Within the grace of saying goodbye.

30 10 2018

I wasn’t necessarily overly “close” to Naomi, but the reality of knowing this authentic soul is that when you knew her, when you spoke with her, when you got to hug her, you felt so enveloped in her love that you honestly felt like her best friend.

She departed from this earthly level of existence (something tells me she’d love this explanation) and left behind a rich tapestry of folks left reeling from this loss. Far be it from me to appropriate the grief from those closest to her, but let me tell you, in the standing room only space of her memorial today, I looked around and witnessed a gamut of human beings whom she touched on many levels.

In any funeral, memorial, or celebration of life there are messages from the loved ones left behind that we hear and bear witness to. And as I get older, these messages resonate more deeply, more richly. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Tell the ones you love that you do love them, deeply. Hug whenever you can. Be kind. Take that time to call someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Reach out and attempt healing if your souls have disconnected, because you guys… life is short, it’s so short and so goddamn precious.

Last night, as I was almost ready to crawl into bed, I got a message from a lifelong friend. In the form of a meme, it summed up the truth of connection. It came at a serendipitous time, as I was grieving for her family and thinking of today’s service. I am so guilty of not reaching out, and staying in my nice comfy hidey-hole of my life that I let opportunities pass me by to even just say hi. We get wrapped up in our crap, time slips by and before you know it, it’s been days/weeks/months/years since we’ve spoken and connected.

But thanks to the silver linings of things like today, we can breathe deep and remember what is so truly important. Not the stresses at work, not the cost of gasoline, not the argument with your partner about laundry.

It’s us. ALL of us. The tapestry of relationships that weave our lives into a rich blanket of connection. It’s dancing and laughter. It’s tears and arguments that resolve into tender forgiveness. It’s moving beyond our attachment from a desire for revenge and retribution, but rather to a humble acceptance of our human fragility and strength.

In her way of being a connection for so many, she has proven today that she has the power to unite. The message I received loud and clear this morning was that we are all here for a short and sweet time and we need to: Breathe. Hug. Love. Laugh. And dance. Don’t forget to dance. And don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. It is when you are that, that you are most human.

I love you all. I really do. And to Naomi, thank you. Thank you for your lessons we all were blessed to receive today and above all thank you for YOU (and those two bald eagles circling above the church after your service. I stood and watched, breathless and aching for your family).

xo

K

 

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And so we mourn.

19 09 2018

In retrospect, my blog posts always seem to have the same essence and theme. My lake, my friends, the seasons. It’s a rich flavour, a repertoire I feel isn’t overly tiresome, and yet I find myself second guessing myself every time the mood strikes to write for fear that it might seem redundant to some.

Nevertheless, I pondered the last few days about this and decided to write on!

The sunlight these days is low. It shines differently, doesn’t it? A deeper yellow, a brighter cast. It’s warmer in its glow and cooler in its warmth, such a strange dichotomy. It shines on the waters of my lake, seemingly enticing me to plunge in, but my soul and my body know the chill and coolness it hides in its sparkling invitation. Yet I feel like I should, just one more time. Strip down, run in, let those waters enfold me in a brisk embrace, flooding me with icy affirmations.

The leaves are turning. It’s earlier this year, don’t you think? Given the fire season and smoke and cool weather that hit us in mid-August, I am not surprised. Even the last few weeks in September have denied us those hot days and crisp nights. The worst fire season in BC’s history has taken a toll in everyone’s experience. Beach days were cut short, camping trips dampened. No evening campfires. Long walks disrupted by lung-choking smoke. This demoralized me. This demoralized everyone. It evoked a deep sadness within my heart and soul for all of us. We live all year in sweet anticipation of these Kootenay Summers and to be denied even a few days of its offerings, to be denied the heat, the sun, the pure intense bliss of it all, it’s like the loss of a love, a summer fling cut short, a too-soon breakup of an intense love affair that takes your breath away. And so, the natural progression of the changing of the seasons was cut short and shoved almost violently in our faces.

But I digress. Above all, the moments that come along to gift us sweetness are always here, present and ready to whisper lovely reminders in our ears. As I left this morning on my early morning run, the coolness of the fall-ish air enveloped me. My dog was giddy, as usual. Yes, I was cold, but the air. The air was like a vitamin-infused oxygen bar all around me. I ran and I breathed in, nourishing every cell in my body.

So we mourn this loss, as we should. The loss of those days that shine like diamonds, as laughter echoes into the dusk and holds us to the promise of one more summer. Those diamonds, they sparkle and beckon. But we need to remember that there are also pearls, that glow within from a cool golden hue and allow us to revel in being present no matter what. And it’s time to don a different jewel, to wear it with gratitude as the season turns.

 





You know, it really it is the little things

5 07 2018

I woke up this morning with the anticipated July sun finally beaming in through the windows, and after my coffee and shower, I egged on my dog Jed to get him all riled up for his morning walkies. Well, could you blame me? He was laying outside my door, completely splooted (google it) out with his front paws crossed in anticipation, his brow furrowed as if in consternation about whether or not he’d get to go romp before breakfast. Hint: he always does.

He was delighted as always, performing cutesy spins and giving his high fives as I asked him if he “wants to go for a walk”. We headed out into the early morning, the air gently warm and the crows announcing our journey with raucous caws.

Sometimes we run. Sometimes we walk. There are times when I intersperse lunges and jump squats to make sure my arse doesn’t sag too much. But whatever I do, Jed comes with me. Tail high, prancing with pride. Isn’t it sweet to give your dog what he loves the most?

We did a quick route this morning as unbeknownst to him, he was heading up the mountain with the birthday girl and her dad for a day of ATVs, fishing and hiking. As we rounded the corner home, I stopped to pick a few sweet peas for a birthday bouquet and happened to look up as I began to head home. There in the sky, hung like a mobile over a baby’s crib was a giant Blue Heron. She (he?) was straight as an arrow, neck folded in, legs extended. The moment stopped as I just stood there to watch this creature soar over me. Beyond the twitter of chickadees and zzzz zzzz zzzz of the hummingbirds and the sweet songs of the swallows, this giant of flight was silent. I stood. I watched. And after this bird passed over me, I finally breathed deeply and regained my venture home when I noticed two bald eagles soaring together. My breath stopped again. The two birds circled around together, hanging briefly in the updrafts of the air below. Not a wing was flapped. They were close enough so that I could see the white feathers of their heads and the rich brown of their bodies. Jed stood patiently by as I stood still again, trying with all my might to absorb the beauty, the peace and the simplicity of this moment. After a few second they dispersed, perhaps spying a fish or two rising in the waters below.

I know it may have looked silly, but I clasped my hands in a prayer pose in front of my heart and breathed a word of thanks. To who or what, I’m not even sure. But the gifts given to me, simple and sweet, were too good to not be grateful for.





Lessons learned.

15 05 2018

My sister asked me the other day if I had written about my son’s ATV accident yet. I said that I had thought about it, but hadn’t really and truly sat down to hash out my thoughts and emotions after that crazy experience. It takes time to process, anytime there’s a trauma involved with someone you love.

All in all, his injuries weren’t THAT serious…. I work with docs who work in the ER and so upon getting the call (while coming home from an amazing weekend in Spokane) learning that Nick had a pneumothorax after the quad rolled on him, my brain automatically heard one of my docs say “OK, that’s really no big deal” in my brain. A punctured or torn lung…. I mean yeah, that’s scary shit, but in some weird way, my autopilot kicked in and I just focused on driving home, knowing it’d be ok. I’m not generally a crier either so no tears were shed. I just drove, intent on getting home to see my boy.

I arrived at the hospital to see my son in the trauma bay, a bit doped up still from the ketamine and morphine he was given during the chest tube insertion. He informed me that he had been “trippin’ balls in another dimension” and we took silly selfies while he laid there in a collar, hooked up to all sorts of machines.

The days that followed were a roller coaster. We had hoped he’d be discharged within two to three days, but unfortunately, after the first chest tube (which I swear to god was the size of a garden hose) was removed, his lung collapsed again, leading to another chest tube being inserted. Nick’s usual upbeat and sarcastic demeanor was crushed as we learned it may be days before he would get home, with a small possibility of a thoracic surgery if it didn’t heal… that meant a trip to Kelowna. So fingers and toes crossed, we waited.

Oh right. We waited. We waited for the nurse to come in to talk to us. We waited for x ray to call so Nick could get yet one more to see how his lung was doing. We waited for the doctor to come and see us. We waited for x ray results. We waited. And waited. And waited. Day in. Day out. We waited.

We filled the time by chatting, by being silent, by stealing tidbits of sleep here and there (Nick in a bed that was a foot too short for his 6’3″ frame and me crooked up against the wall, curled up in a horribly uncomfortable chair). We waited and listened to Nick’s neighbour cough and hack and snort and fart all hours of the day, we heard him having loud conversations in Italian with his wife, that sounded suspiciously like balls-to-the-wall full-on arguments, but as they were interspersed with bouts of laughter, we all figured it was just a typical Italian conversation. (We christened him Luigi and spent a lot of time giggling at the cacophony of sounds emanating from various orifices of the old feller in the next not-very-soundproof-room). We waited with Nick’s lovely, wonderful girlfriend, who filled up the room with her sweet love and tender devotion for him. There were nights where she and I didn’t get home until 10 or 11. Indeed, we put in a few long 8-10 hour days, making sure that he had some semblance of company to keep him from being bored to tears.

In doing all this, this bedside waiting, I learned something. I learned that no matter who tells you in their heartfelt and earnest loving way to “Please let me know if you need anything”, when you are in the thick of dealing with any sort of crisis, you don’t really have the ability to reach out, you don’t have the foresight, and you don’t really think of it.

I had a lovely friend show up one day with chips and treats and hugs galore, and while Nick was sleeping, we sat and chatted. And this very thing came up…. How lonely we were…. how alone we felt. You see, she lost her mom a couple years ago and so she really and truly knows what it’s like and right then and there I realized that I too was (not so much guilty as it is no crime, but more of an honest human reaction) not present for her during her time of deep and soulful need. I should have just shown up while she was at her mother’s bedside. Shown up with tea or soup, or silly magazines, or even just a hug. I remember feeling nervous that I would be intruding on them during that terrible time, I worried that I didn’t have the right to be there. I didn’t want to bother them. I didn’t want to step on toes.

But what we went through opened my eyes. Even though it was a small blip in the grand scheme of things, my heart opened up in a new and delicious way. My lesson gleaned from this was to learn how to be a bit more present for those I love in this world.

So. Don’t wait for the call if you know someone is sick or hurt or grieving. Show up. Show up with a juicy new book. Bring a laptop with a movie downloaded on it. Show up for five minutes with your smile and if you don’t bring anything, just bring at least seven or eight hugs. Because hugs are the best.  Bring a sandwich. The patient and loved ones might be hungry and not willing to leave in case they miss the doctor. And besides, hospital food really, really sucks. Send a text or call if you can’t be there. It matters so much. So so much. Your smile, your presence can will be the difference of making a crappy day a little brighter. You might be the silver lining to an otherwise really bad day.

Because you are. You are a bright silver lining.

We all are.

xoxo

 

 

 





How about you?

24 02 2018

Oh I’m ready. I’m so ready.

I’m ready for open windows and soft breezes that clear that stagnant wintery dreariness from the rooms. I’m ready for sunlight creeping in at 4 am and the incessant chatter of birds outside my window. I’m ready to witness the patches of tired dirt-caked snow grow smaller every day and to bear witness to the tight little buds of leaves as they ready themselves to unfurl in  bursts of vibrant green.

I’m ready for evening walks in the spring air. I’m ready for washing the winter gear one last time and tucking it all away. I’m ready for the soft rains that nourish the soil and enhance the scents of new life all around us.

I’m ready for the daring of snowdrops and the audacity of tulips, sometimes reaching up through leftover snow that the sun hasn’t reached yet.

I’m ready to shake out the dirt and dust of being inside too much. I’m ready to bike along my lake and to hear the cries of the ospreys as they return to their summer home. I’m ready to breathe deep and fill my lungs with spring.

I’m ready to grill burgers outside and linger on the deck until dusk. I’m ready for beers on the beach with my dearest friends. I’m ready to hear the distant motors of boats on the lake and sprinklers with their rhythmic tick lulling me into a meditative state.

I’m ready to run without fear of slipping on ice. I’m ready to absorb the warmth of our sun. I’m ready for the quiet joy of rolling out my yoga mat in the early evening air.

I’m ready to embrace all the gifts that spring and summer are eager to bestow. I’m so ready.

How about you?





Oooohhhhhh…..

30 01 2018

It was a long day at work: a good day, but long. I worked until 5, and then headed to the grocery store for my weekly shop. I drove home in the pouring rain, ensconced in the wintery January darkness. The visibility was terrible. I puttered along behind other drivers going far below the speed limit as slushy melting snow snagged at our tires and splats of rain beat down upon us.

I finally got home to face the (endless) chore of unloading almost $300 worth of groceries (so, like 1.5 bags… hahaha, no really, I kid, but holy shit y’all, it’s expensive AF to feed a family of four these days!!). I put things away, wondering morosely what I was going to do for supper, when I looked up to see my husband’s expression. He had eagerly helped me as we chatted about our day. He looked almost guilty as he admitted he needed help with uploading a back- up for the business from our bookkeeper. I wanted to sigh OUT LOUD… but he was too sweet in his efforts to make sure I knew he didn’t feel good about taking more time away from me than necessary. I swallowed my irritation, as I have accepted my IT position in this house. And so I put the groceries away and set off to the computer to fix the issue.

During this, my daughter came to me to ask for help for choosing a book for her AP English class. I wanted to grit my teeth: the exhaustion of my day, more mental than physical, seethed and boiled within me. Like, FUCK… I just want to relax and drink some of that nice Pinot Grigio I had chilling in the fridge but nooooooooooooo, I have to unload groceries AND help with the computer AND pick a book AND deal with whatever else will be coming down to land on my lap. I glanced at the clock in dismay. It was close to 7.30 pm and I hadn’t eaten and there was still a bunch of thing to be done because there was that 18 hour long power outage that left me unable to do what I usually get done. And then I started to think about appointments I needed to book, incessant chores that nagged at me, and I could just feel that pity party wanting to start.

It was then that I realized that I was the CEO of My Family Corporation. It lifted my spirits and made me smile to myself. I felt my irritation dissipate into a level of acceptance that allowed me breath. I fixed the computer issue. My daughter told me to not worry about dinner as we chatted about books. I poured that wine and took a luscious sip, reveling in the (maybe slight egotistical and vain kind of way) fact that without me this house and home just might crumble into a moldering, smelly, slightly slimy hot mess. I fucking OWNED this shit. Hell, I run this place like a tight ship. Right then and there, I stopped my Poor Me and said Girl, you are AMAZING. Everyone is fed and happy and looked after and it’s all because of me. ME.

So, hey… All you other amazing CEOs of your own corporations….when you get irritated at everyone running to you to help solve their problems, just take a seat and drum your fingers together and laugh in a maniacal way. And repeat after me: I run this, I own this, I kick ASS at this. Pour that wine, or tea, or beer. And sit back and know how truly indispensable and integral you really truly are..





Onward and upwards

31 12 2017

Well, here we are. The end of 2017.  I thought I’d blow the dust off this laptop of mine and see if I could crank out a blog post before the New Year. So forgive my indulgent nattering.

Here we go!

This past year has been intense, interesting and deeply soul-changing. I watched my first-born graduate high school, I witnessed the heart-soaring level of love a circle of friends can achieve while helping a dear friend through a deeply challenging time, I learned that love can come back even if you thought it might be gone forever, I experienced my first (WTF – OMG – FML)  hot flash.

I tried to live up to my word that I had chosen as my intention at the beginning of last year: embrace. I embraced what came along. Well, I tried to. As far as intentions go, they do become mired down with gooey messy human emotions. But every once in a while a soft whisper would nudge me along. It isn’t easy to embrace the bad as well as the good. But I attempted to embrace my negativity, hoping that at some point it would provide a launch for me to achieve a level of self-forgiveness that I believe every human being needs. I embraced my mistakes and took a long hard look within myself. I listened to criticism and even though I wanted to lash out and scream at the messenger, I swallowed what little pride I had and embraced the truth that I wasn’t at all connected with so many of my loved ones. I embraced my lack of authentic living. And every tiny step I made, I embraced that as well. I embraced my fragility and humanity.

I tend to turn inwards, and too much self-reflection has a contrary effect within me. I start to doubt my worth. I hate that about me. I dance with that darkness too much and this… THIS is what I want to work on. I need to learn how to stop beating myself up and thinking that I am not as important to others as they are to me. I need to remember to reach out instead of burying myself. I need to learn how to hush up this internal dialogue. There is a savagery in our psyches that tend to urge destruction and far too many of us fall prey to its insidious chatter.

So yes… while resolutions are silly and never really work and I am STILL having a love/hate relationship with Patty, my little tummy that is now my new BFF because she won’t leave me the fuck alone, and I am totally going to achieve a 6 pack this year (LOL, yeah, no… who am I kidding), I do think that choosing a word as an intention can offer a sweet sentiment.

So this year, my word is RELEASE. It crashed its way into my mind during one of my 2 AM hot-flash infused self-hate episodes. I had thrown the covers off and sat up, sweaty and sad and filled with a melancholic wave of self-contempt. And I was so sick of it. So tired, exhausted by this inner voice telling me I am not worthy, I am stupid and foolish and unloved. So, there, muddled and hot and frustrated, “release” clanged like a bell in my brain. Right then and there, I decided to give it a try. To release myself from this angry mantra of alienation and self-inflicted misery. Enough already.

As we hesitantly step into 2018, measuring out our growth in the past year, as we enter into the light and the dawn of a fresh start, as we draw from the sweet clarity of an unmarked expanse of the New Year, may we all go with our own sweet intentions.

 

Happy New Year!