Tag Archives: family

One year closer to 50

It’s Saturday morning and I’ve just sat down for my first cup of coffee for the day. The sky is clear outside and the sun is shining. It’s early for me, I woke up out of a deep sleep around 7:30 am and decided to get up for the day.

Yesterday was my birthday and it was pretty low key. I was overly emotional and I don’t know why. I think part of it is what’s going on in Europe. My family is from Europe and so, it’s hitting pretty hard. It brings up a lot of feelings about why my family moved to Canada. I wrote about it yesterday and then deleted it because it’s not my story to share.

I decided to say “screw it” for eating healthy for the weekend. I deserved a treat. I ordered a small grocery order in from Walmart and bought a small black forest cake. It’s a cake that we used to eat often at family dinners.

I lazed around all day, did some writing and then headed to my dad’s at six pm. We had a nice visit. His memory goes in and out. Towards the end of the visit he asked me what day it was. “Is it the 25th today?” he asked me. I nodded, and had already told him it was my birthday. “Your sister told me it was the 25th. Happy birthday.” And that made me tear up.

It was close to 8:30 by the time I got home but I wanted to wait until he fell asleep. I told him I loved him, over and over again so he would remember. At one point he said, “Thanks, I needed that.” They lost his hearing aids, so I don’t know how much he got out of the conversation. But he knew he missed me. I couldn’t get to him for two weeks because of my knee.

I ordered in some McD’s, which of course, made me feel sick after. Had a piece of cake. Responded to a slew of texts and messages on Facebook. This time I just did a generic message because I’ve been feeling pretty down. The cake was delicious. I’m going to have another piece. It’s a tiny personal cake which is just fine for one person.

Being single means buying your own food and cake. This was the first time I had done something like that, and it felt good. I’m 45 now, I can do whatever the fuck I want to do.

As for disability benefits, I had a follow up call on Thursday with my case manager. The good thing is she realizes the gravity of my illness. She said we’ll see how your appointment goes. If you eventually can get to a place where you can return to work, or if it comes down to improving quality of life, we can help you with that too. I admitted to her that it was more about quality of life. I’ve given up the notion of finding any employer who would hire me given my absence history. I can’t go back to government work. Nor do I want to.

And so, this birthday, felt a little heavier. I’m missing my mother terribly. I’m missing my dad. He’s still here, but it’s not him anymore. And for the first time last night in a long time, I questioned my decision about living alone and staying single. Sometimes I just miss having someone to talk to everyday.

So, here’s to me. At 45. One year closer to 50.


In loving memory (grief)

Yesterday, I got the bright idea to start writing a short e-book. I wrote about 4,000 words before taking a break for lunch. I came back and started writing again last night around 10 pm. Before I knew it, I had written 7,300 words and it was 1:30 in the morning!

Writing is something that has always been enjoyable to me. I think that comes from reading a lot as a kid. I read thousands of books by the time I turned eighteen and then quit reading for many years out of boredom. Now that I’m getting back into reading, I feel the writer’s bug coming out in me. A lot of that is thanks to my mother.

Before my mother died, we had a conversation about writing books. She had wanted to write a book so badly. But her health took a turn for the worse, and she lived with a terminal illness for years. She wrote daily in her journals. We still find lists tucked into books even now, eight years after her death. I should have helped her write her story down. I feel so guilty about it now.

I wasn’t going to write about my mother today here – because to be honest, I didn’t really think about what day it was. But here we are. Eight years after we said goodbye to my mother.

It’s funny. Why did I get the strong urge to write last night and start a new book? It’s been on my mind for a long time. The last book I wrote was in 2019 called Dream Speak. And the first book, was a short story on my mother’s death called When I Get to Heaven.

That book is so personal to me even now. I remember crying when I finished it. In a way, writing was cathartic for me. I felt sad, that she was gone. But the anger finally washed away with the tears. I had held onto that anger for far too long.

My new book that I’m writing is about my dreams and nightmares. It’s called Dream Walkers, and I’m dedicating it to my mother. She was a force of nature. She was strong willed, determined, and nothing could stop her once she set her mind to it. I think in a lot of ways, I’m like my mother. I get told I look like her all the time. But I also have her stubbornness and the ability to hold grudges. I’m getting better at that though as I age.

Back in 2017, I had a dream about my mother. She used to visit me often in dreams. I believe that our loved ones can come to us while we sleep and we can have full conversations with them. Sometimes the dreams feel so real. I hug her and hold her. I can still smell her perfume.

In this dream, I walked into our beloved family home of 50 years that we sold a couple of years ago. Mum was in the kitchen at the sink. Getting supper ready. I was surprised to hear someone in the kitchen as my dad wasn’t well and couldn’t get food ready.

“Hello? Who’s up there?” I asked as I kicked my boots off and closed the front door.

I remember my hands were shaking as I walked up the stairs and held onto the railing so hard, that my knuckles turned white. I could hear her voice coming from the kitchen. She was humming off-key as she often did.

“You’re here! I have been waiting for you forever!” she exclaimed with a big smile on her face.

“Mum? Is that you?” I said questioning her presence. I had been tricked before in my dreams thinking that my mother had found her way to me, but it wasn’t her. It was always something else.

“It’s me silly!” she said.

She rushed over to me and wrapped her arms around me. She felt warm and I squeezed her right back, smelling the shampoo in her hair and Obsession perfume. She was wearing her favorite polka-dot dress with heels. Her hair was like it was back in the 80’s in an up-do. And more importantly, she was healthy. The oxygen mask was gone and she was moving around freely without pain.

“I have so much to show you! I’ve been so busy, can’t you see? Look at all of this!” she said as she waved her hand towards the table. I turned around and let out a gasp. The table was filled with notes, books, and journals.

“I’ve been busy! Writing non-stop!” she continued.

“Mum, where have you been? I’ve looked for you. I’ve called out to you. I’ve missed you so much,” I said as I grabbed her hand and held it tight. There were tears in my eyes. “I have so much to tell you too.”

“I’ve been here all along, just waiting for you and your dad to come home,” she said. “But look, this is for you. Take what you need out of it. Keep it close. And remember, I love you.”

“What do I do with this all?” I said as I dropped her hand and flipped through one of the books. It was an old book, bound with black leather and the pages were worn.

“Write. Just write. Tell them your story,” she said.

I looked up at her and tears were streaming down my face.

“I don’t understand mum. What do you mean?”

I looked back down at the books and looked back up at my mum…only, she wasn’t there anymore. She was gone. Before I woke up, I could hear her voice from far away…

“Just remember I’m always here with you. I love you.”

Instead of feeling sad when I woke up that morning, I felt warmth around. Comforted. The dream felt so real to me. All the dreams I had of her before that turned into nightmares that left me with feelings of guilt and depression. But after this dream, things turned around. I felt lighter. I could feel her around me.

Today, many years later, she feels so far away from me now. But I often hear her voice in my head – guiding me. Comforting me. She’s nagging me right now and telling me to keep writing and tell my stories.

And so mum, this next chapter, I dedicate to you. I’m here because of you. And all the goods parts of me, I know I got from you and dad too.

I miss you so much. And I hope when it’s time for me to go, that you’re the one who comes to collect me to take me home again.

I love you.

(Also… if you want to read the ebook – head over to my shop page…it felt wrong to advertise here.)

author unknown

Happy Thanksgiving from me to you

This morning I woke up feeling a little sad and lonely. Being single and living on my own is fine for the most part. But it’s holiday time – Thanksgiving and Christmas that I start missing my family. Especially my mum.

Mum would always get up really early on Thanksgiving day. By 9:00 in the morning, the kitchen would be filled with delicious aromas of turkey and onions for the stuffing. The turkey would be in the oven for 10:00 am. It was always a big bird – to feed an army. Which at twenty people, we almost were army sized.

I’m missing my mum so much this year. Especially with dad in the home. We can’t bust him out. I saw him yesterday and the visit was a disaster as he was not having a great day. They are serving a turkey dinner but it’s just not the same without him. My sister will see him Tuesday. It’s just hard being away from parents this time of year. I tried booking a visit to see him. I really did. What else can you do? I called him this morning to wish him a Happy Thanksgiving and said I’d see him soon and that I loved him.

I was sitting in my recliner, sipping my morning coffee and surfing youtube videos on how to cook chicken perfectly, when I got an invite from my brother in law for dinner. We’re a small group. The four of them plus me. This falls within the rules of family gatherings during COVID.

“It’s nothing special, just ham, sweet potatoes, broccoli. We’ll even pick you up.”

He had me at ham. I was sold.

The rest of the family are all doing their own thing. And that’s okay. We don’t need to get together all the time. As long as everyone is safe, healthy and happy. I just wish my dad could be with us. It feels wrong without him.

And so… my plans for cooking a magical Thanksgiving feast for one, will have to wait until tomorrow. I do have a package of chicken breasts I need to cook up so I will do that for lunch. I’m also going to make another apple crumble for dessert tonight.

I love my family. I’m missing my beautiful mum and her pies this year. I wish just once – I could see her one more time hovering over the kitchen counter with her rolling pin and high heels because she was short. Just once I wish I could hear her laugh and sing along to Bing Crosby and Dean Martin as she baked a million pies and desserts for the family.

Just once… I wish I could see her smile again and hold her tight and tell her I love her. But at least I won’t be alone this weekend. And for that, I’m ever so grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving. Stay safe and healthy wherever you are in the world.

Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist on Pexels.com

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Advice from my grandmother 3: marriage

Advice from her school teacher Mr. Sandbaek, early 1920’s, Denmark.

Most happy is the one in a happy marriage.

Second most happy is the single person, who lives for a cause.

The less happy is the one once married, but lost the loved one.

But least happy, is the one in a bad marriage.

Another citation from Mr. Sandbaek, 1920’s, Denmark

Look at the woman,

She is always in love,

Only the object of her love changes.

Advice from my grandmother 
Advice from my grandmother 2

Advice from my grandmother 2: glitter and pearls

Come my little one, and now, we fast to school will go,

To sing, read, write,

Then we will all be plucky and clever boys and girls.

Oh, how great they will be.

Karen Jensen, My Journey, author unknown

Photo by Andreas Wohlfahrt on Pexels.com

If you have a Mother humming, while she struggled,

Every day would seem glorified.

A brave Mother who carried her burden with a smile,

Gave bread to her sole and lovely food to her body.

If you follow in her footsteps,

Then thank your mother.

Svend Rehling

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Glitter and pearls, is mixed here on earth,

Leave the glitter, but thread to pearls on a string.

Karen Jensen, My Journey, author unkown

Advice from my grandmother.

Empty. White. Pages.

Write, write, you beautiful life.

Write, write, whatever you please.

I offer myself.

For the heavy, the happy,

Except for the empty, white, pages.

Karen Jensen, My Journey. Translated from Danish by Birgit & Lissi (the aunts).

What is joy?

There are stubbles and rocks on our road.

There is hardship for you and for me.

But what is joy?

If you never know how to cry.

Kristian Estergaard, excerpt from My Journey, Karen Jensen.

A Danish Blessing

Min fodstvan er lyngens brune land,
Min barndoms soi har smilt paa morken hede,
Min spaede fod har trudt det gule sand,
Blandt sort hoje bor min ungdoms glaede.
—In deep gratitude.

Steensens , excerpt from My Journey, Karen Jensen.