The monster’s demise

“Leave me alone,” screams the child within

But the ogre under my rib cage will have none of it

Like a leach attached to tender skin it continues to suck me dry

Consuming every bit of life and leaving me gasping

The control monster stomps freely

Holding me captive

At the end of a leash

“OH, freedom, come, please come” the soul whimpers

Jailed within – though seemingly free without

I travel in endless circles of malaise

Though I struggle, scream, and shout

No one answers – they do not hear

The leash is short and freedom curtailed by its length

The chains around my heart squeeze like an enormous boa constricter

Until my every breath pains me

Locked in a seemingly never-ending crater of loneliness

Pain and isolation are of my making

No other creator but I

The monster breathes

But only because I allow it

I will lift the sword again

I muster every bit of inner strength

I will chop off the monster’s head

Chuck it into the garbage bin where it belongs

And try again to soldier on

The thirst for freedom I will slake

And taste again the sweetness of life

To speak or not to speak

My mind is reeling with the words of the pathologist reverberating in my head while images of Chris in that casket flash on and off like some demented disco ball. Many people do not want to talk about it. That’s okay – they are dealing with the aftermath in the best way they can.  Personally, I need to talk. I need to let it out – but where? Grieving is a highly personal thing. So if you’re following this blog you are forewarned. I am going to talk! At the same time I am not a fully open book. Evidence of this blog aside, I am a private person. I don’t particularly want to “put it all out there” but I need to release these demons that hound me. I need to start getting ready for work and I do not want to carry this into my day. To speak or not to speak, that is the question. At the moment writing about my dilemma is helping, but time grows short. I guess I will have to leave it for a better time.

Fear and Rage


Fear and rage

That two-headed monster that lives within

Like a lion it paces back and forth

And springs, when I unleash it

Only to suck me dry like some psychic vampire

Leaving me weak and helpless

I cry to the heavens for help

And help does come

Through human hands

It soothes me

And shackles the monster once again

And frees me

The fear that consumed me has been banished by loving care

The rage quieted

I am at peace

And I give thanks

For the knowledge

I have only to ask

And help will come

Pearls of Wisdom: the uselessness of worry

A flagman directs traffic on highway under construction

I have been blessed to know many different people in my life, and they each imparted a pearl of wisdom that has contributed to my health and happiness. One such pearl is the knowledge that worry and anxiety create stress, which releases toxins into the body. Over time these toxins can break down the immune system and cause serious illness. This is why it is so important to avoid worry. In today’s world much has been written about the importance of positive thinking and the interrelation between mind, body, and spirit. What affects one will affect them all. So guard your thoughts. Don’t let worry consume you. As the adage says: “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere”.

A mantra that I particularly like is “this, too, shall pass”. And no matter what it is, nothing lasts forever, be it good times or bad times. I wish you well. I wish you many blessings and the ability to recognize them when they arrive.

Positive versus negative


It is so easy to fall into the negativity trap. As a friend once said, “your thoughts are like dominoes, one block falls into another, into another, and so on”. Negative thoughts seem to generate more negative thoughts. But the good news is positive thoughts do the same and lead to more positive thoughts. My friend is very wise!

To stop the avalanche of negativity from swamping you and making life miserable you only have to become aware of what you think about. It’s not easy and it takes practice, but I can assure you from personal experience that it’s worth it and it can be done.

Negative thinking is only a habit of thinking – a pattern that can make you and those around you very unhappy.  And misery really does love company! Choose your thoughts carefully. You can make positive thinking a habit by paying attention to your thought process.  And as my wise friend also said in relation to negative thinking: “Don’t take that first think”.

A thank you to the bully I once knew

Musing photo by Anastacia Hopkins

This one is for the girl who taunted, insulted, and belittled me every chance she got. Thank you. You helped me learn what it feels like to feel sad; to feel less than others; to feel like I didn’t belong. In the process you helped me learn empathy and compassion. You made me stronger. Thank you.

You vented your frustration on me. I was your emotional punching bag. You helped me learn that I didn’t ever want to be that again. I learned that I matter. I learned to stand up for myself, though I didn’t at the time. As a friend of mine puts it: “to be somebody’s doormat you have to lay down first ‘. I will not lie down. I will stand firm. My experiences with you helped me learn this. Thank you.

You helped me see that my sensitivity, while it caused me great pain at the time, turned out to be my greatest strength, for I can see the pain in another’s eyes and reach out to help them. Thank you.

I came to understand how deeply unhappy you really were, and so I learned forgiveness. Thank you.

When I was young I thought I was weak and you were strong. But to be strong means to be kind; to be merciful; to be true to one’s values. That is what I learned.  So, thank you.

To have healthy self esteem means that the opinions of others are just that – their opinions and I do not ever have to allow them to define who I am.  Thank you.

Because you judged me I learned what it feels like to be judged and I vowed to never be that kind of person; The kind of person who defines others by their colour, religion, gender, or place of birth. Thank you.

All of the children in our class were afraid of your wrath and so nobody would play with me. I learned what isolation and loneliness feels like. I learned the importance of reaching out to the downtrodden; the lonely; the stranger and the outcast. In the process I have met wonderful people who became friends. So, thank you.

So you see, while your words hurt, they did not win out. It was never really about you – it was about the lessons I needed to learn. I like the person I’ve become. So, thank you!

Do not look to the stars


Do not look to the stars

The answer is not there

Nor is it in the widest ocean

Or on the mountain tops

But look inside, deep inside

Where you will discover

The secrets hidden in your heart

Behind some thick and heavy door

That you can open if you have the will

And the courage

To face what lays there

Curled and forgotten

Within the confines

Of your self

I hope….

So here it is, New Year’s Eve, and many people I know have been telling me how happy they are to see the end of 2016. I myself cannot look forward with any sense of joyful anticipation to 2017 due to circumstances way beyond my control. Reality is bitter sometimes. And right now it is bitter. My brother died on November 19, 2016 and we face a year of court dates as the impaired driver has been charged in my brother’s death and the wheels of justice roll very slowly.

I am trying to find the positives here. I know the year ahead will also hold joys. At least I hope it will. It’s all a matter of balance, isn’t it? Life is a series of ups and downs – nothing lasts forever, except love. I am grateful, extremely grateful, for the love and support of my family and friends, without whom I do not know how I would get through all this.

Life is a gentle teacher, or so I’ve been told, but there is nothing gentle about death and particularly not violent death. It is one thing to lose a loved one to natural causes and quite another to have them snatched out of our lives so cruelly and senselessly.

Having said all this I do hope I will learn something of value through this horrific experience. I hope and pray to find forgiveness for that impaired driver. I hope to learn something that will benefit others who have to undergo such an experience – though I would not wish it on anyone. I hope I will find much to celebrate this coming year. And I hope the ups will outnumber the downs that are sure to follow. In the end only kindness matters; I hope I will extend my hands in kindness and forgive all else….I hope and pray that this year I will be a channel of peace….

Counting My Blessings

I am trying to count my blessings as Christmas approaches, which is not easy this year as we lost a precious member of our family recently. Tomorrow marks the one month anniversary of my brother’s death. So my heart has been heavy and I cannot help thinking of all the families going through similar pain. Even news out of the city of Aleppo in Syria adds to my own personal grief, though I do not know any of the people there I feel for their terror and anguish. It all makes me feel so hopeless and helpless.

The words of a Christmas Carol, “I heard the bells on Christmas Day” has been resonating with me, especially the words, “for hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth good will to men”.  But the lyrics continue with “Then rang the bells more loud and deep, God is not dead nor does He sleep, the wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth good will to men”. The latter verse is the one I am trying desperately to keep foremost in my mind, for in my heart of hearts I believe in the inherent goodness of humanity.

I have heard it said, “Hate the sin, not the sinner” and I think that is really good advice – for whom among us has not transgressed in some way or other? We all cause pain for others sometimes. If we are big enough and aware enough we apologize and do our best not to repeat an offense, but we are all mere humans after all. We make mistakes.

So as I sit here counting my blessings I think of all the ways I have been blessed. I am thinking especially about the support of a loving family, friends, and wonderful coworkers. I have had compassion and love poured upon me from many incredible human beings. It has been balm for my soul to know I am not alone, that people do care.

There are so many blessings, I live in comfortable, warm surroundings – I am not homeless, as many are. I have enough to eat, clothes, transportation, while many are hungry, destitute, and without the means to travel anywhere. I am employed at a job I enjoy while many face the stress of living without gainful employment, or work at a job they hate. I live in freedom and safety – many areas of the world do not enjoy all that we take for granted in Canada. I am healthy while many are sick. So, while life is not perfect and I mourn my brother, there is still much to be thankful for, and many blessings.