Sometimes Things Are Just Things

It took my Grandfather years to downsize because he couldn’t part with his furniture. He’d come to so cherish his dining room suite because it had belonged to his parents and was gifted to him and my grandmother once they’d married and begun their own family.

I think he’d infused, confused, misplaced, the deep love he felt for his mother, who died when he was still a young man, into the furniture. The table and chairs didn’t replace his mother though. He couldn’t claim they loved him back but he couldn’t part with them because of the power he gave them.

I’ve been just as guilty, hanging on to pieces of my mother as though they’ll bring her back. The most important parts of our relationship are stored in my head, my heart, not in her opal ring or the wall hanging she made in a circular weaving class. These things don’t love me back but they make me feel closer to her in a way she didn’t intend. I gave these things their power over me. I gave them that intense hold that’s so often born of grief and good intentions.

Things can turn evil if we give them too much power, too much of ourselves, if we let them hold us back.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Dresden Dolls and Amanda Palmer’s solo work lately and her song, The Thing About Things, on her new album, There Will Be No Intermission, has had me thinking of the power we give things and how we often let what we own own us.

I’m down to one last thing I thought I was saving for the daughter I don’t have. It’s hard to let go. It’s hard to admit that my grad dress will never be pranced around in during dress-up or altered to fit my little girl as she goes off to a formal dance. It’s hard to admit that I’m not going to have a daughter the way I always thought I would. It’s just a dress. I’ve given it the power to bring me to tears about something that doesn’t exsist.

I’ll be working on letting things go, taking back the power I gave each piece. Taking back the power these things were never meant to have. Within my heart and head I have the real power to keep my precious memories safe.

Do you find you hang onto things? Have you ever given meaning or power to an item only to realize it’s how deep it’s got it’s claws in you? How do you go about letting go of things? I’d love to hear any comments you have.

K

Enough

So, after a two month stay in the hospital for severe depression and what turned out to be a severly low hemoglobin count I’ve been at home for more than a month. I’m feeling better about my life in general. In fact, most days, the prospect of getting out of bed doesn’t feel so overwhelming I suspect my head will explode.

Yeah me!

I think I’m actually on the mend. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my friends and family who’ve been supportive and caring in so many wonderful ways during this difficult time. I also owe heaps of thanks to the many kind and patient Dr’s and Nurses and hospital staff.

I’ve been doing well at keeping my expectations realistic. I’ve been spending a lot of time indulging in long-lost rituals of self-care, and self-love. And I’ve been trying to function in a manner that gives love back into my community. 

But I’m not on top of it all yet. I could easily make a list pages and pages long of gratitude I owe and people I haven’t reconnected with and visits postponed and how I CANNOT EVEN FIND THE STRENGTH TO CONSISTENTLY CONTRIBUTE TO THIS BLOG OF MINE!

Now, as my heart pounds with panic and my brain feels like a hampster on a wheel going full speed towards… what?

This is where I must give my head a shake and go back to being that self-loving, gratitude-having, nurturing person I was at the top of this page.

So, I will publish this little snapshot of how I’m doing a month and a bit after release from the psychiatric ward and I will say to myself, “This, all of this, is better than it was and that is enough for now.”

K

Strength?

Why does society seem to place so much import, emphasis and value on the characteristic of strength lately? Sure it’s good to be tough in some situations but does strength really outdo vulnerability, empathy, and emotional inuitivness? I think not. 

This is strength to me. A tree goddess grows and nurtures her tree with peaceful love and fluid strength enabling her to adapt and change depending on the needs of her collective. I painted this gorgeous gal in Radium over the summer.

I don’t think I’m particularly strong, does this make me less of a person? I think not. I pride myself on my empathetic view of the world as this allows me to see all sides of issues and keeps me from turning myopically inward.

It seems, as of late, strength is one of the only qualities worth emphasizing. Although, perhaps, I’ve been paying too much attention to the cluster-fuck that is American politics.

First we heard from one of her brothers that Ivanka Trump wouldn’t allow herself to be harassed or raped because she’s too strong. I’m paraphrasing, but one of her brothers actually implied if a woman is raped she’s just not strong enough. I call bullshit! 

Next Melania Trump trumpeted in an interview she is a paragon of strength because…because…well I don’t think she really said. It’s not like she threw down and bench pressed the interviewer. 

Her explanation of wanting to be at home for her son rather than campaigning is noble and important to her, but she didn’t use this as example of her strength if I recall correctly. She simply mentioned it was the reason she hadn’t been spending time on the campaign trail.

Here’s the dictionary definition of strength:

strength [strengkth, strength, strenth] Show IPA

noun

  1. the quality or state of being strongbodily ormuscular powervigor.
  2. mental powerforceor vigor.
  3. moral powerfirmnessor courage.
  4. power by reason of influenceauthorityresourcesnumbersetc.
  5. numberas of personnel or ships in a force orbodya regiment with a strength of 3000.
  6. effective forcepotencyor cogencyas ofinducements or argumentsthe strength of hisplea.
  7. power of resisting forcestrainwearetc.
  8. vigor of actionlanguagefeelingetc.
  9. the effective or essential properties characteristicof a beveragechemicalor the likeThe alcoholicstrength of brandy far exceeds that of wine.
  10. a particular proportion or concentration of thesepropertiesintensityas of lightcolorsoundflavoror odorcoffee of normal strength.
  11. something or someone that gives one strength oris a source of power or encouragementsustenanceThe Bible was her strength and joy.
  12. Power to rise or remain firm in pricesStockscontinued to show strengthThe pound declined strenth. 

To simply, without evidence, claim to be “strong.” This isn’t enough for me. I guess I want anecdotes and learning tales, humility, and demonstrated involvement whenever you claim to have a trait or assign one to someone else.

Show me with words, with actions, what strength is in these tumultuous times and perhaps I’ll be a believer. Don’t forget to demonstrate empathy and compassion too as these qualities are just as important. 

K

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Make Memories While You Can

I am missing my a lot Mom lately. Triggers are the beginning of the curling season, her birthday drawing closer, baking carrot cake with cream cheese icing, watching the first snowfall, and drinking from the Bette Midler mug she bought me after see the Divine Miss M in concert. 

My favorite sweater of my Mom’s and my well loved moccasins. 

When I miss her like this I try to gather her to me as best I can. I pull on the tatty old sweater my Grandmother knitted her years ago. It was my favorite thing to borrow when I got cold while visiting her and now it is mine.

I also pull on the moccasins she bought me for Christmas in Yellowknife when I was about 14. They have stretched perfect to fit my feet and still smell of that delicious, warm scent that goes along with tanned hide.

I cry a little and choke up a lot as I remember all the good times we shared. It sinks in, yet again, there will be no more chances for the two of us to make more memories together. 

I try to carry this knowledge with me when engaging with other loved ones. Make memories together now. Don’t waste time waiting for the perfect moment. The perfect moment is now. 

Get together, love each other.❤❤❤ Live as though there’s no time to spare because eventually there won’t be time to spare.

K

In-law and so Much More

I lucked out in the mother in law department big time. In fact my in-laws in general are all round great folks.

With this post I want to focus specifically on my mother in law, whom I will refer to as Mum from here on out, because I want her to know how much her love and kindness means to me.

The best part about Mum is she shows up. She shows up when needed most and cares for me as though I’m one of her own and she has done so for ages.

My first memory of her going out of her way for me was when I broke my ankle and she volunteered to wait with me at the cast clinic. 

My appointment was scheduled for roughly 11am and I was finally seen about 4 or 5 hours later. She patiently sat with me and we entertained the nurses as she attempted to teach uncoordinated me how to crochet…a skill I’ve yet to master.

When we finally made it in to see the doctor she, rather cheekily, but with damn good reason, asked if he’d be paying for our inflated parking tab. She also put him in his place when he attempted to ignore my issues and feelings. It was this strength of character that made me feel as though I’d found a kindred spirit in her❤

Years later she’d fly out a week before my Mom’s funeral and help me consolidate my hefty to-do lists and get everything done on time before and at the event.  Although my Mom is dead I feel as though I can count on Mum to be there for me despite this devastating loss. 

I feel so lucky to have this generous, kind, and good-humoured woman in my life through thick and thin. I’ve grown to see her as a pseudo-parent/close friend who’s there when I need her most. I can talk with her about grief and chronic pain and mental illness and rather than scaring her away she comes in closer to show her support.

I’ve heard of others who don’t get along with their in-laws and this makes me sad. I resolve to never take her kindness and acceptance for granted because she’s such a great lady and the only Mum I have left.

A huge thank you to my Mum for all she’s done for me and being such a great role model and friend to me. I love her more than she’ll ever know and my gratitude runs deeper than one could ever delve❤

I also would like to thank my husband and his siblings for kindly sharing her with me. This is a generosity I’ll never forget.

K

A Snapshot of Grief

image

This photo was taken in June of 2014, about 2 month’s after my Mom died .
I think it is a good visual example, perhaps the only visual example, I have of my emotional state at that time.

I’m not wracked by sobs or crying out in anger, anguish and frustration – although I spent a lot of time in those states – I often simply ran out of energy as those heightened states of emotion are impossible to maintain for extended periods of time. The picture says it all, I look numb, wrung out, exhausted.

It’s important for me to look at this picture and see the tide of emotions with grief, I find it often feels as if I’m standing still rather than progressing. Progessing towards what I’m not always sure… Some form of acceptance perhaps, although I have yet to figure out what acceptance, for any extended period of time, looks like for me.

The other day I thought I’d lost my Mom’s opal ring and the sense of panic took me straight back to that primal state of grief. I found the ring later in the day and was able to pull myself together without losing a full day to grieving. Maybe I should see this as progress.

Although my progress feels as though it’s moving at a snails pace at least I now feel as though I am finally beginning to move. I’m not moving on, I don’t think that is what I want. I want the good, the bad, and the amazing parts of my relationship with my Mom to remain forever in my heart and mind. I want to move in a way which allows me to learn and grow and love and laugh and find my feet again while always keeping my Mom snuggled tightly in my heart.

K