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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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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Happy Father’s Day


I recall so much of my childhood and my father; a lot of it not so good. He became an alcoholic when I was still quite young – 5 or 6-years old, I think. I could have been younger. I remember the fights my parents used to have from a very early age and my mother crying. On one occasion I had the nerve to ask what was wrong in an innocent little-girl-way. She promptly turned to me and snapped at me coldly to shut up.

That was how it was; along with me, she had a toddler (my sister), an 11-year old son (my bro) and she, herself, was probably still in her 30’s. That’s a lot to handle with financial issues and an angry husband when he was drunk.

It wasn’t always bad, though. There were fleeting happy memories and today, I want to honour them.

Here goes:

I fondly remember all the mornings that dad got up, changed my underwear (I guess I’d occasionally wet the bed at night) and me telling him about my dreams. Keep in mind I was walking and talking like a 3-year old at the tender age of 1.5 years so these memories were probably from the age of around 2 and a half. I started to walk and talk at 9 months, never engaged in the typical ‘baby-talk’ and frequently embarrassed my mother in public by saying things no 1 and a half year old should be saying. I was a freaky kid.

I once told him about a dream of alligators attacking my little bum. I think he laughed and assured me it wasn’t real but just a dream. Odd how I still remember this.

My brother is 6-years older than me and when he was getting ready for school, during the week, I’d sit and watch cartoons with dad. Rocket Robin Hood, Batman and Robin and Spiderman played one after the other on our 20” black and white TV. Dad made me cinnamon toast and snuck me a tiny cup of well creamed and sugared coffee. I LOVED the stuff. I still do.

I don’t think my mom knew he gave her 3-year old coffee. Shhh.

We were camping at Christina Lake, one summer, and I’d wandered on to the sandy beach with bare feet. It was hotter than Hades on my tiny little feet and I screamed bloody murder until he came running over like a bat out of hell and saved my tender tootsies from the lava sand. I think I was 6-years.

He used to hold us by the ankles, upside down (there is a pic of this somewhere) until we laughed so hard we nearly peed ourselves.

He LOVED cartoons more than you can imagine and always knew when the best ones were on. He’s the only dad I know who’d sit and watch cartoons with his kids and made sure they didn’t miss their favourite ones.

My dad was a HUGE Star Trek fan. It’s because of him that I love Sci-Fi and am fascinated with space.

He gave me my first (and last) 12 long-stemmed red roses, for my graduation. They came in a beautiful white box filled with white tissue. He said there was one rose in there for every year of school. I think I cried.

Fathers are the first men little girls fall in love with. They are our heros and our champions. While some dads take a wrong turn, at times, and are not always the best they can be – they still teach us many valuable lessons about love, life, forgiveness and patience.

Dad died when I was 23. He had throat and mouth cancer and it was a very painful death. I remember him lying in the hospital bed in Lac La Biche, Alberta. He weighed about 65 lbs. It was the saddest thing I’d ever seen, my once strong father – so helpless and drugged out on morphine.

All the bad things he did were forgiven and I am so, so grateful I got to be his ‘oldest’ (as he used to call me) daughter.

Thank you for all the lessons, the love and the brief life we shared, Dad

I love you. xox

H, Dad and I

Surrender


sur·ren·der

səˈrendər/
verb
1. cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.

noun

2. the action of surrendering; capitulation, submission, yielding, succumbing, fall, defeat, resignation

I’m going to add another meaning to this word: To let be.

I feel that we can surrender to many things, but in a good way. It needn’t involve things like: submission, defeat, resignation or giving up. In fact, quite the opposite can be true. Surrendering can simple become – ‘you’ in the moment, letting yourself simply ‘be’ and letting go of everything negative to clear the way so that you can create a new path for yourself.

Just over a week ago, I was in a near head-on car collision.  To be honest, if you’d seen my car (or what’s left of it) you’d think I’d be a lot more injured than I am or…not be here writing this. The doctor who saw me, after seeing a pic of my car, said I was lucky to be alive.

But I am alive and after I collected myself, made sure the other driver was okay, I surrendered to the moment and let it unfold, as it should. I didn’t cry, or panic or get upset. I didn’t see a purpose in that. Yes, I was in shock, but even then, decided to let go of all the feelings I think should have been feeling and remain very calm. I knew it wasn’t entirely my fault and also knew that I couldn’t have anticipated the other driver’s quick decision to change lanes when he did.

However, things with insurance companies are very black and white – so I will be found 100% at fault. I was, after all, turning left. I guess that’s a bad thing…to turn left. 😉

That’s fine. I accept it and surrender to it and do you know what? It feels okay. I feel okay. I bought a new car; I’ll be able to pay it off, soon, and life goes on.

Tomorrow is a tough day; an anniversary of sorts. It will be one year since Bri took his life and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to be, emotionally, so I’m taking the day off.

I’ve decided to surrender to all of my emotions and just let it all flow through me throughout the day. Normally I can’t do this as I’m in an office dealing with clients or home and if ‘P’ is there, I don’t want to burden him with my ‘stuff’. He doesn’t understand it and doesn’t pretend that he does…so he’s quiet about it and keeps his nose out of my grief.

Not because he’s unsympathetic but because he simply hasn’t been through anything like it – EVER. He’s had a pretty easy life, thus far.

I also don’t want him to feel unimportant in my life and talk about Brian 24/7 – that would be unkind, disrespectful and unfair. My past is my past and P is my now and hopefully my future.

I’ll be okay. There will be much meditating and stillness as I sort through memories both good and bad. I will honor him and all those who have this pain and struggle.

I will surrender to this day and to what happened. I cannot change it but I can accept it and see it for the incredible life-changing experience that it was.

What will you surrender to?

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Dealing With an Elderly Parent


Or…in my case, helping my 80-year old mother hook up with a new man by setting her up on a senior’s dating site.

Yup. You read that right. Just because you’re in your twilight years doesn’t mean you don’t get lonely, from time-to-time. My mother gave birth to three kids; I’m the much talked about middle child. And from three offspring only one grandchild sprung forth. Thank you, big Bro for that! As soon as she was born (my niece) I was off the hook!

She’s now nearing 22-years old, lives in Berlin and Nana doesn’t really get to see her a lot. You get the picture.

We DO visit mom, occasionally…but hey, we all have our own lives. I check in regularly and joke about making sure she’s still alive (as in not lying dead on the kitchen floor of a sudden heart attack). Thankfully, she finds this humorous and I’m kidding, but only half kidding.

When you’re 80, anything can happen!

Although I may not be the doting daughter, I do love her dearly and we chat/text on a regular basis. We were never super-duper close but we have an understanding. Also, I’m always available, so when she can’t get a hold of the other two, I’ll always answer her calls or call her back shortly thereafter. The irony that I’m last on her list of calls but the only one who is always available (and reliable) isn’t lost on me, either.

It’s okay, I’m over it. Mostly. Really. *cue my big brother to chime in about me and my middle child issues*

Anyway. I’ve found what looks to be a respectable site (Our Time) and now I have to load pics for her. Once she’s all up and running and getting much wanted emails from suitors, I’ll have to have THE talk with her. She won’t want THE talk. She’ll be snippy and shitty about it, being all insulted that I think she’s stupid, etc., but I’ll have THE talk, nevertheless. I’m bracing myself for the inevitable push-back and arguments I’ll get from her.

She’s already been taken (not financially, thank GAWD) by a scammer on Facebook so I think THE talk is relevant.

And really, this goes for every woman out there who is online dating, not just my vivacious Mother.

  1. Don’t bother with anyone who isn’t local.
  2. This is how to spot a scammer: (list all obvious traits).
  3. Always, ALWAYS meet someone in a public place.
  4. NEVER give out your phone number first – let them provide theirs and when you do give a phone number, DON’T give out your home one, give them your cell #. That way if they’re a creep, you can easily block them and they can’t look you up on 411 to get your address, etc.
  5. Find out their full name before you meet them – do a little internet research to see if they’re real and who they say they are. No, this isn’t cyber stalking, it’s necessary homework to keep you safe.
  6. Let your daughters know (or your son, pick one of us) when you’re going on a blind date – when/time, who it is….etc. Call us when you get home! If you don’t we’ll worry sick about you.

I don’t want to cramp her style, by any means, but my younger sis used to make me text her the license plate # of the guy who I was meeting in case I went missing… I wasn’t pissy about it, I thought it was cute and hey, you can’t be too safe.

An 80-year old woman is much more vulnerable than a 50-year old one. And, she’s my mom; I take no chances.

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Laughter and the Disturbance Of


My mother sent me an email that I found (in the moment) hysterically funny. Sitting next to the New Man, I burst out laughing and rather loudly at that. He got pissed off and annoyed at me disturbing his serenity as God forbid I make a noise.

I suspect he’s in a pissy mood and I suppose my sudden cackle would shock anyone but hey…not like I intended to care the crap out of him by laughing out loud. The heinous noise was but a few seconds of disrespecting the quiet but he definitely wasn’t impressed. Now, had I planned to be LOUD, I’d have apologized but the burst of chuckles simply escaped me. There was really nothing I could do about it.

Given that I’ve spent the last nearly 11 months crying daily over Brian’s death, I think I’ll forgive myself for this terrible act.

Plus…it’s MY apartment. I can do as I please.

So there.

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Tell Me What You’re Feeling


I had a little tiff with the New Man, this morning. He does something that bothers me and I’m not sure how to deal with it or… if he’s willing to adjust. It’s a minor thing but when something bothers us, we should be able to talk about it in a kind/non-accusing way without repercussion. We’re adults who are in love, after all.

So, I mentioned it in the kindest way but said…’this bothers me’ and maybe we can (insert solution here). His response was that what he was doing was perfectly OK, as in…he didn’t see anything wrong with it and BTW, maybe I’d like him to leave and not come back.

O.o

WRONG ANSWER.

In fact, VERY wrong answer. I was quite taken aback and couldn’t speak for a few moments. Being the sensitive Pisces that he is, he caught on immediately that this may not have been a wise move and insisted on finding out if I was ‘mad at him’ and wanted to discuss it right then and there. I wasn’t angry, but I was extremely hurt.

He essentially did a 360 degree turn and I’m sure his thoughts were: Oh, shit, I really shouldn’t have said that.

I do believe that my reaction would have been very different had I NOT been dealing with menopausal hot flashes all night and my late boyfriend had NOT killed himself over another woman not quite 11 months ago. I think I would have stood my ground and asked quite bluntly: if this is what he wanted and why would he resort so such extreme measures?

But that’s not how it went down. I was caught up in serious emotions of unworthiness and abandonment. I promptly burst into tears at the thought of, once again, not being good enough or mattering enough to someone. In my miserable little mind, my reasoning was that if it only takes this little thing to have someone threaten to leave me, I must not mean very much to them and this takes me all the way back in time to the initial issue of my father leaving us. Fun stuff, eh?

Of course, this isn’t how he really feels and as we sometimes do, we over react and say mean things we really shouldn’t because we don’t like the thought of having to change our ways to make someone else comfortable. Whoops, filter wasn’t on between my brain and my mouth – sorry about that.

It’s not something insurmountable by any means and I don’t want someone to think I’m trying to tell them what to do…but if we’re bothered by something, if we don’t speak up in a polite and loving way, it will fester and grow into resentment. Trust me on this one.

We resolved the situation quickly before it had a chance to get out of hand and everything is well. He also promised to never say that again. My ex-husband used to point to the door every time I wanted to discuss issues and yell: If you don’t like it, there’s the door!!

Oh, hello door! Let me show you how I can open you and walk out of this situation!

And, I did – much to his shock, but that’s another story. 😉

So tell me, what are YOU feeling? Do you have a problem expressing yourself in your relationship when something is bothering you? Are you met with resistance or are you able to talk things out with relative ease?

Curious minds want to know.

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