Posts Tagged ‘Mam’

I should be sleeping…in fact, I should be fast asleep in my comfortable bed.

Instead I am downstairs, puzzling over why I’m not sleeping.  I’m tired.  In fact, I’m more than tired…but here I am, wide awake and not the slightest bit pleased by it.

My brain won’t shut off…I need a dimmer switch, or a pause button so I can properly turn it off and sleep.

The past month has been a veritable roller coaster of emotions…I presided my first wedding and baptism in BC.  Both were incredible experiences.  I have my second wedding this Saturday.  I have been to the doctor to address some of my medical issues and surgery will be needed in the next while.  It’s day surgery, but recovery will be at least two weeks…likely in November.

I’ve learned I have sleep apnea and am using a CPAP machine.  It’s taking a bit of getting used to, and is meant to improve my quality of sleep, but right now I am dragging through most days.

Yesterday an empty glass bottle fell from the top of the fridge onto my right big toe.  It hurt incredibly…so much so that after a few hours I took myself to hospital and discovered that it’s not broken, but there is soft tissue injury.  The bruising is horrific, and the toe feels better, so long as I keep it elevated.  When I try to walk, it’s not a pretty scene.

I’ve become used to walking everywhere I live…and today I had to drive to a local appointment…which I knew I needed to do to get better, but it sure did bug me. I guess what it comes down to, I don’t like being less-than-abled.  And I certainly don’t like asking for or accepting help.

I have incredibly kind parishioners who have offered to help with errands, etc., and me, Miss Independent, prefer to do it myself.  Which, for now, I can do…albeit slowly.  Under doctor’s orders I have to rest my foot for a week, staying off it as much as possible.  I’m used to walking every day and not being able to do that is throwing off my much-needed routine.


My Mam turns 80 on the 23rd of August and I am flying to Ontario on that date, spending 6 days there.  While there I will see some people, but not everyone I want to as there’s just not going to be time.  And as we plan for the celebration for my Mam, I can’t help but remember my Dad and how he made it to 79 11/12.  I’m convinced he died because he didn’t want to write his driver’s license exam.  In fact, he died of pneumonia.

I miss my Mam.  I miss my brother.  I miss my best friend.  I miss my grands.  And yes, I miss many people in Ontario.  But Fernie is home to me.  I have an incredible congregation and I’m making friends.  I have traveled the area and am learning my way around.  My sense of direction isn’t getting any better.  Every day I stop and look around.  I live in the Elk Valley and am surrounded by mountains.  Every day they change.  They are a part of me.  And I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Perhaps I’m feeling homesick for Fernie before I go back to Ontario?  Is that even possible?

After my Dad died I wanted to do something to memorialize his 80th birthday.  After a great deal of prayerful consideration and lots of research I decided to get my nostril pierced.  It would have driven him batty that I did so, and I must confess, that’s part of why I did it.  Every time I see it, I smile.

For my Mam’s 80th birthday I wanted to get another piercing to mark the occasion.  So again, after prayerful consideration and a lot of research I decided to get my daith pierced.  The daith is the thick cartilage in the ear.  Daith piercings have been used to alleviate migraines, which I’ve been getting.  And I must admit, while the initial piercing did hurt like mad, I have not had a headache since.  The ring that sits flush against my ear is barely visible, but it reminds me of my Mam.  I wonder what she’ll say when she sees it?

If I had to name one emotion right now it would be unsettled (is that an emotion)?  My pain level is higher than usual due to the healing ear and healing toe.  I know my pain will get better just as my toe and ear will heal.  I’ve realised that when it comes to personal illness, I’m not the least bit patient.  I want to be well, and I want to be well RIGHT NOW.

So I’ve journaled about my frustration, and I’ve prayed.  I tried yoga, but hyper-flexed my sore toe when I stood up…yet another brilliant move.  I’ve made a list of things I must do this week.  And a list of things that must be done before I fly out next Tuesday.

I can do the things that need to be done.  I know I can.

But first I need a good night’s sleep.

So, I’ll bid you good night and try this sleeping thing again…g’night.



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My Dad died. My mother and I were sitting in the funeral director’s office at the moment Dad drew his last breath. He wanted to be alone. And he was, save for a nurse who had come in to check on him. She knew his wishes so she was quiet as she stood by him, but not near him as he drew his last breath.

Today, in the province where I live, it is election day. My Dad never missed voting. He taught my brother and myself the importance of an educated ballot. In his mind, using a ballot was exercising choice, it was about making a decision. And my Dad always made educated decisions. He wouldn’t necessarily get to the all candidates debate, but he would talk to them if they came to the door. He would pore over the profiles in the local newspaper. And would never tell us for whom he would vote until after he had voted.

We didn’t discuss politics at home, Dad was not a political being, but he understood the importance of casting a ballot, of making a choice. And he believed that every vote counted, whether or not his vote was for the elected party.

It was two years ago today that my mother and I waited in the hospital parking lot for my brother and his family. We changed vehicles so Mam and I could take the boys to her house and let D & M visit with Dad. Both N & S were awesome. I even figured out the seat belts on the car seats.

When D & M got back to Mam’s we sat and chatted, laughed, cried, reminisced and remembered Dad, especially when Dad was well. His last couple of years were filled with faulty heart valves, pneumonia and COPD, among other things. But there were moments of laughter. He wrote his life story and I have it on a disk.

I miss my Dad, more than I can express in words. So today I will stay busy. I will vote this afternoon and I will never, ever forget him.

Take it easy Dad, this ballot will be cast for you.

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Today is day 4 of the 30 day juice challenge. I went to the grocers on Monday and picked up the produce I need for the week as well as a few other groceries. I gasped when I saw the total for the groceries, but then, I did have nearly 8 lbs of apples alone. Three of the four juices have been quite good; one, not so much, but at least I did drink all of it. *urp*

I’m feeling about the same thus far. We have eaten dinner at home every night this week, and that, in itself, is an accomplishment. I am making something different for dinner tonight, lentil soup. The recipe sounds interesting and I have everything I need to make the soup at home. I’ve also got a loaf of crusty artisan bread to heat and have with the soup. Yum!

This entire week has been filled with running from place to place, errands, hospital visits, home visits, urgent telephone calls, and today I’m finding myself feeling anxious and run down. I have been sticking to my meds and vitamin/mineral schedule so that is helping me feel somewhat better. I am not drinking as much water as I should. But I am drinking tea (herbal mostly) and when I want coffee, it’s decaffeinated.

Last night I soaked in the bath. It was glorious. I lit some candles and relaxed, letting the water soothe me. I concentrated on my breathing and let the day wash over me. All in all it was a good day.

Today has been relatively productive. All my administrative work is caught up. The pile that needed to be filed has been done. Once we get one more T4 for my beloved we can file our taxes.

Tomorrow I have a breakfast meeting, a hospital visit, a lunch meeting, a massage and then I am heading to pick up my Mam for the weekend.

This is going to be a hectic time with lots to do, but I trust that it will all get done. And if I can’t recruit help for what I don’t have time for, it will remain undone. And that’s okay.

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I am a Type A personality. I own it, I love it, I live it. I like things to be in order. Granted, I have two dogs, one of whom sheds profusely. The floor is constantly in need of sweeping. I have relaxed my tight standards into something I can live with, and I suspect, my family can as well.

On Sunday afternoon/evening, my beloved and I spent a good part of the day cleaning. He vacuumed and I swept. We washed, polished, put away and returned chaos to order. When we were finished it felt good. It wasn’t completely done, but we were both spent, so it was enough for the day.

There was a time, not that long ago, that I’d have continued to push myself until I was ill. I can’t afford to do that anymore. I can’t afford to have, what I call a ‘dead day’, where all I do is sleep. Those days frighten me and yet, also seem a luxury, if that makes any sense at all.

The end of the month is our annual vestry meeting where the entire congregation comes together and hears the budget, the good news, the challenges and we put steps in place for the new year. We elect and affirm our Council, saying goodbye to some members who are moving to other challenges, and saying hello to new members.

As we don’t have a parish administrator, the gathering of information for the Vestry book falls to me. And I love it. I have to admit, there is a great sense of pride in putting the reports together and dropping the booklet off at the printer. We are not yet advanced enough in our data gathering that all reports are electronic and some of the formats are not compatible with each other, but I make it work.

Today and tomorrow I will spend compiling information and working on the Narrative Budget piece. This is a watershed year for our parish and we will decide the future. We are capable of very many things, but the decision needs to be made if it is worth the effort. Only time and God will tell.

I know that there is very little in which I am in control. We are having a dinner party on Sunday night to celebrate my Beloved’s birthday. The dining room needs work, but it won’t happen today. It likely won’t happen tomorrow. But it may happen on Thursday.

My Mam is coming for the weekend. I am going to get her Thursday night, staying over and coming back first thing Friday morning. So my compulsion for list writing is at an all-time apex. And it’s okay.

So I am going to head off to the Church office to put together the Vestry book and, for a little while, enjoy the illusion of control.

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The ring

Not that long ago I was in my parent’s house. The one where I spent 10 years of my life. My Dad died nearly a year ago and my Mam has since relocated. But the house is still there, almost the same as I remember it.

When my Mam has first talked of relocating she asked if I wanted her eternity ring. It’s a simple, beautiful ring made of Welsh gold with diamond chips all the way around. My Dad gave it to her when they had been married five years. Why at the five-year mark? Because they had been through some extraordinary stuff. Eighteen months after they were married, and long before my Dad became a father; he was involved in a motorcycle accident. He was hit by a car while riding his cycle, and initially left for dead at the scene.

As a result of his accident, he had to leave his job and so did my Mam, so she could look after him, once he was released from hospital. They lived on close to nothing. And survived. So when the insurance cheque finally arrived, just after their fifth anniversary, Dad took Mam to a secondhand store and asked her to pick out an engagement ring.

You see, when they were talking about getting married, money was tight. They paid for the wedding themselves and made a decision to go on honeymoon, rather than buy a diamond ring. So when there was money available, after they had paid off their debts, Dad bought Mam an engagement ring, as well as an eternity band. Mam can’t remember when he gave it to her, but she doesn’t think it was at the same time.

Mam has lost a lot of weight and her rings don’t fit her properly anymore. What she’s planning to do is take her wedding ring, her engagement ring, my Nana’s wedding ring, and have them melted down and fashioned into a right hand ring.

Which leaves the eternity band. What about it? It was decided it shouldn’t be melted down as it’s beautiful as it is. It likely could pass for a wedding ring. And as I was admiring it one day she said, with time, it would be mine.

I went to visit my Mam when I was on my way home. She is settling in at her new suite and the place is starting to look like home. I had brought her a collage frame with pictures of the family, including my Dad, and several of my Mam. She was thrilled and we hung it on her wall.

She disappeared into the bedroom and started rifling through things then presented me with the eternity band.

Most ordained clergy wear a ring of some description on the “ring finger” of their right hand. It is meant to symbolise commitment to God. My right hand ring finger has been empty for some time as I try to find a ring to wear, to symbolise my commitment to God. It is now adorned. With the eternity band.

Every time I look at the ring I am reminded of the story of my Mam and Dad. I am reminded that God has been with me always and remind with me always. And I will always, for all eternity, give thanks to God for calling me into service.

So through the trials and tears of the past few years, I can now see a visible reminder of an inward belief. Hmmm, the same definition of faith. Hmmm.

Thank you God for calling me into service. Thank you for your patience as I stumble along, trying to figure this stuff out. Thank you to my parents for teaching me about staying together…no matter what. Thank you to my Dad for renewing his lifelong commitment to my Mam. And thank you to my Mam for sharing a very special token of her love for Dad, with me.

To the world it may simply be a ring. But to me, it means the world.

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I came back from my hometown a couple of days ago. While I was there I noticed many things about the house where I lived for 12 years.

It was really quiet.
I remembered conversations at the dining room table.
It was really quiet.
The house looked very much the same way it’s looked for the past 12 years.
It was really quiet.
I found a box of photographs that made me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.
It was really quiet.
Some of the spices in the cupboard have been there since 1981 when we moved into the house.
I found the cigarette case my mother gave my father in 1979 when he graduated from teacher’s college.
My dad’s university diploma was framed in an inexpensive plastic frame as that’s all he could afford. I have brought it home and will be framing and mounting it properly. It will hang proudly with my university degrees.
I found greeting cards I had given my mother, some going back 30+ years.
Even though the house was quiet, I could hear my dad repeating some of his best-known sayings.
While it was good to be in that house, it no longer feels like “home”.
I realised when I pulled into the driveway of the rectory where I live with my family, that I had arrived home, I had not come from home.
When I went to the columbarium where my dad’s ashes are interred I was startled at the number of neighbours he now has. When he was interred almost a year ago, he was only one of twelve, now all the spaces are filled.
It was really quiet.

Leaving the house and locking the door, it felt, in many ways, like it will be the last time.
And whether or not that is true, I know that it will never be the same in that house again. My Dad is dead and my Mam has moved away. And that’s okay.

At first the silence scared me, but by the end of the weekend it was comforting. It was as though my parents were still there, sitting in the living room, waiting for me to come home from a night class at university.

And yet, as I look around, I know they are not there…at least, not in person.

So whether I go back again, it will never be returning “home”. Because I know with certainty that home is where I live with my family. And that’s a good place to be.

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Tomorrow is my third wedding anniversary. My husband currently works three jobs. He starts his work day at 5:00 a.m. until about 8:00 a.m. at his first job. Then he stops for breakfast on the way to his second job which is from 9:00 to 5:00 p.m. His third job is sporadic, but starts at 6:00 p.m. until about 8:00 or 9:00 p.m.

Tomorrow is also Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) where there is a tremendous celebration, to the point of excess, before the 40 days plus Sundays and fasting of Lent. Lent is one of my most favourite times of the year. It’s a time when we take a spiritual inventory and hopefully throw out some of the behaviours that are not productive.

I have recently gained weight that I’m not at all happy about. I want to lose the weight and I know with a healthier diet, exercise and stress reduction, I will lose the weight I’ve gained and hopefully more. The major factor that disallows that is stress. I have a very stressful “job”, but I also have a stressful life. Right now I’m caring for my 76 year old mother. She’s been with us for two weeks and is here because of an injury and the resulting shock. Trying to balance parenting my parent, looking after my husband and daughter, as well as the housework, laundry and full-time ministry to an ever growing congregation is a challenge.

Sometimes I find myself feeling a bit resentful because there doesn’t seem to be anyone to look after me. I cook a healthy meal, and then I get to clean up the plethora of dishes, etc., from making that healthy meal. It’s not a big deal, but it is irritating when I feel like it’s not appreciated.

Anyway, tomorrow our parish offers pancakes and sausages as well as dessert for a free-will offering. Most people are very generous and we do quite well each year. I don’t think my husband and I will get a chance to celebrate our anniversary together; rather we’ll exchange texts and possibly phone calls tomorrow. He will get to the church about 6:30 for dinner, and then the great clean up happens.

Perhaps next year we’ll have a chance to get away, and spend some time together. Who knows?

Tomorrow is the last day of unhealthy eating for me. I’m giving up alcohol, artificial sweeteners and processed foods for the 40 days plus Sundays. I will need God’s strength to do it, but it can be done. I need self-control, discipline and willpower. And because I’ve blogged this promise to myself, now I have all of “you” to hold me accountable.

I’ll let you know how it goes. There will likely be slips along the way, but in the end I expect to emerge transformed from the way I feel right now…tired, bloated, old and frumpy.

Like all good and worthwhile things, it may not always be fun, but it will be worth it.

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I find it very interesting how weather can affect the mood of a group. This past Sunday was our annual meeting where the budget is presented as well as ongoing and upcoming projects.

We have experienced a changing of the guard as both Wardens and Deputy have changed, and yet, the council members are the same, simply with some in different roles than last year.

The weather was overcast and dreary and the mood of the room was subdued. We had a lot of good news to celebrate, but the energy didn’t seem to be there. The Holy Spirit was very present, but I think she was tired too.

Since then I’ve had two long days of driving to pick up my mother who hurt her hand and is need of someone to care for. So now my days are busy. They’re always busy, but this is a different busy because of elder care.

It’s interesting to be part of the ‘sandwich generation’ as I have a 12 year old daughter by marriage and a 76 year old mother. sometimes their care is the same, and at other times each is responsible for the other. Thanks be to God they like each other and enjoy each other’s company.

The past couple of days have been wet and rainy, very unusual weather for January in Southwestern Ontario. The church basement took on some water, as did the rectory basement, but no damage (at least it appears so).

Today is the kind of day where I have a lot to do, but don’t really feel like doing any of it. The elevator inspector is at the church and I have some administrative things to finish, paperwork to get together from our annual meeting.

I think, once this is done, that I’ll go home, make something for lunch and make out a grocery list. Then it may be bath time and an afternoon nap. These 12 hour days have been taking a toll, and I think the weather is Mother Nature telling me that it’s okay to rest my weary body.

Yoga tonight should help get the kinks out. But mostly a warm blanket, a cup of tea, and a chat with my mother. All good things.

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