Friday, June 23, 2023


Two weeks ago I slipped in a puddle of dog pee and ended up in the hospital for a week. I think it’s pretty hard to get compartment syndrome from a badly sprained ankle but that’s exactly what happened. I had emergency surgery the next morning to relieve the swelling and hopefully avoid permanent tissue and muscle damage to my foot and ankle. 

I’m still healing - using all the accoutrements of limited mobility available.  Walker, wheelchair, commode, cane. The pain had been off the charts but is finally easing. Our doctor mercifully put in freezing on the top of my foot yesterday when it became evident that the pain was too great for him to remove my stitches, which were buried under a thick scab. I squeezed Dearest One’s fingers as a distraction when what I really wanted to do was screech.  

Not to sound Pollyanna-ish but I am grateful that all that happed was a sprained ankle. Dearest One was out of town and I was home alone when I fell. I’m thankful that I didn’t hit my head or break a bone. Ironically, I was on the phone with a paramedic when it happened. A new work contact who got to hear me screaming and then wait while I tried to figure out how to talk on a phone that partially broke when I fell.

The normal, boring, mundane things of life are highly underrated. 

~ Hope


Friday, June 02, 2023

“The Unfinished Way……”

At supper time I found myself sitting in the parking lot of a local liquor store.  I was once again eating a meal and people watching before I tuned into this podcast

I’d just come from a therapy session where I discussed a broken relationship and my feelings about it. So many feelings. At one point I told my therapist that I just wanted her to tell me what to do even though I knew she wouldn’t. We laughed. What’s the point of paying someone to tell you what to do when we both know that lasting change comes when one searches deep inside oneself for the answers. Neither one of us can count how many times I’ve given her a “fuck you” look when she’s said something I didn’t like. So searching deep inside it is. 

Recently when (in my mind) I was comforting my younger self I’d had a picture pop into my head when I reached for her. As she came and sat on my knee she was trying to cram paper bags in her mouth to satisfy her soul hunger.  I told her that paper bags would never nourish her hurt. That they would never fill that gaping hole inside her. My thoughts came spontaneously and I recognized their truth instantly. When I asked my therapist where pictures like that come from, she said that some people believe they come from within ourselves. Our deepest selves. I’d like to think it’s some kind of work of the Holy Spirit speaking truth within my heart. Truth that was planted there from my beginning.

Kate Bowler’s guest on her podcast had a rough start in life. Towards the end of the podcast, when her guest was talking about how her mom died before everything was mended, Kate said, “…the unfinished way that people love us.” 

I need to find a way to be okay with that truth. That the way I love others may never be in the way that their soul hungers for nor may they be in the way I need, either. People can say all kinds of pithy things like there’s a God shaped hole inside that only God can fill but sometimes you just need a little flesh and blood to sooth the pain.

~ Hope

Monday, April 10, 2023

Sitting Under A Lamp Post’s Light

I’ve worked full time from home since the start of Covid, and will continue to do so until I retire in a few years. Despite being an avowed introvert, I do miss socializing. The main reason I went into the paid workforce after raising my kids, was to get some of my sharp edges rounded off.  I knew that being thrown in with random people would stretch me in ways necessary for my growth. It’s not as easy to justify communicating “go away”, “leave me alone,” because someone’s rubbing me the wrong way, when I’m being paid to show up.

Now that the most often I see people is via meetings online, I do get to feeling a little cooped up. To combat this, I sometimes go for a drive, grab something to eat and sit in my car, catching up on my favourite podcasts. (I mean, I do go (sparingly), to see real live people, too, but that’s not the point of this post.)

The last time I felt cooped up, I was on more than a mission to simply escape the four walls I’d been looking at for way too long. A recent prayer suggestion from my spiritual director, regarding a strained relationship, was waiting for my undivided attention.  Unexpectedly, another relationship had required such firm boundary setting that I was feeling bereft of emotional energy and that needed some reflection, too. What to do, what to do, echoed in my head about both situations.

After grabbing my meal, I went and parked in liquor store parking lot. In between mouthfuls of food I people watched. Trying, but knowing the futility of, to guess who was going right home to drink their purchase and who was replenishing their liquor cabinet, able to close that door without a second thought. It was not lost on me that I’d come to a liquor store parking lot to take a hard look at generational trauma that was impacting so much in my life. Nor that, at the end of that week, God willing, I’d be looking at 35 years of hard won sobriety. Generational alcoholism, generational trauma. Sitting under a lamp post’s light. 

It was here then, that I turned to a podcast episode, unaware that all that was swirling within me would converge within it. If you haven’t heard of Kate Bowler, please go take a listen to her podcast, read her books. The phrase in the accompanying photo could’ve been written by her. She is the best combination of wit, wisdom and grace plus hard earned, uninvited grit, that lets you know she’s been there

Earlier in the day I’d texted my therapist and, after explaining all that was happening, ended by saying, “what’s up with the universe? ”She replied, “isn’t the universe a hoot!”  No. “Definitely not.” She replied by sending me an emoji of an owl hooting, tiny owls flying across my screen with little hooting noises accompanying them into the ethers. Her levity collided with my angst, and I laughed wholeheartedly, despite myself. 

Right at the end of the episode with Elaine Pagels, Kate talks about how she’s learning something from Elaine about how love pulls us forward. As she says those words, my body is wracked with sobs and out of my mouth comes all the stuff that needs to be said. Sobs and words tumble out until I need to pull my oxygen hose away from my face lest snot plugs it up. Wailing, keening sounds I don’t recognize as my own, punctuate the air with my grief. 

Eventually I do the gasping short breath in - breath in exhale shudder that a two year does when they’re about cried out.  My shoulders relax. I grab a handful of tissues and wipe away snot from my face. I put my nasal cannulas back in my nose and take some deep breaths. 

I look up and take in my surroundings, grateful that I parked towards the back of the lot.  Grateful that no one pulled up beside me during my snot nosed prayer. Not a car in the lot except mine. For a moment I imagine what a fellow member of sobriety might have thought had they seen me wailing in a liquor store parking lot on the cusp of my sobriety birthday. Then I imagine what someone coming from the liquor store might have done. I picture them yanking open my door and offering me the contents of their brown paper bag. 

I would’ve told them that what I needed to drink in, was something not found in a store. I can only imagine their confusion had I told them I’d found it through a podcast. Hoot. Hoot. Hoot. 😉

~ Hope

Friday, April 07, 2023


“Do you feel like you’re prostituting yourself?”

Her words land like a thud in my chest. Tears pool at the corners of my eyes. 

I’ve been describing a work situation that has been niggling at me.  A man addressing me in a way that doesn’t sit quite right but I hadn’t been able to put into words why.

My shoulders droop with realization.  It’s such an old story in my life.  Attempting to keep men happy in order to feel safe from either very real or imagined threat. I’m transported back to a time when I was paid for sexual favours, within a situation where I was powerless. A time when I wondered where the hell were the adults and why wasn’t anyone rescuing me. 

My body screams at me to run from the room. Panic lodges itself in my chest and rises up my neck. I tell my therapist how hard it is to sit and not run. She encourages me to be an observer of the feelings. My body feels so out of sorts that I check my blood sugar mid appointment. It’s fine. Damn.  

The rescuing continues.

~ Hope  

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Be Here

Yesterday’s session with my therapist was a combination of truths being revealed and copious amounts of tears. Plus some swearing. 

Underneath it all was grief. Grief about what is and what was. Facing it.  Feeling it. It seemed easier when I was ignoring it. 

Next week, God willing, I’ll be celebrating 35 years of sobriety. The growing and changing never stops. Being here in this moment? Boy, that is not always fun. 

I’m grateful to be here to witness it, though. Being alive never gets old. Just hard some days.

~ Hope

Friday, March 03, 2023

One Life

Dearest One is a dreamer. It was the safe place he went when life got too much as a kid and is a place he continues to go. I’ve long been a realist, life too unpredictable and harsh in my beginnings. It makes for interesting conversations between us.  I’ve learned to not rain on his parade just because I can. He’s learned to face reality a bit more than he’d sometimes like. I think dreamers have more fun in life. I wish I was one sometimes.

At about year 35, following a night time chat about his dreams, shortly after I’d prayed to let go of the mess that our marriage was (he’d found an apartment but hadn’t moved out); a conversation where I kept checking in if I needed to say something as he talked (dreams usually cost $) I realized I’d been unnecessarily critical of Dearest One our entire marriage. It’s embarrassing to admit that until that moment I didn’t know that I’d never apologized to someone for the pain I’d caused them, for their sake. It had always been for mine. To make me feel better. When I saw the pain in his face the next afternoon, as I apologized for the hurt I had caused by my criticism, well, for the first time I felt his pain.

In fairy tales, and dreams, this is where people live happily ever after.  We did have a honeymoon type period of time afterward. It was a beautiful time of peace and settledness. And then the hard work began. 

Time since then hasn’t always been easy. It’s included a 24 hour period when he abruptly left. We both thought it was for good.  I realized in those 24 hours that I did indeed have dreams. To see them dashed was so devastating that I still can’t talk about it much. I’m not sure what I was reduced to when I begged him not to leave but it was demoralizing in every way. 

These days we’re continuing to move forward towards our dream of a future together in this one life we have. Sometimes it’s felt like wading through sludge, other times murky water and occasionally clear paths where we almost danced down the road. 

~ Hope 


Thursday, February 23, 2023


I watched a TikTok this week where someone was demonstrating how to tell what your default response was in a stressful situation. Flight, fight, freeze or fawn. You were to imagine you were in the room on the screen when the person in there got up and locked the door. What would you do? I felt my body shrink inward, trying to disappear into my recliner. At the same time I said out loud, “hide.”

I have therapy tomorrow. Hearing the truth isn’t necessarily getting easier in session but I’d like to think I engage more than I used to.  There’s no place to hide when I’m in session because my therapist can read me so well she knows what state I’m in at every moment.

I’m a very large woman. I think about how my tendency is to want to hide even as my body has grown larger over the years. 

~ Hope