Month: December 2015

My Christmas Wish For You

My little ones aren’t so little this year. We didn’t go see Santa or write him letters. We aren’t setting out cookies for him either. We aren’t waiting until they’re in bed to put their stockings under the tree.   We don’t have as much under the tree since my business still isn’t as busy as it was when I was in Montreal. Also, the children are older, so the things they like are pricier. Our tree looks a tad barren.  Ho hum…
For gosh knows why, there’s no snow on the ground this Christmas Eve. As much as I detest winter and snow…Christmas isn’t the same without that cold white stuff.
There’s been a lot of sad moments this year. Maybe it’s because as I get older, so do my friends and family and well…. we know what that means.  It’s hard to smile when there’s an empty spot in your home, and an aching space in your heart.
Plus some crappy stuff. My van died, so my travel is limited and no new vehicle on the horizon any time soon.  Bah humbug…
HOWEVER despite all of this, what we don’t have or who isn’t here, we WILL Celebrate what is wonderful about Christmas.
What is wonderful about this Christmas Season is that I am fortunate to have a home provided by a loving and hard-working husband. I have two extraordinary daughters who I am exceptionally proud of. I have furbabies that love me with bedhead and morning breath as much as they love me when I have cookies in my hands. I have friends that care about my wellbeing. I have made new friends this year. I have a GREAT career and work for a fabulous company. I have wonderfully talented and inspiring peers and industry mentors that push me forward and support my goals. I have quit smoking and it’s 8mths now and in spite of the hardships, I’m still not smoking. There’s a turkey in the fridge that will go into the oven tomorrow and our pal Uncle Bill aka our vet will join us for Christmas. I have clients that are caring and appreciative of me who generously gifted me with some yummies.
The list goes on.
So while my life is not perfect, and perhaps I’m not exactly where I want to be at this moment in time; I am where I need to be. I’m happy, healthy, and loved.
With that said, my Christmas Wish for all of you is that no matter what life has thrown your way, please find YOUR happiness that’s within your reach. Look around you. See how very fortunate you truly are, and take joy in that. Write a list of all that is wonderful in your life. All that is GOOD. No matter how small it might be, it DOES make a difference and it DOES MATTER. Then go to sleep tonight with a smile on your face and dream of what a wonderful life you really truly have. Yes, we all have misfortune. There has to be ‘some’. Without one, there can’t be the other. So to appreciate the joy, there must be sadness. The greater the sadness, the greater the joy. It’s a balance.
The trick is to accept the sadness as part of the journey and to focus on the joys.
Embrace the joys. It makes it all worth it.
I love you all and wish all of you a Merry Christmas
xoxoxoxo
PS: This started as a Facebook status, but as usual… I rambled hahahaha
 2015-12-24 22.12.02

 

Life gets in the way of living

I read a quote online.

“Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, sometimes it’s overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”

They forgot to mention that it also feels like you’re drowning. It is a suffocating pain. It steals your breath, burns your throat, and constricts like steel bands around your chest until there’s no air to be had. Grief will steal all sensible thought from your mind, until you are simultaneously an emotional geyser, yet numb at the same time. It shreds you. It shreds you from the inside out until you’re nothing but a raw mess.

A friend once told me “Life gets in the way of living” and I’ve repeated that many times since. It’s true. But never more so than it is today.  Today, which began as an unremarkable morning, will be a date that is forever burnt on all of our hearts. December 17th, the day that life got in the way of living.

Pat was a natural nurturer. As far as I know, she always has been. She did choose a life-long career as a Nurse after all. She also spent much of her free time playing in the kitchen, cooking and baking up a storm for everyone. Heck, I’ve known her over 35yrs, and she’s never been anything BUT nurturing. She nurtured everyone. While doing a great job of raising her own four kids, she even took on strays. Everyone was welcome in her home, any time, to stay as long as they needed. Some needed only a few moments of her time. Some needed hours. Some needed a few months or more. She was always there, always available.

Don’t kid yourself. She didn’t molly-coddle. She balanced nurturing with discipline, and honesty. Straight up, I have been on the receiving end and have been personally chastised with “don’t be stupid!” and “you dummy!”. The very same woman has also said to me “I’m so very proud of you!”.

When I was a kid, she was just my friend’s Mom. She was there to put band-aids on scraped knees, serve lemonade on sunny days, and yell at us if we got too rowdy (which, I honestly don’t recall much yelling. I think she rather liked the noise of kids playing LOL).

I could list all the moments where she’s been a part of my life. It’s a long list. However, the moments themselves aren’t important. That she was THERE for those moments, and a part of my life is what is important.

That’s it. She was there. Always there. Always available. No matter what was asked of her, or when. Without quibble or fuss, or complaint, or any fanfare. She was there. She wanted to be there. For the tears and the smiles.  All of it.  A part of it. Giving all she had, silently and without asking anything for herself in return. There was no scorecard. Often, she was there without being asked. Where and when she was needed, you could count on her. If didn’t matter if you drifted apart for awhile, because she would just pick up where things left off without missing a beat.  Then at the end of it, she’d envelop you in a great squishing hug of comfort or joy depending on the occasion. She would wipe our tears, and laugh with great guffaws at our silliness.

Somehow, as time passed, she stopped being my friend’s Mom. She became my 2nd Mom, and an additional Grandparent to my children who call her Auntie Pat.  And somewhere in the middle of that, she became MY friend. I can’t put my finger on when that happened. It just was. I’m thankful for it.  I do remember a moment when I realized it.  She was talking about her birthday party, and telling someone who she wanted to invite.  She said “Victoria”.  They asked her “Victoria? Really?”  Pat replied “Yes, she’s my friend”. I remember how I felt when she told me that story. That feeling is right here with me now.

When we moved to Ontario 2yrs ago, 1.5hrs away from our home, that didn’t change things. We still saw her lovely face every 2wks. Every 2wks she would show up on our doorstep, with grocery bags of left-overs from her kitchen. Because, as she said, what was she to do with all those leftovers? She didn’t know how to cook ‘small’. Often she’d have extra little things for the kids, and she’d include home-made jams, pickles and sauces of all kinds. Or she’d been on a shopping trip out of town and she’d grab one of my favorites, particularly British types of food that remind me of my own Nana who hailed from England just like Pat. Even if she had heard me say it before, she’d listen to me reminisce all over again about my Nana. Just smiling and nodding, while she unpacked the goodies. We’d do her nails while chattering away about our families, life, politics, what did the girls do in school, what mischief were the dogs up to, was hubby enjoying the last batch of tabloid magazines? We’d have dinner together sometimes.  She frequently insisted on treating us and wouldn’t budge when we wanted to treat her.  You don’t argue with Pat.  As much as she’s my friend, she still scares the crap outta me. I know when I’ve met my match. Then she’d trundle off in her car with a bag of empty Tupperware, likely already planning the next bag she’d pack for us.  That was her way of taking care of us, of nurturing us. She did it all, with a great big smile, a squishee hug and an emphatic kiss.  She never asked for anything for herself. Not once. Not ever.

Pat was finally getting her dream kitchen. Her kitchen was being refinished and she was so very excited about it. She was anxious and impatient.  She talked about it for months. Oh, the great things that she was planning. The wonders she intended to create in that new kitchen.  She was concerned it wouldn’t be ready in time for her to do Christmas dinner and she was annoyed that she wouldn’t get her Christmas baking done on time. When she was here last week, she was expressing her concerns and telling me that she’d finish up her baking after Christmas and bring us our basket then. (Which usually means we get lots more than most because we get all the left-overs). She was looking forward to her new kitchen. I was so happy for her. This was FOR HER. Something for her alone.

Then,… life got in the way of living…. I think that’s what happened. She’s always so busy fussing and taking care of everyone else and busy with “life”, that she doesn’t stop to take care of herself.  So, “life” got in the way of living.

I had to break the news to my girls this afternoon. One of the harder things I’ve had to do as a parent  I had a few hours to think on it. As I suspected, my eldest took it the hardest. So I did the only thing I knew of. That Pat had done for me when I was grieving over a miscarriage. I cuddled with her. We went and lay down under a blanket and cuddled. We cried and cuddled and then I told her what I know to be true. “Auntie Pat would want you to be happy. She doesn’t want to see you sad. She loves you and is so very proud of you. She would want you to go on living your life to the fullest”.

I expect that right about now, wherever she’s at, she’s raising hell. I’m sure she’s giving someone grief for daring to interrupt her when she has things to do, and people to take care of, and Christmas dinner to cook, and cookies to bake. I guarantee that someone is trying to hide while she rants in anger that her new kitchen is waiting for her.   Last but not least of all this, I’ll bet my bottom dollar that she is beside herself because all of her loved ones are crying and she’s not here to wipe their tears away and give them great big squishing hugs.

I don’t feel sorry for whomever she’s yelling at. They’ve got it coming and Pat’s always fair.

I literally have visions in my mind of this.  Short little Pat utterly irate, and some poor fellow’s trying to dodge her words that are like bullets. I won’t lie. I sat laughing at these visions in my head.  We all know it.  While Pat is a beautifully indomitable woman and we don’t want to be on the receiving end, it’s sure as heck funny to watch someone else get it.

Forever gone from our arms and home, always with us in heart and soul.

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My beautiful, indomitable Pat. With me always & forever. Aug 2nd 1946 to Dec 17th 2015