Donna sent me on my way and I sat alone "with you" in your sunroom. I shed a few tears as I thought of the hours we have spent together with you enjoying your favorite reclining spot. I pictured you there and in my mind, I saw the evolution of your slow decline over the course of this spring, summer and fall. I knew in my heart it was time for you to move on and it is good that your spirit has been set free from the confines of a body which was slowing you down.

My heart may break into a million pieces when we deconstruct the home you so carefully built. I may go and spend some time alone before that day comes. I wish I could step in and preserve the world you built around you but I just can't find a way...

Everything happens as it should. The past year has cemented my need to build upon the world I have created here. A year ago, I would have walked away from it all. But during this last year, life presented opportunities which entails staying "here", in the home I have created over the course of the past thirty years.

I want few of the material possessions you have acquired over the years. They hold little value to me. But an idea was planted within my brain last night as I reflected upon the weekend past. 

If it is okay with the others, I would like to preserve your "library" after everyone picks and chooses whatever books they wish to have. I will create a little oasis within my home and use your library as a starting point. I will let my heart make the choices and create my own little "sun" room, using your spirit to light the way. No one will recognize what it is, except for the people who knew you well.

No one can take away the memories I have collected within my heart. Yes, life goes on. A new family will move into your house, renovate, live their own life and make their own mark in the world. You have made yours.

As important as your home was to you, it isn't where you left the lasting imprint. It is in our hearts where we will carry a little piece of your feisty spirit. We will mix it together with Dad's way and our own, and we will move on knowing we have our guardian angels watching over us.

Love,
Colleen

P.S. Mom, I found the missing plastic end to the heater you had in the sunroom. How in the world did I find it in with income tax papers from late 1980 to the early 1990's (along with cards, notes and letters from in and around 2012)? I will never know. I lifted it up to show you. I hope you know. The lost has been found. May you rest easy in knowing we will find what is important to us, along our way.


P.P.S. Your rabbits didn't show up when it came time to leave. I missed them. I miss you too. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Dear Mom (Sept 10/17)

It's been hard to write from my heart this last long while. My mom fought the good fight with all her humanly strength, but she lost her battle to stay with us here on earth. She passed away peacefully, with her family at her side on September 6, 2017.

I have been writing letters to Mom regularly since I moved to Saskatoon (almost 30 years ago). I was short on funds and high on ideas one Christmas when I gave her a coupon stating that I would write to her every week "until death do us part".

It was a lofty promise (and one I had wished I had simply renewed each Christmas instead of making this life long commitment) but it was an easy one to keep. 

Mom has had a few health scares over the years which reminded us that she was a mere mortal and her time on earth would come to an end one day. I mourned the thought of her loss many times over. One time, I broke down and thought of my weekly writing habit. "What will I do when she's gone??"

My answer came to me immediately. I would continue to write to her. It was as simple as that. 

As I sat down with my Sunday morning coffee, the words came easily. I wrote my first letter that Canada Post will not be responsible to deliver. 

I am not sure what "connections" Mom may have to us now but on the off chance that one of them may be an Internet one, I thought I'd post these letters publicly. Our family is healing and may find solace in words that come straight from my heart and (hopefully) into Mom's...

Sun, Sept 10/17

Dear Mom,

I know I just got home from your place a few days ago but when has that ever stopped me from having something to say? So I thought I'd sit down this morning and write my weekly letter. I have much to tell you.

We are planning a little reunion in your honor tomorrow. I wish you come.

The process of preparing for this gathering has given me the opportunity to gather pictures that tell "the story of you", listen to music I think you would approve of, read your memories, hear your stories and speak of you. You couldn't be closer to me if you were sitting across the table from me. Thanks for "being here". In my heart, mind and soul when I need you the most.

You've touched a lot of people, Mom. Your small but mighty presence has left an impact in our world and our lives. I'm quite certain you have even left an impression on the medical team who walked with you during your days in the hospital. You were not a typical patient to say the least. And I AM going to get the final word in here, Mom ... when a medical professional asks you how you are, they DO mean it. "I'm good" was your final answer to that question. We all laughed when your doctor smiled and said, "I'm think we are going to have to rely on your test results". Leave 'em laughing. It's a good way to go.

I have another rabbit story for you. When it came time to leave for home, I was desperately seeking a rabbit. I needed "a sign". A sign of what, I don't know. Rabbits, you, me ... we have a connection. I didn't spot a rabbit the morning we had to leave for home and my heart needed the reassurance those rabbits gave me. "I'm just going to drive around front", I told Donna and Wendy. I never go home that way but I wanted to drive past the front of your house one last time. I didn't want to go home.

I set out with that in mind, then what should appear in the alley I always take home? A rabbit. He was leading the way. He said to me (we have a special ESP connection - your rabbits and me) "Go forward ... don't look back". He enticed me further along our path toward home. I crossed the road and he stayed where he was, so we could enjoy him a little longer. He was a small rabbit, Mom. I think he may have been "Jack" - the little rabbit who adopted your yard as his home. We savored the moment and shared our special connection, but he was going the wrong way. So I had to drive away from him. Then what to my wondering eyes should appear? Yet another rabbit. "Come this way ... go forward ... it is time to go home". The rabbits told me what you would have told me, if you had been here. I listened. And here I am. It was time to go home. Kurt had been holding down the fort long enough. It was time.

I wake up in the morning and forget whose home I'm in. Yours? Or mine? The two have been so intertwined in my mind, that they have become one. I am so grateful I visited you when the visiting was good. My instincts told me what I needed to know. Thank you for "being there". The time we spent together was good.

I have been channelling a little bit of my "inner Margaret" these days. It is a comfort. But a little scary too - you wield a great power. I just need to mesh it with my own way and it may be a good mix. Dale will let me know if I get out of hand. I know this for sure.

I don't know what power you have now that you are not walking with us on earth, but I have a little favor to ask. If you can, do you mind watching over and guiding us through this time? Send us a little "God wink" from time to time to remind us that you are and always will be a part of our lives?

Wes may miss you more than anyone. You were his "everything". If you can bring comfort to him and send "rabbits" to help guide him down a forward path, I would be forever grateful.

In my heart, I hope you are soaring with the eagles right now. Joined together with Dad and all those who found their way "home" before you.

You have left the biggest part of yourself with us. Your heart, your soul and the essence of who you are is interwoven within all who knew you (or is that whom???). Rest easy. All is well here on earth. And I'll write again soon. I promise.

Love,
Colleen

P.S. I am finally picking up that fruit you insisted I pick up for you one short week ago. Trev & his family on their way. We are all here for you, Mom. Always have been, always will be.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Moments

I thought I would have to go into work this morning. I went through my morning routines, expecting to leave the house at 9 a.m., but instead, I made a phone call and was told "There really isn't a full day of work here for you today". And in that moment, I knew I had exactly what I wished for. A quiet day at home.

Our cats capitalized on the moment and made a break for the outdoors as soon as I opened the back door. Our little black cats have (almost) become content to stay within the confines of our back yard, with only the occasional breakout these days. I made myself a cup of coffee, brought out the tools which help my brain function and here I sit:


This moment feels like a small slice of heaven.

Moments. That seems to be the theme of my days of late. Simply being where I feel I need to be. Sharing those moments with people I want to be with. Even when conversation wanes, I feel I am exactly where I am meant to be.

Planning has become next to impossible. I set a date for what I would like to do but I'm ready to change course on a moment's notice. Kind of like this unexpected morning off of work.

Flexibility is everything to me. I am fortunate I have "life" set up exactly the way it is. I have employers who are willing to bend and stretch as needed to make things work for all concerned. My children are grown and even my youngest needs only a small piece of what I have to offer these days.

My priorities are exactly where I want them to be right now. Life at home can go on just as smoothly without me. Perhaps things are a little "hairy" around here while I'm away, but what's a little cat hair in the big picture?

When I'm home, my goal is to make it simple for me to pick up and leave on a whim. I think the powers that be must laugh at us when we actually think we have the ability to plan anything. I've all but given up. I have a basic outline of what I must do, when I think I must complete certain tasks and dates when I anticipate I will be away from home. But it is really a joke. It is a little like those suggested "best before" dates on food packaging. It is a suggestion at best. It is not set in stone.

I have literally packed my suitcase and thrown it in the trunk of my car so I could make a getaway straight from work. As it turns out, I probably should have followed that instinct and left that day. But I didn't. Because I stayed at home a few extra days, I may not have been "exactly where I should have been", but those very same days allowed me the freedom to stay as long as I did once I finally got there.

Moments. In reality, that is all we can really count on. The here and now. The moment we are in. String all those moments together and you have a life.

Take the worry out of your day by remembering you cannot know what the future holds in store. Whether it be good, bad, indifferent or anything in between, all you really control is the moment you are in. Try to make the best of it.

Go ahead and write your outlines. It is the best way to make your story worth reading about later on. Outlines are good. Continue to set the date, place and time to do, see, go and be who you want to become. When life has other plans, try to bend and go with the flow. Trust you are exactly where you are meant to be.

I thought I was wandering and living my life without purpose this last long while. Perhaps that is true. But it is for a purpose. I will simply call this time "My time of great flexibility".

There are moments I wonder if this is the best use of my life. But what those very moments give me, is the stamina to walk through whatever "tomorrow" may have in store. Instead of beating myself up for not being, doing or producing "enough", I am going to assure myself it is okay. I will take these quiet moments to build myself up from the inside, out. I will rebuild who I am and what I expect of myself in the times of great quiet.

But for now, I simply want to be in the moment. And enjoy the company of those I spend those moments with.

Today? It is our cats. Tomorrow? It may be the world.