So how did the presentation go last week? I’d say it was a success. I was complimented on the presentation as much as I was for the shoes I wore that day.
The red patent Arnold Churgin pumps. For mom.
It was beautiful and sunny and grassy and we came upon these 2 great stones. They were smooth and a grayish white with a soft yellow (you know, like nice soft white rocks..not concrete gray). When we read the first one (on top) “Love will not make the pain go away”, we had the sense that the love it was referring to was the romantic kind. And it was sad. And the second (beneath it) said “The pain will cease when the butterflies uprise” (I couldn’t remember the exact term when I told you. I know it started with a “u”. I think it was either uplift or uprise, but eitherway you get the point.) Because when I read the phrase, I imagined a million butterflies uprising from the stone and fluttering away. And the term BUTTERFLIES was in capital letters and it overtook the entire message. We felt like it was for you (for obvious reason) and you asked me, “what do you think butterflies mean” and I said, “miracles, of course” and we both said “of course” and were really excited about this ‘revelation’. I woke up and I was like, “I HAVE TO REMEMBER THIS”.
Today is the eve of the ATCO Utility Conference. And I hate it. Not the conference – it’s a lovely conference designed to bring employees of ATCO Pipelines, ATCO Gas and ATCO Electric together to share updates and projects from each company. I hate the memory of the eve of the conference.
In 2009, it was my first year on the conference planning committee for the ATCO Utility Conference. And on the eve of the conference, after a long day at the hotel prepping for the next day, I arrived at home. It was late, shortly after 10:00pm. And I knew I was going to be returning home to bad news. The weekend before I saw amm at the hospital in Saskatoon and we were left with no answers. And on the eve of the conference I had been in touch with my dad, getting updates from him and the doctors as they became available. And while driving home, I called my dad and when he told me to wait until I got home to talk to Nick, I knew. I knew. And I will always remember that specific spot on that specific road that I knew. I knew.
Walking in the front door, seeing the look in Nick’s eyes. He knew. And he didn’t have to say a single word for me to understand. Understand that my world was caving in on me. All things that I knew and loved and trusted were leaving me and there was absolutely nothing I could do to change things. So the next day, when I should have been at the conference, we were driving to Saskatoon with no real comprehension of what we were entering.
Fast forward to 2010. Same time of year, but I am pregnant with Arrine and her pending arrival helped me through those days.
Fast forward to 2011. Same time of year, but I had the support I needed.
Fast forward to 2012. Same time of year, but hating these days more than the previous two years. And this year I have been asked to present at the conference.
I can’t wait until Friday. The horrible memories of these weeks will still be with me, but the conference will be over. At least for another year.
Perception seems to be a recurring theme in my life as of late. But tonight I will focus on the perception of happiness, or perhaps, the lack of happiness.
I write when I am struggling. When I hurt, when I want to cry, when I need to get my thoughts out so they don’t consume me. And that’s why this blog has been so successful since its conception. It started as a way to provide information to friends and family about amm’s daily progress and it has morphed into my coping mechanism. Which I have been told helps others with their grieving too. Just knowing that gives my writings even more purpose. And it makes me feel that I always have to be completely honest and never hold back. I write as if no one is reading this and I write as if the entire world is reading this.
I also dance. Last night I listened to Video Games by Lana Del Rey and I danced. In a few minutes I had choreographed a phrase and did it back and forth in the living room. And it was sad but joyful at the same time. But I can’t easily share that, besides just writing about it.
And its easy to use this blog to look into my life, but because its focus is on my mom, there are more sad posts than happy ones, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t also have happiness in my life. Are you following? Take today, there were multiple reasons to smile and giggle and be thankful for what I do have. First thing I put on amm’s silver box chain and it helped me feel connected to her. At lunch time my Work Best Friend made me giggle at the silliest things.
- Kirsten: My cousin Lise gave Arrine a yodeling pickle
- Brandon: What does it say?
- Kirsten (pause): …It yodels. [GIGGLE GIGGLE GIGGLE]
- Brandon: [proceeds to yodel]
And tonight after Arrine was in bed, I stood outside her door and listed to her sing herself to sleep. I stood in the darkened hallway, smiled, and thought of times that amm must have done the same.
But I am always sad. I will always have this deep sadness to my core. But over the sadness I can layer bits of happiness here and there. I still have moments, days, blips of happiness. I really do. It’s looking for them and recognizing them and knowing that amm would want me to find them for myself.
Everyone has their own loss threshold. How much loss – what kind of loss – the timing of loss ~ that one can absorb. And you haven’t met your threshold if you can still allow yourself to be in situations where you risk losing again. But there comes a time when you need to self preserve. And you do this by deleting any possibility for additional loss.
In this moment I still have past loss, current loss and I’m preparing for future loss.
I hope you don’t know the answer to What’s Your Loss Threshold?, because I think you can only ever know until you’ve reached it.
I’ve reached my loss threshold. At least for right now…
Nick said to me, “I miss when you were happy.” And I replied, “I miss when I was happy, too.”
On the morning of amm’s birthday, Trisha shared with me a dream she had that night. She dreamt that we were driving in London with her sister, then she looked over and it was me driving the car. I said to her, “I had to do something that scares me.” The next thing she knew her sister was driving the car again and we flipped the car, only to have Julie, her sis, reply, “This happens all the time in London.”
When she told me her dream, right away I knew I needed to do something that scared me on amm’s birthday. But what?
Trisha has been slowly encouraging me to wear more eye make-up, specifically eye liner. It’s just something I have never done in adulthood. I don’t know the reason though. I know I could deeply analyze it if I wanted to – the assumption of how ladies are interpreted with dark eye make-up, not wanting to bring more attention to myself, trying to be less feminine in a male dominated career…there are so many possibilities and I don’t know why. Maybe Trisha might…
So yesterday morning I made up my eyes and right away Trisha complimented me on it. And I like it…although it scares me.
I am blessed to have a wonderful friend and her sister in my life, to celebrate amm’s birthday today.
We started our day by sleeping in (one of my most fav things to do), then we lazily got ready and headed to Windsor Castle. After touring and sharing some amm stories they took it upon themselves to be proactive and find a pub that served Sticky Toffee Pudding. How lovely.
We settled at The Carpenter’s Arms (Trisha had a good giggle) and when we saw deep-fried Brie on the menu, it was meant to be. amm loved her Brie.
Julie had tea and Trisha and I a beer. We shared nachos, deep-fried Brie and Sticky Toffee Pudding. But before the eats Trisha got up from the table and returned with a red gerbera daisy which instantly made me weepy as we had those flowers at amm’s Wear Your Red Celebration – although Trisha didn’t even know that. And then she started singing Happy Birthday while I sat and cried.
Thank-you Ladies for making today so special and making me feel a teeny bit less alone.
PS Happy Birthday Mommy.