Two Years Later

I can’t sleep tonight and the need to write is strong. I have a feeling that this might be my last blog post on a Life in a Slightly Soiled Chair. There is a new blog taking shape in my heart and in my mind, but I am unable to describe it for you at the moment. This new chapter in my life and my writing is still taking shape and in all honesty, I don’t think I will know what it is until I start to write it. It has been exactly two years since Howard passed away and my world crumbled and I think this last post needs to be a letter to him but I have decided to share it with you. For some reason I think that if I put this out there, it will travel to all the corners of the universe and Howard will read it somewhere, somehow.

Hi Howard, it has been two years since you left this earth and sometimes it feels like yesterday and at other times it seems like centuries. I still miss you and think I always will. You know that I don’t remember dates for anything, all that well, but I think that my heart and body remember on a cellular level the moment that you left. I am not the same person, your life changed me and your death changed me again. I would not alter one moment of our life together, but I would trade everything to change the end of it for you. Oh yeah, I would like a redo on the day our house was raided and we were arrested, yup, I would change that. That was a crazy day and I am still convinced that they had the wrong house regardless of what the paperwork said. All they had to do was look at the dead plants on the deck to realize that I couldn’t grow a potted plant let alone a pot plant. We had the last laugh on that one, didn’t we!

I did plant a garden from seeds this year, but you already know that. This garden turned out much better than the year I decided to plant one in our backyard. Even the raven sitting on the pagoda laughed at my attempt to garden. I remember that you came out of the shop and asked, “Did that raven just laugh at you?” I managed to keep most of this one alive, with some help, and have had some wonderful meals with the vegetables from it. You remember how much I love bok choy? Well, apparently the deer love it more because I did not get to eat any of it. I did have an abundance of radishes. Deer do not eat radishes. Who knew? I tried to feed some to the cow Oatsie, but she didn’t want them either. Note to self, do not plant that many radishes ever again.

Yesterday I was in a friends store and saw some spirit bells. I was fascinated with these bells and took one home with me. I just could not keep this bell out of my hands and jiggled it around the whole time I was in the store. After I got home I remembered that in the last few weeks of your life you said you would ring bells. I gave you a bell beside your bed when you couldn’t get up by yourself so if you needed me I would hear it. Did you know that I slept with that bell beside my bed for months after you passed away waiting for you to ring it? I had a dream last night that I woke up and it was the exact moment that you passed away. All those emotions rose up in me like a huge wave threatening to drown me and you in spirit form kissed my head and told me it was okay. You also said a few other things and I went back to sleep feeling peaceful and loved.

I miss talking to you and sometimes have conversations with you in my head. I would talk to you out loud, but people already think I’m a little odd. Once in a while, I feel your presence and an image of you pops into my head. You always have a huge smile on your face and that light in your eyes that you always had when you were up to something. I loved that face. I keep thinking about your hands for some reason. They were large sturdy hands that were always covered in cuts and scrapes. Your hands were always busy sculpting, fixing, welding, weeding, cooking or petting a dog. Those large calloused hands were also gentle and I don’t think I ever felt safe in my life until you held my face in your hands and kissed me. I don’t think I ever felt safe or loved in my life until I met you.

There are so many things I want to tell you. I also believe that you already know everything that is in my heart. There is a space in my heart that will never be filled. One thing you did teach me is that our hearts are big and I can keep that space for you and still have enough room for other people. I took a risk last year and have someone new in my life. He too is teaching me much about love and life. He challenges me sometimes, makes me laugh constantly and encourages me to try new things and grow. We have a great group of friends and get together regularly at the pub or in our kitchen, which is filled with food, love and laughter. We both believe that you set the stage for us to get together when you sold him my raven sculpture. I remember how excited you were with the trade the two of you made. He also has a big heart and since the two of you were friends there is a place in his heart for you as well. We have the first sculpture you made called Victorious ( I affectionately call her Booba) and the last one you finished, the rhino, in our yard. The raven you sold him sits on top of the gatepost at the end of the driveway and when I moved in we put the second raven that you made for me on the other gatepost. I always think of them and you watching over us and protecting us. We also have the gorilla sculpture peering out of the bamboo. That was my favorite of all your sculptures even though I teased you about becoming a gorilla while you were creating it.

I want you to know that I am happy in my new life. Shawn and I are having many adventures together and in some way take a part of you with us on each of them. We took your toolbox with us when we went to Bonneville this year and God knows we could have used your mechanical skills while we were there. The racing did not go as well as expected. It was still an amazing trip though because of the people we met and old friends we got to see again. That is the most important thing anyway, the people in our lives. I am so glad that I got to be part of your life and hope I brought some joy and laughter to yours. I do know that some of my crazy antics brought some comic relief and I can still see you looking at me and shaking your head with that what am I going to do with her expression on your face. We had a few hard times and we had many more great times. Howard, you were an amazing man and the thing that amazed me the most was that you loved me. You loved me so much that I can still feel it.

Love the people in your life
Hug each other and laugh over the stupid stuff
Donna

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The Same but Different

It is 5 am and the coffee is brewing. My slightly soiled chair is in the garage, so I now sit on a big comfy sofa to write, but my sunny yellow mug is still a part of my life. The only noises are the occasional car driving down the highway and the gentle snoring of a great dane named Georgia who has become my shadow and follows me everywhere in my new home. It is hard to move into someone’s home and find your place. This is not to say that the man I am living with has made this difficult, he has done everything to make me feel at home. My things are mixed in with his things and there are pieces of me and my life in every room. There is a blending that happens and it takes me a little while to settle down and feel comfortable. It is not the place that makes it a home, it is the people and our shared experiences. In my case home is definitely where the heart is and my heart has never been tied to a place or the things in it, my heart is connected to the people.

I have been talking to my older sister more than usual and am enjoying this new relationship we are developing. The picture at the top of the page is of me and my sister Marg taken last June at Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia. My sister has one of the best laughs, you know the kind that makes you smile or laugh just hearing it. Well, my sister is in the process of writing a book and I get to be a small part of it which is very exciting. We are having conversations now that were not possible before to some extent because our lives were so different. This is no indication of how we feel about each other, I love my sister dearly and she has been more like a second mother to me for most of my life. We are having conversations about things we would never have discussed 5 years ago. I am excited to get to know my sister on a different level.  I have a number of people in my life that I can have conversations with about life and the things that matter and then there are others where the conversation is kept light and just skims the surface of what really matters. This does not make one type of conversation good or bad, I think we need both.

I have been having a difficult time finding my way. I suppose I should give myself a break considering the huge changes that have taken place in my life in the last year and a bit.  The new man in my life, his name is Shawn, was a friend of Howard’s that I had  met once very briefly before Howard passed away.  One of the things that drew me to Shawn was how big his heart is.  He has a lot of room in that heart for a lot of people and that included Howard.  Now it includes me.  Howard’s sculptures have become part of the landscape here and his artwork is also hanging on the walls, sitting on the deck or a shelf.  Shawn’s heart is so big that he is able to include the people that I have loved and still love into it.  So, while Shawn and I are building a life together we both get to include the people and other important things from our past into it.  My heart has a lot of room also.  I will tell you more about all of that in a blog piece that I have called The Tale of Two Ravens.  I have started working on it but the time is just not right to tell that story.

The only reason I am writing this morning is to try and incorporate my writing into my new and busy life.  I have missed sitting in my chair connecting with all of you. The last year has been filled with new experiences, new people and new ways of viewing the world.  I think it just takes me a while to be able to process it all and write about it.  Sometimes I just don’t have the words to express myself.  Someone asked me yesterday to smell a healing spray they had made and give them my opinion.  It was the strangest thing, I almost could not describe the smell.  It just brought up so many feeling that words almost escaped me.  I couldn’t say, oh that smells like roses or some other distinct thing.  It smelled fresh and ancient at the same time, it was almost as if she had captured everything the entire world has ever experienced in a bottle.  Weird huh?  I think she has a gift.

Well, I hope you all have a wonder filled day and don’t forget to make your heart big and greet the world from that place.  Live with your heart wide open, it is worth it.

 

Hug everyone, Peace to all

Donna

Know Who You Are

I have witnessed three beautiful sunrises this week from the east coast of Canada. I am in Halifax, where I was born and spent the first 23 years of my life. The city has changed so much I barely recognize it. I have lived on the west coast for more than 24 years so I have officially spent more time there. I still refer to Halifax as home. For us east coasters our roots run deep. If we meet people anywhere in the world and they are also from the east coast there is an instant bond, a shared understanding of a culture and way of being in the world. I love the accent that rolls off tongues in that sing song drawl and can recognize it wherever I am. The accent will vary depending on whether you are from a big city, or one of the smaller towns which each seem to put their own twist on a way of speaking. For now, I just want to sit and listen to the people speak. I find comfort in those familiar patterns of speech from my childhood.
I woke up at 4:30 am this morning listening to the birds sing the beginning of the day into existence and even they sing a song that is different now. I lay in my borrowed bed comparing them to the bird songs of the west, unable to identify any but the crows. I am hoping to see a blue jay while I am here, they hold a special significance for me and they don’t exist on Vancouver island. We have jays on the island but the Stellar Jays of the west are slightly different. The eastern jays are brighter in colour and slightly smaller, though their screech is very similar. This trip has me comparing many things between the east of my childhood and the west of my adulthood.
I did think about moving east after Howard left this earth. I spent hours looking through the real estate listings and dreaming about a waterfront home along the Atlantic. My heart is in the west now though, with the people who have come to mean so much to me. I call them my soul family. I fit there amongst the cedars, bald eagles, mild weather and the laid back lifestyle of small town Sooke. I belong there now. Perhaps I had to leave there to know that. I wish I had the ability to be in two places at the same time. I just started laughing cause the word bicoastal ran through my mind. I am bicoastal!
When I arrived at my sisters home and unpacked my suitcase I found a note from the special man in my life. This man was kind enough to wake up at 3:30 am to drive me to the airport, I think he likes me. This small note brought tears to my eyes and melted my heart. His presence in my life has helped me to wake up parts of myself that have been dormant for a very long time. I thank the universe for him every day and appreciate the fact that he has the strength to walk beside me and encourages me to grow, heal, and live my dreams. His note was a little reminder of all that is waiting for me when I return. This was a trip of necessity, I needed to revisit the past and make peace with it to move forward with clarity and purpose. I needed to remember who I am. So, today I am going to visit with some of my cousins. I am looking forward to reconnecting with them and getting to know them again. They too will help me remember who I am.  
So while I was away living my life on the west coast the east coast has changed. I guess time stood still in my mind and I expected things to be the same. We change and grow and places change and grow. I am not the same person that left Nova Scotia many years ago. This trip has confirmed one thing for me, while the east will always be part of me I belong among the cedars of the west.  I have also learned that you need to know and understand the past to move in a different way into the future. Learn from the past but don’t dwell there or live from there, learn from it . Know who you are. Live your life with no regrets, just live!
Love to all

Donna

Freedom

Well, the move is complete and I hand over the keys to the new owners of my home today!  It is a bittersweet moment.  I knew who I was in Sooke and am not sure who I am in Langford, if that makes any sense.  I guess I felt that I belonged in Sooke and don’t feel that way in the new place yet.  I will give it some time, but know this is only temporary.  Let’s see where the universe sends me next!

Now the unpacking and further sorting and sifting through the material parts of my life begin.  My goal is to get rid of all the things that are not necessary or bring me joy.  Cannot part with my car Lola though and I am so happy she has a warm and safe place to wait for me.  It is going to be so much fun driving her this summer!

Wow, the last year has been quite a roller coaster ride.  Lots of highs and many low spots to navigate through.  My life has been completely changed because of Howard’s life and death, mainly his life though.  It has also been changed by the new people who have entered and become so important to me.  I am blessed to know and care for each of them.  It can be hard sometimes when life turns shitty to find the positive aspects of it.  I am one of the lucky people who can experience and see both sides of every situation.  Even during the darkest moments there was light visible.

I had better get this day started and over with.  There is a freedom that comes with not being tied to a property and animals.  A freedom I have not had in a very long time and I’m not quite sure how to respond to it.  There are so many options open to me that it is hard to pick one.  For now I will just keep sorting and sifting and see what direction the universe sends me in.  I do know one thing, it will include many wonderful new people and I am looking forward to meeting them and getting to know them.  I also get to build on the relationships that have already formed for me and that is exciting too.  Even freedom has a price.

Peace and love to you all
Donna

The Last Night

I wanted to take a moment to write on my last day and night in the house I have called home for the last twelve years.  I do not understand how it is possible for me to be filled with sadness and happy anticipation at the same time, but I am.  Just goes to show me that we are never just one thing but a beautiful synthesis of all our experiences and emotions.  Life is complicated and so too are the ways we respond to it.  Layers and layers of experiences and feelings all wrapped around blood and bones with a huge heart smack dab in the middle of it all.  

One of the things that I have discovered in the last year is that I love people!  I would never admit it before and tried to deny the fact that I am a people person.  I do not miss working at all, but it gave me a way to make connections with others and the absence of that has left a big hole in my life.  I am managing to find new ways to connect with people and am forming relationships that are based on a deeper level of understanding and caring than they have ever been before.  I am spreading my wings and just happen to stop and wrap them around people on a regular basis.  Watching someone blossom and open up when they are approached with unconditional love and acceptance makes my heart almost burst with delight!  It is not about me or my wants or needs, it is about what I put out into the world and how I treat others.   There is a bigger picture, there is always a bigger picture.

I have some very special people in my life and I thank the universe for them every day.  I have been blessed in so many ways and have fallen in love with life again.  I dont’t think I had been really living the last few years, I think I was existing which in a sense is like being dead to the world.  There was no joy, I had lost my ability to feel it.  I have my joy back and my passion for life and people has been reborn.  Now, I have something to offer the world again.  I offer myself and all the love and joy that this tiny little body with a big heart can hold.  It flows out of me there is so much and touches all I come into contact with.

I was busy and had to stop in the middle of writing this.  Wow moving is hard work and next time I will hire a moving company!  My last night in Sooke was bittersweet.  I went to sleep listening to the frog symphony and the waterfall in the koi pond.  I also had one of the best sleeps I have had in a long time.  Only three days left to get everything done and the help keeps pouring in and in some cases complete strangers are helping out.  I am not used to asking for help so this was difficult for me.  I am usually the one helping others, but I guess it was my turn and it has been and humbling and heart warming experience.  What goes around comes around.

You most likely will not hear from me for a few days as the time gets critical but I have got some wonderful blog ideas for the future and look forward to sharing them with you. Keep smiling with your heart!  

Peace and love to all

Donna

Odd Shit and Potatoes

Well once again it is just after five thirty in the morning and I am sitting in a mostly empty house waiting for the coffee to brew. In a few more days this house will be occupied by a young family. I wonder how the house will feel, it has never had children living in it before. The energy of this house is very calm and peaceful so it will be interesting to know how the family and the house react to each other. I know it sounds a little odd for me to write about the house like it has a personality and feelings but I think about these things. Perhaps it is the energy of the people that permeate the building, like the house is a container for their spiritual energy. I may never know.

Speaking of odd, some people would describe me and my lifestyle as odd and that is the way I like it. I am open to all the possibilities and if that makes me a little odd so be it. One really strange and funny thing happened this week. I was talking on the phone to a friend who also happens to be a medium and she started laughing. When she starts to laugh it always makes me nervous and curious at the same time. She had Alfred Hitchcock show up on the ceiling of her little sitting room. I started laughing as well, really Alfred Hitchcock. So, I asked what does Alfred have to say?
Well his message was for me to keep writing but in a more creative form. He told me to make up stories. Who am I to argue with Alfred Hitchcock? So once I am in my new place and life has settled down I will start writing in a more creative form, which has always been my passion, reading and writing fiction. No idea what I will write about at this point but you can bet it will have a spiritual theme and some odd characters.

The universe has a funny way of leading me to things. I also notice this happening in the lives of the people around me. We are lead where we need to go, even if at the time the method of getting us there does not appear to be beneficial at first. You lose your job unexpectedly then out of nowhere the perfect job for you appears. This has happened to me a few times! I was lead to this new place I will be living and there were lots of applicants for the suite, but I knew that it would be mine. People show up out of the blue just when I need them. I always get what I need though most times that is rarely what I want or perhaps it would be better to say what I think I want. The universe is much wiser than I am.

Some would say that our thoughts create our reality and for the most part I would agree with them. However, sometimes shit just happens. Sometimes big shit or unfair shit just happens to you or to those around you. I don’t think our thoughts manifested that situation but I do think that our thoughts determine how we respond to the shit! Keep expecting negative things to happen and negative things will happen, expect the positive and you get positive. I am always surprised that the universe thinks I deserve all the wonderful things that it brings me. I am no more special than the next person, but am constantly amazed at the things that happen to me and around me. Not all of them have been pleasant but each one has been a learning experience. Some lessons are easier to learn than others of course!

Well it is now three hours later and a wonderful friend just left driving my 51 Caddy called Lola. It was hard to see her leave the garage with someone else behind the wheel but I know she will be treated with care and is being stored in a safe place. I love that car with her curvy behind and all the little things that come with owning an old piece of rolling art. I especially love the colour, which was a happy accident. Someday I will tell you the story of the creation of Lola and all the laughter, happy coincidences that happened and how she got her name. Today is not the day for that. I had tears in my eyes as she went down the driveway with me standing in an empty garage. Here I am once again saying goodbye, alone with tears in my eyes. This portion of my life has almost come to an end, no more standing here by myself watching people and things leave my life. Just got the phone call, Lola and driver have arrived safely, woohoo!

Friends are arriving this morning to help me move the last few things from the house. Don’t know if I will sleep here again. Maybe one more time to say goodbye.
Life is funny and messy and beautiful and tragic and miraculous and difficult, it is all good, all the ups and downs are good. So my final words today are, if a man asks you to hold his potatoes walk away, even if they are warm!

Peace and love to all of you
Donna

Hello and Goodbye

It is a beautiful sunny day in Sooke and I slept for over ten hours last night. First time in a long, long time that I have not been awake before the sun peaked over the horizon. There are a few pieces of furniture and some piles of boxes in the living room and the house is almost empty. It has been a strange experience living without a television in the living room. I have to admit I miss it a little but only when I am bored out of my mind and too lazy to do anything else.

Had a wonderful dinner last night but had to say goodbye to a few people as they journey back to their homes in Saskatchewan. I only met them in the last month or so but I adored both of them instantly. It is funny how you can make a connection with some people as soon as you meet them. Not sure why I am surprised, this happens to me a lot. But then again, it does not happen with every person I meet.  Some people just become part of my heart and I am better for knowing them. I am going to miss their teasing banter and the laughs we shared, even though sometimes they were at my expense. Karoke night will not be the same without them!

I have trouble with goodbyes. The words get stuck in my throat when the tears threaten to spill out of my eyes. My eyes leak a lot and at the strangest times. I cry more happy tears than I do sad ones, so that is good. Lately I have had so much fun that I have laughed so hard I started crying. Those belly laughs are good for your soul! Having people around you that you can be silly and have fun with is important. As adults and all the serious business that adulthood entails I think we sometimes forget to have fun. Life is funny and has a way of keeping you humble if you can laugh at yourself.  If you can’t laugh at yourself it is not as funny!

I have not been able to write much lately. Partly because I am busy, but mainly because there are new people in my life and new things happening and I wanted to keep it private. I have a tendency to say or write whatever pops into my head and heart and right now is not the time for that. Let’s just say that my life has taken a few unexpected turns and I am having fun with it. I am having fun! I have no idea where any of this will lead and I am okay with that. There are no guarantees in life, you just have to enjoy what the universe provides you with, whether that is people or situations.   New people and situations can take you out of your comfort zone but are essential for your growth.  Saying hello to the new can be as difficult as saying goodbye.  So no more goodbyes just see you laters!

To the people in my life, new and old, please know that I cherish each and every one of you for the beauty, laughter and love you bring with you. Thank you for making me laugh and challenging me to be a better person. Thank you for challenging me with such affection and humour! Thank you all for allowing me to be part of your life and watching you as you grow and struggle and laugh and cry. The connections we share are priceless and mean so much to me. I think you are all a little strange, but then again I like strange! I only ask one thing of you, just be yourself.

 

Peace and love to all

Donna