I’ve been thinking about this word a lot the past few days as this would be the week of the Twinless Twins Conference in Denver CO. There are so many people that go every year that really feel that loss of not being able to go. There are probably twins who signed up for the first time and it takes a lot of courage to do that.
This morning I was watching a Facebook live video of a TT doing a memory walk for her twin. Towards the end of the video she talked about going on vacation with her twin and how she could barely keep up with her. It made me smile because although I have seen many pictures of her twin on Facebook this gave me a peek into who she was. This is the thing that makes going to conference so important because it’s the one place where we can share stories of our twins. We lose part of ourselves when our twin dies and no one else will ever understand what that feels like except other twinless twins.
I also emailed the very first twin that I met at conference. The first one I attended was not quite 2 years after Janet died and was held in Toronto. She was an unofficial greeter and I just remember how loved I felt when she gave me a big hug. She is a letter writer and so am I (as was Janet) so we exchanged a lot of letters over the years. I remember when my brother was going to be married I shared a lot of things that I couldn’t share with anyone else. She was someone who had been on this journey longer than I had and then when I went to conference 4 years ago I was the one who gave hope to a new twin.
This is one of those times when I think of the things that covid has taken away. Whenever I went to conference I would tell people I lost count on how many hugs I got. We start off as strangers but go home as friends.
During quarantine I’ve had to learn how to use some technology on my own. In May the nurse practitioner at the diabetes clinic suggested that I get a freestyle libre. While I use Shoppers Drug Mart for my prescriptions I couldn’t go into the store and have someone show me how to do it since there just isn’t room for physical distancing. So I waited until I talked to the dietician and I put her on speaker so she could guide me through the process. The first time I have ever put someone on speaker.
The last time I went into Shoppers in the south end of the city I learned that you couldn’t use the blood pressure monitor (since they would have to sanitize it after each use). I decided I should get a blood pressure monitor. I got the instruction book out to change the date and time, set it all up and hoped that I did it right. I have what they term “white coat syndrome” and my BP goes up when I go to the Drs office.
I got a Wii Fit maybe about 6 or 7 years ago. I got it back out because I can’t use the equipment in the building. Since I live in an apartment I’m going to do the exercises which don’t require me to jump etc. When I first got my Wii about 10 years ago a friend set it up for me but I figured if I could set up my computer I could do this. I couldn’t figure out what the input was supposed to be so I literally scrolled down every one until I got the right one.
I have never thought of myself as that techie. But since I moved I have online banking, I use my debit card a lot more than cash and I’ve even used apps on my phone.
One skill I haven’t acquired is how to take a good selfie…that’s a work in progress.
Today I learned that the coffee shop in Old South officially opened yesterday. While it is open you can only go in for take out since restaurants and coffee shops can only have patio dining right now. I looked up their Instagram account and found a picture of what it looks like on the inside. Very modern.
Last Friday my friend picked up some gelato on the way at the coffee shop near Blackfriars Bridge. It’s quite small and she said I don’t know how they even fit that many tables in there. In the course of conversation I mentioned that the coffee shop that used to be our regular place is now under a new name. I forget what it was before but my friend and I went once and we were not struck with it. We couldn’t figure out what to order since it wasn’t just regular coffee and it cost more than Starbucks. We both agreed that the vibe was all wrong. After that we didn’t have what I would call a regular place. We started going to Starbucks because at least it was more comfortable than Tim Hortons but it was hit or miss whether it was really busy or not.
The thing that I have noticed with most of the coffee shops in the city is that they are no longer that neighborhood place. So if you are that person that just wants a regular coffee chances are you’ll just go to Tims. One downtown has boxcar donuts. Another one has cruffins.
Last fall I happened upon a post on Facebook about the coffee shop that is literally around the corner from me (picture posted). So my friend and I went. We both really liked it because it’s large. There was hardly anyone else in the place at the time we went but it has space for people at benches, tables and even couches at the back. Even though it’s very modern (since it’s in part of a new condo building) it still feels like a neighbourhood hang out. They have games on the tables. During the winter they had yoga classes on Sundays, a book club and I think they had a game night for another group. I have been a few times since it opened back up and it was quite busy. I will admit that having a coffee shop so close is probably a little too convenient! I don’t know what that magic thing is that makes a coffee shop feel “right” but this one definitely has it.
This afternoon I finally got together with a friend who I hadn’t seen since February. We were going to go to the cemetery but it’s 40 degrees outside today. Today is the anniversary of my Dad’s death. The coffee shop down the way now has gelato so my friend picked up some on the way. Unfortunately it being really hot it was kind of drippy by the time she got here. She knocked on the door and I ran to get a paper plate to put it on so it wouldn’t drip on my carpet. We sat across from each other although this is the way we usually do so that wasn’t different. She did have a mask on so while it was great to see her there is always that thing in the back of your mind. I cleaned my apartment and put out a separate towel for her to use so we wouldn’t be sharing one.
I had my grocery people pick me up some red roses at the grocery store that my Mom and I always went to. I also needed a few food items that I had run out of. I had put the vase in the middle of the table so I had to put it off to the side so we could see each other. In the course of conversation I mentioned how Dad was frugal and that he would probably think of buying flowers as an extra. Somehow we got talking about ubereats and my friend said your Dad would be rolling over in his grave knowing you did that. Oh yeah the idea of getting Swiss Chalet delivered…oh the horror. I think we all have our parents voice in our head.
This afternoon a twin friend posted the song “In the Garden” sung by Anthem Lights. I sat there thinking wow I don’t believe that is a coincidence since it is the song that my Mom chose for my Dad’s church service. We had a discussion with Dad about what he wanted since he was dying of colon cancer. I had to leave the room for part of it because it’s so hard. He told us he didn’t care what we chose. For Mom it was easy because the garden was his domain (other than his workshop). He couldn’t wait until it was warm enough to go outside and work in the garden. In the eulogy I wrote about him going outside to work in the garden on Sunday. Did I mention that Dad had very strict rules and working on a Sunday was one of them. So I asked him how come you get to do work on a Sunday? “That’s not work that’s puttering”. And everyone laughed. That was my Dad too…he had an answer for everything. To him it wasn’t work to do something that you loved.
Must we have evidence to know the truth? Nope, it’s called Faith
How much control does a person have over their life?
It depends on what age you are. When you are a child you have very little and get older you get a little bit more freedom. Did I have control over my life once I became an adult? Not a lot. I could buy my own clothes but if my parents didn’t approve of me wearing something to church or out to dinner I had to change. Money while it was mine they put their 2 cents in. I wouldn’t say I really had a lot of control over my life until I had my own place. Right now we are following the rules set out by government for our safety.
What is gravity and how does it work?
What comes up must go down
Can a person be happy if they have never experienced sadness? How about vice versa?
I answered this question in a blog post about the movie Inside Out
Joy and Sadness are lost in the movie. When I got to the end of the movie I realized that it isn’t a kids movie because the concepts would be lost on them. Joy and Sadness have to go together. I know it doesn’t make sense but how do we know what Joy feels like if we don’t experience sadness? When my niece was born the joy was so big because we had experienced so much loss. The joy of a picture drawn from the heart in my Christmas card. The joy of hearing that my friend is coming to London next year after my year of heartache. Even looking at a picture of my Mom on the screen at church yesterday…there is joy in the memory but sadness too.
About a month after everything shut down in my city (and the rest of the world) I had to go for bloodwork. A friend of mine had been sewing masks so I asked her if she still had one available and she dropped it off for me. At that time it wasn’t mandatory to wear a mask and I was the only one that did. My neighbour drove me (I sat in the back) and even she looked at me strangely for wearing one. A week ago I had to get fasting bloodwork for another Dr. Needless to say the combination of wearing a mask and not having anything to eat wasn’t pleasant but I did it.
I recently went into Shoppers Drug Mart where I counted only one person out of 6 who wore a mask besides myself. I actually had to pass someone in the aisle and he wasn’t wearing one. It’s why I have my prescriptions delivered because I don’t feel comfortable going into a smaller store where people aren’t wearing a mask.
This morning a friend of mine wrote that she had to tell someone to move away from her at the grocery store. I haven’t been in a grocery store since this started and that is why.
As someone who grew up with a family member who was immune compromised because of a kidney transplant I was always aware of taking precautions if I could. When flu shots were given out for free at the high school near us Janet and I both went to get one. At the time I don’t think we ever got the flu but we weren’t doing it for our sake but for hers. Early on she couldn’t get a flu shot because of her transplant.
I guess this is what I don’t understand about the people that refuse to wear one. Sure it’s uncomfortable, hot and if you wear glasses you are going to fog them up. But you aren’t doing it for yourself you are doing it to protect others too. I have friends on Facebook that post the numbers. California has reached 200,000 cases. I don’t know how many deaths that is. Maybe we should start thinking of that death could be someone’s mother, father, husband.
Honestly I almost feel guilty for saying this is a peeve because there are so many more important things to worry about but since this is my blog and a place to share my feelings I’m going to.
Yesterday was our birthday and it was the strangest one I have ever had. I made the best of it since I couldn’t go anywhere. I kept myself busy. I sent my grocery list and added a half cake and gerbera daisies. Specifically yellow and red. When my grocery person came he handed them to me and they are cranberry red and white. While they are pretty on the table they aren’t even close to what I wanted.
This is the first year where I haven’t gone to the grocery store or the flower shop down the street to buy my own flowers. And it just makes me so sad. And honestly a little bit angry at the normal things that covid has taken away. Yellow and red are our colours since we were little and the flowers are symbolic for me.
As I sit in front of the computer I am trying to find the words to even express the emotions that I am feeling right now and I’m not sure I can. I know this week I’ve felt mostly numb. This will be the strangest birthday I have ever had and that even includes the year after my twin died and the year my Dad died. The thing that helped was knowing that I had things planned…people to share it with. I can’t do that this year. I had considered going to the spa but the idea of wearing a mask while having a manicure doesn’t feel very relaxing.
A friend mentioned in an email that hopefully we can “celebrate” later not realizing that isn’t the word I even use anymore. I honour the day that we were born. I honour our twinship but it’s a day that is filled with mixed emotions. I remember a woman at the church I grew up in that would was on the committee that phoned people for their birthday. She would say I’m thinking of you because she got that it wasn’t happy. But at the same time if someone did I would take it with the intent that it was given. I wish I could say that it gets easier with time but birthdays are one of those things that never will.
I go to Idlewyld because I like to have the opportunity to get dressed up and have a day that is special. Having my nails done is a treat. I will order in something for dinner tomorrow (as of yet I haven’t decided what). I can just hope for the best day possible.
Today did not start off well with attempting to get a haircut and learning that we need to make an appointment. Going into Shoppers Drug Mart and learning the blood pressure machine is not in use. By that time I couldn’t remember what I needed so picked up a couple of things and went home. Oh yes and we aren’t allowed to use reusable bags. All I could think about was how much I would like it to get back to normal. I couldn’t even stop for a coffee.
When I emailed my friend this morning to tell her about my experience she said I hope you enjoy some time on your balcony today it’s a beautiful day. So I decided to walk to the coffee shop around the corner and get a treat. It’s actually OPEN. Oh my goodness how great to see people, talk to a person at the counter. When I was in the coffee shop there was a mother and young daughter ordering and then a guy came in after. I even saw the owner. The mother and daughter sat at a patio table and the owner smiled at me when I passed. It was so NORMAL, PLEASANT. I got a frozen dragon fruit and an oatmeal bar. I am sitting on the balcony listening to the birds chirping with a slight breeze. I have to take advantage of this as it’s going to get hot towards the end of the week.
Sometimes a bad day can turn around with the smallest things.