Dia De Los Muertos

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She reaches out to me from beyond the stars,

her energy refracts in the light.

A prism of colors dances in the air

and her presence warms the still night.

I enter the evening, void of emotion,

a hollow shell of what I had been.

But the bond that was created when she gave birth to me

seems to linger like it does in a dream.

A single flower I carry in my hand,

asking her spirit to Forget-Me-Not.

Feeling her embrace as the wind churns the leaves,

I feel transported from my steadfast spot.

She is happy now in her place of rest,

free to exist as she wants.

No longer burdened by the shackles of illness,

it is only peace and happiness she flaunts.

 My soul is warmed by her visit,

the binds on my heart are released.

She leaves me now but I know she will return,

her promise gives me a great sense of peace.

~~

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Written for the Grammar Ghoul Challenge #4:

to use the Word prompt:

Void (adjective):
Completely empty.

And to tie it in with this animated short video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCQnUuq-TEE&feature=player_embedded

As I watched the video, I knew this poem would be about my mom.

When someone says “get stuffed”, it’s not always a bad thing

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There’s a lot to be said for the joy the holidays bring – or any celebration, for that matter.  Whether it be a birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas or a reunion – the ease of the conversation, the steady flow of wine, the melodic sound of laughter and the joy of being with a close-knit group of people is unequalled.  There is an undefined comfort level that allows us to become absorbed in the festivities that surround us. The fact that we can gorge ourselves and have an excuse to eat everything in sight with only a few fleeting moments of guilt is sublime.

turkey

The molecules change in the room when family and friends get together for a holiday celebration.  There is something intrinsically sacred about holidays and the memories that are created within those moments. Time has a way of strategically obliterating those precious seconds as it marches on at a frantic pace, but our memories have a way of stopping that clock, if only for a few moments.

Holidays are a portal.  They can freeze time and create a vortex that allows us to travel back and relive certain periods in our lives.  The memories wrap themselves around us like a blanket and soothe us with the warmth of the times that engaged us and truly breathed life into our lives.

Although many holidays have passed and are collecting dust in the books of my hallowed history, watching my brother “float” his dinner in gravy brings back a rush of nostalgia, and that, to me, is what the holidays are truly about.  Personal moments that, to any other person would mean nothing but, to me, define my holiday experience.

Our Canadian Thanksgiving begins today and this evening I will spend time with family and friends enjoying a concert by Victoria Banks.  She is currently living in Nashville but is home for Thanksgiving weekend with her family.  The one glaring item that will be missing this Thanksgiving is my mom.  This weekend will be another “first” after her passing in March.  I know she will be with us in spirit tonight and especially during the making of my brother’s always spectacular turkey dinner.  Undoubtedly, she will be looking over his shoulder, whispering secrets into his ear, so he can make her stuffing just the way she used to.

Embrace your family, enjoy the moments and get stuffed with those memories.

Walls of emotion

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It is a very rare occurrence when my emotions take me by surprise.  I am usually fairly in tune with them.  But, tonight, driving past my mother’s old house, the same house I drive by every day on my way to work and again on my way home, the emotion stored within those walls hit me like a ton of bricks.   Tonight I glanced at the house, as I do every time I follow that familiar road, and I burst into tears.

I don’t know where the tidal pool of emotion came from but suddenly I was flooded with images of moments that became important memories in my life.  Christmases, birthdays, family gatherings and quiet nights spent as a family were at the forefront of my brain.  Lingering snapshots of magical kisses witnessed by only the walls upstairs slowly transformed themselves into moving pictures to replay the scene.  That house, the building others would only see as walls and a roof, was my home.  It was the vessel that helped create and store some of the most precious moments of my life.

house

And although there were many happy times, there were also moments of great sorrow.  Those walls echoed as I told my parents, hysterically through sobs, that my best friend had passed away in 2003.  That roof sheltered both my parents as they battled their illness and those walls protected them for as long as they could.  That structure that is a seemingly unnoticeable building to passers-by will forever have a large part of my history carved into its frame.

That architecture will always be a part of me.   Each time I drive by and take the time to trace the outlines of those walls there will always be an affinity to its design and purpose.  It is said that we need to let things go to be happier but I feel the need to embrace those things to stay connected.

(image credit)

 

 

 

Until we meet again

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heaven

 (image credit)

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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sunrise-18a

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)