Tag Archives: nana

Be Knowing the Opposite of Love 

I am a feelings girl. 

I no longer apologize for this. 

I feel things deeply. 

I am impacted by the words and even vibe of the people around me. 

I know this. 

Now, I harness this. 

People are powerful. 

We have emotions that fuel behaviour. 

We have passions. 

We have love!  

In my personal journey that I entered into as I walked through the gift of grief, the loss of my mama, I saw love.  

Pure love that no amount of pain could suppress. 

One moment my mama would be writhing and the next moment my boys would walk through the door.  

In that single moment, a smile would come on my mama’s face. Her eyes would open up and she would see them. She would hear them. She would be fully present and LOVING!  


On this journey, I also learned the opposite of love and it wasn’t what I had thought. 

During my four decades of life, I have surmised that the opposite of love was the feelings, thoughts and actions of hate. I realized the untruth of all of this. 

The incongruency. 

The inconsistency. 

I witnessed people, people I dearly love, be silent.  

Be unpresent. 

Eyes closed. 

Ears firmly shut. 

I asked them “why” and implored them to tell me “What could I do differently?”.

I received no responses. 

I had to sit with no answers. 

And then the moment hit me that the opposite of love had never been hate. 

Hate allows for discussion, emotion, action of some sort.  

The opposite of love has never been hate. 

It’s apathy. 

The nothingness. 

The unresponse.  

Love and hate are actions. 

Apathy is lethargy. 

Action and apathy are opposite. 

Apathy is meeting people to go sledding and one person decides to take a nap on the top of the ski hill.  This is not love! 

Apathy is inviting someone over for a two hour birthday party and they fall asleep on the couch in the middle of the party. (Note: The person is in their 30’s!). This is not love! 

Apathy is talking to someone daily and seeing someone weekly and then never being invited over to their house again.  They end up texting to tell you they are selling the house. This is not love! 

Apathy is having your phone in front of your face when someone is trying to have a heartfelt conversation. This is not love! 

Living in my gift of grief and my apathy examples, I implore you to be awake to love and aware of apathy.   


Keep your eyes open.  

Ears ready to hear.  

Be present. 

Be loving. 

I am a feelings girl 

Apathy is brutal! 

I no longer apologize for this. 

Nothingness is worse than hatred. 

I feel things deeply. 

I am impacted by the words and even vibe of the people around me. 

I know this. 

Now I harness this. 
I don’t spend time with apathetic people. 

People are powerful. 

If THEY choose to be! 

Overflowing with love, with action and knowing it’s opposite. 💖

Lessons from a Super Nana who would be celebrating her 75th birthday this week!   I love you Mama. 😘 Joanna 

Be In Relationship or Right? 

As I lay my head down on the pillow, I ponder relationships, as I often do.  My peeps.  My random people.  All humans who crossed my path today.   

I shower gratitude over the people in my everyday life: our neighbours, our friends, our teachers, our coaches, our secretaries, our service industry works.  

I feel sadness and wonder what I could do with those ‘lost’ relationships.  I wonder about what I could have done differently and I often come to the conclusion of: NOTHING. 

As I lay my head down on the pillow, I realize that some people would rather be right than be in relationship.  It is truly their way or the highway.  They actually like to be “highway patrollers” telling others how to drive on the highway of life.  For me, my patrollers, are no longer in relationship with me because I didn’t do what they wanted me to do.   I don’t want to drive my vehicle in their style.  They are right and I am wrong.   And I am totally okay with that! 

I may be wrong but I walk in freedom.  Complete and utter freedom.  As a recovering perfectionist, I am no longer afraid of wrong.  I am no longer afraid to fail.  I am failing faster than ever before as I learn about fueling my body and moving out of my comfort zones. (Because we all know that this is where the magic happens!)   I believe our greatest learning happens when we pick ourselves up after we fall down. I am no longer afraid of others judgements or insight in my wrongs.  I am too busy growing myself. I honestly don’t have time or energy to judge what others are doing. Plus, I value relationships over being right. 

I love my peeps, where we can talk honestly and opening about where we are at.  Our lives aren’t all glossy like a magazine cover, it is like a gorgeous diamond bracelet with the shine and shadows.   No one is striving to be right nor wrong but to be in relationship.  

Loving. 

Laughing.  

Learning.  

Living.  

In relationship! 💛

(This post is written in celebration of a group of women who met this morning to share the life and death of their beautiful mamas! #griefgirls) 

Be Riding Nana’s Bike (Post about Joy!)

Lately have you felt that happiness that just flows out of you?

Your teeth seem whiter and brighter?

Your smile is larger than life?

Joy seeps out through every skin cell in your body?

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Last weekend, we decided to get the bikes ready for a ride to a local coffee shop.

We noticed Nana’s old bike in the back of garage from when our friend Sara used it last year.

We asked our oldest, JC, if he wanted to ride Nana’s bike.

The ride was PURE joy for him and it flowed through us all.

He loved the feeling of being up on Nana’s bike.

He was mesmerized with her gears.

We talked about all the different places that Nana used to ride her bike and how she would often just miraculously show up in our backyard for a ‘break’ and a drink of cold water.

Really we knew that Nana loved a destination and she loved seeing her people!

As we watched JC ride Nana’s bike, happiness flowed out of us all.

Our teeth seem were whiter and brighter.

Our smiles were larger than life?

Joy was seeping out through every skin cell in our bodies?

A perfect joy-filled precious moment.

Just being.

Enough.

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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 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 ‘Out of the Mouth’ of Boys

Tonight at bedtime, we were have cuddle and talk time, like we usually do.

But this evening was quite unusual.

I was lying with seven year old, JC, and three year old OC.

OC snuggled into my neck and licked me. Yup, like a cat.

He started to giggle.

I asked, “Why did you do that?”

Seven year old JC piped up from beside of me, “He is trying to get Nana’s love into your heart?”

Wow! Out of the mouth of boys!

Be. Be. Be.

Be present.

Be listening.

Be open.

What does a mom say when her two year old looks out the car window one Wednesday morning and suddenly yells, “I see Nana in heaven. On the mountain.”?

What do you do that same day when your middle son paints a picture of Nana in heaven? He’s painting her right now.

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And what do you think the next day when you have your oldest son’s friend over and she asks you to put on music and play “It’s a Small World”, my mom’s favourite ride at Disneyland?

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Be present.

Be Listening.

Be open.

I am grateful my children are so assured their beloved Nana is in heaven. I can’t even accept she has died.

I love that my children are so connected to their ever-present Nana that they think to paint her. I can barely look at her photos without being overcome with sadness.

I am blessed that there are so many signs on a daily basis that remind all of us of my mom’s love, kindness and who she was. She was a great human BEing.

Be.

Be.

Be.

Be Hearing Night Night from Nana

I looked out the car window and saw the sun setting through the cloud. I exclaimed, “A slice of heaven!”

Almost three year old OC said, “Nana in heaven!”

Then we had a family discussion on what being dead means.

OC piped up, “Nana talk to me.”

Our seven year old added, “She talks to me too!”

I asked them what does she say.

OC said, “Night night. From her house in heaven.”

Enough said.

Night night everyone. 20140725-212805-77285465.jpg

Be A ‘Contained’ Pot Gardener

Our garden behind us runs wild like children chasing bubbles.

We are sticking with contained spaces this year.

Big projects cannot be harnessed with our little energy.

The wild garden will be ‘fallow’ this year.

We will still garden though.

The coveted Nana pots are brought out and chosen.

“Boys, take as many as you want.”

Pots and plants are carefully chosen.

20140519-230740.jpgPhotos taken by Sexy Neck as he fixed the clothes line.

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Sitting on the grass.

Soil.

Filling our pots.

Filling our souls.

Watering.

Helping our plants grow.

Helping us go deeper.

The sun.

Oh, the son.

Both lights on this earth.

Ever present.

Holding us together.

Plants in a pot.

Secure.

Protected.

Ah, my sons.

Incredibly hardworking, creative, playful…

Gardener’s that Nana would be proud of.

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Planted by CC and JC

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Planted by Mama and OC

Haha! I just reread my title, we aren’t growing marijuana, just keep everything in pots.