Friday, January 29, 2010

call me

Also posted on
Widow's Voice

I haven't called Jeff's number in almost two years. In the first few days after he died, I called him repeatedly....apologizing. Wishing I could have saved him. Begging him to come home.

His cell phone number is still programmed into the home phone and my cell phone. I will never be able to delete it. If it is on my phone, it seems that he is just a call away. Not too far.

Our home phone had a special ring programmed announcing that the caller was him. Some classical song that was exciting and uplifting. When I'd hear it, I would bolt from whatever task I was involved in and launch myself over children and furniture to catch it before voicemail took over. I haven't heard that ring in so very long.

One evening after putting the kids to bed, I felt compelled to phone him. To close the gap between us and pretend for just a moment that I could succeed with this seemingly small and mundane task of calling my husband.

I dialed the number and attempted to breathe as my heart leaped from my throat and down to my abdomen. It rang three times before the new owner of the number answered it. I waited to catch my composure and squeaked out, "Can I speak to Jeff, please?" She tersely coughed out, "Wrong number," and hung up.

I sat sobbing. He was gone. I couldn't bridge the gap. I couldn't reach him. After sometime, I managed to settle myself. I rolled over on my soaked pillow and stared at his dry one in the dark as I fell asleep.

At two am, I was jolted awake to the sound of an 'exciting and uplifting classical song' being belted from my telephone. I snatched the handset and stared at the call display. "Jeff" I thought I'd vomit as I answered....... Nothing. Silence. Dead air. He wasn't there.

But for one brief moment, I remembered how it felt to know he was out there. He was thinking of me. He was calling out for me....and he loved me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

for the love of toadstools

Since we've switched rooms, I have struggled with how to decorate Liv's. She is past the pink/purple stage but far from the music poster stage. I didn't know how to incorporate her love of fairies and forests without the pink, frilly, girly stuff that goes along with little-little girls.
Then I found these vinyl wall stickers from Holly on Etsy! Both of us LOVE them and they seem more grown-up but not teenager-y at all.

All I have to change now are those pink flower lights on the wall (thinking of spray painting them red) and find a plain lamp and a red lampshade to add white dots!

I found the toadstools from another fabulous Etsy shop (check out their hedgehogs and birdies too!!)....22 of them now grace random locations in our home. The kids love taking their friends on hunts for the toadstools so much that I have bought more (and the awesome seller, Graphic Spaces, has included extras!!!!! Wehoo!!!!) So if you're ever at our house, start the mushroom hunt!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

finding beauty

I found the charger for my camera. Can you tell? I don't want to spend my life as a victim.

I want to find joy and beauty in unexpected places.
I refuse to take score of all the 'bad things' that have happened in my life.

Because if you're looking for the bad things, that's all you'll see.

But if you can find the wonder and the radiance hidden within the sadness and fear, you can conquer, grow and thrive.
I don't want to just talk of that which has been done 'to me'. I want to marvel at all I have done.
I want to giggle, because screaming doesn't feel as nice.

I want to learn, because not learning would feel stagnant and boring.
I want to look from different angles and in different ways...and maybe see a different perspective.
I want to remember that the sun is always just behind the clouds.
And something strange and amazing may be just around the bend.
I want to hold those I love close.
And that which I find draining or harmful at arm's length.
I want to sit and ponder and not need to be 'entertained'.
I want to question.
And think.
And wonder.

Because life is really actually quite beautiful if you let it be.

Friday, January 22, 2010

ode to your toothbrush

Also posted on Widow's Voice

If the toothbrush holder is a reflection of the household occupants, people would think that we were the perfect family of four. A girl, a boy, a mommy, a daddy.
All of our toothbrushes stand huddled together in the cup. As I sit on the toilet, I imagine that my toothbrush is staring at yours, begging yours to come back to life. Your toothbrush stares emotionless ahead. Like one of those soldiers in Britain with the big fluffy hats.
I irrationally despise the arrival of our new toothbrushes at the prescribed three months. It seems to mark a measure of time that has been lost since you died. I get tired of your toothbrush. I have stared so closely at the bristles pondering the bits of dried toothpaste embedded there. I've wondered if there is enough DNA to clone you upon its' head. I've mused about what pieces of food are trapped within its' plastic spikes that comprised your last meal. I've weighed the likelihood of my loss of mental health and mulled over the thought that maybe all widow/ers think these bizarre thoughts....over a toothbrush.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

who made me 'mom'?

Some days, I marvel at my skills as a mother. I am not talking in the 'thump my chest and proudly diplay my fabulous parenting abilities' way. I am talking in the 'Oh Lord, what have I taught these poor children NOW' way.
I find it hilarious when my three year old displays his middle finger marred by a hangnail.
I am tut-tutted by a seven year old when I talk 'potty talk' at the table...almost every night.
I change words in songs to "poop", "bum", "boogie", etc.
I attempt to laugh quietly when my son removes his fingers from his bum crack, takes a sniff and promptly chases his sister around the house with said fingers.
I occasionally sneak the last of the halloween candy, nanaimo bars, or coveted snack and then claim ignorance when ask who the offending party may have been.
I use the f-word occasionally often.
Sometimes, if I sit and take score of all these skills socially inacceptable behaviours that my children have learned, I am horrified. I am stunned by my inability to act mature and adult-like. I chide myself for the crap job of showing my little ones "appropriate" behaviour....
But when the next fit of giggles overtakes the three of us as the dog passes wind, I get over it.
Life is short. Life has too few laughs and too many hard lessons. I say "Bring on the poop jokes, pull out the whoopie cushions and use foul language occasionally"....just make sure MY mother doesn't hear!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

it's about time!

Briar's chicken, Antarina, is finally worth her weight in chicken scratch. Her reign as "The Dreaded Bitch" of the chicken yard now is softened slightly by her new ability. After ten months of life, she has FINALLY layed an egg.
How do I know it is her's? We had bought her specific egg because it was blue. Araucanas and Ameraucanas both lay uniquely coloured blue-green eggs. Now, she is laying them!!! (Actually only one so far...but we are beyond excited!)
So on tomorrow's breakfast menu there will be blue-green egg....and maybe a few brown or beige eggs. We're placing bets on whether it'll taste any different...If it's anything like it's mama, it'll be sour. ;)

Friday, January 15, 2010


Also posted on Widow's Voice

Before widowhood, I really, truly thought I knew a lot. I supposed I knew how I should/would/could react in a variety of situations. How others should/could/would act. The 'right' the 'wrong' in a plethora of situations. What a variety of other people's actions meant regarding their thoughts or mental state.
I was wrong. So very wrong.
I remember so clearly having a conversation with Jeff about what we would do if the other were to die. I remember what both of us believed we would do. And now, unfortunately, I know what I would do.
I can tell you that I have been grieving. Pining. Aching. But it has not been how I ever imagined widowhood to be. And I cannot tell you how it has been for me, because ultimately it will be different, if slightly, for you.
One thing I have stumbled upon, is that most widows don't judge each other. We link arms and laugh with and at each other's strategies for survival post-spouse. I wish that I could always stay wrapped in that comfortable comraderie that other widows provide. But, alas, I cannot and I must often face the outside world. The world where I feel that others think they know how they would act wearing my, or your, shoes...and judge harshly.
I find that it makes it all so much harder and alienating. So, thank you, my widow-sisters and widower-brothers for understanding and not judging. Thank you for laughing with me and not at me. Thank you for not measuring my pain and deciding if my loss is any more or less worthy than your own. I love you. I couldn't have gotten this far without you.

Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 - 1962)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I haven't been on here much lately, have I? Although I am always thinking of things that I'd like to post on the blog as I work through my day, we are so very busy. The crazy rush of Christmas is over, New Year's celebrations are done and we are settling back into a life of skating lessons, pottery, playdates and practising sleeping without waking the whole house for a glass of water.

I can't seem to find my camera charger, hence, no photos. I know it is somewhere that when I find it I'll go, "Dude! I should have KNOWN!" but until then.....

Liv has been Irish Dancing again, which she loves....and seems to enjoy doing it to Boney M's Rasputin...

Briar has been enjoying skating and has been rethinking his previous career asperations of being a skateboarding tow truck driver with an orange truck decorated with rainbows. He now talks of being a goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs (his daddy's favourite team).

Our sweet loving Cedar has been rehomed. Oh, how I wanted to keep that puppy. When I rescued him from his prior living arrangements, I hadn't planned on keeping him so I was not prepared financially or practically. I even thought of giving up Freckles after all the damage he has caused around the house, but I feel that when you adopt an animal, it's for life. So, Freckles stays and Cedar gets a wonderful new home with our vet and her family! I couldn't ask for a better home and we get to babysit Cedar when they go on holidays.

So we are settling back into our routine. I am feeling more relaxed and calm than I have in sometime. I'll be back more often....promise. *Off to find the bloody camera battery charger.....

Friday, January 08, 2010

strength and surrender

Image from Slycraft
Also published on Widow's Voice

The two words, strength and surrender seem to be at odds with each other. Opposites. Seperate.
As a young widow, one of the phrases that I hear so often is "You're so strong!". Throughout this journey, as many of you feel as well, I haven't felt strong. I have often felt weak and lost. I have felt vulnerable and afraid. I have felt that I have given up and been broken.

But when I look back over the last 21 months, I realize that I have become stronger. More resilient. More capable. Wiser.

I have learned that surrender is not akin to weakness. It's not 'giving up'. It is allowing yourself to be at peace with what has, will or might happen. To let go. To roll with it.

I have learned to stop fighting against it. I don't beg whatever higher power may be up there for my old life back any longer, even though I miss it every moment of every day. I don't scream out against injustice and wonder why this happened. I accept and I surrender. I now know that whatever life throws at me, I will deal with it.

I have become strong enough to surrender.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

when Jeff died...

As a widow, how many times have you said, "when/since/because _____ died"? Even after two years, three months and six days, I regularly use this phrase. Does widowhood define me this much or is it that the loss of my husband has been so life-altered, self-forming, world-shifting to me that I can attribute most of the occurrences in my present life to the event?
I prefer to believe that my life, goals, priorities, etc have all been modified, improved and streamlined. I hope that I can now see more clearly what is 'important' rather than that the definition of 'widow' has become so entwined with my vision of 'self'.
Or am I just lying to myself and hiding behind the loss of my other half?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


"We are not born all at once, but by bits. The body first, and the spirit later; and the birth and growth of the spirit, in those who are attentive to their own inner life, are slow and exceedingly painful. Our mothers are racked with the pains of our physical birth; we ourselves suffer the longer pains of our spiritual growth." -- Mary Antin
I borrowed this quote from Little Acorn Learning's status update on Facebook. I love, love, love it.