Thursday, October 24, 2019

And Still The Sun Rises

I'm still here. Haven't been able to gather my thoughts. Fighting fatigue that basically means I go to work and come home to spend the evening as a verifiable couch potato.

Doing hard work in therapy. Disassociated at work the day following a heavy duty appointment, after getting triggered by some coworkers vile joking conversation. I then accidentally slipped off the curb while walking to my car and banged into a vehicle with my hip and less than 15 minutes later got two of my fingers slammed in my car door. Still not sure if one of them is broken. With the help of my therapist I was able to ground myself enough to function for the rest of the day. Spent the weekend in my nightgown resting and giving myself permission to accomplish nothing of the get up and go variety of tasks. I need more of that.

Sunday, September 01, 2019


I had great plans for this long weekend.

Last week was my busiest week of work for the entire year. Getting through it without being wound up tight was a blessing. I am grateful to find that my mood is better than it's ever been. I wake up in the morning and the thought of going to work doesn't feel depressing.

My fatigue though. Oh boy. I told my doctor this week that it sucked driving to work and feeling like it's the end of the day and time for bed. So far this weekend I've mostly slept.  I wonder why we, or should I say, I, don't count sleeping as being productive. And why does productivity rate so high anyway?

It's too bad one can't get paid for reading and sleeping. I'd make a fortune.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Cry, Cry and Then Cry Some More

How can it be that I find less time to write here now that there isn't a baby in the house?

About ten days ago we helped our son gather his belongings and move back in with his wife. Sweet baby rode with us in our vehicle and I cherished every moment. He was asleep in his dad's arms when we went to leave and as much as I'd told myself I wasn't going to cry until we were in the car, the tears were falling before we even said goodbye. I continued to cry as we drove away and then for a distance down the road.

After we left sweet baby we drove another three hours to see our two granddaughters. It was good to be among giggles and playing and the reading of books. They are dancing sparks of joy in my mind and in person and I can't help but smile when I think of them. I so often wish they lived closer.

The next morning Dearest One and I and a psychotherapist spent that day and the next one exploring and making connections between deep childhood wounds and current relationship patterns of behaviour. If there was a hare in the picture up there I would have to say we made progress somewhere in between the speed of a turtle and a hare.

I must have felt safe because I have never cried so much in two days in my life. Nor had anyone heard before what I call my 'keening cry'; the one that combines the ugly cry with primal pain.

I had told my regular therapist I wouldn't text her while on the weekend but she reassured me it was okay. I tried not to swear in the psychotherapist's office but I found myself whispering, fuck when the following three statements were made. I texted the first one to my therapist followed by the words 'fucking yay.'

Protection and connection are incompatible.
Requests and expectations are incompatible.
Reactivity and curiousity cannot coexist.

Because of the hard and exhausting work we did over that weekend, the emotional charge I've had in one of my most challenging familial relationships lessened to the point that I can't find it. I don't know if that person senses it or not but Dearest One thinks they do. Understanding why, where and how that relationship felt like such a threat and the ensuing conversation and tears was healing. I've done work in therapy here to help lessen the charge, and was on my way, but the work I did and the insight gained melted away so much displaced energy.

Normally I an super wary of things like that happening. Worried that I have instead stuffed my feelings because I found them so unacceptable on some level. But the change feels authentic and I am now able to set boundaries without the accompanying underlying smoldering anger. It was time and money well spent with the kind of changes that happened despite ourselves. Don't get me wrong. We did deep preparatory work and we couldn't have prepared for the insight and ensuing changes that took place.

We drove 8 hours home to an empty house. We had to put the last of our two pugs down a few months ago and so for the first time in 30 continuous years of having dogs, there was no dog to greet our return. Combine that with months of having a baby in the house and the initial quiet was jarring. We are grateful to be just the two of us again and we miss the baby. There really is nothing better than a baby recognizing you first thing in the morning and smiling all the way up to his eyes at you, bedhead and all.

I was cleaning up the living room on Saturday and came across two tiny squeaky toys that belong to sweet baby. Then a soother and a tiny pair of socks. I put them on the table and took a photo of all things baby then sent it to his parents. Then I sat there and cried.

Thankfully sweet baby and his parents are coming for a visit this week. I'm sure there will be tears all over again but some of them will be the happy kind.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Entirely Possible

Our infant grandson came home last night after being gone close to three weeks. Those weeks make such a difference in the life of a baby's development. He didn't recognize his Papa because his Papa went from full whiskers to clean shaven during that time but he had many full face, eyes smiling looks as I held him. Eventually he came around and fell asleep in his Papa's arms. A baby is good therapy.

It looks like he will be going to live with both his parents on a permanent basis soon. I will miss him dearly. I have worked hard in therapy to come to some kind of peace with it all. One that I believe would be totally different if the genders were switched. I don't think many people would be supporting a woman headed back into the situation even with the changes that have taken place. But then again that is only my opinion. I would be far more comfortable telling my daughter how I felt than my son, which either speaks to the differences in my relationship with them, or societal expectations. I don't know which.

I've set my boundaries. Made clear what would make me phone authorities to step in if necessary. I somehow found the grace to be kind and loving while doing so. Who knew I was capable of that after months of sheer anger about my lack of control? Somewhere along the way my anger has diminished and I've gained some acceptance of what I can't control.

Yesterday in therapy my therapist said many hard truths to me. She said them in a kind and loving way and I was able to hear her. I'm getting better at accepting hard truths when it comes to myself. I like to dish them out to other people but not so much when it comes to me. I think most people are that way.

I better get off the computer. Somewhere in my wisdom I made a physio appointment for seven o'clock in the morning. I've been awake since 3 AM. It's going to be a long day.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Leveling Up

Isn't that what they call it when you are playing some kind of video game and you're going to the next level? I have no idea. My gaming ideas run to the likes of playing Sudoku on my phone. So there you go.

We've been away camping for ten days so far. Tonight we came home to do laundry after stopping on our way for an enjoyable evening socializing with friends. The kind of people you can be yourself with. The world needs more of that.

Tomorrow we'll head back to the campground for the rest of the week. Birds singing in the early morning. Deer and their young walking outside the camper window. Walking barefoot through mud puddles. A sibling quartet of squirrels running hither and yon. Sitting around a campfire. Playing cribbage. Sleeping. So much sleeping. I wish sleep helped weariness of heart.

I saved this photo as I was scrolling on social media because I'm in a place of hanging onto so much shit that is not serving me or my relationships very well. And I'm inching closer to letting it go. My therapist sent me some homework earlier this month and as I looked it over I thought to myself, "Oh, fuck." I told her that despite my plethora of "oh, fucks" that I recognized the work as the next step in my healing. In response she said, "I continue to be impressed with your ability to have a natural emotional reaction, settle yourself a bit, dust yourself off a bit and then say "OK - Next" 

Here's to letting go of shit.
Here's to leveling up. 
Whatever that means. 

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Questions For My Therapist

I feel like I'm in some kind of emotional boot camp these past few days. Every day, sometimes multiple times a day, I type things on my phone to ask my therapist:

I'm the only one in the family who feels duped. The rest are able to not make it about themselves and simply support the person in getting well.

Why does it seem like I'm the only one still angry?
The only one still on alert?

Why do I need acknowledgement?
Why do I need to be right?

How can I get the "I'm a bad person" narrative out of my head?

I'm realizing I'm making life all about me. Worrying so much that I'll be alone or not liked or not good enough or abandoned. And I don't think there's enough attention that could be paid to me by anyone that would fill that void. Now what?

I feel like my anger was suspended over the weekend. I couldn't make myself go there but I'm aware that the anger isn't gone.

So I really want to be in control of it all. Want it to go my way so that I can feel safe. And if it was like that I would alienate everyone who matters to me. I can see it's futile to want this anymore. And I can see it in a way that feels like acceptance. And all I want to do is cry. Because it feels scary and I feel raw. So raw. Like I'm stepping out of a cocoon. I know it's where my freedom lies.  I know it. I don't know how to get there.

I've been so proud of having an edge to my personality. That edge is not serving me anymore.

You know how I said at my first appointment that my goal was to be able to sit with my back to the door in a restaurant? I changed it. My goal is to learn to feel compassion for myself.

Saturday, June 29, 2019


It is late and everyone else is asleep. My brain is still busy and because, last night sleep was elusive, I best just type away until I can settle.

The last few days I have majored in the brain part of the photo. Fixated on my screw ups. Unable to see the good. So many tears, harsh words, exhaustion.

As a result I'm not liking myself very much. I have many notes made on my phone for when I see my therapist next week. They all boil down to why am I acting, thinking, believing this way? Ways that I was sure were behind me a long time ago.

Dearest One and I have joked lately that the epitaphs on our gravestones may include something akin to cancel all future appointments with our therapist. We are sure we will be needing to see her until then. We are funding her retirement, which we don't want to hasten. We are grateful that we have the means to see her. To get help. To continue to grow, change and face whatever is in front of us even though I definitely feel like I am a two year old having a temper tantrum lately.

I detest not getting my way.

A conversation yesterday left me wondering about that. About the rest of the people in my world not seeing things the way I do. You know, the right way. But yesterday something shifted just a titch. Enough that I am more open than I was before that shift. I don't know what to do with it, yet. Part of me feels like I am giving up something I should hang on to. Part of me feels like if I don't budge I am going to be very lonely.  I'm glad there is a safe place and person to sort this all out with.

Look at that. I can write a whole post without swearing.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Letting Go

The meme that is attached to this post? I would've chucked it at you yesterday, were that possible. But today I felt desperate for some kind of relief from the stress. Sitting in my car after I was done my work day, I sent Only Daughter an SOS text and asked her to pray for wisdom for me.

I'd gone online and it seemed every little cutesy post was speaking directly to me. When I read this one it hit me between the eyes. It's one thing to want to let all the extra stress, worrying and overthinking go. It's another thing to do it. The best I could do was want to want to do it.

After I talked to Only Daughter I drove to my physiotherapy appointment. I don't have the run of the mill physio person. I don't know how to describe what she does. She scans one's body and has the ability to pinpoint what needs work. Places that might be holding emotional tension. One always has the option to tell her areas that are bothersome and she does work on those, too. Today I was back with a nagging knee pain. Last time I saw her she dry needled my hamstring and that gave me instant relief in my knee. Today I was back with knee pain, lesser, but still there.

On the way to her office tears were so close to the surface. I far prefer to cry in the privacy of my own home. My emotions were so raw today that I couldn't swallow them. As the physio assistant took me back to one of those curtained off areas, where beds are separated by a hospital like curtain I just couldn't face being seen. I asked for the private room, telling her that I was really teary and wanted to be treated there. She was gracious in granting me the choice.

When the physiotherapist came in I told her how I was feeling. She had me stand and scanned my body, then she directed me to the table where she prodded behind my knee. Agonizing pain. She started to do her mojo and the tears just rolled down my face. Not from physical pain. She knows the details of the stress I have been carrying around. As the tears continued to fall the muscles, tendons, ligaments, whatever lurks behind my knee, released.

As they did she told me that I didn't need to solve all the problems in my life at once. That it is okay to take a manageable chunk and deal with that. I started to sob. Ugly cry. She came to where she could see me and told me to go do something for myself after my appointment. To stop thinking I needed to do everything for everyone else and do something I needed to do for me. She then took a blanket and wrapped me up tight, akin to being swaddled. With that she was out the door on to her next client. I stayed and cried and looked inward to see what I needed. I'm not good at knowing what I need. But I waited and into my head popped the following: I need to be honest. Be honest with those I am feeling in turmoil about. Not from my go to place of anger but from a place of vulnerability.

Don't you just love when the answer comes and it's the least likely thing you would have chosen if you were in charge of the universe? But I recognized the truth of it.

And I did as I felt I needed to do. Two of three conversations took place today. Copious amounts of  tears and snot were expelled. I can be vulnerable. I can. One of those people was vulnerable back and they hate showing their tears as much as I do.

I can do hard things. Hard things can lead to good things. Beautiful things. Hopeful things. More than muscles, tendons and ligaments were released today. Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Most of my coworkers are on their last few days of work this week for the summer. I've yet to find out how many vacation days I have to use but I am hoping we can make most of the days we have booked to go camping mid July. I am looking forward to having time with Dearest One. No animals to look after. Or people either, for that matter. Sitting around a campfire, lazy mornings, playing cribbage, reading to my heart's content, walks around the campground. Doing nothing or something. My choice. I look forward to it all.

But I have to say I am some sort of funk. It feels like I've stepped 50 yards backwards yet my therapist assures me I have simply punched through another layer of stuff to sort through. She implied this was just the beginning of the layers yet to be uncovered. Yep, you heard me right when I said, "Fucking yay."

Ultimately it's about not being in control. I thought I had some sort of grip on that. Nope. Or should I say I thought I I had less of a grip on the need to be in control. Turns out I'm hanging on tight to things going the way I want them to or think they should go. I know the answer is in surrender. I could spout every saying, platitude, rah-rah cheerleader kind of thing about freedom being in surrender. There are times when those words are of no interest to me. This is one of those times.

I can hear my long ago friend saying, "Shit or get off the pot."

That little note up there? It's perfect for where I find myself these days.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Not Alone

I don't know how other people process stuff that is going on in their lives. I can't imagine carrying it around in my head and leaving it there to fester or disappear or be forgotten. It's enough that I have to remind myself on a regular basis to relax my shoulders from being up around my ears. If I couldn't write down the stuff that causes my shoulders to rise, I can only imagine the smidgen of space there'd be left between the two by now.

I saw my therapist on Friday. The need to write shit down since then has felt akin to needing a drink of water in the desert. Holding a cooing and smiley baby and spending time with Twinkly Eyed Grandson has occupied me in the meantime.

So today, I'm writing this all down for me. Take it with a grain of salt. I can't make this shit up. I don't know how it works. Maybe I just have a vivid imagination. In any case....

There's a situation in my life that is causing me untold anxiety. Anger. The feeling of wanting to put my fingers in my ears and sing, "La,,la...I can't hear you." But it's not going away any time soon, if ever. Fun times. I've learned enough from therapy to know that my wanting this situation to disappear guarantees it will be around a long time. I haven't gotten to the place of embracing it yet. Not sure I even want to. But I need to find some kind of peace or else the irritable, grumpy, agitated person I have been lately will only get worse.

I am not used to being this way anymore and I am causing damage by letting it gain such a foothold. So much fun. Sigh. You know when you want to get it right but on your own terms? Have fun with that. Or you want to get it right but the painful path through it seems insurmountable. Yet at the end of the day you know you're going to try anyway because you've yet to shy away from Doing.The.Fucking.Hard.Work.Of.Healing.

So that situation is causing a ripple effect in other relationships. It culminated in my telling my therapist the other day that I didn't even know what the point of trying anymore was. Well, fuck. Wrong thing to say within earshot of my therapist that's for sure.

She wondered what age I was when that attitude first showed up in my life. The No point in trying. Might as well give up. So we wandered around inside a bit and into my mind came my 14 year old self. I don't know if it's a blessing or a curse to have these earlier versions of myself show up so vividly in my brain but there she was. Sitting in a dark hallway, hooded jacket pulled up over her head, cross legged with her arms crossed tightly, head down. I knew her well. I felt her pain.

I whispered out loud, "Scared." The next feeling that came was as familiar as my own skin. "Alone."

Tears and then sobs. So alone. Tears and tears and tears. Whispering scary things out loud, "If I don't keep trying I will be all alone."  Sobs. I want to curl up in a ball. My therapist asks, "What does your 14 year old self need?..... A hug?" Fuck, no. We wait while I try to figure out what I need. Didn't she know that my 14 year old self had given up on having needs long ago? There was no one to meet them.

"I need someone to sit beside me." My 57 year old self sat herself down in the dark with my 14 year old self. My therapist came and sat beside me. We three sat in a row in silence.

We gave thanks for the feisty-ness that my 14 year old self needed. We invited her to bring that along into today but that the other coping mechanisms were no longer needed. My 14 year old self punched people who pissed her off. She swore so much. She had an invisible suit of armor that was made of the strongest steel.

No wonder she felt alone.

My therapist walked me through situations in my life today and how to take a look to see which age was showing up to the conversation. Was it my 14 year old self or my 57 year old self?

I have hope that I can learn to respond in the here and now with my here and now abilities. I don't have to continue to view the world through that scared and alone 14 year old self. It feels like there is a mountain yet to climb. But I am not alone. Not anymore.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Taking Time

Two half days of work and it's Friday. Nice. That picture? Hard pill to swallow. My trauma got triggered earlier this week and I was not nice about it. Nastiest I've been in years.

I'll readily extend the grace of saying change takes time to other people and even believe it. I tend to have higher standards for myself. Impossible to meet standards which I sometimes wonder if that isn't a bit of ego mixed in with all the rest. The challenge of being okay with simply being human continues.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

How Far

I return to work in a week from today. I wrote that sentence nearly a week ago. That tells you what life has been like lately.

I return to work the day after tomorrow. This morning I am exhausted after a busy day yesterday spent on my feet. So today is a rest day and a therapy day.

I returned to work yesterday. See how the week has gone?
Therapy was hard. Really hard.
But I survived it and the hard work is worth it. But it's not always fun. Ha. Actually my therapist has been reminding me that I sent her a meme that said it wasn't fun but that we'd be screwed without it. That is so true.

My first day of work I deleted over 1600 emails from my inbox. I wish I could say I was excited or even glad to be back at work but that's not the truth. I'm feeling mentally ready to tackle the challenges that come with my job. I have found my voice and will need to use it to advocate for either a less demanding work load, as I'm not willing to do the work of 2 people, or for my timelines to be less rigid. They hired two people to do my work while I was gone. That should tell them something? I hope.

And tomorrow is Friday and I work only half a day. I have to keep track of what day of the week it is now. I can see that when retirement comes my way I will enjoy it immensely. Until then I will keep putting one foot in front of the other and remember how far I have come.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Poop, Puke and Play

Things you (re)learn with a baby in the house:
  • you will never regret time spent holding them. Ever.
  • when they start to make those cooing noises? Love.
  • their smiles will melt your heart. Many times over.
  • when they start to cry with tears it will break your heart.
  • your own deep breathing practice will calm them down, too.
  • sleep is a gift. I'm not doing nights with the baby anymore but sleep still feels like a gift.
  • grateful for hand me downs otherwise you'd go broke buying all those cute baby outfits you see.
  • smelling a baby's head is still the best thing ever.
  • smelling their formula fed poops ain't. It helps to be out of the line of fire when changing a diaper because there's such a thing as projectile poop. Who knew?
  • Singing Pat a Cake, Pat a Cake, Baker's Man is still fun. So is Itsy Bitsy Spider. I smile even if the baby doesn't. 

I went looking for baby memes. Most of them are directed at moms and the ones for dads mostly take a stab at how much a dad doesn't do with their baby. The situation in our home isn't ideal. But it is our reality. Our son is doing a darn good job being a dad under less than ideal, and unplanned for, circumstances. 

We haven't spent this much time with a baby since this son was a baby. Dearest One commented the other day that this is the most time he's spent with any baby, ever. His schedule is much more flexible at the moment and he does the occasional night shift with the baby so he is getting more baby snuggles than he's ever had. Years ago my counselor spoke about how her husband didn't grasp until he was a grandparent how much work parenting is. I think Dearest One would agree. 

Here's to a new month. A new week. A new day. The sun is shining. Life is good.

Friday, May 24, 2019

It's Going To Be Fun

Friday. The end of a busy week although weekends haven't meant much to me since I've been off work. Right now there is an 8 week old baby sleeping on my office rug as I type this. I wish I could post a photo so you could see his sweetness.

I sent the saying on this graphic to my therapist today. She gave me work to do at my last session that I have yet to do. I spent most of the session telling her 'this is hard, but I can do it'.

I want to do it and I want to run the other way from doing it. It's a week until my next session. We'll see how long it takes me to do the work. The plan is for tomorrow. Wish me luck. She also told me I sent her a fuck you vibe the whole session. Funny what one will fork over money to do. Sigh.

Every single step I have taken in the direction of my healing and growth has been worth it in the end. Even on the days when it is so uncomfortable that I squirm. I sometimes think of myself as an unruly two year old who needs her face washed and is wrestling her face out of the reach of the one trying to help her. It takes a while for me to hold still and welcome help.

That little baby sleeping on the rug is one reason I persevere in healing. I am so grateful for all the goodness we can affirm in him because we have learned to affirm it in ourselves. No matter how messy and seemingly unbearable life gets, it is good. Holding a baby reminds me of that daily.

But I do sometimes wish the getting there was easier instead of feeling like I'm going to die trying.

I have a speeding ticket notice sitting on my desk. It's not due to be paid for a month so it will sit there until then. If I am late in paying it, it will be equal to the amount of one therapy session.

Obviously I must've been in a hurry to get somewhere that day, but I can assure you that it wasn't in the directions of personal growth.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Nice Things

I sent this meme to my therapist the other day. She works hard at helping me re-frame things. At helping me see where I'm doing things well. I can tell you in a millisecond how I'm screwing up. That takes no effort at all. But, in reality, I'm no different than anyone else. A mixture of attitudes and actions that, in the end, mean I am human. Simply human. Not super human. And not a villain, either.

I'm headed back to work in a few weeks. I would never have predicted I'd be off work for 8 months when I walked out of there last October. I thought six weeks was being generous in time off to get my shit together. That's what I thought my goal should be. Somewhere along the lines of get a grip.

If only healing was that easy. Give oneself a pep talk and all will be well. Akin to rubbing a genie's lamp and getting your wish granted. Instead it's more like signing up for a roller coaster ride and hanging on for dear life with all the twists and turns, mountain tops and valleys. Such fun.

When I was a teenager I went on a student exchange to the other side of the country.  One day we boarded a boat to go to an amusement park that was situated on an island. Among all the typical rides there was a gigantic roller coaster. I remember going on the ride that left one pressed up against a wall while they dropped the floor out while the centrifugal force kept you up against the wall. On another one we were in a cage that rolled over and over while at the same time we went up and around like a Ferris wheel.  My friend and I swore our way up and over so loudly that they let us off after one trip around the wheel. We went on the log ride through the water. I liked that one.

The roller coaster at that park was renowned enough that it made headlines that week when it malfunctioned and some people were hurt. Back in those days long distance phone calls were a luxury that only happened after six o'clock at night. My mom phoned to make sure I hadn't been on the roller coaster.

I told her that while I went on rides that took my breath away, I did not get on the roller coaster of a lifetime. I saved that for now.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Space to Grow

Monday morning. I got up and went swimming. I haven't had a regular swimming practice in seven months. It feels good to begin doing things that were a regular part of my life pre flashback.

As I was driving home from the pool this morning I was thinking about how I didn't do any housework for 8 weeks post flashback. How I kept looking around my house and not caring one whit about doing anything, really. I read a lot of books. I crocheted until my wrist was sore. I slept.

My physiotherapist told me that I was being given a gift of rest. That I was not to spend my time off caring about picking up the socks from the floor. I was not to see my time off as a time for getting things done. It was a time to heal.

When a person feels lost it's hard to fathom caring about anything ever again. It feels like a slow motion one foot in front of the other journey with barely the strength to lift one's foot.

There truly isn't a short cut to get to a better place. I'm grateful for medication that has helped me function again. I'm waking up feeling hopeful. I'm grateful to have had the time to heal.

One time when I was visiting my physiotherapist, after I'd had a misstep and fallen down in our entry way, when I somehow managed not to hurt myself even though I landed with a loud thud and whacked my head, she looked at me and said, "You're not fragile."

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Hard Days

Today has been a hard day. I need to type a little before I go to sleep. So that I can sleep.

A friend and I went to the hospital today and delivered thank you cards to those who cared for our mutual friend who died from cancer nearly 4 weeks ago. I hadn't been back there since the last time I sat with my friend. I think I was on auto pilot a little bit, today. There are many moments when I can't wrap my head around the fact that she is gone. I sat and watched as people got dropped off outside the front doors of the hospital. I sat where I normally sat to wait for my friend. It was a beautifully sunshiny day and we would have gone outside after her treatment and enjoyed the sun. I miss her.

I had my own appointments to attend and those went well. Skirted around needing oxygen although that brings me mixed feelings. I would love to feel rested and I think oxygen would help me with that. I am just a few numbers above the cut off line to qualify for government funded at home oxygen. On the other hand I am not tied to a machine and hoses 24/7. Some days I admit to being weary of feeling weary.

I went from the hospital directly to the vet's office where we sent our little dog over the rainbow bridge. For the first time in 30 years we have no dog to call our own. It's just sad. And empty. Well, except for youngest son's Doberman and Great Dane. One of them likes to crawl into bed and sleep at my feet. The other one likes to think he's a lap dog. A 130+ lb. lap dog. They fill the void but they aren't our own.

Our youngest son and his newborn son are living with us. We are getting lots of baby snuggles and those are healing. It's a complicated situation that has the baby's mom largely out of the picture. Situations that are bittersweet circumvent normal celebrations that a new born baby brings. It's hard.

Our older son was diagnosed with cancer in March. He is in between his first and second rounds of chemo. I think he can check off experiencing nearly every side effect of chemo. The other night I watched as he held his head in his hands and let the tears flow for a little bit. I felt my own tears rise to the surface and I swallowed them. You so want to make it all better for your kids no matter what their age. And you can't. You try and do what you can to ease the load knowing full well that there is a place in a cancer journey that is solo and belongs only to the patient. The one that goes on in their head when the world is asleep. Please pray.

Earlier this week I listened to two different people share their journey with me as they walk the road of recovery from addiction. Doing my best to hold space for them to gain greater self awareness and drop the heavy load of self judgement that can weigh one down. For one of those people I sat in the same group treatment room at the rehab I went to all those years ago. Wanting recovery takes courage, honesty and willingness along with a dose of desperation. It is a privilege to walk with others on this path.

It's way past my bedtime, now. I had a friend who used to say, when times were hard, that she was grateful for a night between two days. Tonight, so am I.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Blankets of Grace

Our little corner of the world has been turned upside down of late. We have a newborn baby in our house and we are sleep deprived. 

We have the most giving and kind friends who are bringing food and offering to spend time getting baby snuggles. To be able to take a casserole out of the freezer is wonderful. To put one's head on a pillow and sleep without needing to have an ear out for baby noise is, too. 

Every person who has offered to help I have said yes to. That is a new thing for me. I need help. I know it. I accept it. It feels so much better than trying to be self sufficient with no needs. I've spent far too many years dragging my childhood survival thinking into the here and now; that having no needs keeps one safe. If you only knew how many times I remind myself these days that I am safe. I have a voice. I know how to use it. I am okay.

I have had limited contact with many of my friends, especially in the time I have been off work. There hasn't been the interest or energy for interaction on my part. Depression will do that. I've wondered, and sometimes worried, if that would affect my relationships negatively, believing you have to give in order to get. Wow. I didn't even know I believed that until it popped out onto the keyboard just now. 

It turns out that friendship doesn't always work like that. People have come out of the woodwork to help us. At least that's what it's felt like. Grace upon grace. 

I've spent the winter crocheting baby blankets. A simple pattern that looks beautiful when it's done. One I can do without thinking. Working back and forth, row after row, until something beautiful has been created under my fingertips. Last week one of them was auctioned off for a community fundraiser.

This week one of them cradles my newborn grandson. Another comforts the granddaughter of my friend. Yesterday was three weeks since she passed away. 

No matter how tired one is, if you're lucky, the morning does indeed come. 

And somehow one finds the strength and grace to get up and do what needs to be done. 

With a little help from one's friends. 

Monday, April 29, 2019


There's been too much going on and not enough energy to write about it. I actually spent a bit of time just now looking for a meme about fatigue because I woke up from a nap just as tired as when I went to sleep. Anyway, I decided to look for something else instead. That hug is for me. And others in my life who need it, including you.

I miss this space. I miss writing to process what is going on. I will return again once there's some spare energy.

Fatigue sucks.
Baby snuggles rock.
Friends are priceless.
Death is sobering.
Meal delivery is a godsend.
Therapists are, too.
Prayer helps.
So do hugs.

Friday, April 19, 2019


The service for my friend was this week. A group of us traveled to the foothills of the Rockies to say goodbye to her. I have never cried so much at a funeral.

I let my hurting heart overflow with tears streaming down my face. I had nanoseconds of feelings self conscious but just that, nanoseconds. I told my therapist I've cried more over the death of my friend than any other death I've experienced and she told me it was because I wasn't stuffing my feelings down anymore. A sign of healing.

My mother in law also passed away this week. I have not spent much time with her for years but once she went to the hospital in the first week of March we spent many hours together and then more once she was in hospice. It reminded me all over again why I loved her and gave me new appreciation for who she is as a person. She often had this lovely habit of cupping your face in one of her hands when she greeted you if she hadn't seen you in a long time. She knew how to love well.

At the funeral of my friend, as I went down the receiving line of her siblings and children, meeting many of them for the first time, I came to her son. Her heart broken son. I spontaneously cupped his face in one of my hands as I spoke to him. He has the loveliest gentle soul of a countenance. I will see him again.

There were two of us who journeyed with our friend through her walk with cancer. We knew each other before but had never spent time together outside church events. I cried to her on the way home about how would we see each other now without our shared walk with our friend. She reached over and gripped my hand as my tears fell.

Yesterday there was a knock on my door. I opened it to see her standing there still as could be. She said, "I missed you." I welcomed her in and cried as I told Dearest One about our earlier conversation. She came with an invitation to join a small group of women weekly who get together to support each other in this journey we call life. So I will see her regularly again and it is a joy to think of this.

I hope that journeying with my friend who passed away has taught me that we are all so wounded and if those wounds were visible it would be a kinder world out there. Let it begin with me.

Saturday, April 13, 2019


My friend, who I have been accompanying to cancer treatments, passed away this morning. The photo is the last thing she posted on her social media account a few days ago.

I'll just leave it here in her memory. She had the best laugh. She kept a gratitude journal right through her journey with cancer.

She so much wanted to live. I am feeling gutted.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


Watching someone in labour is holy.
Watching your son hold his son for the first time is cry worthy.
Baby snuggles are therapeutic.
You can't take too many photos.
Night shift with a baby is precious.
You forget what sleep deprivation feels like.
Until you don't.
A good meal can restore one's hope.
So can a good sleep.
Hearing a 5 year old make up a song to soothe his newborn cousin and then say, 'that's a love song for babies' makes one's heart grow bigger.

Watching someone confront their biggest fear is holy.
Watching them cry gut wrenching tears makes one cry.
Hugs are therapeutic.
Photos become memories.
Night shift can hold many things.
It can make one tired in body and soul.
A good sleep can't fix a tired soul.
Cooking and baking,
Creating something in the midst of great pain gives a glimmer of hope.
Finding compassion where there used to be none makes one's heart grow bigger.

The journey is worth it.

Thursday, March 28, 2019


I'm just plain tired today. This week has zapped my energy. I woke up with no reserves left so I'm doing my best to put self care front and center today.

Two of us waited together while our friend got fluid drained from her abdomen yesterday. We cried. Then we cried some more with our friend when she was done. We have no crystal ball but we sense that time is short. It was hard.

I spent the evening with my mother in law last night. She is a bit confused but her long term memory is good. I don't waste energy correcting her in times such as when she introduces me as her sister in law. We visit and have long silences. I am grateful to have cultivated the patience for silence. I don't have to fill empty space.

She has no idea that her time is short. She muses aloud for where she might go live next. She asks my opinion on how to cover her bald head when she goes to church. I don't bother telling her that there will be no more trips to her church where church rules insist that she cover her head. She worries that the flowers on her little cap will be seen as too much by some people. She told me that some of the people she worships with, the ones who think they will be the only ones in heaven, are stupid. I never know what's going to come out of her mouth.

I tiptoed out of her room once she had been asleep for a while. Mercifully she stayed sleeping. Earlier this week, when I was trying to leave while she slept, she woke up and called my name. I went back and she told me to say hello to Dearest One and my children from her. There is a propriety that is lovely in her generation. Manners. My mother on her death bed thanked her sister for coming to visit.

I am (perhaps too much so) a stickler when it comes to my grandchildren learning manners. They have no idea it's because I struggle to remember to use those basic social niceties. I've tended to bark orders and be demanding. That has softened with age and healing, really. But I still have to work at it.

Years ago, when my children were small, my brother in law was staying with us for a while. I came downstairs to the breakfast table and starting barking out something or other to one of my kids. He took a sip of his coffee, put down his cup and said to me, "Good morning to you, too."

Today I am grateful for being given enough days to grow and change. And tonight I will definitely be grateful for my bed.

Monday, March 25, 2019


What a grueling weekend. So much travel compressed in what felt like, a short amount of time. One of Dearest One and my favourite things to do together is go on a road trip so that part was lovely. We talked deep things. We belly laughed. There were tears. Sad about the death that happened. Sad about my mother in law and her health. Inside her nearly 90 year old body she is that little girl over there jumping rope.

This morning I will go sit with her. She was moved unexpectedly to hospice over the weekend. I suspect that the hospital needed her bed just as she desperately needed a bed after spending 3 nights in ER. She is waiting to hear about the funeral of her son in law and so we will chat and I will ask her for memories to be written down on special cards I brought home from the funeral for that purpose. In speaking with my sister in law she is very much looking forward to reading these memories of her husband.

My sister in law and I held hands across the lunch table with our arms outstretched towards one another for a good while. It was the closest we were going to get to a hug due to space limitations and the situation. We then had a conversation while mostly oblivious to people around us. We were interrupted several times and I watched her face as people squeezed in between chairs to get to her in order to offer condolences. I watched as she dealt with the onslaught of well meaning and good hearted people. It looked exhausting.

We are blessed with oodles of nieces and nephews and it worked out that we sat among some of them at the post service meal. Mostly we encourage them in their parenting. That they are likely doing better than they give themselves credit for. I often share the story of a friend telling me, when I was the parent of young children, that there is no A given in parenting, only E for effort. At the time I desperately wanted an A and felt I was getting an F. So many parents do.

This generation is more relaxed than the one Dearest One grew up in. He was raised in an ultra conservative religion where you can be in a congregation numbering in the hundreds and never hear a peep out of an infant or a child. We talked with a niece and her husband yesterday about the kind of parenting that matters so much more than if your two year old can sit quietly in church. We listened to their struggles. We did our best to make inner space to hear what was on their heart. I'd like to think we connected.

And so here it is Monday morning. A full week ahead. My heart hurting for my sick friend who was in such pain and despair last night that, had it not been pitch black and her home over 2 hours away, I would've gotten in my car to go to her. We were both crying miles apart. I was scared she wouldn't be here this morning.

This week has some heavy stuff in it. I hope for the grace to walk lightly.