Category Archives: Grief

Be Celebrating Another Nana

This post has been percolating in my mind for many months.  Stewing, forming, mashing all up together in my head and within the deepest part of my heart.

How could I best pour out my words for another beautiful, vibrant, gardening Nana?

Tonight, I just decided to sit down and write.

Tonight, I am celebrating another Nana.

I remember one day after dropping JC off at school in Vtown, a very good friend of mine K walked up to me in the parking lot.  I am not sure where the little boys were, but K and I ended up standing in the parking lot and she shared her news.

Her beautiful mom, Wendy, was diagnosed with cancer and they didn’t think it could be cured.
WUMP!

If you know my friend K, you know both her mom and her dad.  Like my parents used to be, their lives were woven throughout the fabric of their grandchildren and children’s lives.  Nana Wendy was a Super Nana, just like my mom.

I didn’t know at the time, but K and I would walk similar journeys as grieving daughters and mom’s of young children as we watched our Super Nana’s and mom’s live and die with cancer.  My mom wouldn’t be diagnosed until many months later and would pass away two years before Nana Wendy.

On December, 29th, 2015, just two short months ago, I was able to be present and sit as K and her family celebrated Wendy’s life.  Ironically, it was two years to the day that we had celebrated my mom’s own life.

Wendy’s celebration of life was truly remarkable and not something that I soon will forget. Candles were lit.  K read a beautiful poem.  Her brother shared his mom’s life story and some humour to go along with it.  K’s daughter shared her heart.  Family and friends shared stories.  It was the most lighthearted, beautiful, inspiring, celebration of life I had seen.  I felt like I had the opportunity to sit with Wendy, getting to know her more through her family, while in her garden.

This moment reminded me about the depth of character, which we all have, that allows us to grieve deeply, yet celebrate a life.   This same depth allows us to smile at little children and be grateful for an unborn baby that K’s brother’s family was expecting, while feeling sadness about the loss.

Life is created in these beautiful seeming “opposing” moments, created by amazing families, like K’s!

It is about embracing all of lifes beauty at all times.

I am extremely humbled to call K my friend and to have journeyed this passage of time with her through cancer treatments, hospital stays, time in hospice and celebrating our moms lives and deaths.

With gratitude, I pour out these words.

With humbleness of heart for being able to watch this journey unfold.

With a great lump in my throat for the loss we both endure.

With sadness for our children that have lost their Super Nanas.

With love pouring out because of how our mom’s lived their lives.

To the max!

With laughter.

With a good book at their side.

A beautiful garden to tend to.

And a family that deeply misses their presence.

Hugs to our Nanas in heaven.

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Be Leaving Slippers at the Door

My mom died just over two years ago.

Wump!

My dad has not been a part of our daily life in the last nine months.

Wump! Wump!

My life and the daily rhythm of my brood of boys has changed drastically over the last two years.  The two people that played such a significant part in their lives, are now gone.

Gone without understanding or knowing.

Disappeared from our presence but not from our thoughts or our hearts.

We cannot pretend to understand another’s grief.

We can only sit with them in acceptance for wherever they are.

We cannot judge.

We can only be.

Last Thursday, after much personal work with a beautiful counsellor, we decided to leave Papa’s slippers outside the door.

A symbol of welcoming.

In hopes that he will soon return.

To our daily life.

With his arms always loaded with fun things to do and great gifts to eat.

With his joyful laughter and silly stories.

Our door is always open to you Papa!

We don’t understand.

But we love!

With open hearts.

Open arms.

Open doors.

Your slippers are waiting Papa!

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Be Giving Birth…

…to a book! 

  
I have given birth three times, twice at home and once at the hospital. All were beautiful labour-intensive moments that I would do again tomorrow.  They were all miracle moments after nine months of growth and preparation. 

And now after nine months, I am giving birth to a book baby.  Twins actually.  The first book will be birthed into the world sharing my inner journey through the gift of grief and then my outer journey book will be ‘pushed out’ shortly afterwards. 

Putting my thoughts into words involved early mornings, late nights, many uncomfortable moments and back pain from sitting in a chair.   It caused endless hours of introspection as I prepared to plunge my words into the vast unknown of Amazon and people paying to read my words.  

I know I am awaiting the time.  

I have prepared.  

I have pondered.  

I am ready to live my miracle moments. 

Knowing I am enough.  

I can be enough.  

Just being. 

Me.  

Giving birth to twin books. 

Be Doing What You Don’t Normally Do

I never go to “The Mall”.

Sorry folks, this is just not a place that brings me energy nor life.

The fluorescent lights.

Air conditioning.

And all those choices.

Whew!

Not my thing!

BUT, today I decided to do what I don’t normally do.

I WENT TO THE MALL!

Yup, all six foot of me, walked in and through the mall for a whole ten minutes.

I had not idea what I was doing.

Until, I ran into these two:

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Linda and Lil.  

Linda my good friend, mentor and Principal in Vtown.  And Lil, her friend from Saskatoon.

The craziest thing is that Linda is wearing a coat that my mom had given me as a teacher, that I had passed on to Linda when I gave birth to JC and didn’t think I would return to teaching.

My heart overflows.

My time with these two lovely women was amazing.

The reminder of my mom was a lovely moment.

Heartfelt.

Wonderful.

Women.

I think I may need to go to the mall more often.

Nah!  I think I just need to keep doing things I don’t normally do!

Be Slaying Cake Demons

Two years of buying cakes.  

Ice cream. 

Fondant. 

Chocolate.  

Vanilla. 

Cakes. 

Made by professionals.  

Two years ago was the first time that my boys did not have a birthday cake made by my mom.  

Elmo. 

Bert. 

Pirate.  

Digger.  

Cakes.  

Whatever the boys requested, my mom would lovingly and happily create.  

My boys most memorable birthday moments have been their cakes. 

Tonight, I slayed some cake demons.  Often the hardest things create the most freedom within us and around us.  

Tonight, I made my newly four year old’s request for a fire truck cake.  

Tears in my eyes.  

Heart racing.  

Knees trembling.  

Pink icing and all. 

(Who knew red icing was so hard to make?) 

I MADE A FIRE TRUCK CAKE! 

Soul cleansing.  

Mind moving.  

New habits.  

Overcoming.  

Triumphing. 

Cake making.  

Happy Birthday OC. 

(My mom’s namesake.) 

  
What hard stuff will you push through today?   What freedom will you create? 

Be Riding Waves of Gratitude

Over two years ago, I started down a road that I never knew I would go down.  My energetic, athletic mom had cancer take over her body.  It pummelled her, humbled our family and eventually took her body on Boxing Day six months later.  

I rode waves of grief.  

Face planting.  

Knee crawling.  

Life stealing.  

Grief. 

I had never known pain like this. 

I had never lived a day without my previous mama.  

But I did.  

And I am.  

I was at the beach a few days ago and was watching this: 

  
And then I noticed a woman sitting under a tree, just like my mom used to, watching the boys play in the sand. I would have felt paralyzed by this before but now I just found gratitude in my heart for this beautiful woman who reminded me of my mama.  

  
I am living.  

Living with abundance.  

Living a life of my dreams.  

I am continually surrounded by saints on this earth.  

Friends who walk with me. 

Strangers who bless me with their presence.  

Friends who LOVE my boys. 

Friends who ask ‘how are you?’ And wait to hear the answer.  

Right now in my life, I am riding the waves of gratitude.  

It hits me every day at how blessed I truly am.  

I feel extremely grateful for who I am surrounded by, all that I have and all that I can do.  

The possibilities are truly only limited by my mind.  

My opportunities seem to flow into my dreaming mind and humbled heart.  

I am free.  

I am flying.  

I am riding waves of gratitude. 

 

Be on the Water

Two years ago, almost to the day.  I started on a journey where I needed to learn to ride in the waves.

No choice.

Just had to do it.

The waves were metaphors, but overpowering.

My breathe was taken out of me many times, but I choose to not allow it to not overcome me.

The diagnosis of my best friend and mom having cancer.

The death of my beloved mom on Christmas 2013.

My grief was like living in a boat.

Some days the journey would be surreal, warm and comforting.

But without a moment’s notice the waves would start to pummel me, push me under and make me gasp for air.

I didn’t know what to do.

I couldn’t “do” anything.

I need to just “be” in the waves.

Feeling what I was feeling.

Allowing the grief, sorrow, pain to come.

Allowing myself to learn and let go.

Two years later, I am starting to learn to ride on the water with my four boys surrounding me.

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The waves are infrequent. The water is calmer. I can truly say that I have learned to ride in the waves and am now enjoying a time of being on the water, in the water of life.

Yes, the waves still do come.

Yes, I honour those waves for what they have taught me and how they have helped me become who I am.

And I am full of overflowing gratitude.

For all that I can do.

For who I am.

I am grateful for my boys.

I am grateful for the people that God has surrounded me with.

I am full of gratitude for my mom, her life and her death.

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Be Asking One Question

I truly believe I can help people.

I never really ‘knew’ how.

I never have felt that I could do enough as a teacher.

In the church, I felt like I never had a gift or a talent.

I could make a joyful noise to the Lord, but was never musical or led to anything else.

Until last November, I didn’t know how I could SERVE other people in this world with love, and endless energy…

Forty pounds overweight, still in deep grief over the loss of my mama that happened not a year previous, I asked my outdoor fitness trainer, Krista King, what I thought was a simple question: “Have you ever done a cleanse?”

That question that was asked through my pain, my mud-pit of wave-crashing despair opened up a completely NEW world and pried open a completely OLD ME!

Since that ONE conversation and the products she told me about, the layers have peeled back.

I was LOST but am now FOUND!

Me.

Freedom.

Food.

Health.

Relationships.

And yes, some residual income for my family.

All just by making asking one question.

And then making one choice.

One choice for…

Me.

The layers were peeled back and I saw:

Ten year old me that loved to drink vanilla shakes every day.  NOW, I have the privilege to drink nutritious vanilla shakes EVERY day and maybe throw in some chocolate or strawberry, if I FEEL like it.

Eighteen year old competitive volleyball player me who wanted to lead, but was surrounded by negative self-talk and unbelief. NOW, I believe in the power of me and am surrounded by positive people who believe in me, themselves and want to lead AND serve others around them.

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(I am #12 in the photo, gotta love those bum huggers)

Twenty year old me who fought on the volleyball court to perform every weekend, but just could never pull it together for two matches because of the fuel in her body.  NOW, I have completed one triathlon and I truly know that my forty-one year old body can do ANYTHING.

Thirty-nine years old, overweight, actually obese for my height, me, was using food to fill an empty hole.  I was looking for food to magically do “something”.  NOW, I have food that fuels me.  I have food that brings me freedom in thought and spirit through shake and cleanse days, protein bars, electrolyte drink and fifty MORE products.

Forty-one years old, I have transformed my body, my mind and my spirit.  I have bought a bikini with confidence just because I can.  I have walked down the main street with no “noise” in my head about what I look like or how I feel about what I look like.

FREEDOM!

I have helped myself and now I know that I can help people.   And yes, this product line does involve network marketing, which I love and you can read my blog about it here.

With the company I am partnering with, the opportunities are endless.  Aging well, being healthier, having more energy, performing better, losing weight or adding a few bucks to your pockets to bless people with, the possibilities are limitless.

I am humbled.

I am grateful.

I am ready to serve anyone that wants an opportunity like I was given just seven months ago.

Don’t be afraid to take the time to listen to your body and its needs.

Don’t be afraid to ask a question.

One question changed my life!

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1st photo: After my first cleanse in November… and still going strong seven months later.

2nd photo: One week after my mom died.  (Who knows why I took this one?)

Be Saying Goodbye to Orange 

I am not sure what happened, but I am going with it.  

Yesterday, I decided to was done with our orange walls.  They served their purpose. They helped me wail and gave me a place to ‘put’ my grief.  

Here is the story of the orange walks.  

After celebrating my birthday, I knew my pain had turned to peace.  So, I picked up a brush and roller this morning and began to pain.  

   

I was able to talk to my boys about the  pain I felt when Nana died.  I told them that painting this wall orange helped me.   I told them I wanted to paint this wall white today because of the peace, love and joy that surrounds us now. 

Peace.  

Love.  

Joy. 

Now back to the wall to no longer wail but to have a whale of a time doing something my mom loved to do.   

  Thank you God for giving me perseverance to deal with my stuff and to have such a supportive partner.