Wednesday 9 March 2011

Grateful No. 5

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then you shall truly dance….

For what is it to die, but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun….

And what is it to cease breathing,
but to free the breath, from its restless tides,
that it may rise,
and expand,
and seek God

~~ Kahlil Gibran ~~

Thank you all for your love, I am truly grateful.


Tuesday 8 March 2011

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Tomorrow will mark the one year of my Mom's passing yet I have that terrible gut feeling and panic that my Mom is going to die. Hear me out, for the last month, I find myself thinking about what I was doing a year ago...and I have been reliving it. Almost to the minute, a year ago today, I had returned to see my Mom at the hospital so I could see her before I went to bed. I sat by her bed and hummed 'You are my Sunshine' because that was about all I did for comfort or communication when I was with her. I cried while I tried to mentally imprint the feeling of her nice plump hand and I tried hard to etch the look upon her face and all her features. She looked beautiful.

I stayed for a little while and then returned when I received the phone call at about 2 a.m. I sat vigil with my Dad, my sister, my brother, my aunties (Jacquie, Camille, Mickey, Shelly, Colette, Suzie, Jeannine)and uncles (Harry and Joey). We sat quietly together with my Mom, through the night. She died the next day around 10:30 in the morning.

This last year has been a struggle. I have lost not only my Mom, but two other very important women in my life and in my inner circle. Such great losses bring wounds to the spirit. I am sure I will always struggle with my sadness in not having my Mom around to share in my life and my children's and I will forever miss her. I hope to come to a point that I may think of her and smile rather then feel heart pains. I hope I will continue to work on enjoying the moments that make my life and savouring my children as they grow. I will keep walking in this direction and I know I will get there. I have an abundance of fond memories and people who love me to keep me company along the way.

I truly can not imagine how I may have coped with my grief had it not been for this wonderful blog my Mom had created. This legacy she has left brought me to a world of people who are filled with much love, experience and wisdom. Your comments and words of support have helped to bring me comfort and take away the loneliness that comes from such grief. I hold many mantras from your wise words. I truly feel that others can understand the pain. This is life. From your experience I learn that we must go on and we will go on and that still, much beauty awaits. I will always have your words to look back upon and I know they will continue to bring me comfort. How do you thank people for this? I am truly grateful for every word that you have taken the time to share with me. I will miss sharing on this blog but I will leave the last words to my Mom.

How do I thank my Mom for what she has done by creating this wonderful treasure of a blog? I can go back and read her words and it is just like I have spoken with her. I still laugh at some of her posts and she brings back so many memories with her stories. I am so proud of my Mom for starting this blog. She always said her intention was to leave a sort of memory book for us. She has left us with a chest full of jewels and gold. We can now look back upon this magic book she has written for us and hear her, feel her and remember her magical spirit and we can now share her with our children.

I have also been so thankful for you, her readers. You gave her an audience she never expected but one she cherished and it made her and her family proud to read your responses to her. You helped to make her the author we always said she should be and your love and appreciation gave much light to her days.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I wish you all so much love and happiness.

Thank you for the priviledge Mom.

*Artwork by Stephano Vitale

Friday 4 March 2011

Enjoy the Trip

"It's like getting into a boat that is just about to sail out to sea and sink. There are no life rafts, no floats and no one gets out alive. Rather than trying to ward off the inevitable, why not accept it and enjoy the trip?"
Pema Chodron
A Buddhist nun describing life
My Mom came across this quote a few months after she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. This quote helped pull her out of the dreadful mindset that takes over upon the initial diagnosis. She was adamant that I print a hundred of them in wallet sizes and laminate them so that she can pass them around to the many people she would meet along her journey.
*Artwork 'Leeward of the Taurus Mountains' by Grainyman

Saturday 22 January 2011

Jaqueline Bouchard

Jacqueline (Jacquie) Bouchard (nee Ste. Marie)

On December 22, 2010 in a room filled with love, surrounded by her family, Jacquie was welcomed home by her son Sheldon, sister Renee, and her parents Henri and Daisy who passed before her. Jacquie leaves to cherish her memories and carry on her love of life and family, her loving husband Gilbert, son Ben (Chrissy), daughter Jennifer (Paul) and her heart and soul, her grandchildren who lifted her spirits with a simple, 'know what gram?', Brett, Jeff, Luke, Kayla, Grace and Brady. When her grandchildren walk away today, they carry a piece of her soul with them. And as Jacquie begins her new journey she carries a piece of them with her.

Saturday 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas to All

Merry Christmas to all you wonderful people.
Wishing you much love, health and happiness.
Thank you for all your messages of love and condolences.
Enjoy the holidays,

Thursday 23 December 2010

Welcome Home

Our dearest Aunty Jacquie, Mother, Wife, Sister, Grandmother and Friend has passed from this life.
Your were a true luxury for us to behold this long and you will be so deeply missed.
Our memories of you will be treasured and our hearts will always feel a little empty without you.
How you loved us all with all the love one heart could hold, and then some.
Your strength and determination, your laugh, wit, generosity and support will always be remembered.
You were such a comfort to me AJ. I will look for you in the beauty all around and I will forever cherish all the memories and tea parties I had with you.
I am forever grateful for your love.
May you find peace and all the love you have left here, waiting for you on the other side.
Well, there is no doubt that you have already.
*Artwork by our dear Bella Sinclair. It is titled Sheldon's Strength. It was so thoughtfully done and it has been a real focal point of strength and hope for my Aunt and all of us in her last month. It has become a real treasured piece for our family, thanks Bella.

Friday 19 November 2010

Has Anyone Seen the Light?

The last few months have been spent trying to reconnect with myself and those I love and to try and just live simply while savouring all the time I can while I am at home with my kids. I remember a time, months ago, when my kids were goofing around in the crib together and I walked in the room feeling quite good and goofy myself. I started dancing and singing with them and when I turned to look at them, they seemed to be staring at me in awe. Almost like, wow, who is this? Our mom can be fun?

At that moment I remember feeling like crying because it was like I had lost myself for quite some time and my kids obviously hadn't seen it in quite some time either. Who knew the last time I was jumping around feeling silly. I vowed to make my way back to myself that day from all the tragedy, for my sake and my family's.

While I have been continuing to work on this, I also struggle with having to say goodbye to my Auntie Jaquie. Another wonderful person in my life who will be taking a part of me with her. It is so terrible to have to lose such a support and comfort in our world and it also brings back all the emotions and images of saying goodbye and watching my Mom die. It often feels like I am at a breaking point, where those around me are also feeling like bruised souls, hoping we can again feel that lust for life and the vitality. I shouldn't speak for anyone else, but it is how I feel. We will never go back to what once was but the question is, how do we move forward with filled hearts when some days, our hearts are broken and may never be mended?

Last month we celebrated my Dad's and my sister's birthdays and it was like there was a hole in the room where all the energy had been sucked out. What a difference one person makes? My Mom truly lit the room and kept it energised. This is definitely a hard time of year, a time I have been dreading more than any birthday (although I am dreading my birthday) or holiday without my Mom. If you knew her or read her blog, you would know she was a Christmas nut and it has been feeling quite bittersweet when I try and do fun Chrismas type things with my kids or hang ornaments (which have probably all been bought by my Mom over the years) and not to feel quite pissed that now my AJ has been told she has little time with us either. I wish I could make some deal that I may forgo seeing my Mom again, but that my kids could have a special private relationship with her throughout their lives. How amazing that would be for them to know her? How devastating to me that they won't. And now they also won't get to really know their AJ?

Just to give you an example of her lively spirit, in the the past couple of weeks, she had organised a two day marathon of manicures and pedicures at her house for her sisters, sister in law, nieces and granddaughters. She insisted on Christmas shopping all the time. She held a high tea on a burst of energy last night at 2 in the morning and had her sisters and children come over to sit with her while they probably sat around and admired her and her wit. She is loved by all who meet her. Her health care aides who help take care of her are also quite fond of her and and there is no doubt that she has a Christmas present under the tree for each and everyone of them. Why do we have to go on without such another gem in our lives?

All this is possible of course through the amazing strength and love of her children, sisters, brother, sister in law and niece. They have been by her side for the last few months taking care of her and they now alternate two a shift on days and evenings. My Auntie Camille, who lives out of town has not left my Aunt's side in months. She has her health problems herself but she wouldn't consider not being there for her sister. It really is truly remarkable to see such strength and complete love from everyone. It definitely fills the room just like my Auntie Jacquie has filled us with all the love her heart could hold.

Anyway, I told my Aunt that I would post this a month ago, and I did start, but I never finished as I have never felt more spent in my entire life. I think of writing almost every night but either my heart isn't in it or I am completely exhausted. But my aunt is nearing the end and I would feel terrible if I didn't put this question out there, and that is if anyone out there has had any near death experiences? My aunt was quite afraid and anxious of dying and leaving all those she so dearly loves here. We thought that perhaps some stories of encouters with death may provide some comfort from anyone who has felt for a moment in time, some connection to the other side. So, I ask again, has anyone seen the light?