Trick or Trick
Currently I have been cleaning out the closets in my home. It’s a job that I am doing alone. Somehow it makes it easier…if this process can be considered easy…because I don’t have to answer to anyone. In Mom’s closet I found her wedding dress. It’s a very simple straight a-line dress. But what to do with it? I thought of saving it for my niece but would she even get the sentimental value of it 10, 15 years from now? I’m saving some of her shirts. The one she wore for my niece’s baptism, her red shirt that she wore to many dinners, a green silky shirt that was her favourite. They don’t take up that much room in the closet.
When Janet died I saved her bridesmaids dress, a dress that she wore to my cousin’s wedding and her favourite pair of dress shoes–lace up boots. None of which I will wear but when I look at them in the closet I’m reminded of her of the times when she wore them. I still have her Ernie doll that she got for Christmas when she was 6. The arm was sewn back on and it’s pretty ratty. And MY DAD told me to keep it. He was a gruff person a lot of the time but there was some sentimentality in their too.
Nobody ever tells you how hard it will be to do this after they pass on. There’s no book for this. I remember wanted to keep everything because I thought we can’t get rid of her clothes she’s going to need them when she comes back.
I wasn’t really sure what photo to choose for this because for me it’s about treating myself. It’s a reminder of a wonderful weekend shared with a special friend. Now that’s a treat. I treated myself to a hotel room, a wonderful dinner and a manicure the next day. I think in life we forget sometimes to treat ourselves to something we enjoy.
This is a picture taken at my grandparents apartment for Hallowe’en. Grandma helped us with our costumes. The cape was my Mother’s when she was pregnant. Funny at the time I never wondered why she kept it. It was beautifully lined and quite heavy. Grandma made the hat. I don’t know where she got the wig for Janet. I know the coat and hat were Grandmas. That was the best costume ever! And if you haven’t already guessed she went as an old lady. We were 7 when this picture was taken.
When we went trick or treating Mom always took us. When we were old enough to go on our own we would stick to our own neighbourhood. There was one house up the street that would run out of candy long before we got there. Our piano teacher used to give out popcorn balls–back when you still could. We would go around the neighbourhood and then end up and my Grandparents building across the street. They always liked to see what we went as. There was another woman that also had grandkids that lived a few doors down from us so she would contribute too. They would have a big bowl on the coffee table and whatever was left was ours. Of course Dad would make us pour it all out on the floor and he would take Oh Henrys and Mom would take Coffee Crisp–the crunchy ones. Which was ok with me because I didn’t like crunchy chocolate bars. When we got older Janet and I would take turns giving out the candy–Oh Henrys. Mom would get 3 bags. 2 for the kids and one for the BIG KID.
One year there was a young family that brought their baby up and I said “oh what a cute frog”. The mother says “he’s a telle tubby”. Ooops. As they are walking away I could hear him say “I told you he looked like a frog”. Learned my lesson…never comment on a costume because you could be wrong.
Comedy of Errors (and bonus assignment!)
Last week at our writing class we started off the class with a centering exercise and we were supposed to visualize a rose. Then we were given 5 minutes to write about it. Everyone else was finished and I was still writing.
A rose has a lot of different meanings for me.
Rose is my middle name, I’ve used it in the title of my blog. There is something delicate about the name yet strong at the same time because of the thorns. A rose doesn’t bloom for long. The deeper the colour the hardier the rose will be.
Roses have a sad connotation for me now because I got yellow roses for Janet’s arrangement for the church for her funeral. Mom and Dad got red. Yellow means friendship and remember me. Janet was and will always be my best friend. Red means love. Mom and I always put yellow and red roses on the grave for our bday. Because yellow is my favourite colour and Janet’s was red. When we were 5 years old we had jumpers that were yellow and red. A neighbour bought be a rose bush for my bday after Janet died. A friend of mine bought me two single roses for my birthday. Pink for me and red for Janet. They have a memorial rose on a table near the pulpit at my church when someone dies. They did it for my Mom even though she wasn’t a member but I am.
For both my parents internment I bought red roses and we placed them on the grave. For my Mom’s my niece wanted to keep hers. There is a picture of her leaning in to smell it on the table at home. She looks so serious and it makes me think she is talking to grandma.
As for the “bonus assignment” prompt last night when I went to bed I actually had to get up and go to the computer to write down thoughts of a poem. I am using the letters of my first and second name to write a poem associated with roses. Right now it’s very sad (not finished) so I may only share it with a couple of people. Who knows I may change direction too.
What’s the thing you’re most scared to do? What would it take to get you to do it?
Things I’m scared to do…
1. Say Goodbye. When my Dad died we were asked by the social worker if we wanted to be there when he took his last breath. Because of how tramatic my sister’s death was we both decided not to. When my Mom died the Drs asked if I wanted to be there and I told them no. When Mom and I went to bereavement group it was a big deal as most of the people had done it. And there is some judgement there too. It took me years to get the image out of my head and when my Mom died it all came flooding back. I want to remember them in happy times.
2. Be alone. Unfortunately I have no choice in this one.
3. Travel. There is some fear in travelling by myself now. A couple people have suggested I go somewhere for Christmas but I just don’t know if I have the energy to do it yet.
4. Have a relationship with my brother. I’m scared I will get hurt again. What would it take to get me to do it? A LOT!!
5. Doing the wrong thing. There are a lot of responsibilites associated with the estate, the house etc. I’m scared of paying too much, picking the wrong person etc.
People see me as a strong person and it’s true but I have learned how to do it over time. I’ve grown into a strong, resourceful person.
If You Leave
Recently I had to fill out some paperwork at the bank and for the lawyer and had to list what my occupation was. When people would ask me when they were talking to me I could say caregiver but I can’t legally write that down so it has to say “unemployed”.
But it isn’t accurate because I was a full time 24/7 caregiver.
Here’s my jobs
Accountant…because I have to keep track of bills, provide a budget for myself, scan anything that needs to be paid at the bank
Housekeeper…tomorrow is garbage day and need to take our recycling (which I also have to sort). I have to clean and sort stuff in the house
Writer and blogger
I AM more than just a job title. I’m also a daughter, sister and friend.
If You Leave
Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?
About 12 or 13 years ago my sister and I left the church that we grew up in. We were invited to a church by a friend of ours that had a dynamic service with a wonderful message and a praise band. It was not an easy decision to make but we needed to find something that fitted our needs. And Mom supported us in our decision. Plus we felt like we were never taken seriously because we were seen as Mom’s kids. This way we were seen as individuals. Since then the church is on it’s 3rd minister. One left to go back to BC, one retired and now we have a new one. I like him but it was a tough time for me because it felt like everyone was leaving even though their choices had nothing to do with me.
I’ve left a few relationsips with friends since Janet died. One was a friend that I made through a bereavement suppport group. We were just going down different paths on our journey. A lot of people will let you down, run away from grief.
I guess the biggest thing I’m going to leave is the home that I grew up in. I’m ready though. Right now is the time when I have to rake up the leaves and clean up the yard before winter. I actually don’t mind raking leaves, it’s very soothing. It’s the bagging that’s a pain in the butt…because it’s really a 2 person job. I’ll no longer have to shovel snow or have to put ice melter on the steps. Take out the garbage in the rain.
The apartment I will be moving to is in the same neighbourhood. A wonderful community in the building.
Hopefully in time the memories of Dad’s illness and Mom’s will fade and I will leave with the memories of Christmas, thanksgiving, playing in the snow.
I know they will be with me in my new place. They’ll find me.
<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/snark-bombs-away/”>Snark Bombs, Away!</a>
Every Saturday morning I wake up and think “yay, it’s writing class day”. I can have a horrible week and I can wake up smiling because it makes me feel better. We start the class by doing a centering exercise. Deep breathing and visualization. After we are done I feel so much more relaxed and that doesn’t happen too often lately. We were told to imagine a rose. And then for our writing exercise for 5 mins write our thoughts. I hope to finish it for homework. Rose is my middle name, I’ve used it in the title of my blog. But it kind of has a sad connotation now because I got yellow roses for Janet’s arrangement for the church for her funeral. Mom and Dad got red. Mom and I always put yellow and red roses on the grave for our bday. A neighbour bought be a rose bush for my bday after Janet died. They have a memorial rose on a table near the pulpit when someone dies. They did it for my Mom even though she wasn’t a member but I am. And each colour of rose represents something. Going to look that up.
We have two ladies leading our group. The main one asks how I am. So I told her I didn’t have time to do any homework. So she tells me it doesn’t matter. It takes courage just to come. Isn’t that awesome. And here nobody asks if I’m ok. Because most have been through loss. They know it’s exhausting. Writing is such a personal thing, it takes courage just to read something out. There has to be trust there too.
on Saturday I read out the blog post I wrote about Janet titled did she really just say that. They all laughed. One young woman said that I have developed her characteristics. It’s soemthing that happens after our twins die. Plus I think it’s because I was taken care of before. I always had someone who had my back. Now I dont. I have to advocate for myself.
My teacher has said how much my writing has changed. It’s because writing my blog makes me remember fond times with Janet, Dad and Mom. The laughter, their quirks. And that is a gift that this class has given me too.
for one day a week I’m out of the house doing something I enjoy. Could we do it every week?
Pride and Joy
What’s my most prized possession? If I looked at it monetarily it would have to be the quilt that I bid on at a Twinless Twins Conference (and if you’re curious I have written about it titled “The Quilt”). Although it was a lot of money it goes back to aid in the work of the organization. Plus I had to have it. It was like it was meant for me. It really is like a piece of art.
Every drawing that my friend sends to me is precious and all it costs is her time and a stamp. They are gifts because it represents the bond I have still with Janet.
Every picture I have with Janet and the last picture I have when my Dad was alive. This picture that I have included was taken in 2007 at the 50th anniversary of a friend of my Dad’s. When my Mom was looking for something in the cupboard she came across a book of Dad’s limericks. Dad’s book that he drew out his plans for the garden. It’s falling apart but it’s precious to me. People tell me that I won’t have room for a lot of things in an apartment but there are books that I HAVE to take.
As I’ve titled this prompt my most prized possession is LOVE. Because really when someone we love dies that all that’s left. It’s why it hurts so much because I loved them so deeply. I was given that gift to love deeply. The gift of compassion, loyalty, selflessness. I was given the gift of writing so I could remember that love
I actually laughed out loud at the prompt for today. Last night I had a meltdown because I was so overwhelmed.
Ok…you asked for it…
My 3 Questions that I wish well meaning people would stop asking me
HOW ARE YOU (OR MY FAVOURITE) ARE YOU OK?
No, I’m not ok. I’ve lost 3 family members in less than 9 years. How would you feel? My Mom was my rock. The only person in my family that I could talk to openly about Janet after she died. We went out for coffee together. She wasn’t just my Mom she was my friend and I miss her terribly. That pain doesn’t just go away overnight. And it’s not my job to make you feel better by saying I’m fine. It’s why I’m avoiding church until I can handle it better.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO LIVE OR ARE YOU GOING TO SELL THE HOUSE?
I will tell you when I move. And unless I ask for your opinion don’t tell me “oh, that’s expensive”. I can do research myself thank you.
CAN WE DO LUNCH?
Funnily enough this really isn’t a question. I guess people think I need to get out of the house. Or maybe it’s their way of helping but I don’t want to socialize. Let’s do coffee. It’s cheaper and it only lasts an hour. I can buy my own lunch. I have my own money. I don’t want to sit and hear anymore platitudes.