Posts Tagged ‘Love’

You will eventually have had enough of my grieving process I’m sure, but for the moment you may be finding comfort in walking alongside me. This is what keeps me going. Perhaps you’ve lost someone or perhaps that hasn’t happened for you yet and you’re trying to understand what to expect.


Expect nothing.


I can safely say that although the journey will hold similar jumps for all of us, the method and speed with which we get through (not over) them, will not be the same whatsoever. Emotions and reactions are dependent on so many things—age, proximity and support for example, come immediately to my mind.


I tried to tell you a story today, but couldn’t find the words. Everything else seems trivial right now and even though I know that’s far from the truth, I can’t seem to muster the creative backbone needed to spin a tale.


But I did visit my girlfriend this weekend. I’ve known her for twenty years and she moved to what I’d call far away a couple of years ago. I miss her terribly, but it’s also nice to be able to make an excursion out of seeing her now.


So off we went, my daughter and I, painlessly driving the three-hour jaunt, stopping only for cheap gas and cheerful wine. (The wine was for me. My daughter is not allowed to get cheerful just yet.) Once settled and after eating (a delicious Thai meal courtesy of Leslie’s hubby) we sat on the couch and the dreaded reared its inevitable head. We hadn’t, of course, seen each other since my Papa’s passing and she asked how things were going and how everyone was doing. We talked for some time…well into the night, and as we headed off to bed we were still pondering what happens on the other side.


I told her that as much as the idea of a guardian angel seems comforting, I don’t like the idea of them having to watch over us. After all, what kind of torture would it be to see our children but be unable to touch or talk to them?


“No,” I said. “I like to believe they take a version of us along for the ride and that way, for them, not a thing has changed.”




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Bear with me.


It’s a long journey around so many messy things and I lack the stamina to run it in one tidy breath.


Opening your eyes to the realization that somehow you must lift your burdened self out of bed so the show can go on. Peeling potatoes and stirring gravy so your children won’t think of this as the year they lost a Grandpa and Christmas Day. Stoically wading through a sea of memories that now contain a foreign element of hurt, so others can remember him the way you do. Battling tears and the desert that has become your mouth in order to send him off with the dignity he very much deserves.


Worrying someone will bring him up and then hurting when they don’t, planning only outfits with pockets to hold your twists of unscheduled Kleenex. Finding a way to preserve voicemails you’re so thankful you never deleted, fighting the guilt that you have saved the last ten, subconsciously aware you would come to rely on them one day soon. Holding on to the last time you saw him healthy and ruthlessly reliving the last horrible day that he wasn’t.


I used to think death was this obscure thing—a convoluted end that was hard to understand—marred by emotion and murky in its meaning. I was so wrong. Death is concise. It’s clear. It’s forever. And it’s final.


So I fumble for a bright side.


Hazy always ends in a positive spin. And although I’m desperate not to let her down, I’m having a really hard time grasping a silver lining through all of these ominous clouds.


I wish you heartache such as this in your life. Because despite the crumbling cliff it leaves you dangling from, it’s a true blessing to have loved someone this way.






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Ooo, I am so torn today.


I want to give you more story, partly because I feel pressure to seal that deal, but even more importantly, you’re dying for it. I can tell. Each one of you is waking up every morning with a head full of pressing questions – What color is Helena’s onesie? How many electronic cigarettes does Gladys smoke in a day? What does Anass eat for breakfast to make him, well, such an ass? How can I get my hands on Rick’s number? Do you think Stephanie would mind? And to state the obvious – what color are Bitty’s sheets?


I get it. It’s my own fault. There’s no doubt I set you up for this. I mean, I’ve created such a riveting, compelling story line, what do I expect but to be harassed for more? You’re a little intense though. You can lay off just a tad. I appreciate your enthusiasm an’ all, but climbing your way into my dreams and clawing at me like the Walking Dead is slightly off-putting. In fact, I’m not too proud to admit it’s downright scary.


Okay, just kidding. Don’t stop. In fact, bring in the White Walkers. I like a good show.


Anyway, zombies and icy-eyed cold dudes aside, you’re not getting more story today. There are a couple of other things I feel are more significant for now.


It is my 21st wedding anniversary. What can I say? I married when I was 14 – my dowry was irresistible. It has been many years (well, 21 to be exact) of ups and downs, trials and tribulations, the splendid, the dodgy and the dull, all rolled into a wonderfully snug union of seemingly endless time.

Paraplaner 1

And then yesterday, as I sat in the hot sun tempered with a light breeze, watching a paraplaner sail the serenely blue sky above my neighborhood, the phone rang and I realized there is no endless.

Aside from expected soreness, my husband is unharmed as was the other party involved. Our lucky day.

Aside from expected soreness, my husband is unharmed as was the other party involved. Our lucky day.

This, you cannot take for granted.


Maybe not yesterday, maybe not tomorrow, but endings there will be. Try to make them happy.

700 Strong

Thank you for this



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Oh dear. My 150th post and I screwed it up. I knew you guys were discerning readers, but never did I think you’d shy from one slightly rare serving!

Where do I go from here? Is it too late to say I’m sorry? To promise I won’t do it again?

No, it’s not too late. Yes, you’re discerning, but I’m pretty sure tolerance, compassion and forgiveness are in there somewhere too. That has to be true or we’d have parted long ago.

And it’s a good thing, because I’m trying desperately to be a writer. And to quote Thomas Mann; “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”


Make no mistake – we’re friends because you’re particular.


It could be argued that what I did the other day wasn’t writing, but I stand firm that all writing is writing. I started this blog to bolster my commitment. I hoped knew it would hold me accountable for producing something on regular basis. I wanted it to make me think.

I dreamed of it making you think.

I spent years writing in journals. They didn’t suddenly stop selling them in the stores. I didn’t run out of pocket money to buy one. I chose to display my trials and tribulations on a public forum. I decided I wanted you to witness my stabs and my stumbles.

Some things I write to reflect and some things I write to connect, so neither of us should be surprised by the odd, rare roast post.

It’s how I get to know you.

It’s how I hope you’ll get to know me.

It is how we’ll get to well-done.

Heart shaped meat

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As I navigated the aisles “The Things We Do For Love” played in my head; a screechy record I’d have given anything to snap in half.

You see I had an intense headache all day yesterday. Wait, that’s a lie. It wasn’t all day. It did presto into a massive migraine for several hours or so just to mix things up a little.

But, as us mum’s do, I trudged on, driving the boys to school, continuing the laundry I’d started the day before, cleaning one of the bathrooms that just couldn’t wait another second, sorting and tidying a pile of wayward clothes that were, admittedly, mostly mine, cleaning the fish-y bowl and running up and down the stairs five hundred times or so fetching this and that for my daughter who was, to top it all off, home sick with the flu.

So yes, I hopped around like a good little bunny mummy until it finally took me out. Around four o’clock I had no choice but to surrender.

With one last swoop of my sponge, the pain grabbed hold and dragged me to my room, roughly shoving me onto the bed. “Lie down,” it jeered. “And stay down, or you’ll be sorry.”

Its grip tightened.

It was showing me who was boss and I knew better than to cross it. It pressed with all its might. It squeezed until I thought my skull would open and seep onto the pillow. I lay in frozen fear with no intention of disobeying its very clear command.

That is, until I realized with horror, that I’d forgotten about dinner.

“Who’s going to make dinner?” My panicked whisper pierced through the delirium and my throbbing brain.

“Not you,” hissed the pain. “I told you you’re not going anywhere.”

There was a moment I’d felt defeated. A moment where I thought I had to listen. A moment when I believed I couldn’t win.

And then there was the moment where I (gingerly) sat up, (stiffly) stood up and (somewhat sheepishly) spoke up; “Screw you,” I exclaimed. “My family needs to eat!”

That folks, is how I found myself staggering through the Safeway aisles, and I can literally use the word painfully here, picking out the ingredients to create a robust Spaghetti.

I almost made it too.

Standing in line, waiting to pay, reality kicked in. Still in front of me, was getting this stuff home, organizing it, cooking it, serving it and cleaning it all up and I have to say, it all just seemed a tad undoable.

As I leaned on the cart and discreetly dialed the number to our favourite restaurant, the record played on, only a little louder and little less screechy and it made me realize that when you do things for love, you never lose.

TONIGHT'S DINNER - made with love

TONIGHT’S DINNER – made with love and only slightly less agony

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This is a rewrite. The original is here. Just wondering what you think. As usual, all feedback welcome…

What Matters

His hand, light as paper, slides off his chest onto the sheet beside him. Blue veins press at the waxy skin and pulse pointless blood through his withering form. I touch his arm. Although heavy with burden, he resembles feathery tissue tufting from a Kleenex box.

Stiff in every joint, I shift my chair to face his side table, its bottom drawer becoming a makeshift footrest. I allow my head to idle a mere moment on the back of the vinyl chair, perplexed that the once unwelcome din of the fluorescents has become a comforting presence during these last silent days.

A sigh rattles the stale air and I startle until I realize it’s mine. It’s the end. Our laughs and labours all coming to an abrupt finish, our last scene falling to the cutting room floor as the director decides he doesn’t like the ending we’ve scripted for ourselves. Waiting for death is proving ruthless in every sense of the word.

I turn on the soft lamp brought from home and get up to quiet the bright overheads. He stirs slightly as I walk to the switch near the door.


His voice shakes me. It’s dry and haggard, breathy. It’s been so many days since I’ve heard him speak.

“I’m here, honey. Right here.”

“Abi.” His fluttering eyes animate an otherwise dormant body, moths frantically searching for light.

“It’s okay,” I tell him. “Rest now, love.”

His feet begin to glide back and forth under the sheet like fins, sharks just below the water’s surface, circling their prey.

I look away.

“I haven’t,” he stops, unable to catch his breath.

I cup his hand in both of mine and squeeze each finger soothingly.

“No, not now, Paul. Please, you need sleep.”


“Hush. No talking. We’ll do plenty of that later,” I fable, willing him childlike naiveté.

“There was a time,” he chokes, “when I failed you. God, I failed myself.” Air catches, unearthing another enormous wheeze. “Not a day’s gone by that I…if only I could change it, Abi.” 

Reaching to stroke his face, I remember the many moments he had done the same for me in much less severe times of need. His skin is cool and clammy, expiring. Remorse courses over his temples and darkens parts of the worn, blue fabric covering his pillow.

“Paul, you’re upsetting yourself. There’s no need, sweetheart. Close your eyes now.” 

I climb up onto the bed and with the tip of my finger; his lids are gently drawn one at a time. I pull him in and he folds like a stack of cards. I lay whispering sweet nothings, his sharp hip poking at my belly all the while.

I begin recounting our first years as what’s left of his hair waltzes with my every word. The silly card we’d fought over, the day we’d gone for a quick shop and ended up stuck in the snow, slowly grazing through the groceries we’d thankfully packed into the back seat. Breaking off bits of cheese and chunks of baguette, we’d sung all the songs we knew and some we didn’t, almost regretful when the tow truck finally showed up. I chuckled at the memory of Paula’s quick and comical birth, straining my neck to see if he was smiling. He looked wistful at best.

I talk about how he had patiently taught me to swim despite me being terrified of the water and convinced me I was good enough to attempt art school when I’d felt less than worthy. I tell him that he’s been an incredible father and that I’m so very thankful to have been his partner. I whisper the hours away, revisiting each page of the life we’ve written together, skipping only one.

It’s not until the short beeps become a solid strike piercing my heart that I turn back to it; “I knew about her, Paul. I always did. She just didn’t matter to me as much as you.”

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They look so cute in the movies and are seriously irresistible when attached to someone else. They’re pretty and polished when on display, but it’s simply impossible to know how much work that takes until you have some of your own.

I’m talking about children in case you’re confused. I have nothing against them of course. In fact, I have three of my own and am really quite fond of each one of them. Alright, I love them to death, if you must know.

But let’s cut the to the crazy here – they are work and they wreck the house. No, no, they don’t mean to cause any bother. They’re just living their little lives, going about their important business, learning to function in this great big world. But man, nothing is left standing in their wake.

So, save your money, folks. Do not invest in wildly wonderful and exorbitantly expensive treasures. They will not go the distance unless they’re bubble wrapped, vacuum packed and under lock and key, stored nowhere near where you actually live.


You might feel I’m being a drama mama. I’m not. I swear.

They’ll work on ‘projects’ in your freshly cleaned kitchen and you will find melted wax and splattered paint in every corner for weeks on end. You’ll spend scrupulous hours decorating their rooms only to find your carefully chosen and expertly applied paint sabotaged with stickers, posters and pushpins. You’ll buy new pillows and discover them on the hair-infested floor, which reminds me, children will also use their magical powers to convince you that welcoming animals in to share your home, not to mention help them in their endeavor of destruction, is somehow a great idea.

You’ll wash and iron their clothes and uncover them back in the basket a (very) short while later with a pocket torn away. You’ll haul the couch covers off to give them a spin and find an ink stain ten minutes after you’ve put them all back on.

And, you’ll cherish all of it.

I’ve been married 20 years today and my kids are 17, 14 and 12 and a ½. I wouldn’t trade any of them it for a pristine house in the Cotswolds, even if they did carve “poop” into my dining room table.

Poop 2

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