Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Journal 1

I've been reading "Must you go?" by Antonia Fraser (Lady Antonia Fraser officially, Lady Antonia Fraser Pinter if you really want to be technical) and lolling in her diary-inspired world for the past couple of weeks.
Truth be told I tear through books, but I've been browsing this one slowly, looking at her timelines, her short, honest entries, and admiring the fact that she, as an honest-to-goodness published writer of many books, used this format to chronicle her chance tale of meeting the love of her life in her forties, in 1975, a decade where women were expected to have chosen the course of their lives by about, oh, say, 21. She boldy went.

Her writing is plain in contrast to the memoirs of today with their similes and adjectives, their decorative language. She denudes it all with the simplicity of her statements, her obvious joy with her soul-mate, and above all her gratitude at life, living it every moment, broke, flush with wealth, on holiday, with a cold, raising her children, selling her house.

I love it all.

January approaches and I want to commit to shorter, timelier posts, and I will be switching to more 'journal' type entries, to re-acquaint myself to not fall asleep through the days. One day they will dwindle to memory, and as I re-read my journals of the 90s and early 00s I marvel at who I was, who I was becoming. My entries were often labourious, scribbled late at night when I was at my most exhausted, but also my most honest, most lucid.

The new year, with all its shiny promise....beckons.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas List--The Year That Was

Love (for my family, for M, for my friends)

Family and
my niece and nephew (for making this year more than liveable even in the darkest corners)

Friends (for stepping in when I needed them most)

Freedom (to walk away and make a new start)

Health (to support others in their time of need)

Strength (everything that has happened this year and imprinted on
my soul gave me extra compassion, sharpened my senses, and allowed
me to get to know myself better)

Travel (so I could remember how to be happy)

Visitors (for making the journey to me and enriching my life)

Birthdays (and the people I love celebrating them)

Aging (may life be long)

Working (to lose myself in when I needed structure most)

Lying in bed listening to the rain (when M is beside me it's that much better)

Talking on the phone (to M, to my sister, to my mom, to my aunt, to A, L, T, and N....)

Prayer (for helping me keep faith)

Books (to let me escape and dream)

Words (so I could say exactly what I needed to--both aloud and here on this blog)

Conversation (to reflect and think)

Memories (if I could remember how to laugh, I could do it again)

Learning (more about myself)

Calm (to not act in the heat of the moment)

Coffee (I get tired too)

Facing reality (sometimes things just don't work out. and that's ok. in fact it's more than
ok. it's amazing. a new opportunity awaits..)

Security (and then the lack of)

Safety (preservation of self. not absence of risk)

Good advice (thank you thank you thank you)

New things (I will adapt)

Comfort (and joy...)

Honesty (trust life)

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Not Quite New Years

Monday is coming, this Monday morning, which is when I found out. Which honestly, was the begining of my world tilting a bit on its' axis, and that's when the slide started.

Was talking with my dear friend A last night, about how easy it can
be to 'give in', when the going gets tough, you stop going/living/meeting life halfway, and for me, it would have been very easy this year, to give it all up, stop trying/loving/getting out of bed.
To just get off the ride, as I so blithely begged in a recent post about work driving me to the edge.
But I chose Me. And to work on that relationship, with myself. And the motto about controlling my own behavoiur (becasue I can't control anyone else's) has been my personal mission statement throughout this life-altering, mind-bending year.

I will be in another country for New Years, something that seems oddly fitting.
A 'break from tradition', from spending it with the same group of people, as I have for appx. 6 or 7 odd years.
I will be toasting to alot of things.

One is the spirit world, which I am quite certain has carried me through some of the most painful moments of this year;
Another is my Aunt K (I found a copy of The Prophet in Chapters last night in the bargain book section....bought it for her. Can't believe I found it....another sign.)
Her wonderful wisdom and the phone call after the night of my next-to-last Keg shift, with me practically writhing in emotional pain on the floor of my apartment, glass of wine in hand, and her calming, sensible words, ones I will never forget.
To my very first trip to NYC and how special my friend L made it for me. She lives far away but daily finds time, no matter how busy she is, to email me, my sister, her sister, and our friend A the horoscopes, a little touchstone to make it through the day;
To my new-found-old-friend love M, and his presence in my life, for making me come outside of myself, for challenging me with his intellect, and for running with me in Central Park, where I truly had an out-of-body experience, the kind of happiness that stays with you inside, in a quiet place, for a long time;
To every true friend I have, and I know exactly who you all are, each of you gives me something very special--yourself, your inner thoughts, your stand-by-it-ness, and your fierce loyalty.
To my dad for going through his 'trial-by-fire' with stoicism and some quiet pride,
and for holding on to his dignity through the worst of it;
To my mom and sister--my mom for being the best care-taker you could ever want, and for never letting worry cripple her and to my sister for continuing to raise two of the most amazing little people I've ever known, pretty much on her own, all the while working through her own pain and grief, and complaining little. She's taught herself to cook, taken writing courses, and travelled to places to be with friends all while being a fully engaged parent to my niece and nephew.
To myself for being authentic and not letting fear keep me trapped in a wrong relationship;
to breaking out of my comfort zone and driving to Maine, and for every time I felt fear on the road or doubted my directions, seeing a crow fly by, out of the corner to my eye,
a kind of talisman, a reassurance;
to the rainbow I saw at the service station at the side of the road after a wash of rain in Massachusetts.

To life and its many lessons this watershed year. I hope I can remember that sometimes out of the darkest times comes enhanced appreciation and gratitude for the light.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Again

Normal day,
let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me learn from you,
love you,
bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by
in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may,
for it may not always be so.
One day I shall dig my nails into the earth,
or bury my face in the pillow,
or stretch myself taut,
or raise my hands to the sky and want,
more than all the world, your return.
~Mary Jean Iron

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Dozen

The Chinese calendar divides their version of the zodiac by year, rather than by the dates in a year, as the traditional zodiac calendar does.

There are still twelve signs, but they are one per year, not twelve in one year.

I'm feeling, right now, like I'm reaching the end of a twelve-year cycle in my adult life. It seems somehow impossible that I have even been an adult, a fully-functional, self-sufficient adult, for slightly more than that time. But maybe, I became an adult twelve years ago, and have been a participant in this journey of my zodiac 'year' sign for all this time.

I'm an Ox according to the Chinese calendar. And in the traditional zodiac, I'm a Virgo, an August Virgo, missing fiery Leo by one day. I guess I am a fiery Virgo. Passionate, if you will. Committed. (commitable?) Stable. Fearful of change, of feeling out-of-balance, of feeling out-of-control. This is combined with the recent, developing knowledge that I've gleaned--really, we can't fear being out-of-control. Because we control nothing, really, in this life. We don't control fate coming our way, we don't control when or how death will visit us in this life, in its' various disguises, it's surprising way of simply arriving and blanketing everything we touch with a feeling of unreality. We don't really control our day-to-day life, the small things in it. Car accidents happen, bus drivers are rude and impatient, and you might trip and fall in the street, in front of people, picking yourself up, painfully embarassed, but still just a human being, a human doing--doing the best she can.

The twelve-year summation also relates to work. I've been at the same (quite stressful) job for twelve years. It's a roller-coaster ride, just like life, of some triumphs, some failures (blown up in my mind to far more drama than they really encapsulate), and most of all, as with many jobs, some people who make it all worthwhile, and others who make the journey as torturous and painful as possible. I have coworkers who, over the last few weeks, knowing how stressed everyone is, and how busy we all are, have really pulled together and tried to help, and for that I feel blessed at their dedication, and I feel my own dedication to be more valuable as I witness their struggles, too, dealing with the day to day work we all have to get done, most often under unbearable deadlines. I have clients who are human, whose opinions I value, and who I even consider friends.
And on the sad flip-side of this, I also have clients who make me want to free-fall off a bridge and land in a world where people like them do not exist.
My friend L. says it best--you never know WHAT battles people are fighting when they show you that side of themselves that is better left unseen. And I run this phrase through my head on the difficult days, and there have been ALOT of them lately. Far too many than I care for.

Which is why, here on sacred Sunday morning, I'm pouring these feelings out about work, about career, about stress, about an industry that doesn't allow the achievement of far-off objectives. It's about the here, the now, the opening day, the perfect house, the perfect condominium, the perfect IT. And life's not perfect, and neither are people. It's alot to take, and it's taking up alot right now.
What to do? I guess mining my creative talents to solve problems is one thing. Pre-emptive measures are another.
Coming back to my Virgo-Ox original train of thought, both my signs point to a long life of work-based, work-driven, life satisfaction. It's not really a choice--it's known throughout both zodiacs tht the traits of the Ox (solid, predictable, strong, pulling their weight) and the Virgo (perfectionist, driven, competitive, advisory, intuitive) marry up to form one hell of a work ethic.

I would just like a little break, a short pause of the ever-turning carousel, and seeing the same scenery going by me, round and round, dizzying in its repetition, yet uncontrollable in its sameness.

Today I want to stop the ride and get off.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Thinking About Memoir
That is the title of the book I just finished reading, lent to me by my sister, who purchased it on a whim at the bookstore a couple of weeks ago.
I realized, as I started into the reading of this slim volume, that this writer was a frequent contributor to the Oprah magazine, and had written, sometime around January 2001 or 2002, I'm still not clear on the dates, one of the best articles about life I have ever read. I've even referenced it here on this blog, author unknown, unrealized, talking about this particular phrase, 'the longing for something...it's what makes us human'. That was Abigail Thomas, writer of this particular piece and author of this particular book.
I'm not going to go on and on about it; it's something that has to be experienced, digested, understood. Then, and only then, as a human being on this revolving door planet, will you be able to get through the book (in my case with numerous page pauses and closing the book on your thumb while you ponder what you have just read, and how brilliant this under-appreciated writer really is); but I leave you with this: the closing of the book, written, as far as I can tell, by all intents and purposes, by the publisher. It's a lovely little string of words, and I leave them for you now, as I get ready to go to bed and hopefully dream about a world where all these things exist. I quote the back chapter of the book:
A Note About the Series
Thinking About Memoir is the first volume in an ongoing series on the arts of living that AARP books will publish over the next few years. The series is intended to provoke thinking about some of the personal and public disciplines that have fallen into disuse in our recent history; such virtues as civility, conversation, listening, courage, loyalty, remembering, patience, and love.

I think for me, this pretty well sums it all up.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Thank you
for forty years
for being together
even when things weren't always perfect.

Your friend stopped in to my office today.
he started crying.
I cried too.

I know you want to go there alone.
I don't like it, but I'll allow it.
After talking to Aunt K last night,
I'm going to give up that fight.

I want you to know
You don't have to look at anything
As giving up.
I won't look at it like that either.
I mean, I don't, either.

Just so you know,
I wouldn't have even made it this far.
I love you Dad.
And Mom.

Thank you both for being you
even when things weren't always perfect.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

September's Gone

I missed pretty much the entire month, what with a long stretch of vacation, someone new in my life, and the adjustment of returning back to 'normal life' after being away. I didn't write at all really, except some letters to my new long-distance boyfriend.

I wasn't regularly on email for almost two weeks, as I was busy experiencing life during my trip as new, whole, and not as broken as the last few months.

One email to my parents tells them I feel "more like myself again".

I thought about that statement after reading my Dad's reply, he was so glad to hear that.

More like myself is, as I've indicated in previous posts, is more playful and less stoic; more centred and less restless; more committed and less anxious.

But, as I related to a close friend on the weekend, since I've been back, I've been...forgetful. Misplacing objects. Forgetting to return calls. Not as tirelessly communicating with all those in my life. That is really not like me.

I tried to pinpoint where the shift occurred.

In the same conversation with this very close friend, A., who imparts her wisdom and knowledge on me with an eloquence that few people I have ever met are gifted with, we talked about the need for control in life. How people employ so many methods and strategies (not all of them healthy) to "manage the uncertainty" in life....that's when it hit me.

In dealing with issues of recent months, and prior to that, I realized I had really no control over some events that had occurred, and had continued to occur in my life. All I had was an illusion of control--meaning, I could imagine all I wanted to that things were going along the way I had in mind, when in reality I'm simply an instrument of fate, meeting life halfway as much as I can.

It sounds frightening. It's not really. It can, if allowed to, be kind of freeing.

That is the shift I think.

I'm not overly trying to manage and control every detail right now.
In dealing with some family health issues, I don't have the energy.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I wish I had the words
To show you the inside
of my heart.
It's a place that
some days
I don't even get to.

I think I've realized
the difference
Between life here on earth
and life after.
There, there is no fear
Here, we breathe it in like air
and expel it out
Only to draw it in again.

I once thought
a few words and
some paper
Would solve all the problems
But words can be erased
and paper can blow away.
It can get ripped,
and shredded

Land in the water
and drift away there.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Recover Me

The light flits into the window
slatted by the blinds.
Same light (I suppose) as last night,
as last year.
My arm holds onto the window ledge
same arm, it's been here all the time.

It's dusk, the sky is that August blue,
azure, alight,
dark and light.
The buildings stand
solid and real
Pretty much
the same buildings as before.

But those are the only familiar things
Because inside my head
inside my life
Everything is different.

I'm marooned on my bed, with a book,
and a glass of water.

And then a friend calls.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Over the bridge is where I split in two,
Above the road, away from you.
Away from me, and away from my thoughts
They swirl around but then get lost.

On the pavement I had them lined up in a row
All my beliefs about how life should go
This thirty-sixth year they all blew away
Nothing I can do makes things any other way.

My life continues to morph to another shape
From the one I had before
Its the one I'm supposed to be living I imagine.

Knowing this doesn't make it any easier, but it could.

When I try to control my thoughts,
it's easier to accept that I don't have control,
Over anything, really.
I just have this soul.
Carrying me over the road
Someone else's route?

I think about karma, it's unbending rules
And wonder exactly what did I do
The examined life, I know I chose it all

Knowing this doesn't make it any easier, but it should.

From another poem, Later got older
But I don't see the future,
In a way that makes me afraid.
Because fear of life never got anyone anywhere.

This thirty-seventh year is looking at me curiously
Telling me I wanted to be here, despite my desire to crawl back in time
And fix things to what I think they could be or should be.

I can't do that.
I have to live my life forward.

Knowing this doesn't make it any easier, but it will.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nothing New

I was listening to a radio program on the way in to work this morning.
Yes, I know, that in itself is disconcerting, as I have rejected all news media in recent weeks, because hearing news, sensational stories, tragedies from around the world, and an endless stream of negative information raises my anxiety levels to heights I didn't know possible.
Anyway, there I was, flipping through the stations, when I hit upon a program that spews out 'studies', cleverly sandwiched between songs, contests, and commercials, just random news items that they pick out and read aloud, in a condensed version, on the air.
In a nutshell, they had found a study by someone with a PhD in Sociology (and this makes it all the more 'credible') that men who were in cohabitating relationships with women who made more money than them, or who were more successful than them, asserted their masculinity by cheating on their partner.
Wow. It took a STUDY to figure this out?
Well, here's some more food for thought. Successful men cheat too. Know why? Because they see women as perks, as possessions, like a new car, and they should be able to get one any time they want.
So. It's like my Dad said a few weeks ago, when I was sitting in my parents' backyard, my Dad comforting me as I cried; "All men are hardwired to cheat. It's just that some of them are able to control the impulse better than others".
Thanks Dad. I think your information is more reliable than the PhD woman.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sway your house
empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you
out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

A poem by RUMI
translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne

Monday, August 16, 2010

For No One

For Monday
For coffee
For green tea
For getting out of bed
even though there was no one beside you all night

For being on our own
For thriving, not just surviving
For always having a little something on the go
For going on vacation at will, at whim, to an unknown place, alone

For taking one for the team
For not just letting them get away with it
For not turning a blind eye
For using your brain (to figure it out)
For using your heart (it will heal)
For using your voice (sometimes silence speaks volumes...)
For using your feet.

To walk out of his life.


She asked me that, on her sectional couch; 'What is your closure on this, what does it take for you to get that'.
Me; pulling no punches. "It's not going to happen in a civilized conversation. It's too late for that. My peace, my closure, L, is never having to hear from him again; in a text, in an email. In a phone call. And never having to see him again. To allow myself the luxury of letting myself think he no longer exists". (and to me, he doesn't).
I have, and continue to have, vague memories of the last few months, reason being I am convinced that what my sister said is true. This bandaid needed to be ripped off in the most disconcerting of fashions, so that no old patterns could be renewed. IE, we couldn't fall back into our same unhealthy, insane relationship when he was living with another woman. Whose kidding who? Maybe, as a newly-single heartbreak-beat type of girl, you'd want to text the person/call them-- who caused you pain. Not so-when another woman is involved; when your lover went 'the third way' as it is so aptly described in some literature I've been reading; you get no so such wallowing luxury. It's one thing to let a man you cared about, loved, cherished, wanted to marry, see you in heartbreak state; quite another to involve his third party in your two-person-only vehicle of pain. And my sister and I broke this down in a quality that seems to permeate in women who like to trail after men who belong to other women; They don't have the scruples to give a good goddamn about any other woman in the first place, and that will not change now. The reminders of you (should you let them be there) just make her uncomfortable, in a way she will be unable to identify for long periods of time. But bottom line she (and he) are selfish. Self-focussed.No use in letting them feed off your own pain so they can try and claim their own adversity--so hard done by, struggling to keep it together, as a couple brought together in the 'third way', and somehow lending them some righteous indignation. No such luck friends. You will have to do without the external drama. Go ahead; make your own fun.

Insight is not their strong point. Coveting and acqusition are where they focus. Once the package arrives, they have a hard time getting the paper and strings off. They are still somewhere else. They will always be somewhere else. Because sometimes, things sent through to you are not ones you were really ready to receive; the same way that things taken away from you, you were not ready to give up. Benevolence indeed. A greater plan in motion? Maybe. You (I) tell yourself this at the darkest moments.
As my friend A says:
"You are, where you are supposed to be."
I hope so. Moving through the where I'm supposed to be of right now, to the lovely one I am supposed to reach after I Learn this Lesson and re-evaluate why I even wanted this thing in the first place.
Ah autopsies in relationships. We don't get them. We can create them for ourselves, we can piece together the facts to solve the unsolvable.
Closure. That you have to give to yourself. This idea you had with a person no longer exists, for either one of you.
But it won't be anything nice and frame-able in the emotional world. It will be tattered, stained, upside-down, and if you're me, subtly torturous at least a few times a day in the beginning.

I look at this way, this time; I didn't fail.
I will continue to grow, one closure at a time.

thank you A and L for your thoughts....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lost and Found

As my last blog post indicated, the list format helped me overcome some writers block that I've been encountering over the last week or so. Amazing, really---I'd come to depend on the writing to get me through whatever situation I was facing for the day, the week, and suddenly, I did a bit of dealing with it on my own; without testing out the feelings here, first, and I felt..a bit better. Not in the sense that my writing wasn't helping me; unload, renew, take another look at; but just in the sense that when I wrote it out, I would deposit it into the blog, like money at a bank, and not give it too much thought afterward, until I re-read it again, with some perspective.
And I did, I have, I continue to do. I continue to heal. Thrive? No, not in this vein right now. Date? Under no circumstances. As one very recent post dealt with, I can't even TALK about relationships without, ok, how do I say this..."going Off". That's what happened tonight, when my sister and I went to meet up with an old friend of hers for a quick drink, and conversation turned, aptly, to his relationship and how it was going (or wasn't). I was short. I was blunt. I was...in raw description mode, unwilling to indulge him in helping him feed his fantasy about how things are gonna go in this thing he's in. I didn't get upset (until I was out of his sight) but I did let him know, kindly, keeping in mind my slight bias, that what he was doing was emotionally objectionable in it's most benign form.
But, as always after a conversation/rant like this; I bring it back to me. Is this a mirroring aspect for me? Or am I being tested on my conversational skills to see how well I stack up to a man of my own generation this week, spewing off about relationships, and expecting me to swoon that he's doing the best he can and she's crazy. No dice my friend. No dice.

Back to me. I'm getting out more. I have, just this week, reached my end-August-goal of 25 kms a week, running, today, mid-August, mid-thunderstorm, every cell begging me to turn back, but I finished the run in my best 10 km time today, 48 minutes, limping the last few yards.
I'm back to some restless, night-owl tendencies that very much point back to my happy singleton self peeking back out from behind the curtain, a mischievious smile on my face.
I'm focussing on me, mine, and not that, them. They have receded alot as I sail through my summer, buttressed on all sides by people who seemed determined to engage me in events.
I've made travel plans, solo ones, and feel no trepidation as they approach. I've kicked it a few times at work, where some ideas and energy came at me from somewhere, something, I didn't know I had.
Bad days? Ha. OF COURSE. Last Monday I think I had a lying-on-the-floor moment for a minute when I was trapped in tv land watching a man describe himself, on live tv, as his middle name being "Lying and Deceiving".
But the setbacks bring me to conclusions. No, not ones carved in stone. Rather, conclusions that I arrive at when I face the peace I want to attain. A close friend was over for lunch. We have frank discussions, and it's on the table in our friendship that we are honest with each other, and feel the ability to share private thoughts with each other, no hint of judgment, despite the different lives we leave.
I'm sitting on my gray couch, N across from me, we are each having a nice glass of Saturday afternoon chardonnay, and I say to her, aloud "If I never find anyone, if I do end up by myself, I'm okay with it. I've made it there. I'm at peace with it".
She nods, sagely, says, simply "I know you are". We both nod slowly, we don't need anymore words than that.
At least I don't. The thought came at me, at that moment, across the universe, and I felt it through, beginning, middle, to end. The way I do everything, clumsily, the exact same way.
The thing was, I really meant it. It no longer matters. I've made some discoveries that maybe my emotions and psychology just don't mesh well in romantic situations. I'm not saying I failed, that I have failed, that I may continue to fail--I'm just saying that there is not one shred of me that would concede to someone because he's a man and I should go and get one. Or would give up any opinion, dream, or value of space to let them have what they feel they should get, because somehow, someway, it's still a man's world.
As my aunt says, no bother. You should be so lucky to get to forty, unmarried, (she actually used the word "unshackled") but I digress.

The title of this post is Lost and Found.
And here's what I lost--an unreliable, dishonest, free-loading boyfriend.
My last set of illusions about the world of love.
Some company, mid-level, checked-out emotionally, at the best of times.
My footing, just a bit, at the beginning when I so innocently found it all out.

Here's what I found;
That people are inspired by courage, however whispering and shivering.
I am going to be much more okay on my own.
That God did me a favour;
that they did me a favour;
That I was biding time, waiting for my ring, so I could marry a man who was already
all wrong for me.

I found, myself, my courage, my voice, my living space back, my rational mind, my cohesive self-image.

My dreams are not on hold, they are re-directed to the self of me that has experienced more personal growth in this watershed year than it has in the last five.
In the tarot cards of my head, the key word that resonates is Transformation.
It's a new life, with new rules, and tomorrow is not even on the table.
That's what you get when you are given the opportunity to live another day.
When that is given to you.
Given to you.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Past is Over

I read this phrase on a Louise Hay "Power Thought" card.
Wonderful thing, isn't it, sometimes? Especially when the relationship you thought was 'the one' pulls the rug out.

Before you roll your eyes (I would have, years ago), this is not nearly as new-agey as it sounds.
I'm not going to regale you with tales of why I'm glad 'the past is over'. I'm just going to make a list of reasons why. Some you might relate to; some only apply to me. As Madonna said, so sagely "this is my religion"....My blog. My therapy.

1) You never have to live that bad day over again. Ever. You can go there in your head, you can re-create the pain, you can make yourself feel it, those miserable sensations; but you never ever have to physically experience the shock, the cold dawning of a realization, the utter devestation of that particular day again.
2) You can let it go. It's not easy. You don't have to let all of it go. But you can let go of some of it.
3) Those torturous memories, the happy ones, when you had fun together, when you roller-blade, buy furniture, spend time with each others' families--they can recede. They won't happen again. And one day, you won't think about them anymore (you'll focus on the names he called you, how he tried to drag you down, how he attacked your soul.)
4) You're free. I am, anyway. I don't feel it every day, but I feel it when it counts.
5) It's a new day. It's a new life. Every Single Day.
6) You can smile sardonically at young love. No, you're not bitter. You're a grown up. You know how it goes.
7) SSB. See previous post. I'm still enjoying the little things about what I missed most about living alone--like putting music on in the morning. Like leaving my clothes all over the laundry room. Like always knowing where I put something, because no one's moved it. How nice it is to not live with a hoarder anymore. The lifting of negative energy. The pure silence of no TV. Not having to dread football season. No one snoring in the bed beside me, ruining my rest.
8) Ok, so I was at a party on Saturday night and my friend's husband, after I went on about recent occurances in my personal life, said to my friend "Wow. She HATES men". My friend, (rock on...) replied "Wouldn't you?" So, number 8 is: getting over the hate and the anger.
9) Three Words: Break Up Diet. I didn't even weigh this in my TWENTIES.
10) The Future is Waiting.

Happy Monday.

Friday, August 6, 2010

On the Sidelines

Last night, a Thursday, I meandered over to my sister's house, post-dinner, to have a drink on her front steps with her, after she'd put her children in bed, and I had endured my long commute home.

We sat on her front steps, at her house, watching the traffic of her urban street wind by, some on foot, with dogs, some in cars, speeding a bit, we remarked, and sipped wine.

A hot, humid night, cicadas droning on, us laughing, talking, and discussing, in funny terms, my recent break-up, as I've mentioned here, before. We weren't analyzing it, just making jokes like we do, in order to keep things light and not bring ourselves down.

Along comes my sister's Russian neighbour, who lives across the street.

So much for keeping it light.
I can relate to her neighbour, an older gentleman who has a fondness for the ladies, and although I normally can engage him and tolerate his stories, last night was particularly trying, as my sister offered him a beer, which he graciously accepted. When my sister went in to get the beer, he remarked that, although my sister and I look similar, she's the 'diver' and I 'stay on the shore' or something like that. Yeah, because I haven't heard THAT before.
He said, "You need to take RISKS."
I stared at him blankly. Not unkindly, but rather, in disbelief. Yes; I am an introvert to a certain point. No, I don't blithely talk to people I don't know with ease and open-ness. But believe me; recently I have felt like I've risked it ALL.
My sister came back out with the beer.
He then proceeded to enthrall us, at length, with stories about men and women, and matters of the heart, my sister, god bless her, cautioning him before he started in that I've recently fallen on heartbreak; he gave no heed.

On and on he went, until I couldn't take it anymore.

I mean, I DO get it. Despite my numerous failures in relationships, I'm a passionate creature, I care with my whole heart, and I suffer with the whole thing too.

I picked up my purse and my bag, in his mid-sentence, and announced I was going home.
My sister asked me not to go; her neighbour stopped, surprised.
I left.
I went home and cried.
I will file this one under "Setbacks" and leave it alone for now.

Because I DID dive. And there were sharks in the water.
For now, I'm staying on the shore.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Where to Begin it

I've never had a gift for self-illusion. There are times when I long for it, I must admit. Where I wish I could just crawl under the proverbial rock and psychologically have a rest. But I have one of those minds that simply will not leave me be.

So I have to indulge it with books, with information, with lots of new thoughts every waking moment to tame its' unruly quest for knowledge otherwise.

The Memoir has been taking up alot of headspace lately. It's part of that "idea that won't go away" (not that I want it to) so I've decided to start writing it, partially here on my blog.

All of my previous posts, while relevant and important, have been good writing 'practice'. It is when I start connecting the dots that I will finally begin a narrative, something that has been a little off-centre and random here.

Again, perhaps this was my 'where to begin it' playing field....

The Memoir, as I call it, and I do call it that, has a file in my computer, labelled Memoir #, dated, usually, much like my twenty-something handwritten journal entries. The main difference is I tend to 'title' the entries, sometimes with just a name, the person on whom I'm focussed on in that 'entry'. Or a title such as "Phonecall" or "Eating" or "Setbacks", and I can flash to where and what I was thinking of or aiming for in the entry.

I have to admit here that my blog does not even scratch the surface sometimes of my thoughts, tangled as they are in this watershed year; does not even reach the depth of how I am really feeling sometimes. I mentioned to a friend, via email a couple of weeks ago, that it often feels like they are a) writing themselves, and b) that it is stream of consciousness; I edit later.

I also talk more about my personal relationships. Not that I expect these to be 'exposed' by publications--clearly as a private person myself I heavily respect others' privacy. And this is MY memoir--I have to admit things about Myself, My life, what I do with My time, My private life. The people in my life, my relationships, are obviously the most enriching part of my life, aside from the time I spend in my own head; but I have to deal with Me in this Me(moir).

Another thing I don't like to do on my blog (lying, cheating exes are exempt from this rule) is discuss others' situations, except often in veiled terms, general terms. It's not fair to the people in my life. Reader, you may disagree and I do point to family posts as proof of your objections; but never will I expose something personal about someone that is theirs alone, unless it is previously discussed.

My blog goal has been, for a time, my most basic writing practice, streamlined into a set format. It has also forced me to open my writing up to critique and opinions, which I love hearing. It has also, as I've mentioned recently, been a huge source of comfort for me, an outlet to allow the sad energy to flow out of me; and let myself heal.

The pure, distilled version of living alone (as I call it Phase 2) has removed all distraction from my focus (as well as removed a 48" TV that droned on CityTV as though I was in a "Newsflash Hell" for 10 months). Anyway. That's for another post.

For now let me tell you I am writing, I am observing, I am living my life. Thriving? Not yet. Eating, yes! Yes! Talking about male-female relationships? No, thank you. Taking a long look at the ones who have stayed around me during this time of intense strife? Yes, and thanking the Universe for their presence and constant caring. Taking a slash-and-burn approach to those who can't cope? Absolutely.

I can cope.

Every keystroke is proof of this to me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Holding On

I seem to find the wrong ones.
I seem love the wrong ones too.
But really--what does wrong mean?
Wrong can mean unreliable.
Wrong can mean untrustworthy.
but Wrong can also mean Different
or Odd
or Unique
or Complex

I am all these things too.

I love the flaws, the dark, my own and other peoples'.
Sometimes the darkness hides incredible light.
Sometimes it's just dark.

My sister calls them my projects.
What or who am I trying to fix?
Myself or them?

I want to hate men right now.
I can't. I love them too much.
An ex once told me I would never get married--
You can't, Carolyn. You just love men, men in general.
I love this prediction.

Men as men think differently.
My aunt is reading the book Committed.
I can't, because this book makes me cry.
But then, everything right now makes me cry.
It makes me lose (more) hope, if that is even possible.
My dad hates the book.
"Put the book away Kath." He knows it's upsetting me.

He's pragmatic about relationships, to the point of simplification.
Men as men think differently.
Women as women think differently from men.
Men, he says, are all the same way, hardwired to cheat.
It's something they have to
learn to control, that's all, he says.
It's just that some don't learn. Couldn't. Or hadn't been given the example not to.
This all makes sense.

Men as friends care deeply
They don't worry about the number of calls
Who called who
Who wants who more
What is needed, what is expected.
They just arrive, in the message box, on the phone
Checking in.

I want to hate men but I can't.
I'm still curious.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Is there some place, out in the universe, where we live out a parallel existence? The one we get when we take a different side-street as we make our way through life?
A close friend of mine is dedicated to the theory, the 'where-we're-supposed-to-be-of-it-all.'
I have to agree with her. Those side-streets where you veer off, lost perhaps, but finding something all the same, are part of what makes life interesting, what makes life 'happen'.
In the best of times, when you can describe your state of mind as 'optimum' and your being is humming with the alive-ness of it all, the where-you-are is present, stable, and confident.
It's the dark times when you start to question things. The 'fear of life' as I once heard it so eloquently described by an admired writer.
Well, I do, anyway.

Recent events leave me wondering--am I experiencing a karmic backlash of some sort? Or is this simply a random, benevolent turn of events, put into motion to save me from something much worse? I try to believe it's the latter.

No amount of running, starving, drinking, or lying-in-bedding will make the bad feelings go away right now. They are here, they are part of my mind (really "the mind" if it were in any way 'mine' at all, it wouldn't entertain things the way it has of late). The feelings seem like part of my being right now.
I'm not in control of my thoughts, and it's kind of making me crazy.

I don't have a parallel life, or if I do, somewhere out there on an identical planet, I don't know about it. The one I have here is flawed and bit dark at the moment.
For all those I've snapped at, I apologize.
For the phone calls I've been unable to return, so sorry.
But it's for my thoughts, and the wandering tendencies they have that are what rip at me most right now.
I want peace. I want peace of mind, peace of soul. I want to forget it all happened. Give up the last five years of relationship-ness, built on lies and deceit, and bury it in a pit somewhere.
I don't want to think of the 'duality' of him, or 'it' as I have re-christened that being. Doing something like this makes it hard for me to properly label it as 'human'.
My role? Sure, it's there. My explosions of temper when he rolled in at 7am, nary a call or a warning. My frustrations at his frustrations when something didn't go right for him and he simply could not cope--hey, welcome to life. IT DOESN'T ALWAYS GO RIGHT.

Today I'm not peaceful, I'm not mindful.
But; parallel to this--I'm coming back to myself. It's not about IT. It's not about THAT.
It's about me, in my life, overcoming this obstacle that has been sent for some divine reason, I'm certain, and in neatly moving it out of the way, not kicking it wide open, the way I would have a couple of years ago. As one friend said, sagely, "There's something to be said about maturity".
Too true.
Today, I look for the parallel in this disaster. The silver lining, if you will. The bloom of the next flower. My parallel life is just around the corner. It's not on a far-off planet, out of reach of my existence. And I am responsible for taking the parallel and its 'where-I-want-to-be-ness' and inserting back where it belongs--in me, my being, my soul.
Every day, every marked-up X on the calendar date takes me away from the shock of it all and brings me back to where-I'm-supposed-to-be.


Let me make if happen.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

You Know Who You Are

I'm getting food down without it coming back up.
I'm down to one pill a day, not two (most days).
I'm no longer having coffee for lunch, nerves jangling in time
to the keystrokes of my computer keyboard.
I am still running 10 km on Saturday mornings, splitting
up the rest of the remaining 10 km on various days of the

I am holding my head a bit higher, but watching where I step.
I'm holding onto my heart a bit tighter.
I'm not wallowing in thoughts that make the hurt worse.
I'm calling friends again, but
No one's had to come over to my loft and pull me out of bed.
I am creative and functioning at work.
I have taken some time off from commitments I can no longer fulfil right now.

I have experienced extremely cruel behaviour at the hands of someone I loved,
who supposedly loved me.
But, tenfold, thousandth-fold-- I have seen goodness and kindness from others
Towards me.
I have had friends cry along with me.
I've accepted hugs, and offers to talk about it, and I've peeled away some layers.
And taken a good long hard look at how damn lucky I truly am.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thank You Dylan

It hasn't been an easy week or two with what I've dealt with but the universe continues to give gifts, even when you're in the depths.
I have had trouble coping in recent days, and I needed some help in dealing with my overwrought emotions so I booked an appointment with a cherished therapist to give me some much-needed guidance, a little solace, and some coping strategies.

I got to the appointment early, despite the infamous Toronto traffic. I parked my car, and decided to take a brief walk in the very humid weather, to get a coffee, and kill the twenty minutes time I had on my hands. Heart heavy with my thoughts, I started toward the coffee shop, just a few minutes down the road on the Danforth.
I waited in line, my change purse out to order and pay for my coffee.
Out of nowhere, a guy, probably about thirty, waiting in line behind me, with a five-dollar-bill in his hand said to me, "Oh, I will buy your coffee." I stared at him, uncomprehendingly, my sunglassses on against the Toronto afternoon sun; my female armour on, after my recent betrayal.
"Why are you going to buy my coffee?", I said to him, kind of incredulous.
"Oh, I try and buy a coffee for someone every day, and I haven't done that yet today".
I will admit, here, on my blog, my source of such comfort: I dissolved into a web of tears.
I couldn't even speak. He didn't seem perturbed by this. He just let me cry. I found my voice.
"I just...I've had a difficult few days. I found out that my boyfriend, I mean, my ex-boyfriend, had an affair, and we were living together, and he moved in with her, and my dad has cancer, and I can't believe...you would offer...to buy...me a... coffee." I was in floods. I let him in on my world, my pain, the way sometimes you can only let in a stranger. We got to the order taker--he gestured to me to order my coffee, then he ordered his. He spoke.
"Well, listen--you have to think about things that you have to be grateful for, that's all you can do." I was struck by this. I've had a hard time feeling gratitude lately, I will admit.
I nodded. "It's true," I said, "I look around this city and see people on their bicycles, their entire lives fitting in a bicycle basket." I stuck my hand out; "I'm Carolyn". He shook my hand. "Dylan. Do you want to go somewhere and talk?" I deferred, "I'm on my way to a therapy appointment". We were handed our coffees, which he so gallantly, so gracefully, took care of.
We said good bye and wished each other well.

Angels on Earth.
On Earth.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

One Black Crow

One crow sorrow, two crows joy, three crows a letter, four crows a boy.

I can't remember the rest of the rhyme.

They have a majesty. This time of year, the pre-summer months, April, May, June. I see them alot, black shadows sillouhetted against the blue-white sky. I hear them, their loud tone-deaf calls filling me with a calm dread.

Ancient cultures (which ones? somewhere I read this) felt the sign of a single black crow was a bad bad omen. Lately, I have seen lone black crows everywhere. Even when I'm not looking.

I lived in a basement apartment near Thompson Park during the Summers of my Discontent (late last century). The mature trees invited crows. During my spring/summer/fall walks, runs, and roller-blades, there was a pair of crows that seemed to follow me along my route. It was un-nerving. I tried to give them personality by imagining they were the embodied souls of my paternal grandparents. It wasn't nearly as disrespectful or anti-Catholic as it sounds. I needed to anthromorphosize them somehow. They seemed, the pair of them, friendly, albeit stalkingly so, but they were big, tough crows, and they had no problem standing, fearless, on various patches of grass in Thompson Park, staking their territory. I watched them at first with fear, stemming from a recent trauma from a violent crime; my motivation at the time to even get outdoors was to battle depression with outdoor exercise. The crows seemed to be vocal supporters of this.
Lately, as I complete one of my many runs outside during the week, near my office, far far away from that Thompson park roller-blade route, I am seeing crows. Well, not two together. One, One ominous black crow. But lately, not so ominous. I see it flying high up above me in the blue June sky. Circling for a while, then settling on a lamp post, looking down at me, it's black eyes intent. But not threatening. Unagressive. Watching. Protective.
I shake my head as I run. I am, again, in time of life-stress and strife, attributing a kind-of personification to the common crow.
And then I stumbled across a blog entry by a writer I admire about seeing signs and spirits, as birds. It was late at night, I was labouring over this blog. Writing about something so 'out there' in the physical world for alot of people. When I saw this entry about signs and relating said signs to birds, I felt, for the first time in a few fleeting months, that I hadn't completely cracked.
And that I can acknowledge all my recent life changes, losses, and shifts of mind in the past few months without letting go of my sanity.
I'm a human being not a human doing, it helps to remember this sometimes.

I'm taking the omen away from this symbol and attributing it to a soul watching out for me, just a little bit. I need it right now.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Alone (Down) Time

Once coined as a clever acronym, "SSB" stands for Secret Single Behaviour.
Not so much! Here is my life, distilled in my alone-time for things I do (and enjoy doing)
now that I live alone again:

1. leave my make-up out on my bathroom counter. all the time. forever. or until someone comes over and I clean it up, put it away on a shelf, to make it look like I have a clear, uncluttered bathroom counter.
2. ditto to my nail polish collection. which is much larger than anyone might imagine.
3. leave my undergarments all over my bedroom floor. they also spill out of drawers.
4. leave flip-flops everywhere. everywhere.
5. have chardonnay for dinner.
6. blare my ipod to a decibel level that most likely deafens my neighbours.
7. suntan on my rooftop deck for hours at a time on the weekend while my floors wait to be cleaned.
8. keep my fridge one level above empty. I am a confirmed bachlorette. I have every type of condiment, hot sauce, and salad dressing ever made. And no food in the fridge to put them on.
9. organize my books on my bookshelf by colour (the shame. THE SHAME).
10. leave my bed unmade. i quote the credo i have used my entire life "why make it when you're just going to sleep in it again that night?"

Realizing that my alone-time, Phase 2, takes some adjustment, I am letting my normally neat Virgo self indulge some of these whimsical, messy habits. They just seem to work....I can pick up where I left off at the end of the day, without coming home to anyone having moved a crucial piece of (weeks old) mail, or wondering where is Black Cardigan # 3, or what I did with the last crumbs at the bottom of the chip bag.
Stay tuned for more weird behaviour.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Out the Window

Last night I was writing, alone in the dark, the only light the glow of the laptop screen, no noise but the sound of my keys on my keyboard being punched, rapidly as my hands tried to keep up with my thoughts and I heard a noise, not a loud one, but loud enough to give me a pause.

I stopped typing. Waited, listened. A couple more noises, one louder than the others, then a steady increase in the level of the sound until I got up, and looked out the window.
It was the sound of the first few raindrops falling. I could hear them, one, because I'm living alone again and things are quiet. I could also hear them because I have become more attuned to sound, like I had before in Phase 1 of Living Alone. You do that as a woman.

But the sounds of rain are not alarming. Once you know what it is you go back to the moment you were just in, the rain enriching it, the rhythmic sound soothing.

It helps. I have intense fear right now. I have to manage it. I cannot let it take over and control my life. A blog I admire, a writer I admire, wrote about how much grief can feel like fear. Fear has its own set of unique characteristics too. Fear of the future, about how I can try to manage it, fear of yesterday, of events that transpired showing me how masked we humans can really be. How we hide under layers of smiles and vanilla who we truly are.
How ugly we can truly be.

Then I realize something, whether it be a perception or a reality. I survived an abusive relationship. Emotionally, not physically. But abusive nonetheless. It was my cousin who named the affliction for me in a phone conversation one night. I detailed to her, on the phone, how things had been hanging by a thread. How he had found somewhere else to stay, to live, and I had no idea where that was. How, after a period of time when he felt he could deal with the bullsh*t he had created, he emerged from his hole and finally gave me, his then-girl friend, the common decency of letting me know he had found somewhere to stay, somewhere away from the home we shared. (that took two weeks). How can I not feel grief, and it's very close cousin, fear?

Emotional neglect is abuse, make no mistake. I have no tally for the times he left me alone at an important event, worried about where he was, if he was okay or not. No tally for the disappointing last-minute cancellation of plans, throughout our relationship. The emotional toll for his up-and-down mood swings, how I tried to accomodate that frightening pendulum, all by myself, a tiny boat, bobbing up and down on open water, praying for some sort of repreive from my fear.

I blamed myself. I went back for more. My self-esteem, my self-image, was not cohesive enough to tell him to go f(ck himself and put myself first. But it's ok. Any realization (no matter how late it is) is better than nothing at all.
A bad person disguised as a good person? He used to tell me, when we were first dating, getting to know each other, and I was suspicious of his motives, as a man, he would repeat, over and over; "I'm NICE. Why can't you just accept that?" I don't like the word nice. I don't like to hear people described as nice. I don't want to be described as nice. Kind, generous, a gentle spirit, complicated, big-personality, strong; not nice. Hearing someone described as nice, either by themselves, or by someone else, sets off an alarm bell for me. I'm almost never wrong about mistrusting this very bland mis-leading word. It makes me nervous.

That being said, a conversation about the dual natures of most people, with a friend on the phone the other night, does help me in terms of not demonizing him. I also take my own role in this very seriously. I am no angel, and anyone who knows me knows that I pull no punches, that I stand up for myself, and sometimes, I make glorious mistakes, arcing free-falling ones, right from the sky. Sometimes I think I can defy gravity. I can't.
They love me for how I am, anyway.

I delayed telling my parents about the break-up, the move-out, the spectacular ending, for a number of weeks. I was so disappointed in my failure, and they are dealing with so much right now. At my dad's first appointment at Princess Margaret (PMH as we affectionately call it), we were, the three of us, my parents and me, waiting for the doctor, when my mother suddenly asked
"How is ________? We haven't talked to him in a while." as if this had just occurred to her. I stiffened slightly, unsure of what to say.
I answered lightly; "Oh, he's fine. Just working away...I'll have him call you..."
And we left it at that. I left out the part about the previous evening about the explosive fight we had had, as he hadn't yet moved out at that point. About the five hours of sleep after his screaming at me escalated. It was not the first time I'd been afraid of him, but it was, when I look back now, a turning point of making a clear decision not to participate in this anymore.
I wondered, aloud, to him, if I was some sort of catalyst for bringing out the absolute worst in him. If, when my comments to him about whatever he happened to be ranting about, delievered in a calm way, without raising my voice, inspired him to even further temper.

It's now June; he moved out in May, my home feels like my own again, the negative energy dissipating at a rapid rate. I am at PMH with my dad one evening, while he has his chemo treatment. He brings up ________ moving out, cautiously. We don't talk about emotion and difficult subjects in my family very often. We keep it light, jokes, laughter, and block out serious.
When he speaks, he ambles sideways up to the subject.
"So ________ moved out." Pause. "You know, you'll be much better off. Much better.
Poor ________".
I don't say anything, my eyes are filling. I don't trust my voice. I nod, a couple of times.
I can finally speak.
"Yes...I know. I'm fine Dad. Fine. Everything is ok".
I think of his words, 'Poor ________'.
Poor nothing I sneer in my head. But I correct myself. Yes, he is poor....poor in the sense that life gave him an opportunity to make a go of being happy, and it involved a bit of work on his part, but in the end, he traded it off. I've said it before--no bother.
I know life, as you get further along in your journey on this revolving-door planet, doesn't just hand out chances at happiness left, right, and center. When one comes along, it's worth taking it in hand, and trying to preserve and care for it.

I'm lucky I guess. I know how to be happy.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Give Us Today

It's been a long day. I lay in bed this morning, thinking of an early meeting, a busy schedule. June's blue skies, a lovely month. My tasks seem diminished in importance thinking about my dad's first treatment.

Work. My messy desk, that jittery but much-needed third cup of coffee. A pile of unreturned emails, my normally on-top-of-it memory muddled. Distracted, emotion, what, what memory what do you need to keep it together?

I'm drifting. I'm eleven. I'm serving my sentence, my childhood torture of unending surgeries, of long stretches of hospital stays, wondering which one will be the last. No one gave me a treatment plan. I would have liked to have seen one. After all, I could read. I could tell time. The doctors directed their conversations to my parents, not addressing me, the patient. They didn't know. I didn't even know--that I could have comprehended what they were saying, and that I could have used that knowledge to at least give me an end-point.

During those long stays (they were usually not more than a week or so, in my child's mind it might as well have been a year) I looked forward to a few things. Not eating hospital food topped the list. To this day, at thirty-six-years of age, I will not, ever, eat a breakfast food. I can't go to brunch. I needed only the food my mother brought me, in unending variety, at my request; deli sandwiches and chocolate milk. The nurses thought it was hilarious. I thought it a necessity.

I also looked forward to visits. A break from learning to speed-read. To ignorning the well-meaning stares of strangers. I was an introverted, private, wary child. I'm an adjusted, but still introverted and very private adult. Being around people I didn't know when I was at my lowest was mortifying for me.
Back to the visits.

At the time, through out my childhood, my father commuted downtown to his Richmond Street office, and when I was at Sick Kids, he would visit me on his lunch hour. I never really thought, until I had a niece and nephew (I have no children of my own); what that would be like--to visit your child over your lunch hour. God. It puts a whole new spin on 'bad day' for me. And I wasn't terminally ill, or anything like that. I had a medical condition that required surgery and adjustment to match my growth, unfortunately making the hospital stays necessary and part of a ghastly routine. Had I been a sociable, extrovert these stays may have meant nothing more than a break from school, home, chores, obligations. Being what I was (what I still am) it was being shuttled off to another planet.

I thought alot about these times as I drove home after a long day today. I was heading home to drop off my car downtown, then get walking over to the hospital where my father was staying the night, getting his first chemo treatment. I understand hospitals--the slots of time, how boredom can set in--and I was looking forward to visiting with my dad, having some conversation, and at least alleviating some of the tediousness of sitting in a hospital bed, while choemo drugs drip, innocuously into your veins.
We talked about alot of current goings-ons. The impending summit, which would ensnare the hospital in a security net; traffic in the city, summer weather. My dad's dinner arrived. It was difficult for him to eat, so I ran downstairs to the hospital deli and got him a tomato soup and a roll. A simple meal, one that was easier for him to eat. He enjoyed it enormously. I returned in thought to eleven and my deli sandwiches. When you are in a hospital, no caviar is needed. Those familiar little foods will do it. He ate while the amber-coloured drugs dripped from the IV into his veins; catching the light out of the corner of my eye.

When I was getting ready to go, I made sure he was comfortable, checking the bed, and asking him if he was okay if I left. "Oh yes, of course, Carolyn, I'm fine, dinner was delicious"...nothing irritated him, not a certain patient wandering by, IV rattling, innumerable times; I asked,

"Dad, are you sure" and he reassured me.

Of course he did.
Parents spend their whole lives worrying over their children; you, as their child, spend your whole life from age thirteen on, or so, rolling your eyes at such worry.
So I left; he was in a nice bed, he had been well-fed, he had two magazines he wanted to read, and the drugs needed to continue to drip until the bag was empty.

I hugged him good-bye, re-assuring myself to allow myself to leave.

I was going to walk home, to my empty condo, and just have some dinner. I wasn't going back to my office for the afternoon the way he had so many times before.

The day, with all its nuances. Sometimes it's all we have.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Back in Time

I'm eating dinner on the coffee table again. The major step forward is I'm using a placemat. And it's a different coffee table, not the one I had for almost 12 years, square, stained pine. This is an elegant cousin, dark wenge-like wood, circular, organic.
I'm alone again. I'm not surprised, or really that hurt (not as much as I have been) but I am just the slightest bit bereft by this turn of events. Everything happened so quickly, really. But it's okay. I drew the alone card a long time ago. When I decided, somewhere around the age of perhaps fifteen, that I was not going to be able to participate 'fully' in the milestones and markers of adult life. I just lived too far inside my own head. Time passed, I came out a bit, I made a life for myself, one with lots of sociability; it's just that pieces were still missing, things I didn't want that everyone else wanted.

I had a message 'conversation' with a long-ago ex and I talked to him about being alone again and how perplexing it was on the one hand, and on the other hand, achingly familiar. He was, in his way (so familiar with the complexities of my personality) reassuring; there's a difference, Carolyn, to being alone and being okay with it. He's right. I look around at my place in the world, my little life, my little condo, the huge base of people I am lucky enough to love, and everything does feel right.
Saturday night was my first event out as a singleton again. I was in a group of 14 people; 6 married couples, myself, and one other singleton, a male friend. I realized, as I sat at dinner (my two best friends had positioned themselves on either side of me--my protectors; making sure this night, a night without "him" was more than okay, that it was FABULOUS); and I felt more loved than I had in the whole last year of my relationship.

True friends can do this for you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Courage My Love

I became a grown-up the other day. Just by chance, in passing. I didn't realize that I would know the exact moment it would happen in the way that I did.
You assume, you go along. You celebrate birthday after birthday. And you reach the milestones

And you find out all those things.
That no one ever tells you.

My aunt is one of those women who conjures up, to me, an old-school type of person, in all the positive nuances of that label; one who sees the world, and all of its' paradoxical nonsense and utterly devestating moments with unobscured vision, a clear head, and a sense of purpose that borders on the divine.
She gets excited over current events (as do I. as does my father. I am convinced this is some sort of Irish way-of-life). She spouts out quotes (as do I. as does my father. see previous sentence for my point-of-view on this particular character trait..).
She doesn't mince words. But she knows when to hold back.
She once said to me, that if you don't have courage in this life, nothing else counts. Guess what?
She's right.
She once said to me, that if you can get through this life without losing a child, or without anything else completely distastrous happening to you--then you got off easy.
At the time of both these utterances, I was in my late-twenties, maybe early-thirties; far too tender to understand the underlying truth to both of these shatteringly accurate statements.

We have our discourse. I love her beyond reason.
And now my father is sick. My father; her little brother.
I can't take my fear to my mother, I can't lay this on her right now. She is in denial, a denial that she is fully and completely entitled to.
The other night, I took my fear to my aunt on the long-distance line.
Not sure what my first turn into this conversation was. Maybe talking about my dad's impending treatment. Maybe going to lunch with my mother and sister, and sitting at a table for four, with one seat empty. But somewhere along the line, during our phone call, I went to the fear place.
So did my aunt.
She listened to me cry; albeit in a hysterical, gasping-for-breath fashion. Then she talked about how my dad was determined, in his stubborn Scorpio "I-can-take-care-of-myself" fashion, to take the GO train to his treatment.
And she said, "And he drove to the GO train station to see what it all entailed...." and suddenly her words fell off; she was crying, high-pitched, agonizing; sobs for her little brother. I have never, not in person or on the phone, heard or seen my aunt cry. It stilled me to my soul.
It was then that I realized; that is how much she trusts me; with her feelings, with her pain, with the burden of what she is carrying.
I won't lie. I continued to cry right along with her. But this time, I realized after; I was not crying as that little girl, her niece. I was crying as her equal--in the reality of the situation, in the prison of our shared experience.
Her little brother; my father. Who had children so young, he should be entitled to enjoy his grandchildren and see them graduate from university.
So that 's how it happened---out of nowhere, from that place where life likes to whip that curveball right at your head. Christmas; together as a family, enjoying amazing food and drinks with my then-boyfriend's family; to Family Day, a lovely lunch, the four of us, our family of origin, me, my dad, mom, and my sister.
To today and to tomorrow. To cancer treatment, and outcomes, and stages, and predicitons.
Ah courage. Don't leave me now.


Friday was six months
Or maybe it was Saturday--
the dates conflicted so I am not sure
except somewhere deep within me
Whether it was the 4th or the 5th.

I still think of you every day
Some days more than others.
I think of things I meant to tell you
and I think about conversations we had.

At times, something you once said to me
Will come at me,
Out of nowhere
When I'm lying in bed late at night, alone.
Often it's something funny, something only you
Could have thought or come up with.
And I will admit, I laugh into my pillow.

And then a hole opens up in my chest
A void so expansive
That for a second, I cannot breathe in.
And I remember you're gone
You're no longer out there living your life,
In peace and in waves and in sunshine.

I have to keep living mine
No matter what turmoil surrounds it.
And as you probably already know,
There have been some situations lately.

The weather is warm, "June's long days",
and I am sad you will miss this summer
and all the summers after
But I know you are somewhere where
you are still being yourself, and being loved
for exactly that.

I wish I want I would I could
But maybe not ever understanding
Is what keeps us all going.
photo credit: Craig Ross Waterfield

Monday, May 24, 2010


Fear. Dizzy-ness. My heart beating fast. Too hot, or too cool. The cold dawning of a realization--one of my least favourite feelings.
This is what I've been up against the last couple of weeks. A feeling of real, physical discomfort, butterflies in my stomach, as my body mirrors my emotional state.
I don't like it at all. But right now, I have no choice but to get through the feelings.
I am trying hard to stay calm. I'm staying still alot. I'm staying in alot.
Being around people is hard.
It's that feeling of having no control over my life that has been the hardest. That somehow, some way, I have failed again, at this most primal of games, these matters of the heart. That I believed too much, that I risked too much. That when someone looked at me and held me and murmured, almost too low for me to hear, that they loved me, I believed them.
Here is a poem that my sister shared with me years ago, that I have found again, thanks to the miracle of the internet:

After a While
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn't mean security
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a grown up, not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down, mid-flight
After a while you learn, that even sunshine burns
If you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers
And you learn that you really can endure
That you really are strong
And you learn and learn

With every good-bye, you learn.

--Veronica Shoffstall, copyright 1971

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tell me, what will my future be?

I've written before on my myriad of superstitions, my use of numbers and counting to calm a troubled mind, and my brushes with fortune telling, my longing of knowing just what is in store for me (however, as I once read, would this very ability exist, none of us would be able to live our lives due to the terror and dread of upcoming events; we would fixate on them, not the upcoming good things...ah human nature).
I own a set of tarot cards, they can be a fun party trick, but sometimes, once in a while, I use them on myself, at a quiet, reflective moment, when I may be feeling particularly vulnerable or off-kilter.
Such was my state of mind last Saturday night, when, home alone with alot of quiet time to think, I took them out of their little yellow case and let them get used to the room while I ate dinner. I didn't have a burning question for the cards, and I wasn't anticipating the outcome of any particular happening. I just wanted some...reassurance. Like how you feel when you re-read a book you've read about a hundred times and still love--opening the book to the first page, to the first sentence, one you've no doubt memorized, feels so familiar and comforting.

I shuffled the deck, seven times, and a strange thing happened; I dropped the cards and a handful of them scattered onto the floor, with three (I was doing a three card reading) fell together. I took those to be my cards and picked them up, lying them facedown on my coffee table.
Three card reading can read as the cards representing (in order) "Mind, Body, Spirit", meaning Card 1 represents your state of mind; Card 2 your state of body; Card 3 the state of your spirit. The three cards can also represent, in the same order, the Past, Present, and Future.
I focussed on a combination of these 2 reading types. As I had shuffled the cards, I couldn't focus on one particular question, or even a direction of thought to head toward, so I shuffled a bit blankly, just thinking of my life in general, the endless ups-and-down-ness of it all, the downs seeming to outlast the ups by a huge ratio and I sighed internally.
Card 1: Four of Wands. Keyword: Prosperity.
I looked at this card with interest; Wands represent the fire signs of the zodiac, Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. I was born on the cusp of a fire sign. I have several fire sign friends, and my mother is a fire sign. It's a suit associated with creativity, work, and enterprise. I found the card odd; prosperous is the last thing I've been feeling in recent weeks. However, it is a card of home (the card in my deck shows a small thatched cottage in the centre of a meadow, framed by the four wands). Home, and its' promise of comfort had been on my mind, I will admit. Puzzled but pleased, I turned over Card 2.
Card 2: The Sun, XIX. Even more mysterious to me. The Sun is a major card. It's a very happy card. It's a card I rarely (if ever) pull when I read for myself. A balance between the conscious and unconscious mind. Summertime. Success. Joy. Sunflowers, buoyancy, gifts.
Card 3: The Wheel of Fortune, X. Another confusing, unlikely card. For this reading, I was expecting doom, gloom, cards of warning and ruin; yet here was another major card, denoting my state of mind (I will admit, life has seemed pretty off-side lately). The description of this card in my tarot book denotes that it represents the workings of destiny, which no one can truly understand. It is also a lucky card.
I sat with my cards after completing my reading for a long time. I concluded that the cards maybe read my question, my state of mind, more than I had realized. And that maybe I HAD been asking a question, that eternal question I ALWAYS ask myself:
Is everything going to be okay?
Maybe the answer that the cards tried to communicate:
It doesn't matter.
As in, it doesn't matter because the wheel keeps spinning, the sun rises every morning, and you lie in bed for those first few minutes, letting everything that is going on in your life rush back into your head; but you get up anyway, ignorant to what the day has in store for you.
And you trust that you'll get through the day, one way or another.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Allowing for artistic perspective when drawing (living?)

Allowing for the appearance of objects (situations?) at a distance from myself.
That's what I've been focussing on lately.
As in, Looking. At things. In my life, in my world, in my thoughts, in my orbit.
Really looking at them.

Before the Dutch painters 'discovered' perspective, everything in a painting was flat and on the same plane. But some things come ahead of others, some things stand out. They are closer, they are impossible to be objective about.

It's been a rough week; very psychologically unforgiving, very emotionally challenging, alot of activity (strife?).
Cold and dark, outside and sometimes inside. I haven't been nearly as positive as I'd like to be, or nearly as grateful as I should be.

Thinking about others in my life and their struggles reminds me to use perspective.
Listening to what they are saying, and especially to what they are not saying reminds me to use perspective.

I need to keep things in measured assessment, because I've realized that when I look back I only see how lucky/loved I've always been. I don't remember all the bad things and the times that pushed me to my limit.

Life goes in cycles, short ones, sometimes in just a few weeks things turn right around, other times-interminable ones.
I'm going day-by-day as to what this cycle has in store for me.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Music...Makes the People...

I know I'm not alone in this conundrum of life, and I know I'm not alone, even among the most non-plussed, in saying that a song, an album, a piece of music, can define a time in your life. It can define an event, an era, a period, and it will continue to reflect that period, no matter how many times you refresh it, in my case, pretty much for life. The memories it invokes may be the happiest of ones, or they may be the darkest, but nonetheless, as time passes, all these memories of the time the music evokes are bittersweet.

I think back over the years of my life to when I was first aware of music tinting a memory, or being associated with one, was listening to my father on the piano. My lifelong love of the Beatles is because of him--interpreting the songs through the piano keys, the early years of the Beatles, the period my father most associated his music memories (he never loved their later stuff). So it was on a piano bench, not through the radio, that I first heard those simple little songs, played and sang, by my father. Favourite performances of his included "And I Love Her" which he would sing to his three girls, my mom, me, and my little sister. I still can't really hear that song without turning back into that little four-year-old girl, in my parents rec room, all of us around the piano on a Saturday night. The day my parents sold the piano and the new owners came to pick it up was like a family member being carried away. See--all the memories. And that's just one little song. When my little niece was born and my boyfriend and I made her a "welcome" cd, that song was on there. I wanted to pass it along to her for her to grow to love the Beatles, too.

Another Beatles memory exists, with another man at a piano, at a dinner party I attended at the house of the parents of a very good friend who was dating the man whose parents' home it was. That night, at the end of the dinner party, our talented, musical friend G. entertained us with a Beatles song, too, "For No One" and I couldn't believe that despite how far I was from my parent's rec room, I was instantly transported back there. The performance was so special to me, and now even it has a bittersweet flavour, after G.'s premature death late last year.

Despite my absolute love and devotion to my ipod, I still cannot bring myself to get rid of my cd collection. I guess it's because of the artwork on the albums, the lyrics sometimes folded in the
liner notes, the year printed surreptitiously on the label, reminding you exactly when you were listening to that cd, and what you were doing at the time.

I can name my most treasured cd's quickly, off-handedly, because they are so few and far between. I have hundreds of favourite songs, evidenced by previous posts here, and my musical tastes are varied and some would say, bizarre, but I hold certain collections of songs close.

Everyone loves U2, I'm no exception, but for me, their best work (opinion only based on what I was doing--everything--at the time) was Achtung Baby. I remember piercing love, piercing heartbreak, then the breakthrough of 'taking back the album' and claiming it as a piece of MY history, not OURS.

Ditto for Madonna, Ray of Light, from 1998. The title single released from this album remains fairly vanilla to me, and it is the track I skip through most often. But the other songs...Drowned
World, Substitute for Love...I thought my neighbours would form a coalition to stop me from listening to that song, over and over, as I dealt with another heartbreak in my Bathurst St. apartment. Lead on from that song to uptempo Nothing Really Matters, to Sky Fits Heaven, to the slow power of The Power of Goodbye and To Have and Not to Hold. I'm not sure my copy of the cd will still play. I still have it, the broken plastic cover, Madonna on the cover, pale water-blue dress, peeking out from a veil of hair. No matter how many more spectacularly successful albums Madonna comes up with, and I know there will be many (Confessions and Hard Candy are amazing); Ray of Light will always speak to my twenty-something, broken-hearted soul, one who needed to listen to Drowned World a minimum of 6 times a day for about 6 months, just to get through the night.

There will be more music in the future, for sad times, for happier times, and I will cherish every memory they will evoke, now and then.

Never forget who you are...little star....Little Star Madonna Ray of Light

Monday, May 3, 2010

The C-Word

"When I was very young...nothing really mattered to me,
but making myself happy. I was the only one. Now that I have grown, everything's changed.
I'll never be the same. Because of you..."
"Nothing Really Matters, Madonna, Ray of Light"
I read about it everyday, or see it everyday, somewhere, someone, someone other than me or a person I love--having cancer. Having cancer, living with cancer, dying from cancer, dealing with cancer.

Just today I noticed, online, that Lynn Redgrave, after a 7-year battle with breast cancer, lost her life. In the Globe, on the back page where Facts and Arguments is located in the weekday edition, there is usually an obituary, one that is written by somoene who was close to the person being written about, and today it was a twenty-six-year-old woman, again; who lost her young life to cancer.
My own grandmother died of cancer, many years ago, a memory that still hurts and haunts my mother.

So when my father got his diagnosis today, I didn't know how to react. I didn't have any resources, or facts, to try and deal with what I was hearing, along the phone line, while I lay in bed recovering from your standard run-of-the-mill flu.

The dance started about two months ago, when my father first noticed he was having trouble swallowing. It progressed to a lump on the side of his throat, which I somewhat noticed at Easter time, and then, and only then, did he deign to go and have it checked out. His own brand of denial, I suppose, one that he is, especially in light of the circumstances, completely entitled to.
The surgery and tests that followed were unremarkable, my father bore them somewhat off-handedly, while I kept my rising panic in check in a curious denial of my own.

The news today did not surprise me the way I thought it might. On Thursday or Friday of last week, the doctor set up a Monday afternoon appointment to meet with my parents, and, logically, I reasoned that if it wasn't difficult news, he would have told them something over the phone, something re-assuring to get them through the weekend. I hate Mondays at the best of times, but yesterday I took a good look at my perception of a 'bad' Monday. I would go into work, deal with numerous stresses and deadlines, I would make decisions to fix things, I would help to find solutions to alleviate situations being created. None of it would change anyone's life, none of it would truly be life or death. I'm a designer, not a doctor. I didn't have a 4 o'clock appointment with a frightened patient and his wife to give them life-altering news. In retrospect, my Monday seemed, for lack of a better word, and I know I've used it before--benign.

So the page turns over. All the cancer articles no longer seem remote and happening somewhere out of this world. They no longer seem like something that can't possibly happen to me, or someone close to me.
They seem real, the struggle magnified; the whole process of dealing with cancer looms.
And I have absolutely no idea how I am to respond.

My aunt is already coming down, to go with my parents to the hospital this week. I know she is skilled at talking to doctors, and in ferreting out information when she needs to. I now look to her to begin this first chapter for me, as I am at a loss to how to begin it myself, quite frankly.

There are writers and artists who have dealt with a prognosis such as this one with incredible eloquence and bravery, the way I think my father will deal with things. I look now to them to guide me in this process. I'll be mining the poetry books and the song lists over the next few days, my own form of hard-won comfort in times of difficulty, and I'll definitely be sharing some of my finds.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Looking Back

I started talking about memory, and then it turned to comfort.

Memories, in their myriad of forms and guises, can often be very comforting, it's true, especially when dealing with a painful transformation, one that can't be easily navigated with the conventional tools.

I mined my new digital camera, a recent Christmas present, for some Christmas photos taken of me and my sister and two of our dear friends, also sisters, for a photograph of the four of us, taken by a family member, on Christmas day at their parents lovely warm home. There are, between our two sets of sisters, five children, and on that day, they were milling about, four little boys and one little girl, circling the periphery of toys that had just appeared that very morning, fascinated and overwhelmed.

We had exchanged our own gifts to each other, the four of us, moments before, and one gift was a frame with a space for a 4" by 6" sized photograph, beside which was written "My Heart Belongs to My Friends". A simple sentiment, a short statement, one that holds alot of weight, especially between the four of us.

I saw it when I was getting ready for work on Friday morning, the four of us captured in this Christmas moment, in the frame on my dining room table. It really took me back, back much further than that Christmas Day, only a few short months ago.

Recently in memory, I've noticed how darting and random my memories can be, and I guess this too, is a kind of comfort.
They are not, lately, a swirling orbit of doubts and fears about life, but more hopeful. I'm not sure exactly when this started, but it feels like a new cycle in my thought processes, so I'm going with it. I'm letting memory comfort me instead of torment me. When I'm talking to people in my life, I am really listening to what they are saying, and, perhaps more importantly, to what they are not saying. I silently thank whatever force it is, God, Fate, the spirits, who have brought the people in my life to me, for the wisdom of it, the planned feeling of it all, despite how utterly offside I know life can be.

The comfort of knowing they are making the journey with me helps me feel more secure and in turn, seems to be helping me appreciate them more, all of their wonderful qualities and their even more wonderful quirks and flaws.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I've been incredibly fortunate lately. There. I said it aloud. Without (total) fear.
After my decision a year ago to begin a blog where I can share my random thoughts, sponsor my own journey to becoming a 'writer', writing things that matter, at least to some, I had no idea the blogs I would encounter, myself, sometimes from a world away, and not that I found them; no, no, not at all--as do so many amazing books I read, restaurants I dine at, people I encounter--they found me.
Case in point is a blog I follow here on my page, written, courageously, self-revealingly, by a woman named K. I applaud K, and her writing. Her most recent post only confirms for me her startling originality and her writerly gift.
Another gifted blogger is named H. Her blog found me through a link of a link of a link.
She lost a little daughter last year, and I ache when I read H's posts. I don't know H. But I feel so much for her situation.
From H's blog, which I follow religiously, last week another blog, from a woman in far-off Australia, arrived another link. Full of pink-tinged photos, and extraordinary imagery. This woman, who is named S. is a professional photographer--one does not even have to read her blog and identify her professional website to recognize this is her profession. Her photos are breath-taking, second only to one attribute--her absolutely unbelievable prose, her thoughts, the raw-ness of her grief-laden blog, as she also lost a small child, and how she emanates such beauty from her sorrow is something I have never before experienced. S., in my opinion, needs to become a published writer and share this gift with the world. Not enough people have blogs to reach this site, and I fear that her writing will languish, read by only a small portion of the world, where EVERYONE could learn something from this amazing woman, mother, human.
A most recent post I read of hers stopped me cold.
It was about visting a fortune teller and being given an clue for a most devastating event, predicted years and years before said event was to occur. Even writing this it disturbs me, the concrete certainty of Fate, the cold gods, the random play, the utter hopelessness of our little planet and our little lives, all of us trying so hard to map out how things will go. When, really, if you believe in the Fates, and all of their far-reaching string-pulling, we are little more than puppets.
I said in my last post, I live every day like every one else, praying for the eventual future, hoping for it, but deep inside knowing that there is no guarantee for it, anymore than we can guarantee anything in life.
I have had friends enthrall me with stories of visiting fortune tellers and the tales they were told, and in some cases said tales did come true, with varying details, because as we can attest to, we can never truly know, truly, what lies ahead---what is waiting for us.
My own brush with fortune came about three years ago, a friend of a friend, an introspective, intellectual woman, with good emotional intelligence, read my palm. We did not know each other well, we know each other better now, as when we met our main thing in common was a mutual, dear friend, along with each possesing a disdain for society and a caustic wit, and a love of books. She took my hand to give it a quick read, at a wedding shower, one of those most fortuitous of events in itself.
For the most part, my fortune, my future, looked pretty sound. I felt re-assured, in control, that I was doing what I could to propel the ship I was given to watch into calm waters. Until she made a pronouncement about my past that rocked me a bit. She told me I had a long, strong life life; but that it had a hole in it. Meaning, that sometime (according to my palm) between the ages of 20 and 25, I had almost lost my life. I literally, inside my head, recoiled. I had to take a swallow, get my breath going, as she had hit upon something so literal that she could not have known I had to regain my composure. In August, 1998, the 23rd to be exact, I had been the victim of an armed robbery at the restaurant where I was working. It was the day before my 25th birthday. It was, in some way, a definite hole in my life--the things I believed about people that were helping me get through life were thrown off-balance and I became unhinged, for a period of time.
I always try to look at the meanings, the lessons, behind some of my posts, and in this one, I have to say, I'm not sure, but it came from somewhere. Maybe to throw out there the notion of utter chaos, in utter organization. Like the Greek myths--so random, but so perfect in the meting out of pure justice, pure karma. Not sure that life works so much like that---it seems more of this organized, "wait, I've got something for you" kind of plan, for lack of a better word, that you can rail against all you want.
My reading also mentioned a child, one that I have not yet had, and am not sure that I ever will. I've never, not really ever, been able to picture myself as a parent, as having a child of my own, to love and to bestow my legacy, however vague, upon. It is a lack of imagination, I think, spawned by fear, the fear of not getting it right, of growing up how I grew up, hating being a child, even though now I look back and realize it did not have to be that hard, that painful. I wonder if, somewhere deep in me, an old, old part of my soul, in another life, did have a child, and lost said child, resulting in him/her accompanying me, in my palm, for the journey in this life, this child-less life I lead.

It's a great great fear of mine.