Skinny and Other Treasures

Well, it’s five in the morning and I am sitting here with my sunny yellow mug full of coffee.  I no longer sit in my slightly soiled chair, it is in the basement, and I now write from a brown velvety sofa beneath the painting that Shawn bought me for Christmas.  It is a beautiful painting by Terry Issac of an ancient raven totem pole that has a real raven perched on top crying out into the mist. It is called the storyteller and was the perfect gift for me, I love it.  I still write most mornings but rarely post anything anymore.    I am still trying to find my way in my new life.  I still miss Howard and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him or talk about him.  He was an amazing man.  I remember writing a post called “To the Next Amazing Man” two years ago.  I have been blessed to find another amazing man who challenges me, makes me laugh, loves me for who I am, and shares his passion for all things old and rusty with me.  He does sometimes question my purchases and asks where the heck I am going to put them.  This question coming from the man who bought juggling balls ( he does not juggle)  a second cd stand with a creepy old guy with stringy hair holding the cd rack (we do not have a cd player) or two hooves with hair and googly eyes attached to them (he loves them) always amazes me and makes me laugh.  My usual response to where are you going to put it is, I won’t know till we get home!  On Christmas Eve I brought home an old oil can that is now our garbage can in the garage where we play darts. Shawn’s first question was, “Where are you going to put it?”  I love the oil can, it is two feet tall, painted black, has a wooden handle, a lid, a spout and a glass window for seeing how much oil was in the can.  I also have an aversion to regular old garbage cans, they are boring and mostly ugly.  I have never seen a garbage can that I fell in love with and I enjoy repurposing old items.

You might be getting the idea that we buy a lot of old stuff and you would not be wrong.  I start getting antsy about the time the swap meets start up in the spring and cannot wait to get out there and find the next treasure!  The perfect job for me would be roaming the country like the American Pickers on television looking for old and interesting items.  I have come to the conclusion that I am basically unemployable simply because I can no longer work with the general public without telling the idiots that they are idiots or rude customers to shove off.    After 25 plus years in the retail industry in some form or another, I have no patience for bullshit or rudeness and cannot see myself being employed by anyone who is smart and who wants a dumb boss!  Okay, back to the matter of treasure.  Shawn buys a lot of used and unusual things.  I am not allowed to say the H word (hoarder) in reference to him, he likes to be called a collector of fine treasures!  This has worked out for him for a lot of years.  He is always buying and selling.  Well, selling not so much- he gets attached to these items.  I like the hunt more than the item itself, most of the time, so we make a good team.  An eccentric form of retail therapy!  Besides, who doesn’t need an antique Inuit kayak frame hanging from their living room ceiling?

Once in a while, when I am away from the house for a few hours I will get a text from Shawn that says, guess what I bought.  There is no possible way, based on his purchasing history, that I could guess and be remotely close unless I said the words car or truck.  We both love old cars and I love driving my 31 Model A pickup ( picture of me in Skinny at the top).  I even got to drive it on the Bonneville Salt Flats this year!  Her name is Skinny Bitch.  The truck used to be owned by a local man called Skinny who passed away, so the Skinny part of the name was a given.  When I first met Shawn I needed some new jeans because I had lost a lot of weight during Howard’s illness and passing.  I went from 145 pounds down to 103 pounds and was basically skin and bones.  I went to a local store and one of the sales clerks pounced on me before my rear end had cleared the doorway asking me if she could help me find anything.  I find this to be extremely annoying so I said, “Sure, I am looking for new jeans, show me what the skinny bitches wear.”  Hence, the name of my truck.  She also sold me the most comfortable and well fitting jeans I have ever owned!  All of our cars and trucks have names which may seem silly but they all have their own personality and temperament.  I did not like to drive Skinny at first, but Shawn pointed that we just needed to get to know each other a bit and he was right.  All relationships take time and attention.

It seems strange to me sometimes that I have only been in a relationship with this man for about two years and yet it feels like he has always been a part of my life.  I met Shawn during one of the most difficult periods of my life and he helped me find the joy in living again.  Some people thought we got involved with each other too soon after Howard passed away.  Howard would have disagreed.  You only have so much time on this earth so don’t waste any of it worrying about what others think.  Do not let fear hold you back from moving forward and most of all don’t be afraid to face the world with your heart wide open.  I went from living in a big empty house all by myself, miserable and grieving, to a life filled with people, dogs, laughter and joy, because both Shawn and I took a risk.  We were willing to risk our hearts and trust our feelings.  Both our lives are richer because of it.

Love you all
Hug lots and sing loudly

Donna

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Renaming Grief and Other Shit

After a mostly sleepless night, I have a throbbing headache but have maxed out my painkiller quota for the next four hours.  Having sciatica issues makes it difficult to sleep.  I cannot get comfortable and my legs, (sometimes one, sometimes both) burn, tingle and ache.  Yoga and stretching are not helping and I have decided to seek some medical help and get them to look into what is going on with my lower back.   I am a light sleeper and one of the problems I had last night was hearing this strange scratching noise outside.  I lay awake in bed listening, trying to figure out what it was and then heard what sounded like a bear giving a frustrated long grunt, the dogs started barking and I flew out of bed. The dogs live outside and I don’t want them tangling with a frustrated bear.  Shawn and I are outside with flashlights having a look around, the dogs quieted down and we were left cold and wide awake. There is a beautiful creek right beside our property and the salmon are spawning so it is like a bear picnic at the edge of the yard.  Shawn thinks it was a raccoon, but he did not hear the noise the animal made.  I decided that he can think whatever he likes, but I heard a bear.

Okay, 2:45 am and I am wide awake.  We watch a little TV and head back to bed but the pain in my back and legs won’t let me get back to sleep.  So it is now 5am and I am still awake and in pain.  So I try meditating, becoming one with the pain, breathing into it, just breathing and finally drifted off to sleep for a few hours.  I don’t think people who have never dealt with chronic pain have any idea how debilitating and tiring it can be.  I look fine, you would not know that I have been in constant pain or discomfort for 3 weeks if you looked at me.  This happened to me about seven years ago and lasted for over a year.  Chiropractor visits, massage, acupuncture, yoga, and meditation were all part of my healing.  It got to the point where I could not put on my own pants, socks or shoes and was unable to lift my leg high enough to get in the tub.   I also could not drive because I could not move my foot quickly enough from the gas to the brake pedal and almost ended up in the ditch at the end of my driveway.  This was a year from hell.

However, it as nothing compared to the emotional, mental and spiritual pain I suffered when Howard was diagnosed with cancer and passed away a few months later.  While physical pain is a “damn pain” it has a different quality than grief and emotional pain.  It is not just the loss of someone you love, but also your hopes and dreams, and in my case my business, job and home as well.  Yes, it was my choice to close my business and to stop working.  I could have made other arrangements to take care of those things.  But, I did not have it in me to still manage those things behind the scenes while Howard and I navigated cancer world.  One thing that a lot of people do not realize is that the moment you or your loved one are diagnosed with a terminal or life-threatening illness is that the grieving can start immediately.  Life as you knew it has ended and you are thrust into a world full doctors, appts, chemo treatments, medications, and the never-ending supply of people who are only too happy to tell you what they think you should do, or criticize what you are doing.  Just navigating the medical system and being pushed to have this treatment or that treatment without being given enough information to make an informed decision had me wanting to pull my hair out and scream. The man I loved was dying and it seemed that some people, even those in the medical profession did not care, it was just another day at work for them.  He was just another cancer patient.  They did not know his story, or our combined story.  They did not know he had the biggest heart of anyone I knew and spent most of his life doing things for others or that he had finally started doing something he loved and was creating the most beautiful sculptures out of recycled metal. They did not know that I was terrified.  They did not know us and did not have the time or the desire in some cases to get to know us.  They did not know.

I made it my mission to let them know.  I talked to people, I annoyed some people, I got pushy with some people and I even told some people off.  They said I was angry.  Your damn right I was angry.  I was angry, terrified,  heartbroken, and I was watching this big strong man who was my rock waste away and there was nothing I could do to stop any of it.  One of the most annoying questions I was asked when people found out Howard had cancer was,” Oh, what type of cancer is it?”  What the hell does that matter?  I would tell them lung cancer and immediately their next question was “did he smoke”?  So if he smoked then he deserved to have this cancer, he brought it on himself.  If that was the case, then all assholes should get colon cancer, and heartless greedy people should have cancer of the heart, well they do have a type of cancer already, it is cancer of the soul.  Don’t be one of those people!  So my guy is fighting for his life and some people don’t ask if there is anything they can do, they just want to know what type of cancer he has so they can go to sleep at night knowing it will not happen to them because they don’t smoke.  Yup, I was a little angry.  But that is also one of the stages of grief, so are denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  The experts in the field of grieving and loss bandy these stages around and some think it can all be summed up just like that.  The bad news is it is much more complex, sometimes you are in one stage, sometimes the stages overlap and other times (at least for me) there seemed to be whole new stages that had no label.

What are these new stages you ask? When the shit hits the fan make them laugh,  they will never know how torn up inside you are.  If you have read any of my earlier posts you may have the idea that I have a sense of humor and you would be right.  My sense of humor along with dear friends and family helped me get through one of the toughest periods of my life.  If you have a sense of humour use it, if you don’t then cultivate one and watch comedies that make you laugh or do whatever you need to do to laugh.  Laughter heals, even hysterical grieving laughter heals.  My sense of humour is a little warped sometimes and it is one of the ways I deal with life,  my inner comedian comes out. It is one of my strategies for coping with life.  It came out at my mother’s funeral, it came out at my father’s deathbed and it came out when the six of us ( Howard’s parents Pat and Bob, Me and 3 dear friends) were sitting in the living room with Howard waiting for the funeral home to come take his body away.  I sat on the bed beside him and did the only thing I was capable of doing at the time.  I told funny stories about our life together and we all cried and laughed together.  I was exhausted, I was heartbroken, I was relieved it was over, I was terrified and consumed with guilt for feeling relieved that it was over.  I made everyone leave around 4:30 am and collapsed on my bed.  I did not remember anything for six hours.

Did I mention, that I did not get much sleep last night?  Well, now I am really tired and having trouble getting my thoughts out through my fingers so I will end this here.  If you want to know more and haven’t already clicked on something more entertaining, then I will  let you know what I called the other stages in the next few days.  I think they should all be renamed.  All that is going through my head at the moment is the seven dwarves but that would be way too Disney for me. I think the stages of grief need some new labels that have a little edge and a little humor in them.  I definitely think one needs to be called, How dare you die and leave me here all alone to deal with this shit!  Can’t believe I just typed that but it is true.  Don’t judge too harshly.  Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s off to the pub I go.

Love you all

Donna

PS  That is one of Howard’s sculptures in the picture and one of my favorites!

Grief Part 682

I will start this post by saying that I am no expert when it comes to grief. I have danced with grief a number of times from a young age to today, at 54 years of age. I say dance with it because grief has a rhythm to it that moves you. I have experienced the death of two grandparents, a number of friends, my baby girl, both my parents, my older brother and finally the man I loved and lived with for twelve years. Each experience was different and each person’s death brought about a change within me. Howard’s passing happened Sept 15th, 2015 and I have to say that his presence in my life and his exit from it has changed me in ways no other experience has. Howard’s life and death had a profound effect on me and in some ways I am still discovering what those are. I will tell you that the grief never ends but it changes over time and becomes more of a slow heart warming waltz instead of a heart racing paso doble that spins you around and shakes your world. Grief changes you and grief changes.

I am one of those people who cries when I am happy and laughs when I am sad. This is not to say that I do not cry when I am sad. Howard’s death brought me to my knees, but I did not cry, I wailed a deep soul shattering sob that robbed me of breath and thought. I would cry myself to sleep at night and when I woke up in the morning for just a moment I would forget that he was gone and then the sobbing would begin as reality came into focus again. I cried at the grocery store, I sobbed in my car and had to leave a few places, (the bank for one) when my emotions overtook me. I wouldn’t change a minute of the grief. It was heartbreaking but it was also heart opening. I do not see the world in the same way, my vision is clearer because I see with my heart, not my eyes. So a year and a half later something will catch me by surprise and the loss of him will overwhelm me. I was visiting the hair salon that I frequent a few weeks ago and a song came on the radio there that had special meaning to me and Howard and the tears started flowing. This is a song by Shawn Mendes called “Never Be Alone” and here are some of the lyrics:

I promise that one day I’ll be around
I’ll keep you safe
I’ll keep you sound
Right now it’s pretty crazy
And I don’t know how to stop
Or slow it down
Hey
I know there are some things we need to talk about
And I can’t stay
Just let me hold you for a little longer now
Take a piece of my heart
And make it all your own
So when we are apart
You’ll never be alone
You’ll never be alone
You’ll never be alone
When you miss me close your eyes
I may be far but never gone
When you fall asleep tonight
Just remember that we lay under the same stars
And hey
I know there are some things we need to talk about
And I can’t stay
Just let me hold you for a little longer now

Howard passed this song on to me through a friend who is a medium. This happened while he was still alive but could not talk much. He did manage to say a lot to my friend in spirit while he was still alive even though they did not really know each other well. He chose his words sparingly at this point and did not waste his energy. Well, I played the song as Howard lay in his bed in our living room, while a few friends were visiting, Howard had his eyes closed with a big smile on his face and his toes were dancing to the music while the rest of us had tears streaming down our faces. After Howard was gone every time I started my car (for a few weeks) this song would be on the radio, it was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. It made me cry and reminded me that I am never alone.

So, here I am early in the morning finishing a post that I started over 4 months ago. I want you to know that I still miss him and think about him every day. I also want you to know that some days I still struggle to find my place in this new life I have created. Sometimes I still struggle. Howard’s artwork graces the yard and walls of the new home I share with Shawn the new amazing man in my life. He has brought much joy and laughter to my life. He loves me, he challenges me and encourages me to dream and grow. But, grief is a funny thing and I don’t think it ever goes away or is something you can overcome. I believe that it is always there, always a part of you. Grief changes you and grief changes you again, but your dance with it also changes the grief.
Now, it is not so much about the loss of Howard in my life, but the end of the life that Howard had cut short when he was just beginning to blossom as an artist and had found something he was so passionate about.

I believe that I have a difficult time finishing this post simply because there is no end to this story. Nor can I sum it all up and leave you with a something to think about. This is just a snapshot of day 682 of grief.

Be kind
Love ya
Donna

Ancestral Influence

Got a phone call this morning at 5 am. My first thought was something is wrong. Turns out one of my cousins back east called my cell phone by accident. So we had a brief conversation and I sent him a text to make him laugh. Started my day with unfounded worry and a smile. I was worried because I have a nephew who is ill and going for surgery in a few days. This got me thinking about the wonder of our DNA and genetics. I know, how does an accidental phone call lead to a post on genetics.

Our family has a genetic condition called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) or Lynch syndrome, which may or may not predispose you to a number of different cancers the main one being colon cancer. Four members of my immediate family have had colon cancer so it looks like the odds are not in our favour. So that is the downside to genetics. I have regular screening for two types of cancer and after testing have found that I do not carry the gene that causes this. Other members of my family have not been so lucky. The gene has been passed down through our maternal line of ancestors. I on the other hand take after my father’s side of the family. I am the spitting image of my father and my grandmother. So this stuff makes me think about what else we inherit from our long line of ancestors.

What is it that makes us who we are? Do we inherit personality traits as well? I would say yes to this. I have a cousin who is about 16 years older than me and when he was here for a visit a few years ago we discovered that we have some of the same quirks. I am constantly losing my coffee or tea mug and never close a drawer fully. His wife started laughing because he does the exact same thing. Family trait or coincidence, we may never know. I thought it was hilarious and we still talk about it nine years later. As far as learned traits go I would say I am a mixture of both parents. I grew up being influenced by them and was taught to see the world through two very different sets of eyes and life experiences. They helped shape the person I am today. I on the other hand am wholly responsible for who I am today and like to think that I have refined and expanded the world view they had. So are we simply the sum of our experiences? You can have two people experience the same upbringing in the same household and they move through the world in completely different ways. I look at my own brother and sisters and marvel at how we are so alike in some ways and so different in others. I also marvel at how each of has a unique memory of the same event from our past.

I have never felt like I fit into my family. I used to wonder if I was adopted but looked too much like my Dad for that to be the case. When I danced down the wonderful path of discovering my ancestors during my genealogical research I discovered some interesting things. My love for fiddle music, my writing, my ability to sketch, and having a head for numbers, are all things that one of my ancestors excelled at. I am a great mishmash of everyone who has contributed to my DNA. Magical isn’t it?

I also believe that my cells and DNA have their own memories of all the things that my ancestors both close and distant experienced. Even my intuitive abilities are inherited and handed down through my family line. Sometimes these things seem to have skipped a generation or two but if I look closely enough they are there in all of us. So I have chosen to hone my writing skills and my intuitive abilities, others in the family have chosen a different path. My Grandmother whom I have never met, she passed away when my mother was a baby, comes to visit in spirit and she usually shows up when I am writing or doing some piece of creative work.   Does she have this connection to me because I am pursuing things that she loved? I like to think so. She spends a lot of time looking over my left shoulder when I type. She is nodding her head right now and says that I am doing things that she wanted to do but never got the chance to. So I guess in some way the grandmother I have never met in person has influenced me and continues to do so with her presence in spirit. She also tells me that my intuitive abilities come from her line as well as my father’s side of the family. A double whammy! So the predisposition for colon cancer, as well as artistic and intuitive abilities are handed down from generation to generation.  Nothing is ever all good or all bad. The truth of it all is somewhere in the middle. So I choose to walk in the middle of the path, the view is much better from here.

Peace and love to all
Donna

 

Grief and Compost

Woke up this morning with tears streaming down my face. I had a dream about Howard which I do not think has happened since he passed away. It was a wonderful dream and he was so happy and full of life. Then I woke up and remembered that he is gone and the grief started pouring from my heart and eyes. This has not happened for months and took me by surprise. I remembered the last few days of his life and some of the conversations and experiences we had together. I asked him not to leave me here all by myself and he said he wouldn’t. I knew he could not stay and I could not stand to see him in so much pain. So, I had to let him go and let him know I would be okay. He just grinned and said I know you will, like he knew something I didn’t.

There must have been some part of him that knew he would be leaving long before he got diagnosed with cancer. He tidied up a lot of loose ends with the vintage cars and made connections with people who would become important to me. Sometimes it feels like he is still looking after me and that I am never alone. Other times, I can barely remember what it was like to have him here, my life has changed so much. I have no regrets, I feel no guilt, and know we both loved and appreciated each other. Howard actually thanked me for staying with him through all of it which surprised me. He said some people would have walked away. I don’t want to know those people. How could you walk away from someone you love just when they need you the most. According to the hospice staff it happens more frequently than we know. What a sad and lonely world we live in.

I thank the universe that I had the strength of spirit to stand by my man when things went to shit. I never realized how much strength I truly had hidden inside this small body. I will be there for the people I love regardless of how much it hurts me to see and feel their pain. My heart just keeps getting bigger because of it. I also had a lot of people who stood by me and supported me through this whole process and my God I love them for it. They are my tribe, my community. It takes special people to allow someone to fall apart and just be there for them without trying to change it or fix it for them. Some want to stop your tears and your grief. They cannot handle your pain, it makes them feel things they do not want to feel inside themselves. It is all about them and their fears.

Today I have a few people coming to the house to take more things away. The fishing boat, some sculptures and tools. Soon there will be nothing left but an empty house sitting on this land. Land that has nurtured me for twelve years. I am going to walk away from here soon and it is proving to be much harder than I expected. However, I am not walking away from my life with Howard, I am walking towards something, I am walking towards my future.

Be there, really be there, for the people you love. Don’t shy away from the tough times, you don’t grow when everything is all rosy. In our disposable society, in which even people are disposable to some, be the compost. Be the compost that provides nourishment and promotes growth in others. Take all the pain you have experienced in your life and use it to find that connection with others and encourage them to be the best them they can be. Be compost for their soul and yours.

Love to all

The Dance of Grief

Grief is a funny word. I think it should contain more letters and have a harsher sound to it. It sounds soft and uncomplicated doesn’t it?   It is not soft, that is for sure. Experts say it has five to seven stages to it depending upon where you get your information. Seven stages sounds complicated especially since you can go through them in order only to revisit one of those stages at any time. Grief is different for everyone! Just like life and the way humans respond and react to that, it is different for everyone. Remember that.

Dealing with loss is complicated and you can grieve for many different reasons. My grief is due to the loss of my husband and sometimes it sneaks up on me in the strangest situations. I think it’s odd when someone says I lost my husband. I did not lose him, I know exactly where he went and there were times I wished that I could have gone with him. It would have been so much easier if he had lived and I had died, well easier for me. I would have traded my life for his and offered that solution to the universe a few times. The universe had other plans for me.  I have had a few long chats with the universe and all the powers that be, I was not impressed.

Okay grief let’s dance. It was mind blowing how powerful the grieving was. It brought me to my knees, some days I didn’t get out of bed and a few times I just sat in this chair staring out the window not seeing or feeling anything. I had trouble concentrating, I couldn’t sleep, some days I couldn’t even get dressed. Please, oh please, oh please don’t ask me to make another decision. It doesn’t matter how many people you have around you, grief is there waiting for you. I just got this image in my mind of grief as a dust bunny ninja, lurking in corners and hiding under the bed, jumping out at you when you least expect it. Not only are you grieving the loss of the person, you are also having to let go of your dreams and the future you had planned. Your person ( mother, father, child, friend, husband) dies and your entire life is changed forever, dreams gone in the blink of an eye.

I am a practical person and can usually find solutions in any problematic situation. There is no solution for grief. It doesn’t stop and is constantly changing. One minute it is in your face and messing with your ability to breathe and the next it retreats back to its dark corner and waits. I can remember a day when I was out with friends and on the drive home I had realized I had not thought of my husband for a few hours, grief jumped into the seat beside me and I was assaulted by it. My heart screamed how could I have forgotten Howard for those few hours? My mind was on other things and I had some fun with the girls, then the minute I was alone the reality of the situation hit home. This was no ordinary lunch date because Howard was not going to be home when I got there.  Sometimes when I go to sleep I forget what has taken place and when I wake up in the morning it hits me all over again.  Some mornings I wake up and don’t think about it all.

Perhaps I am one of the lucky ones. Because I have always had the ability to go with the flow when grief struck I embraced it. I explored this aspect of the process and went where it led me. Grief also has the ability to transform you and like any transformation the process is not pretty or pain free. The amount of growth for me has been proportionate to how willing I was to experience all that grief had to offer. I have grieved without apology. Despite the fact that I am moving on with my life, I still have moments of overwhelming grief. I had one last night. Driving home, tears pouring down my face and singing at the top of my lungs in great gasps and sobs.  Thank the universe it was dark and no one could see me. I grieve in private and I grieve a lot in my car.

There is no end to this story, no tidy summation to leave you with. The loss is always there, you just learn how to go on with your life and live with the loss. You learn to live with it and if you let it grief can teach you much about living. So please have some patience with the people you know who are suffering a loss of any kind in their life. Just love them through the process and set aside your own expectations of how they should be handling it. Until you have danced with grief you don’t know if you will be dancing a fast and hard flamenco or a slow intimate waltz.  In my case it has been an awkwardly beautiful interpretive dance that changes speed and rhythm on a whim.

Hug people, all the people

Love you all

Donna

 

 

Heart wide open!

It is so dark here in the wilds of Sooke this morning and waking up hours before the sunrise is a new habit of mine. I’m sitting in my chair with the fireplace going and a steaming cup of my favourite coffee. The coffee tastes better when I use my handmade, sunny yellow mug for some reason. This doesn’t make any logical sense, but trust me, the coffee does not taste the same in another mug. I’ve tried to use a different mug but I always come back to the yellow one. I guess me and the yellow mug have a comfortable relationship with one another. I know it’s curves and my slender fingers fit perfectly in the handle.

Comfort is good and bad. I wish my name was Comfort, what a beautiful way to introduce yourself. Hi, my name is Comfort!  I like it and I am sure people would automatically feel at ease around someone with that name. We do some crazy things in order to be comfortable with ourselves and the rest of the world. We will put up with things that make us uncomfortable, in some cases, in order to continue on a familiar path. Better the devil ya know, right? Well, as some of you already know my life had some drastic changes last year. My spouse of 11 years, his name was Howard, passed away within a few months of being diagnosed with cancer. The type of cancer doesn’t really matter, the fact that it ended our dance together on this earth is the real matter. Funny that I used that phrase because we never, ever danced with each other. So, Howard was ill and I had a business and a full-time job. Needless to say, I closed the business and cut back my hours at work, so we had time to be together and I had time to look after things for him. I don’t think many people know that Howard and I worked together with his parents in their family business of 38 years. Yes, I worked with my man and my in-laws! There are a few stories there!  Back to the important parts. Howard and I both thought he would survive this. We never for a moment thought that a man who never got sick and was so fit and healthy would succumb so quickly. He did everything he could to stay here and I was amazed at the strength and grace he possessed when faced with his own mortality. I unfortunately did not exhibit the same grace.

Howard was my anchor, my comfort in a world of uncertainty. My business and my job could be replaced but this man was so special and my god he showed me every day how much he loved me. He didn’t speak about love much, he lived it! His actions, which I think spoke much louder than words, told me everyday how important I was to him. He never once criticized me or made me feel silly or small or less than beautiful. I do some crazy shit so I think that took great strength! He loved me when I was at my worst and my best. He held me as my heart was breaking when I lost the baby we created together and never once tried to stop my tears, he loved me through it. He loved me unconditionally and with every cell. I was comfortable, happy and empowered. Then it all ended.

Okay here comes the messy and graceless part. I could not find the gracefulness in me without seeing it reflected back to me through his eyes. Did I mention that his eyes were blue? A beautiful denim blue that spoke to my soul. Okay, I’m just avoiding the uncomfortable parts. Here we go down the rabbit hole! I was ANGRY!!!! Can you imagine a small 5 foot 3 east coaster angry at the world and spewing it out upon the people she loved and complete strangers in grand and dramatic fashion. No? Okay think of a wild animal (any big ferocious feline should work) ripped from their environment and placed in a small cage and put on display for people to gawk at. Yes, that is a much better visual. Now imagine for another second that this feline was so in touch with the world around her that she could communicate with the universe and caged that was taken from her too. I could not feel anything. The beautiful and wonderful world of spirit (I will post about this aspect later) that I had experienced since I was born was gone. It felt like someone had shut the door and turned off the lights in a room with no windows or fresh air. I was blind with rage and grief. Everything that I thought made me who I was had been taken away.

I love being wrong! My friends and family loved me through the most difficult and graceless period of my life. Now here is the funny part. Despite the fact that my entire life had been destroyed, because that is how I saw it, a whole new life was being born. Even through my rage and grief I could see the possibilities that we’re now available to me. Talk about conflicting emotions! Grief and hope we’re fighting a war inside me. Then I thought about the man I had loved and knew he would want me to celebrate the fact that I was alive even though he was not. He was selfless that way. Howard was instrumental in me learning how to be me without apology. He taught me to stand strong with my feet firmly planted on my path and my heart wide open. He would be upset if he thought I closed myself off from the beauty and miracles of life because he was no longer walking with me in this physical plane. He inspired me when he was alive and continues to inspire me now that he is gone. Thanks Howard, I will always love you and will live my life to the fullest to honour all the love you gave and the things you taught me.  You were an amazing man Howard and amazing men do amazing things.  This last sentence was a little joke between us!

 

Wow, I have gone through a lot of tissues writing this! I just want to say a few more things before I start my day. Don’t be afraid to love with 110 percent of your soul. Love is not painful! Loneliness, anger, loss, isolation, a hunger for connections with others, now those are painful things. Don’t be afraid! I wish I could show you the world through my eyes and heart. Oh yeah, I can do that and have made it my mission. When you see me it shines from my eyes and if you are open you can see the love that radiates out of me and get a glimpse of the world through my heart and eyes. It is a beautiful world but you have to approach it with your heart wide open in order to see it! So for the people that avoided me in the grocery store, there is a softer and gentler Donna walking down the aisles so you don’t have to run away anymore.  I’ll show you the wonders of the universe, yes I smile with my eyes and heart

 

 

Oh yes, and hug people, as many people as you can!

Peace and love to all

Donna