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Life is not so lovely tell your mother right now

Life sure has its share of ups and downs. Luckily I can count on my share of downs in life to attribute my resilience factor too. I survived a lot in my short 28 years and I continue to survive.  I am grateful that struggles big and small have not completely overcome me by now. But I am on the verge of losing my hope and my faith and that is terrifying. If I don’t have my hope and my faith what do I have to propel me forward and to fuel my passion for my purpose in my life and my existence with injustice.

 I arrived in this world with a number of disadvantages. Being a female I suppose was one of them. Despite marked improvements in women’s rights there are still many fronts to further even as Canadians. Despite many advances to human rights, all people still have hurdles to jump and mountains to climb to gain access to the protections provided. I became an orphan at a young age. My mother was murdered. Her murder killed him self. Her loss of life was brought to justice here on earth. I became a ward of the court and had all privileges associated with being a foster child stripped by the government of the time. I became a young widowed mother at the age of 22 and had no justice to this tragedy also. Despite all of this I look back and don’t see myself as a victim. I have turned my experiences into positive motivation to move forward. To become more than what society says I should be. According to statistics I could be dead, or a criminal or some other something or other that’s not good. I am alive. I am well. I have pursued higher education despite the odds thrived in academic attainments. Despite not having a good upbringing I like to think I am a loving and caring parent. I like to think I am a decent person. I like to think I make life choices that don’t harm others. I like to think I do my part to add more good into a world that sometimes has more bad floating around.

I am grateful for so much. I have made human connections who have become like family where I had none, I have an extended circles of friends who bring richness into my world in so many ways. My daughter and I are healthy, and at least if for this moment, I have a roof over our heads, food in my fridge and a few dollars to cover my December bills. But what is the meaning of it all – the struggles, the challenges the heartaches the tears and the fears.  Did I sign up for this human experience for spiritual growth and if so can I ask when will I be done growing?

I sit here today pondering a much larger question of my purpose in life. I sit here today questioning my moral obligations in this life. Have I been born and bred to be a fighter, or have I been born and bred to simply exist and attempt survival and continue to learn from life hardships. Will I ever have that eureka moment, or the Oprah “aha’ moment where the accumulation of my life’s experience all make sense and I say YES I know why this has all happened, I KNOW what I am supposed to do with my lessons learned, I understand HOW to apply the learning to benefit myself and others and rest easy with some sort of satisfaction that it all makes sense.

Maybe not, maybe I just think too much. Maybe I expect too much from humanity. Maybe the pursuit of justice in an unjust world is just too much for me, one person to ponder let alone affect. Maybe I just need to stop thinking my purpose is to make everything better and just accept that being selfish and just investing in bettering my life is all that I am capable of.

This message is somewhat cryptic. I can’t disclose the events, which have recently provoked these existential questions. That’s even more disheartening. I thought freedom of speech was real. It’s apparently only real in certain circumstances.

I had a good cry. I have had my share of sleeplessness nights. I have had my share of mediation and prayer. I need divine intervention to tell me what to say, how to act, and what to do. While I await that, I need a good joke about now. I need a full belly laugh that will wash away these feelings of apathy and helplessness. I need a laugh that’s so soul soothing that my restlessness will subside so I gain some clarity and quiet.

 Life will be lovely tell your mother again. (Wash, rinse and repeat as is necessary) 

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Boyfriends of Christmas Past

I am reflecting on the relationships I have had, to envision a relationship I am going to have next. I have had 4 major deals where at least the term boyfriend was asserted in the process.  I am a few years away from 30. So this is likely a decent tally. I can honestly say, I still care about them all. There is something about me that is very exposed in life, but very guarded in love. All of these men got me to take down my walls in one way or another. So for that they all hold a little place in my heart.

The one thing I can thank my boyfriends of the past for is learning life lessons. ;essons are so key to personal growth.  I am going to recollect the ones I have chalked up as a reminder of lessons I wish to not re-learn in the future.

Boyfriend #1: Patients is a virtue and compatibility is longevity. With this Mr. I was just ready to move forward from the moment I fell for him in freshman year. It was a 3 year long distance relationship and I was ready to take it to the next level once we were in the same postal code. His next girlfriend got the apartment, dogs and wedding. Sometimes to make the long haul- you need to slow down and enjoy the ride.  This guy also taught me a lot about self-discipline and financial planning. I was a total flower child and he was in the navy. I am still a child of the earth and he is married and still in the navy. I wish him well and think of him and his family often.

Boyfriend #2: Romantic love and responsibility are not one in the same. I first fell for this guy when I was 14. There was something majestic about the first feelings of like and lust in relation to forming romantic love. We never got around to being in a real adult relationship until after Bf #1. But I cared so deeply for him. I felt like he was my soul mate. He is the father of my child, and  taught me about family love. At the end of the day I took this lesson fully and highlighted my responsibility as a mother, which meant my love for him had to take a backseat. This man taught me that no man or the love I have for him, is greater than the love I have for my child. I could not save him from himself, because I had to save myself from him for her. I’m glad he is no longer in pain from his addictions and rests peacefully. Maybe the best thing he could have done was leave when he was not the father, friend, and lover that we needed.

Boyfriend #3: This guy came along at the right place and at the right time. I needed to live again and not just be alive. He was nothing like the person I pictured myself with. He was cool, fun, and friendly, and musically talented, and his family was amazing so he locked me down with no other good rational to say no. After the bad vibes from the in-laws on BF2 this guy had the total package coming from a fine bunch of folks who welcomed Ateam with open arms. I felt a part of something with him, it was new and nice. The issue with this relationship was maturity, motivation and ambition. The lesson I learned here is the more you push something onward, the more it stays exactly where it is. In love and life- it is about going with the natural flow. I wish this guy well on his journey to figuring it all out, and I hope he discovers confidence in his talent. I see him around and still keep in touch with his folks.

Boyfriend #4: Where to begin. If BF#3 wasn’t my type, this guy certainly was not. Two words: alpha male. I’m such a patriarchal female; I tend to go for the awesome yet under the radar type guy. Honestly this relationship was about forces of nature with a lot of attraction and repulsion. In this relationship I learned many of the lessons over again that I learned with BF 1-3. It was as if, I’d never learned them at all the first time. I also learned that when you play with fire, you are bound to get burned. I learned that to remain optimistic blindly in love is to allow your hand to stay on a red hot burner while you say what’s that burning smell? And really its a recent reminder of the dangers of falling in love, and allowing yourself to be exposed and vulnerable in the process. I also learned that while change is certainly possible for everyone, it’s highly unlikely for many of us. I can’t help but think of this man often, his alpha male objects are all around me to act as constant reminders. The main lesson here is to hold out on what you hold close.

So dear universe, done with learning lessons in love and done with reminiscing about Boyfriends of Christmas Past. I know where I have been; please show me where I am going. The final installement can be lovey tell your mother- thanks.

 

Good Grief

I never thought I could publish anything like this. At least not so soon in my blogging adventures. But good grief! Grief just seems to be everywhere these days. It’s also been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember, so here it goes. Here is my lovely tell your mother thoughts on the matter.

My first brush with grief was the loss of my bio father. While he did not actually kick the bucket, I never saw his face again after age 4. This was my first experience with loss. Around age 11, my bio mother was the victim of a murder suicide. This was my first experience with total tragedy, and to make matters peachier, I read about the details in the news. At age 22, the love of my life and my baby daddy met his end. This was my first complete and utter heart break. I can’t actually count the number of friends that have died since or in-between. This is where my immunity to grief was fine tuned.

When a close family member or friend dies you hear the words be “strong” and I’m “sorry” a lot. Even upwards of 15 years later.  Just last week someone told me they were sorry for the loss of my mother after they found me on Facebook.  I typically don’t say these things to people grieving. I’m generally pretty sick of hearing these things myself. However I don’t blame others; it’s just that awkward moment when you don’t know what else to say.

In my opinion, grief is not limited to the family of the deceased. Any loss of any human life is grievable by any person who is aware of it.  In many cases ignorance can be bliss. I guess that’s why a lot of people just don’t pick up the papers anymore. Maybe there are some assholes out there that don’t have an empathetic bone in their body, but I don’t know them personally.

I believe a community can grieve, a workplace can grieve, the extended circles of family and friends of the deceased can grieve the list goes on. Even the unsavory people who die, people can grieve them too. The fact is death and subsequently the effect of grief affects everyone. It makes us face our own morality. This is what is called being human.  What amazes me the most, in all of my close experiences with grief, is not that people die. Again I feel this is inevitable. Not even that people die tragically, or unexpectedly.  This too is part of life. What really amazes me is how the people around the dying or dead person, act, react, and respond to others.

I preface this by saying it is truly despairing to recount these two examples, as a female, a mother of a daughter, and of an orphan of crimes against woman. But this sadness, I am willing to accept for discussions sake.  A few months ago a young woman disappeared and was found murdered weeks later. Her case made national headlines because her disappearance was captured in part on a video tape. This happened in the region that I live in, and I have driven past what once was a memorial for her, that now is completely cleared of the tokens of grief and which now bares a for sale sign on the property. Even more troubling is that 2 days ago a young woman about the same age shows up in a river in a hockey bag in the area that I grew up. Tragic and disgusted does not begin to describe how I feel about either case. But in the second example the public did not even know the young lady was missing.

The main difference I have noted between these cases; is the parent’s response to the media and thus the communities affected by these tragedies. The first young woman’s family and community appealed to anyone who would listen- the message was bring her home. When the media broke with the story of remains of the woman found by a home owner the reports indicated that the womans was identified and that next of kin was notified, and that details were remaining confidential at this time at the request of the family. Subsequent stories reported around the issue and disclosed the identity which was met with grimaces from online communities.

My commentary with these cases is related to the role of the media, and in the public responses by the families of the dead. These two communities in the same province were not permitted to grieve in the same manor for the loss of 2 young woman who were victims of severe acts of violence. This is in our own communities, outside of the urban centers, where people suspect these things are supposed to happen.  The parents who appealed shared their grief with the community and allowed them to be concerned about their own mortality and the mortality of others. The parents who have not, instilled fears for those who are informed yet remain uncertain.

My mother had cancer before she die. After reading the headlines I pieced together what happened, that her cancer medication Oxytocin was the catalyst for the end for the Romeo and Juliet junkies. I say this with every bit of love and respect for my birth mother. But facts are facts. After years of abuse, this stuff put them over the edge.  Just before my mother’s death I was rejected by my family and placed in foster care. It was like they knew the end was coming and removed me from reminding them of how horrible things went. My family scapegoated me.

When David died I read a small article that stated a man was found dead outside of Calgary. We lived at least 2.5 hours away. The article did not paint any sort of tragic picture, and it was more or less, something happened.  Coincidentally, my child’s father’s family rejected us both after his death. At least by a sweeping  95 percent. There was no thought that my 5 month old child was the last sentiment of his recent existence. I was hated, I was blamed, and I was ejected from participating in the grieving before, during and after his funeral.

In both cases, I had no role to play in the demise of the people I loved and yet I am somehow excluded, rejected, and sent off on my own with my sorrows. No worries I am ok. I made it out alive. But what continues to plague me is how people can do this to one another. When people die we should be clinging to each other.

Recently I have been scapegoated for grief yet again. This time, I don’t know the deceased. I know his sister. God love the whole family. It was unexpected and sad. I have known the sister for almost a decade. We have had our ups and downs. When I found out, I cried and wept and prayed. I went to my guru and asked her to send her lots of love and strength that way. But despite my efforts, I was 5 days too late in my condolences. I did not get the news.  So now I’m not allowed to enter the grieving circle. I am not able to support a friend that I have cared a great deal for, and went through a great deal with.  I am actually told that I am no longer a friend. The rational is, I should have figured out what was going on via social networking and showed up for the events like everyone else. It does not matter that no one shared this with me through word of mouth, or that my social networking feeds don’t always prompt you on the things you need to know. Or even that I was in touch with the friend and another friend who knew, just to say hey, and without any responses, I missed the grief train and now I’m just ousted, like I never cared at all, and like I have nothing at all to contribute in the department of helping others deal with death. The man who died I only saw once in Tim Horton’s. I just knew that he was my friend’s brother from pictures. While this news is sad it has nothing to do with me personally, I get that, but loss of life as part of the human experience, like I mentioned in this article, affects us all. Losing a friend because I didn’t know about the death sure as hell does.  But what the hell can I do now? Nothing at all. I can only hope they all get through without me. I can only worry about what I can control.

And I can’t, never could, and never will control over how other people deal with their grief.  But maybe this article may influence anyone who reads it – in their responses to others around grief.

Death is tragic. The media plays (or sometimes does not) play a part in how people find out and engage with the death either by themselves or as part of community.

For the love of good grief- when I die- please do not have a funeral. Please just party.  Don’t be mad at anyone for showing up, or not showing up or for whatever.

Let the love, laughter and light flow.

In thoughtful and loving memory of those loved ones lost.