Goodbye (for now)….

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Tired of feeling lost, tired of letting go.
Tear the whole world down, tear the whole world down.
Tired of wasted breath, tired of nothing left.
Tear the whole world down, tear the whole world down.
Failure.
Breaking Benjamin, Failure (March 2015)

I had a really hot shower this afternoon and as I sat there letting the hot water scald my skin and the loud, angry music envelope me, I knew I was breaking and broken. My body resonated on the same frequency as the music as if it felt my pain and my anger deep down inside. I realized I need to release that anger but I need to change direction to do that and find a different outlet.

When I started this blog I had hoped it would be a cathartic experience to let everything out but it has become the shackles to my pen. So much of what I need to say I can’t even say on here because I might offend or hurt someone’s feelings, and often someone I care deeply about and don’t want to hurt but the repercussions of not letting out the anger and frustration is it is devouring me alive. I need a safer place. A place without censorship, without judgment. This isn’t it.

I know I could write just for me in a journal but having this blog here felt suffocating like every word that went through my head was being filtered through a lens of whether it was publishable or not, and lately most of my words are not!  So for now I am taking a break. I am finding a more private outlet where I can write without censoring myself but still have a few select people that I trust wholeheartedly to hold space for my breaking and rebuilding. I may or may not be back on this specific blog. Truthfully I don’t have any idea what my rebuild will look like as I must burn myself completely to the ground as a forest fire destroys a forest to make way for new stronger growth. Just be assured in some capacity I will be back.

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Thank you to those who have read my words, who have shared my words, who have taken the time to comment and to be a part of this blog as I tested the waters of this venture. It has taught me a great deal, and I have no regrets. It’s just time to say goodbye, for now….

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A Dozen Roses

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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.

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My Good Samaritans

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Life has a way of testing you.  Just as you are starting to crawl out of the mud and mire, just as you are getting back on your feet and saying “screw you world, you’re not going to hold me down any longer!”, the world says “okay, let’s see how you handle this then.”

Rolling my car!

Rolling my car!

Driving out to a friend’s place on Saturday, I was looking forward to a kid-free, adult-only afternoon that involved good food!  It was dusk, and there was a storm coming, though I didn’t realize at the time how messy it would become later that evening.  It still felt pretty good on the road.  I just wanted to get out of the house.  I tend to avoid some social situations because of my anxieties, and in the past this might have been one as I really didn’t know anyone except the host.

Then it happened.  I let my eyes drift for half a second to check the time or my rear-view mirror.  I don’t even know now what it was as the shock of the car slipping sideways suddenly brought my attention immediately back to the road.  I hit an icy patch, my wheels went sliding left into on-coming traffic and I immediately re-acted, trying to correct and get the car under control, but the tires just didn’t seem to want to grip the road.  The snow was slippery.  I know I didn’t hit my brakes because I re-actively knew enough that I didn’t want to lock my wheels up.  I probably did let up on my gas, though my husband said giving it some gas might have helped regain the control.  I will never know now.  I was more focused on my steering wheel and trying to get the car to straighten out and start moving in the right direction again.  It just didn’t want to.  It had other plans for me.

When I realized the car was not going to come out of the slide and my tires just were not gripping the road, I had a choice, on-coming traffic or the ditch.  I chose the ditch.  If I had just gone into the ditch and stayed upright on my wheels, the damage would’ve been minor, but unfortunately the way I hit the snow, it pushed the car into a roll and my car came to a stop upside down.

Hanging upside down in your car is one of the weirdest, most disorienting, feelings in the world.  The contents of the car just go everywhere.  My Timmies tea went flying, I remember feeling the warmth of the liquid soaking my thigh.  Thankfully it had cooled down a little at that point.  All the garbage and kids toys were tossed everywhere, and I was there held in by my seat belt, suspended upside down.  My first thought was to get the car turned off.  Which I did, but I couldn’t pull the key out of the ignition.  In my disorientation and shock, I forgot to take the car out of drive.  It was the tow truck driver who pointed it out to me!

Having turned off the car, and taken a deep breath, I realized I had to get out of the car.  So I reached over and managed to release my seat belt, letting myself fall to my knees on what had now become the floor of the car!  I tried to open the driver-side door but it would not budge so I crawled over to the passenger-side door and was thankfully able to escape the car that way.

Even before I opened the door, I heard the voices.  “Are you okay?”  “Can you get out?” All kinds of people stopped immediately and were there to offer me a hand as I crawled out of the car and a comforting voice asking if I was okay.  One man called 911 and was talking to them for me.  I kept saying I was okay, I felt okay.  I was lucid, shaken but not crying.  It was their hands reaching out to me, their voices holding me, they were the good Samaritans that for a few moments on a Saturday afternoon on their way to wherever they were going, stopped to help me, stopped to make sure I was okay.

One couple put me in their car, covered me with a blanket and let me stay there until the police arrived.  I had meant to ask their names, get their contact information so I could properly thank them, but after the police officer arrived and I was transferred to her care, I was unable to get that information.  I was only able to wave and yell a thank you as they moved on with their plans that Saturday afternoon.

The police officer was amazing.  We waited together, chatting comfortably.  We after all shared the same first name, spelling and all!  From the initial incident to the arrival of the tow truck, it was probably about 90 minutes, two hours maybe – time lost some of its sense, but the entire time I was watched over by one or another person, transferred from one set of caring hands to another.  The last in the line was the tow truck driver, who carefully righted my car and lifted it to the flatbed.

This was the first time I saw the full extent of the damage.  It’s bad enough, but I’m hoping fixable.  Cracked windshield, plastic bumper gone, license plate messed up, front driver side of car dented and damaged, and the roof compressed, shaped around the roll bar.

My car is hurting, but thankfully, I am not.

The tow truck driver drove my car and I to the collision center where my husband met up with us.  Reunited for the first time after my anxious phone call letting him know what had just happened.

At least it wasn’t like the first time I was in an accident.  My voice when I called him that day was one he never wants to hear again.  This accident, despite the craziness, I never felt out of control and I was never alone.  It has made a huge difference in my ability to cope with the fall out.  My last accident sent my depression spiraling out of control, and I ended up back on sick leave at the end of my parental leave.  I was also charged, so there were charges to fight.  I was at the whim of other people’s bad decisions the first time.  This time it was a fluke of nature, ice on the road.  If I had panicked I might have hit another car, injuring another person, but I made the decision I had control over, and I chose to put the car in the ditch instead of hitting another car.

The bottom line, no one was hurt.

The car will or will not be fixed, though I’m hoping it will be.  It can be replaced.  We’ll do whatever we have to do and while my insurance rates may go up because of this, the flip side of not having the insurance during these incidents is a worse scenario.  It’s worth it.

Having said all this, I could decide that this is life sending me a message that I’m screwed and I’ll never get anywhere, that no matter how hard I try, I will always be pushed back down.  I’m not going to do that.  It’s a dark road that leads nowhere.  It’s in fact shown me what I have to be grateful for, including the hands of strangers, good Samaritans, who stopped everything they were doing, regardless of the urgency of their own plans, to help me.  I can’t thank them personally, but instead of wallowing in self-pity, I’m going to focus my energy on sending out positive, thankful energy to all the people who were there to help me when I needed them.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

See follow up story.