Tag Archives: memories

Be Celebrating Your Mom’s Birthday 

Last year, it was lemon meringue cake, dinner as a family and sending balloons up to Nana in heaven.

This year, it is receiving a beautiful phone call from my mom’s friend’s Donna and Wendy, a morning text from Sexy Neck and a great friend in KCity plus I took an afternoon bike ride.  

It is tears.  

It is joy.  

It is shattering grief and living life all wrapped up in pieces of mom’s birth day.  

I don’t know how to do any of this!  

How does one celebrate a day that they’ve always celebrated with a woman that they love celebrating when that woman is no longer with you? 

So, I bike. 

I sit.  

I cry.  

I look at reminders, especially this one I created one month ago that reminds me of the great roots my parents gave me.  

The waves of grief no longer pushes me underwater until I can’t breathe, but I am still on the boat, rowing in this grief, learning about myself and filled with deep gratitude for how present, wonderful and loving my mom was.  

I wish I could get a piece of that back! 

Be Eating Nana Jam

Each day my boys talk about their beloved Nana and share their sadness deeply and quickly. They are wonderful teachers on how to sit in your grief.

We have many reminders about mom.

Yesterday, we saw a bike that looked just like Nana’s.

Tonight, Jackson read the label on his quilt my mom made when he was two.

Today, we rested on our Nana Cabana beside the pool.

At lunch, we ate Nana jam. 20140722-232208-84128304.jpgLovingly handmade last year in July, while mom was in pain but we still had no idea what was coming. Careful labelled and left for us to enjoy.


Perfect with homemade spelt baking powder biscuits. OC was my helper.

Beautiful memories.

Delicious jam.

Great gifts.

Pure love.

Heartfelt joy.

Pure sadness.

Sweet strawberry jam.

Thanks mom!

I love you!

Be Telling Nana Stories

I can’t wrap my head around that my mom is dead.

What happened?

I never really understood cancer, how it morphs and changes, how it can consume.

I feel sharp edges of grief.
Rough, hurtful, prickly especially when I think about my mom’s unnecessary pain and hospital stay.

These sharp edges are immediately smoothed over when I hear stories of my mom, our Nana.

Like a soothing balm, these stories cover the edges and ease the pain… until the next wave comes on this ocean of grief.

Last night, we went for a walk to the field at the end of my parents’ street. As we walked, I was remembering walking their with mom, tobogganing, having the dogs out there.

Suddenly JC and CC ran ahead of us, across the field. They sat on two pieces of wood standing up. They sat there for a long time. Then JC called us over. I don’t know what the boys said while they were sitting on those logs, but JC was very clear in what he told me.

Mom, I sat on those logs with Nana. The last time I had a sleepover by myself.

JC was lit up with joy by this simple memory my mom created with him.

Beautiful memory.

Breathtaking sunset.

Thanks mom!

Be Sharing Your Story – Jan & Don

I grew up on Clark Crescent. I think it was the best place in the world to grow up. Walking distance to schools, Moore’s Meadow and the store. Plus, we had the best neighbours.

Here’s our neighbours from three doors down. Mom and dad of three boys! Gotta love that!!

Hi Joanna and Michelle, Mike and all your family. I just wanted to add a bit to your wonderful blog. Some things I remember:

Your Mum -taking a course where she needed to study a child. She asked if she could do this with Ryan. I said sure as long as he was ok. Of course, easy going Ryan assented. Then you Mom said what if I do all three boys? Again. Sure if they are ok. So she did. Because all she did was confidential I never really knew what was asked or answered, but she did tell me they were classic: oldest, middle and youngest. When I see and hear of your fun exploits with your three boys Joanna, I can’t help but go back to my own years with 3boys.

Just one other thing. On your wedding day, when our friend Jean Rapaich was here at our home, doing your hair, I can’t begin to tell you how special it was to me. A GIRL in my home getting ready for her wedding day. Wow.

And your wonderful selfless Mom easily and willingly sharing that with me. Little things mean a lot. I picture Gwen- always with a wonderful smile on her face. And that’s the smile she is bestowing on your family now.

Sending love to all. Jan and Don

Be Sharing Your Story – Don

Thanks for sharing your stories, Don.

Dear Mike, JJ, Steve, Michelle, Craig, Rea, and Families,

So many memories come back to me….eg; the story I related to you ,JJ, to tell your Mama about our time in Nice…so many, many good memories of our walks with her and with Art along the Promenade Des Anglais and our travels back and forth to our Hotel Trocadero from our French lessons!! I do hope you might still have my emailed story involving Brook Greenberg to relate to Michelle and Rea.

It is hard to believe that the last time I saw you all was up at Sovereign x-c ski area…..on Boxing Day ….the same day of the horrible Tsunami in Indonesia….such a very long time ago !! I wonder if you might recall that meeting? I was skiing with my niece Katie.

One of my indelible memories was of the surprise visit to the Vimy Memorial. Our bus was on its way to the Ferry at Calais and we had made good progress en route so had time to stop.
As we turned off the highway into the site….our bus driver( or our guide) told all of us that we were entering hallowed ground and the Memorial was actually legally a part of Canada located within France…. What I recall of our group was the almost complete silence….they were so respectful of what we were experiencing….everyone, when they said anything…spoke in hushed whispers…..and I vividly remember that there was not a sound from the whole bus for many, many minutes after we left this Memorial to our brave Canadian Soldiers.

A funny memory I have on that bus ride was the ‘impish’ Brook who decided to fix my hair with styling gel ….we were heading headed for the ferry, I believe…..not sure if any photos of that incident exist….I just sat in my seat as he styled my hair…I thought it was hilarious…wonder if your Mom, Michelle or Rea remember it?

The other incident occured in London….when 14 year old Marnie…and I think Tracy(?) decided to ‘ go out on the town ‘ .after we just returned to our hotel after a perfomance of Starlight Express. When Art or Gwen did a bed check…and discovered they were not in their room…well, were we worried??? !!!…and I remember Art and I going out on a dark London Street …flagging down a police car to ask if they had seen two girls out on the street . Can’t recall how how they got back , however, it all turned OK…. but for a time we were sure worried!!

I have a very funny slide of Rae trying to change at the beach in Cannes…with your Mom holding a beach mat around her…Kathy Jenkins also in the photo…..so many good, close-up slide photos of many of the group ..especially during the great afternoons sunning and studying(?) spent on the beaches…and also the fun at the water slides in nearby Antibes.

The other funny story I related in an earlier email back in September, I think….was of Brook walking past Art, your Mom and me as we were enjoying une grande biere at a sidewalk cafe…it was a very hot, humid night …30 C at least ( Michelle or Rea…is Biere masculine or feminine??) I guess I could look it up in my French -English dictionary!! Brook said he was out late as he had been the Designated Walker for the evening ensuring that two of our girls made it back to their billets safely after the big beach party!!