Today is just like many other days. We’re rushing around, wrangling kids, trying to get them dressed in clean clothes and fed a decent breakfast and bonus points for getting them to brush their teeth and maybe sometimes, or all the time like in my case, this side-show shit hits the fan. There may or may not be yelling and words you normally wouldn’t want coming out of your mouth may be directed right towards your kids for JUST NOT LISTENING! The drive to school or daycare is in silence(only if you’re lucky), you kiss your kids goodbye👋 and race off to the work you’re already now late for, throw your butt into your ergonomic chair in front of your computer and (deep sigh of guilt) think to yourself – was all that, all that yelling and rushing and swearing and stress really worth it?? For this?

Well, is it?

This scenario gave me pause today and me made think – where are my boundaries? Where is the line where I say “No, this isn’t worth it”? Where is the level of stress to the point where I can say “I need a break, I need some help, or I need to get away” ?

How can I make boundaries without feeling like I’m letting someone down? How can I draw the line in my life where I commit to it being the enforceable point between ‘manageable’ and ‘too much’? More importantly, how do I make others see and obey that line?

I can’t do everything, and my super-mom friends that I’m always in awe of can’t do everything all the time either. But we try. We succeed. We fail. We persist. And at the end of the day we just hope our babes believe the honesty in our voices when we say “I love you.” 💖

Grief

The house was quiet and still, where once you couldn’t escape the noise. It was mostly happy noise, not always, but it was life. Life’s noise. The ringing of the phone, the tv in the living room with the volume way up, the laughter among friends, and the screaming between sisters. That day the air was heavy and stale, waiting for movement, for a breath to keep it alive and fresh. Shadows hung in every corner, low clouds that eked into every crevice and made the light heavy and dim. In the corner of the counter, where it had always been, stood a coffee maker. The white of the plastic had yellowed from years of use and cigarette smoke in the house. The glass carafe stained brown and chipped on the spout, where when you poured the coffee it would leak down the side of the carafe and sizzle against the burner creating a noxious steam. It still had a half a pot of coffee in it with spores starting to grow. I don’t know how long it had been there, it didn’t matter.

That visit, with me standing there once again with my mother and sisters, was like an exhalation. An exhalation of life, more than just one, an emptiness so complete and final, yet also, endless.

This is death. This is grief.

Grief is death left for the living. It is a vacuum. A black hole. There is no air to breathe. No ground under your feet. No voice to speak, no sound to hear. It is a void, profound with nothingness and at the same time, all encompassing, all consuming. Grief is the penance we pay for having known someone who lived a life worth loving. I closed my eyes and the vision of my self, the self that grew and developed there, slipped away on a sigh.

I stood barefoot on the warmed planks of the splintering deck, a coffee in hand and the grace of the sun upon my face. It was a cool morning, June in Labrador. I knew I had to leave soon. I knew leaving meant so much more than getting on a plane and saying, “see you soon”. It meant leaving everything I had ever known behind – forever. My home, my childhood, and my dad were all dead.

To the lost boy

He approaches me with anger once again

but this time I don’t back away.

I stand my ground, no longer fearful of him

I choose to listen.

She chose you over me,

anger thinly veils the absolute desperation.

I can see that now.

She didn’t, I respond and quickly follow up,

but I know it must feel that way.

The rage I see bubbling up suppresses,

ever so slightly,

as to not spill over.

We played out this scene before,

a hundred times, a thousand,

and yet this time I reveal the truth,

When she lost you, she lost herself.

And we never saw her again.

Owen and Victoria Stack

After a tumultuous attempt at landing in Wabush,NL our plane was redirected back to Sept Isles,QC where I had previously been waiting 10 hours. Irritated and exhausted, I released myself from the constraints of the airplane seatbelt to get off the plane once again. I looked down the aisle to see frustrated faces and lips moving with expletives. Through the sea of anger I saw one face shining brightly, like a beacon on that forsaken flight. Owen. At that point, I don’t know his name but I do know he is special.

Inside the airport Owen bustled around the terminal in his Montreal Canadiens adorned wheelchair, chatting with everyone who will listen. He is 3 years old, has a fondness for Queen, Superman, and the pictures of my cats on my phone. I tell him I have a son his age too and we discuss the finer details of Paw Patrol. He is returning from the Shriners Hospital in Montreal, he was born with Spina Bifida and will require a double hip replacement in the near future and was visiting the hospital for a check up. His wheel chair, customized with the Montreal Canadiens vinyl and lighted front wheels, was gratefully funded by the residents in his hometown, and mine, of Labrador City. An expense that otherwise couldn’t have been afforded by the family on their own. The next morning we arrive at the airport once again, and after nervously debating whether to ask or not, I ask to take their picture. I wanted to try capture the true beauty before me, the kind that makes strangers into friends, a community of travellers, with him just being there. Just being Owen. Victoria, his mother, refers to Owen as “my treasure” and he certainly is a gift to everyone who are lucky enough to meet him.

I have found that social media in all it’s trendy immediacy has a way of creating an emotion in me very suggestive and powerful. Only recently have I been able to decipher this as Lust and a little longer to realize the difference between Want and Lust. Here’s a brief list:

– The White House: not that White House ( gawd no) but A white house. All the design trends lean towards minimalism and the serenity of neutral. It looks amazingly appealing and I Lust for that after seeing those photos. So I took a moment to break down that Lust into the rational and logical form of Want. What I actually Want is order and organization. And cleanliness. I have 2 young boys so these are all fleeting occurrences.

– Insta-influencers: These are very beautiful people. They have perfect faces, bodies, families, hustles, and houses. I Lust for it all at first glance. But here’s one thing, I do not look like them and I never will. I have an awkwardness that shines brighter than any bronzer on the market and that no amount of cover-up and contouring can change. What I actually Want is something entirely deeper – it’s confidence, authenticity, and the ability to inspire. It has nothing to do with the actual skin products they use or the clothes they wear.

So here’s my point, and I do have one, sometimes at first glance we’re deceived by initial impressions influenced by others. We’re pointed in a direction we are led to believe is correct only because all the lights illuminate that one path. If we just take a moment to take in our surroundings and truly reflect on what we Want maybe, just maybe, we’ll find our own path. It may not yet be forged and can seem frighteningly unaccommodating but sure enough, with you leading the way, that wander through the woods will lead to everything you’ve been looking for and more than you’ve ever expected. ✨

This scene has played out in my mind a million times and it still haunts me. I think it’s time to say I’m sorry.

The telephone rang breaking through the calm of the evening.

Isn’t that how all tragedies start? A simple phone call.

Maybe my parents had been waiting for it, I don’t know. In all my immature stupidity I wasn’t aware of others, only myself. Always myself. My mom answered, and called for Dad. He was seated in front of the TV in the living room in his chair, the one you vacated the moment he got home, I was on the couch. This seemed to be the extent of our closeness, watching tv together silently. Sometimes I would muster up the courage to make a comment to him about the show we were watching and be rewarded with a response. He’d never know how much that answer would mean to me, how at that moment I’d feel a significant part of his life. But that didn’t happen that night. That night, I was the one without a response.

He went to the kitchen to talk on the phone, or rather, I think he just listened. Then he came back and fell into his chair. I had never seen him this way before. I didn’t dare say anything, I just watched him, feeling increasingly anxious that this person in front of me was not the man I had known my whole life. This was a different person. An individual that I had never known. He looked at me, looked through me and said “well that’s it. My brother is dead”, his voice cracked at that last word, shattering that seemingly unbreakable shell, and he crumbled and cried. Still, I said nothing. I let him suffer in front of me, as alone as he could be because I was nothing. I wanted to go to him, comfort him, this stranger in front of me, but I did not. Instead I quietly felt his pain as my own, and realized terribly that this illusion in front of me, the one I held as infallible force of a father was instead just a man who had endured loss like the rest of us. Just a boy, alone and sad.

I’m sorry Dad.

~