The Many Faces of Rape


Some of you reading this may become a little uncomfortable. Others may be triggered by previous trauma. Please be careful and take care of yourself as this concerns a very delicate and difficult topic.

Something happened to me a very long time ago. When this ‘something’ happened, I was left feeling very confused. I did not know if I was supposed to be upset or cry…or be angry. I wasn’t even afraid when it was all over although I was pissed off during the episode.

The only feeling I could muster was confusion. What the HELL had just happened?

Up until recently, having this memory bubble to the surface while I do work on myself and learn about trauma (including sexual abuse and rape) in my counselling class – I’d forgotten about it. Afterall, it was more than 30-year ago. Then, when my perpetrator (and ex-husband) contacted me via Facebook completely out of the blue, the memory started to weigh on me like water-filled rubber boots. It was too hard to move forward and past this without talking about it.

I had never told anyone about it. Ever.

It was the late 1980’s. We were both college students and newly engaged. I think I was 20-years old at the time. He would have been 21. I remember we were in the bedroom of my rented apartment on Millstone Ave. It was the 1st place where I’d lived all by myself. No roommates, no rented room. A whole 1-bedroom place all to me.

We had started kissing – making out, the usual stuff we got up to. But something was different. For some reason, I had changed my mind. I can’t remember why I did or if I just wasn’t into full-on intercourse. Maybe I was tired. I really can’t recall the reason, but I DO know that at some point I said: “No.”

He didn’t take me seriously and thought I was teasing, that this was some sort of game. It wasn’t and I wasn’t, but I couldn’t convince him.

I got up and left the room, slipping away from him easily enough. I thought that this was the end of it, and he’d go home for the evening. He was still living with his parent.

It was not the end of it.

He followed me into the tiny living room or kitchen (I can’t recall exactly where it all started getting ridiculous and weird) and continued to insist on kissing me, trying to take off my clothes. I resisted and again, told him that NO – I wasn’t interested. Once more, he thought this was part of the game I was evidentially playing. I may as well have been having a conversation with the fridge because he wasn’t listening to anything I was saying.

Let it be noted that although I struggled and kept telling him that I wanted him to stop, I didn’t scream. I didn’t cry and I wasn’t hysterical or afraid. I just did NOT want to have sex. It was that simple. I was also angry that my wants and rights were being ignored.

Perhaps he thought this was some kind of kinky role play (although we’d never done that before), perhaps he thought it was all an elaborate game to turn him on. I don’t know because I never asked him.

In the end, in my attempt to get away, I ended up on the floor, scrambling back while he pulled my jeans off, along with his pants, and has his way with me against my wishes. I believe it hurt.

He didn’t hit me or yell. In fact, he was laughing the whole time, which makes me think he was completely clueless as to what he was doing.

What he was doing, was raping me.

Afterward I sat on the floor, feeling that weird surreal confusion, and thought: did I just get raped?!

I really wasn’t sure and in 1986, given that we were a couple and to be married, I very much doubt the law would have thought so. What was the point of saying anything? I really believe he didn’t know what he had just done. He was generally a sweet and gentle guy.

I thought about confronting him about it seeing as he wanted to send some things of mine that he’d held on to (for 30+ years) back to me. I doubt he’d remember the occasion. To him, it was all just fun and play.

Had he (or anyone) tried the same thing, today, it would have gone down much differently. Maybe if I’d shouted or become scared or really mad, he would have stopped. I don’t know.

Today things are very different and thank GOD for that. Rape has no grey areas. Consent MUST be given and NO MEANS NO. It doesn’t mean chase me around the apartment until I trip and fall while you grope me and then force yourself on me. It means FUCKING STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW.

Yes, you can ask someone to stop before and during sex. You have rights. You can change your mind any time you wish as it’s YOUR body and you get to decide what you want to be done to it.

No one else on the planet can do that for you. No. One.

I was young and rape wasn’t talked about. There was no internet; you couldn’t Google sexual consent. It wasn’t exactly taught in schools. I sometimes think I didn’t know any better and should have fought harder. Part of me wants to blame myself, even now, and find excuses for him.

But the harder I look, the less I find. There are no excuses. He should have known better. He should have stopped when I asked him to. He didn’t.

#metoo

SARS CoV-2


I’ve been hesitating to pen a blog post on this as there is SO much. So much emotion, fear, worry and so much information and misinformation. Where does one start? How can you tackle thoughts on the worst global pandemic in the last 100+ years?

I’ll start by saying there are many forces at work, here. We have the perceived good, bad and the indifferent but mostly we have massive change. It’s not an easy thing to do – shutting the world down in the blink of an eye, but it’s a necessary one. Our values are being re-written, our needs are being challenged and our beliefs are being tested.

We’re collectively struggling and grieving. When you have that many humans caught up in a global web, all stuck in one spot, you get division. You get those who are struggling to put food on the table and are not getting help so shutting down seems pointless and impossible. You get those who will do whatever it takes to keep themselves and others safe because all life is important, and they’d rather do without and suffer – than risk the lives of so many.

Division isn’t new and it’s always been prevalent, however, we are divided now more than ever and especially in the US where there is no central voice that is attending to all, speaking for ALL and listening to ALL. As a Canadian, it’s difficult to comprehend this and although there is division in my country, it’s muted; for the most part, we stand as one and most of us are doing our part to slow this killer down so that our hospitals do not become overwhelmed. Thus far, it’s working but we have failed our elderly and vulnerable and we’re failing them badly.

My point is, we are all discovering (or more appropriately, big problems that were being brushed under the carpet are having spotlights shone on them – really bright ones) our flawed systems and are being forced to now deal with them. This is good and bad. Good because something is finally being done and bad because it should have been taken care of long ago.

Let’s talk about exposure. COVID-19 is exposing all of us: the way we cope and react, the way we adjust or don’t, and the way we give or take. We are learning different behaviors and it’s hard. It’s like being a kid all over again and figuring out social behaviors. It’s changed and it takes time to adjust when we really have very limited time. How fast a country can turn on a dime is relevant to how that country naturally behaves. Every system is different due to belief systems, patterns and culture.

Yet I will say, Earth has turned a page and its human citizens are more on that ‘same’ page than ever before. So, in a sense, we are more united than we’ve been since…well long before I was born.

I think the really big questions are yet to be answered: what positive changes will we take away from this experience once it’s over, what negative ways will we return to just because we can and we don’t want to give up our perceived luxuries of consumerism? This is yet to be discovered.

Still, I have hope. I have hope that we will emerge a better species, more tolerant, more adaptable, more alert to our environment and the need to protect it. I pray that we will be better focused on healing, caring, alignment of nurturing collective thought patterns and just plan taking care of all (not just us).

We are in a perfect storm and that storm is different for each of us. How we’ll be after the skies clear and sun comes out is up to each of us, as individuals to discover. We’ll be looking at a different world. Some will adapt, some will struggle.

At the end of the day, we still all have choices. Collectively we can choose to change what is important to us. We can collectively choose to work together to make a better planet and better life for everyone.

We are starting to wake up and really know that we don’t ‘need’ many things we’ve always thought that we needed. Or, maybe we can need ‘less’ or need differently. There is always a better way to do things that serve everyone. It’s up to us to figure out what that is. I believe we are at the tipping point to not just think about it but begin to put best practices into place.

For COVID Blog post

Sending your Furever Friend Over the Rainbow Bridge


This is a hard post to write but many will relate. Our pets are our family and for those of us without children, our Fur Babies. We love them. They love us and more importantly, unconditionally.

Just over 16-years ago, I was newly separated from my (now ex) husband. I was renting a little house in Calgary. It was Spring. I volunteered at an organization called the Meow Foundation. It was/still is, a cat rescue place; I came in on Saturdays and cleaned.

That place was sterilized from top to bottom, every single day. It was a fair-sized house with many rooms so at any given time there had to be at least 200+ cats and kittens there. That said, it was extremely well-managed and organized. Feral cats had their room, new mothers, kittens and expectant mothers had their area. There was a spot for sick cats, and we had to walk through some sort of antiseptic so there was no cross-contamination.

In the living room, were all the friendly cats who got along with everyone. Down stairs, were several more rooms with new intakes (a few who were injured and had to be kept in cages for their own good) while others roamed around and became acquainted with the place.

When I first started seriously thinking about adopting one for myself, I took a good look around. I spotted him lounging on one of the cat trees, just taking it all in. He seemed to be just coming out of kittenhood and knocking on the door of being an adult male cat. He’d been brought in with his sister; she was waiting for her spay and was in another room. He’d already had his neuter.

Both were wandering around a neighbourhood, seemingly lost or abandoned. They ended up wandering right up to someone’s front door and she took them in. The next day, the kind lady called the Meow Foundation. No one ever claimed them.

They were named Smartie and Skittles because of their sweet nature. Smartie was the male. Both were grey and white with Smartie being a long-haired cat and his sister, not.

I ended up adopting Smartie a few weeks later and renaming him Zephyr. He was the sweetest, most easy-going and definitely the handsomest cat I’d ever had the pleasure of sharing my life with.

I’d never had a cat quite like him and I doubt I ever will again. He had just enough quirks to make him interesting and adorable. He also had the temperament of a Saint. That cat never bit, hissed or scratched me out of anger or fear, in his entire life. You could do anything to him and if it bothered him, he’d either complain about it or leave.

He had his naughty moments, too, but he was just being a cat. One certainly can’t fault him for that. There are simply far too many cute Zephyr stories to list them all, here. But I will say that when he was young, he was a kleptomaniac. He also loved to invent games to play, and we had many. One involved a red bucket and an ex-boyfriend. I still have that red bucket.

He was a lover not a fighter. Whenever his path crossed another animal’s, he’d always try and make friends. Just because I know you’re wondering…he made 2 doggie friends and 0 cat friends, although he did try very hard (Xanadu, you nasty little thing, he was SO in love with you…your loss, honey). I could include Sabrina, but I really think he tolerated her more than anything.

I got to share his life for just over 16-years. He was 17 and had been battling kidney failure for the last 4 of them. On June 1st, he’d had enough. For 2 and a half days I did everything I could to make him better, but he wasn’t having it.

It was his time. So, with a heavy heart, Pete and I sent my best friend home. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done, but one that I simply had to. I made him a promise that I’d never let him suffer. He was suffering. It had to stop.

It was quick. Pete and I cried. I then cried some more and every day since then, but it was the right thing to do. There is no question in my heart.

I was Z’s mommy and I’m pretty sure he thought that, too. He listened. He came when he was called. He took up half of my queen-sized bed for more years than I care to admit. He was kind of a  big’ish cat. 17 lbs in his prime.

I’ll miss him until I see him again on the other side. I love him dearly. He was one in a million and a huge part of my life. If he didn’t like you (and he liked just about anybody once he got over being shy) you weren’t to be trusted. He had a sense about people. He also never forgot anyone. It could be months or even a year in-between visits, but he’d always remember you.

Zephyr was the best pet I’d ever had; I’d also had him longer than any other animal. 16-years is a long time to have anyone in your life. It’s longer than any man has ever lasted, I’ll say that!

At least…so far.

I love you, big guy; you were the bestest kitty EVER. And that red bucket! How you made us laugh, brought us joy and shone a bright light into everyone’s life you touched.

Really.

Best. Kitty. EVER.

unconditional_by_musingcalliope-d2erd4r

Four Years Later (The Continuing Aftermath of Suicide)


I want to say that it’s a little better with each passing year, and it is…but marginally. I still get taken aback by the rush of grief that spills into my daily routine, unannounced and unwelcomed.

The tears still sting and the ache in my heart really isn’t any less. It’s just less often. There are daily reminders of his existence on earth and in my life; I’m grateful for them and accept them with grace. He still is and always will be: the one that got away. Only his ‘away’ was pretty horrific.

I’ve built up my life around softness, empathy and understanding.  Yes, I still have a wonderful (forever) man in my life. He’s not going anywhere and for that, I’m so, so, happy. He’s my rock and grounds me to this earth when my spirit wants nothing more than to fly away.

In a month, it will be THAT day. That terrible, horrid, worst-day-of-my-life, day – and, once again, it will all come crashing down around me. It’s okay; I always prepare. The lead-up, however, is easier, this year. I don’t go over old emails and texts from him, still looking for some clue that I should have known this would happen.

Thankfully, I’ve stopped that. It’s pointless, really. A little torturous, too.

I was so inexperienced with his mental illness, so new in our relationship, so in-love and so terrified. I don’t think there was anything different I could have done, given the tools (and lack of) that I had at the time. I simply didn’t know how or what to do – other than to do everything in my power to be there, be present, love him, do what I could to keep him safe and then…have faith that he’d stay.

He didn’t. But we all know our story didn’t end well.

I want to tell it. REALLY tell it; it’s quite a love story, after all. A tragic, messy, funny, sad – love story. I’m almost ready, but not quite.

I still miss him, and I know that we all do – all of us that he touched. There were many. I’m not the only one grieving and I know, out there, there are others. Others like us who understand the depths of suicide grief and it’s never ending dark and deep hole in our lives. It really feels like a part of you died with that person. And as you constantly struggle with trying to understand…

Somewhere.

Somewhere in a gentle and loving stillness, there is forgiveness. Not just for them, but for us. For not being able to save them, for not being there, for being angry, for so many things, I’ve lost count.

Forgive yourself. You, who travel this road of sorrow, with me. You did all you could; they know that. HE knows that. A choice was made that wasn’t ours to make or judge.

My story has carried on, but I can still tell his in the best and most loving way that I can. We can still honour their lives here and in the Afterlife.

I’ve learned SO much and continue to grow with this experience. It will walk with me, until I walk into the light. I’ll always advocate for understanding and to end the stigma, the secrecy and the embarrassment. The finger-pointing, the judgement and the ignorance that comes attached to suicide – both for those who’ve taken their lives and for us who are still on Earth; it has to stop.

Let’s replace them with: Love, Compassion, Understanding, Openness, Communication & Kindness.

Right here. Right now.

In love & Light,

Carrie ~

 

HOPE

Taking Back Your Power


Recently, someone close to me lost their job for the 2nd time in just under a year and a half. As you can imagine, this is devastating, and he feels like he is a complete failure; his self-worth stock suddenly took a nose dive and there he was, just another worthless piece of garbage tossed to the side of the curb. All of the hard work he’d put in, 60+ hour weeks, not taking vacation and doing everything that he could to be all that was asked of him, now meant nothing.

To make matters worse, he didn’t see it coming. The circumstances didn’t make sense. Just a few months, prior, he’d had his one-year review, and all was well, in fact, he got a nice raise! There were no indicators that something had gone awry. It was shocking, and the reasons given didn’t add up.

This is just one example of having our power taken away.

When we are let go from our jobs, whatever the reason, there is a deflation of positive energy and an inflation of negative energy such as anxiety; you’ve just been tossed into a black hole of: WTF just happened?! Suddenly our livelihood is in jeopardy, our sense of self and worthiness is now in question.  Worse, we often feel we’ve let those that depend on us, down.

Negative emotions will surround someone who’s power is yanked from them, no matter what the circumstance. In this case, this person was powerLESS to do anything about it. There are huge waves of grief, anger, confusion that they’re riding on. There is depression, sadness, (there is a difference) guilt and denial. All of these are completely normal.

At some point, there will eventually be acceptance and ultimately surrender. The damage is done but soon, the healing will begin.

When someone or a circumstance takes your power, the most important thing to remember is: You can and will get it back. The fastest way to do this is to stop denying all of the uncomfortable emotions that bubble up and first, acknowledge them, and then work with and through them.

Denial gets you nowhere. Shoving your pain away is like trying to constantly keep a massive beachball, underwater. The damn thing keeps popping up and smacking you in the face and the farther you push the ball under, the more energy it creates so that when it pops up, it has a greater force and intensity. As well, there are usually several beachballs at once, each a different colour with a different emotion attached to it.

When this happens, stop shoving them down, pick one up and look at it. What do you see? Is it guilt? Let’s work through that. Remember you’re not alone, you’ve got people who care about you and will listen. You’ll need to express yourself, talk about why you’re feeling guilty. Reach out to your partner or friend, family or clergy – whomever you can. If you’re feeling there is no one, there are numbers you can call to talk to someone at no charge. There is no judgment. Here is a number you can text or call 24/7 1-877-870-4673.

The same is true for all of the beachballs/emotions. You’ll be angry, so BE ANGRY!! You have every right to be! BE sad, it’s good to cry and cleanse. Take responsibility for what you did or didn’t do but don’t accept blame for something that had nothing to do with you.

BE. Be kind to yourself, take it gently through the first few days. You can and will get back up on that horse. Little by little, you’ll feel you’re back in the driver’s seat. Take action and take stalk of everything that you DO have. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human – just like the rest of us.

Many will tell you that the “why’s” don’t matter and you should just let it go. I disagree. When you’ve gotten your power back and feel you’re ready to move on, you’ll realize that the outcome would have been the same, no matter what. But, in the moment, when it’s fresh, you’ll want to understand what happened and I’m going to say most of the time, the situation won’t make sense.

Knowing what went wrong will bring you a little peace. However, I caution you; you may never fully know. You’ll want to hash it out, ad nauseam, and that’s okay. Remember, express yourself. Talk about it, write about it, get it out and into the open so it’s not stuck, inside, and all bottled up. You’re liable to burst like a soda pop on an automatic paint mixer, if you don’t let yourself vent and explore the situation from every angle.

Once you’ve reasoned things out and realize you’re not such a terrible person (assuming you actually didn’t do something terrible) you’ll feel better, increasing your energy and voila, you’re starting to get back into your own Power.

When someone or a situation takes you out of your power, it can feel like you’ve lost part of yourself. Know it’s not forever and it takes a little time and self-care to get it back.

Strong and powerful as super hero . Mixed media

Taking Care


It’s been a while since I’ve had the energy to write a blog post and I thought the reasons why (anxiety/stress/fear/grief) would be a good topic, and how we need to look after ourselves during difficult times.

Maybe you’re one of those people; you know, that person whom everyone else relies upon. The Dependable One. Is this sounding familiar? You are that individual that people turn to when times are tough. Maybe someone has lost a family member, or your neighbour was in an accident and they need your help. Perhaps you have a good friend whose life is full of frustration, and they need someone to really hear and see them. That someone just happens to be YOU.

The thing is, you’re probably going through your own stuff. Maybe you have people in your life that you care about that have addictions. Perhaps there’s an ill family member or your job is dragging you down. It could be a number of issues and situations that cause feelings such as anxiety/stress/fear/grief, or even, anger/depression/hopelessness. All you need to do is pick one.

Thus, along with being there for everyone else, you are dealing with your own shit, too.

This can be difficult because you may not be the kind of person who feels comfortable reaching out for help, for yourself. You may not post about all of your ‘stuff’ on social media. In fact, you could be really quiet about what’s going on in your own life, only sharing with a select few…so not many really know that you’re suffering, too.

During these times, self-care is imperative. Let’s call it emotional health rather than mental health. I don’t really like the term coined by science: mental health as opposed to physical health, because it implies that our brain is separate from our physical bodies. It is not. However, our emotions/feelings are intangible results of situations and, ultimately, our experiences.

We could get into quite the lengthy debate over whether our experiences are stored in our brain, our heart, or our soul. I think all are true. That said, we can’t exactly examine an emotion, touch it, feel it, measure it, in the same we can a physical body part. It’s an invisible energy/force that has a ripple-effect on everything.

So, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of my point. During stressful times where there are elements beyond your control that cause upset, one needs to slow it down and take a little care of both our physical body and emotional wellbeing.

Yet, so few take the time to do this. We’re all caught up in a race to some finish line (possibly death) and not many make time to simply BE STILL and allow emotions to settle down, so we can better serve ourselves. If we can’t serve ourselves, we certainly can’t serve others.

How many times have you heard this phrase uttered by breathless, stressed-out and angry people when told to slow down: “I’ll slow down/sleep when I’m dead!”

People, I have news for you; life doesn’t end when your body is dead and there is no slowing down or sleeping in the Afterlife. But, that’s another blog post so let’s carry on with the presenting theme of this one.

Are you still with me?

Make. Time. For. Your. Self. That is all that is required. Whether it’s meditation, physical exercise, reading a good book or simply going for a walk, in nature – all of it will help you cope.

Take care of your feelings. Let’s dig a little deeper into that sentence.

Caring for your feelings. This would indicate that you have to acknowledge that you’re having some that are causing you problems, in the first place. Then, you have to figure out which one/s they are, and finally why/what is the underlying cause AND (last but not least), care about them.

Drilling down and taking a deep dive into ourselves can be a bit foreboding but once you’ve identified what’s happening, you can move forward with a plan to create a better environment for you to heal and, ultimately, feel better.

Does that make sense?

There are tons of posts about self-care, out there, and I don’t want to get into self-indulgence because this isn’t what I’m writing about. More to the point, I’m writing about holding space for yourself before you hold space for someone else. If we’re not at our best with our own body and spirit, we can’t be our best for someone else’s.

It’s okay to say: No.

Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s simply respecting your own space and creating boundaries. There will be times when you’re overloaded while dealing with your own personal life, that you simply can’t deal with another’s. That’s okay. No one will blame you and if they do, that’s their issue. Let them go; you don’t want these types of people in your life, anyway. They’re draining, and they’ll suck the life out of you.

Creating boundaries doesn’t make you selfish. You’re not a narcissist if you’re giving yourself some consideration, once in a while, instead of always putting everyone else, first.

It doesn’t mean you have to give a play-by-play on Facebook about how/what you’re doing for your self-care. In fact, during this time, I recommend that you stay away from things like Social Media, entirely. There’s a lot of BS on there that we can get all caught up in and let me tell you: things are not always what they seem.

So, what are you going to do to take care of your emotional health? When are you going to start putting up a few boundaries and say no, once in a while, to allow yourself to move through your own stuff?

At what point will you discover you’ve got so little energy that it’s time to S L O W down and make room for some healing?

I’d say the time is now. In this very moment. Just do it. Start the process and watch yourself become a better, healthier/stronger, you.

You can do it. I believe in YOU. xoAnxiety concept word cloud background

Succeeding Through Failure


Think of the last time you failed at something. I’m going to bet you can recall it in great detail. In fact, I know you play the entire scenario in your mind, over and over; a mini movie that you pause at certain intervals to capture and digest all of the littlest details.

We analyse our failures with incredible precision to see how/why we didn’t make better choices. We do a lot of: If onlys and what ifs.

  • If only I didn’t do that, this other thing wouldn’t have happened.

  • If only I did do that thing, the event/relationship/solution/insert-anything-here, would have gone better.

  • What if I had been there/what if I hadn’t shown up…that thing wouldn’t have gone as badly.

What if, instead of looking at past events as failures, we decided to view the offending incident as a valuable opportunity to grow and move into a different life direction, one that serves us better? How about taking on a broader scope of understanding and exiting with the experience as something that brought you to a higher place thus realizing that your failure was actually a planned success.

Let’s take a deeper dive into that: planned success. Every big experience that changes us in some way is actually designed to help us succeed. What we see as failures is really a path of events to show us we have alternatives and that we can act on them if we so choose to do so.

Have you ever found yourself repeating the same mistake over and over? Maybe you’re drawn to a certain personality type in your love life and the relationship always ends up in a big disaster. From the inside you can perceive yourself as always failing. From the outside, there is a much bigger message. And that is: this personality type has lessons for you and until you learn them, you will be repeating the same sequence throughout your life.

Your repetitious theme could be something as simple as self-respect or restraint. Only you will recognize the pattern that you’ve created. Maybe your mother was controlling so you have always dated controlling women. Can you see where I’m going with this?

Once we can recognize the pattern, we can break it. Once it’s broken, we can heal and move forward. This is success. If you can take away something of value from your past failures, this is success. If you can learn and grow; move a painful incident into greater awareness – then you’ve succeeded.

Instill your success in everything, even if you think you’ve failed. You haven’t; you’re just learning how not to do something or learned that you can do it better or differently to yield more favourable results.

There is always a better/different path waiting for you if you choose to take it. Don’t be afraid to mess things up because through this you’ll reveal your greatest triumphs.

Motivational and inspirational life quotes - Failure is success in progress.jpg Blurry background (1)

The Letter


A while ago, I took a little writing course. One of the exercises I had to do was write a letter to myself (from my future self), one that I’d read, back in time. Of course, I had to choose the most difficult day of my entire life to send this letter to: the day after Brian took his life. 
I found this exercise most powerful and healing. I will incorporate this into my Coaching sessions as I think it’s valuable to people. 
Feel free to give it a try. 

May 11, 2017

Hello me,

It’s me…

You’re reading this the day after that really bad thing happened (May 12, 2015). That’s what we (as in- you and I) ended up calling it. Sometimes we simply can’t bear to speak it out loud. It’s been two years. In fact, today is the 2nd anniversary of his death.

I know you’re in shock. I know this is the very worst thing that has every happened in your life. We both know there have been a lot of very bad things – this one tops all of them. I believe with all my heart we will never have to deal with anything this terrible, ever again. That’s a good thing because I don’t think you/we could survive it.

Right this moment, you’re torn apart and your heart just went through a rusty shredder. It’s been hurled all over the place, bits and pieces of bleeding muscle and everything is soaked in your tears. The very sky is dripping with sadness in spite of it’s perfect spring-blue. The cherry trees are still blooming and a warm west wind blows in to ripple the Pacific, but all you see is black.

I want to explain a few things to you so that eventually, you can take back something that you had so strongly before this happened: Hope.

Our love for him was enormous, vividly deep and hope was our wings; we defied everything. We felt it would carry us and him through those dark and inky days. We were wrong about that because it was never our choice. It was always his.

I need you to know that hope lives on and that this pain will ebb back into that depthless sea from which it came. Like a shadow moving through the light, it will take on many forms, grow, recede and finally it will only follow you around, a ghost, catching your attention, now and then, instead of staring you right in the face as it’s doing now – screaming that this CAN’T be true, there MUST be some sort of mistake because Brian CAN NOT be dead.

You’ll eventually come to terms with this and please know that he is here, always with you, always sending you signs and he hasn’t stopped. He won’t unless you ask him to.

I want you to understand that we made it through the fire. Oh yes, we walked right on through the centre of agony and didn’t stop. We just kept on moving forward even though it was excruciating and when we emerged, black and scorched, we turned back to look but the fire was gone. We’d used it all up, consumed it in our grief. There was nothing left but our smoking footprints to show us where we’d been.

We’d made it.

YOU, will make it. You HAVE made it and even though there are moments when you are raw again, broken apart and the tears flow like muddy rivers…you never let go of that hope. It carries you, it cradles you and now it leads you to where you’ve always needed to be.

So, cry and sob and be angry. Scream, weep softly and know you loved like you’ve never loved in your life. Remember him. Speak his name, often. He’s around and you can feel him in the stillness of the morning, just before the birdsong, moments before the first rays of dawn and seconds after the darkest part of the night.

Hello me…it’s me. Today is the first day that he’s gone – really gone… you feel as if you, too, may leave this world from your torn apart heart. You won’t. You’re still here, better than ever. Hope, your love, his love, all that brought you here and all those days yet to be born, are waiting just for you.

So…what would you say to your past self if you could send a letter from the future? 
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The Aftermath of Suicide


It’s been two years to the day that the man I loved ended his life; an odd anniversary of sorts and there is still so much to say and so much that I’ve already said. I feel, sometimes, that I’m endlessly repeating myself.

So, I’ll be somewhat brief.

If you’ve known someone or loved someone who has experience with losing a person to suicide, or intimately understand what it’s like because you’ve been through it…

Be gentle. Be kind and be empathetic to those that have survived and yourself, if you – like me, have learned to live with it.

You see, that’s all you can do; live with it. You don’t get over it and you don’t forget about it just because it’s behind you. You live with the stigma of suicide around you, every day.

I’m not a grief counselor but I will become an educator. This happens so much more often than I was ever aware of and I’m guessing most people are not aware of the staggering statistics.

Why? Because we, as a society, sweep it under the carpet. It’s a dirty little secret and we talk in hushed, whispered tones, quickly looking around to make sure we are not overheard.

“Did you hear? He killed himself…”

Then, everyone not involved, goes about their daily life and tries not to think about it. Yup. We typically don’t reach out to the survivors, we don’t try and understand mental illness; we try and forget about it if it didn’t concern ourselves directly.

Before Brian, I’d never had any experience with suicide, suicide grief or had known anyone close to me who’d chosen to leave the world by their own hand. So, I can’t say that I was any different, or any more compassionate. Honestly, I can’t remember if the topic ever came up.

My point is that it’s not a fault of the individual; it’s the fault of our culture and the lack of education and understanding.

So I will become one of the educators because I really need to. I need people to understand that you can’t get over it. It lives with you, daily. It becomes a part of you and rather than reject it, I choose to embrace it.

I choose to take this experience and make something positive out of it.

Brian’s life mattered. ALL lives matter, no matter what our exit strategy is out of this world.

So please, don’t pretend it doesn’t happen. Don’t avoid the topic or whisper about it.

YELL IT OUT.

Everyone needs to know and learn about mental illness and how to help those that are suffering.

Because it can kill.

Just like cancer.

Just like any other disease known to humans.

It’s time to make this a priority and stop pretending it’s not a massive problem.

Suicide is a major cause of premature and preventable deaths.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for people of all ages. In 2009, it ranked as the ninth leading cause of death in Canada. Among those aged 15 to 34, suicide was the second leading cause of death, preceded only by accidents (unintentional injuries).

In memory of Bri

When Someone Ignores You


I think I’ve written about this topic, before, but it was quite some time ago.

Recently, a friend of mine, asked me what to do or how to react if the man she’s currently dating doesn’t respond to her emails, texts, etc. I could tell this upset her and, why wouldn’t it?

NO ONE enjoys being ignored. No one.

So why do we do it? Why do we think it’s okay to be disrespectful when we typically hate it when it’s done to us? As I’ve been in the sales world for 30-years, I’m very used to people not getting back to me. It’s a priority thing – I’m trying to sell them something/pass along information, and they don’t always have the time or need to get back to me.

I get that, as annoying as it is, I get that. However, I make it a practice to always be polite and respectful of sales reps reaching out to me. No matter how cheesy they come across, how insistent they are, or how presumptuous, I can’t find it within myself to be mean. Mean/rude people, no matter how you want to justify it, are just that: mean and rude.

You can make whatever excuse you want to, explain yourself away by saying you’re teaching that person a lesson (how kind of you!) etc., etc…but there simply is no justification to be impolite to someone who is just trying to make a living.

Not everyone is lucky enough to not have to cold call or email strangers to make ends meet. It’s great that you make all your business through word of mouth but at some point, you will talk to someone out there and tell them about YOU and what you DO. That, my darlings, is selling. It’s relationship selling, but it’s selling.

All of this said, it’s often the ones closest to us, our friends and family, that think it’s perfectly okay to not get back to us, or take weeks to do it. We’ve heard it all.

I lost your text.

No, you didn’t. You purposefully deleted it and then forgot about that person or chose to not reply.

I thought I emailed you back.

If you have that many personal emails to respond to, make a list and set aside some time to respond to those who you mean something to. We’re all busy. We all have better things we can/should be doing and we can all set aside 30 min. to type out a few quick emails. Even if it’s just to say: “I’m super busy! I haven’t forgotten about you…and will respond when I’ve got some more time. Xox”

Now, if you know me and are reading this and think I may be talking about you (and you’re now upset) you very well may be guilty. If you are, put yourself in the place of someone who gets ignored, and think about how that makes you feel.

Pretty crappy, right?

When you ignore someone, you’re telling them that they don’t matter to you. This leads to hurt feelings, anger, resentment and confusion. The result of this is that this person thinks you don’t care.

Clearly you matter to them! If you have someone in your life who doesn’t matter to you, time to cut them loose and save them some hurt.

Back to my friend. As she was clearly upset by this man ignoring her, I asked her why she spent time engaging with someone who wasn’t engaging with her. If your love interest can’t be bothered with you…why are they still your love interest? I can tell you they are not so interested in you!

Your takeaway is to really think how it affects others when you consciously choose to not respond when they reach out to you or take an unreasonable amount of time. How much time is unreasonable? Ask yourself how long you think it should take others to get back to you…

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Two Years Later


I blog a lot about Brian and how his suicide changed my life. However, this post isn’t so much about Bri, but more on how those changes have taken root and grown in the past (almost) two years.

It’s a little early as it’s two months away but the closer I get to the date, the harder it becomes, emotionally. Today, however, today I can write/talk about what’s happened in the span of almost 24 months.

Firstly, it DOES get easier. It really does. Not a lot, but I’ll take any tiny bit of peace I can get. It’s not that I still don’t think of him every day or get weepy when a song on the radio comes on that reminds me of him…but it’s a little less. I feel I’ve turned a corner on this grief and I wanted to share that with you.

If you’d met me pre-Brian and today, you’d definitely know that I’ve changed as a person – for the good and not so good.

I find that, for nice people, I’m more willing to do just about anything, should they ask. For jerks, I have zero tolerance and I tend to lose my temper, a lot. I’m mindful of my meltdowns and, for the most part, I can calm myself and not fall apart when something makes me irate.

From what I understand, this is still part of processing what happened. It’s getting less and daily meditation is helping.

I find that I’ve become an advocate, of sorts, and will not tolerate any jokes towards mental illness. I’m extremely sensitive towards people talking flippantly about suicide but I’ve also become more aware and caring as an individual. I do what I can for my fellow human and I find that I will cry, easily, over sad or touching pictures/events/videos/etc.

I FINALLY know what I want to be when I grow up! Yes, it’s taken 51 years, but better late than never, right? Had you told me I was going to be a Life Coach? I would have asked: what’s a Life Coach??

I believe in myself (my abilities) a whole bunch more, but my self-esteem still needs some work. No matter how many times my sweetheart assures me I’m NOT fat, ugly, old…(insert every female insecurity here) I have a hard time believing it’s true. Pre-Brian, I was pretty certain I was doing really well and for 49, thought I was hawt! Now, I’m not so sure how I feel about ‘me’. Part of it has to do with that Woman, whom he was still smitten with and who broke his heart (which lead to his premature demise)… and part of it has to do with getting older. Starting Menopause has not been a whole hell of a lot of fun, I can tell you that.

Two years ago, I was doing very well at my job, LOVED it, in fact, and was kinda proud of myself for doing well and being finally debt-free. I really liked myself and knew I was in a good space for a lasting relationship with the right person. I didn’t have any baggage, was saving to buy a place and felt I had a lot to offer.

Today, I’m actually financially even better off (thanks to Brian’s life insurance) but other than having a great down payment for a home and paying off the new car I bought (after I accidentally murdered the old one in a bad accident), the money means nothing to me. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, that’s not it at all. I really do!

It’s just that money, in general, doesn’t = success/fun, any more. It’s necessary and I need/want it, but it’s just kinda there. Prior to this tragedy, had I come across a large sum of cash, I’d be planning trips and having an awesome time but maybe because I didn’t ‘earn’ this money and because of the circumstances around it, it seems like I shouldn’t spend any of it on anything other than stuff that’s necessary (car/home).

Funny story – when I went to pay off my car loan, the loan clerk looked at me and said (knowing that I’d gotten the cash from an inheritance): Congratulations!!

I just stared at her in disbelief thinking how what I’d do/give/sell (my soul??) to have Brian back. She finally figure out that this wasn’t a ‘happy’ inheritance (what ones ever are?!) and said her condolences for my loss. Idiot.

Today, I appreciate my career but believe it’s not what I’m supposed to do. Today, it’s not about feeding my bank account but feeding my soul and my urgent need to help others.

Two years ago, I ‘may’ have been a tiny bit arrogant. Today ‘humble’ is my middle name. I have a hard time NOT being empathetic to people that, in the past, I would never be. Although, if you say or imply anything bad towards Brian or mental illness (of any sort) the claws come out, quick.

They are quite sharp and lethal, I assure you.

Two years ago, I couldn’t have imagined meeting someone like Pete who is the first man in I-don’t-know-how-many-years…whom I actually BELIEVE is truly in love with me. Seriously, he adores me rotten and I don’t know how I’d be doing, now, without him – me this broken, fragile remanence of a woman.I’m surprised he stuck it out; life with me isn’t always easy.

I needed someone with really BIG LOVE to come into my life…just as Brian needed the same from me. Funny how that works, isn’t it? I helped him, even if he took his life, anyway, I think he stuck around a little while longer because he knew I loved him so VERY much.

Sometimes BIG love is enough, sometimes it isn’t.

I get it now, Spirit, thank you for that lesson.

Two years ago, if you’d told me that I’ve have my own website, little business, and be planning to completely change careers, mid-life, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Two years ago, if you’d told me that I’d come out as a Psychic Medium, I would have burst out laughing. Today, it’s just part of my everyday life.

Two years ago, just before I met Brian, I was really lonely and wondered if I’d EVER find someone to live the rest of my life with. Today, the man I love not only lives with me, but I can’t imagine a day where I wouldn’t wake up next to him. He doesn’t fill the hole that Brian left (it’s a rather large one) but, instead, fills my whole heart with love and joy. I couldn’t be more thankful for him.

Two years ago, I was just going along …living life and not really paying too much attention.

Today, I live in every moment, pay attention to everything and feel blessed for every hurt/tear/sob/scar; because without these, I wouldn’t have grown. I wouldn’t have known the plight of those who are suffering (mostly in silence) with mental illnesses and I wouldn’t have discovered what I really had in me, as a Soul, having a very HUMAN experience.

So yeah, I’m grateful…almost two years later. xosuicide7-copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

When People Judge


We’ve all been judged by others, all of us. We know how it feels, yet we still keep on doing it. I often wonder why it’s ‘okay’ for us to judge others but hate it when it happens to us. I suspect we can add this to another one of life’s little ironies, idiocies and hypocrisies.

The other day, my partner’s best friend’s daughter ran away. It turns out she’s been into various substances and is stealing. She’s all of 13 and this has been an ongoing issue. Thankfully they found her the following day but this isn’t going to be an easy journey for them.

I suspect it’s not one, but many factors at play that contribute to this issue. I don’t think she’s a terrible person. I don’t think her parents are terrible people, either. Life deals us shit sandwiches, now and then, and we have to understand how we’re going to eat them. What I’m getting at is that this isn’t a problem that’s limited to bad parenting, evil children or broken homes.

It could happen to you.

I was sharing a bit of this information with a certain co-worker and his response was the following: You need to get find yourself much better company, Carrie.

In other words, the company you keep is BAD NEWS.

What exactly did he mean by that? He doesn’t know my boyfriend, he doesn’t know these people and I suspect the underlying tone was directed at the fact my late boyfriend took his life.

Did this make him a BAD person? Fuck, no. It made him a person who was in an immeasurable amount of pain, one that fought mental illness and one that lost to it.

Is this little runaway a rotten kid? Again. NO. She’s a CHILD and unlike children of my generation, she has unlimited access to high-end technology that didn’t exist when I was 13. Like, the internet, cell phones, instant video and a plethora of (again instant) communication and easy transportation at her fingertips.

We have made it really simple for kids to access all sorts of stuff. In fact, it’s scary what they can do in the blink of an eye…like text a dealer for drugs and meet them very quickly with cash on hand due the handy-dandy bank card with the TAP feature. I suspect all she had to do was to go a store that had a cash-back option, buy something under $100 and ask for money back. No one would have questioned her.

I’m not sure if this was the situation but it could easily happen.

So how does this relate to why a middle-aged grown woman should chose better people in her life? I suspect this person put on his judge hat and thought that because a confused and easily manipulated little girl made some very bad choices, that the chain link up to her parents and my partner was littered with BAD people.

Because we ALL know that’s the case right?

I’m being facetious.

It has nothing to do with anything and I took a moment to decide NOT to find out if he was implying that Brian was less-than-worthy company because he chose to end his life. Nothing could be further from the truth and even remotely implying that to someone is not only judgmental, but sadly ignorant and plainly mislead by un-empowering beliefs.

So, I say to you, before you cast the first stone, turn around and make sure your support wall isn’t made of glass. Because life can take a turn for the worst in a matter of seconds…and this could be your child, your partner and when that glass breaks…it’s very, very, sharp.

Bad things happen to good people all the time. It’s just that the good people aren’t always being dramatic about it and drawing attention to themselves; we’ve got better things to do, like find our broken, yet much loved, child…and get on the road to recovery.

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Dealing with Grief 101 – Part II


I really should proof-read at least 10 times before hitting the “post” button. It would seem I double copied some of my previous post and well…that’s just never fun to read, is it?

Most sorry about that and all fixed now. 🙂

Aright – onwards and upwards.

I’ll list 5 more little known (or maybe you DO know them) items one may want to think on when going through any type of sorrow.

  1. Create a safe space for yourself to ‘do’ the grieving. Crying is just part of it. You may want to yell, scream, throw things or simply curl up into a little ball and whimper. All of this is OKAY. You’re going through trauma and shoving all that raw emotion down into yourself will make it worse. Let it out.

Think about what happens when you put on a pot of water to boil with a tight lid on it. What happens, eventually, when the water boils? It’s all about the pressure. At some point, we will boil over as there will be a tremendous amount of pressure building inside us and it needs out.

Again, let it all out. If you’re not comfortable doing this in front of anyone, make sure you’re alone. If you have someone who can be there with and for you, tell them exactly what you need to do. It’s less scary that way. If you need to scream while someone is holding you – do it.

It’s okay to be angry and sad. In fact, it’s completely normal. Remember, your life has just been turned upside down and all the contents that were YOU have been dumped out. You’ve now got the task of collecting yourself and reassembling YOU. It’s not an easy job.

  1. Be ready for the waves. I’ve heard the analogy plenty of times and it’s such an accurate one. My counsellor told me that there will be massive tsunamis and small swells. You just don’t know when they’ll be coming because they’re stealthy little shits.

You may be in the middle of a meeting and suddenly “WHAM!” you remind yourself that you should call someone about something funny that just happened in said meeting and then the very next thought is: “Oh yeah, so-and-so is DEAD.”

And just like that it’s game over. You’re reliving everything and preventing tears is extremely difficult. I believe this is a good example of why just getting on with your life and keeping yourself busy may not work so well.

So how do you deal with that? I would say any way you can. I’ve feigned having to use the ladies and excused myself. I’ve sucked it back, finished the meeting and then allowed myself to have a complete breakdown in my car, afterwards. There is just no easy answer as that elephant in the room that you’re trying to ignore comes over and steps on you, every once in a while.

It’s not like you can say: “Sorry, my wife just asked me for a divorce out of the blue so I need to take a moment and cry; is that alright with you?”

But hey, wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where that WAS okay to do? Where people were so compassionate that they’d understand completely?

  1. People will avoid you. Well, most people will when they find out. That’s because, as humans, we’re not good with seeing others grieve. We’re uncomfortable and we really don’t know what’s expected of us. Some, will reach out briefly to offer condolences but then disappear back into the abyss. Your true friends, however, will be there and they will check in on you regularly.

Typically these are the people who have been through some sort of traumatic grief, themselves. My best friend battled (and won!) against breast cancer but it took its toll on her and she went through hell.

SHE, got it. We were there for each other and it didn’t matter how often I needed to talk about it, she listened, and listened and listened some more. I can still talk to her any time. And she knows she can talk to me, anytime, about everything she is still going through. She lives on the other side of the planet but we’re thick as thieves.

  1. It’s okay to let those people who ARE there for you, know when you need some space. Sometimes you need to be by yourself to process everything. It’s understandable, as you desperately try and make sense of what happened. In the case of suicide bereavement, you may never make sense of it because, to the ones left living, we can’t ever comprehend what was going on in their minds and hearts.

Know that you’ll learn to live with this. If you need some solitude, take it. Always be kind to yourself.

  1. For a long time, it will be like you’re walking in a fog. You will go through a torrent of emotions and no, they won’t be in a nice little package labeled: The Five (and I’ve seen seven) Stages of Grief. Yes, those emotions will be knocking at your door, but there are no neat little ‘stages’ where you can tick off each one as they come and go. NOPE, it doesn’t work that way. In fact there are a ton of emotions to get to know.

I’d  like to point out that I never went through denial. I also didn’t go through bargaining. I am, though, quite good friends with depression and anger. Each visit me, frequently, and we get on quite well. Sometimes they show up for tea at the same time and we have a big ‘ole party.

Now, guilt. Guilt and I are practically best buds. This is such a fun emotion (not) and even though I know full well I could not have saved Brian, some part of me still likes to think I could have and that if I’d only done this or that (like not forget my damn phone) he’d still be alive. The fact is: he made a choice then and there and it’s already happened. I cannot change the outcome.

And just like that it was all over and my whole world changed. Yours will change, too. It’s maneuvering those changes that I can help you with.

I think this is a better representation but we’re all unique and going through grief is different for every person.

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World Suicide Prevention Day


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I think it no coincidence that today is the day I end up taking Brian’s ashes to scatter them on a beach he played on, as a child. I was supposed to go, last week, but seeing as it was the Saturday before the last long weekend before School is back in, my sister and I thought better of it. Long and busy ferry lineups are not our thing.

I didn’t even clue in that we’d re-worked our plans for THIS day. There are no coincidences…this was meant to be.

I miss him. Every day, I miss him.

For new readers, my late boyfriend, Brian, took his life on May 11th, 2015. It is a day that I’ll never forget and one that changed me for the remainder of this life.

Every blog post I read about those who have lost someone that they love, to suicide, tells a similar story. Gut wrenching pain and all too stupid and insensitive comments; platitudes that are tossed out there to us like left over scraps thrown towards a starving street dog.

I’ve heard it all and if you’ve gone through it, so have you.

Mental illness is not treated like other diseases and can you imagine if someone came up to you and said: “Well that was very selfish of him to die of cancer that way!”

That’s the trash we get from friends, family, people who should know better as well as strangers.

One of my all time favourites: “Why aren’t you over it, yet?”

They don’t know any better. We’ve been taught to be uncomfortable around the word: SUICIDE. Why? Because, in our culture, it’s an unacceptable way to die. We’re not supposed to choose to leave on our own. If we spoke about this out in the open, discussed it with our children and loved ones, early on, so it wasn’t a taboo and unholy subject, I believe less people would die.

For those who are battling depression, anxiety and have ever thought of taking their life or who have attempted it, ignorance and societal judgments, as well as, misunderstandings are just the norm. It’s sad and it makes everything SO much worse and I dare say contributes to the rising rate of suicide and suicide attempts.

Those that are so desperate to end their emotional pain that they are willing to end their lives are treated like criminals and outcasts, and that is the worst crime of all.

Let me share this: what suicide attempt survivors wish you to know.

I’ve met others who’ve had a brush with suicidal thoughts; it’s far more common than you think. I know a suicide attempt survivor who is a good friend of mine. One thing that was said was: “thoughts of ending your life never leave you, they are always at the back of your mind. I’d decided that if I ever needed to attempt it, again, that this time I was going to get it right.”

Brian’s story isn’t new. His isn’t unique although his reasons and pain are unique to HIM. How many other people out there are suffering in silence, afraid to ask for help because we criminalize their pain, lock them up like a common killer, and take away every shred of their dignity and all of the things that make them feel human and provide a sense of belonging?

We can do a better job and we have to. In a future blog post I’ll describe the initial PAU (psychiatric assessment unit) that Brian was put into. I will say, now, that it was frightening and he was very scared. I would be too. I’m sure there is a way to fund some sort of community temporary home that allows safe personal items as well as protects people from themselves in a more loving environment. I strongly suspect that family would be willing to help. I would have been.

One issue that is brought to our attention is that our youth are greatly at risk. One in 5 teens have considered suicide, last year according to this article.

One.

In, Five, teenagers…children, for God’s sake.

What is it going to take for us to be comfortable to talk about this in the open? When are we going to let suicide out of it’s closet, because it’s bloody well banging on the door.

Take your religion out of the picture. Take your presumptuous thoughts and set them aside. IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU. It could be your best friend, your spouse, your daughter or your dad. It could be your uncle, your cousin, someone you work with, someone you go to school or the gym with. You could save a life. We could all saves lives if we brought this out into the open and just talked about it.

It could be you. You need to know that it’s safe to talk about.

So, let’s do it. Right here. Open up the door and let it out because if you don’t, it could destroy you.

My goal is to help, to council and to coach. My path is to assist in your healing and guide you to your next steps on your journey. Remember, your soul wants to be here. You chose to be here and everyone has everything to live for.

; None of our life stories are over, yet.

 

 

 

 

Helping Suicide Out of the Closet


I’ve wanted to write about this for a while and I believe I’ve attempted it, many times, and in various forms. The fact is: Suicide is a problem and the biggest part of the problem is that it’s kept in the closet.

It’s not only kept their by people who have either attempted it, who are thinking about it or have successfully (and most tragically) succeeded at it. But it’s sent into the closet by everyone else. For the most part, the reason is that our culture not only doesn’t really understand this off limits subject, they don’t want to deal with it at all. I’ve personally experience this. In hushed tones, odd looks and behind closed doors – that’s where the topic of suicide lurks.

Nobody wants to fucking talk about it.

At least, not many, unless you’re exceptionally brave and have been battling it. Or…you’ve been touched by it in the worst way. Most religions not only frown upon it but many outright tell you you’ll wind up in HELL (that’s eternal damnation, fire and brimstone for those who are not familiar with this myth). In essence, if you do this, you’re a VERY BAD PERSON. No wonder people don’t seek help. They’re shamed and looked down upon.

This does nothing to help or heal those that are battling this terrible struggle. Quite the opposite, it promotes self-oppression and wrongly points a finger at someone who is deeply in pain and suffering. What element of humanity promotes the condemnation of the mentally ill, those that battle depression and those that are bullied? We do it all the time. Shame on us.

I’d like to point out there have been great strides towards recognizing mental health issues such as depression, bullying, etc., that can lead to suicide. Project Semicolon is one of them and I’m SO, SO, happy for this. It’s incredible but it’s not enough. Many are completely unaware of it and as a survivor of suicide grief, I can tell you most people (including members of my own family) still don’t get it and really don’t want to talk about it.

So. How do we get people talking about it?

This is what I’m all about. This is what part of my new life-focus will become. We need to help. We need to help those that are battling themselves and those that are in terrible sorrow and struggling with the aftermath. It’s hellish. In fact, it’s beyond hellish.

Do you know that suicide grief survivors are 10x more likely to take their own life? I betting you didn’t.

Did you know that even very young children have thoughts about suicide? Think about that…think about what would drive a 6-year old to want to take their own life.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all ages. Yup. An estimated quarter of a million people per year, become suicide bereavement survivors just in the US.

Suicide among males is 4x higher than females but more females have suicidal thoughts and their attempts are 3x’s as often.

1 in 100,000 children aged 10-14 die from suicide every year. Did that grab your attention?

This is mostly based on US statistics but I’ll assume that Canadians are close behind based on POP variables. Now, we don’t have a lot of guns, here, and firearms are the most common method of suicide among males but that won’t stop someone who is serious about it. Trust me on this.

Here’s an interesting STAT. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in the WORLD for those aged 15-44 years. THE THIRD. In 2012, it was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year old’s. SECOND.

Over 800,000 die due to suicide every year and that doesn’t count those that attempt it.

Yet, we don’t want to talk about it.

It’s embarrassing. It’s thought to be selfish. You’re told to ‘get over it’. Did you know that when my late boyfriend took his life, last year, I received one card of sympathy?

One. Just….one.

Thank you, Debb. I appreciated that more than you know. Now, had Brian died from cancer or had been killed in an auto accident there would have been an outpouring of support from co-workers, family, friends and whatnot. It would have been talked about and NO ONE would have told me to get over it.

But he didn’t. He quietly hung himself on a beautiful spring, May evening.

We need to talk about it.

I’m betting (and I’m not a betting woman) that there will be some who read this who’ve either thought about suicide, have been touched by it or have even attempted it. But they’ve told no one.

We need to talk about it.

This is preventable, if we educate ourselves, our children and – TALK ABOUT IT.

There is one death by suicide in this world about every 40 seconds.

For your sake, for your loved one’s sake, for all of our sake; let’s talk about it.

Please.

I will continue my plight in bringing this subject to the surface, out of the closet and out in the open.

Until then.

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Three Pounds of Brian


I wondered what was really inside the bag,
Inside the other brown paper bag all non-descript looking, even slightly humble

There it sat up high beside the poem I’d written for you, forever framed in time
Beside your picture; it looked rather out of place and lost

I removed what used to be part of YOU, in that little paper bag, placed it tenderly on the floor

I stared at it.
I walked over and touched it
I picked it up

Gently took out the contents inside clear plastic, all tightly sealed
They looked harmless enough

I saw ashes, bone fragments and I cried

I held what was once a man I loved (or part of…) and washed my face with salty tears as a plastic bag filled with YOU sat in my lap

I imagined that part of those 3 lbs. contains your heart
I imagined you’d want it that way but I know it’s all mixed up

All shoveled together into one spot to be later separated so that you were shared

I’m taking that approx. 3lbs of you home to the Island
To where I grew up and you spent endless summers on the beach with your folks

I wish we’d gone back there, being both Island people, and walked on that beach
Remembering our pasts, contemplating possible crossed paths

We’re going to make that journey, 3 lbs. of you – and all of me
It’s taken us a while, but we’ll walk that beach and share

Share a past we could have known but never did
And I’ll let you go, there; among the sand, the shells, and the Pacific Sea

Setting you free in Qualicum Beach.

Beached 2

Lessons I’ve Learned


About 150 years ago, okay – it is slightly less than that, when I was a teenager…I was painfully shy. I didn’t want to be but always marched to the beat of my own drum. I wasn’t a follower and I never have been.

Teenagers judge, as teens do, and I was judged to be a snob. I’m not sure how that prognoses came about but that is what was conveyed to me, years later. Had they known about the abusive, broken (and very unhappy) home I lived in, perhaps they’d have been kinder…but I doubt it. Kids can be mean no matter what the circumstances are.

“We all thought you were a snob.” I was told at my 10-year GRAD reunion. I haven’t been to one, since.

Perhaps it’s because I didn’t try very hard to ‘fit’ in to any particular group; I still don’t but people think I do. I just…be. I’m there. If you like me, cool, if not, that’s cool, too.

But you know, I USED to care. It used to bother me that I was the last one picked in gym class or for any group project. It USED to bother me that the cliquey groups talked about me behind my back and that I had all of two friends, at the time, in the entire world.

I was and am different and what I’ve learned over the years is that my difference makes me super cool to more people than I thought. I was (and am still to some degree) very sensitive and I can’t relate to people who are surface dwellers. What I mean by that is – many folks are shallow and can’t possibly understand anyone who swims in the deep end. That’s okay; difference strokes, right? Pun intended.

My point is- if you’re that young person who is shy, maybe a little depressed because of things happening at home, misunderstood, picked on, etc. I’m here to tell you that it’s all going to be okay if you don’t get caught up in the bullshit. I get it. Like Bilbo, I’ve been there and back again. In fact, I did the journey a few times. There were dragons, too!

If you believe in yourself even a little bit, you’ll make it. Know that I believe in you. I was you.

If you’re that different person, I want to tell you to celebrate! You are some of the chosen few who are able to not only swim in the deep in but live there. You’re incredibly special. These are fantastic survival techniques. Should one of the shallow-ended people be tossed into the drink where you are, they always end up drowning.

But YOU.

YOU are the survivor. You were made for this, baby!

I’m not going to tell you to NOT let things bother you because they still will. Work through it; you can do it. You’ve got this. I’m here to let you know that it’s this very process that makes you strong and teaches you that at the end of the day, you don’t need to let it bother you. Once you get that, once you lose your dependence on what others think:

Then…you will let it go.

Let it.

Go.

You’ll find at some point you don’t need it anymore and what has taken its place, well…that would be confidence coupled with a lot of humility and gratitude that you weathered the storm. Be proud, you brave and beautiful warrior.

You did it. You made it and if you’re still in the thick of it, you’re GOING to make it. I’m sure of it.Don’t doubt yourself and if you do, look in the mirror and picture yourself at 40 or 50 and see the amazing human who is living the dream in your eyes. He is there. She is waiting for you.

You are the people who are the teachers, the entrepreneurs, the givers and believers, the lovers and dreamers. You are the future of change and change is inevitable. So, keep on fighting the good fight and when someone doesn’t like you or ignores you for whatever reason. Know that it’s because they’re making room for others (the right people for you) to come into your life. Those that understand.

Like me!

Go get ‘em tiger. I’m in your corner. Dare to be different.

xo

yellow umbrella

What do you see?


11 days.

I seem to have begun a countdown to that tragic day, a year ago, when that really bad thing happened.

I’m not sure why I’m doing it but part of me wishes I wouldn’t torture myself with it. Yet…here I am, being some sort of masochist – reliving every moment.

I asked him, once: What did he see when he looked at me?

This was during his time in the PAU (psychiatric assessment unit) and all he could think about was “Her” – the woman who crushed his heart, the one from whom the only escape from pain, he believed, was death.

He looked at me completely dumbfounded and stuttered, shaking his head as he stared in disbelief at my question.

I wanted to know just what I meant to him at that point because here I was giving 1000% of myself to someone who was still lost in another relationship from his past. The woman in question was ignoring him and really didn’t want anything to do with him. Had she, I suspect I may have been tossed aside, but I can’t confirm that for sure.

I was feeling like quite the third wheel, yet I was also very much in love and trying with all my might to save this man’s life. I wasn’t about to abandon him and I swore to him that I’d never leave him during what would be the worst time in his life.

I kept that promise.

He could never tell me what he saw when he looked at me and I’m convinced he never really saw me for who I was or realized just what I had to offer. I think on the last day he may have had an idea but it wasn’t enough to keep him here.

I’m not complaining because I understand he was coming from a place of complete darkness and depression. His headspace wasn’t like anything a normal person would understand. His perception of the world was so skewed that I’m not even sure he was functioning to full capacity even though he put on an amazingly brave facade.

He was lost, and for him, there was no way out of the labyrinth he’d built for himself. There was simply no escape and seeing her – yet again, was a sign for him that his pain was never going to end unless he ENDED it.

So, he did.

I’m not angry at him for not seeing me as he was seeing everything through eyes that were not seeing the world as it truly was.

Mental illness is so very misunderstood. It is so often unnoticed and swept under the carpet. There are those that live and function with it for years without anyone knowing any better. This is what he did. He kept it all on the down-low; nobody really knew. Even when it became very evident something was very, very wrong, it was only the two of us that he let in on his little secret.

So…what do you see when you look at someone? Are you really seeing them for who they are, their struggles and pain?

Look again. Look more closely. You may find they’re living in a dark jungle of half truths and terrible secrets. They do this because society is harsh. They are judged, ridiculed and not taken seriously.

It’s time we really looked at ourselves and the ones we love, a little more clearly.

It’s time we were aware that too many suffer alone.

Eye in the Jungle

This Day, Last Year.


One year ago to the day, Tara and I sat with Brian at the VGH Emergency check in for about 7-8 hours to have him committed to the PAU (Psychiatric Assessment Unit). For five days he was locked in there. It was a Saturday. The Friday night, before, he’d set up everything to end his life. He’d had a last meal; his fav…bacon & eggs and chocolate cake. He’d left a note on the door, had changed his will and left a note for Tara. Everything was in order.

At the last minute, due to the constant texting and calling of Tara and I – he called her and said through tears: “Guess what I’m doing?”

This was his rock bottom for the second time in less than half a year. This was his spiral downward to the bottomless pit of doom that he’s created for himself. So, we checked him in. They took hours and hours but finally committed him, took all of his treasures away (clothes, iPhone, wallet, money, keys…) and gave it to us to look after.

I can’t even begin to imagine his embarrassment and humiliation but we stood by him and took shifts in visiting him; Tara by day, me by evening.

It kept him alive for an extra two weeks as he struggled to cope and did his best to recover.

We brought him fresh things to wear under the prison-like PJ’s (he jokingly called them his crazy clothes), food, coke, things to read and I even brought his little chess set and we played a bit when I was there. I still have that chess set of his.

Half way through, he was moved out and up to another ward which meant they felt he was doing better. He even chatted up a few others there and made some unlikely short-term friends. Well…sort of.

He didn’t like the food, much, so we made sure he had plenty of the things he loved; juice, coke, chocolate, I bought him dinner several nights in a row. I remember he was bored out of his skull because they didn’t allow his cell phone, there, so he went through several books.

I’ll never forget it. The weather was summer-like. Parking there wasn’t as bad as I’d thought and it was very close to where he’d lived. There have been times when I’ve had to drive by the area and felt such anxiety over the memories. I try and avoid VGH if I can.

I was helpless. Nothing I did really made much difference, at least…I don’t think it did. All I could do was love him, keep the Beacon of Hope lit, be there for him, spend time with him, bring him whatever he wanted and was allowed to have in there.

He was on a few anxiety drugs and anti-depressants. They didn’t do him any good at all. They made him jittery and he was as fearful as ever.

I don’t think I ever loved him so much. I was so proud that he fought so hard to keep it together. I can’t imagine what he went through. I don’t think I’d have done half as well had it been me. His struggle sucked up so much of his energy and when I saw him he looked like a little boy; fragile and wide-eyed, timid yet sweet and soft spoken.

He was so scared; so were we.

This past month has been one big lead up to the day he took his life and my emotions are so raw. I can recall so much of those 5 days but the next 6 months after May 11th is a complete blur. I do recall going to Australia for two weeks but that’s about it.

At the end of all of this, we still have to go on. We still look to thrive and must find some light at the end of our own dark tunnel.

I imagine what it’s like on the other side. I imagine it being so filled with beauty and light.

My newness to digital art makes my fractal creations somewhat primitive compared to those that actually know what they’re doing. I manipulate them and blend them in Photoshop to resemble things I can relate to as best I can. I ‘think’ I’m getting better and hope that I am.

I imagine I’d like to have a tree of light, over there; one where he and I could sit and talk and work things out. There’s so much I long to understand. Even just to tell him, in person, how much I miss him…

tree_of_light_by_fragmented_poet-da076sd

Advice on Grief


I’ve blogged about the loss of my late boyfriend, Brian, a lot. But, I haven’t really addressed what it’s like, personally, going through something this life changing in a lot of detail.

Or, if I did, I don’t remember being as this specific about how it affects someone on a daily basis.

This whole suicide grief thing is new to me. I’ve never been through anything like this in my entire life.

Thank GOD for that. I don’t think I could handle it more than once. I don’t know how anyone could, yet people do.

Let me just start by saying it’s a thing you have to deal with, every day, and sometimes many times a day. At first, it’s a constant wave of horror, guilt, unimaginable sadness, disbelief and shock. Then, as time somehow moves along (for us it stands still) the waves start coming at different and varied intervals.

It’s going on 11 months and no…it definitely doesn’t end, here. Most people think you should be over it by now. I mean…haven’t I moved on with my love life? Yes, I have. It doesn’t matter. The pain is still there. The questions, hurt, guilt and every other emotion that is associated with this tragedy is STILL THERE.

It doesn’t go away like magic but, it does fade a little bit. 11 months isn’t really that much time and I’ll tell you that there are moments when it seems like it all happened, yesterday. It’s just that raw and fresh in my head and heart.

I hear and have read that it’s pretty much this way with everyone that has the unfortunate task of wading through this life event. It’s complex grief and often you have such a mix of emotions that it threatens to tear apart the very fabric of your sanity.

I get angry, often, with him. Then, I feel guilty. After that, there is extreme sadness. Sometimes, it’s all around the confusion of the whole mess he was in and I pick apart every minute detail of whatever I can remember during the time when he first saw his ex-girlfriend while going for an innocent walk around Granville Island… and right up until the time I last said good-bye to his very dead self, lying on his bedroom floor with a breathing tube still taped to his mouth and rope burns around his neck.

I comb through all of his texts and emails looking for answers. There are none. I try and see how it could have gotten so bad so quickly but there was no way of predicting he’d really do it after he came out of the hospital and was seemingly doing well.

Not a day goes by that I don’t tear up, my throat constricting in some awful manner making it painful to swallow and breathe. It’s usually while I’m driving to and from work. I think these are my ‘alone’ times so I allow myself to grieve.

There are few precious days where I DON’T cry. Those were busy days and it’s usually when I’m not by myself. I think we push the overflow of emotions away until we feel safe to face them.

Do you stop loving a lover because they’re dead?

The answer is no. It’s also a complicated ‘no’ because I think I’ll always be a little ‘in love’ with him and I’m okay with that. It’s the possibilities that I’ll never see, the future I’ll never realize, that I’m in love with. It’s all of the wonder in a new and budding romance that was cut very short in a violent way. All of these dreams are still with me and I play them like a short movie in my head, stopping now and then to examine every frame of: what might have been.

The -I love you’s- he will never say, the adventures we’ll never go on, the creative endeavors that we started but will never be completed…these are the things I still covet in my heart. This is our story that will never play out. This is why my tears are so many.

For everyone who has lost someone we know and loved/cared about, to suicide, we play it back in our heads over and over and over. We don’t ‘get on with life’ in the same way. We can’t. It’s simply impossible.

We learn to live with the pain and the questions. We deal with the guilt and the lost years with them we will never see in this life. All of us will suffer through it until it is our time to leave this world.

In years to come, I hope that Brian isn’t on my mind all day long, every day. And if he is, I hope that it’s in a very different way. I hope to heal from this.

When do we heal? That’s an individual thing and there simply is no time limit. It will happen if and when it does. It’s as simple as that.

If I mention Brian’s name to family, it’s in passing and very infrequent. I can tell they’re tired of hearing about it. It’s only my very good friends and those who were involved and knew him that I still talk about ‘stuff’, with.

Those that are deep in suicide grief often deal with this; people simply don’t understand and the fact that this is soooooo taboo doesn’t help us. No one wants to talk about it. The worst is when they say hurtful things. This doesn’t help us and in fact, calling someone who completed suicide ‘selfish’, is not only callus but incredibly insensitive.

If you know someone who is going through any kind of grief – give them as much time as they require. It may take a lifetime so be prepared for that. Be kind and gentle. If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything; listen instead. Most times that’s all we’re looking for.

Talk to your loved ones about depression, mental health and what suicide is. It’s the misunderstandings and fear around it that make it worse. Educate yourself and then educate others. Talk to your children about death. They will be dealing with it in some form or fashion at some point and being prepared always helps.

Understand that it’s more real than you think and it takes only seconds to change your life, forever.

Understand that those left behind are struggling and are 10 x more susceptible to suicide, themselves.

As with all people suffering in grief, little things set us off. For me, it’s songs that I liked when I was with him, songs that I associated with that time and that remind me of him.

With others it may be smells, places, certain times of the year of anniversaries (birthdays) and such. I will tell you that when we’re hurting, we often live in our own little private hell that we simply can’t share with others. It’s just the way it is.

Be respectful. We don’t want to hear your empty platitudes; they are meaningless to us. We don’t want religion shoved down our throats if we’re not religious and suicide is NOT a sin. It is a choice some people choose and it doesn’t matter if you think it’s right or wrong or somewhere in-between. We don’t care about your beliefs, we only care that someone we loved died and it’s killing us a little, each day, to be without them.

It happens. It’s real and it’s devastating.

This is grief. Our hearts are broken and mending them will take one hell of a lot of love, understanding and patience.

 

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Today’s Lesson Was Brought To You By the Letter A


“A” for Anxiety.

It’s been a hellish workday. It’s not over by a long shot but I’ve been reminded by the Universe that despite all the shit that went down and could still go down…

Nothing.

Nothing can compare to May 11th 2015 when Brian decided to take his life.

Nothing will EVER be or could ever be as bad as that. So, thank you Universe for putting life back into perspective for  me.

You may now return to your regular scheduled programming.

Tomorrow Is


Another day to remember him; an opportunity to meet more souls that loved him.

Grief

Peeling back the layers of truth and unwinding all of the tightly coiled springs of instant grief is humbling. Every now and then I have a reality check; I remind myself that I was blessed to even know him for the short time that I did because I suspect there was a large possibility this was always going to happen.

I believe we make choices on what we want to experience in each lifetime before we get here. I guess he and I agreed to experience this, together, should he decide to use this exit strategy; clearly that’s what he did. He would have had to agree to experience this with every other soul in his life so…in essence and on a higher soul level, we already knew this was going to be a strong possibility.

So. What do we take from that? What have we learned?

I’m still processing that.

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For those of us moving through this journey, we’ve coloured our paths with him differently, so each journey is unique. Thus, each of us is learning about this terrible pain and sorrow in our own way.

It’s like learning how to swim in and ultimately escape quicksand. It’s hellishly difficult but not impossible if you know what you’re doing. Evidently…slow and careful movements are called for.

We’ll get through this, all of us, but there will be scars.

People are confused, broken, cracked open and are having great difficulty really processing exactly just what the hell happened and why it did. Personally, for me, I’ve been thrown off of the life tracks I was on and I’m currently trying to pick myself up and find my footing while getting constantly caught up in-between the rails.

In truth, my heart thinks it’s been shredded. I’m running around trying to find all of the tiny pieces so that I can somehow shove it all back inside my chest. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men are having great difficulty putting Carrie back together, again.

It happened; it’s real. He’s gone and he ain’t comin’ back in the same form that he was in.

He left us in body but he’s still around for us, of this, I’m certain. Talk to him. Tell him how you feel. Speak his name out loud and understand that the veil between earth and the afterlife is incredibly thin and close.

As for the why’s…we’ll never really know and understand that but we can and will find an explanation that we can live with. That’s all we can do as this was his path and pain, not ours to understand.

All I Wanted

Some days it feels like I’m standing at the bottom of the ocean with the incredible pressure of the sea holding me hostage. Other days it’s as if the big picture reality of everything sinks in and I ‘get it’. I get that this is temporary and so very short in the big scheme of things. I get that we’ll all be together with our loved ones, soon. We’ll all leave this place – just when that is, is the unknown.

I asked the question of why we don’t know this; why aren’t we able to know the time of our impending bodily death? The answer I got was that our choices and experiences would not be as wonderful and enlightening if we did. Instead of living life, we’d be sitting around waiting for ‘that’ to happen so we could return home and probably not pursuing adventures that wouldn’t turn out so well. It defeats the purpose of why we chose to come here, in the first place!

We are here to experience this physical plane in the fullest, most wonderful and amazing way possible. This means every part of life – the good, the bad, the bliss and the pain.

That.

Is why…we are here.

Tomorrow is…another day. Another day to remember why I fell in love with him and be thankful for every single moment that we shared. I’ll be with him, again. When? That’s not for me to know and in the meantime, I need to remember that I have to go out there and love/live…life.

Today’s lesson is brought to you by the letter “R”.


I’m speaking of Religion.

Ohhhhhh, now I’ve instantly pissed off a bunch of people!

Funny, that. It’s even funnier that I really don’t care.

Let me quantify this with my expressed option (and it’s just that – MY opinion) as well as offer up a disclaimer.

Firstly, I am not religious. That means, I do not belong to any one organized belief system about God. My belief system is base more upon metaphysics. Now, let me define exactly what that means, because, I think a lot of folks don’t understand it.

met·a·phys·ics

ˌmedəˈfiziks/

noun

noun: metaphysics

  1. the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space.

There, copied and pasted from the Internet.

Are you still with me?

I like to refer to myself as a cosmic girl. I have many beliefs and theories that resonate with me and there are some aspects of religions that gel with me, too. What I don’t practice – is one, specifically. I also spend an exorbitant amount of time researching and attempting to understand all aspects of life and after life. Seriously, I could send you about a dozen links to what I’m investigating.

Therefore, you could not call me a Christian. Nor could you call me an Atheist.

I do, however, believe in GOD – or the One Source. Or any other name you wish to call it. I also believe we, as souls, are all part of GOD. We are all connected. Each and every one of us, along with every other life form on this little blue-green planet.

We’re all in this together. We are all one – and yes, we’re individual, but all part of THE ONE.

At any rate…again, MY opinion.

I will point out that if your beliefs differ, that’s totally cool with me. I respect that and you. You can believe in whatever you like and if the Hindi faith rocks your boat, go for it! It’s your belief, your path, your heart and life. Not mine.

I don’t judge.

I do, however, resent those that do.

Oh! She’s got a point to all of this…!

Yes, yes, I do.

Something really terrible happened to me (and many others that shared his brief life) just over two months ago. The man I loved and adored left the world in a terrible, terrible way. He chose to take his life.

While the complexity of this situation is steep and almost insurmountable at this stage, it’s a simple fact. He’s gone. He’s gone and those that love him are left here to deal with how we feel. Well, I think I can speak for all of us. It’s complete devastation x about a billion. Scratch that – x about a billion to the 10th power.

Yes, it’s really, REALLY… THAT bad.

Moving on…

Those that know me and those that I’ve decided to let into my life during the past 49 years (there aren’t very many, I’m choosy) know how I feel about religion. To start preaching to me, YOUR views, especially at a time like this, is seriously disrespectful. It will make me mad.

So, now I’m mad.

I’ve decided it’s not in my best and highest good to have these people in my life. Now, more than ever, I’m standing up for what people believe in and the right to do so. And, oddly enough, this would include YOU!

I’m talking about a lot of things: sexual orientation, personal rights and personal belief structures – I could go on. If there is one thing my mother taught me, well, it’s to: live and let live.

“Each to his own!” she’s always saying.

I like that. It works for me.

As long as you’re not harming anyone else, do whatever the fuck you want.

I don’t judge.

You shouldn’t either.

It’s not up to you. It doesn’t matter if Brian was an Atheist or a Communist. He was neither, by the way, but raised Catholic. It doesn’t matter what YOU believe in. What matters…is that those that loved him are in a shitload of PAIN so intense that if you’ve never experienced it, you should get down on your knees right this moment and pray to whatever God you worship that you never, ever, ever have to go through it.

We don’t need to be told where to find the Lord/Lady. We already know where SHE/HE is and she’s/he’s NOT lost. We don’t need religious Hymns sent to us and to have you jump onto your soap box and start preaching the WORD.

WE – are not interested in YOUR beliefs.

We do, however respect them so – please respect ours.

If you don’t, you will find yourself not included in our lives from this point on. You will find we won’t communicate with you further and you will find that you no longer have us as your friend.

Yes, I’m breaking up with you. Deal with it.

thor

Another Monday


7 weeks.

I really wish I’d stop counting.

Yet, here I am, doing it again.

I have a one-way written dialogue going with you and it seems to have spilled over onto my blog. My shrink told me that some people count because they have a specific date in mind, a goal, to which their grief will end and everything will return to normal.

Only, it never does, does it?

We change, we vacillate between being ‘okay’ and totally NOT being okay.

You never met my younger sister. She thinks I should be better by now. She doesn’t get it. She can’t understand how the mere mention of your name constricts my throat and sends a 10′ wall of saline to come flooding out of my eyes like some swollen spring river. She doesn’t understand that I can’t talk about you, unless ‘I’ bring it up and I’m ready to discuss things without falling to pieces.

She means well. She only wants to help take the sorrow away. This is like wanting to cure cancer with a thought. Good luck with that, baby sis.

I’m sleeping like shit but I think I dream of you. Only…I can’t be sure…they’re foggy and filled with undertones of shifting colour and surreal conversations.

It’s been damn hot, here. You’d have needed a fan in your little apartment. Although…it was evident by your camping slippers you shuffled around in, early mornings, and the bathrobe + jammies you’d slip on after sleeping in the nude…that you enjoyed being warm. 🙂

I found that cute, those massive slippers with your pajama pants pooling around the high topped fabric and draw string (because we wouldn’t want any heat to escape…) like a little boy wearing his big brother’s clothes.

“I like to have my feet warm,” you’d state matter-of-fact.

Then, you’d smile your smile, a combination of subtle shyness and a challenging: ‘Go ahead; I dare you to make fun of them’ – look. I’m not sure just how you accomplished such a thing.

You were always sporting opposites like it was normal to do so. Like, being this athletic cycling-dude whilst completely being addicted to Coca-Cola and candy. You actually ‘shopped’ for candy; as in…you had specific places where they sold just the right kind. I thought this both a little odd…and extremely funny. I think you were always a little boy, at heart.

I wonder when I’ll stop ticking off Mondays as: ‘that day when that really bad and horrible thing happened’ ?

Maybe, next week?

I doubt it. I suspect this will carry on for quite some time.

Thinking (far too much) of you, cute boy…. xo

buttercup_by_fragmented_poet-d8y5zl9

Fireflies


It’s the mornings and the nights that are difficult. That is when the world and my mind are most still.

This is when I miss you the most. This is when I wish I could somehow reach out through the very fabric of the Universe, through multi dimensions and on to heaven… and touch you.

At least… one. more time.

One Month


Officially, it was yesterday. The ‘official’ one-month mark since he chose to leave this world. I had to leave work, early, and work the rest of the day from home as I couldn’t stop crying in my office. It’s a non-stop show of waterworks, these days.  I think I’m starting to show my age.

I’m not sure how others are coping; I don’t think I’m doing that well, but everyone’s grief is different and I was his girlfriend, after all – the woman who was ridiculously in love with him.

The morning of May 11, he texted me this:

IMG_0296

I don’t think he knew he was going to go, that evening. I really don’t. Circumstances happened and he couldn’t cope. But I’ll remember this, always. I’ll cherish it like I cherish the memories of his touch, his scent and the soft sound of his voice. I hear him, often, in my head.

Maybe this sweet little sentence he sent will hold true for me, one day. I can only hope, dream, believe…

Still love you, Bri… xo…forever.

It Just Doesn’t Get Any Easier


Perhaps I’m expecting too much for the short three weeks since his passing. I find myself breaking down several times a day, when privacy allows it. I can’t function for 5 min. without him wandering into my mind.

How did I miss this in the very beginning? What if I’d had my phone with me? Could I have changed things? What could I have done better?

All of these questions, rolling around in my head as if they were massive boulders, crashing into each other and bruising my thoughts.

I want to run away somewhere and leave every thought behind…but this isn’t real life; this is just fantasy.

Time will heal, they say.

Nothing heals this. It may deaden over time, but the wound will still be open.

Closure


This message can never be repeated, enough.

Someone’s heart is a gift, not a thing to be kicked to the curb. A person’s love is the highest high and the most beautiful, precious thing we, as human beings, as souls… have to offer, another.

Never take it lightly, for granted… or cast it aside like a shadow in the dark.

tradervancouver

I thought I as doing OK.

I was wrong.

I wrote a rather lengthy post. Then I deleted all of it, except for those two lines above.

Please. If you’re going to end a relationship with someone, particularly a serious partner where time, emotion, and energy were greatly invested, give them closure if they ask for it.

Leaving someone to feel tossed away, or that they didn’t matter, is hurtful and damaging. And if you have done that, I would venture to say that it is never too late to give them peace. It’s a generous gift that costs nothing, and yet has immeasurable value.

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Getting Past It All


Life…

It can be a brutal journey or a beautiful one. Usually it’s a colourful mixture of blood red with swirls of pastel mother of pearl, highlights. It’s such an individual thing, all of us have our own paintings of our life, memories, like canvases, hung up on the walls of our minds.

I know when I take trips down memory lane, I walk past all of those paintings, and take pause – here and there…to really look over the details. I see the scenes unfold from my internal paintbrush and I touch the brush strokes, noticing how bold or faded the colours have become.

Some of these pictures of my life, I don’t put up. I keep them locked up in a vault. When I dare to, I open it up and pull them out, one-by-one, to gaze at pain. I think I really don’t see what I think I see. I think my mind has skewed some of the reality that was. Perhaps it really wasn’t all that good, or it really wasn’t all that horribly bad. I don’t know as memories are funny things. They tend to re-write themselves along the way to suit us.

Sometimes you just have to step back and see things the way they really were. This can be difficult but not impossible. It’s incredibly heart wrenching if the memory is a painful one and it throws us into a bright red world of intense, unbearable, torture.

Memories are not just scenes in our minds; they are emotions, powerful ones…emotions that make or break us. And when they break us, it can seem like we are unrepairable. But, we are not. People are resilient. If we look to those who love us and need us along with others who have the skills to really help us, we will prevail.

We can, we WILL carry on and, ultimately, get past it all.

inhale and exhale

How Do You Mend a Broken Heart?


Not mine… mine’s still in one piece. 😉

But, someone who means the world to me, who is suffering, feeling quite broken and even though they have all one would think they ‘need’ right there in front of them…along comes a reminder. A reminder that someone else took their heart, their trust and their love, snatched it like a baby bird from a nest and crushed it into dust.

Just. Like. That.

How do we get over that? How can we bear watching them skip along in life, untouched, unscathed – knowing they could care less about the carnage they left behind in their wake.

I think at some time or another, we all get familiar with that feeling. That we were used and completely taken for a fool. I’ve been there, lied to, taken advantage of by smiling eyes and ‘I love you’s’ that meant as much to them as monopoly money means to a bank.

How much is one’s trust worth? It’s priceless.

There are users in this big ‘ole world, and there are givers and everything in-between. I believe everything and every person has a purpose. Users come into our lives to teach us about giving, but more importantly…about receiving.  Lots of people are good at giving but ask them to receive back what they’ve given to others? It’s sometimes very hard for them to do.

How do you mend a broken heart?

With love, of course…

Love, patience and kindness. Time…tenderness and helping that sweet, messy, adorable,  heart, learn to receive back, all of that which was taken for granted, before. All that they deserved from another and didn’t get, offer it up to them but don’t think they’ll accept it willingly. Because they may not, at first. The wounds are still fresh and bleeding; you haven’t yet proven yourself.

But that’s okay. Bide your time, take a step back and wait for them to come to you.

Even if they never do, one day they’ll realize their own worth, just by remembering what was offered with no strings attached, from you. They’ll let go of that ‘string’ from that ‘other person’ and forgive. These are valuable lessons. We must forgive in order to move forward; we have to let go. This isn’t easy and some never do. Some carry the pain with them, always and they don’t need to.

Healing is a very personal thing. It can’t be rushed. But love? It’s a constant. So give it to them, let them know it’s unconditional (real love always is), be there for them. Don’t scold. Don’t allow your own insecurities to diminish what you offer. Be true. Be real.

Give them room to breathe, space and solitude if they need it but make sure they know you’re only a text, a phone call, a short drive, a kiss…away.

Worry


My little guy (aka, Zephyrus the cat) was so sick, today. He threw up everywhere, cried in pain and hid under the covers. Currently he’s in his little house.

Cats do that when they are ill; they hide. It’s a leftover instinct from their feral days. Their instinct tells them that they are more vulnerable to predators so to protect themselves, they must not become a target.

It’s a helpless feeling to not be able to make your pet better. And when it gets too bad for them, you have to send them on their way…put them out of misery and end their existence.

It’s too early for that, given his disease and progress, but I worry nonetheless. How will I do this, alone? How will I manage to end his little life after 12 years of loving his fluffy little self, to bits. I moved him all the way from Calgary, AB to Vancouver, BC. It was the longest drive of my life…11 hours to be exact. He cried all the way. Most of it, anyway.

How will I go on without him? No one to greet me at the door, no one to snuggle with at night and no more games of hide and seek, tag and kill the string.

But we do. Our hearts ache and break with grief but we get on with it.

In the meantime, he’ll get whatever he wants, tons of mommy love and I’ll stop at nothing to ease any suffering.

Good pet owners do that. We know when to hold on and we know when it’s time to let go.

Z

My achy breaky heart…


Dear heart,

Every day it’s going to get a little better; it’s going to hurt a little less. Go easy on yourself – you’re a good heart, a deserving heart. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to grieve…but it’s okay to hope, too. Just be realistic and most importantly…be true to yourself.

You know your real value, your worth and what you’ve accomplished. You know who you are in the world, where you are going and where you’ve been.

There will be a day when you look back to this one and smile. You’ll be grateful for the experience and grateful that another soul trusted enough to let you into their life …it doesn’t matter for how long. Life is far too short and good people, I mean REALLY good people should be cherished. Always and forever.

Know that you’re going to be okay. You’ve survived a hell of a lot worse and you’ll live through this, too.

Never forget what you’ve learned and be ever so thankful that you were gifted this chance to learn from another. It’s a precious thing that should never be taken lightly.

Understand that you’re worthy. If all is lost, someday, when you least expect it, there will be another that sets, YOU, my heart, on fire, once again. You need only be patient and in the meantime….take some ‘me’ time.

Sweet heart… you WILL heal. It just takes a little R&R, a little TLC and a whole lot of time.

Be brave, be real and be true.

Peace,

~Me.

Light-in-Heart

The Point of Culmination


Zenith

What is it?
this struggle that
keeps me awake
pondering my existence

Asking all who would listen
the question of our
lacking human capacity
for listening with our hearts,
speaking with our Higher Soul

This day I breathe
(listening to the ebb and flow of my life’s blood)

This hour I restrain
(myself from losing grip on perception)

This moment I succumb
(and lose it anyway – finding a whole new way to see)

The answer was always
obvious and poignant

Without one
how can we know the other?

We will always choose

To select the highest stars
while sitting in the pits of our broken selves.
Broken

In the Moment


I’ve written about living in the moment, before. Yet, we mustn’t forget those moments in our lives that take our breath away, leave us wishing the seconds would slow down and allow us to stay there, forever.

There are also a whole lot of moments we’d rather forget, times we’ve really fucked up or done something we’ll regret, forever. Times when others have caused pain and destruction and those times when we’ve lost those whom we love.

Our brains are really remarkable, able to turn back the clock and relive the good and bad, minute-by-minute, should we so choose. I think at times our memory tricks us and we remember things how we’d like to, not so much as they really happened.

Nevertheless, they are our memories, our ‘moments’ to do with as we wish. I’ve often caught myself wallowing in moments that are best left in the past. It’s never good, but sometimes we need to remember what we’ve learned. We need to remember the things we should never repeat.

Then there are the moments which should be put on repeat, and often, at that. These precious few minutes of time help me through the tough times, the lonely times and the times when my heart is breaking. They offer a nice comfy ride past all of my insecurities (I’ve got a lot) and put right what is really important about living.

About … life.

So today, with the song of rain pouring down onto the flat roof, with all of my uncertainties and humility bubbling up like black tar, with me thinking, once again, I may have gone too far and completely fucked it all up…I will remember.

I will remember the moment when I was 9 and it was high summer; how the broken cement sidewalk, baked by the morning sun, burned on my little bare feet , and it wasn’t even 11 am, yet.

I will remember the moment when I saw the ocean, for the very first time, in Victoria…just beyond Beacon Hill Park.  I fell in love with the sea, that day.

I will remember the moment when we got our first cat, Tinkerbell, that tiny little furry black fluff-ball. Oh, how she could run! It took us 2 hours to catch her in the house we adopted her from. I was three.

I will remember grade 12 graduation. I’ll recall the moment when my father gave me my first (and last, I’ve never been gifted with this again) dozen, long-stemmed red roses. “One for each year,” he grinned at me. I was speechless and so taken with love and gratitude that I promptly burst into tears.

I’ll remember the moment when I woke up to my 10th or 11th birthday. My mom had laid out all my b-day gifts on the little bench in our room (I shared a room with my younger sister). There all the nicely wrapped presents sat, waiting for me… I think I was breathless with anticipation and then my whole family came into my dimly lit room and sang Happy Birthday, to me. That was the year my brother got me my first watch.

I’ll remember the moment when the light caught his eyes…turning them blue-in-green as they took on various shades of his clothing. I was captivated.

In the Moment

Crippled desires
a bridge of sorrow
please bring me peace
in the moment

Shatter the binds
strip away thoughts
leaving me soft in the moment

Offer me shelter
clothe my soul
teach me to love
in the moment

Kiss my heart
deliver me safe
let us both live,
in the moment.

take_a_moment_by_quiescent_reverie-d3gefhl

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do


*Cue Neil Sedaka*

Yes, I know I’m dating myself.

This past weekend, a dear friend of mine broke up with his girlfriend. He’s completely devastated by it and although I’m sure she feels a hell of a lot worse, we often forget the emotional perils that the person doing the ‘breaking up’ feels. Of course, it’s not always the case (and I can attest to this from experience) some people just don’t give a shit if they rip out your heart, stomp all over it, light it on fire and then kick it to the curb, all the while pointing and laughing at you.

Do I sound a little bitter?

No, I’m over all of that and came to a decision a few years ago that the best course of action was to accept what was and then wish that person well. I mean, if they’re not the one for you, someone else out there is, right?

Go in love and peace, my friend…Namaste!

(Eat shit and die you fucking asshole!!)

Heh…just kidding…

Back to my point. Whenever I’ve had to “do the deed”, which hasn’t been very often in my case, I’ve nearly had a nervous breakdown figuring out how to ‘end it’ without causing too much emotional damage to the other person. Because there will be. Especially if they don’t see it coming; which I admit to, some have not.

I liken it to intentionally causing a serious car accident where you know you may nearly kill someone. No one actually dies (hopefully) but it sure seems like it. Unless the person whom you no longer want to be your sweet Honeybunch is a lying cheating jerk/bitch or abusive, you’re going to feel a lot of guilt and hurt, for yourself.

After all, ending a relationship is like a death, they say. If you can remain friends and it’s mutual, all the better! But how often does this happen?? I can count the number of times on one hand and have a few wonderful friends myself, to this day, who are past lovers. I also respect a man more if he has some as this proves maturity, graciousness and endurance. Some women feel jealous and possessive, personally it’s a bit of a turn on that a man is ‘MAN enough’ to realize that just because things didn’t work out – doesn’t mean that you can’t still value a person in your life and move past all the crap. The world evolves; people do, too.

You’ll question yourself: Am I doing the right thing? What if I’m horribly wrong; will they take me back?! Could I have done more? Did I try hard enough?

Most of those questions you won’t know the answer to. And take it from me, if you decide that the worst mistake you made is to let this person out of your life and you give it another go…9 x out of 10 it still won’t work out. There’s a reason you’re thinking of breaking up in the first place.

The key, of course, is communication. It always is and without it, everything will fail in time. We need to tell our better half what’s bothering us, what’s not working for us and suggest a solution(s) if there are any. That being said, we need to do this in a constructive and kind way as opposed to:

“YOU did this! YOU made me feel that! I don’t like it when YOU… YOU! YOU! YOU!

This is accusing, destructive, attacking and instantly puts the other person in defensive/must find an appropriate verbal weapon to protect myself with/angry, position. It’s a terrible way to communicate and will never resolve the issue but WILL create anger/resentment/depression and in some instances retaliation.

Instead, sit your sweetie down and let them know (in a gentle way) that you wish to speak to them about something that’s important. They’ll look at you all worried, wondering what the hell they did wrong and what the consequences may be– this is unavoidable. Smile at them, be reassuring and then say what you feel in a constructive manner.

Like this:

“Hey, Cindy, it’s not that big of a deal, but when brushing your teeth, often there are splatters of toothpaste all over the mirror; do you think you can wipe that off, after? It would help me out if you did and I’d really appreciate it. Would this be OK?”

Then smile at Cindy in a sweet and non-sarcastic way. She may get a bit miffed but in the end she’ll see reason and most likely oblige you. If she questions you further, tell her that it’s your OCD, you can’t help it but she could help alleviate some of your terrible urges to wash ever mirror in the house by simply giving that mirror a quick wipe.

Say what you need to say but keep it quick, simple and kindhearted.

Even better, if the issue you’re having is a bit weightier I use the three x rule: tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.

Like thus:

“Hey Cindy, I want to talk to you about what you said to my mother the other day, do you have some time? I wanted to tell you that the information you gave her caused some issues between us and I was wondering if the next time you could maybe talk to me first beforehand? So, sweetheart, are you okay with what I suggested? It will make things a lot smoother and I know you understand my relationship with my mom needs some work!”

You get the idea.

Something else we often forget to do in relationships is: LISTEN. Yup, just stop talking, shut the fuck up and listen to what your darling has to tell you. Even if it’s boring you to tears or if it’s annoying. Tough, suck it up. LISTEN. It’s important for people to be heard. If you don’t listen to what they have to say, you can’t expect them to listen to anything you want to convey.

Think on that. And, listen.

Could my friend’s relationship be saved if they’d communicated better? I don’t think so and I know things were discussed but there were many underlying issues that will never change so it was best if they parted ways. Even if for the time being it hurts like hell for the both of them, it was for the long-term good.

Although not every relationship can be saved by communication alone, many will and every single one of them will flourish a lot more when two people DO talk to each other, discuss rather than fight, suggest rather than demand and stop doing all the talking and listen to what someone else has to say.

Nobody wants a break-up and no one wants to do the breaking up, either. It’s a terrible thing, a sorrowful thing that weighs heavy on our hearts (well, most of us) but sometimes…a necessary thing.

At the end of the day, life goes on, doesn’t it? If it didn’t work out, know that there WILL be someone out there for you who it will work with. Be grateful for what you’ve learned from that other person and DO wish them well. If you carry grudges or hate/anger, this will only impede on YOUR healing process, not theirs.

Be positive.

Listen.

And most importantly…approach your life with love.

That’s a wrap, folks.

take_a_bow_by_musingcalliope-d8031ta

Boxes


Happy Father’s Day, Daddy…. You’re very missed.

Danced with grief
and you

Healing chose to neglect me-
same day they lowered you in your
little box
‘neath cold Alberta clay

Numb with guilt
I remember you small
still alive
hallucinating on morphine

You thought you’d won a watch
frustrated – we couldn’t understand
your rambling,
hard to speak with only half a tongue

I am angry
at you

Your ghost lingers – don’t think
I haven’t noticed
sneaking into my dreams still ashen – bent and aged
no words pass between accusing stares

I’ve buried my pain
and you

All that I could
locked away in secrecy
and sanctity
all the little gems I’ve put in my own box

Secured forever in my mind
in a thousand vaults with a million locks
not the drink, curses and violence
but laughter, cherry tobacco and of course, love

I’ve labelled this box

of you

Brush away dust and cobwebs – you’ll see,
Simplistic – a girl’s scribble
“Dad”.

The Sky Is the Limit


 

I’m at a pinnacle point, standing on the edge of an event horizon and trying desperately not to get sucked into oblivion.  Does this sound dramatic? Well, if you’ve ever been ‘served notice’ at work…it can be terribly dramatic.

Stressful, even.

Actually, stress doesn’t even scratch the surface and most of us have been there. Losing your job is horrid but one has to ask: Is this a sign that I should be doing something else? Perhaps something that I actually enjoy doing? It’s a risk; it’s scary as hell but I’m starting to think that there is never a good time to do something so ridiculous. Therefore, there is really never a better time than when your ass is being shoved out the door.

I say forget the sky, aim for the stars, baby. In fact, the universe is yours; go for it and never look back.

Life’s Lessons


I’m often left wondering why events repeat themselves in our lives. What is the message? What did I not learn the last time? Perhaps my approach is too pedantic. It’s the big picture I need to encompass rather than all the little things that clog up my worrisome mind.

I could round-up several thousand questions on the why’s and justification of what ‘ is’…but it would be pointless. One needs to sit calmly and reason things out. Panic is not an option although damn, it’s tempting when your ass is on the line!

It’s time to focus, time to take action and time to listen to my heart but act with my head. It’s time to take a big breath…ok, several really big breaths – and figure out all possible alternatives. It’s not a time to stress yourself out with fret and anxiety. This, makes it all the worse.

So. We must be kind to ourselves, forgiving – even. Be understanding of life’s lessons and be grateful they come our way as, how else would we learn?

How else would we grow?

Rest In Peace


I hope your travel to the other side was a beautiful one, John. I hope that you’re with God, free of pain and have found joy.

On the Edge of Dream
 
I’ve come back to tell you –
death took me home the other day
it wasn’t how I imagined
death did not come…

 

Shrouded in Black shadows – face an endless pit of pain
death had no scythe, or weapon to hurt

 

She,
child born of Faeries
moonlight reflecting pale skin
petals of newborn spring adorned strawberry curls
her eyes,
the very stars….

 

Taking her hand,
I touched gossamer wings
air shimmered, made of purest light

 

“I’ve come to lead you home love”
Her voice a whisper; crystal bells 
“Yet I think you already know the way”

 

I did
I had – only to fly on the edge of dream,
balance on the tip of all thought, and I was there

 

I’ve come back to tell you
death took me home the other day
it was the most beautiful journey
the most un-imaginable joy

 

 

Completing the Cycle


We aren’t born pretty and we certainly don’t die pretty – at least, for the most part. We enter a squalling wrinkled thing, covered in our own birth fluids and as fragile and unique as a snowflake. When we leave, many of us fight. We hang on to life with an iron grip, gasping at the air as if there could never be enough of it. We shake in pain, clutch at our humanity, stare upwards looking for a sign of relief and release, yet we can’t find it.

No, don’t close my eyes, they may never open again. Let me see the sky – is it still that perfect blue? Where is the sky? I need to see the world for a little while longer.

I wonder, often, why God or any other higher force that one may believe in and might exist – simply doesn’t take pity on us and bring us on home….instead of watching some of us suffer so.

Then something occurred to me. Maybe they try and we fight it. Perhaps our will can be so strong that even though the door is open to us…we resist. When it’s our time, I truly believe it will happen no matter what, yet some will choose to cling to our earthly body, not matter how worn out and sick it is.

I believe we do it because it’s all we know and we are afraid. We are afraid to let go. I think that when we do, when we let go our grip of an old or sick or broken body, when we finally see that there is something else, only then, are we ready to go home.  Our real home.

Fragmented


Existing or functioning as though broken into separate parts; disorganized; disunified.

Without being part of – one can feel broken and separate, like a shard of glass from a window. Eventually the window gets replaced….and the shard? Well, it’s thrown away, isn’t it?

For D.


...because even now, sometimes I really miss you and England.  I’m glad you found someone and I’m really glad you’re finally happy.

Strefford

I dreamed you and I
stood once more
across from Jack’s house.

We became the ghosts
that are known to haunt these lanes.

No one could see
how coming back,
how coming home-
had made you weep.

Tears were cleansed
then lost in summer rain
we stood invisible.

You taking pictures
with your eyes,
me hearing the shutter
every time you blinked.

Trying to say your name
my voice became the wind
a gentle hush, a sigh
rushing through the leaves.

Tried to tell you
it was time to go
Time to let
go…

You’ve faded before me
like ghosts will do
I find myself alone, now
rooks flying in from the fields.

My memory walks the Shropshire hills
standing unseen among the sheep
I wonder, when you return, if you will remember

Oh, hello Insomnia…


Welcome back, bitch – I see you’ve missed  me.

Tick-Tock

Tick-Tock the clock is dead,
he died along with my sanity about an hour ago
I hid under blankets in the end
wearing them as skin
 I was a whale-

immersed in a sea of sleeplessness
coming up for air only when needed

Watched each other for a while
me with my insistent tick above my right eye
 he with his second hand trapped between the increments
of three a.m. and four

Was me that killed him
I admit it
ripped sad old double AA’s
out of his torn open back
couldn’t stand to see him suffer
see him fade

Laid to rest
beside bed-lamp and book
covered his face with tissue
the least I could do.

Poor Tick-Tock
poor me

A Letter


Grief is a tormenting thing, sneaking up on you out of nowhere and demanding your attention when you really don’t want to give it. It’s a possessive, bossy emotion. There is no hiding from it when that hand reaches inside your chest and squeezes your heart like a vice-grip will a grapefruit.

It really does hurt physically. You can’t breathe properly, words get choked into squeaks and blurts inside your throat and that excruciating pain in your chest gives new meaning to: a broken heart.

Grief is ugly, too. People don’t cry pretty crystalline tears that ever so gently roll one by one down their cheeks to pool at their chin before disappearing into the next scene. Oh no. There are gushing sobs; one’s face becomes a battle field of twisted anguish while a flood of saline turns any hope of seeing straight into a pathetic underwater blur of hazy reality. A red and snotty nose causes further breathing problems so that taking great gulps of air in-between any attempt at gaining self-composure becomes absolutely necessary for survival.

If you wear make-up, you’ll wish you’d forgotten that extra layer of mascara as now, you don’t even look human. You’ve transformed into some monster covered in a layer of runny foundation with a lovely coat of black trailing crooked stripes down your once serene face.

It isn’t always this way but sometimes it is.

He wrote me a letter once, close to 30 years ago when I was but a girl. It is full of spelling mistakes, sentences that aren’t real sentences and difficult to read scribbles but I knew what he meant. He missed me. He missed his little girl and he wanted me to know that he was ok and that I should take care of myself because as I was in college, I needed to eat properly. I think he thought that I wasn’t. I guess I was rather skinny back then.

In broken English, his concern was disarming, sweet and heart-felt. When I happen upon it and read those scrawled words, I forget. I forget about the drunken rages, the threats and the resentment towards us. I forget about all the horrible things he did and just see a man, worried about his young daughter living by herself…for the first time.

I see love.

He signed it: Dadd…. Just like that. I smile now at things like this but there was a time when I couldn’t read it without that grief overwhelming me with lost possibilities and opportunities. He died painfully twenty-two years ago this August. I have pictures of him in my spare room.

I say hello to him almost every day.