Archive for the ‘Grief’ Category

I think we are going to be okay. Read right until the last line. “You have no further authority here.”

Sweeter words have never been heard…..

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful commited individuals can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”  ~Margaret Mead

Mara ~ so true, so true


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Mara – no mei mei for squirt…

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I was able to say goodbye to my uncle Bernie tonight. That was nice. And I loved hearing about the memories others shared of him. They were things I had forgotten, so they are even more precious now. I am going to write them down so I don’t forget again.

That ridiculous ratty straw hat he wore as he cruised the lake on his pontoon boat. His chuckle. I don’t have the words for his chuckle, but I can hear it in my head. It’s something I will always remember.  God, he was funny. So funny. His humorous deflection and rejection of anything that was for ‘old’ people. His love of fine brandy.

My aunt was truly the love of his life, and they read a love letter she had written to him on their 50th wedding anniversary…  It was beautiful.  He’s waiting for her, I know it. And my aunt…  I love her so much and I admire how in her broken heart she is so strong. And even though she’s waiting to be with him again, she is going to keep living. She’s amazing.

So Bernie’s with his parent’s and his sister and I can see him sitting beside dad and Tom with a little  ‘allo allo’ and sharing a beer.

Mara~ that makes me smile

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My uncle B died this evening. I didn’t get to say goodbye. I hate that. I hate saying goodbye too, but not being able to is worse somehow. I drove all the way in to town, parked the vehicle, and walked up to the hospital doors. As soon as I opened the doors and I smelled that hospital smell I was done. Even though it has been almost two years when I was walking in those doors daily, often more than once a day, to sit in hospice with my dad. Almost two years and I still can’t walk through the doors……..

I wasn’t able to collect myself. And really, it’s not about me. My aunt and cousins did not need to see me still unable to contain the grief I feel about losing my dad. Most days I make it through just fine. But I just could not physically take the steps to go in. I came home and watched tennis, the French Open is on at Roland Garos. I love the red clay, la terre battue.  And why does it seem people I love die during tennis majors? I watched Roger Federer win the US Open on a Sunday afternoon.  And then I held my dad as the sun was coming up the next day and he was dying.

I was going to try again tomorrow.

I ran out of tomorrows.

I am  happy you aren’t in pain anymore B., and you know I loved you. Cancer is a bitch. Really it is. You were funny and a hard worker. And your kids love you and your grandkids are going to miss you so much. M. will be okay, we’ll take care of her. And could you say hi to Dad for me, you know how much I miss him.  The heartbreaking thing is I know what your kids are going through because they lost a dad they loved fiercely too. I’m glad I have many happy memories of you. Sauna’s at camp, bringing firewood to mom’s, sneaking a sip of beer, reliving what it’s like to have Ukranian/Polish/Russian parents, and laughing. Lots of laughter. Thank you. 

Mara ~ I thought I’d have another tomorrow…

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Short version.


  • My 16yr old dog died. I am sad. My child was inconsolable. Which made me more sad.  I still find myself looking at her blanket or going to get her dog food or finding some hair under the furniture. Poor Bella.  It was odd how it happened. Quick thankfully, but not really expected.  I mean she moved relatively slowly, she was thin, her eyes were cloudy.  She hadn’t eaten in a couple of days (not unusual, she’d done that her whole life), but one afternoon I found her lying in her own pee looking lethargic. I bathed her, and she never liked baths. She had enough energy to drench me from head to toe, and to snort water all over me. I dried her off and put her on her bed. I went on to cook supper, clean up after the kids and went to check on her. Her respiration rate had gone way down, she was not too responsive. On the way to the vets she was still breathing but by the time we got there she was no longer breathing, had no corneal reflex… but her heart was still beating. We stopped her heart, my child wailed, The Guy and I cried. Say hi to dad Bella. We miss you.


  • BFF’s 4 month old daughter is sick, and has been flown to another facility to have her bone marrow tapped. Please pray.


  • MIL has finally broken her silence and actually communicated with The Guy. The good news is that we know she’s alive, her finances are being looked after and she’s taking her medication. The bad news is that she refuses to take any responsibility for anything and continues to look outside of herself for someone else to blame. Head games, poor decisions continue, and I fear we may end up with further hospitalizations etc. And as for the doctor saying you can leave the hospital? That does not mean he said you SHOULD leave the hospital.


  • I find it quite rich that in a letter sent to me by MIL she told me to get over the death of my father and that I was setting a poor example to my child by showing her I could not cope with anything. Hmmm. I know she’s mentally ill, but it’s hard not to have feelings when people say things like that to you. Get over it. Indeed.


  • This whole months has been a sea of respite therapeutic foster care for teenage boys. My house is filthy. I am drained. I found myself annoyed  when I felt one of the boys was not ‘grateful’ enough for all the accomodations and thought I was providing to make his stay as comfortable as possible. I quickly slapped myself . Is this why I do this? Gratitude? Nope? So shut up then. Okay.


  • There’s a huge controversy about this article.  Adoptive parents are scared a negative article about adoptions form Ethiopia will negatively affect the future of adoptions. There are lines being drawn in the sand. “I had a good experience!”  “I had a bad experience!” “Adoption is good!”  “Adoption is bad!”  “The article was biased and negative!” “The article brought to public attention irregularities!”  “These families are brave!” “These families are selfish!”  I’ll save my ideas for another post.  Though I must say I really do HATE,  HATE, HATE the title “Buying Babies”. Mostly it makes me tired.


  • I’m planning my daughter’s 5th birthday party. How did this happen? What a cliche… The time does fly though.

Mara ~ Spring is almost here!!!

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Dear neighbour gentleman,

Please be assured that when The Guy passed your truck on the highway it was not a personal affront. No offense was intended and we are very sorry. And please be advised it is not okay to pull your vehicle into our driveway in a fit of pique to yell about aforementioned Guy’s unforgivable driver error. It is especially not okay to ever physically accost anyone. Also? It is totally not cool to scream IN FRONT OF A TERRIFIED FOUR YEAR OLD. Ever. And didn’t your mother ever teach you that it is not polite to point? As was mentioned, The Guy would be happy to talk to you about your concerns in private re: his irresponsible driving. And when someone asks you to stop yelling in front of a child who has NEVER been exposed to such barbaric behaviour, please respect the request and dissist from continuing your tirade. Your loud, obnoxious tirade. Also? After you repeatedly ignore very respectful requests to lower your voice and to STEP OFF, please realize that it comes to the point where we feel a bit threatened and we have no choice other than to mention the police.  Please leave our property when we respectfully (without raising voices even!) ask or we feel we must protect ourselves and call the police to have you removed.

Also? Please look out for advertisements for assistance in dealing with road rage issues. I feel they may be of great benefit to you. And taking a deep breath and counting to ten can avoid much neighbourhood discord and awkwardness.  Please also remember that kindness is often a better choice as you just never know what battles we could be fighting inside. Would you have acted the same way if you knew that the Guy’s mom was missing and we had just found out? Would you have terrified my daughter if you knew your actions would result in days of anxious questions from a sensitive little girl? Questions like why did that man yell? I do NOT like that man! Where does that man live? Is that angry man coming here again? How do you suggest I comfort her? And please realize that I wanted to shield her from the harsh realities of the world a little longer, because her life has not always been all sunshine and roses and she feels loss deeply.  And she has suffered great loss.  And all the work I do to try to make her feel safe and loved and cherished can all too easily slip away when she sees the scary stuff that can happen outside her door. And I couldn’t even protect her from the scary stuff that lives across the street.

And I understand that substance abuse issues can cause erratic behaviour and can lead to unpleasantness. And alcoholism is a cruel and vicious disease. And for that I am truly sorry. See? We all have personal demons, and I think we could all use some grace.  I just don’t want those demons around my child or on my property ever again.

Thank you.


Your country neighbour

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Tears and closure

I went to a funeral today. It was the first one I could force myself to go to since my dad died. My dad did not want a funeral, or a service or anything. We had a small family gathering two weeks after he died and that was that.  As I was sitting in the church my grandparents built when they came to Canada from Denmark, the church where my dad was baptized, and where Tom’s service was taking place, I couldn’t stop crying. Good thing I was at a funeral.

I loved Tom. He was one of those perpetual people you have in your life. He grew up with my dad in a little rural community that housed the largest settling of Danish people in Canada. I don’t ever remember not knowing him. I played with his children, in highschool I may have smoked pot with his daughter at some party. And he was just part of that world backdrop you have growing up where people are your friends and they feel like they will always be there, even if you didn’t see them for a year.

Tom died of massive head injuries following a motor vehicle accident. It was sudden and unexpected for a 73 yr old. He had five children, 10 grandchildren and a whole community that loved him.  And he was one more piece of my dad that I lost.  He would come out to my mom’s after dad died and tell mom to put him to work. He was awesome.  He took adventures on his own, and travelled North America extensively and on the cheap (and I mean really cheap). He camped under the Florida Keys stars, drove the entire Alaskan highway, canoed and skiied and kayaked. What a beautiful free spirit. And one of the hardest working people I have ever had the privelege of knowing.

As I sat in that tiny church that I love so much, with such a meaningful history to my family, I watched the whole community crowd in. There was no standing room left. We were packed in like sardines in a bursting can. People were standing outside. And it was a tribute to the kind of person Tom was. It was perfect. For him. I also had the sudden realization as I was sitting there that it was not something my dad would have wanted. But sitting there with all the people dad grew up with, I could cry with them. I could mourn my dad in the community that raised him up to be an amazing man, and I could cry for Tom who was also a product of that great place.

My dad didn’t want to be buried, he had things he wanted done with his ashes. And we respected his wishes. Of course we did. But there was a little part of me, as I walked to the cemetery next door that wishes I could have had that physical place to visit my dad. We had a family plot, my grandparents were buried there, and all the people of my grandparents generation. I love cemeteries. And I am madly in love with that cemetery.  I said hi to Nanny and Papa as I walked by their headstones. I still miss them, but in that wistful, immature way one has when loss occurs before we can fully appreciate the extent of what is no longer. The way I miss my dad is much more intense.

As I walked into the church I noticed Tom’s youngest daughter cradling her two little girls. I saw her swollen eyes, and look of shock in her eyes. It took what little restraint I had not to run to her. I did bend down, give her a hug and say “I am so sorry. It is so hard to lose your dad. It’s just hard.” She looked up at me and for one second we shared that understanding that comes when someone can truly share your grief.  “Yes it is..Yeah….”.  It’s not really a club we want to belong to, but we do. We both had fantastic dads, and we are both very grateful in our heartbreak. 

Mara ~  So Tom, could you say hi to Dad? I dunno if he was expecting you so soon, but I’m sure he’s happy to see a familiar face. You rest in peace Tom, you are well loved.

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