Until we meet again

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heaven

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When I am overcome by sorrow and surrounded by an outpouring of emotion, the writer in me takes over and helps process the overwhelming feelings by using words.  I cannot express enough gratitude for those words at times when tears and despair are not adequate enough to describe the sadness of attending a funeral for a 30-year-old man who had been experiencing the best year of his life.

In the aftermath of a tragic event, two parents lost a son, a younger brother became an only son and my best friend lost her brother.  The news of his passing was felt in our small town like the shock waves recorded during an earthquake.  Everyone who knew Cam was rattled to their core.  The emotion was raw, the grief was all-encompassing and the anguish could have been described as physical pain.

We gathered in Toronto today to celebrate Cam’s life.  We shared tears, we shared many hugs and we all knew we had lost something special in our lives that we can never get back.  Cam was that guy that everyone loved to be around.  His smile will be forever etched in the memories of those who were fortunate enough to see it and his absence will never go unnoticed.

His funeral service today was a touching blend of spirituality and prayer, accented by a heaping dose of Cam’s sense of humor.  As the family left the service, the well-recognized Monty Python song “Always look on the bright side of life” played while we stood, waiting to join the family outside.

“Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.”  —Phillip Brooks

Cam truly was a man of character.  May you rest in peace, Cam.

 

It is called a ‘senseless tragedy’ for a reason

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There are several phrases in the English language that we utter fairly frequently without truly recognizing their meaning.  They are used commonly in conversation without true regard for the depth that these phrases can impart.  Today I felt the incredible intensity of one of those over-used expressions.

My best friend lost her brother in what can aptly be described as a senseless tragedy.  Nothing about his passing makes any sense whatsoever.  He was young.  He was paving his path to success and happiness.  He had faced his demons and won.  So why now?  Why would he be taken in such a random accident so long before what should have been his time?  Why are there no acceptable answers to these questions?

These accidents, these random moments in time that can alter the reality of so many, seem so absurd, so unfair.  I cannot write with the perspective I usually have because I am so broken by this senseless tragedy.  So many lives have been forever changed by the loss of his gregarious spirit.  So many futures will be altered by the lack of his presence.  There was absolutely no reason for this catastrophe.

The only thing I have to help me through this is my words.  My heavy heart aches for my best friend and her family.  I have suffered losses in my life, and one very recently, but none compare to the one that they are now faced with.  I can only hope that the embrace of loved ones and the sharing of memories can help alleviate some of their sorrow.  Rest in peace, Cameron.  You will be missed.

 

 

 

 

Two kisses

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In the wee hours of the morning,

her visits often happen then,

the charge in the air is palpable

and sleep is still in my head.

Her message hangs heavily in the air,

the words are always the same.

“Two kisses I will give you,

to help get you through your day.

 One kiss is to give you courage,

to help you save the world.

The other kiss is to help protect you

from the curve balls that life will hurl”.

Her words soothe me and give me peace

in the last moments of my sleep.

And on my cheeks, as I face the world,

two kisses I shall keep.

~~

This was the poem in my head at 4:00 am.  I will be forever grateful for those kisses.  I miss you mom.

(image credit: santabanta.com)

Helicopter parenting and stating the obvious

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Helicopter-Parenting

 

(image credit: teenlife.com)

I had a remarkable interaction with a parent of a teenager who will be ready to face the working world next summer.   This particular parent just happened upon our resort to scope out potential lodging to stay at next spring while his son pounded the pavement to find himself a job.  The most important part of that previous sentence are the words  “to find himself a job“.

Too often over the last few years I have had conversations with parents gushing about the talents of their children and why said child would be perfect for a job at our resort.  Never in those golden moments of being told how great “Johnny” was did I ever speak to “Johnny” himself.  It has become the norm for parents to act on behalf of their offspring in hopes of finding them gainful employment.  One of the most unfortunate parts of this new trend is that the child will never gain that self-confidence that you can only achieve by creating a resume, making that first phone call to ask about a job and securing a job with a face-to-face interview.

While it is regrettable, I am among many in the position of hiring students who inevitably put “Johnny’s” resume at the bottom of the pile.  What kind of employee will “Johnny” be if he is not eager and hungry enough to seek out and secure his own job?   These kids learn nothing about achieving goals if somebody else does the work.  They will never understand the concept that the world owes us nothing – that you have to work for what you get.  The blades of their helicopter parents are slicing away at their chance of being successful on their own merit.

Life is about disappointment, but still having that drive to succeed.  Life is about making mistakes but learning lessons from those mistakes.  If our future generations are to succeed, they need to learn how to try and, potentially, learn how to fail.  They need to fly on their own and crash a couple of times before they have clear skies.

Thank you to that incredible dad who was allowing his son to leave the nest and fly on his own.  Please send him our way.  I’d be happy to have a look at his resume and chat with “Johnny” for a while about a job for next summer.

Peace in pieces

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piece of my heart

Patiently I await a peace in my heart,

wanting to no longer feel bereft.

But sadly there is a piece of my heart,

you took with you when you left.

Stories I want to share with you

now fall on invisible ears.

The longing to hear your reaction

only reduces me to tears.

I know somehow you hear me,

you know exactly what I have to say.

And I know you well enough to know

you’re with me every step of the way.

My heart continues to beat as it should

but an echo can be heard from within.

Only the healing of time can restore my peace

and put back that piece that fits in.

~

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Back in the saddle

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Life happens.  It travels at a million miles per hour (unofficially clocked….we are awaiting confirmation) and it has a nasty habit of redefining our original trajectory.  I had been transported to an alternate dimension of my own reality but I finally figured out a way to get back to my blogging home.  I’m back in the saddle, baby!!

back-in-the-saddle

(image credit: godoreen.com)

I have to admit….getting back into the WordPress groove is making me feel good.  Just taking the time to read and comment makes me feel more like myself than I have felt in a while.  I have missed the witty banter.  I have missed all of your literary and poetic genius.  But most of all I have missed that feeling of community that I find when I participate.

I’m looking forward to catching up!!

Old habits die hard….or get hit by lightning

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Last night we had a pretty epic lightning storm.  It didn’t hit as close to home as the bolt that struck a tree at the resort in late June but the pyrotechnic show was phenomenal.

As kids during any great thunderstorm, my brother and I would turn our couch to face out the picture window to watch the display in the sky.  While I could count the high number of my friends who I knew were shuddering under their beds, my brother and I were face to face with the awesome display of nature and the power of a storm.

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(image credit: National Geographic)

Last night I felt just like that kid again.  I propped myself up on my couch, faced out the window with a glass of wine in my hand and watched in awe as arcs of light graced the sky.  And although my brother wasn’t on the same couch, he was watching the storm through a different window.  Some things will never change.

 

The good, the bad and the nails on the chalkboard

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As my friend The Hook can attest to, working in the hospitality industry produces great blog fodder.  That, and it provides limitless material for a comprehensive sociological study into human behavior.  My mother used to tell me it takes all kinds to make the world go ’round but I don’t think she knew the extent of all of the “kinds” when she issued that seemingly harmless statement in my teenage years.

When you work in the hotel and resort business, you become accustomed to adjusting to many sorts of personalities.  Some are completely harmonious with your current state of being and some are like the ‘Lee Press-On Nails’ to the serene chalkboard of your life – although they may look beautiful on the outside, there is a spine-chilling quality that is undetectable upon first impression but makes its presence known very quickly.

nails-chalkboard

 

(image credit)

After only a brief glimpse of elapsed time following the summer solstice, I have already had the pleasure of experiencing the opposite sides of that personality spectrum.  My heart has been warmed by familiar faces and genuinely caring hugs.  My face has been creased with new wrinkles from so many smiles and so much laughter and the pool of new connections has become much deeper.

But the harsher side of reality has also made its presence known to our unpretentious sanctuary .  It has hidden in a well-packed suitcase and freed itself to roam our pathways.  It has infected the minds of children and made them question things that should not concern a child.  It lurks in the corners and it has the potential to become those aggravating fake nails careening down a piece of porcelain enamel.

Regardless of which side of the spectrum I find myself, I continue to love my job because I love being around people.  It’s in my blood…it’s in my heart….and I can only go into work each day hoping that the good will always outweigh the bad.

 

 

Getting into trouble at school

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Last night was my nephew’s graduation from Grade 8.  Like every other family, we collected en masse in the auditorium and slowly felt the oxygen leaving the room as the number of attendees multiplied exponentially.  The ceremonies were late in getting started and after the first tapping of a finger on the microphone the noise of the audience was dulled and the festivities began.

The first thing that struck me about the celebration was the overwhelming difference from my grade 8 graduation to last night.  The girls looked like they were dressed for the red carpet and the boys were dressed to the nines.  Back in 19(illegible numbers) at my grade 8 grad, I recall wearing something that could have passed as a hand-me-down for Holly Hobby, minus the apron, and the boys wore jeans, running shoes, short-sleeved white dress shirts and clip-on ties.

The program for the evening kept to the letter of the printed description, minus the timing.  As speech tumbled into speech, I made the mistake of leaning over to my brother and whispering something about the extended ceremony and the fact that the grad class may miss their boat cruise after the graduation.  It was at that precise moment that my brother chose to whisper a response that not only shocked me, but made me start to giggle.  Now, when you are in the middle of an important rite of passage for a 14-year-old, giggling during the ceremony is frowned upon.

I did my utmost to stifle the laughter but that only made it worse and a small snort escaped.  This sent my brother into fits of silent, but convulsive laughter as well and we slowly lost control.  Tears streamed down our faces as we sought some sort of relief from our fits of hysterics but, every time we looked at each other, the inaudible giggles were compounded by more tears and several sideways glances from those sitting around us, including my sister-in-law.

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My younger nephew, who was sitting beside me, leaned over to quietly ask what was so funny.  I could only respond with a wave of my hand and more fits of silent laughter while trying to catch my breath.  Thankfully a somber moment in the ceremony grabbed our attention the restrained giggling came to an end.  I wiped the moisture from my cheeks and eyes and avoided looking in my brother’s general direction for the duration of the grad ceremony.

My nephew graduated with Honors and his class quickly exited the hallowed halls of their alma mater to board the steamship that was waiting for their arrival.  Like ants leaving a picnic, the cars sequentially left the parking lot and the evening came to an end.  I got in my car, a few chuckles escaping as I recalled the fun I had with my big brother, and heard the distinctly familiar ring of my cell phone.

My first words were, “I’m still laughing”, and I could hear that familiar sound on the other end of the phone.  We laughed again for another five minutes and I had to pull the car over because I couldn’t see well enough to drive!  That is certainly one graduation I will never forget – and when my younger nephew goes through the same ceremony, I’ll make sure my brother and I are not sitting beside each other!

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Father’s Day so far away

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This picture is my dad and I in 1970.  Seemingly, I was as stubborn then as I am now!  We were very similar creatures, my dad and I.  Although we would have some “heated discussions” during our ever evolving relationship, there was always love at the core of our bond.

My dad passed away in March of 2006 and I miss him every day.  I miss his silly sense of humor, I miss his charisma, his smile, and I miss knowing that he would be right there if I needed him.  This is a poem I wrote a few months after he passed.  He was a Councillor for our township and he was honored with a plaque that was place on a large rock in the local park and the planting of a tree.  Happy Father’s Day, dad.  We miss you.  xoxo    :)

~~

As Seasons Change

We give these gifts of nature in your name,

To forever keep you near.

To take root in a place you kept close to your heart,

And represent the things you hold dear.

Your rock will remind us to always be strong,

And to remain solid in the lives we love.

And follow in the examples you gave us in life,

As you look on us from above.

Your tree will remind us to accept the changes,

Of seasons that come and go.

As the tree becomes bare at times in our life,

New leaves will blossom in time to show.

That nature is beautiful and life has a season,

but all things do come to an end.

And with each change and leaf that is lost,

Family and friendships help mend.

Branches sway in the winds of time,

And your whispers will be heard in the breeze.

Your memory lives on in the nature around us,

The air, the rocks, the trees.