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.

~

(image credit)

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!!

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(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.

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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.

A celebration of a life

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Yesterday was a beautiful day.  The sun was shining as a light breeze tickled the newly formed Spring leaves and collectively we gathered to share stories and memories of my mother.  The service was just as she would have wanted.  There were funny recollections, there were heart-warming memories and 18 butterflies took flight as we all remembered her kind spirit and loving heart.

The tablecloths were a lovely shade of pink, arrangements of brilliantly colored flowers were on each table and the atmosphere was anything but morose.  It truly was a celebration of life.

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My mom did not want a somber occasion to be the last tribute to her life.  She didn’t want those she knew crying because she was gone but, instead, she wanted people to remember all of the good moments they had with her when they were in her presence.  And that is exactly is what we did.

There was no rushed planning of funeral arrangements and hastily written eulogies.  We allowed ourselves time to grieve in our own way and spent two months putting a great deal of effort into a truly personal send-off, one my mom would have loved.  Sure, there were tears, but the majority of the time was spent sharing happy stories of a woman who genuinely affected people in such a positive way.  We were able to overcome the initial raw pain of loss and gave ourselves permission to really enjoy the memories and pay tribute to her in a way that she deserved.

Mere words can only scratch the surface of how many lives my mother touched with her smile, her generosity and her love.  She will be missed every day but her memory will live on in each of the smiles of those who take time to remember her.

Today, the loss is so much more real because now there is no distraction to take away from the reality that she is gone.  We must now hold dear to the multitude of moments she left an imprint on our hearts and use those moments to heal the scars created on our hearts when she left.

 

 

 

A little music was all it took

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I have been purposely not posting over the last few days because, as I look back, my last few posts encompass the overwhelming, undulating emotions one goes through after a loss.  Although it has been slightly cathartic, it also made me realize I need to snap out of this feeling of wallowing and focus on all of the positive feelings I experience when thinking about my mom.

Last  night was a very healing night for me.  While working on the scrapbook and decorations for  her celebration I began to make a playlist of many of her favorite songs to listen to during the reception after the service.  That music took me on a journey I never anticipated and I got to experience my relationship with my mom all over again.

The road trip of memories lay stretched before me and I hit the gas, negotiating the turns and rolling into my early youth.  Music was always playing in our house and, as I recalled the many nights of games and puzzles as a family, the sounds of the 70′s classics drifted back into my mind.  I could see and smell the old family cottage in my memory as if I had just walked through the door.  The strains of music lifted my spirits and helped me float back to a place I hold so dear.

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This song is just one of many.

I made a brief stop in my young adult life, remembering how I used to sing the songs from Annie ad nauseam and my mom never tired of listening.  I secretly wished I had red, curly hair and freckles and I’m sure my mom knew that about me but the songs, to her, sounded just as sweet coming from a child with brown hair and green eyes.

We grew together through music and, although my mom admittedly had trouble carrying a tune, we shared a love of old musicals.  The clock raced forward and those old musicals would come back, time and time again, to play an important part in our relationship.  After my dad passed, my Christmas Eve was spent with my mom watching The Sound of Music, every year.

Those songs last night, those happy memories hidden within those soundtrack scores, were all I needed to be lifted above the fog that has been weighing so heavily on my heart.  A few well placed notes on a page and suddenly I feel like it’s okay to be happy when I think about her.  I don’t have to be sad all the time, nor would she want me to be, and that is the message she sent to me through song.

I’ll never stop being sad, but those precious moments of being able to smile again are worth every tear I’ve shed.

 (image credit)

 

 

 

Another hurdle, a few more kleenex

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I knew today would be rough, another hurdle to overcome in a long list of firsts since losing my mom.  I spent some fun time with family last night having some good laughs, which was great.  After a fantastic dinner and jokes that only my family would appreciate, I got in the car to head home.  A dear friend had sent me a text message letting me know she was thinking about me and how much of a difficult time I would have today and the first tear came with many to follow.  I’m pretty sure what I experienced Oprah refers to as “the ugly cry”.

I vowed today would be better…and it was.  I made a point of keeping myself occupied by working on the scrapbook and some decorations I am putting together for mom’s upcoming celebration of life.  Sure, there have been a few random tears that have escaped during the afternoon but most of the day has been spent remembering her in a way she would want me to – with a smile and affection that has no boundaries.

These are some of the ways I have honored my mom today in her absence on this first mother’s day without her.  I miss you every day.

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Hoo’s there?

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I feel his stare before I am aware of  his presence.

If I had to, I could answer my own question.

I know why he suddenly appears.

My dad said he would always be with me.

The owl only proves his promise.

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~~

Written for the Gargleblaster #160.

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We’re turning to The Carpenters for this week’s ultimate question. This song has been stuck in my head since the gargleblaster started.

Why do birds suddenly appear?

Give us your answer in 42 words. We know you all know the next line in the song. Let’s see if you can make us think of something different. Take it out of context of the original song and help me clear my head!