Tag Archives: loss

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

Grief. Time doesn’t heal all wounds.

I’m not going to apologize for not writing as much as usual this week. Sometimes I need to take breaks. And other times, I just don’t feel like cooking. That’s what this week has been. But I have some ground beef defrosting in the fridge and perhaps I’ll make a meatloaf and share my recipe with you later today.

I think I just realized why I’ve been quieter this month and haven’t had too many things to say. With COVID, things have been tough as you all know and probably feel for yourselves. My dad is in stage five with Parkinsons and he’s in long-term care. Cases are on the rise and they’re talking about another lockdown. My dad barely survived the last one.

With Parkinsons, comes dementia. Dad had a hard time remembering what was going on from day to day. He went from seeing his kids almost daily between me and my sister. To not seeing anyone for months at all. The depression kicked in. He mostly slept and cried all day, everyday. We were told he was getting the help he needed but he wasn’t.

We’re looking at moving him into the next level of care but this process could take a long time. Up to a year. I’m hoping we can move him closer to my sister so I can visit them more too. They live in Sherwood Park. If that’s the case, then when I move in the spring, I might move closer that way. It makes more sense.

So, I’m really worried about an impending lockdown. Not seeing my dad for months on end nearly killed me too. I live alone. The isolation was damaging.

The other reason I’m not too talkative this week. I turned down a funeral through the church two weeks ago. I played for a funeral last Saturday. And there’s another funeral coming up this Saturday and our family knew the deceased.

Music is something I’ve done for most of my life. It used to bring me such joy. Now with COVID, all the fun parts are gone – seeing people, connecting, meeting new people. It’s not the same. And funerals in general are hard. They’re so hard since dad got sick. He’s my only parent left. I’ve lost all my grandparents – years ago.

I’ve even lost some old friends this year. And it sucks when you can’t even go to the funeral because, COVID.

And so, grief has taken form once again. But I wonder – does it ever really go away?

This morning my neighbour was up early at 6:30 am and woke me up out of a dead sleep. I banged on the wall and fell back into a restless sleep. I had nightmares about the house. Bad. Bad. Nightmares. They’re getting worse. And it’s not just me. My siblings – the women – are ALL having similar dreams. But this one – it was like a bad horror movie at the house and my dead mother was the guest star.

Maybe I need to take a break from horror movies. But it’s almost Halloween.

I just emailed the pastor. He offered to have someone else play for the Sunday All Saint’s service and I took him up on the offer. I can’t do a funeral AND a candle lighting service. My emotions are just wrecked.

I don’t think grief ever really leaves us. Especially when it’s someone like your parent or a loved one. I think some days just are just easier than others because you can keep busy and distracted. But every now and then a dream will happen, or a memory is triggered, and you’re right back to where you were when you first lost that person.

Grief. They say time can truly heal, but I think some hurts never really do.

Grief: if ye love me

In my line of volunteer work with the church, I’ve play music for a lot of funerals. And because I’ve been at the church as long as I have, I’ve come to know many of the church members and they have become an extended family.

I’ve never been a highly religious person. I’m obsessed with subjects that would be looked down upon in any church – magic, supernatural, divination, alternative healing methods. I was raised Catholic but never paid much attention to it.

The church for me, is about family, food, and learning about my heritage. It’s about making new friends. And it’s pretty much my social activity for the week other than seeing my dad. It’s something that is familiar and has been my home of nearly fifteen years.

Plus, I get to play music once a week. So, that’s a bonus.

A good friend of mine at the church lost her daughter last year and a grandson. We have bonded for years over Sunday morning coffee and chat about all things in life. There are six of us – regulars who are there almost every Sunday no matter what. Even mid winter snowstorms wouldn’t keep these folks away.

But as my friends reach the ages of 80 and even 92, like my beautiful red headed friend, I’m reminded of how precious life is and how short life can be.

After she lost her daughter she said one day on Facebook, and this sentence has really stuck with me since.

“Grief, is love. It really just has no place to go.”

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Everyone says that grief eventually fades over time. But I find the older I get, that’s a lie. The more time that goes on, I seem to miss my mother more than ever. There are definitely days that are harder than others. There are days when it feels like she is right next to me watching me while I work on some project or in the kitchen – which was her favorite place to be.

Sometimes, I hear her voice in my head and go to pick up the phone and call her. Then I remember she’s gone and so I call my dad instead.

It’s been five years almost – and I don’t think gets easier. I think it gets harder as time goes on.

Younger people must have a harder time with loss. Especially children. Over time, you forget what people look or sound like. Thank goodness there are pictures and now videos to remind us of our loved ones. But what about the people we lost before technology came along?

We had a video camera in the 90s which my mum used a lot. But she used it to take videos of family. The grandkids. My sister. She rarely appeared on camera.

And that got me thinking about me. That’s me. I’m usually the one behind the camera taking pictures and I’m fine with that. But then I realized one day – hey. I don’t have kids. I don’t have a family of my very own. I don’t have something to leave behind.

I don’t have an imprint to leave on this world like my mother did with her 5 children and 9 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. That’s a pretty impressive resume, don’t you think? For one person? Creating a legacy that big?

And so, that’s where the inspiration behind “In Her Eyes” came from. My latest album release. It’s a 7 track album with original piano music.

On days where it seems I’m drowning in sorrow or grief, I turn to music for comfort. I sit in quiet contemplation until I hear a song that is so upbeat it gets my toes tapping and I can’t help but smile.

But for moments like this in the morning. When the world is mostly quiet and I’m sitting down with my coffee, wondering what to write about. It’s those moments that I think of my mother. It’s those moments I turn to music to quiet the ever busy mind.

It’s those moments that I get lost in the sounds of violins, cellos, classical guitar, piano and elegant choir voices that sound like angels. It’s these moments that I realize that grief will eventually pass and lead to something — more.

Music is magical. Music has healing powers. Music speaks to the soul. Music – like this. Sacred music shakes you to the core and makes you think about everything you’ve ever done in your life.

This music doesn’t just speak to your soul. It comes from the inner soul. It comes from the heart. It’s the music of angels.

Sacred Music on Spotify