The answers come
Slowly, at times
And like a rush of wind
Time stands still
In this moment
At this time
And I luxuriate
The answers come
Slowly, at times
And like a rush of wind
Time stands still
In this moment
At this time
And I luxuriate
Love covered in fur
That bounds upon my lap
And settles there
Bright eyes that gaze into mine
And remind me that
Though no words are spoken
I am loved and needed
What a blessing
And what a gift
To share my life
With creatures that know no hate
Or bitterness or cruelty
These four-legged wonders
Who make my life better
In every way
I thank you, God
For all the animals
I have known
And for those
In the here and now
For furry kisses
Upon my brow
And for all the love
that is bestowed
The cross at the side of the road
A symbol of faith
That marks the place where you breathed your last
And stands as testimony to a life well lived
And as a tribute and memorial
For those who loved you
And love you still
It is a token of remembrance and affection
The wood lovingly worked by our brothers’ hands
Hands that once worked side by side with yours
Building, repairing, constructing,
And often playing
Wreaths wrapped in red ribbons
Symbolizing the family circle and blood once shed
Upon the highway
Oh how we mourn your loss
And wish for time to turn again
To happier times
Alas we must walk this road
Of sorrow and of pain
Until at last we see your face
In the world that never ends
Some day are filled with agony. It is what it is. Some days I find strength and comfort in places that surprise me. I am so grateful for that. We must soldier on. Frozen feelings melt. Kind words of support and love are like balm to my soul. I am not alone in my grief; many are the people who join me here. Some hearts are full of anger and rage – hearts that feel alone, broken and forgotten. Some hearts are loving and forgiving – But whatever lies within, it is human – human to love, human to hurt, human to want to lash back at that which causes pain. I hope I can find a way to sow seeds of peace and of love – to let hurting hearts know you are not alone, to bind the wounds and let healing begin. Please, God, let there be healing, let there be love.
Love is patient. Love is kind
It does not envy, it does not boast.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
It is not easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
But rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
Always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
My life is a book of blank pages
That I fill daily
With my thoughts, words, and deeds
Whether joyful or sorrowful
The pages are mine to fill
Let me act, and not react
Let me sow seeds of peace
And of love
Let my words fall like a gentle rain
On the ears of others
Let my touch be gentle
And my thoughts be honest
Let me reflect upon
My life story
At the final setting of the sun
Let my soul be glad…
When there are no pages left to fill
Let me go gracefully
Into the quiet night
“Motherhood is a choice you make every day, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is….and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.” – Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm
Sacrifice is a word that just about sums up my mother’s life. Trying to describe her is a bit like trying to describe a beautiful colour, nearly impossible! Nevertheless, I want to honour my mother by telling some of her story – or I should say my experience of her as her daughter. Mom was tough, very strict in many ways. Yet, she was always fair, and often very soft-hearted, though she did her best to hide it. She raised nine children in a small house without running water or such luxuries as electricity for many years – or the benefit of an indoor bathroom. I could say I don’t know how she managed it (I don’t) but my older sisters and brothers helped – a lot! So while this blog’s focus is to honour my mother, it is also to give a nod to the sacrifices made by my siblings who shared in caring for us “little ones”.
One of my favourite memories is of Mom sitting on the floor with the three of us youngest ones and cutting out paper dolls for us to colour. She would look up from time to time at the mess a family of nine children can make and sighing say, “I really should clean this up”. But then she’d smile at us and continue telling us stories of her childhood and singing our favourite songs. She sang a lot. She smiled a lot – at us children, at my father, at the birds singing, at the waves out on the ocean, at the antics of our pets, at the flowers in the fields – it didn’t take an awful lot to bring a smile to her face. Although her life was far from easy she was a joyful person.
She had a lot of sorrow in her life losing several children in miscarriage and a little girl that was born but died a few weeks later. I remember her funeral and the sadness in my mother’s eyes. I remember the pride I felt when Mom brought her home from the hospital and allowed us to hold her for a few minutes. Mom always referred to her as “our baby”. I didn’t know then the depths of despair my mother sank into following her death. Yet even though she struggled with her grief she continued to take care of all of us.
She was a woman of great faith – in God and in her religion. Her spirituality included seeing God in all people and in nature. She was a champion of the underdog and all whom she believed to be wronged in any way.
When she was in her early 40s my parents decided to move the family across the country to Ontario, where work was more easily found. In the early years she took in borders, but later chose to go to work to help build a nest egg to buy a new home, which they did after a few years. Five years later my father would suffer a heart attack that would put him out of commission for nearly a year. Mom continued to work until seven years later when she learned she had cancer. Ten days after entering hospital and ten days before her 59th birthday she died. But even while she was facing one of the biggest challenges of her life Mom continued to be a source of comfort and peace for all of us. I remember commenting on her strength one day while I was visiting and she replied, “I’m not that strong you know”. I replied, “I know you are not made of stone, that’s why I’m here, why we’re all here”. However she seldom leaned on us, where she gathered her strength from I don’t really know, but I suspect it was the faith she carried throughout her life.
My mother died over 30 years ago, but her essence lives on in all her children and grandchildren. She left us a legacy of love that I hope will live on and on. Thanks for all the wonderful lessons Mom – both the hard ones and the sweet ones. You are not forgotten – and never will be.
I work at the front desk at the public library in my town and I have to say I enjoy my work immensely. I love helping people and like to think my efforts make a real difference in the lives of our patrons. I worked in retail for a good part of my life and have always enjoyed meeting new people and learning a small bit about their lives. There is nothing I find more distasteful than overhearing anybody disrespect people working in the service industry – whether it is a counter person at a fast food joint, a fellow co-worker at the library, or the secretary in the doctor’s office. I am grateful to say I have witnessed very few such situations.
I honestly have found that the overwhelming majority of people are absolutely awesome. I had cause to reflect on the goodness of people and the sheer joy of working with the public the other day at work when a regular patron I had not seen since before the holidays gave me a hug and wished me a happy new year. She has such a big, warm, and beautiful smile – it is always a joy to see her and even though I do not know her well I am always appreciative of her open-hearted kindness and friendliness. I was tired that day and not feeling good. I was just a little under the weather. This woman did more to lighten my spirit and sow a seed of generosity than she will ever know. I treasure all such moments like these. It is a testament to how we can each make another person’s day a little brighter.
Never underestimate the power of a smile or the little gestures that can turn a person’s day around. It is like a small pebble thrown into the water. It has ripple effects we may never know about. Respect and human decency – that’s what it’s all about. So this is a shout out to all people who work on the front lines wherever you may be employed. What you do matters and this is my salute to you. You are awesome!
I am awake in the very early hours between dark and light. My head is spinning with ideas and memories and golden moments drenched in love. I have been so very blessed to grow up in the bosom of a large, noisy, hectic, and loving family. I think of all the gifts my parents, sisters, and brothers have given me and the precious web of connections that flow out from there. Relationships that have helped develop our character as individuals and defined us as people.
Once again my thoughts turn to Chris…baby of the family and darling of our eyes. Well, most of the time anyway. He and I are close enough in age to have had a healthy sibling rivalry. Still, I am one of four of his “big sisters”. It had to have been frustrating sometimes having so many people bossing you around. Yet Chris took it all with good humour, for the most part. Now, I do not want to present my brother as some sort of goody two-shoes or angelic super human – he wasn’t. He had his faults as we all do. He could be frightfully stubborn, impatient, even self absorbed. Growing up he was coddled in some ways and spoiled by all of us to varying degrees – as I’ve said we were close enough in age to be playmates and often antagonists as well.
Perhaps we treasured Chris more deeply because of the many times we nearly lost him. He was what was termed a “blue baby” at birth and had to be given many blood transfusions and remained a very sickly child for many years. We learned early on that life is fragile. Later, when he was still little, as I have already written about, he could have been killed when he fell out of the car before Dad brought it to a full stop. As a teenager he gave us a scare when he developed meningitis and later still another car accident when he rolled his small vehicle. Looking back it’s almost like there was a foreshadowing of things to come – so many close calls where Chris seemed to stand at death’s door.
Chris faced many challenges throughout his life, but the one that marked him most deeply, I think, was the death of his infant daughter. I have no idea how difficult that must have been to endure or the strength it must have taken to get through it. But Chris took this tragic experience and used it to try to help other parents who were going through similar circumstances. He had a real gift with people.
Later he and his wife would go on to have two more children. Sadly the marriage failed and Chris would face the challenges of raising his children in a two-house situation. I am sure it was very hard for him and hard for his children as well. I hope they know how proud he was of them and how deeply he loved them, even if he showed it imperfectly at times.
In my previous post I described his funeral and the vast numbers of people who came to lend support to his family and to pay their last respects to a man well loved and held in high regard.
Chris was just a regular guy doing his level best with whatever life dealt him. He left behind a legacy of love and an example of selflessness and service to others. I am proud to call him my brother and blessed to have received his love and friendship. Life is a gift and I thank God for Christopher’s.
It is amazing to me how little I noticed all the socially acceptable jokes about drinking, about getting drunk, about celebrating with a drink, about bad days being made better with a glass of wine…or beer or whatever. I simply did not pay much attention. But now I am super sensitive about it – and these jokes do not even draw a smile from me as they once did. And no, this is not going to be some rant or lecture about the evils of drink. I will not insult your intelligence with such a stance. It is just weird to suddenly be so aware. This awareness has come about following my brother’s death at the hands of an impaired driver. If not for that I would still be unaware. And I wonder, what else in life have I become immune to?
Years ago I was writing an article about mental illness and interviewed a young man who suffered with severe anxiety disorder. He pointed out how often we will say someone is “crazy”, when what we really mean is that person is exuberant, wild, unique, and perhaps a nonconformist. Unless or until someone close to us is struggling with a mental illness we are blissfully unaware of the pain and the difficulty people live with, or the pain caused by some of our language such as “retard”, “insane” and yes, “crazy”. Labels are never good.
Life is a mystery whereby we walk around like zombies at times – like sleep walkers. We are totally unaware and live in total ignorance. I am not sure I like this new sensitivity, but I also know it will serve a purpose. I just haven’t yet figured out what that may be.
What’s in a word?
In a touch
In a hand reached out to comfort
In eyes warm and bright
To show love
And beyond words
How to find a way
The joy I feel
Because you walk this road with me
Expression best revealed
I will show you in deed
And not in flowery phrase
And you will know
You are loved