happiness

Murchie’s, Munro’s, Memories

My soul was called back out to Sidney and I had to follow. The girl and I are spending a few days on Vancouver Island to be near the ocean, renew our souls, visit old memories, and make new ones.

This place has always felt like my second home, we spent so much time here when I was a kid. My parents had a house we all loved here for a few years, but before and after that we would come and stay in the exact same hotel the girl and I are in now.

There are memory imprints of us walking on the logs along the water with grandma, of Easter egg hunts in the courtyard, of lunch at Lunns, and of trips into Victoria.

Victoria for me always centers around the triangle of Murchie’s, Munro’s, and Roger’s – and today we hit all three of them. Mom used to spend hours in the bookstore gathering a new stash of reading material, and dad and my sister and I would run between the other stores.

I needed to touch base with some different family memories. Mom and Dad were never sick here, this place doesn’t hold divorce pain or death pain. It holds memories of us riding bikes, gathering seashells, and running free.

As I watched the girl pick shells in the rain while grinning from ear to ear, I remembered we are not only visiting old memories but making new ones.

Life does always go on. I need to hold onto these happy memories, remember when mom and dad were alive, when they weren’t sick, when life was easier. But I need to hold onto this moment when I’m here with my girl and we are alive and healthy. And I need to embrace the changes the future will bring.

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happiness

Let’s do that 81 more times

Today was another one of those days filled with joy and sadness. After having such a great day yesterday I woke up feeling fine (and then I giggled thinking of laughing about feeling fine with my relative the night before. Fine we use as an acronym: F*ckedup, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional).

I realized today marked 2 months since Mom died. I think I am more in denial about that than I was 2 months ago.

But that same relative has said to me life goes on and it truly does. It’s ok to be sad, but life goes on and I don’t want to miss it all.

Today also marked the birthday of my uncle. He and my aunt have always been like extra parents to my sister and I – and today I really needed to be with my tribe. So I was extremely thankful we were included in on the celebration and I could get out of my head (or my heart)  and really put myself in the present moment.

My connection to my tribe grounds me and keeps me sane. I depend on that feeling of knowing there is a soft place to land – I think we all do.

 

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happiness

Chin Chopper

One of my favourite games that Dad used to play with us was the Chin Chopper Game. No idea where it came from – I assume maybe it was one he learned as a child – I should have asked him. But it was guaranteed to give my sister and I (and whatever cousins were around) many many giggles. Then we we went on to have kids of our own Grandpa did Chin Chopper with them. Dad really loved his family and playing with us kids (or our kids) was something he did really well.

I was sorting out some photos on my computer today and came across a couple of old Chin Chopper videos from 2013 – two years before he died. Sometimes I feel our technology gets in the way of our relationships, but sometimes it gives us gem memories like these ones.

I miss both Mom and Dad so much – but we have so many good memories, and most importantly the memory of being loved unconditionally. That is a real gift. It is true happiness.

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happiness

Love letters

I was looking for printer paper in the filing cabinet at my parents’ house today and I came across some unexpected treasures. Apparently my parents wrote each other little love notes over the years, and they kept them in a file next to where the paper was stored. It was so unexpected it took my breath away and I had to stop and spend the next hour looking through their messages of love.

My parents had their issues like every other couple did, but at the heart of it they were two halves of a whole. They loved each other fiercely, and as a result they loved us all unconditionally. I’m so grateful for that because it taught me how to love fiercely and unconditionally as well.

As I looked at their photos and little love moments I was reminded that although I miss mom terribly, in many ways it feels more “right” that they are back together again.

Today was one month since she died. I can’t believe it’s been so long, I can’t believe it’s been only a month.

I went to my cousin’s for supper tonight and as the family laughed as we played Apples to Apples I thought how fortunate I am that we are surrounded with love.

Laughter makes everything seem so much more bearable – it’s the perfect antidote to sadness. I’m lucky I’ve got someone who makes me laugh, who is helping bring my smile back.

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happiness

A Dad day

For some reason today has been a day surrounded by memories of my Dad. I was driving this afternoon and was all of a sudden hit with this huge wave of regret. That specific regret is a feeling I try really hard to stuff as far down as I can and pretend it’s not there. I feel so badly that the kids and I weren’t able to come back home much sooner. He was so sick and both of my parents could have used my help. And yet I was stuck in my own horrible situation waiting for my own miracle to arrive (and it did). 

The kids and I spent some time this evening at the creek – which was a place my Dad loved to be at. That spot is filled with so many good memories of swimming in the summer and skating in the winter. I miss him so much but being at the creek was a good reminder that there is so much simple joy that can be easily found. I feel so blessed that it is right here at my back door.

Sitting at the creek, sitting in my emotions, opening my heart – my happiness moment 

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happiness

Quiet road 

Today’s happiness moment is pretty short and sweet. We did a family walk this morning – my sister and her kids, mom, me and my kids. It was heart happy  to have our family together and enjoying each other’s company. 

I realized part way though the walk that it was starting to feel a bit more normal that Dad wasn’t with us while we did these things and that made me a little sad. That letting go business is so difficult. But I know he would be so happy to see his family out enjoying the day together. 

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Hold out your hands 

I was joined by my girl on my evening walk today. That is always a joyous treat, but tonight turned into something extra special. 

I know as we have reached the anniversary of dad’s death that so many memories have come up for all of us and it seems tonight was Jenna’s turn to process things. 

She shared with me her feelings around the last few days of dad’s life, how special it was to have him home, how difficult it was to send him to the hospice, how powerful it was when we all gathered and prayed after he died. 

She said the most meaningful part of the experience right after he passed was when she was approached by her cousin. She said I walked in and Courtney just opened her hands to me and pulled me right into her heart. It made me feel so safe and so good to know someone who loved me was there to care for me. 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to trust with your heart, to let others hold onto that heart. Listening to her talk made me remember how important it is for all of us to have a safe place to land. 

Walking with my girl and sharing our stories was my happiness moment for the day. 

Jenna took this photo. She said it was like God had made a path home for her. 

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