Overflowing basket of clothes
Odor wafting up to my nose
Over the chair and under the bed
Will I ever get ahead?
Onto the basement I must go
Oodles of suds watch them throw
Over and under around the drum
Oh goodie that sound means their done
Only 3 more loads to do
Oh laundry I’m through with you
I was thinking last night how many of my trips have been taken after a transition in my life. My first big one was after I graduated high school. “The girls” went to California and Arizona on a tour for 10 days. Dad didn’t like to travel and my brother was busy with soccer in the summer. Almost a year after Janet died I went to Vancouver, then after Dad died Mom and I went on a Carribean cruise. There is a common thread to all of these places too…water. My favourite place when we went to California and area was Lake Tahoe. Janet’s favourite place was Santa Barbara. She felt ill after eating at a certain restaurant one night but was able to walk down the pier to look at the water.
There is something calming about water. My favourite picture is of Lake Tahoe. Favourite in Vancouver is of me dipping my feet in the ocean. There is a beautiful picture of the sun setting over the water on the cruise ship.
I am not the happy wanderer type. As you can see all of these trips were planned out. I had a list of places that I wanted to go in Vancouver and some were dependent on weather so we changed accordingly. One day I had the morning to myself and it was alright to have time to journal/reflect. I walked down streets looking in the shops. I bought flowers for my friend. I found a couple good books at a little bookstore. I walked down to Kitsilano Beach and people watched. A recent TT friend of mine said it sounded like a special trip and it was.
The Happy Wanderer
I am having an amazing time in Vancouver. I thought since I had always wanted to go that I was setting myself up for disappointment but it is everything I thought it would be and more! Vancouver is such a diverse city.
On Saturday we went to Granville Island. We went to the children’s play area. Played whack a mole and basketball game. I did pretty well for someone that sucks at games. They we went for ice cream and looked at the boats. On Sunday we went to the Art Gallery and shopping on Robson Street. I got a totem pole carving for my Dad which he really liked. Said he had always wanted one. I got a shot glass with Vancouver skyline on it for Rob. On Monday we went to Stanley Park and Aquarium. I wasn’t sure I would like the Aquarium but it was cool. It was raining in sheets just before we went in. We sat down on the steps to watch the beluga whale show and got very wet bums. I got some strange looks while trying to dry off with the hand dryer. Took the shuttle bus around and got to take pictures at some of the stops. Could hop on and off. I could not believe the devastation from the storm and took lots of pictures of this too. On Tuesday we went to UBC where she showed me the student residence. It reminded me of the Ewok village in Star Wars. If I studied there I wouldn’t get any work done I would just sit and look at the water and mountains. Went to the Museum of Anthropology. I loved the symbolism of the Totem Poles. They had memory box there where you could write a note to a loved one so I wrote one to Janet. Then we went to Japanese garden and she left me alone to sit with my thoughts. Tuesday night we went to an open mic night at a coffee shop at the end of her street called The Wired Monk. On my final day we walked around Yaletown, Chinatown and Gastown. Took lots of pictures in Chinatown. They have a courtyard with Chinese symbols so my friend took a picture of me standing on the tiger symbol—year that we were born. They have an amazing garden in Chinatown as well. When we stepped into it there was a guy there burning images on Bamboo with a magnifying glass. It was so beautiful. He made a couple of pieces where he burned people’s names in scrap pieces of wood.
See you soon.
much love J
The Happy Wanderer
MY FIRST TWINLESS TWINS CONFERENCE
Sitting at the computer in the library I typed “Twinless Twins” in the search engine. I had heard about the organization from a couple of people at the bereavement group I attended but never took the time to look it up. Scrolling down the page I paused “Oh, look at that…they are having a conference in Toronto”. I wrote out the dates and pertinent information on a piece of paper and stuck it in my purse.
A couple of weeks later I was over at a friend’s house. In the course of conversation I mentioned about finding this information online and before I knew it we were sitting in front of her computer filling out the necessary paperwork for registration. Before i knew what we were doing I had phoned up the hotel and booked a room for 2 nights.
While going home on the bus I thought “Have I just made a big mistake? Am I ready for this? It’s a lot of money for 2 days. What will my family say?” It’s a good thing the bus ride wasn’t longer as my mind was racing with questions but all of those had to be put in the vault until I could figure out how to tell my parents that I was attending. It wasn’t that I thought they wouldn’t approve we just didn’t discuss Janet as a family. What would they think of me talking to complete strangers. Thankfully plenty of time to think about it.
I couldn’t believe how much stuff we had to prepare but we are finally going. I had asked a friend to come with me for moral support. Her voice droned on in the background as I was so nervous I wasn’t really listening. The 2hrs seemed to take forever and yet a part of me wished the train ride would go on forever.
When my friend and I checked in we scanned the lobby. Is that a TT she whispered. Somehow I thought they would have a mark or something that made them stand out. As twins we always stood out I just thought they would obviously stand out.
The Full Moon
When the full moon happens, you turn into a person who’s the opposite of who you normally are. Describe this new you
Well if that’s the case I want to be a size 12!!
Honestly, I don’t know how to answer this post. I’ve changed a lot since my twin died. There are days when I’m angry which is the exact opposite of the person I used to be but then life was simpler back then, my family was complete. I remember writing in my journal that death puts a magnifying glass to the things that I didn’t notice before and they become bigger.
I used to be someone who got along with everyone. People see me as a sweet person but I am also someone that will fight for what I believe in.
My life is full of opposites already. I’m a twin, but twinless. I’m weak and strong. I’ve loved and lost.
The opposites are what challenge me.
When we were growing up my brother was obsessed with wanting a dog. “Mommy can I have a doggie woggie?” He couldn’t understand why he couldn’t have one. My Mom’s answer was “I have 3 kids and a husband that’s enough work!” Such a great answer.
We have a big backyard and people thought it was such a shame that we didn’t have a pet to run around. My Dad took great pride in his garden and lawn so there was no way he was going to have a pet. My Dad grew up on a farm so they probably did have a dog but I don’t think it was allowed in the house. Animals were chores. He and his brothers had to milk the cows before going to school in the morning. My Mom had a dog growing up too. I can’t imagine my Mom walking the dog or picking up after the dog.
I’m more of a dog person. My friends have a cat that is very playful although he is slowing down with age. Our neighbourhood is full of dogs so I’ve often had to clean up after a lazy pet owner. Our neighbour growing up had a dog called “Nip” and a cat named Morris–after the cat on the cat food commercial. They weren’t very original. When Janet was about 2 she would go outside and see our neighbour in the garden. She couldn’t pronouce “Wilf” so it came out like “Woof”. They would give us birthday cards when we were little and sign it “Kathleen and Woof”.
A friend of mine has 2 small dogs and they love them but she does say walking them in the winter isn’t fun. I couldn’t imagine having to get my coat and boots on to take my dogs out in -25 degree weather. UGH not for me!! I don’t always put a coat on when I take out the garbage.
I guess me and pets are like other people’s kids–they can visit but it’s nice when they go home with someone else.
On the Edge
As I write this I can hear the dishwasher cleaning the dishes that I didn’t get to yesterday. It’s one of those days where my kitchen looks like it exploded. I can’t say that cleaning keeps me sane but I feel calmer once it’s tidied. Order is restored. I know I shouldn’t let it get that bad in the first place but some days I just don’t have the energy.
Yesterday I did a little bit of yardwork. I raked the lawn and put fertilizer on. And was quite happy I didn’t find any “presents” on the lawn. I’ve never put fertilizer on by myself so I was feeling pretty proud of myself. I also got a couple loads of laundry done–still in basket but I’ll get to it.
I used to journal a lot but found it was sort of a venting session. My writing teacher told us to do it everyday for homework. I think it’s meant as a writing exercise–to make you think. Since I started blogging I haven’t journalled for a few months.
My ideal day would be to sit outside at the picnic table with a cup of iced coffee and my journal. AHHH
This is a hard prompt because while I have ideas written down and journal entries I don’t have any idea where all of that “stuff” is going. The title of my blog post comes from a booklet that a friend gave me with lines with that word “I am with you always”. “Once a twin always a twin” which is the motto of the twinless twins organization and the locket she gave me when I turned 35 says “Always together in my heart”.
Two really good books I have read about twinloss are titled “With and Without Her” by Dorothy Foltz-Gray and Beginning with the End by Mary R. Morgan. Great titles for both because our twins are always with us but they aren’t physically here. Beginning with the End is what we do when our twins die. Both of these books really resonated with me because my twin died at the same age as Dorothy’s and Mary had a hard time dealing with the death because of how public it was (the same as me).
I want to write our story because I want her to be more than how she died. A friend from church that I have known since nursery said it’s ok…the people that matter know. But it’s more than that. I can’t tell you how many people that don’t even know what a twinless twin is. There aren’t any books in the library.
I kind of feel that writing this blog is a start. At least I know there is an interest out there about twins and twinloss.
Ring of Fire
I’ve never been someone who eats spicy food. Unfortunately I seemed to inherited my Dad’s sensitive stomach (can one inherit that?) so I avoid spicy food. I can’t eat a lot of cooked broccoli, cauliflower is even worse. And yet Janet loved spicy food. She could eat ANYTHING. She was much more adventurous when it came to food, including cooking. We went to a food festival at Victoria Park and she had the jambalya. She would make chili and everyone else ate it but me. Not because it’s spicy but I detest the texture of kidney beans. When my Mom had her kidney transplant we had pork and beans one day and I said I can’t eat that. Dad was not having that and made me. They make me gag so he told me to go and fix myself something else.
Growing up we had the typical family fare..meatloaf, spaghetti, hash brown casserole. My Dad didn’t think a meal was complete without dessert. The rest of us could be full but he would make room for dessert. Janet and I would make chocolate chip cookies to bring to bible study (yes, occasionally we made them for Dad). He would snitch one off the sheet while they were still hot. We would yell out “I hope you burn your tongue!!” Sometimes we didn’t hear him so we would say loud enough “Oh, there seems to be one missing” and he would make like he had no idea where it went. As I write this I’m laughing because I’m reminded of how I never thought Dad was funny but he was!
We each had a favourite meal. My brother’s was lasagna which we usually had when he came home from University. Mine is fettucini. Dad’s would be scalloped potatoes and ham. It’s weird but I don’t know what Janet’s favourite meal is. She ate everything so I don’t know what her FAVOURITE was.
The Satisfaction of a List
This is an exercise that I did with a friend about 5 yrs ago. One chapter asks to make a list of twenty-five (yes, twenty-five!) things you are most proud of accomplishing over the last twelve months. This list may include ways you’ve grown as a person, goals you’ve achieved, and the positive changes that you’ve made in your life.
I couldn’t find the journal that I did the exercise in so I will start from Jan this year…
1. Wrote on my blog everyday. Some days I missed but I did 2 other days so I think it would even out in the end.
2. Looked after a house on my own including helping Mom make decisions
3. Found a grocery delivery service.
4. Caring for my Mom–including bathing
5. Grown in confidence in my writing including finding my voice.
6. Encouraged a new twinless twin and made a new friend in the process
7. Managing money more prudently
8. I would like to think I’m educating others by my blog.