Saturday, 23 December 2017

blurry is as blurry does.

You know how we sometimes get a song stuck in the brain?  Today I have a tune that is one of my least favourite songs in the world, the name of which I don't know, but the words go like this:  Loving you is easy 'cause you're beautiful...

How insensitive and short-sighted the song-writer who gave us this!  For one thing, "beautiful" is so blurry a word.  I know that "blurry" isn't a great word either but I'm sticking with that description because in this case, it's exactly the right word for me.  , "Beautiful" for me so often reflects both my observation and my values, and as both my vision and my thought processes are deteriorating  with age, I know that what I would have called beautiful in my twenties is something I might just take for granted now, or maybe find devalued. 

I find it hard not to use "beautiful" when I see a baby, but it has less to do with beauty than with joy; also with joy, "beautiful" when I see the dark chocolate cake Dave makes for special occasions; "beautiful" when someone in the family tries a new hair colour; "beautiful" if the wind has taken the tall grasses in front of our window and blown them in a curve that's like the last move in a ballet.

Hmmm, obviously I'm feeling kind of blurry myself.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Guess what I found...

A simple enough thing---notice a box that is sitting near your reading chair, place it on the bed, open it up and realize that the rest of the night will be used to read and cry over letters  and photos from your parents, siblings, family, friends and lost friends. 

I knew as soon as I opened the box, looking for buttons, that I was not going to pass over a single photo, drawing, card or letter.  The experience was full of smiles, outright laughs, memories, lost stories, adorable crayon art and the kind of nostalgia that, in my case at least, leaves a person grateful for everyone who has crossed her path.

One letter was from a beloved sister-in-law who died days after writing, and whose death I wasn't aware of until after a while, realizing I hadn't answered her note, I called her home. 

Others were letters from my mother, after my dad's stroke had left him unable to speak, talking about how hopeful she was that he would recover, and always signed by both...the dad signature wobbly but there.

My daughters both lived out west for a while, and Dave lived in Victoria for two years while he studied for his master's degree, and many of the letters were from the three of them.  Looking back I  realized that although they lived in BC, each of them was there alone, or with their partner, and each had different experiences, but all wrote funny, sad, worried and joyful letters at different times.

My sisters and brothers only wrote clever and amusing letters, even though they were sometimes in the midst of studying, having uncomfortable experiences at work or coping with the kind of instances that we all run into during our lifetimes.

Most strangely, I had some letters from people I couldn't find in my memories.  I'll work on making those connections over the next few weeks.

Besides letters, there were wonderful and imaginative drawings and cards from my grandchildren, wishing us happy birthdays, Happy Easter, Happy Valentine's Day or just saying they loved us.

I really count myself so privileged, so nostalgic, so delighted, so moved and so full of love.

Saturday, 9 December 2017


Today is my mother's birthday.  She would be 98 years old, and were she still alive I bet she would still be entirely clear-headed, up-to-date and a joy to be with.

We didn't always agree on things in our lives (she shocked me by crossing the picket line when we both worked for National Defence in Camp Valcartier; I shocked her by being the first woman to wear slacks to the Sergeants' Mess Sunday dinner) but we respected each other and shared the same basic values. 

We wore each other's clothes when we lived near-by, which was only on and off after my parents settled in Barrie at a time when I was zipping around eastern Canada and Germany.  We also wore each other's shoes which did neither of us any good because we were both buyers and wearers of shoes that were almost too small.

She looked after my father for the seven years he lived after having a stroke.  She learned how a Hoyer lift worked, and how far she could push his wheelchair around the neighbourhood when the weather permitted.  And in all those years, she never changed being the best and most supportive mother and grandmother. 
from left, Julia, Emma, Sarah, Lorna with Mom in the middle

I miss her every day, I still file thoughts I'd like to share with her, I wish I could call her to remind her that figure-skating was on TV and know that we'd both be watching it.  I wish that she knew that her great-granddaughter Phoebe had the words from my parents' gravestone tattooed on her ankle.  Still, no regrets, just treasured memories.