OBSTACLES–DISCOVER CHALLENGE

Obstacles
Right now my biggest obstacle would be the house. Since my Mom first went into the hospital in February last year I have been cleaning stuff out. After my Dad died in 2009 I have felt like this has been an obstacle to me having much of a life at all. I am still not finished cleaning it out but it’s only been 7 months since my Mom died. The obstacle is time. And of course my brother.
A big obstacle for me is the past. I was talking to a friend last night and I said I shouldn’t care what my brother thinks. I shouldn’t care that the house is a mess. My brother used to do the white glove test when he visited and it’s embarrassing and insulting. But my friend told me that is what makes you special because you do care. I feel like I haven’t even been able to grieve for Mom because I had to hold it together to be able to do all the legal stuff.
grief is an obstacle too. Not in the sense that there is a timeline and it’s done. In the sense that I don’t see things as black and white as my brother does. I told my friend that my inheritance gives me freedom. My parents provided for me so I now have a wonderful place to live. But at the same time I am trying to carry out Moms wishes. When she died I would not allow my brother to disrespect her memory.
I am a twin which makes me and Janet miracles. Mom called me her bonus package. My friend told me in an email after Dads funeral “Jenn, I hope you know what a gift you were to your daddy”.

When life throws you a curveball

Curve
Recently I was talking to a friend on Facebook that is going through a rough time. She said “why doesn’t anyone tell you that life is going to be this hard?” I have friends that are dealing with things that are out of their control.
In my life I have learned how to be strong because I had to. Nobody can teach me how to deal with adversity. When Janet died I was on my own until I found the Twinless Twin support group. As great as my friend were they weren’t twins. They couldn’t understand the pain of losing my sister, my twin, my best friend. And most had never lost anyone that close to them.
When my Dads tumour came back I was mad at God because I didn’t want to lose another family member. you know the saying “why do bad things happen to good people?” that is what I struggled with. I’ve had friends tell me that God made me stronger.
I am looking forward to going to conference in July. To be able to ask my questions. To feel the love of people that understand.

SOLITUDE

Solitude
Tomorrow it will be four weeks since I moved into my apartment. Last Sunday I had time to read a book. My friend was so pleased for me. A twin friend of mine said this place is my refuge and it is. The things that other people take for granted like going for a walk, reading a book or even going to see a movie I now have time to do.
My Aunt asked if I missed the house and I said no. The house was full of things that I had to do. As I told a friend yesterday I never seemed to get ahead there was always something to do. My aunt likes to keep busy so she’s ok with that but I was at the point where I didn’t want the responsibility. I always thought of it as my parents house and yet after Dad died I had all the responsibility of looking after it.
I have told my brother that he will be selling the house on his own. I did the heavy lifting of cleaning out the house so it’s now his turn. This means that I can remove the stress from my life. I can do the things that need doing in the apartment…like finally get furniture! I can have time to go to the park.
I have looked after everyone else since my twin died almost 10 years ago. I have been told many times by Drs that I need to start taking care of myself but that was impossible while looking after my Mom.
This is MY TIME.

It’s Entertainment

Mask
If you have watched tv the past few days all the entertainment outlets have been talking about the “tiff”, feud (what does one call it) between Kelly and Michael. And people take sides. Good for her for sticking up for herself, he’s a nobody, she’s a child for walking off the set.
One of the arguments is that you wouldn’t be able to do that in the real world. But it’s not the real world! Their job is to entertain. It’s all about ratings. How many of the talk shows have to plug some product in order to pay for the show.
I watch The Talk at 4pm. Very rarely do I agree with their positions on topics of the day but it’s THEIR opinion not mine. I watch Cityline which is a lifestyle show based out of toronto. I think the host is a total airhead (Mom couldn’t stand her) but I’m watching it for the experts not for her. It’s fun watching Home Day on Thursdays to get design ideas.
I enjoy watching Marilyn Dennis because I think she’s a what you see is what you get type of person.
It’s mindless entertainment for an hour. Nothing wrong with that.

Crossroads

Crossroads
After Janet died I read a lot of grief books. I gravitated towards non-fiction, books about someone else’s journey. For my 35th birthday a friend bought me a gift card to chapters. So many books to choose from but I chose Eat,Pray,Love. At one point in the book she and her friends are talking about words that describe a city and then ask what word they would use for themselves. At the time I was reading it I knew my word would be LOST. I wanted someone to tell me this is the way you should go but nobody could. It’s why a lot of my poems talk about walking along the path.

I’ve always believed that people come into our lives when we need them. When I finally got internet at home I could go on the Twinless twins chat room. I was able to talk about things that only they would understand. They could talk about how relationships with our siblings change after our twins die. It gave me hope talking to twins that had gotten through it. There was comfort in the fact that I was normal. That the pain will never really go away but it will lessen in time.

My Aunt asked me last night if I miss the House and I can honestly say I dont. She said that’s such a healthy attitude. It was my parents House. This is my place. The first thing in my life that is mine.

For a long time it didn’t feel like I was moving forward. I felt like I was always waiting. Now I can see the road ahead of me.

Listening to the voice inside

Whisper
When I was young I had lots of outside voices telling me what to do. Be a lady, help your Mom, clean your room etc. I just did what I was told so I never had to think about the inner voice inside telling me what to do. But then as I got older I learned that not everything was black and white. I did a lot of things that I didn’t really want to do because I was asked and I was too nice to say no. I was taught once you made a commitment you kept your word.

After Janet died I had to listen to my gut more because the person who always had my back was gone. I could tell Janet anything but I quickly learned who I could trust with personal things and who I couldnt.

I have Moms voice in my head sometimes which is not always a good thing! She would get after me for leaving my cups in the living room so I can still hear her when I have one in the living room and one in the office. I once dreamed that Dad stood in the doorway of my bedroom and yelled at me to clean my room. It was probably almost a year after he died and even asleep I knew he was dead but when I woke up what’s the first thing I did after breakfast? I CLEANED MY ROOM!

Janet doesn’t talk to me, it’s more of a feeling of her near. I talk to her when I go for walks or I’ll tell her I miss her. I talk to them when I go to the cemetery although it took me years before I could. As it says on the gravestone LOVE NEVER ENDS

Books

Borrowed
The last time I went to writing class a woman offered to drive me home. She helped the teacher out with some of her stuff. We waited while she and the co-leader returned some books. I was telling the woman that when I moved it was the first time in months that I had time to sit down and read a book. She said “isn’t it wonderful” and I said it was. There is something calming about having the time to read a book now.
I’m currently reading “A girls guide to moving on” by Debbie Macomber. A writer that all three of us liked. It’s predictable chick lit but it’s funny and it what I need.
My brother got me an e-reader for Christmas a few years ago. Mom preferred to hold a book in her hands but she did use it once. i like the convenience of it.

Borrowing clothes

Borrowedjandj1998
Being a twin meant that Janet and I borrowed each other clothes. We were always the same size. There wasn’t a lot that we borrowed because our styles were different. Janet was what Mom called “tailored” while I would wear the frilly stuff. You would think because we were twins we could wear the same colours but that wasn’t the case. Janet looked great in hunter green, bright red where as I’m pink, royal blue, purple. I guess you could say she’s more warm colours and I’m cool colours. She and Mom gravitated to the same colours so she would often borrow from Mom too.
We were going out to a family dinner with Dads siblings at his sister’s country club. Janet didn’t have much clean to wear so she borrowed a skirt of mine. It was red with yellow and pink flowers with a ruffle at the knee. It was hot that day and Janet had pantyhose on. My cousin said you could take them off when we got back to my aunts house and Janet told her “nobody wants to see my white pasty legs.” There are pictures of us when we were 8 with a gorgeous tan but we didn’t when we got older. I’m not so self conscious about my white legs I will go without pantyhose in the summer now.
When I was going through Moms closet there were some t-shirts that fit me so I put them in the keep pile. Mom liked her nightgowns nice and roomy so I could wear those too. I’m keeping her favourite pair of pyjamas and what her friend called her fancy dinner shirt. Like Janet she liked red too.
When I went to my first twins conference in Toronto the t-shirt was bright red like our flag red and white. I almost cried when I put it on because it was the exact colour that Janet would wear.
After my sister and mother died going through the closet was hard. These were clothes that they wore. They still had their scent. Memories of events where they wore them.

A better year

Disappointment
The prompt for today is titled disappointment. Originally when I had to drop out of writing class I was disappointed because I thought I would have time to go. I felt like Mom would have been disappointed that I had to give up something I love AGAIN because of looking after her estate. But when I found out what the theme of the classes was going to be I knew that I wasn’t ready to do an inner pilgrimage. On the back of our name card we had to write I AM and each week we would add to it. When Janer died I became Twinless. When Dad had cancer I was a caregiver. I was an advocate. I guess the biggest thing is learning who I am without them.

My disappointment in the apartment that I originally wanted to live turned into a plus when I found this place. It’s everything that I ever wanted in an apartment.
A twin friend of mine had her flight changed so now she can come and stay with me for a few days. Something bad turned into something really good!
This year I have many things to look forward to. A better year.

KEYS

Locked
Right now I have two sets of keys one for the house and one for my apartment. I have two special key chains. The one for my house key I have had since 1986. It has a canadian flag on it and Janet and I both got one at a family reunion because we were the only set of twins there. As I am sitting here writing this I don’t know why I was the only child that had a key to the house. Usually Janet and I went out together and if Rob went out he just took Moms key. But why wasnt Janet the keeper of the key since she was the oldest? My apartment key chain was given to me by a friend for Christmas. It has a hook to attach to your pant loop or to your purse. It says u r strong and it’s pink. I told my friend that I was using it and she was quite pleased. I thought it was appropriate for my fresh start.

Mom was the one who locked all the doors before going to bed. My Dad was a letter carrier so he had to get early so he went to bed early. After Mom died there were a couple of nights when I forgot to lock the side door. I had never had to do it before unless I was coming home from somewhere.

If Mom was out I would lock the doors if I was outside doing yard work. I’d leave the basement door open to get back in but it can’t be accessed by the road. We kept our front screen door locked after coming home one day to it wide open. Luckily I always keep the inside one locked. It was pretty scary and the captain for neighbourhood watch said nothing that police can do unless you catch them in the act. Comforting isn’t it.

My Mom was the type of person who would lock her keys in the car. After Dad died she gave me the second set so we always had an extra one when we went somewhere. It also meant that I could take groceries or packages out to the car.

We always use the side door because it’s closest to the driveway. In high school we would bring frienfs home and we always went in the side door. The first time my friends daughter came with the rest of her family she told her Mom aren’t we going in the front door and her sister said no they don’t use it. I tell friends that’s how you know you are family. Guests use the front door.