Tag Archives: love

Don’t Tell Me How to Remember

I was asked, a few times, why I don’t like to go to the cemetery where my parents’ urn has been placed….

First, it really isn’t anyone’s business but if someone is crass enough to question this – here is my answer:

I have gone, but the result is not what my parents would have wanted. Neither of them were known to make visits to their own parent’s graves. They both hated it and I know why…it is pointless.

I went yesterday and placed a few flowers in a vase, in front of a marble columbarium. There was a plaque with Mom and Dad’s date of birth and their deaths. A cold structure that does not reflect them or my memories of them. The visit did not elicit warm fuzzies but instead, brought back nothing but sadness, heartache and grief. If you knew my folks, you would know that this would have been anathema to them.

I remember my folks, daily – not a day goes by without a memory flooding back. A happy memory. A smile in my heart.

Yesterday, I stood there, in front of that monstrosity and cried. After 6 ½ years of my Dad’s leaving us and 3 years to the day of my Mom being gone, I still cried. This isn’t what either of them would have me do.

My memories of my parents are in my heart, in my brain and they are good memories. They are happy memories. It is how they would have wanted to be remembered. Now, I must spend a good amount of time, wiping the thought of that plaque, the cemetery, regardless of the scenery, from my mind. Nothing happy is connected to that place.

I don’t know why I went to the cemetery. So that tongues wouldn’t wag? Possibly. No…probably.

I won’t do it again. No one has the right to determine how I choose to remember my parents. If I choose to avoid a place of endings, of death, of grief and choose instead to recall happy times through memory and through photos, that is my choice and a choice of which my parents would approve.

Keep memory in your own way and allow others to keep memory in their way. Few things are as personal as honouring loved ones who have left us.

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I Saw You

I saw you yesterday, at Uniprix, in the Pointe-Claire Shopping Centre. I was waiting at one cash and I could see you, hear you, clearly. You were with your mother. She had a walker. You were helping her pay for her items. It was very obvious that your mom has dementia or Alzheimer’s.

You spoke to her with such love, such patience, such kindness. She couldn’t remember what she bought and you explained it to her; you weren’t condescending or impatient. You spoke as if she had not already asked the same question. You treated her with dignity, helped her pay for her items. As you walked by me, I heard her ask you if she had paid and you assured her that she had. You let her walk on her own, with just a light touch on her arm. You made my heart sing. You put such a lovely glow on the day. Watching your devotion, seeing that love you have for her in your eyes.

I saw you again, sitting on a bench with your father, showing your mother’s purchases. She had forgotten what she had bought – you explained it to her with patience. I slowed my pace just so I could hear that loving tone to your voice.

You reminded me of how lucky I had been to care for my own mother in her last few years with us. You reminded me how much I loved her and how much I miss her. In a world with horror on every page, with articles of the forgotten elderly, of their abuse; I saw you and it made me happy to know that your parents will never be forgotten, will never be abused when you are at the switch.

Thank you and bless you.

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Blow Them A Raspberry

CrecheI was sitting on my couch, trying to figure out how I was going to accomplish everything I needed to do over the next 11 days while struggling to retain a small bit of space on that couch because our 100 lb American Standard had managed – I still don’t know how he does it – to push me into a tiny corner. I was also forced to breathe through my mouth in order to prevent any imminent brain damage from the noxious gases emanating from his back end.

I was gazing at our Yule tree while figuring out how I was going to pull of the, seemingly, Herculean tasks that lay ahead when it hit me; “Why, the hell, was I obsessing over details?”

Yes, this will be an emotional holiday season. The first one since Mom left us on May 12th. The first one with absolutely no matriarch or patriarch in attendance but…well, while this will be very, very hard for all of us – we have an obligation to ensure that this holiday season is a joyous one.

You see, yes – Mom and Dad are both gone. My father-in-law is no longer with us but all of them put great stock in the true meaning of the season – family, sharing, love and thankfulness for all that we have.

If it weren’t for these 3 people, Dave and I would not have all the wonders that enhance our lives, every day.

While the coming week and a half will be busy, will be exhausting, we have the privilege of that list of “Things to Do.” I have the right to work, to earn money. I have the right to drive to the stores, to stand there, gobsmacked, while trying to figure out a “perfect” gift. While I am not a Christian, I will have the right to attend mass Christmas Eve, in honour of my mother and my father-in-law. (There may be quite the lightening show – keep your eyes peeled toward the heavens on Xmas Eve as the Pagan enters a church). I have the right to create this blog. All things, that in the hustle and the bustle and the “This will be Visa” time of year, we forget.

Yeah, it’s commercialized, it seems to have lost its meaning but only if we allow it. So, big deal, some of us only seem to give to the less fortunate at this time of year – I don’t care, as long as they give. So this Jesus guy wasn’t born on Dec. 25th. Who cares? It is the feeling that the holiday creates. If good will toward men is only possible in our society one day a year? That’s still one day more than if there was no Christmas.

I remember being dirt poor and when I say “poor”, I mean no food in the fridge, no material gifts to give; I remember what that is like. I also remember in addition to the sadness, there was love. I had my son with me. I remembered that there were parents, out there, on this planet called “earth” who did not. I remembered the parents who were watching their children die from starvation and disease. Parents with no Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protect them.

Things, out there, have not changed for the better. Things have changed for me, for mine, something for which I am thankful every single day. While we are still grieving the loss of my mother, we have a duty to ensure that this holiday season is a happy one, one that pays tribute to all the sacrifices our parents made and their parents before them; so that we can all sit down and enjoy the meal, the companionship of that Christmas day. We will celebrate Yule next Saturday evening – I will look at the faces of my children, their partners and my grandchildren and I will be thankful, my heart will swell with love for all of them. For, I am here, to see these days – to witness the incredible bounty that my country allows me to enjoy. The intangible gifts.

I wish you all a Happy Yule, Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah – be thankful for all that you have and blow the naysayers a big old raspberry because they totally miss the point.

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You’re a Prick! You’re a Bitch!

couple-fightingThere is a right way and a wrong way to fight, you know. The right way does not include calling your partner names. The wrong way chips away at someone’s sense of worth and that is never okay.

I’ve been married for over 30 years. It ain’t easy. There are times when both of us wished we had access to a backhoe and a bog. We are a couple with strong personalities, bad tempers and unusual stubborn streaks. (One of us is more stubborn than the other but I’m not naming him.) We have had some horrible lows and some amazing highs. We’ve muddled through as best we could. Neither of us hold degrees in “Successful Personal Relationships”, we just love each other, warts and all.

Over the years I’ve been witness to arguments between couples and this will always give you a good indication of who is going to go the distance, building a strong relationship and who will simply go on to exist as two people living in the same space.

One of the best indicators is name calling and epithets in a heated disagreement. Calling your partner a name is damaging. You may not believe it but it is. It is cumulative damage. If you partner does not believe he/she is the best thing in your life, then you are doing something wrong. Telling her, “YOU ARE A SELFISH BITCH” is cumulative damage in the works. Screaming at him, “YOU ARE A USELESS ASS!” is also cumulative damage. Cumulative damage can’t be repaired after a while.

What can be said then, when you are really pissed? “You are behaving LIKE a bitch.” The difference may seem small but it isn’t. You are not calling your partner a bitch, you are saying that a behaviour is indicative of bitchhood. The same goes for the second example, the use of comparatives in an argument is the difference between a deep hurt that can’t be seen, therefore, not allowed to heal and the pointing out of inappropriate behaviour.

Never call someone “stupid” unless you really do not value a relationship. You can say that behaviour is stupid but not the individual.

Just a little something I’ve learned along the way. It is a simple thing but can really make the difference between a constructive argument and a fight that will never really heal. There was a television show in the 70’s – All in the Family; there is one episode that always stuck out in my mind and it is something that comes back to me, whenever I find myself angry at my husband. It was true then and it is just as true now.

Edith Bunker: [Edith has just broken up a fight between Mike and Gloria] When I was a little girl, my mother and father got into a terrible fight that started just because there wasn’t enough maple syrup for my father’s pancakes.

Michael ‘Meathead’ Stivic: Ma, what we’re arguing about is a little more important than maple syrup.

Edith Bunker: Just a minute! I ain’t finished! They didn’t talk to each other for three whole weeks! And even after they made up things was never the same between them. Now I know that maple syrup is just a little thing, but would you rather break up over something bigger?

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Life, Love and Moving On Over

 

So, following the rather bleak themed post of earlier this morning – let’s move on, shall we? I give you this representation of my generation. This video epitomizes what we were led to believe would be our future. Sighhh. Media driven bullshit? Not really. This Age of Aquarius thing can exist, although only in our own minds, in our own little tiny section of the world.

Stock taking – I have a wonderful husband of 30+ years – funny, intelligent, articulate, honest, hardworking and above all, ethical. We share a cute and comfortable house in Montreal. I still have my Mother and she shares the above mentioned home, with us. Husband Dave and I both have jobs, not the highest paying but definitely good salaries that allow us to buy groceries when we need them, pay our bills and even manage to go out for dinner, once in a while. My kids have all flown the coop and are doing very well for themselves. I have my brother living close by, Dave has his sister also living close by. We are surrounded by the most important people in our world – our families.

We live in a relatively free society that allows us to come and go as we please. I, as a woman, unlike many of my gender, have the right to express myself, freely. I can do what I choose to do, dress how I choose to dress and I do not have to defer to anyone. I am a citizen of full rights and privileges, not shackled by my being born with a vagina and a womb.

Thanks to my parents, I am a strong woman. I don’t take shit from anyone. I was raised to believe that I am an equal. To believe that this is an unalterable given.

I am not fearful that I will not have sustenance tomorrow. I am not fearful that I will have no water to drink. I am among the world’s privileged class and at no time will I ever take this for granted. I know what I have and I am thankful every minute of every day.

I don’t love my fellow man unless said fellow man shows themselves worthy of that emotion. I do not respect my fellow man, unless said respect is earned. I am ethical, I am moral and I will not commit to any cause that infringes on the rights and privileges of anyone else.

And these are the things that I have in my infinitesimal part of this globe. And that’s fine. I will make my world what it should be and expect the rest of the world to do the same, as is their CHOICE.

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