Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Waves of Sadness and Loss

 On this Tuesday morning my mind and heart  grapple with the sadness and loss of the weekend just passed. Judy a vibrant, smiling, happy and loving wife, mother, grandmother, friend and colleague went to bed Saturday night not knowing her life would end the next day. Shock , disbelief and fear hit us like a huge wave and bring us to our knees reminding us of the fragility of all our lives. I can not even imagine what her family and close friends are going through as they come to terms with this cruel reality. To never see her smile or hear her voice , to never have her arms reach  to  cradle her precious grandchildren, to never hear her laugh around the fire or feel her welcome greeting  when you enter her home. My heart breaks for Gerald her loving husband , a team that showed how blending a family is done. Her co-workers are mourning her loss and feeling the emptiness she leaves at her workplace. Her friends are lost and devastated.Everyone who knew her has lost something in her passing.Her beautiful daughters who carry her smile and her warm and caring ways must find their way without her. Her handsome son must carry on without her at his side. Shock and disbelief that she is gone is what we all have in common. Three young men gone leaving their families and friends reeling from that tragic truth . Three young men gone and reminding every parent of the terror a Saturday night can bring. Three young men gone and this mother's heart knows the pain and the terrible truth of just how tragic that is.The terrible loss that their community is facing is a truth the family will never forget , never move on from , never stop feeling to their very core.The first hours days and weeks will be so excruciating and they will somehow find their way through. Then  each family will embark on the life long task of living without Ty, Kobe and Denver. And two men drove off the end of a ferry into deep water. The circumstances or reasons will probably never be known but they will leave behind those who loved them and mourn for them. Sadness and loss make up the fabric of our lives and touch us all. The losses of this past weekend are only a wave in the vast sea of sadness and losses people deal with every day. No easy way to come and go from this life.No easy way.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

A Very Different Year

 First day of school. I felt it in my bones in the early morning, I felt it as I went to bed last night, I felt it talking to Jenna as she told me about her first week back and the week ahead, I felt it in Emma's thoughts of the outfit she will wear tomorrow and her distress at thoughts of getting up so early. My FB feed this morning is full of first day photos and I recall  welcoming excited kids over the years. On the Current this morning a piece entitled A Very Different Year followed three kids and two families into the classroom on their first day of school. My grand kids don't go until tomorrow as their last names fall in the second half of the alphabet. That alone is one indication of it being a very different year. Masks and hand sanitizer, bubbles and social distancing have all become part of the norm and certainly the lingo in classrooms all over the country. On top of all that Meg's girls have a brand new school and unfamiliar classmates to deal with. Paige can often be heard saying" Just deal with it" and I am sure they will do just that. Tomorrow Grampie and I will try to be present as our grandchildren get on their buses and head off to another school year into grade two, grade three, grade four, grade six and grade ten. I can't help but be thankful that I am not in the classroom this year but do feel a twinge of sadness and nostalgia for all the first days I was a part of. I wish the kids , the parents, the teachers, principals, bus drivers and custodians all the best. Be kind, have fun and do your best!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Another Chapter

 It is the second crisp ,clear, beautiful day of September. I have always loved this month and all the changes and challenges it brings. Thirty five years ago I was anticipating the birth of my third child.  He had a seven year old brother and a three year old  sister waiting anxiously to welcome him. Instead of the classroom that fall I had the privilege of being home with my precious little family. Those memories are strong and I feel them reverberate in the fresh fall like air I breathe on this day. I now have five grandchildren to watch as they burst with excitement, and nervousness at the days ahead. Emma and Paige both beamed with happiness as they modeled each back to school outfit for their Monkey and Toad. We have had an amazing August with Meg's girls. What a gift knowing that even though they left last night to go to their temporary home for the next two months they are five minutes instead of five provinces away. But  I am back to work and I feel what I have every other summer when I see them go. I feel such gratitude for having had the time with them but such freedom as I get my life back. Now we find our way through the new normal and the challenges ahead. I have not been in the lake since Friday letting the cool air stop me but I will get back in today as I am not ready to let my lake go yet. As I begin my work day and take a few minutes to write this blog entry I let the summer of 2020 sink in . I watch that thirty five year old boy father his precious children and be an amazing uncle and I fill with pride and thankfulness. My eyes well up with tears at the changes and sorrows but my heart expands with joy and gratitude. I watch  my granddaughter getting  geared up for grade four knowing the teacher to greet her is not me, but the grandmother who will meet the bus at the end of the day is who I get to be this September. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Whichever Window

 For two days and nights I stared out a beautiful window ,in silence and solitude,  mesmerized by a stunning scene . I allowed the roiling waves of the Northumberland Straight to quiet the turmoil and unrest in my soul. I searched my heart and my mind looking to find peace and acceptance. I dug deep for strength and resilience and forgiveness. I acknowledged my weakness, my shortcomings and celebrated my victories. I came back home to my own window and my own circumstances , rested and with a resolve to do the best I can with what I've been given.  This is not a new exercise but one I have conducted my whole life and one I especially have relied on in the last twenty one years. Survival and growth and keeping my head above water are daily tasks and require daily attention. Seasons of challenge and difficulty are nothing new and are a part of our human experience. Our perspective looking out the same window can differ and our optimism can waver and falter and sometimes we only see the darkness not the

light the same view provides. I am reaching the end of another summer with gratitude and sadness, hope and heartache but I do look ahead to the beauty that awaits. The view out my office window will change and take on the  colors of autumn and then the hues of a winter landscape. I am grateful for another return to my desk and look forward to my regular writing days. I will remember the days I gave myself to just stare out of Odette and Yo Anne's loft window allowing time and distance to replenish my confidence and hopefulness. I ask for love and generosity to abound and will keep trying to do my part.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Another Sunday Morning

The best start to my day is sitting out on my front veranda gazing down toward the road, seeing the herd of cows meandering in the green pasture  and listening to the quiet sounds of the morning.I am loving my front veranda, and the time spent in the fresh morning air . I hope to begin my day in that manner  until the snow flies. This has been a summer to remember in so many ways. There are loose ends to tie up and things to be worked out but for the most part I have soaked in the sun, took daily dips in my healing lake and embraced the move that has brought our daughter, our son in law and Emma and Paige home. Yesterday I returned to the market and had the best sales day ever. Looking at my final tally Emma decided that maybe she would be a writer. I assured her that writers don't make this much money every day. But how nice to greet returning readers and meet new ones. The highlight of my day yesterday was connecting with a woman who grew up a few miles away from where I lived in Long Reach.She had been introduced to my books by a friend of Zac's who has always been a huge supporter of my work.She came to the market to buy all nine books which is such a thrill for me.She told of reading my new book and coming to pg 99 where she saw her father's name and a reference that was fictional but so meaningful in her own memory. Being a writer who uses my home area as setting for most of my work and throws in real people among the fictional story lines I love it when it brings that kind of connection to my readers. She was thrilled to delve into fiction to retrieve memory and meaning. I realize as I write this  that the real value of my quiet mornings on the veranda is reflection and processing and a chance to fill up my  gratitude reservoir. Days when I don't get that opportunity leave me floundering and empty. Even in all the busyness, all the worry and heartache the last few weeks have brought I can truly say just being where I am and taking in my blessings have kept me going. I will return to my desk when the teachers go back and I will continue to put effort into crafting stories that matter to me. Knowing that they matter to other people too makes it even more meaningful. We all have heartache, sorrow, loss and pain but the gifts are there for the taking. This Sunday morning my gifts were plentiful. Against the backdrop of cows mooing and roosters crowing, with two old dogs snoozing at my feet and a granddaughter still sleeping I let the morning coffee wake me, the sun encourage me and the days' promise call to me.With that beginning I can face all the rest of it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

What Comes Next?

 This time of year for me has always been a very transitional time. The last weeks of August always brought a frenzy of activity ramping me up for another school year. For the last eleven years it has meant returning to my office either to a work in progress or a new project. The air changes and the slant of the sun changes and the mindset from summer to September changes as well. This year is no different with a whole lot of other things thrown in. I have some heaviness weighing on my mind that I pray will lift in the next while. I have two escapes that I am looking forward to, hoping they will be refreshing and  rejuvenating both personally and professionally. I am looking forward to returning to the Farmer's market on Saturday and meeting new and old readers.I have one book I want to re-work a bit, and two books started I hope to get back to. I have an idea percolating for another so I have lots to motivate me. I remember thinking that maybe the well would run dry and I would get to a place with no new ideas but luckily that has not happened yet. This is the twelfth fall that I get to go back to my office and full time writing. 

For that I am so grateful. Isolation will finish in two days and there are so many aspects of regular life I am looking forward to. I have felt exiled, distanced and removed from so much but have been so lucky to have my husband, my daughter, her husband and two of my grandchildren in exile with me and each day brought a plethora of gifts. Caleb and Jenna stayed on the periphery of our exile offering support and encouragement. I look forward to opening our circle to family and friends .I look forward to hugs from my other grandchildren and seeing their happy ,smiling faces. What a strange time this is with the overarching worry and anxiety of a world wide pandemic, the uncertainty of our norms and the required adaptation and adjustment. But even in all of this upheaval let us remember to be kind, to be patient and forgiving, to be families and people we can be proud of when we look back.August will bring September. Summer days will turn to fall and winter will follow. Seasons unfold and this too shall pass. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Days of Self Isolation

 Two steps forward and how many back? I am feeling that way today as the girls and I approach our day 14 only to tack seven more days on to accommodate Burton, Megan and Cody. For the most part we are doing just fine. We are staying busy enjoying summer on the Walton Lake Road. We have been careful to stay away from people. We are partaking of daily swims but only jump in the lake when no one else is there. We have had a couple of  visitors keeping their distance and making their stops brief. We had a kind friend  drop off Chinese Food to us. Caleb and Jenna have gone to the store for us. Louisa and Roxanne have shopped for specially requested items.We did a self isolation pick up from Fullerton's market. A friend and her daughter did a Costco run for us this morning. Telephone calls and texting check ins have taken place. We are good. We are well and we are fine. But part of me wants so desperately to return to what in the last few months has become our new normal. I want to go to Reid's Point Pub. I want to visit friends. I want to go for an ice cream cone or sit  on a beach with other people. This too will end! I know that but I can't help feeling a little trapped, a bit of cabin fever. We have not  visited with Aunt Louisa for goodness sake and that doesn't seem natural. The kids haven't seen

their cousins. We are so blessed with space, food to eat  and each other. Before we know it these days will be a thing of the past. Today I hold on to that hope and dream of brighter days ahead.