Grief and Gardens – One Year Later

Earlier this year I shared my story of loss with Grief Stories Podcast. I am thankful for this opportunity. Every loss matters. 🌼🧡

Before the interview I spent many days mulling over what I wanted to share. I had scripted most of my words for fear that I would be too nervous during the actual podcast to remember anything. The process was slow and therapeutic. Each time I went over what I wanted to share tears welled up in my eyes followed by a moment of silence. On the day of the recording I placed a photograph of Grandma and I close to me and poured myself a glass of water in her souvenir glass from Austria. I surrounded myself with memories of her and borrowed from her courage as I shared. As much as I wanted to present a perfectly packaged script I knew that I needed to let go and speak from my heart. …and with slow methodical pauses I did. Here’s to you Grandma. 🌼🧡
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Pause the Panic-Loop

I spotted him. A streak of bright red tucked behind branches. A male cardinal. He was the culprit that interrupted my stream of thoughts. Mind you, it was a necessary interruption. I was caught in an endless loop of worry, anger and panic. You would think that lounging in a kiddie (adult) pool in your backyard in 32 degrees Celsius weather while on holiday would be a relaxing activity. If I were to post a photo, boy would it appear desirable (especially since small pools are sold out and beaches are closed right now.) While my body was submerged in cool water on a hot day, my mind was racing. This pandemic has a way of producing waves of rest and panic, with no in-between. 

I was three days in on a ‘rest phase’ and feeling a bit less overwhelmed with everything when the phone rang. I had just returned from the drug store where, for the first time in fourteen weeks, I took some time to browse. For me, essential shopping meant no time for browsing. It was a matter of quick decisions, sticking to a list and getting the heck out of there. But during this outing I was happy to have purchased a pair of cute floral earrings. This small purchase combined with feeling okay to take some time to browse put me in a ‘slightly normal’ mood. A mood that would only last a few more minutes. 

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Timely Messages

After five years of writing a blog and filling countless journals, I’ve discovered I am most passionate about unlocking timely messages that encourage, challenge and change my perspective. I’m talking about moments of clarity and self-discovery. This is what I love writing about!

When I happen upon a timely message like spotting light poking through a pinhole, I am fully captivated. I cannot look away because behind that perforated shield is the most sought after treasure. A cache that surpasses wealth and status – hidden, and revealed to the patient, humble and hungry. It’s a treasure of knowledge, making me more conscious of my life choices, beliefs and the recovery or retrieval of my truest self. A refinement of sorts.

When that tiny string of light catches my attention I know that something wonderful is on its way and I must create space for its entry. I simply allow the tiny string of light to increase my curiosity to the point where everything else is dimmed. As my curiosity increases, the light also increases in brightness. The intrigue and comfort of the glow make me vulnerable and open to what will be revealed. At this invitation, I observe, wait and listen…. 

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Self-Care: More Than A Hobby

Self-care: I’ve heard it often enough to understand that we live in a culture where we keep too busy. Many times ‘we’ don’t even make it on our very own to-do list. Serving the demands of our agendas is more important than slowing down to allow time for introspection. It is much easier to disregard self-care since it doesn’t yield the same reward as a clean kitchen, a mowed lawn, an empty inbox or a home-cooked meal. Self-care is not just putting your name on the to-do list – it’s slowing down enough to listen to what you truly need. It means being vulnerable and not just the one in charge of checking-off a list.  

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Certainty

Worry, like a string of balloons tethered to your hands carries you far from reality. 

Detached from the earth below, you spend endless hours constructing scenarios that address every “What if?”

You devise multiple plans – solidifying certainty and safety at all costs.

Every situation controlled. Every outcome calculated. Every question answered.

Nothing is unpredictable and everything works in your favour.

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Unveiling

I’ve longed for sunshine like the arrival of vacation after months of drudgery. 

My unrelenting desire is consuming. 

I beg for her return, that she would pierce the grey gloomy skies with the sharpest of knives.

Piercing and peeling back the heavy winter sky.

Like an avalanche delivering streams of liquid gold, she wakes up the hibernating Earth. 

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She is Past

The seal broke releasing the past. 

Its sentence was up and like an uninvited haunting it was making its arrival known. 

Wanting to hide in fear it chased me down. 

Like a child I hid under my blanket pretending that if I couldn’t see her, she couldn’t see me. 

My protective force was faulty. 

I peeled back my cover, slowly exposing my face. 

There on my bed sat Past. 

She was innocent, honest, weathered and bruised, having a lifetime of memories. 

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…but a moment

My backyard, small but perfect – a place to lounge mid-afternoon during the summer months. Two new turquoise-blue muskoka chairs make backyard lounging perfect. Everyday I would sit with my bare feet touching the grass or crosslegged on the chair studying, reflecting and writing. My studies were often interrupted by my curious little dog playfully pouncing on grasshoppers, a squirrel running along the fence line or flying insects. Butterflies were plenty. They were unlike the buzz or crawl of the other insects. Their descent into my backyard was like royalty, gracefully fluttering to the sound of trumpets and strings. I could not help but stop what I was doing to watch them – moving from blades of grass to flowers until their final ascent up and beyond my yard. I was mesmerized by their beauty and elegance. 

Having lost my grandmother at the beginning of July, I was contemplating the idea that butterflies are a sign from God. Continue reading