On my journey to work, I wanted to capture the scene with my camera as the fog swirled in the deepest valleys. It lay thick in places obliterating the quintessential English landscape one moment, then clearing the next, allowing the views to come into focus. That’s how my grief feels. It lies low in my deepest memories and appears without fail as the day approaches. My brain acts as the camera flashing all the images of that day in front of me; the voices, the sensations, the guttural cry deep from within. It’s a scene that appears every year. I go through the motions of my day on automatic as my mind has gone to another place. A place where my son is with me. A place where I can see what he has grown to look like. A place where I can hear him laugh. A place where we eat ‘Angel Food Cake’ for no reason. I slip into the fog, deep in the valley on that morning. It’s a place I need to be, where my world turns a little bit slower. Where I remember. Where I honour. Where the fog lies.
In remembrance of Matthew x
In the space of a few months she had begun to feel as if she knew these people but yet she still couldn’t help wondering about their lives. Here they were doing exactly the same as her, every single morning. But where did they all go? What did their day look like? Did they notice her quietly observing them as they stepped on board?
She sat on the same side every morning she got on the bus. Not because she had to. It was just easier to see when her stop came up. Somehow everyone else ended up doing the same thing. It was as if they had made seat reservations online like booking a movie ticket. It was predictable and comforting in an odd sort of way. She knew what was coming next; plus it helped to pass the time as she travelled alone with just the thoughts in her head for company. Sometimes the young girl, who she had recognised from her last job, would sit beside her; but that was mostly when she wanted to gossip about the people they had left behind or share a bit of news like when she failed her driving test. It wasn’t easy being chatty that early in the morning. She much preferred to sit in quiet contemplation knowing that this might be the only time during her day that she could collect her thoughts. She pretended to be looking at a message on her phone so she didn’t have to make eye contact or strike up an awkward conversation until the bus started moving again, that way the seat beside her would still be empty.
The school boys were always laughing together as the bus rounded the corner while the others just stared down at their phones and shuffled forward waiting for their turn to board. They weren’t wearing their blazers today; their uniforms looking as if they had desperately tried to add a bit of uniqueness by leaving their shirts untucked and their ties too short. The taller one took out a small aerosol from his knapsack and bathed himself in a cloud of spray, laughing as he gave the boy in front of him a quick, short burst of it on the back of his trousers. The aroma followed him as he sat down in the empty seat behind her like the dust on Charlie Brown’s friend. She smiled wondering if that was for the benefit of a girl he might like and remembered what it felt like to be that age. She had come to realise why the boys chose that particular stop to get on as the next one along, a mob of teenage hormones stood in a cluster, jostling for space to be the next one aboard.
The boy in the purple shirt, that had the unfortunate dandruff flakes adorning the shoulders, plonked himself onto the seat in front of her, placing his bag on the vacant one next to him, as if it too had paid for a ticket. It annoyed her. He unzipped it every morning, taking out his e-reader and opening up his novel. She had a feeling it was a crime drama. When the bus stopped at the next few stops to let passengers on, his bag stayed put. His head never looked up from his reader so he didn’t catch the glances of the people as they walked passed to a different seat. She wanted to ask him if his Mother would be proud of his manners.
The exchange students started looking more confident as they handed the driver their tickets to be punched and then heading for the seats upstairs. There were different ones each day as they took it in turns learning from their middle aged host who never failed to explain to the driver when it was their first time on a bus and that he wanted to be sure they knew where to get on and off. She would have loved to know what they were talking about as they spoke in their native tongue. Maybe like her, they too were making observations.
“Ruby no!” She smiled hearing this as Ruby attempted to go up the stairs every morning. She willed her to keep going wondering why her ridiculously young Mum couldn’t indulge her just for once. She would stand near the front making Ruby hold on as the bus rumbled along and she engrossed herself with scrolling through her phone with not a hint of a smile on her face. The young girl stood beside her playing games on her phone, constantly giving her Mum a play by play description of what was happening. Her Mum remained stony faced and unresponsive. She had a feeling Ruby was rather a handful and that Mum had already had enough by the time they caught the bus in the morning. She longed to offer to take Ruby upstairs and let her chat endlessly on her short journey to school giving the child her undivided attention. She hoped that it wasn’t always like that for Ruby.
The bus came to a slow crawl as it navigated the carnage of road works that were nowhere near looking like a new roundabout; the yellow machinery moving the dirt from one spot and depositing it in another. It was due to be completed closer to the end of the year and supposed to be an improvement on the accident prone intersection. She really hoped it would be. Too many people had lost their lives needlessly before this decision had been made. Why does it take for that to happen? She would never forget the long detoured bus ride home that night after the last fatal accident. It took hours before she arrived home. But sadly she at least got to go home.
The newspaper was grabbed from the display box as the rather frumpy lady sat down to read it as she did every morning and the lady with the loud flowery coat stood in the aisle as by this time the bus had standing room only. But it wouldn’t be for long.
Even if she had closed her eyes for a brief moment she always knew where she was. The early morning sunlight was shaded by the thicker growth of trees that grew; their limbs reaching across the road, creating a tunnel of green. She wondered how long it took for the young girl to cross that busy road once she stepped off the bus. At that time of the morning the traffic was constant in both directions. The flowery coat sat down with a lump and a sigh.
Once the bus was past the large roundabout the journey seemed to go quicker. She always felt as if that roundabout was the marker for the end of the country and where city life began. She actually had no idea where the real boundary was. It was usually at this point in her journey that her mind had completely wandered; probably because no further passengers got on and she was left to stare vacantly out of the window. It would be the sound of the bell bringing her back into reality followed by the jolt of the bus coming to a stop that would make her begin to pay attention for fear of missing her stop. She had visions of herself falling asleep and sailing past.
“THANKYOU!” Ruby yelled as she followed her sour faced Mum off the bus. She had made a crude looking ‘crutch’ out of long twigs and tape and pretended to limp as she walked. There was something about that child that just made her smile each morning. She hoped her teachers smiled at her too.
As she rang the bell for the next stop, disturbing the person seated beside her, she wondered if any of the eyes that followed her off the bus were curious about her too. She would kind of miss them once her car was fixed. She hoped the school boy would be liked back. She hoped the bad mannered boy would change his behaviour as well as buy some shampoo to fix his unfortunate problem but mostly she hoped Ruby would get to sit upstairs.
Return the salt of my tears
down the drain
to the ocean.
Let me step out of the bath
onto the welcoming warmth of the sand
and wrap the suns rays around my naked body to dry me off.
As the salt flows and mixes
into the dark, tumultuous seas,
joining the depths of the darkness,
let it remain
until the paintbrush releases it
onto the canvas
in a thick blackness of waters.
Paint until the salt runs dry,
Until the calm is restored.
Until the water is still
and the love is restored
onto the surface
into the depths
turning black to blue.
A healing bruise of pain
disappearing from the skin
back to the colour of love.
Return the salt of my tears
to an azure ocean.
Mixing ocean and earth
in a rhythmic dance of love.
Today is for quiet reflection. Saying goodbye was truly hard and headache inducing from the tears I’m still shedding. We may not be married anymore but we share a lifetime of memories and raising amazing children. We loved and lost Matthew. Grieved and supported. Through our journey together we have overcome the bitter taste of divorce and can now sit side by side in comfortable conversation; laughing and sharing a familiarity while we still continue to support our children.
You rebuilt the ugly kitchen while I tended our garden. I drew the pictures of cabinets and fireplaces and you created them. I sewed curtains and made cushion covers. You stayed up late to paint. We listened as newly installed brick faces fell and scared the new hardwood floors. We built a home and raised a family. Memories both sad and good, but still lots of memories filling our home. You rode off on your motorbike today the way you rode into my life, filling my heart with love. My heart is full today.
For all the hatred in this world, fighting and killing, PEACE is absent. For all those who believe that ex -partners cannot remain friends, FORGIVNESS is absent. Without both of those things, LOVE cannot exist. My mind is at peace, my heart has healed and forgiven (and been forgiven) and so here I sit, filled with LOVE and I am GRATEFUL. Grateful that over the years our ‘romantic’ love changed and evolved into what it is today. An APPRECIATION for one another as human beings, a NEW kind of love, a QUIET love. A love always x
Words flew around in my head forming sentences as the wind played with my hair. They became clearer as the creativity reignited; fueled by the warmth of the sun kissing my face. Solitude for me is as important as breathing. I can feel it energizing me with an overwhelming sense of peace. Maybe that doesn’t make sense to you but to me it’s everything.
The peace replaces the zinging inside me that comes with not nurturing my creative side. I become paralyzed and unable to complete a thought, I get writers block, I become blind to the endless photographic qualities in the every day things, I grit my teeth with stress and wake up countless times in the night and all because I haven’t made time for myself. Alone time. Solitude. Peace and tranquility.
Today at church Pastor Dave spoke about wisdom. Where do we find it? How do we apply it to our lives? Are we making wise choices that come from Him or are we merely listening to our own inner voices that convince us that we are making a wise choice?
On my way home from visiting with my oldest son in Hamilton I found myself being pulled into the garden centre. A place for me that once offered tranquility and peace as I filled my cart with plants and flowers to transform my garden into a haven of blooming colours. My garden was a place where I found the silence comforting; just me and the warmth of the earth beneath my fingernails. But ever since I moved into my condo nearly 2 years ago I have avoided all garden centres with their glorious colours and their reminders of what I no longer had the space for.
Today, He led me down the garden path. The path that led me in with new eyes. I saw the colours again in all their spectacular glory. I breathed in the fresh air and all the beauty of the everyday accessories displayed so artfully. I took out my iPhone to snap photographs and began to see things clearer through the lens of it’s camera. I walked up and down every single aisle, soaking up the peace that filled me (I wonder how many others heard me let out a huge sigh) With the zinginess blown away in the wind I had found my solitude’s reward.
What a wise choice that was made today, but somehow I don’t quite believe it was my doing. God led me down the garden path today and I followed.
Being a depressive, negative nelly is not the same as being depressed. Believe me, I know that depressive person who always sees the glass half empty; he describes himself as a ‘realist’….. mmm…. ok. I’m the 1 out of 4 women in my age category who has been diagnosed with depression. I don’t SUFFER with depression. I HAVE depression! You wouldn’t hear people say “I suffer with diabetes”, so I choose to call it like it is. I’m not making light of the diagnosis in the slightest. I’m OWNING my depression so it doesn’t own me. It doesn’t define WHO I am but merely is in my D.N.A.
My brain doesn’t work the same as a person without depression and no I can’t “just snap out of it” or “think positive thoughts”. Depression doesn’t work like that. Wouldn’t that be a great way to fix things!
No, I am not particularly happy (haha I’m so funny) that God chose this path for me but then maybe I should feel grateful and see this as my chance to help educate others first hand on depression, what it is and what they can do.
No, this is not Mental Health Issues Awareness Day. You didn’t miss the memo at work to post things on your Facebook wall or to wear a dark blue ribbon or to fly a flag to show your support. I don’t believe in those things. I believe the change begins when you educate yourself about the issue, read about it, talk about it, share your experience with those around you. (I’m always amazed at just how many others like me are out there!) Even if I educate just one person then I’ve made a difference. O.K so maybe those things mentioned before do get people talking or asking what the blue ribbon is for.
You don’t need to treat me any different. I’m still me. However, DO NOT EVER and I will say it again, NEVER EVER tell me to ‘buck up’, ‘put a smile on your face’ or ‘cheer up’; it doesn’t work like that. Nor does ‘go out and socialize, you know you will have a good time and will feel better’. Sorry people, if only it was that easy!
No, WHAT I NEED is to make sure I take my prescribed medication EVERY SINGLE DAY just like the diabetic who needs to check their insulin level, I need my neurotransmitters to be on full fire up and balanced so my brain works just like yours (I call them my ‘Happy Pills’ hahaha)
I always knew there was a reason I hated the long dark cold winters. I don’t just MISS the sunshine my body REACTS to the lack of sunshine DRAMATICALLY. So along with my ‘Happy Pills’ I have my ‘Sunshine in a Bottle’ from Shoppers Drug Mart (vitamin D) and my determination to keep going. Smiling or not.
I have the ‘morning after glow’ today. You know, perma grin and a satisfied air about me. It’s been a long while since I’ve felt like this and I want it to last.
Yesterday my home was filled with children and their partners rounded up from their busy lives. They sat in the living room all talking and laughing together, reminiscing, sharing new stories and re-connecting their lives once again. I stood in the kitchen witnessing it all, baking their favourite cookies, and apple blossom desserts for our meal; the air filled with love and delicious aromas. The oven was in constant use as the desserts were replaced by a fat turkey and all the fixings of our traditional Thanksgiving meal cooked with family recipes.
While the turkey sizzled and browned to perfection, I took my children to the advanced polling station, feeling proud not only as the last of my offspring placed her vote for the very first time but because I can; a privilege of living in a country where we have a voice.
I got to fill my stomach with a delicious Thanksgiving meal for a second time as the previous evening I had spent it sitting around a dear friends table beside her family, partaking in their celebrations and family traditions.
My home is filled with fresh flowers, plates of home baked goodies and leftover turkey in the fridge for those must have turkey, stuffing cranberry sandwiches that once introduced, joined our list of traditions. My oldest son is home for the remainder of the week. Thank-you ‘Reading Week’. I am so very thankful my house is clean, my children are fed and I have a gym membership.
May the calories burn and the memories stay and not the other way around!
An amazing piece of writing that needs to be shared!
They multiply in the night, each one attempting to crowd the other one out by standing ever so slightly in front of their neighbour, all of them jostling for space on the corner.
You know what I’m talking about; those damn election signs that are overtaking our otherwise beautiful city. If it’s not the advertisements showing us all how they are so very talented at tearing the other party down instead of telling us what their plan might be, or the phone calls asking for your vote…. no wait, I cured that one with telling them that yes they have my vote so they make a note not needing to call me further oh and so sorry but I live in a condo and they don’t allow placing any signage…… that will have you wishing the Thanksgiving Day weekend away it will be those damn signs!
Not just one mind you. This morning I counted six, from the same party, all placed one after the other; you know, just in case you missed seeing one through five! The Green Party no less. Go figure! That should help the environment when they all end up in the landfill!
Ok. so I admit, as teenagers, my sister and I, taking on a friends paper route while they were on holiday, found creative ways to unload the freebie newspapers faster. We gave you six chances to cut out the coupons didn’t we?
So what’s the purpose of six election signs all placed six feet apart? Yes, yes I know, I noticed them didn’t I, I hear you telling me. No, seriously. It makes me wonder if your loyal followers can’t be bothered to find an empty spot to stick your signs. Oh wait, THERE AREN’T ANY!! (if you don’t include the one I’m thinking of)