Laughter is the thing I missed the most when my loved ones died. Each one had their own sense of humour. My Dad was not one to laugh out loud often but he would laugh at his own jokes. If he and his friend John got together we just sat back and enjoyed the show as they never ran out of material. And they were all jokes that only they got. Sunday morning Dad would watch this political program. They are all the same so I don’t remember the name the one with George Stephonopolous. I would get home just in time to watch the “Sunday funnies” with him. It’s the late night talk show hosts take on the political news of the day. Dad and I both preferred Leno. But he wouldn’t laugh, he might smile but that’s all I would see. It was our routine and I missed it after he died.
When my Dad was in the hospital his sisters went to visit him. The nurse came in and asked for a urine sample and he told her “help yourself” for he had a catheter. Mom and I laughed. Our former ministers wife told me that must be where I get my sense of humour. It was the first time I realized that it probably was.
After my Dad died I remember being upstairs in the office writing an email to a friend. Mom, Rob and his future wife were out doing something. When they came in I could hear Anna’s laughter. It was so wonderful to hear thenhouse full of noise again.
My sister and I were sitting in the car at our local hardware store waiting for Mom. All of a sudden Janet sees this bag of cow manure called MOO POO. Oh my goodness Janet and I laughed for 10 mins. Mom comes back to the car “what are you two going on about?” MOO POO and then we were off again. She just looked at us in disgust as she thought it was so childish to laugh at that. But that’s what we would laugh at.
In all of these stories they are shared. Laughter is meant to be shared.
The Eighth Sin
The prompt for today asks us to come up with the eighth sin. It was relatively easy for me to come up with this word. It is something I abhor in people. In some cases it combines pride and greed for they think that their life, their goals are more important than you. When I was talking to my cousin after my Mom died she said she barely sees her siter or her Father. Many people in my Dads family are so focused on their careers they don’t have time for anything else.
Self care means I have to be a little bit selfish in that I have to put my needs first. It’s something I struggled with after my Dad died but it’s getting easier. I’ve avoided a lot of stuff too but that is part of self care too. A friend of mine really didn’t like the connotation of selfishness with self care. But being selfish doesn’t always have to be bad.
This is a box of Christmas crackers that I found in a box in my Moms closet. The funny thing is that I’m pretty sure they are older than me as the box was labelled 1971. I have a feeling they might be from the Christmas that she was pregnant with us as they went to my Dads eldest sister’s house for Boxing Day. There is a picture of them sitting around the table. The clothes are definitely straight out of the seventies and the hairstyles too. When I opened it I almost went downstairs to ask Mom where they came from. She would have laughed with me.
They certainly are pretty even though my friend called them antiques.
Right now it seems like everyday is taken up with some form of cleaning. Last week I put out 4 bags at the curb of junk from decluttering. I haven’t tackled the paperwork yet and I’m certainly not looking forward to it! I now know what my friend felt when she phoned us up to go for coffee because she had to get away from the boxes. She lived at the other end of the street and there used to be a Tim Hortons on the corner (convenient eh!). It makes it worth while when I find a treasure like our baby bracelets or letters.
Next week I have to go to the bank to deal with estate stuff. It’s hard for me because I feel like it’s still Mom’s money. I feel guilty for spending it and yet I know she would want me to be happy. It seems so unfair to have to deal with all of this paperwork when the loss is so recent. Yesterday I had a good cry because I got the tax slip for donations to the church. Because when this is all over I won’t see her name anymore.
On Wednesday I went to Chapters bookstore with a friend of mine. As we were browsing I can across Valentines Day gifts. This year Family Day is the day after. It’s a made up holiday that our former Premier put into place so that families can spend the day together. Oh goodie TWO holidays to remind me that I’m all alone. I also saw this really cool pillow that I almost bought (it was even on sale) but I thought no I’ll wait. But I sat there thinking how cool it would be if I was shopping for stuff with Janet. It doesn’t matter that it’s almost 10 years since she died in my mind we were always going to live together. I got an email from a high school friend who recently lost her Mom and she said she was shopping and kept coming across items that she thought her Mom would like for Mother’s Day. It’s hard because it’s like a slap in the face…they aren’t here.
Just Another Day
Like many others my morning ritual involves a cup of coffee. At home I drink Tim Hortons. After Mom died I would go downtown to run errands and stop at my favourite coffee shop in the library. I would sit and have my coffee and a piece of banana loaf and write my blog. I found out from my Uncle Tuesday night that it is now closed. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised as the franchise has slowly closed stores in the past 2 years.
It’s another loss for me as this is where Janet and I went for coffee. Our spot was really the one in Wortley Village. We enjoyed the atmosphere. It was a local hangout. They knew the orders of the regulars. We usually saw someone we knew. A couple of times when I went downtown this fall I could feel her with me because this was our spot. We used to go once a month with a friend of ours too. Now I’m left with Tim Hortons or Starbucks. My friend and i went to Chapters yesterday and had a cup of coffee. Everyone around us was typing on their Ipads. There was very little interaction with others and yet the place was full.
Mom and I always went grocery shopping on Thursday. Afterwards we would stop at TH for a coffee to fortify ourselves to put all the groceries away. But it was also our time to sit and chat. Yes we lived together but this was different. It was like two girlfriends talking. I miss it. It’s probably why i don’t enjoy shopping on my own now.
As I read this I can see how all of these are shared with someone. So much change.
Yesterday afternoon I decided to bring the box from Mom’s closet downstairs and go through it. I had found some letters before but didn’t have time to go through item by item.
There were Christmas crafts we did when we were kids. Paper plate Santas. A scarecrow, Easter Bunnies and a witch to be put up as decorations on a window. I found a box of Christmas crackers that I’m pretty sure are older than me as the box was labelled 1971. But it’s good for a laugh.
The real treasures were finding letters from my Grandma to my Mom. They went to England in May 1971. They stayed at a hotel near Buckingham Palace and could watch the changing of the guard. She mentioned how they had to get up early to catch a bus to get to their next destination. My Grandpa’s sister must have gone with them and my Grandma wrote she was “very congenial”. Oh my goodness this made me laugh out loud as she was a very stern woman. Grandpa and her didn’t really get along. Oh they loved each other and would do anything for one another but they were both very stubborn. She was always late and it drove my Grandpa nuts. As I read the letter I could hear my Grandma through it. It reminded me of when they would go to Florida and they would always take pictures of us to put on their dresser. The maids would usually exclaim “oh are these your grand kids”. It was like we were there with them.
There was a letter to Mom from her Aunt Emma. Mom loved this Aunt a whole lot. Mom used to tell me that she should have been married with a bunch of kids but her family didn’t approve of her fiance so they broke it off. He moved away and wasn’t able to return the ring so when she died Mom got it. I always thought that was so sad. She was in a nursing home at the time of this letter but she had a way of writing it that made it sound busy. She wrote about the fog lifting, about the food, the lovely couple that lived across the hall. It was four pages (although it was like journal size paper) but by the end I couldn’t make out what it said too well.
I also found a post card and letter from my Dad’s sister when they were living in Beirut. All of these letters were 1971 or 72. I think the postcard was written by my Uncle, it was very formal. Talked about the architecture and political unrest (that hasn’t changed). Hers talked about his nieces visiting and that they would be in Nova Scotia in the summer. I was telling my Aunt last night that I knew what year it was by the address. She was surprised “but you weren’t born yet”. No, but Mom told me stories. I knew they boarded with a family friend when they were first married to save money. They lived in a tiny apartment across from the church that was “cold in the winter and hot in the summer”.
As I was reading through these I thought how people of my generation would never have these gifts. There is something about sitting down to read a note that someone took the time to write to you. I could read the love that they had for each other through the pages. That doesn’t happen in an email.
Life After Blogs
I didn’t have Internet at home until 6 and a half years ago. June 20, 2009 to be exact. My Dad didn’t believe in paying for something that we could get for free at the library. We don’t have a phone jack upstairs either so it made it very difficult to figure out what to do. The bell technician told me to go wireless which would be cheaper than putting in a jack at 100 dollars. I don’t know how I got by without having it at home for so many years.
Nowadays I couldn’t live without my computer. I don’t get a penny saver (flyers for grocery stores) so I have to look it up online. I also have to email my list to grocery guy. I used computer to check out prices and sizes for new microwave.
I have a few friends that I email everyday. I would be very lonely without my computer to talk to them. I love keeping up with friends on Facebook. I read fellow blogs on WordPress and my church friends blog. I will admit I play games on Facebook. It’s mindless fun and something to do.
I am also doing the decluttering challenge on Facebook. I get my Twinless Twins newsletter online. Last night I emailed something to be submitted.
IVe used my computer to look up obits for Mom and myself. I have written condolences for Mom if she was unable to attend.
I’m sure I could come up with many other things I use it for. As you could see I couldn’t live without it.
I wouldn’t say I’m an expert blogger. I think I’m like everyone else blogging…I’m learning as I go along. But after a year of writing everyday I think I can give some advice.
Write everyday. I know you think “but I don’t have time”. It doesn’t have to be a book and some days it might not even make a whole lot of sense except to you. I find it helps me tremendously to get it down on paper or a screen. My writing has grown a lot since I have started this blog.
When I started doing the Daily Prompt I read other people’s responses to get a sense of what people thought. It’s what I learned going to writing class…everyone has their own style of writing. I’ve also read on other people’s blogs that if you want to write you should read a lot. I don’t. I just don’t have the concentration to read a whole book. Maybe Chicken Soup for the Soul or a magazine.
As for me I started this blog to share stories about my twin who died almost 10 years ago. Some of the prompts reminded me of stories of my Dad (see Ketchup is not a food). I also wrote about my struggles looking after my Mom. Because this is my life. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.
My blog is really about sharing that love that I have for my family with all of you. When my friend drew her picture for my sympathy card she gave my Dad the word strength. My Dad was physically strong from growing up on a farm and doing chores, he worked in construction in the summer and for 20 years was a letter carrier until he retired. But his greatest strength was his battle with cancer. She gave my Mom love. My Mom also had a lot of inner strength too. My Mom would do anything for us. She was the most selfless person you would ever meet. Janet’s word was courage. The courage to live my life everyday honouring her. The courage to start this blog and share something deeply personal with people reading this. I never started this blog for many followers. It was just something I needed to do for myself.
I’m sure many bloggers are like me. They have found their passion through writing.
Over the past year I’ve had to learn how to do things differently. When my Moms health made it that she could no longer drive I had to figure out a way to get groceries that was simple. I looked online and found a guy that delivers. It freed up time that I could be doing something else. And I would get differing reactions, some people thought it was great while others thought “why would you pay someone when you could do it yourself?” As a single person I have to figure out a way to do things that are easiest for me.
I’m making decisions completely on my own at a time when even the little things are hard. I hadn’t got a haircut was three months because I couldn’t be bothered. There is the list of HAVE to and the list of I’ll get around to it.
I was talking to a friend a couple of days ago who is not supportive in my writing. As a Christian he doesn’t believe in signs from our loved ones. For me signs are gifts. They are a way of telling me that they are near. Writing is a gift. This is my way of expressing my emotions. Of shAring stories about special people in my life. It’s a gift that has come out of a lot of losses.
I’ve learned how to be strong.
Yesterday the daily prompt was to talk about “your favourite” and this could apply to this prompt as well. This picture is from my 41 birthday last year. A friend of mine phoned me up in the morning and asked if I wanted company for dinner. My birthday fell on Father’s Day this year but she had a change of plans and was able to join me. It was such a beautiful day. Perfect weather. We sat outside to eat our dessert. This is my friend’s. I had a taste and it was nice and light. Mine was chocolate of course.
I guess this is why this restaurant is so special to me. It’s a place where I can forget all the outside distractions and be pampered for the day. We all deserve to be pampered once in a while.
I can include this in favourites as well because my friend is such a great support. She has a lot going on in her own life but still makes time to talk. I have always known she values my friendship. She supports me in my writing. She tells me how well I am doing.