I didn’t know what to title today’s blog post. This morning I went to the Inn to book a room to have a Celebration of life gathering for the anniversary of my twin’s death. The word the other day was “cheat” and I thought of how my twin died young. My parents were cheated out of having a 40th wedding anniversary. I’m going to do things for me. I met with the event planner and she asked what it was for. It’s kind of hard to explain what it’s for. The easiest way to explain it was how I did. I did say it will be 10 years since she died. I didn’t say twin I said sister. When she asked numbers she asked if my parents were coming. Well if they were alive mom would have been with me planning. So hard so I said no they are deceased and to prevent the sibling question I said I’m alone. In a perfect world my brother would go but he wouldn’t understand why I’m doing this. He once told me it would be easier if people forgot the date. I don’t have that luxury. My life changed forever the day Janet died. When I go to conference I’m asked how long ago. Every twin knows the date of their loss. I know that it wouldn’t have been possible for me to have a get together until now. For a long time I couldn’t see that my friends and family lost someone too. Because I lost half of me. She made me laugh and there wasn’t anything to laugh about. Now the memories don’t hurt as much.
After lunch I made a call to the local newspaper as I put something in to honour Mom but hadn’t gotten a response that they got it. When I was talking to the guy he noticed that they sent it to .ca instead of .com. That was tough too. At the end I wrote to the strongest person I know.
They are loved and missed everyday.
Yesterday I saw on the area where it says what’s trending on Facebook that they are casting for a remake of Mary Poppins called Mary Poppins returns. I will not keep an open mind! This is one of my favourite movies and it just doesn’t work with anyone else. Just like doing Sound of Music live on tv or the remake of Miracle on 34th Street. Mom would only watch the original.
Can you imagine the carpet bag scene with anyone else other than Julie Andrews? And the scene where Dick Van Dyke dances with the penguins? Priceless. The kids really make it too. So sweet when they come down in their pyjamas singing. You can’t bottle the chemistry that Julie and Dick have.
I’ve watched it so many times I can probably do it scene by scene. When I was young I didn’t even realize that Dick Van Dyke played the old guy too. I remember in a recent interview he said he now looks like the old guy for real. There are a couple of viral videos going around of him singing and he still has it at 90.
What I love about this movie is it is timeless. The moral is always there. Family is more important than money. You just don’t mess with the classics.
This afternoon I went out with my former neighbour. I had an old cellphone that I donated to the church for refugees. She had Moms photo directory. It’s kind of a complicated thing because 1 she’s not in it and 2 I’m not a member. Being too polite to tell her I really didn’t want it I looked through it after supper.
I didn’t think I would recognize people but most of them I did. It’s sad looking through the families that used to have kids in the photo and now they are grown and it’s just the two of them. There was only one family that had a child my age that had her photo with her parents.
There was a woman whose husband died of cancer just after the photo directory came out the last time.
I know it’s a fact of life that people in church will pass on. It’s an older congregation. But I can remember the couple who sat behind us Rose and Wilson. She was a gossip. He was a large man and when we sat down he would say in his low voice “How ya doing?” There were two ladies that sat ahead of us and grandpa always talked baseball with them. Mom would look over and see if her friends were there and if they weren’t she would phone to check on them.
Growing up in the same church I knew who sat where. It wasn’t always the best if you missed a Sunday because people would notice! Sometimes we just wanted to play hookey but you can’t use that as an excuse.
If the pews could talk the stories they would tell!
My Dad used to have the expression “he knows too much for one but not enough for two”. I have no idea what it means and who knows where he got it. My Dad was full of limericks and sayings. You could say he had an expert memory for these things.
My Dad was an expert gardener. I guess he got it from growing up on the farm. Although his father died when he was eight so maybe he just learned some from trial and error. But he knew which plants were for sun which were for shade, what type of fertilizer to use, when to prune etc. My Dad could draw too which I didn’t know until Janer was doing Bugs Bunny learning to draw book. He was an expert in math and finances.
My sister was an expert crocheter…is that a word? She made many afghans as gifts.
My brother was and expert in math and won awards in high school.
I used that think I wasn’t an expert at anything. I could cook but it wasn’t gourmet. I wasn’t crafty like Janet or could see like my grandma.
When we went grocery shopping with Mom as we got older we became expert shoppers. We were good at figuring out what was a good price. I’m an expert online shopper. I buy stuff when there are good sales.
There was a daily prompt one day titled your thing for dummies and I did grief. I’m not an expert because nobody can be one but I like to think people learn more from just telling like it is. I’ve learned that there is a commonality to grief.
I’ll never be at expert at hiding my feelings. I used to be the peace maker in our family now I let anger get the best of me at times.
I don’t need to be an expert. There is no manual for estate stuff. I didn’t know anything about leases. I didn’t know you had to have apartment insurance. I didn’t know what to do to fill out the form and such but the bank helped, the super helped. Everyone said I was doing well.
I remember at Janet’s funeral my cousin said how amazing I was going around and introducing people. At Dads service a young woman said the same but realized it was a coping mechanism.
Do you know what I’m an expert at? Doing what is best for me!
On my Facebook feed for today it brought up that 6 years ago I moved back into my room after it had been redone. I put in new carpet, had the room painted and purchased new furniture. Because the room is L shaped it only fits a twin bed. When I was furniture shopping the sales guy took me over to the kids department so I said no I want an adult bed that comes in a twin. I really wanted a fabric headboard but those didn’t come in twin. The dark wood really grounded the bright colour of the walls. The painters weren’t sure about the colour but the carpet guy liked it. He said so many people are afraid of colour.
Obviously from the picture of my couch I’m not afraid of colour. It pops against the beige walls but I really got it because it’s Janet’s favourite colour. It feels like she is sitting beside me. My parents had every wall covered with paintings but I only have my quilt and family picture for art. I’m debating putting something in dining room but there isn’t any rush on that.
I remember the feeling if accomplishment after my room was finished. I chose every item on my own. I have the same feeling from decorating my apartment. It is different because I didn’t really know what my style was I just knew what I liked. I knew I was going to get a red couch. And it’s versatile too because I can put white with it, fall colours and Christmas pillows.
My former neighbour told me your house is for rent. But it’s not MY house anymore. I don’t have a reason to go past anymore except twice a year when I go to Dr because the bus passes by.
I have good memories there but I’m making new memories in my new home.
I recently got a new smart phone a Motorola 6. A few days ago I got a phone call at 7:30AM. While I was trying to access the number later I accidentally hit my friends number and phoned her. Then I sent her a text explaining and she said she hadn’t heard it so it was fine. She told me that it will probably take me a while to get used to it. I went for coffee with a friend from church and the phone was so new I didn’t even know which button to push to answer. Don’t worry I figured it out later.
Texting is easy and I did figure out how to call out. I know how to enter contacts and the guy at the store made sure he put my number in the contact info as Me. Nobody phones themself so how do you remember the number?
Last night I couldn’t log into Facebook on my IPad. Still can’t so I may have to take it to Apple Store. I have a desktop PC and could log in fine there.
I am terrible at remembering passwords. The trouble is I have too many. Thankfully as long as I have email address I can change password.
I see so many people with smart phones and they make it look so easy. At least the guy at the store said I could come back and get help if I didn’t understand something.
I do enjoy the convenience of doing stuff online though. I can send a grocery list by email. I’m going to put something in the paper in memory of my Mom. I LOVE online shopping!! It’s only when technology doesn’t work that I feel like it’s smarter than me.
Yesterday a friend of mine posted a video of cauliflower nachos. All I could think was the after effects of eating that! So of course that made me think of the time at church when the assistant minister was talking about a grief workshop at church where they served cabbage rolls, baked beans and lasagna so Janet being Janet says “wow, talk about your grief!” Of course Mom and I laughed but the minister did not think that was appropriate. I can still laugh at it and find the humour in it.
The other night I was talking to a friend of mine. In the course of conversation he said how he still thinks of my family too. He didn’t know Dad as well but had met Mom many times. He has their memorial cards in their office. Of course he mentioned the story about going to bible study and Janet gave him “the look”. He came in and sat down across from him and all of a sudden he can feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. So then his future sister-in-law came in and told him “couldn’t you have put on a decent pair of jeans”. It’s ok Janet already told me. But I didn’t say anything! And he tells her you didn’t have to! He tells people that’s how he knew that she was family.
This is what I miss the most her quirky sense of humour. Everyone that knew her remembers her smile, her big laugh.
This morning I learned of another shooting downtown. While I know that I am perfectly safe as it happened at 1:30 in the morning it’s still not fun to wake up to police cars in the neighbourhood. 2 drunk individuals who get to a point where shooting one another is the answer. When is that ever the answer? I used to read about tragedies in the paper and it wouldn’t affect me. Now I think that person probably has a family, friends someone who would miss them.
There is so much violence in the world. I guess today is just one of those days when I’m overwhelmed by it.
So if I had to write the good things…
A friend who emailed to check on me
Flowers to brighten up a table
A beautiful sunny day
Superintendents who look out for me
Designed for You
Since most people arrive early I would have registration in the afternoon and a short introduction that way twins could spend the night having dinner with a group. Afterwards I would do the candle lighting. It was something we did the first time I went to Detroit and I missed it.
I would still have a key note speaker but instead of telling how our twin died I would have people share their favourite memory of their twin. For early loss twins they could say what they do to honour their twin. Through facebook I learn a little about their twin through photos but there are many twins that I know nothing about who their twin was and that’s sad. Our twins live on in us and the only way they can is to share who they were who we were with them.
We need to have a breakout session with coping strategies. Break off into groups of 4 with new twins and alumni so we can learn from each other.
Although I love balloon release I have a couple of friends that have stopped doing it for environmental reasons. A really neat idea would be to write something on a piece of paper and have an evening bonfire or put it in a big box.
I would hire a photographer for banquet so everyone could have their picture taken. I would give out a favour like they do at weddings. I remember when I went to toronto and someone made angel ornaments that was special.
47 years ago my parents were married. It was a hot and humid day and like this year the grass was really dry. My Dad had his two brothers as ushers, plus Moms brother. Her matron of honour was her sister-in-law and she had two junior bridesmaids…a niece and a friend of the family. They had friends of Dad play the organ and violin. Because my Dads parents were deceased his eldest sister stood up in their stead.
My Dad wasn’t demonstrative in showing his love that’s why I love this picture because it’s obvious in this picture.
We had a party foe their 25th. Dad wasn’t a party person and it took a lot of persuading but I think in the end he enjoyed himself. His friend that played the violin made a video of the day. I’ve watched it a couple of times but now it would make me sad thinking of all the people that are no longer with us. There was a moment when we thought it was going to rain but thankfully it passed over. We held it outside in our backyard. We aren’t really party people so it was a lot of work. We would have had a party for their 40th if things had worked out differently.
Although I feel sad today because I miss them I try to remember that I came from that love. Oh sure there were days when they drove me nuts but that’s family. Last night I was sharing stories with a friend of mine. Those little idiosyncrasies that irk you but you miss when theyre gone. They gave me wonderful memories to hold on to. They gave me love.