happiness

A year of pain – a year of growth

This has by far been the most difficult year of my life. If you had asked me a year ago what I thought was coming in the year ahead,  I would have said there was no way after the last few years that so much intense pain could be ahead of me, but there you have it.

A year ago today I took my unplanned dismount off my horse and shattered my shoulder, broke my helmet, and scared the crap out of myself. I spent almost 2 months barely able to move after that, needing help from my kids to do the most basic things for myself, and needing them to step up and help with care for my mom. It was truly humbling to have to ask for help to do up my bra and get dressed.  They both were pretty fantastic about everything, and we had unbelievable love and support from friends and family during that first little while which was the only way we made it through. We need our tribe.

Three days after I got the all clear from the doctor that my bone had healed properly and I could begin to strengthen and gain mobility, mom started chemo. Everything seemed so intense and time seemed to move at a slower pace, but in reality things went downhill for her very quickly after that. She was in the hospital for 5 weeks with pneumonia after her first few weeks of treatment and never fully regained her strength after that.

She came home for a couple of weeks at Christmas time which was a huge blessing, and we were able to celebrate the holiday and enjoy precious time with her then. Another dark cloud appeared during this time as the kids’ other grandma (Mr X’s mom) cut off contact with them and that relationship has never been repaired.

Mom went back into hospital not too long after New Years, and passed away January 18th.

As I was still trying to absorb that loss and mourn, my daughter became critically ill and the next few months were spent caring for and supporting her.

To add to my sorrow, I was betrayed by someone I loved and trusted which caused me incredible pain, and somehow Mr. X was allowed to fall through the cracks of the system and become almost $50,000 behind in his payments which has put a huge financial strain on my family.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my relationships and weeding out the ones that aren’t healthy for me. Sadly I’ve come to the conclusion that my most important relationship, my most loved one, after God and my children also isn’t one that I am able to continue and I’ve decided to sell my beloved horse. I will be getting a new one, but I’ve tried and tried and although I love him with all my heart it just isn’t meant to be.

Today I get to close the chapter on this year of pain. It doesn’t mean I get to leave all those emotions behind me, it just means that I intend to move ahead and continue to seek happiness and peace.

In reality, all I want to do is go to bed for 2 weeks and cry. We went and saw the second Mama Mia last night, and had I had any idea the storyline I would have chosen anything else. But it was ABBA, how could it be painful to watch right? It’s made me realize I haven’t even begun my grieving process and that I probably do need to stop and sit and cry for a little while.

So much has happened I don’t even know how to begin to absorb it.

One thing I do know is a lesson I learned from the person who deeply hurt me. I refuse to live the rest of my life being a victim of Mr. X, a victim of circumstance, a victim of low self worth, a victim of others. If the kids and I have walked through all we have been through in the last few years we are survivors, we are warriors, we have strength I never would have imagined possible.

I’ve been really struggling with my happiness journey lately. I’ve not wanted to blog or reflect on anything that has been going on. But today I feel that it’s time to move ahead, to let things go, to feel what needs to be felt. And there’s a certain amount of happiness in that release.

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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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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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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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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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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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