Introspection and Retrospection


2456241182_d6a41cc0e7_oWhy did I go quiet last year? I had only just begun to find my words again after a long painful hiatus so why did I put my pen down and stop writing?

The words were in my head but I feared the power I could give them if I gave them substance. I still do. All the good “stuff” I could have focused on with my pregnancy was overwhelmed by the swirling craziness around me: my oldest child’s mental health issues, our precarious financial situation, the chaos of my house and even my own struggles with facing starting motherhood all over again when I was just beginning to find my own feet and carve my own path in the world.

I had all these plans at the beginning of 2015. More writing, lots more writing about Sacred Pregnancy and many other sacred endeavours, plus courses I would attend and complete with the end result being the starting of my business so that I could contribute to the financial stability of my family and our household.

By March most of those plans were falling a part and I was trying to pick up the pieces and figure out how to put the puzzle back together again without any idea of what it was supposed to look like.

I remember a day in late March about a week or so after the positive pregnancy test, I was crying in the kitchen, unable to stand up for the sheer weight of the anger, frustration and helplessness I felt due to the poor choices of my oldest child and the impact they had on the whole family, as well as my own overwhelming guilt for not being able to help my son more.

I remember wanting my mother but we hadn’t told the family about the pregnancy yet because my brother and his wife we’re due any day with their second child and we did not want to overshadow their happy time with our own news. So I sat there in the kitchen, shaking, alone and I reached out to my Reiki healer friend and my Sacred Sisters via Facebook messenger. They talked me through it and held space for me to just be angry, sad and hurt. They held space for my guilt and my pain.

But I couldn’t write about any of it.

Even after the news of our pregnancy went public, these were not words I could share with the world for a couple of reasons. My oldest child is 19, (18 at the time of these events) and many people who read this blog know him. He has enough issues stacked against him that releasing any more details of his struggles with gaming addiction was not in his best interest, which is why I continue to be deliberately vague when discussing specifics of what actually happened. It is not my story to tell. Yes, as his mother, I have a big part in his story but the main story is his and treading that oh so thin line that loops and curves and often gets tangled up with my own story was near impossible so my pen went silent. I’m still working out the parameters of what I will and won’t say and they could change every time I pick up my pen.

6045365685_3ceb314223_oIntrospection and retrospection have and are key components of my starting to write again. It’s been a year since the positive pregnancy test, a year since I sat paralyzed on my kitchen floor having no idea how to process the events and the emotions that were coming up. I felt like a complete failure as a mom and yet I was about to become a mom again for the fourth time. I felt like I did not deserve to be a mom again and yet the child that was growing within me was counting on me to provide them with everything they needed. How could I do that when I was failing so badly as a parent of the children I already had?

Those are pretty big and polar emotions for anyone let alone a hormonally compromised mother to digest. I was very lost and maybe that’s when I should have turned to my words for comfort and clarity but I was terrified of what my words might say as I worked through the anger so it was safer to put the pen down and do what I had taught myself to do over many years of extensive practicing, bottle it up, push it down and show the world a brave face.

But I was not brave.

Brave would have been facing my pain and anger and being honest about my feelings. I put my pen down because I was scared. I took the easy way out and shut down. I stopped working to take my wall down and instead worked to reinforce it. I had no idea how to process all the emotions so I just didn’t, and here I find myself a year later, with a 4.5 month old child and a solid brick wall built around me keeping everyone out, almost back where I started before I began the work of taking the wall down and freeing myself from its confines.

The difference is this time I know the path forward and what I need to do, and part of that path involves picking up my pen again and letting the words flow, working through the hard, painful emotions and facing some difficult truths about myself and my world and everything that happened in 2015. It’s time to start chiseling away at my wall again and to give myself permission to break free of it and find my way out of its shadow so I can follow my dreams and write my words and learn my truths.

It won’t be easy but it is time.


Cracking Open


3991345044_b37d8372bb_oMy words often feel scripted to me like I’m playing it safe, holding back, sanitizing them, censoring the gritty emotions. I use words like pain, regret, loss and loneliness but do you even understand what I mean when I use those words? I often wonder if you do and why I hold back?

All I want is to crack open my chest and massage my heart back to life with words so powerful the blood can’t help but pump through my veins with passion, allowing the oxygenated blood to bring the healing salve of forgiveness to a system ravaged by self-inflicted hate, anger and shame.

139136870_4fadd2f255_oI am trying to remember the last time I really cried. I think it was nine years ago. My husband and I were fighting over how to pay the condo levy for the new windows we couldn’t afford.  A failed business, maxed out credit cards and credit counseling had left us backed into a financial corner. We needed help. My husband wouldn’t ask his dad and I was tired of my parents always bailing us out. I went upstairs into the bathroom and looked into the eyes of the woman in the mirror, she was overwhelmed and helpless to support her family.  She let out a scream that came from the bowels of her soul and then collapsed into a sobbing heap, pounding her head and fists against the wall and tiled floor, inflicting pain to feel pain.

My husband tried to get into the bathroom and as he pushed the door open, I pushed back. I didn’t want him to witness my pain, my anger, my tears falling uncontrolled. I just wanted to tear my world apart in peace but he found his way to me and he held me until I calmed down and I put the woman in the mirror back in the mirror.

I don’t remember exactly what happened after I stopped crying but the windows were paid for, split almost 50/50 by our parents, and we avoided a lean against our house. Life went on. My husband has probably filed this moment away under things to forget but for me it was a rare moment of raw, uncontrolled emotions and those are so rare that I remember them and hold them close like cherished mementos.

There’s a line from a song by Three Days Grace, “I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all” and it resonates profoundly with me because most days I walk through life numb. I have trained myself to push back every emotion, good, bad, in-between. I can stop tears from falling to the point that I have almost forgotten how to cry. I can put on a smile when I want to scream, I can play nice when all I want to do is run away. I’m guarded. I hold back, physically and emotionally, from engaging with the world. I’m so good at it many people perceive me as standoff-ish. It’s in remembering the moments of extreme agony, where I lost control of my emotions, that I remember what pain, what love, what feeling feels like and yes, I would rather feel pain than nothing at all.

I am ready to learn to cry again, to let down my guard and let others see my emotions, to let others into my world and simultaneously allow myself to be welcomed into the worlds of others. I am ready to erase the loneliness from my vocabulary and to let my words crack me wide open and fill my veins with life-sustaining prose – one uncensored word after another, an IV tapped directly into my soul, each word releasing a link of the chains I’ve entrapped myself with, slowly allowing me to come alive and live my life unashamed of who I am and her arrays of emotions because it’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to love with abandon.

12640988324_89b56bc2c6_oThere will always be pain but I am ready to process the difficult emotions and let them go instead of giving them the keys to my cell. I am ready to live again, to love again and to let myself experience all my emotions so I can process them and where I am broken, let the salve of love heal the brokenness into a new whole.

Will you bear witness to my healing journey? I ask a lot of you, I know I do. Being present as someone bleeds tears of repressed agony is a huge request to ask of anyone, let alone strangers, but in the witnessing and the speaking aloud there is power. The feeling of hands laid upon your soul holding you up so you don’t drown, reminding you to breathe when you forget to, reminding you of your beauty when you feel ugly, and reminding you to look up and see the light that surrounds you, that is power and we all have that power. I am asking, are you ready, willing and able to use your power and bear witness to my cracking open?

Say yes if you are….


A Dozen Roses


3293365635_689005da3f_oShe brought me roses again.

It was my Mother-in-law’s tradition. Every Mother’s Day weekend I would always find a white box tucked in our front door delivered by the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa.

I loved those roses. They were a thank you, a connection of love from one mother to another, a reminder I was good enough. Good enough as the wife of her oldest son, as the mother of her grandchildren and as the daughter she never had the opportunity to birth herself.

My Mother-in-law left us nearly ten years ago after a six-year victory run with end stage breast cancer. She lived with grace in pain and with love in life. Her strength of spirit was immense and it infected every part of her life and it conquered her cancer.  It wasn’t her cancer that killed her, at least not directly. After six years she was getting tired and it was time to move on. The Good Lord came for her and even to her last she didn’t go without a fight.

She fell trying to get out of bed. She got caught in the blankets and fell to the floor, the phone tumbling out of her reach, preventing her from calling for help. She lay there for a while until her husband came home from work and she was rushed to hospital where she went in for emergency surgery to repair her broken leg. Unfortunately a couple of days later she developed a blood clot in her lungs.

We stood around her bed, holding her, loving her and, albeit reluctantly, making space to let her go, making it okay for her to move on to her next phase. The emotions in the room were thick, pain, love, grief, loss, colliding in a kaleidoscope of intentions, each of us needing to be held in our own way. That is a moment etched in my heart and sealed with burning tears. I remember the closeness of the room, the people pressed in close, the desire to run away from the pain but not being able to let go. Our lives would never be the same again…

She passed just before Mother’s Day 2005. The first time the roses were not in the door was a shock to my system, it was the cosmos reminding me she was gone and I would never receive my roses again. Each year on Mother’s Day I think of my roses and there is an empty vase that will not get brought out to be filled with them.

Friday she brought me my roses again and she filled my vase with love and hope and affirmation.

I lay on the Reiki table, my friend passing her hands over me and she saw the image, it came to her as she was close to my heart and passing on my right side. A pious woman with a veil holding a bouquet of roses.

It was my Mother-in-law and it was her way of saying she is still with me, still loving me, and is still looking out for me and my family. She brought me the roses to remind me I am more than enough for all I need to be and do in this world, I just have to remember and own my inner strength and beauty.

I’m trying to. Every day I’m working on remembering the love she carried for us and still does. She is everywhere around us. My youngest has never known her alive and yet when he sees her picture he has told us he knows her, he’s seen her, at her house. I believe she has visited him during one of our visits to see Grandpa.

I’m opening myself up to the comfort of her embrace and accepting the gift of her roses into my life and sharing the gift with my family so that we all might heal from our grief. Next spring it will be ten years since she left us in body but her spirit has never left us. We must all open ourselves up to the gifts she continues to bring us whenever we need them most.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.








SP 106 WMSitting in the tub, the water too warm, my skin perspiring from the steam that wisps across the surface. The music carries me, the words touching a place I’ve not taken the time to look into for a while. The candles flicker casting friendly shadows around me and the mix of salts and energies float in the water that holds me. Rose petals, shells, dried leaves, bits of US money, the scents of various essential oils, individually unrecognizable in their mixing but together they are the scent of my retreat in August.

The memories of new friends, of peace and quiet in a beautiful house, of sitting and listening to the world around me and connecting with myself again. There in that peaceful place I could hear the voice in my head that the world around me had drowned out for way too long.

Then I came home and I tried desperately to hold on to my intentions, the peace, the love, the connections but in the craziness of my real world, I was very overwhelmed and struggling to find my center within my own inner peace that for such a brief moment in August I had found.

It was really hard to come home, even as much as I had missed my family, I had missed me even longer and I was afraid of losing her again.

So here I sit in my bath surrounded by the energies of my friends’ intentions which they had cast into the salts and I let them embrace me with their strength. It reminded me of my own intentions cast that day as we sat in circle, holding space for each women to open their heart and fill the bowl with words and offerings of love and need and desire. Babies, new beginnings, strength to make difficult decisions, honouring new connections, finding space for our dreams in a chaotic world that tries to snuff them out, and for abundance in personal and business lives. The requests were as varied as the women and as universal as womanhood and motherhood.

The fundamental intention I brought away from the retreat with me was my need for change. Change in my relationship with my husband most of all but change in general too. I am tired of being sick, I am tired of being tired, I am tired of feeling like my life is out of control and I am powerless to change things. I have worked on making some of those changes but it’s a slow process and part of it is accepting that I can only control myself. Change starts with me.

Perhaps even more importantly though than recognizing my need for change because I’ve known for a long time that change was necessary, I had just been struggling with finding my way, was that I found the strength within myself to stand up and believe that I am worthy of the effort to make those changes. I had diluted and deluded myself into believing that I didn’t matter, that I wasn’t worth my effort or the effort of others and the needs of others were more important than my own but I was wrong.

I truly am worthy. Worthy of being loved and loving myself and everything else branches out from believing in my worth: respect, acceptance, self-care, etc… I am worthy of all of these gifts and they are worth fighting for.

Of course I have to get out of the tub first…..


Love is Not a Mistake


wpid-wp-1413783567264.jpegI have made many mistakes. Many of those mistakes have in return fundamentally changed who I am.

Motherhood started out as a mistake, a responsibility thrust into my young arms that felt too weak to bear the weight. I made so many mistakes but my son was not one of them. He was a gift. A gift I just wasn’t quite ready to receive or fully appreciate. As a result I fumbled around the world of motherhood very lost and distrustful of my instincts. How could I know anything? How could I possibly get anything right?

But I did get one thing right.


I just forgot sometimes….

Even early on in my pregnancy when my son’s biological father was encouraging me to “get an abortion”, I chose life for my unborn child. I walked out into the world and looked into the eyes of the people around me and wondered why they had any more right to life than my child did?

In that moment I chose love.

I didn’t even recognize it as love until I looked into my son’s eyes and finally met him in the quiet of the hospital room after everyone had gone home. When the nurse came to get him after his feed and I asked her to leave him with me for a while so I could really meet him, fall in love with him, just hold him and smell his beautiful smell. I didn’t want to send him back to the nursery. He was mine and I loved him.

Love didn’t pave our path with bricks of gold or lay pillows on the ground to cushion us when we stumbled and many times we lost the path completely. Loving someone is hard and it is work and it is staying when you want to run and learning from and apologizing for mistakes and most of all its forgiveness when forgiveness seems impossible.

I wear layers upon layers of bruises from all the mistakes I’ve made in the last eighteen years of motherhood. I don’t doubt my son has his own layers of bruising. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair that my introduction to motherhood and his introduction to the world had to come with such painful lessons. The effects of those lessons still ripple through our lives and we’re trying to find forgiveness in a chaos that seems unyielding to any efforts at finding peace. Even in the good moments anger breaks through and smashes the fragility of the bubble that is encapsulating the laughter and connecting fibers being forged by our moment of happiness. As the bubble disperses it is like our world is exploding and though I try to keep it together as with the thin film of a bubble when it pops, it disappears like it was never there and we find ourselves yet again staring across a painful abyss filled with blame, repercussions, anger and resentments.

Many tell me they would have given up on my son by now, that it’s time for some tough love, “let him learn his lessons the hard way” they say. It feels like he’s learned too many lessons the hard way. Moments where I ignored my instincts, made uneducated choices, gave into pressure to follow society’s ideas and notions, or failed to ask for or find help or apologize when I should have or hold my temper when my depression was raging out of control and the pressures of meeting the outside world’s demands trumped meeting my son’s need for love, like the day I lost my cool because he was struggling to practice French dictation words and I screamed out in frustration and smashed my head into the wall leaving a hole in the drywall. Then there were tears and broken spirits and emotional bruises as we tried to pick up the pieces.

I had no idea what I was doing. What I should have done was let the dictation go and pull him into my arms and hold him and tell him it was okay, the dictation didn’t matter, I loved him and would help him. The pressures of meeting the demands of the teacher, the school system, the expectations of society in general that were labeling him a problem child overwhelmed me. I just wanted to prove them all wrong.

They were wrong. They are wrong. I never had to prove them wrong because there was nothing to prove. Love was more important than all that, but I didn’t understand that then.

I do now.

And I’m sorry.

Sorry doesn’t fix the broken walls or broken spirits. That takes work, a lot of painful, slogging through mud and emotional trenches work, not to mention the willingness to dive head first into the trenches and face the demons of the past, the demons of our emotions and behaviours that created the abyss I find myself staring across into the blue eyes of a soul so broken he hides from me in his video games where he finds an outlet for his pain and anger by blowing things and other characters/people up. His video game world is safer than the real world and it was my mistakes that drove him into that world because I forgot that love is more important than anything, than video games, or toys, or money, or meeting society’s expectations, or getting our way and insisting on showing him who’s in charge and that we can make him do what we want him to do regardless of his own will and desires – an illusion of power at best.

After eighteen years I’m trying to hold the memory of looking into the trusting eyes of the seven and a half pound child laid in my arms by a twist of fate he had no control over, and remember the overwhelming waves of love I felt and my need to hold him close and protect him. If only I had spent more time listening to that instinct like when he had night terrors and I sat next to him singing “Jesus Loves You” over and over, drawing him out of the terror with my soothing voice that had rocked him to sleep so many times.

Now my soul is doing the singing, calling to my son to remember the moments in the chaos where love conquered the fear and anger, to remember the love that holds him and surrounds him no matter what because society is wrong and I was wrong. He is amazing and wonderful and talented. He may not fit into the mold society wants him to but it just means he thinks different, he sees the world around him in a different light and somehow he will make it work for him, despite society trying very hard to stuff him in a box and get him to “get in line”.

It will take time, patience, healing and most of all it will take love. That’s my commitment going forward, I will radiate, enclose him and even smother him in love, until the raw wounds become aching scabs, then itchy scars and with some luck at some point even the scars will fade to a barely visible lightness, and we will find our peace, rebuilt upon a solid foundation of love. The scars may never disappear but some day I want the memories to be faint whispers of by-gone stories instead of festering wounds filling an abyss that separates us.

I’m ready  to let love build us a bridge over the abyss. I am ready to heal. I’m ready to do the hard work. I’m ready to forgive myself and let my mistakes go and I am hoping that my son can eventually forgive me too, and help me build that bridge. Surrender the future to love and we will find our way, the path will meet us where we are and if we stay true to love, it’ll show us the way forward.

To my son: you are the child that made me a mother and I will always love you and that isn’t and never was a mistake.


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It is Time to Heal



IMG_20141001_175030Sixteen years ago I lay on the floor trying to sleep, anxious and excited about the events of the next day. The room was ready. Clean sheets on the bed, beautiful flowers on the side table and many little touches of romance all around.

Waiting…. waiting…. waiting….

I was in a place of waiting. Alone but knowing very soon I would not be alone any more. The anxieties, the nerves, the hopes, the dreams crystallizing in that moment as I lay on the floor unable to sleep for the sheer excitement that I would be a bride in just a few short hours, and then HIS wife forever.

How young and naïve I was sixteen years ago to believe marriage could save me from my anger and my pain; to think that marriage would change being a single mom into being a family with the minister simply uttering a few words for us to repeat and then blessing us by the power of the church vested in his 91-year-old hands and heart.IMG_20141001_175301

How so much more complicated the process would all end up being…. And how much more pain we’d unwittingly cause each other in the process…

It has been sixteen years filled with passion, love, anger, disillusionment, grief, and struggles of many varieties including power struggles, parenting struggles, health struggles and financial struggles, but here at the threshold of another celebration the biggest fact I cling to is we are still here. Every day we get up and reach for love, reach for understanding, reach for forgiveness and we look at each other across the bed sheets hoping we can find the love, the healing, the forgiveness to carry us through many more years.

There is a lot to forgive and a lot of letting go that needs to happen. Sometimes the pain feels overwhelming and like a gaping hole that can never be filled with enough love to wipe it out. It’s an ongoing, ever-challenging, ever-changing, ever-demanding process. Some days it still involves a lot of waiting… Waiting for patience. Waiting to feel loved. Waiting for validation – to feel noticed, to feel seen and to feel heard.

One of the most intentional emotions I brought away from my retreat in August is that it is time to clarify, to re-define, to evaluate, to change, to face the challenges of my relationship. To stop settling for unhappiness for the sake of my children. It’s an old story. What kind of example are my husband and I setting for our children when we settle for unhappiness in one of the most important and singularly defining relationships of our lives? I wouldn’t want this kind of relationship for any of my children so why am I settling for living in one and asking my spouse to do the same?

After sixteen years my husband and I are at a crossroads. Neither choice is an easy one.

Down one road, there are lawyers, not enough money to keep two households functioning, inevitably more anger and resentment, children having to adjust to missing one parent when they are with the other, missing their bedtime routines of “I love yous” and “see you in the mornings”, and so many more crazy changes and adjustments we haven’t even thought of. Down the other, there is work, lots of work. Reconnecting work, honouring work, loving work, re-defining work, hard work. Really hard work. Divorce will seem like a viable option at times because it would be easier to move on than face some really tough emotions we’ve spent a lot of time and energy avoiding over the last sixteen years.

It is time to heal.

It is time to face our relationship, ourselves, our choices, our responsibilities and find the love again or, and this is always a possibility, not find it but I want to know we did everything possible to save this family because we do owe our children that much and if at the end of the day we can’t, hopefully this process will at least help us choose an ending that honours each other and our children.

For now we are choosing the path of hard work and in that spirit my husband and I have decided to go on a relationship retreat in December. It’s in Paris, France. For a week, the focus will be us, there will be no hiding from each other behind screens or responsibilities or day-to-day life or the needs of the children. Anni and Tim Daulter will help us find our way back to each other, help us find ways to reconnect, help us find ways to redefine our relationship in healthier ways so that there’s less hiding behind pain, resentment and anger.

As we embark on our seventeenth year of marriage, I commit myself to the work that Paris will bring, to meeting my husband in a safe place where we can begin the process of letting go of all the burdens that weigh us down and keep us from being the people, the couple we are capable of being. I believe in my heart that if we don’t fix us, nothing else matters and that’s why this trip to Paris is so important and I am soooo grateful that my husband has chosen to participate in this retreat with me.

A friend asked me if I was placing too much hope in this retreat solving our problems?

The truth is I have to believe it’s possible, that this retreat could bring us the closure on a less than stellar past and an opening to a better future together. I have to believe we love each other enough to give this gift to each other and be willing to open the package and accept the gift into our lives. If I don’t believe that than what’s the point of going to Paris at all? We might as well give up now… So yes I believe this retreat can help turn our relationship around, can temporarily plug the holes in our sinking ship and give us the life boat to save ourselves. We just have to be willing to get in the life boat and row like hell.

I am willing to do the work. I am willing to let go. I am willing to find a new path. I am willing to get in the life boat with my husband and row like hell, hoping that both of us will be pulling together and working together towards the goal of a healthy, happy relationship that is the center of a healthy, happy home. At the end of the day I believe that’s all either of us really want.

So as we celebrate our sixteenth wedding anniversary, we look to our future, waiting, waiting for the day we pack our bags and get on an airplane and for five days make us the center of our world for better or for worse…

I am ready to change, to heal, to love my husband with all my heart and in return open up myself to accepting his love, his healing and his changes, and together creating a safe place within ourselves and around us for the evolution to happen.


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A pen, some paper, an envelope and a stamp



As I sat on my bed exploring my collection of stationary I was reminded of how I used to love sorting through the different papers to pick out just the right one for my next letter. I have an accordion file where all my stationary is organized and I would sort through the different styles from floral to animals to art until just the right one spoke to me, inspiring my pen to start writing.

There’s a couple sets of stationary that are really special to me. I have some writing paper that belonged to my great-grandmother and it’s a cherished connection to the only great-grandparent I ever knew. I have another set that my brother made for me using a needle and a stencil. Following the stencil he created beautiful designs at the tops of the pages by punching holes in the papers with the needle. I don’t remember very many other gifts my brother has given me over the years but that stationary that he painstakingly made for me, I remember!2014-05-07 23.57.26It has unfortunately been years since I last wrote a letter, a real letter, to anyone. I have a cousin that I used to exchange letters with regularly. She was my first pen pal, my first awkward letters with big cursive writing where I first learned the love of sending and receiving the written word. It was exciting to wait for the mail, just knowing there might be a letter in the bag for me, and when there was one, stopping everything to sit and read and often re-read the words until the pages were smudged and folded with too much love.

Now my mailbox is full of junk and flyers and the last remaining bill that continues to arrive in paper format, mostly because there isn’t an option to turn off the paper version. It really sucks actually!

I miss the excitement.

I miss waiting for the mail, hoping for a surprise, the gift of someone else’s story to read, to respond to, to connect with. I kept every letter I ever received from all my pen pals and I know my cousin has many of mine as well. So many years we recorded our lives, our experiences, our emotions, our frustrations, and we connected via a pen, some paper, an envelope and a stamp.

Our pens bled with the stories of our day-to-day lives, often keeping us sane. I know at times writing those letters was my anchor to sanity. It was totally freeing to be able to just bleed ink until my soul was raw.

Unfortunately a few years back my letter writing stopped. It was partly due to the influence of social media and partly my emotional shut-down. My ability to write seemingly evaporated and I started keeping a lot bottled up, scared to face what truths the ink might reveal to me. I sank deeper into depression and my accordion file sat in the corner of my bedroom neglected.

As I sat going through my stationary, relishing the memories of the letters I used to write and receive, an idea popped into my brain. ‘What if I started writing letters again?’ My next immediate thought was, ‘What the heck, let’s try it and see what happens….’

For the next month I am going to write letters to people, to my cousin, to my husband, to my family, to friends and even to strangers I’ve just met through social media. Some letters will be short, some will be long, some will be simple and others will be intense but they will all make their way via “snail-mail” to people who crave the feel of a real letter written just for them and to others that just deserve one, who perhaps until they hold the envelope and ink soaked paper in their hands didn’t even realize they were missing something so precious in their lives. Everyone deserves to receive a hand-written letter at least once in their lives.

wpid-wp-1399518825466.jpg That’s what this idea is all about. It’s about re-visiting a time when words were special and it wasn’t about abbreviations or hitting the send button as quickly as possible or even character counts. It was about taking the time to sit down with a pen and paper and connect with someone. I want to re-establish connections, create new connections and through-out all these exchanges big and small explore the written words ability to connect with others through what many now consider the old-fashioned art of letter writing.

Tomorrow will be the first letter, the first time I go through my stash of stationary in what seems like an eternity and pick out that perfect one and sit and write about anything and everything, once again letting my ink bleed on to the page.

wpid-wp-1399519003235.jpgI’m not going to give away who is getting that first letter as I’d like it to be a surprise. Just watch your mailbox, it could be you!


If you are interested in receiving a letter, leave me a message with your address through my Facebook page, Soul Nudism


March 27, 1999


2264951349_46e31f3586_zIt was a beautiful spring-like day. Still cool, still snow on the ground but the sun was getting warmer. The melting snow dribbling off the shrinking piles to leave puddles on the sidewalks. Spring was whispering in the breeze, soon we’d see grass and the buds would explode the trees into their summer greenery.

My husband and I had been married six months plus a day.

On March 26, 1999, we’d gone out for dinner to celebrate surviving the first six months of marriage. I don’t use the word ‘survive’ lightly. It was a very difficult first six months of marriage with many adjustments and crushed expectations while we had not only tried to figure out how to live together but also how to raise a two-year old child together.

As difficult as the first six months had been, the real bomb had yet to drop and as we sat at dinner on the 26th we both felt its looming shadow succinctly as my husband’s parents had requested he come to Rockland by himself the next afternoon.

Over dinner we speculated, hoping for the best but in our heads and hearts we both had uneasy suspicions. His mother’s slow recovery from her surgery in January and the fact she still had not returned to work fueled our suspicions.

We boxed up most of our meal and took it home, neither of us able to eat much, our stomachs full with more fear and worry than food.

The afternoon of that beautiful spring-like day my husband left for Rockland. I curled up on the couch a ball of nerves and flu symptoms. Just wanting it to be over and my husband to return home and allay the fears and untie the knots in my stomach.

It was not to happen that way.

Instead he came home and confirmed our fears, my fears, and it was worse than we had let ourselves imagine.

Stage 4 breast cancer, incurable, inoperative, and it had metastasized into her bones. The prognosis was bleak, the outcome seemingly inevitable, it was just a matter of time.

What do you do when the bomb drops?

You cry, you scream, you rant “It’s not fair, why her? Why us?”

Then you put the two-year old in his stroller, put the leash on the dog and as a family you go for a walk in the beautiful spring-like weather.

Regardless of the pain and anger life must go on, will go on and demands that you go on even when you just don’t want it to, even when you just don’t feel like facing another day.

What we didn’t know that day was how his mother would teach us how true those words are. Life does go on. You can live it or die. She chose life.








Post-script – Check back on April 12, 2014, for the next part of this story.

Memories of My First Love


6191008024_38f2fa7fd6First look! First time someone really fell for me, wanted to be with me and the magic was mutual. I was fifteen. He was sixteen. We were young, oh so young when I look back now but it was such a pure, beautiful time.

He asked me to dance.

And we danced, rocking in circles to Bryan Adams, Everything I do, I do it for You.

He wanted me to go out with him.

I said “no”, because I wasn’t allowed to. I really wanted to say yes….

He was persistent.

Oh so many details of this time are permanently etched on my heart. So many firsts, exciting, thrilling, intoxicating and yet also a little scary and overwhelming.

I’d never kissed a boy before, certainly not like I learned to kiss him.

I remember being young and not caring about when or where we kissed or who was watching. It was intoxicating to be loved by him. We broke a lot of rules to experience this love and everything was so intense the rules didn’t matter much anyways. First kisses lead to other firsts. In the naïvety of a sixteen year old’s mind I loved him without reservation, I thought I could never love another . I wrote him poetry until my fingers hurt.

I have never written poetry for any other like I wrote poetry for him. Maybe it was the intensity of being young and everything being so new. In return he made me feel special and beautiful. He saw my face as perfectly symmetrical. He loved the mole on my breasts and would kiss it gently. He showed up at my school and surprised me with roses, gave me a beautiful amethyst promise ring for our six month anniversary, and left random $20 in my pocket for me to find.

Eighteen crazy months, the best of my teenage years, no not given to him or given to me by him, but mutually shared and enjoyed. We had so much fun. Camping, playing pranks, hanging out with friends, having parties, running away – yes, even running away. Spending the night curled up at the beach, using each other to stay warm. We learned together, loved together and experienced so many firsts together that the time inevitably left its mark on my life.

In the end though it was me who threw it away, got cocky and wanted to explore. Instead of being satisfied with being intoxicated by him, I began to find intoxication in the interest of other guys. It was such an ego boost to be an object of desire.

Unfortunately I was too young to understand the difference between being the center of someone’s heart and the object of desire of many.

Too young to know what I lost until I’d been used and thrown away for sex, abused for sex, and abandoned and lost over sex… He showed me the beautiful, mutual, respectful, loving, wonderful world of love and sex, and I threw it away over curiousity. That curiousity cost me a great deal.

Some days I wonder if I will ever forgive myself  for breaking his heart….

And some days I think I just want to go back to a simpler time before the mortgage and bills had to be paid and children looked up to me to set a good example, a role I often feel unqualified to fill. A time where you could kiss for hours and escape from the world into another’s arms so easily. A time when the love was all that mattered, and the world outside it didn’t exist when you were together. Where zipping yourselves into one sleeping bag still didn’t bring you close enough. You wanted more but yet just being together was more than enough.

Oh to be young and naïve and in love again for the first time…. Yes, if there was any time in my life I could go back and live again it would be those crazy, wonderful eighteen months spent loving him and being loved by him.

No regrets!

These memories swept over me at the Arcade Fire concert, as three seats over from where my husband and I were sitting was a person who looked a lot like my first love. His profile in the darkness of the stadium was eerily similar. It triggered the memory download. I realized that despite all the years that have passed and things that have changed, a small part of my heart and soul will forever belong to the first man I gave them to. The first man who taught me how to love, unconditionally, passionately and without reservation.

But first love is locked in time, a memory polished to perfection by the waves of time.

What is right now is what’s real and what my fifteen year marriage has taught me about love is that the right to a piece of someone’s heart and soul is something you have to get up every morning prepared to work for. A living relationship is dynamic, changing, evolving and flowing with time. Far more easily polluted by negativity, negativity that is often strong enough to pull a part the stitches that hold all the pieces together if each person in the relationship doesn’t take responsibility for filling up the coffer with good, strong, binding memories of connection that can be drawn upon when times are difficult.

I do think these memories of first love can also help strengthen what I have now. It’s a reminder to kiss like it’s the first time, to find ways of making a comfortably worn relationship a little more exciting and to occasionally zip ourselves into one sleeping bag and remember what it was like to not be able to get close enough to each other.

And maybe to even write a little poetry…

February 27, 2004

Minutes old - my baby girl!

Minutes old – my baby girl!

I awoke at around 6:30 am, my lower back was aching. I knew it was time.

I nudged my husband awake and told him I was going to try to take a shower before we headed to the hospital and that he should start getting our son up and ready for school, just in case we had to leave before the van arrived to take him to school.

I stood in the shower letting the warm water run over me. The pain began to steadily intensify. I leaned against the shower wall as a contraction rippled through me. I breathed through it then called to my husband. It was time to go. He called my mom to tell her we were on our way over to drop off our son so she could take him to school.

A few minutes later we were getting in the car. I waddled slowly, breathing through the rhythm of the clenching and relaxing muscles, my body instinctively doing what it was built to do.

At my mom’s, she came out to see me, advised me “I didn’t look so good!” with a smile of excitement! I nodded as I was slowly moving into another place mentally, focused on the signals, the changes, the increasing intensity inside of me.

We drove to the hospital. I don’t really remember much of the drive or if anything much was said between my husband and I as he navigated early morning rush hour traffic.

We arrived at the hospital about 7:30 am, maybe a little after, time at that point seemed irrelevant. We parked and walked up to admission on the eighth floor. They did their usual paperwork and assessments. The nurse left for a minute and I stood as another contraction worked through my lower back, the intensity building, stronger than any I’d had up to that point.

I sent my husband to get the nurse.

When she returned she had me lie down so she could measure my cervix – 7 cm. It would be soon.

We were taken to a birthing room shortly after and I met my nurse. She was wonderful. She rubbed my back as I rocked through wave after wave of intensifying contractions, reminding me to breathe through the contractions and encouraging me with each contraction that I could and I was doing what I needed to do.

No drugs. After my first delivery with my son, I was mentally prepared for this delivery to be another natural birth. I was prepared for the pain. And most importantly, I was ready to meet my baby.

But as I worked through the last bit of transition, I did request some nitrous oxide gas.

I breathed the gas in, the world and the pain a little fuzzier, set a part, like my brain and my body were disconnected.

My doctor arrived. He broke my water.

With a magnificent gush of water, soaking everything, it was the start of the final moments. Time was taken to remove my wet clothes and sheets. I remember a moment of feeling very naked, but then just not caring, as the final contractions moved through my abdomen, and I naturally started bearing down, gently pushing, following the instincts of my body.

I was ready to push.

No more gas. With my husband on one side and my nurse on the other, holding my legs up to help me push, I began to focus all my energy into my bottom. With each subsequent contraction I pushed into the searing pain as my body opened to give my child a passage into the world.

I was not quiet, the pain was intense. I cried out several times as the pain overwhelmed me. I pulled a muscle in my right hip at one point that would take months to heal.

Then I heard my doctor say that the baby would be coming out on the next push. The heart beat was dropping badly. He was going to use the vacuum to help me. And so with one final intense push and a little help, I delivered my second child.

With a whoosh and an instant sense of relief, the baby was laid on my stomach. Gasping  I received the child with a hug and I heard someone, I believe it was my husband say “It’s a girl!”

As I lay there panting, my arms wrapped around her, I exclaimed with total joy and instant love “I got my girl!”

She was the best birthday present I have ever or will ever receive, all 8 lbs 13.5 oz of her, laid squirming and healthy on my stomach at 8:36 am on February 27, 2004, my 27th birthday.

Happy 10th Birthday Baby Girl!

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