Untitled

For days I’ve tried unsuccessfully to come up with a title for this post. But tomorrow’s the big day, and I want to get this written before then, so “Untitled” it is.

Have you ever had a safety symbol? Something that you touch or look at or think about when you need to remind yourself who you are? Here’s mine:

Yep. It’s a mole. A large mole right on my collar bone. It’s been there as long as I can remember. A lot of people have remarked “you should get that taken off” but I never did. I’ve had it checked – I’m not crazy – and it’s not cancerous. But I never had it removed. I needed it. It represented me – the real me.

When I left home, I stepped into the unfamiliar world of university. I didn’t last long. 🙂 But while I was there, when I felt like I was losing myself, I could surreptitiously run my finger over my mole and know that I was still me. I’d be okay.

A few years later, I met Bill and fell in love. I was happy to marry him, but a little bit scared, too. Would I lose me? Relationships require compromise. There was a new exciting “we” but would there still be a “me”? If ever I was in doubt, touching my mole would ground me and remind me that “I” was indeed still there.

Then came the boys. Children consume your life, and rightly so. Again, I sometimes worried that I would get lost in being a mom and a wife. But as long as I had my mole, I knew I was still around.

YES, I KNOW HOW BIZARRE THIS SOUNDS. 🙂

Anyway – I’m now a 56 year old widow. No more compromises with Bill (but what I wouldn’t give to have him back to compromise with). My boys are adults who, although they still need me, I don’t feel I need to alter my life for them. They have their life paths and I have mine. Sometimes our paths cross, sometimes they run parallel, sometimes they aren’t even on the same planet.

So I’ve realized that really, there is just me now. All me. I no longer need to hang onto a bit of me to feel secure. My life is mine and I can do with it as I choose. Sometimes that frightens me, but I can talk myself down. Life is what you make it, and I’m going to make it mine.

Tomorrow morning, I’m having the mole removed. It’s a small change, but it’s also a very big change. And I’ll be fine.

 

 

Farewell to 2014

Despite what Facebook thinks – it was not a great year. So I’ll start my yearly review with the worst stuff:

  • My husband, Bill, died on October 5th. I miss him everyday. I’m having mixed feelings about the new year – I’m glad 2014 is over, and yet I’m sad to be leaving Bill behind in it.
  • Towards the end of November I had to have our dog, Shadow, put down. He had a fast growing cancer and as much as I hated to see him go, it was time. It would have been worse to see him suffer any longer.

But there were good things in the year:

  • In March, my picture book, Dear Flyary, won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Children’s Literature.
  • In February, I turned 55.
  • I got to go along on two Great Horned Owl banding excursions. Something new to me and very cool!
  • I participated in two Christmas Bird Counts this year. Great learning experiences.
  • I added some new birds to my list – or I should say, I have some new birds to add to my list. Soon. So much to do and so much time – a bad combination for me. 🙂
  • As of the start of this school year, I’m working in Pre-kindergarten all day now. I love working with the little ones. They aren’t embarrassed to be excited, and everything new is exciting. You can’t help but become more enthusiastic about life when you’re around them. I’ve been off since the end of September, but am looking forward to returning on Jan. 6th.
  • At the end of November, I hired a personal trainer to set up an exercise program for me. I’m mostly enjoying it (hate the elliptical, but it’s only once a week, thank goodness) and my winter coat is fitting a little less snuggly. The new Martensville Athletic Pavilion is a great facility, similar to Saskatoon’s Field House.

Thank you to all my friends who have shown me so much love and support this year. Here’s to more good things in 2015 for everyone and a Happier New Year!

 

Happy Memories

Thirty one years ago today, I married the love of my life.

wedding001Fifty two days ago today, he died.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about anniversaries and tenses. “We’ve been married for 31 years?” (Do I continue to count the years now that he’s gone? Are we still considered married?) “We were married for 31 years?” (This sounds like our marriage ended. Did it?) I’m celebrating our 31st anniversary?” (Doesn’t sound right without the We’re. Plus it’s no longer a celebration. So what is it?)

I’ve decided to go with how I opened this post. “Thirty one years ago today, I married the love of my life.” (Simple, true, and updatable each year.)

Bill proposed to me (down on one knee) at my parents’ cabin at Kimball Lake in the spring of 1983. He did not have a ring. He said he had picked one out, but wanted to make sure it was what I wanted before he bought it. When we got back to Saskatoon we went to Peoples and he showed me what he had picked out. It was a beautiful ring but much more than I was comfortable wearing. He kind of thought that would be my response. I chose a smaller engagement ring with a wedding ring that fit together with it, and I told him that I wanted another copy of the wedding ring to go on the other side for our 10th anniversary. Which I got.

IMG_2300(Who knew how hard it is to take a picture of a ring?)

We were married on Saturday, November 26th at Trinity United Church in the Montgomery neighbourhood of Saskatoon. Bill’s longtime friend Doug Obed and Bill’s brother Bob were the groomsmen. My friend Debbie Cathrea and my sister Sheila were the bridesmaids. I wanted to rent a wedding gown, but my mother wouldn’t hear of it and paid for my dress.

The reception and dance were held at the Leisureland hall. My mom tells me it was storming, but I don’t remember. 🙂 My dad’s boss and my former teacher, George McLeod, gave the toast to the bride. I gave the response (as if I was ever going to let Bill do my talking for me!).

The first dance was supposed to be “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley. The DJ had assured me he would have that particular song for the dance. He didn’t. So our first dance was “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” by Elvis.

I’ll always remember Terry Hryniuk and friends doing an impromptu version of Do Wah Diddy at the dance. “There she was just a-walkin’ down the street…”

Yes, it’s a sad day for me, but I have lots of happy memories. Our usual anniversary celebrations involved going out for supper and a movie. My sons are going to take me out for supper and a movie tonight. There will be tears throughout the day – that I am sure of – but some smiles as well.

The other thing I’ve wondered is what can people say? What would I say to someone whose husband has died, but it’s their anniversary? “Happy anniversary” doesn’t seem appropriate. “Sad anniversary” is more accurate, but hardly something you want to wish someone. So how about “Happy memories”? That works for me.