Choosing my words carefully

Recently I changed my profile picture to my favourite one of me and Janet. A friend commented that I looked comfortable…I’m not sure whether that is the exact word she used. When she said that it made me think about the fact that I was because I was with my twin. How that unconditional love is irreplaceable. The mother of a Twinless twin who attended conference recently for the first time wrote about the pain and loneliness and it’s true. I’ve gotten used to doing things alone but there will always be moments when I wish Janet was here.
I could talk to Janet about anything. I’m thankful that I have a couple of friends and family members that I can share my feelings with but it’s not the same. Recently a friend shared something with me and said that she held back from sharing it. There is that sense that we both see our lives drifting apart. We shared a lot and now we are choosing what we share with one another.
I think grief has made me more guarded. I’ve learned who I can trust to speak off the cuff and when I have to hold things back. I think life also teaches us what doesn’t need to be shared. We all have those friends that we go home and think TMI!

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Relaxed


Before I left for my 3 day getaway I did feel like life was a bit chaotic with trying to get things done and then they were also painting the railing and replacing the glass on balcony the day before I left. They painted the floor of the balcony and it looks great. This morning I put all my furniture back.

I’ve included a picture of where I hung out in the morning with a book or the Toronto Star. Thankfully it was quite comfortable in the morning as long as I was in the shade. The humidity was bad even at 9am when I went out to take these pictures on Saturday. I was telling my friend that I could read the paper at home but I don’t. It was nice to get caught up on things that are going on in the news. I will admit there were a couple of times when it hit me sitting in the chair looking at couples or groups sitting together and I’m alone. It’s good people watching. Many people dressed up for dinner. Every single person had beer or wine. I’m not a drinker I would rather have dessert. There was a table of 3 couples. I don’t know whether the women were related but the dynamic reminded me Dad’s brother and sisters.

And then I returned home to cooking my own meals and putting my dirty laundry in the wash. This week is Home County Folk Festival. Like Sunfest I don’t go for the music but to look around. There is a Colombian Festival at the market on Sunday and a week after that is Ribfest. Hopefully for our August coffee date my friend and I can sit outside. She is overdue in trying it out. These are all the things I love about summer.

Friday the 13th

I’ve never really been a superstitious type of person. My grandparents had their first day on a Friday thr 13th and they were married for 50 years. My cousin was born on a Friday the 13th so I guess you could say in our family it’s brought good luck. I know when I go up in an elevator I think it still has a 13th floor we just don’t call it that.
I will admit that I am a bit of a worrier in that if something is going to go wrong it will. I thought I was so organized packing my bag and there are a couple of things I missed. I bought a travel sized Tylenol and it’s probably still on the counter or in the bag. The last time I went on vacation I was going to refill my toiletry bag so I wouldn’t have to get stuff at the last minute and that didn’t happen. I am the type of person that packs too many clothes. I don’t wear a different shirt everyday at home but on vacation I do. Although lately I’ve been wearing two shirts a day because I spill something on it.
Yesterday I sat outside and read my latest Oprah magazine which came a week ago. They asked the editors “WHAT WOULD YOU ACCOMPLISH IF YOU HAD NO FEAR?” It’s an interesting question. I guess the point is that fear holds us back from doing things. I remember the first time I went to a writing class and I was so scared to read something out loud. I was afraid of what people would say. But it got easier. I think fear took on a different context for me after my family died because the worst thing had already happened. I used to fear being alone but now that I’ve lived with it for a few years I’m more comfortable. There are moments when it’s still hard. While I’m sitting in the dining room and I’m on the only person eating alone it hits me.
Even doing this blog was something that I had to get up the nerve to do. I was afraid of what people would say. It’s not easy sharing personal things for other people to read. I’m amazed at how many things I have accomplished even though I had fear. My friends constantly told me I was strong and eventually I believed them.

Groove

I’m currently staying at a lovely Inn not far from London to avoid people getting their groove on at Rock the Park. 51 weeks out of the year I love where I live but not living across the street from a very loud rock concert.
Because of transportation I ended up getting here around lunchtime and they wouldn’t allow me to check in until 3. They do have lovely grounds so I picked a chair in the shade and read a book. The funny thing is I could do it at home and yet I rarely do. We all have the things that we NEED to do. They are replacing the glass on my balcony railing and painting so I’m hoping that is done by the time I get home. I made sure that the rooms that you could see were all tidy before I left as they will need to enter the unit.
I don’t really feel into a groove as I forgot a couple of things at home. This morning I woke up with a charley horse and realized I forgot rub to put on it and rummaging in my case I also forgot Tylenol. I’m one of those people that sometimes I can sleep like a baby at a hotel and sometimes I’m wide awake.
It’s really neat people watching. The interesting thing is there are no single people staying here. This morning it was a group of business women. A couple business men who sat at the back. One thing about hotels is the only time you have fruit is for breakfast so I load up!
Today is the official start of the Twinless Twins conference although a lot of Twins arrived yesterday. It feels weird to see pictures of something I’m a member of but no longer really connected to. Does that make sense? Looking at the pictures posted on Facebook there are very few people that I know although their face is familiar. The reason I go is to honour my twinship. I want to be able to share stories of who she was. I want to be able to learn how others coped with situations I have been in. Unfortunately that isn’t really where the emphasis is anymore. The friends I made are spending time with their families.
We all have to find out own groove which means doing what is best for us.

Clues

When I went out with my friend on Friday she told me she hadn’t had time to draw my birthday card. She told me that she would have be able to drop it off to me the next day but I had to tell her what I wanted in it. Usually she just draws it on her own so I wasn’t really sure. I almost told her to draw snow because that’s what it looks like when our cottonwood tree is out in full force around the time of our birthday. But I’m not sure how you draw that on a card. I told her she had to have Janet talking. When I go to the cemetery I talk to them. When I would go for walks in the neighbourhood I would talk to her.

This is it. I could have posted this with the word yesterday which was embrace because I had to embrace the tears that came when I opened it. Sometimes it makes me smile, sometimes silent tears fall and yesterday I had a full on cry. Perhaps it was a build up of emotions from June and July. It’s happy tears too because it’s jusr so special. When she dropped it off she said I hope you like and I told her I’m sure I’ll love it. I have written a few times about how I’ve embraced colour again in my life. This is only the second card that my friend has drawn with colour. They represent where I am. Each one is special but the last couple have been a little bit different.
I sent an email to the head of the Twinless Twins organization and I titled it honouring our twinship. Because that is what every drawing does. It honours the bond that I still have with Janet. The fact that she still walks with us.

Embrace

Oh how I love this word. Yesterday I met a public school friend for lunch. What is the first thing we do…give each other a big hug. When she draws a picture in my birthday card the 3 of us have our arms around each other.
When I go out with my friend I have to embrace the goofiness. Because she was visiting I tried to get some pictures of her in Victoria Park but I ended up in more pictures than her. I had to pose on the cannon and of course we get the selfie pictures. When I was sharing this with the woman at the market she said it’s all about making memories. It’s so true. We had our picture taken with Santa the last time she was here and it’s something we both look at fondly when it comes up as a memory on Facebook. For me if I’m having a bad day I can look at pictures of my friends and family and remember love shared.
I have had a lot of losses in a short amount of time so I had to embrace change. It was hard because I don’t like change. I had to embrace the person that I had become and hope that other people would too. That’s why I hold on to the friends that I can be open and honest with. And embrace the ones that make me laugh.

One of those days

This morning I had a Dr appointment at the hospital. I was not looking forward to it because the day is full of memories of my Dad and Mom. I wore my locket as a reminder that they are always together in my heart. Crowded is a good word because there was a line up to sign in at reception because the receptionist took 10 mins to sign a new person in. Even when I got up she had my address wrong. I haven’t received my new health card yet so I passed the white sheet of paper through the window along with my health card and she didn’t even seem to know what it was for. Yikes. They called the woman ahead of me and her name is Janet. I sat there thinking ok that’s a sign because that’s the name of my twin. It was her way of saying I know you don’t want to be here but don’t worry I’m near.
Thankfully I didn’t have to wait long and the Dr came in soon after the nurse was finished taking my BP. She went down my numbers and was really impressed. One of my numbers has gone down by half. I was actually doing a happy dance in my chair when she told me I didn’t have to do the test that I don’t enjoy doing. It’s 3 years since my Mom was in the hospital and there was a time afterwards when I didn’t take care of myself. It’s why this Dr is so impressed with my progress because she knew what I went through. The physical damage that stress does. I sat in the office thinking how proud Mom would be.
I took a cab home because today is grocery day and I told the person I would be back by noon. That didn’t work out well either. The company I use has an automated system so I couldn’t tell them what entrance I was at. I ended up phoning another one which isn’t automated and they came right away. When I got home I found a message on my machine and had a feeling it was my grocery person. Yep 2 from her and one from the head person. Miscommunication since he forgot to read the note that I put with the email to inform him I wouldn’t be home until noon. Needless to say my ice cream melted. They are going to deliver me another one tomorrow. And I tipped her for her inconvenience. If it hadn’t been a holiday yesterday I wouldn’t have got groceries today but I am out of milk, bread etc and I am sick of chicken!!
I’m counting down the days until the weekend when not only will it be cooler (than the 40 degrees it is right now) it’s market day and Sunfest! I need to restock my freezer and there is always great food at the Park. I love summer festivals…no cooking!

Milestones

1. Mom having her kidney transplant. While it isn’t my milestone it impacted our entire family. We took on a lot more responsibilities. I know I felt a lot more grown up than my actual age of 14.
2. Turning 18. It’s when you are legally recognized as an adult.
3. When Janet and I went on vacation for the first time by ourselves. We were 20 so it wasn’t as if we weren’t adults but there was a sense of independence about it. We did go with a tour company so we were well looked after. It was a significant event at the time because we got to meet our favourite soap star…or should I say MY favourite soap star.
4. Turning 30. I know Janet and I both felt the same way that there was something different about your twenties than 30s. For women there are expectations that you are supposed to be married and have children at that age. Turning 40 was hard because it was my first milestone without my twin. I put a poem in the paper as a tribute for our birthday and that would have been a significant event because I was putting my writing somewhere where other people were going to read it. Even though I was 40 at the time people from church thought Mom did it.
5. Going to Vancouver. I didn’t realize how big of a deal this was until years later. It took a lot of courage to go and stay with something I hadn’t seen for almost 20 years. I went on vacation less than a year after Janet died at a time when I was really lost.
6. Getting internet at home. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal but it was something I did entirely on my own.
7. When I went to Minneapolis for the Twinless Twins conference in one of the workshops we went around the circle and told something about ourselves as an ice breaker. The thing I shared was that I had my first plane ride by myself going there.
8. In 2016 it was 10 years since Janet died. I remember thinking how did I make it through 10 years without her? That September was also the 1 year anniversary of my Mom’s death. Planning an event completely on my own (made harder when I had to tell the event coordinator that I didn’t have any family)
9. Moving to my apartment. The word yesterday was reduce and moving is the only time when we go through everything we own (or in my case what family members owned too) and figure out what we want to keep and what we no longer need. When I first started I would pick up an object and just sob. While my head knew it was time my heart wasn’t ready. After Mom died it was a little bit easier because the house just felt so empty.
10. The other day I posted pictures on indulgences. That in itself if a milestone because I had to get to a point where I could tell myself I was worth it. When I went to the Dr a year ago I had a good report. It’s huge because being a caregiver I wasn’t able to take care of myself as well as I knew I should have. It meant things were improving. This Dr has also commented that I seem happier. We have to acknowledge our little accomplishments.

Indulgence in photos

Occasionally I buy myself flowers. Before I moved to where I am now it was usually just for a special occasion but now I do it just because…to brighten my day.

For my birthday I indulged in a manicure. I haven’t had one for a few years which made me think I really should be doing it more often.

When I go out to eat I will have dessert. Not only does it look pretty it tastes good too.

For me it’s also the little things. Sitting outside with a cup of coffee and something I bought at the market. Reading chic lit in the summer. It feels like an indulgence because the summer is short.

Life doesn’t come with a road map

I have quickly learned that there are things in life that nobody can teach you you have to learn them on your own.
Moving into an apartment I learned that there were differences in living in a house. Fire drills were probably the biggest one. When we had our first fire in the building I had no idea what we were supposed to do or go so I just followed everyone else. I knew when the alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning it was not a drill…it ended up being a false alarm. Yesterday they power washed the balcony so I had to move my chairs into the living room. I decided since I was putting the chairs back I might as well clean the patio doors while I was out there.
I love the convenience of having a garbage chute…no more carrying garbage out in the snow or rain. Plastic grocery bags are the perfect size for the chute.
I’m currently navigating through the construction around where I live. Walking to the market on Saturday I was in the road. Then there was trying to make my way through all the people inside with my cart. My uncle mentioned that my Aunt had one of those. Yeah but it wouldn’t have had polka dots on it. I admitted that I debated purchasing one because if you go to Metro in Cherryhill all the old ladies have one. But using a bag I had to be wary of how much I could carry. Although having a cart means I probably buy too much because I have room.
That’s the easy stuff. There’s getting a phone call from someone I don’t want to talk to. Thank goodness for technology! Getting an invitation to a family function and deciding whether I want to go or not. When to let a friendship end. When to take a stand for something and when to just let it go.
The road doesn’t go in a straight line. I’m lucky enough to have friend that have come along for the ride and have been there for years. I don’t feel lost when they are beside me.