One more orbit for this girl

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I “borrowed” much of this post from last year on this very day because new words would not come today.

Today is an important day in my life…..today I am acutely aware of the number of years I have been on this ever revolving planet.  A birthday is not a number to me but a moment to celebrate the day I entered this life. (and it’s 45, but I still feel 29 so that counts, right?…..right?)

Today, however, is a difficult birthday.  This is my first birthday in 45 years that my mom hasn’t been the first one to call me in the early hours of the day with birthday wishes.  I did awake at 12:11 this morning and could have sworn I saw my mom and dad standing side by side.  No words were spoken but I guess they were the first to wish me happy birthday in their own way.

I celebrate with many people, some I know well, some I’ve never met, but there is one important celebration that mirrors mine – my Winnie The Pooh.  My mom created a stuffed version of the beloved character for me when I turned one and, to this day, I still have that somewhat tattered foam-filled creature.  McCall’s created a Disney series of patterns in the 1960’s that she duplicated for my brother for his first birthday and again, almost four years later, for my birthday.

He has seen his share of joys and tragedies.  He has undergone facial reconstruction and some botched plastic surgery (thanks to an over-excitable Labrador Retriever that belonged to a roommate) but he still never fails to hang in there to share year after year with me. He and I have weathered many successes and many ominous periods together, but he still remains the same source of comfort he has always been.

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Although it may seem somewhat childish to hang onto a toy that I have long outgrown, Winnie still holds an immeasurable value in my life. He represents a part of my childhood that I hold dear and he continues to represent the faith that I hold in my friendships.  He and I may not be able to communicate on the level that is deemed normal for friends but I still feel comfortable confiding in him, knowing that he will always be there to listen when I need him.

He has been a valuable part of my grieving process over the last three weeks and has found his way back into that comfortable position, tucked into the crook of my arm while I sleep.

Happy birthday Winnie…..may we continue on our journey and have a very long life together!!

Woke Up This Morning – 100-Word Song

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Butterflyinthesky1

Woke up this morning,

and, as always, you were my waking thought.

The tears came before I even knew they were coming

and I silently wept.

I’ve missed you every day since you left.

I reach for the phone to call,

but I know you won’t be there to answer.

Woke up this morning,

with a need to hear your voice.

You must have heard my call,

your laughter now echoes in the back of my mind.

The dull ache in my heart is slowly waning,

replaced by the joy in my memories of you.

Tears cleanse the open wound.

~~

Written for the 100-Word Song challenge at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.  The song choice is Woke up This Morning by Alabama 3.  I was missing my mom a lot this morning so I apologize for the heaviness in this one.

Night breezes seem to whisper

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Dreams

(image credit: panktimehta.blogspot.com)

I have always been fortunate when it comes to dreaming. Not only do I have very vivid dreams splashed with a vast array of colors but I also retain most of my dreams in my waking moments.  Last night was no exception to those rules.

Last night I dreamed of my mom.  It is not the first time she has been in my dreams since she passed a couple of weeks ago but this dream was the first time that she was the main character in the night-time production of my subconscious.  During the wee hours of my REM sleep we were able to have a conversation.

In the bizarre circumstances of my dream she had already passed away but when I was the only other person in the room she would become magically reanimated and we would talk at great length.  When others entered the room she remained still, not a word escaped from her lips.  When I awoke this morning, rather than feeling perplexed I felt deeply comforted and peaceful.  I don’t recall many of the words she uttered to me in my sleep but I do feel a great sense of warmth and a feeling of relief that she is content on the other side.  She no longer carries the chains of the physical limitations she endured with her illness and, finally, she truly feels fine.

Have you ever received messages in your dreams?

 

 

Last Trifecta

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A chorus of silent voices,

joining in harmony around the globe.

Embracing passion,

creating relationships,

making friends.

We placed a bet on the Trifecta,

wagered everything we had.

We all came in first.

trifecta

~~

(image credit: trifectawritingchallenge.com)

Written for the last ever Trifecta challenge – 33 words of our own choosing.  It saddens me that the doors to the Trifecta lounge will be closing but I am thankful for the friends I have made in that lounge.  Thank you to the creators of Trifecta for giving us the opportunity to hone our skills and choose our words wisely.  And thank you for creating a community that will live on in our newly developed friendships.

There’s nothing wrong with asking to see the wrapper

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I have been very nostalgic since my mom’s passing but thankfully the stories that keep flooding my brain are stories that, many years later, made us laugh hysterically.  This is one of those stories.  I had posted this earlier in my blogging days but wanted to share the memory again.  I’ll be putting another pin in my brother’s voodoo doll later!

~~~

I still recall the most minor of details that day and I was all of five years old.  Oakville was a seemingly small city in 1974 and the streets were safe enough that my brother and I could walk ourselves to and from school without parental supervision.  The late afternoon air was crisp, the sun filtered through the autumn leaves and reflected jagged pieces of warm light onto the lawns and sidewalks.  School had been fun that day and I was anxious to regale my brother with tales of arts and crafts and have him dispel the myth of why some kids eat paste.  He was nine – he would surely be more privy to that information than a mere five-year old girl.

The two of us began our journey home and as I skipped along beside him I expounded about my day.  I had become quite ensconced in my own story and somewhere along the way I realized he was not beside me any longer.  I slowed my pace and heard him behind me, fiddling with a wrapper on what I had assumed was a stashed piece of candy from my beloved Shoreline Variety Store.  The sound of the wrapper immediately piqued my attention and halted the story I had become so engrossed in telling.

oh henry

I turned to find him holding out a piece of candy and remember thinking how generous it was for him to share.  It was surely a treat that would have been frowned on by my parents so close to dinner but that made it all the more intriguing.  I gladly took the candy and, as I began to bring the treasured morsel to my lips, he stood stoic, waiting for me to take the first bite.

As my teeth sank into the delicacy that my brother had so graciously shared, his laughter pierced my eardrums before the pungent flavor assaulted my taste-buds.  His gales of laughter floated through the autumn winds as I tried frantically to remove every shrapnel of excrement from my mouth.  My brother had fed me a piece of dog shit.

I don’t think even Forrest Gump would have outrun me on the way home that day.  I sprinted past the crossing guard and could barely see the sidewalk for the tears.  I could hear my brother panting behind me, trying to catch up to me before I was able to cross the threshold of our home and explain to my mother how my taste-buds had been violated by a heinous act of terrorism.  I’m sure my words were not nearly as eloquent as I would like to think they were, but she got the point, and he got the spanking.

This simple act of cruelty led to years of pranks and retribution, usually always at my expense.  Not so many years later, because I seemingly still adored him, emulated him and worshipped the ground he walked on, I was easily swayed into helping knock a beehive from the side of our garage with a hockey stick.  Forrest Gump, again, would have been proud of my speed and agility getting into the old station wagon.  Long story short, there was a lot of baking soda required that afternoon to cover all of the puncture wounds those bees left in my body during my unsuccessful trip from the car to the house.

My mom and I laughed about this story many times once my traumatic response to doggy-doo-doo had subsided.  She used to use the phrase “wouldn’t say shit if her mouth was full of it” to describe very innocent people who did not curse.   Each time it was uttered the irony was not lost on me.  Hope you’re still laughing at this one, Mom!

Is there a right way to write?

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When I began to really delve into writing poetry and short stories I was more comfortable writing in long hand.  It freed my mind to truly compose the ideas, the rhymes and the drama, and felt much more like a natural flow from brain to hand to ink to paper.  The archaic version of computers we had at that point did not lend much ease in the writing experience since it was a behemoth that was no more moveable than my car.

In the bygone days of my youth (I make myself sound 100 years old), when I began to read voraciously, I would always have a pen and paper handy to write down any words I found challenging and words that I was excited to use in my writing.  It went on for pages.  I still have those pages and, although they are now collecting dust in a storage bin, they still remind me of my hunger for words.  My hunger now is much more easily satiated.  With the ease of Google, on-line dictionaries and thesauruses I no longer have to put the word to paper and look it up in a bound, hard-cover dictionary.  I even have a dictionary in my Kindle should the need arise to define a foreign word.

Nowadays, I’m sure a chimpanzee would have much more success with that foreign writing object we call a pen.  I used to have beautiful handwriting and now the things that come out of the pen slightly resemble a modified version of shorthand.  (It would be far more beneficial for me if it were shorthand since I currently have no clue what I’ve written!)

shorthand

(photo courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org)

With the ease of the digital age I use a voice recorder if I am overcome with inspiration.  Random thoughts that used to be scribbled on scraps of paper are now stored in my phone for easy access.  My calendar is on my iPhone and so is my shopping list.  Even with my creative stream, that long steady flow of blue ink has been replaced by the gentle tapping of the keyboard on my laptop.  I have finally been able to train my mind to tune out the incessant clicking and it no longer derails my train of thought.

What do you do?  Do you still give the ink a chance or are you a slave to your keyboard?

Owls and butterflies and long-winded sighs

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There are signs everywhere.  I’m not talking about the three-dimensional signs that guide us to our destination or give us information, but the signs that are sent from spirits to let us know they are still with us to help us on our journey of healing.

My friend Sandra passed away in May of 2003, very suddenly and far too young.  Her knowledge of my likes and dislikes was astounding and each time she would learn a nugget of information about me it was stored in her ever-expanding cranium.  She knew when I needed comfort and when it was okay to push my buttons.  Since the day I received the horrible news of her untimely passing, every so often I hear a strain or two of a particular song, faintly at first but I know the tune and where it came from as the notes are processed in my brain.  I have been in the grocery store or at a restaurant when the unmistakable bars of “The Girl From Ipanema” hover around my head and pillage my ears.  She knew how much I loathed that song and that is her way of letting me know she is still with me.  I release a loud sigh when I hear it to let her know she got me again and I can vaguely hear the sound of her infectious laugh.

My father passed away in 2006.  He and I both loved owls.  My Grade 10 art project was oil on canvas and I chose to paint an owl for him as his Christmas present.  I now have that painting hanging in my kitchen.  Over last few years I have had a Barred Owl perch itself in the tree that hovers over my deck.  It will sit on the same branch for hours at a time and seems quite content to be there and do nothing else.  I have had some lengthy conversations with my dad while that owl holds its spot and it seems to listen to every word I say.

Last summer my mother and my sister-in-law released butterflies in my dad’s memory.  It was something my mom had always wanted to do.  Since my mom’s passing on March 7th of this year the butterfly seems to be emerging from its cocoon in many aspects of my life.  Almost every sympathy card I have received is adorned with a butterfly.  The card attached to an arrangement of flowers I received has a butterfly in the top left corner.  The song “Dog and Butterfly” by Heart came to mind today and I haven’t heard that song in decades.  And today, while typing the phrase “there are signs everywhere” into Google, one website grabbed my attention over every other one listed and I clicked on the link.  The picture below was the one featured on the site.

Butterflyinthesky1

Now,  more than ever, I know the spirits of our loved ones stay with us.  It gives me great comfort to know my mom is sending me the message that she is okay on the other side.  It doesn’t diminish the pain of losing her presence from my every day but it does help to know that she is able to talk to me in a way we both understand.  And when summer finally arrives, clawing its way to the surface through the snow and frost-laden ground, I will be waiting for those butterflies to emerge from their cocoons and remind me that life, even after a beautiful creature disappears, does morph into something just as beautiful and ethereal.