Warning: yet another post about Covid 19, a.k.a. the Corona virus


I am doing my best to stay positive, but being a bit of a news junkie and having so much time on my hands I find it next to impossible to stay away from online news on the computer and the overwhelming number of stories centered around Covid 19. Some stories really rip my heart out like the news out of Italy that they may be forced to make a decision on who gets life-saving ventilators and who doesn’t. Absolutely heartbreaking. The criteria seem to be whether you are (or were) in relatively good health prior to contracting the virus, your age, and other criteria, leaving doctors in the untenable situation of deciding who lives and who dies. These two stuck with me because 1. My husband I are no spring chickens and 2. My husband’s health. It is such an alarming and sad story.

Other stories make me downright furious such as a story I read on social media concerning staff at a popular coffee shop in Ontario cheering on the fact that the population of elderly citizens in their town will potentially be radically reduced by the virus. Apparently, the staff were young people and were joking around about the virus being a “Boomer Remover”.  Yeah, I’m not laughing either. I thought a lot about writing about this on my blog because I know these young people are in no way representative of the younger generations. But it really hurt me. I am, after all, one of the baby boomer generation. And, I know they are right, “the truth hurts”. This virus will likely wipe out a lot of older people.

As I said, I know these particular young people are not representative of their generation, but it makes me wonder if the elderly are getting the respect they deserve – not just because of age but because we are all human beings. And what about the sick and vulnerable? Do they not also deserve our concern and protection? Are people taking seriously the need for social distancing? Seeing images of crowded beaches in Florida makes me wonder. In a couple of weeks, I have no doubt that the number of people infected will jump tremendously because of the March break celebrations. It’s very frustrating. I suspect the number of deaths in Italy will pale in comparison. Perhaps it’s time government stepped up and made self isolation mandatory. In the meanwhile, there is little I can do but hope and pray. Stay healthy my friends, and stay safe.

International Women’s Day


First of all I want to send a shout out to all the fantastic women I have met via my blog. You all are so awesome and I am so glad to have “met” you. I hope you find lots to celebrate today. I applaud your talent, your wisdom, and your kind sharing of your experiences and/or sharing of images or music that move us all.

I have been blessed to know so many strong, kind, and generous women in my life. Two very special women really stand out as the epitome of wisdom and courage in my mind, women I do my best to emulate and follow.

One was a teacher, then a principal. She was a Presentation Sister and served as leader of the order in Newfoundland & Labrador for a period of time (back in the day this role had the title of Mother Superior). She was one of many women religious who had a big impact on my life – a very positive impact. Sister Regina retired from the teaching profession and went back to school becoming a licensed psychologist and making a huge difference in the lives of many. She is one of my many sheroes and someone I remember fondly.

A second woman I met while writing stories for the local daily paper, the Western Star, in Corner Brook, NL, Canada, several years ago. It is an interview I thoroughly enjoyed. The lady was retiring (again) from the Star after working there for many years. She delivered the paper to communities many kilometers away, often through stormy winter weather and over stretches of highway that wound through wooded areas famous for car accidents involving moose. She had started her career as a bookkeeper for the same paper. Later she would retire from that position to go back to school. All in all this woman retired from three positions she’d held for many years. She was seventy-nine years old when I met her and still going strong. She liked to keep busy and had many plans for things she wanted to do after she retired.

Women make such wonderful contributions to society, often despite many personal struggles and heavy challenges. Today I celebrate all the women I’ve known. Those I am related to; those I am proud to call friends; and those I have never met and yet their stories inspire and sustain me. Thank you, Creator, for the women who have blessed my life.

For everything there is a season – turn, turn, turn


Well, it’s true, I guess, there is a time and a season for everything under the sun. It’s been a busy summer – not much fun to be had while packing boxes etc. But that is behind me now. I am still not finished with the unpacking, but at a point where what’s left can be done bit by bit. I am so grateful for the help of my children, especially my daughter who came to help with it all. She returned to her home last evening. I will miss her terribly, but very appreciative of all she did. I cannot help but mention all the help my son and daughter-in-law were as well as my other daughter and her boyfriend. We are so blessed in our family.

My body still hurts somewhat and it will take a while to recover from it all but I am content with what we have accomplished so far. We even have a few pictures on the walls that makes this little place feel more homey. We have walked around the park-like setting that butts up against the back yard here and enjoyed watching the ducks in the pond (photos will follow soon). There isn’t a lot of summer weather left but I intend to enjoy it as much as possible before the chill of fall sets in. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope you’re enjoying the season. I am back ha ha. Cheers!

On gates and chimes, a prayer


Gate swinging in the wind

Discordant sound

Hinges needing oiling

Wind chimes

Music

A welcome sound

Isn’t life like that?

Discordant, sometimes

Irritating, sometimes

Merry, sometimes

Joyful, sometimes

But always good

Always

I thank you, God

For the wind

That brings movement

And change

Help me accept it all

The good and the not-so-good

And help me see the blessings

In both

Slow down the quick, quick


These days I have a lot of time on my hands as my husband receives treatment and recovers from some serious issues. I am in the big city far away from home; from family and friends; from work; from the people, pets, and things that make up my daily life. I am grateful to my son and daughter-in-law for sending me a notebook to use while I am here. It allows me to access my emails, social media, and gives me a tool to write with.

 It’s an older model and in combination with public Wifi, it can be a little frustrating doing anything online. Which got me to thinking about the fast pace of life. Being forced to slow down for a spell is a good thing.

I am being taught patience – by a machine no less! For instance, allowing the notebook to do a “performance scan” seems to take forever. I can get pretty impatient with it, and yet I have no choice but to wait until updates are installed and the antivirus cleans things up. Perhaps it is high time I used a personal antivirus program to defog my life – some call it prayer.

It also makes me think of the last time I took serious stock and really reflected on my life. In a sense this time away from home is helping me do a “performance scan” of a different sort. As the saying goes, “the unreflected life is not worth living”. I am not sure who the author was of that bit of wisdom, but I find it so true. It is in the deep reflection of one’s life that personal and emotional growth happens. So, I am doubly grateful for this notebook!

In addition to the path of self-discovery, this extended hospital stay has made me appreciate anew the gift of each minute, hour, and day I have been given and helped me to realize how much time I have allowed to be consumed by technology.

It is as if the universe is sending me a message to slow down the quick, quick.

How much time do you spend online?

Life’s curve balls – about grief


Many years ago, my father had a massive heart attack. It would be followed over the years by many more as well as angina attacks. My siblings and I were all braced to meet his final demise. We were all sure that we would lose him first. Then life threw us a curve ball – as it is wont to do. Seven years after my Dad’s massive heart attack we learned my mother had cancer. She was a diabetic and had been admitted to hospital to learn how to take insulin by injection. When they did the blood tests, they found the cancer. She died ten days after she was admitted. Dad died four years later.

Two years ago, my brother was killed instantly when his vehicle was hit by a drunk driver. He would join his infant daughter on the other side of the veil. In 2012 we lost two of our nephews – one to cancer and his older brother six months before that to a brain aneurism. There have been a lot of deaths in our family. Now, we are all growing older and facing the one certitude in life: one day we will all die. It is life’s one and only guarantee.

Life is hard at times. My husband is in hospital once again. If you follow this blog you will know he is in poor health – a diabetic with heart and kidney disease. We recently were told he also has lung disease. It is one more hurdle to face. Another challenge to meet. Once again, I am grieving the day he will no longer be at my side. But, as my parents’ deaths taught me, we do not have any guarantees in life. What my husband’s arduous journey has taught me is to live life one day at a time and to be grateful for all its small blessings.

Life is so precious and so fragile. I am grieving my husband’s failing health and all it may mean. I pray I will be given the strength to help him and the wisdom to know how best to do so. And I pray I will recognize the blessings that come my way each and every day. And I will celebrate the life we have, as limited as it may be. I will celebrate the love I have known. I weep, but I also give praise with open hands to the Creator who is teaching me and helping me learn the lessons that come with each curve ball.

Remembering Christmases past and wishing you all the best of the season


Merry Christmas!

I haven’t been feeling my best for weeks now. But, despite that I am looking forward to Christmas. It can be a bit crazy, even depressing at times, but I truly love this time of year. People seem more caring and empathetic than at any other time. When I was a child our family would drive to the church for midnight mass. We lived in rural Newfoundland, on the west coast of the island. Life was so simple then – or maybe it’s because I was a child and it seems simpler looking back. I remember the moon shining on the bay we drove along and my father remarking on how calm the water was. I remember singing Christmas carols and I remember my parents sitting waiting for all of us to get up Christmas morning. The tree never went up before Christmas Eve and in the morning it all seemed so magical. There were never a lot of gifts, but we appreciated the few things we received.

What is it about Christmas that makes me so nostalgic? As I place ornaments on the tree each one brings back memories of Christmases past and how very blessed and fortunate my life has been. No, it hasn’t been easy and sometimes life seems so unfair – but it is a good life nonetheless.

Wherever you are, and whomever you are sharing Christmas with this year, I hope you feel blessed. I hope joy overwhelms you. I hope you feel the peace and goodwill the season can bring. And above all this, I wish you love. Merry Christmas!

To speak or not to speak: Responding to Grief


pexels-photo-356842 GRIEF

Photo Credit: Pixabay

It’s not so much the fact that loved ones die that keeps us mourning, but the fact we are here without them. In especially close relationships the grief seems unbearable. When that special someone is the person we shared our intimate thoughts with, confided in, laughed with, cried with, shared life with, the desolation is brutal. It’s said that time heals all wounds, but I disagree with that sentiment. I think we carry the wounds for the rest of our lives, but time does help us carry on, despite the wounds. I think the worst thing about grief is the way it takes us back to experience anew every single occasion where we lost someone we loved like some kind of twisted and tortuous boomerang.

In today’s world it seems like grief is either ignored, shamed, or bullied into a dark closet. But people can only begin to heal once they feel safe and their emotions validated. I find it strange how, in our society at least, that people are so uncomfortable with grief. Yet death is the one thing that is an absolute guarantee. It will come to each of us – nobody is getting out of here alive.

In my family it’s okay to talk about death – though we, as individuals, may deal with the aftermath in different ways. Some seem so dry-eyed and strong while others cry copious tears and wear their hearts on their sleeves. It doesn’t matter what the personal expression of grief may be, it is, by and large, respected and accepted.

I remember years ago when I went back to school after a sudden death in the family how uncomfortable and awkward most of my classmates were around me. But there were two very young men who approached me to say ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ and how much their simple expression of condolences meant to me.

So, my advice would be, don’t be afraid to express simple condolences. While a grieving person may be in pain, your words may bring them a bit of comfort. Don’t be afraid to mention the person who died – most people are grateful to have their loved ones remembered. I think it hurts more to be ignored or to not have your pain acknowledged and/or validated.

I am speaking from my own personal experience, which may vary greatly with the next person’s. But I think we, as a society, have much to learn about coping with death. And to me ignoring it is not an option.

My beloved Uncle may you R.I.P.


Yesterday I found out that a beloved uncle has died. He was ninety-one years old. Many have said he lived a long life. Yes, he did. Others have said it was his time. That’s a fair point, I guess. But does age really matter? I mean, loss is loss, and no matter the age it’s still painful. My uncle was a fun loving, mischievous, and very caring man. I could live to be a hundred and more and never meet a kinder, sweeter person. It hurts knowing that I will never get to visit him again or hear his laughter – the man would laugh until tears freely poured down his face. He really enjoyed a good joke! He also loved to play tricks and pranks on his loved ones. And he could never hide it when he had a plan – his eyes would twinkle and his grin would give him away long before he could execute his plans. But he absolutely loved it when one of his pranks was carried off before his victim caught on to what he was doing. Here’s a little case in point:

We were building an addition onto the little house we’d bought and my uncle came to help. He and my husband were busy outside nailing down the floor joists. My husband was so caught up in what he was doing he didn’t notice my uncle behind him nailing another joist in place. They were standing on ladders as the addition included a basement and they were laying the foundation for the ground floor.   I was in the house when I heard a light tap on the door. I opened it to my uncle who was bent over, laughing hard, and gasping for breath. He couldn’t catch his breath to tell me what was so funny. He was pointing to the corner where my husband was caught between the floor joists and could not move. My uncle had him trapped there. And it wasn’t enough for me to see the results of his prank, he wasn’t satisfied until everyone in the house seen what he had done. Then, and only then, did he pull the joist off so my husband could move.

Aw, the many happy memories. This was one of my uncle’s favorite stories to tell at every family gathering of which we were part. Actually, it is also one of my husband’s favorite tales to tell whenever my uncle’s name comes up in conversation. Do you remember when…it always begins. With my uncle there are many remember when moments. They are memories we will cherish.

He was also such an exceedingly kind man. He loved his family dearly. I remember his stories of how he met my aunt and the love in his eyes as he related it to me; of how smitten he was with her. She also died in November, five years ago. He missed her terribly. That same pride would shine in his eyes as he told me of the latest news of his children or grandchildren.

The memories are a comfort to me. Yes, it hurts that he is gone. But he left us an example of a life well-lived and adversities overcome.  We will mourn the fact he is no longer with us, but we will celebrate the fact that he lived, loved, and celebrated life with gusto. I will endeavor to follow his example. Rest in Peace Uncle Leo, you will always be remembered fondly and with love.

 

 

 

 

Cold, cold November – remembering those no longer with us


winter

 

It actually is quite cold here this morning, and it’s been snowing on and off for a couple of days now. Snow – frozen rain falling from the skies.  The song by Guns ‘n Roses,  November Rain, plays in my head. “And it’s hard to hold a candle in the cold November rain”. It’s a song about relationship; about love and loss. Even though it’s a love song and the story about the struggles of two people in a romantic relationship, the ballad is so sad, so haunting – it brings back painful memories for me – not about a romance gone bad – but about loss, irretrievable loss.

November – Remembrance Day and recalling the sacrifices made in two horrific world wars. All those who died. All those who were irreparably wounded in body and soul…

November – the month my father died…

November – and remembering the day two years ago when I got that awful call – my brother was killed by a drunk driver.

November, a month I dread with its admonishments that life is fragile.

And realizing, yet again, that it is this very fragility that reminds us life is precious – so very, very precious! A reminder to live life with a grateful heart and to appreciate all the blessings that are given; that even though the earth may freeze, underneath the killing frost new life waits to bloom again….