A Beginning (and an ending) ~ 1/52 ~

hearts

[Joining Bella Cirovic at 52 Photos Project - Week 1:  Begin at the Beginning]

woven together
a beginning and ending
deep within my heart

Yesterday morning, waiting with my son for the school bell to ring, I turned and noticed for the very first time these beautiful hearts.  In that moment these delicate flowers touched my heart and brought together a flood of emotion.  One single image that represents both a journey just beginning and another just ending.

On one hand the pride, excitement and comfort in my heart for the beginning of my journey into Pipkin Hollow.  This space that I recently created with the guidance of Susannah Conway and alongside the remarkably creative and inspiring group of women that she brought together with Blogging from the Heart.

While on the other hand the whole mix of emotions in my heart for the ending of a life.  The life of my mother-in-law, who died peacefully last Saturday.  The shock in the unexpected.  The surfacing of very raw feelings of not being good enough for my husband’s family.  The guilt in knowing that the relationship I had with my mother-in-law was not perfect.  The guilt in finding it very difficult to reach out to my sister-in-law.  The emptiness in the absence of my husband.  The deafening silence in the house after my son has fallen asleep.  The conflict in wishing I could be with my husband to support him, but knowing that not being there is the best thing for my son.

I have been told that you would be very upset if your grandson did not go to your funeral.  But in my heart, I have to believe this is not true.  I have to believe that you are in a place of understanding and acceptance.  That you know in your heart, the strength your grandson shows by freely expressing how he wants to acknowledge and accept your death, is a true gift for him and for us.  I have spent so much time walking on egg shells, feeling like I do not meet expectations, and have not done things as I should have.  But, through my son’s strength, I hope to find that place in my heart.  That place that believes my choices and my ways were not wrong, do not make me somehow flawed, simply because sometimes they were hard for you to understand.

Today was your funeral, and your grandson was not there.  I was not there.  But we were with you.  Your grandson had a special and fun day at school watching the grade eight play.  Then together we went to the woods and in the midst of mother nature we stopped for a moment on the suspension bridge.  In silence we remembered you.  I remembered the lives you touched, near and far, the trip to the Oregon coast that we shared and all the pennies you brought along, your generosity, your caring and strong heart, and that astounding memory of yours.  And when he was ready, your grandson let go of a red balloon tied with his finger knitting and one delicate heart-shaped flower that he picked from his school yard.  We watched the balloon quietly float away and then we said goodbye.  Then we took a little walk in the woods and, on the way home, stopped for an ice cream cone.

I am so happy that you were here for your grandson’s eighth birthday.  To see and experience that he is now thriving, despite all the pain and anxiety he has experienced.  He is thrilled that you got to see him skate.

As a mother of a son, I know your love for your son, my husband, is intense and limitless.  I know he loves you deeply and will miss you terribly.  I promise you I will do my best to help him hold you close while letting you go.

I wish I had known you when you were younger.  To meet that adventurous travelling spirit that I have so often heard about.  And today, I know that you know, you will always have a special place in my heart.  I will miss you.

An ending, death.  A beginning, my journey to Pipkin Hollow.  Somehow connected here today by delicate heart-shaped flowers.  Life, a weaving of endings and beginnings.  All connected by the heart.

 

Rain Makes Applesauce

rain_makes_applesauce

[Rain Makes Applesauce, by Julian Scheer & Marvin Bileck (Illustrator)]

My son and I stood on the corner watching the light of the solid red hand on the other side of the busy street.

Letting out a slow, long, tired sigh I said, “Rain. Rain. Rain.” Without missing a beat, he looked up, reached out his arms as if to invite the rain in and said, “So. So. So. So what about the rain?”

We waited together.  Silently, as I thought, so what about the rain?  It is wet.  It is grey.  It literally has the power to dampen my spirit.  It weighs me down.  It makes me feel flat.  Lifeless.

The light switched over to the white man, giving the signal that it was safe to cross.   Excitedly, he ran.  Somewhat dejected, I walked to the library.  Where I found myself searching through the children’s books for one particular book, Rain Makes Applesauce.  I didn’t find it before my son had found what he was looking for and was ready to move on.  Move on we did, but not before I placed a hold on the book.  I felt a real need to read it again.  To see it again.

With his stack of books in hand, we headed to our local coffee shop.  In a quiet moment I asked my son why he had said, “So. So. So.” when I had said, ”Rain. Rain. Rain.” I asked him what the rain meant to him.  Again, without missing a beat, he said, “Fun”.

No surprise really.  This is a boy who still loves splashing through puddles.  Who is inspired by the rain to play fire fighter with the garden hose.  Who runs through the pouring rain dodging raindrops.  And who ran through the rain on his way home from the coffee shop, telling me that he was riding the waves on his surfboard.

A few days later my book arrived at the library.  The silly talk, like, “The stars are made of lemon juice” and “Elbows grow on a tickle tree”. The whimsical illustrations.  As in times before, they gave me that feeling of wonder.  It all came together.  I had seen a young boy welcome the rain with open arms, and he had a message.  Life does not have to be grey, lifeless and dreary, like my outlook on the rain had been.  Life is fun, lively, nourishing.   Adults too can feed their imagination.

The natural wisdom of a child.  A reminder to live a life full of wonder.  Much easier said than done.  Absolutely.  But, the next time life rains, I will remind myself that Rain Makes Applesauce.

Emerging

emerging

As I craft this, my debut blog post, I can feel it across my chest.  A tightness.  The voices are squeezing my heart, hoping I’ll feel so uncomfortable that I won’t find the courage to press the blue publish button.

Tight.  Tighter.  STOP.  Who do you think you are?  You don’t have all the answers.  You don’t have anything worthwhile to contribute here  . . .  I’ve been here before.  As a little girl, sitting in my classroom, still as can be, staring intently at the books on my desk, hoping, praying the teacher wouldn’t call on me to answer, to speak out.

Tight.  Tighter.  STOP.  You’re an accountant.  You are not a writer.  You are not a photographer  . . .  I’ve been here before.  The time I enrolled in a children’s book writing class, to quit after only one, maybe two, classes, because I am not creative enough for such endeavours.

Tight.  Tighter.  STOP. You don’t know exactly what you want to say and you definitely don’t know everything about hosting, platforms, themes, plugins, fonts, designs  . . .  I’ve been here before.  Overwhelmed.  Giving up on projects after agonizing endlessly over the details.  Like the kitchen left only partially painted, baseboards torn out, for what, five years now.

Tight.  Tighter.  STOP.  People will discover that you aren’t perfect . . .  I’ve been here before.  Struggling in my role as a new mother.  Sleep deprived.  Struggling with my son’s pain and resulting daily rages, school refusal and more.  Lost and confused.  Unable to ask for help because people would find out I’m not a good mom.

Tight.  Tighter.  STOP.  Who do you think you are?  You can’t do this . . .  I’ve been here before.  Too many times, and clearly, it’s a pattern.  I STOP.  Hold my heart tight.  Become quiet.  Become invisible. Lose myself.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Anais Nin

Enough is enough.  Today is the day.  Today, I break the pattern and I do not stop.  Today I honour my heart, my voice, my true self.  Tight.  Tightest.  Publish. 

long ago hidden
protected     invisible
            s l o w l y             emerging

~ a haiku by ME