Playlist of the Week
This post made me laugh out loud when I read it because I had one of those weeks where I couldn’t wait for it to be over! I actually have a long playlist of songs that I saved after my twin died and after my Dad died. Songs that when I was really feeling down I just put them on and cranked up the volume and just went with whatever I felt.
In no specific order
1. Bad Day–Daniel Powter
This was Friday. It talks about how even when we are having a bad day we all paste on the smile and go about our lives as if everything is good. Truthfully I’m not good at this because I wear my emotions on my sleeve.
2. Cry if you Want To–Holly Cole
This is a song that a friend of mine introduced me to. It is her theme song. “You can cry if you want to I won’t tell you not to”. It talks about how ugly it is to cry but how much of a release it is. I had a week that was overwhelming and I needed that release.
3. The Climb–Miley Cyrus
Introduced to me by another friend after my Dad died. I would play it over and over again. “There’s always gonna by another mountain”. It’s not about how fast we get there. It’s a powerful song, a song of hope and sometimes I need that.
4. Brave–Sara Bareilles
Heard this song on a morning show. Love how powerful it is as well. Hmm I see a pattern here. My friends all think I’m strong but there are times when I think they have more faith in me than I have in myself.
5. Let it Go–Idina Menzel
I have to learn that there are things that I can’t control.
Burning Down the House
If my house was on fire the 5 things I would save
1. My purse. ID and money.
2. The family picture that you see in this post. It’s the last picture that I have of my Dad. My Dad hated going to have his picture taken and my brother and my Dad grumbled the entire time but my Mom and I treasure it now that he’s gone. I had to have it specially made because they didn’t the right frame.
3. My Dad’s photo album. He has pictures of his parents, of him when he was little, when he was first dating my Mom, baby pictures of us. Our whole life is in that album.
4. A box of letters that people sent when my twin died. I have 2 letters from people from high school that I didn’t even know well but felt that they had to send a card. It was special to see how many lives Janet touched.
5. My teddy bear. It’s not old but it’s been with me since my twin died and has wiped many a tear.
When I look over this list all but one have sentimental value to me. The things I could never replace.
I’m not a person who can make up new words so I’m going to use a word that already exists.
It’s actually not a new word but if you type it into a word document it will underline the word in red because the word doesn’t exist. The first time I saw this I thought “isn’t that interesting because the word shouldn’t exist”. The word seems so small for how great the loss is but what other word is there.
When I went to a twinless twins conference in Detroit I was asked by the customs agent where I was going so I told him. “What the heck is that?” Society knows what a twin is but twinless is a foreign word. Truthfully it was a foreign word to me. How could I be a twin and twinless both? I’m twinless because my twin died but I will always be a twin because I honour the life I had with her. I am the keeper of our memories.
Embrace the Ick
Oh my goodness the first thing that comes to mind for this prompt is my twin’s dislike for cleaning the toilet. It was the only job that she wouldn’t do. My Mom would tell her “you use it don’t you!” but that didn’t matter. “That’s gross”.
Mine would have to be cleaning the oven because I hate the fumes. Plus once I actually tackle it there is months of caked on food and even with wearing cleaning gloves I get it all up my arms–yuck!
It’s the little things that we remember when someone we love dies. The things that made them unique, special.
Only one word comes to mind for all 3 words…DAD.
My Dad loved to garden and our lot goes back about 300 ft to the river. There is a book on the shelf with notes and papers that he used to map out what the garden was going to look like. It is almost falling apart but I had to keep it because it’s the essence of my Dad. I have very little of his writing so this book is precious.
My Dad could be found out in the garden as soon as the ground was soft enough to work with until the first frost. He would be itching to go outside as soon as the weather warmed up. In the winter months he could be found in the basement doing woodworking.
My sister and I would be roped into helping him–mostly if he went to the garden centre so he could have an extra pair of hands. I hated going to the garden centre because most of the time there weren’t any people in the section that he wanted. My Dad was a person that was hard to buy presents for so I started buying him gift cards to the hardware store. He kind of thought it was cheating but at least I knew he always used it. Although there were times he forgot it in his wallet.
Cancer stole many things from him and one of those things was being able to garden. When he was undergoing treatment he couldn’t go outside because of the sun. He came home 2 months before he died and it was almost worse than being in the hospital because he didn’t have the energy to go outside but could see it out the window. I would go and pick some of the flowers and put them in a vase beside his bed. When my Dad died one of the hymns my Mom picked was “In the garden”. All 4 of us were bawling as soon as she started singing. In the eulogy the minister talked about our inside joke. Dad always said that we couldn’t do work on Sunday but one day I asked him how come he got to work outside? “That’s not work, that’s puttering”
Yep, that’s my Dad!
Enough Is Enough
In response to the daily prompt…um did you read yesterdays post sometimes it feels like everyday.
I found this email from a friend of mine and it seems to fit for an answer. It was approximately a year after my twin died.
“As for your ‘constructive’ stuff… just remember, it has been a huge accomplishment for you just to get through a year! I remember getting to a point where I too, looked back and thought, I didn’t do much, I could have done so much more… but then looked at it again and was quite amazed at how much I had done including dealing with his death. Suddenly the little things didn’t look so little anymore. They were big because they were happening while I was dealing with the biggest loss of my entire life.You have done a lot to look after your family. A lot has happened even since Janet passed away, and you have been there and supported your family through that. You have been an emotional support to your mother, as I’m sure she also has been for you, and you have gotten up every single day and still gone out and done things. Going to the library, visiting with friends, supporting myself and others who are also experiencing loss. Those are things often overlooked by people, since they are not associated with a “job” but they are none the less very significant, and might I also add productive things.”
Grief is huge, it takes a physical and emotional toll on you. Caregiving is a hard job although in our society people don’t really see it as a “job”. There were days when my Dad had cancer when I wanted to run away. I wanted to pretend that this wasn’t happening, that I wasn’t going to lose another family member but that just wasn’t possible. My friends think I’m brave and I guess facing my fears is but it was never easy.
My youth minister told us about a bumper sticker that reads “Weak is the new strong”. In that case I’m Superwoman!
Once Upon a Time
Once upon a time in a land not that far away there was a beautiful maiden named Rose. Rose lived with the elderly Queen Lena. She loved Lena but the castle was huge and not enough servants. She cooked and she cleaned but she never got ahead.
Rose had a secret room in the castle where no one could find her. Here she wrote her innermost thoughts and dreams. Occassionally she would give it to the town crier. The towns people loved Rose and she loved them.
Rose was working in the kitchen when she heard a tap at the door. The Queen went to answer. “Excuse me your highness but your taxes are due.” “AGAIN? I just paid them. Greedy bastards” Soon after Rose could hear the phone ringing. “Oh, that will be Sir Francis, he’s after my money again”
Your highness I’m off to the market. She collected bag after bag of fruits, veggies and meat. Now how am I going to get them home? she pondered. “Excuse me miss, can I be of service?”. A beautiful carriage was parked near her. She hopped on and he drove her back to the castle. “Let me help you with your bags my lady.”
Maybe the week was looking up after all.
WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE
(Note: This was written 5 yrs ago)
That every day we wake up is a chance for an accomplishment. And even in my toughest times I have still accomplished 30 things.
I am a teacher and a student. For when I am teaching others about loss I can also learn from others. I can encourage “come to the side of others” and that feels good!
Words hurt. Things that may have been appropriate before are NOT appropriate now.
It’s still fun to play in the leaves at 35—especially when I have someone to join me! What a joy it was. I realized that sometimes we have to make our own fun and hold on to that joy!
You can never have too many teddy bears.
I can’t be strong all of the time and it’s alright to ask for help. It’s alright to choose not to do something if I’m not ready.
I can laugh and cry at the same time.
Everyone has their own gifts and I shouldn’t compare myself to others.
Even though I have made many new friends since Janet died I would trade them all if I could bring her back.
Even though the saying “friends are the family you choose for yourself” sounds trite it’s true!
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”. How often I wondered how I even got the strength to go on but I could only say it was through a lot of prayer!
Once upon a time in the land of Stoneville there lived 2 beautiful princesses named Genevieve and Grace. Life was pretty well perfect.
One day while they were out walking the forest they came across an angry dragon. Before she could react the dragon had captured Grace. “Now I’ve got you, your kingdom will be mine”.
“What do you want?” asked Genevieve.
“I will put a curse on your kingdom. Your sister is mine unless you do what I say”
Genevieve was frightened for her sister.
What is your name? She asked of the dragon.
My name is Wilf. I used to be a king but a witch transformed me into a dragon. I have been in this body for hundreds of years and I want to get back to the land of ToadIsland. According to the curse you must find me a talking frog. Then I can go free.
Hmm she thought, a talking frog. She wandered along the river deep in thought and all of a sudden she heard a croaking noise. Excuse me princess what seems to be the matter? Wait…you talk? Are you going to turn into a prince if I kiss you. Yes, your highness. Ok, come with me.
Genevieve had no use for a Prince so once he jumped into her hand she placed him into her pocket and ran back to the forest. Here you are a talking frog.
Oh thank you, I’m so hungry. GULP. Genevieve had a secret. She had placed a sword near the dragon.
HA, now the curse is lifted. After all she was a kick ass princess and no one needed to rescue her!
And all was right with the world.
Sometimes things happen in life that remind me of how I am seen in the world.
On Tuesday I took a cab to a Dr appointment. I usually take the bus but the sidewalks were messy so I decided to play it safe. So the cab driver asked me “don’t you drive?” I used to say “no, I never learned but I get by” but I decided to tell it like it is. My Dad took my brother out for lessons but wouldn’t take me.
Yesterday my mother’s accountant came to the house to go over some stuff. Because I am on joint he had some questions for me as well. At the end of the conversation he asks if there is anyone else on with me. I know that his question is really code for “you’re a woman and incapable of doing it by yourself”. It’s a hard thing to carry with me all my life. To feel that I am “less than” because I’m a girl. It’s why I haven’t shared my writing with my family because for now it’s something that is MINE, private, sacred.