Tag Archives: mom

Birds of Spring

Preface:

The love for spring and birds and all things beautiful prompted me to write this – the robin started it all and the progression to put the words to page ended up including thoughts about my mom. Both of us are spring babies and the appreciation she had for nature inspired me to follow paths where the wild things live. I am not brave. I fear death. Yet in my own way, I am an explorer and an adventurous soul. I am not sad. I am merely reflecting on beautiful thoughts that still bring tears.

*****

RobinWe sat on the back deck under the umbrella and chatted. We cradled ceramic mugs adorned with images of birds. The hot tea warmed us and cool spring breezes washed over us like whispered conversation. We had grown comfortable with the sporadic comments and the pleasurable silence that punctuated our early Saturday morning visit. The sun was still to our right but would soon be to our backs as we sat in shade of the house. Bundled in large knit sweaters, we settled back in the canvas chairs, sipping green tea and warming our hands. Overhead, crisscrossing jet trails cut the wild blue yonder into slices of pie.

“Why do they have to mess up the beautiful sky?” she would ask. We always looked up watching for birds and small planes and whatever else the countryside might offer. I knew she loved the view from the deck at the back of her house. The jet trails were something we always noticed and talked about. It was something we often speculated about – was it weather related air current type stuff, or was it a conspiracy to create cloud when there was none, or was it just because it was what jets do at a high altitude. Whatever the reason, it would come to be my way of knowing she was always with me – perhaps, even her way of showing support wherever I might be and whatever I might be doing. The jet contrails and the birds of spring, both beautiful and meaningful in their own way, are a necessary part of how I was able to move forward without her.

Because of her love for nature and her little house in the country, I began to take more notice of those things around me that drew me to her. Yellow eyed daisies growing in white waves always remind me of her, because they grew wild in her yard and as the years went by there were more and more of them. I see every full moon and remember her calls to me, “Did you see the moon?” I watch for the geese and their return to the northern climes after a long migration. Then in the fall when they coo and swoop in large masses collecting their formations way up high amongst the clouds, I regret their leaving just as I regret hers.

Winter was beginning to be unbearable and the worry about her living alone is one thing that weighed as heavy as the snow on her little roof. She did not relish moving into the Park to be closer to the civilized world; it was not in her destiny to move into any kind of senior’s residence, either. The fates took care of that concern, although I would have shoveled her driveway forever and took care of her when the time came. It didn’t come, though. Her journey was not with that kind of finish.

This year I noticed the robins more and their activity around me. It seems there a few around who accompany me on my day. One makes its home in the eaves above my apartment window and you can hear it singing in the still early morning. One stopped for a picture on a post outside my cabin window while I was in Jasper and another hopped up to the truck for a picture while I sat in the parking lot at Miette Hot Springs. Yet another hopped closer and closer while I loaded the truck with books this past weekend.

Everyone deals with loss in different ways. Recognizing the little things we used to talk about and remembering the things she loved is how I am able to move forward. Writing these words helps, too – as I am able now to express them from my heart without pain tearing into them before I even have a chance to put them to the page. The test would be to read them out loud – although I am sure I could attempt it, one never knows how one’s emotions are going to interfere at any given time. The wound is deep and will never going to go away, but it is healed over, protected from outside exposure.

*****

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” ~ Langston Hughes

 

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Family Day

He picked me up in the blue Tucson – the one that used to be Mom’s, and he drove the first leg of the trip out to my sister’s for coffee. We talked about work and weather and the state of things within our family dealings. At one point I felt scolded, as if a child, just because my views don’t match those of others. I feel like a rebel as they may never be the same and I hold independence and freedom of thought close to my heart. I said I didn’t care but that was taken out of context – it is not that I don’t care, but rather, I care too much to let the numbers overshadow that which is truly irreplaceable – her. I am not oblivious or swayed by what others know to be their truths realizing we should all decide for ourselves and hold true to your own. I am me – and there were tears. But he had his tears, too. Dad stated bluntly that no one could know the extent of his loss – she was his life and now he just exists.

We talked of subjects I feared would be hard to broach; but, in all honesty, they were easy once the emotional trench was dug. I flooded it with inquiries, comments, and questions so he would be aware of the things we already knew, already had in the works – we, being those I have spoken to about the subjects we discussed. There is cause for concern but we found truths and revelations in our conversation. But, there were also things that need further clarification. What one chooses for their last resting place is personal yet it cannot be so personal that no one else is privy to the preference. At one point, he admitted he would have chosen cremation and the spot to rest – now he chooses to be by her side forever, and we have that covered.

The blue icing skies were smeared with fluffy white marshmallow clouds. The warmth of the mid-February sun at +2 kissed the snow-covered fields making them shine like meringue, rich sweet and browned in patches with winter wheat or grasses or weeds peeking through the snow. Crows and coyotes plump with an abundant taking of winter road kill watched from the ditches as our vehicle passed by… We encountered a quizzical little animal on the highway and in the wondering “what it was” realized quickly that the vehicle next to us determined what it wasn’t… alive… so quick a life can end. It was puzzling until we saw one right outside muskratmy sister’s house under her truck. We determined the little animal to be a muskrat – and we wondered of its frequency in sightings (there were plenty for the crows and coyotes along the highway) and did it hibernate? A search provided the answer – no – but it usually sits at home content to feed on the stores built up for winter survival. It ventures out at first sight of spring…

As nature takes its course and one is lost leaving others to go on, we must embrace the life around us. Take time to smile at the sunshine, wonder of the creatures, and feel pleasure in the company of those still here. We must let those hurtful things go that bog us down with anger or bitterness; accept that your views don’t have to match those around you to be just as viable. We must also venture out into the big world to discover what it has to offer – no matter our fears – and appreciate life in the moment.  

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Contrail Conspiracy

The concentrated condensation trail of jet exhaust is visible against an Alberta blue sky. Its consistency waivers slightly in the upper air currents; soon it spreads and eventually dissipates, consumed by the surrounding atmospheric abyss. Two white tails streaked across my view of the sky from my window today within seconds of one another on a north-south journey to who knows where… They appeared to be too high to consider the landing at Edmonton International Airport so I am going to assume their destination is somewhere farther, perhaps, in warmer climes beyond our borders.

contrailWhen I see those white plumes marring our beautiful blue skies, I think of my mother. I will never see another without remembering her comments as to their purpose and possibly conspiracy. As an avid reader and always learning, she would go beyond just the simple explanation of vapor condensation from warm water into cool air, like our breath on a cold winter morning. I am not sure she knew of the now debunked conspiracy theory that linked these contrails to chemical distribution, but it’s possible. It was more of “why do they have to do that…” A beautiful clear sky in Alberta is not a rarity but all too soon clouds move in on the wind, changing the brilliant blue landscape to a myriad of mottled patterns.

Ask “why” and you can always research the scientific reasoning. An article in the Scientific American discusses this very question:

 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-do-jets-leave-a-white

Of particular interest to me, the following: “The nature and persistence of jet contrails can be used to predict the weather. A thin, short-lived contrail indicates low-humidity air at high altitude, a sign of fair weather, whereas a thick, long-lasting contrail reflects humid air at high altitudes and can be an early indicator of a storm.”

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This ability was always my understanding for the possible use of the contrails – weather predictors. They indicated by their reaction the direction and intensity of the air currents. I have yet to satisfy my curiosity through research as to why some jets do this and others don’t, even while appearing to travel at the same altitude. Why do they happen in the summer when the air is supposedly warmer, although I know it cools quickly the higher you go…

To my mom, it was simply a conspiracy to eradicate a beautiful blue sky and when I see one of those obvious white contrails, I smile – looking up makes me feel like she is watching me and knowing I see what she sees. This is a connection I shared with her while sitting on the deck at her house in the country enjoying a cold one – it will forever be a happy memory.   

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Things that make me smile…

Things that make me smile 1

2 things

Things that make me smile 3

Things that make me smile 4

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Reflection

I will premise this blog with a short note to readers: I am fine. I will be okay. I am doing what I need to do in order to deal with things. YOU are the reason I will be okay for I am blessed and lucky to be part of such an amazing group of people – family, friends, co-workers, fellow writers, lovers of life, dreamers, believers… there have been many developments since last year, some good, some not so good – all are part of my journey.

                   *****

The traffic is light but increasing as the dawn creeps into another day. I am awake and the coffee is brewing. It’s a cool mid-fall -8 and the snow from yesterday is still on the ground. It makes me wonder if it will stay again … like it did last year. By Wednesday this week last year we had a storm that dropped several inches and it was cold – winter stayed this week last year.

There is no reason to be up this early as I begin a vacation week. Days that are mine, time taken to allow me to get done some stuff yet undone, to do some things abandoned, to deal with emotions still alive and raw and welling inside. This week will mean to each of us something different, yet for our family it also means something so common – the pain of loss.

This day started early after an uncomfortable sleep, if I could call it that. This day begins, promising to be productive, but not without discomfort. My memories do not rest easy in my mind nor do they soothe my heart. For I – this day, last year – called an ambulance to take my mom to the hospital. It was to be a one way trip.

I have written only a few things about her over the past year – I feel I have neglected my words in many ways yet have continued my journey as a writer in others. So much has happened – many good things, even though they are tinged with sorrow. Dealing with the loss has been a rollercoaster and I know people deal with death in different ways. I have no presumptions of its glory and where we end up; who really knows? I don’t believe in things that some people turn to during these times – it was a choice made long ago. But, I honor my mother and her beliefs; those give me comfort, small as they may seem at times… it allows me to think she is okay and with her own mother again.

My mom’s picture stands on my shelf at my bedroom doorway where I can see her every day. I talk to her and visit her grave. Those physical things I clutch in a desperate attempt to hold her close. The thought that makes me cry, every time, is how I miss her hugs – I always got one when arriving and another when I left. That emptiness – that hollow in my heart – will never be filled. Others in my life – family and friends – will surround it and make it better so I can go on, but no matter how much time passes, that deep wound will not heal. They say time does that but I don’t believe it for one second.

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Photo by Linda J. Pedley (c) October 27, 2013

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Reality of Life

I think that the power is in the principle. The principle of moving forward, as though you have the confidence to move forward, eventually gives you confidence when you look back and see what you’ve done. ~ Robert Downey Jr.

I write this and want the focus on my direction to be different (outlook positive) – I want to look back and see what I’ve done and had, not what I’ve neglected, or lost (accepting limits and cherishing memories). I want my writing to go somewhere and mean something more. I want my life and my writing journey to encompass all these principles in a confident manner. I write this while I am feeling control and lucidity and not overwrought with my inevitable emotions. Why? I guess I just want to prove to myself that in me exists the ability and strength to continue, no matter what – move forward, so to speak. I understand and accept that my life as it was will never be the same but that does not mean it is a bad life. I am loath to say it will get better. But it could, right? People tell me things will get better and time is the factor. Things happen and we question their relevance (the what), we question their timing (why now), we question their reason (just why, why) and, in dealing, we look to those things that are supposed to give us comfort. If they are things (or people) we hold dear, they certainly will provide some kind of comfort, yet they cannot give us the answers we may seek. It is almost impossible to verbalize what it is I want to say for I know in my heart the answers are not there, at least, in any way I want to hear. Finality is hard to deal with…

Grief on this level is new to me. My maternal great-grandmother died when I was in high school during the early ‘70s. We weren’t even allowed to go to the service and/or funeral but I remember my sadness as I walked home in tears from the tennis court having been delivered the news. My maternal grandmother died in the mid-‘90s and by then I was a single working mom – it is a more vivid memory because I said a tearful good-bye to her at the viewing before the cremation, but, then again, only remember vaguely the service and reception to follow. By that time we weren’t really close to all the relatives we grew up with so distance allowed a certain separation from heart and emotion to build. Relatives died, for whom I felt sadness in their passing, but because of the distance there was nowhere the devastation of a loss of this magnitude. I have not really attended a lot of funerals and only one other graveside interment – that of a child. (To me, the loss of a child is/would be a whole different grief.)

The reality of life is that we eventually die. You don’t have to believe in anything big and ominous, or unknown, to know this is the course of our direction upon earth. It’s part of life, albeit, a part that sucks. Belief in faith of a hereafter does not diminish the finality of death, in the here and now. It might ease the passing to know you are going to something better but it does not lessen the grief in those left behind. My mom believed in God and was incensed by my declaration of being an atheist ~ she wished I would believed, prayed I would believe ~ I believe I am safe and what I am because of her prayers. But I tried and could not find salvation in that attempt. I truly believe in something and I believe in my mom. Her acceptance of all that is me is something I will always hold dear. I know she didn’t like some of my choices but in the last few years a change was evident – she accepted what was and who I’d become.

I write because I must. I write because I believe in the power of the written word. In my words I will find strength, I have confidence and I have the will to move forward. Sometimes… I might just cover my head and cocoon, but don’t worry ~ I’ll be back soon.

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A Bittersweet New Year’s Story

It was just before midnight on New Year’s Eve and the traffic was light through the intersection at Whyte Avenue and 99 Street. A Google search reveals the night was the coldest of the year with a bone chilling -35 C in Edmonton, AB. It’s the last day of the year 1951 and a young couple smooch while waiting for a bus heading downtown. Him – with the bad boy “James Dean” leather and denim; her – with the beauty of a movie starlet – black coiffed hair draped in a sheer scarf, ruby red lips, a warm wool swing coat in passionate pink. The passing New Year’s Eve of 2012 would have marked 60 years for my Mom and Dad and a love affair cut short by the death of my mother in November. They had made plans to return to this spot to renew memories of the time together which began so long ago as young lovers. My Dad shared his intent to go on their “date” and wondered aloud if he was just being a crazy old man. I assured him he was not – in fact, it was a beautiful, loving way to remember despite his sorrow and deep loss. We all feel the gaping hole her passing has created but none, I am sure, more than the man who never stopped loving, remembering, and believing.Mom and Dad photo by Keith Kinloch 2

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Me and NaNO

Wow, when the cosmos says you shouldn’t or will not do something, it really means it! Or at least it makes the effort somewhat difficult by overwhelming you with emotional grief and consuming you with administrative turmoil. This year will go down as the worst and will probably hamper any future attempts for the so-called month of writing frenzy. I think I will concentrate my efforts elsewhere because giving up totally is not something I am willing to give in to – writing is in my very soul and it is spurred by my heartfelt renderings. My thoughts stray back to 2009 when I had a partially developed idea in place for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I remember completing 2009 with a novel entitled An Italian Son even though my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.

In 2010, I assumed the best for my writing despite all that was going on in my sister’s life. I planned early the premise of the 2010 novel and let it sit awaiting the November 1st start. Power Struggle came out of that 2010 effort although it was composed with pure emotional adrenalin. My father had an abdominal aortic aneurism (triple a) late October while at work. He wasn’t given much chance of survival but he did. Although he was in hospital for the onslaught of the writing craziness, I remember writing the first chapter on a small note pad while sitting in his hospital room.

In 2011, I registered on my NaNoWriMo account to assume the position but did not complete my attempt. I was working on my WIP, An Elizabethan Affair, and although it is one so dear to my heart that finishing is an ongoing dream, I could not find the time to finish the whole 50,000 words. I added to the work and in that I found comfort – it will be finished when the time is right for it keeps me in touch with my true spirit. My love for Shakespeare and his work guide me toward that inevitable success.

This year is another story altogether and perhaps my inner spirit is severed with regard to this year’s attempt at writing the sequels to my YA adventure, A Journey of Brothers. Publishing the ebook this summer via #smashwords is bittersweet. My mom loved this story and helped with editing and proof reading and event wanted so much to see it in film; I told her of my plan to write the follow ups to my novella this month. I would continue the story and follow the brothers – Aaslan, Udmurt, and Prince Haidar to fulfill each of their lives through the journey of the women, Aisha and Saharra. I dedicated the first book to my mom and although she did not see a print copy of this book she was the reason I published it first in the means I was able.

She passed away on November 3rd. If time allows I will begin this year’s NaNoWriMo quest in her honor – it will be delayed and sporadic.

I will not be pursuing future events but endeavor to devote time throughout the year to my writing as we answer the inner call as writers. At least that’s how I’m feeling right at this moment.

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A Journey of Brothers

The “goal” of crossing “writing a book” off my life list of things to do has been a true journey. I have loved writing for a long time and most prior keepsakes are of short verses, poetry, and short stories by the binder full, in junior high. My ability to create an image through artwork or creative writing was encouraged by many teachers along the way. I come by the talents naturally, as they are plentiful in varying degrees throughout my family. In 2000, I cleaned house of all my creative endeavors, except writing and drawing/painting, to concentrate on my these true passions.  National Novel Writing Month, November 2009 proved to be fruitful in producing my first novel, An Italian Son, yet to be edited and released. National Novel Writing Month, November 2010, although punctuated with bursts of fury and distraction, allowed me to produce novel #2, Power Struggle, again awaiting another edit before release. My constant love, and perhaps that could be why I am reluctant to devote the time I need to finish it, An Elizabethan Affair – is ongoing. Do I want to let him go just yet? With my schedule, it seemed to make sense that an ebook novella might be the first book to be released.

Way back in June 2009, a writing prompt posted on our group’s web site (http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com/) inspired me to write a short story based on the visual image it gave me. An accumulation of several prompts guided me into a journey I could not control – let alone explain. Stories come to writers, for whatever reason, and they must be told; they are developed in a particular setting because certain details fit, they are populated with characters we flesh out as if they are real. To a writer, they are real in our minds and the goal is to transform those players to the page so they are real for the reader, too. I am not just trying to sell my first ebook to you – I want you to know about the process it took to become a story that will morph into a collection of three novellas by the end of this year. Novella 1 came to be about Aaslan through a series of prompts, like I mentioned above, and as I wrote I wove the prompts together back and forth between brother, Aaslan, and sister, Aisha, and it soon became clear there was a “journey” I had to follow. Specific words and details provided an appropriate setting and, although some details were changed through research and authentication, the story unfolded in the countryside of Turkey. I love the process of finding things that just fit – a synchronicity of sorts. I love the way a tale comes to pass and wonder on its amazing ability to fall into place with little effort, as if it’s meant to be. Why did I have to tell this story? What connection do I have to this tale other than writer? Not sure – perhaps, there is a connection to something between the “once upon a time” and “the end” that exists without explanation. There was a draw to the elaborate yet simplistic lives that come together with one purpose. Writing this also had a profound effect on me in that recollection of school day courses came to mind and reminders of things once read and/or studied brought back feelings of deja vu.

In writing this story, I chose names for my characters that reflected their personality traits already manifest in their being but also soon to be strengthened through their journey. A Journey of Brothers is a novella of just over 23,000 words and follows the main characters of Aaslan, Aisha, Udmurt, Saharra, and Haidar. There are a few secondary characters who play significant roles in book one – but also play significant roles in the back story, one not told directly but referred to during the course of this book. The secondary plot, one in addition to the actual quest set upon by the main characters, unfolds as we move forward to a resolution of sorts by the end of the book. It was amazing how this came to be through a series of prompts used to tell portions in segmented short stories. Putting them together to weave an untold mystery was amazing, for not only me, but for my characters who discovered a hidden secret about their past. Some things wrapped up by the end of the book but there were suggestions of more as the writing continued – it was easy to decide to write two sequels – there are stories yet to tell.

A short description of A Journey of Brothers:

“When Aaslan’s duty to escort his sister, Aisha, to a neighboring village is met with defeat, he must journey to find his sister through the underground tunnels of the Turkish countryside. He fights little boy fears in a grown up world to regain his honor and save her life. With the help of friends, his destiny becomes one of survival and growth. He is soon to earn the name he bears, or die trying.”

A Journey of Brothers is available through #Smashwords, the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks.  In the future, I will publish this book in print copy through my publishing company, Dream Write Publishing. Thank you for sharing my writing journey.

 
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/206099

I want to thank my mom for her encouragement with this book. She read it through and helped with the proofreading. Her support has made a significant impact on me as a writer and her statement a few years ago “you really are a writer” meant the world to me. I don’t look for acceptance and accolades – to me, you do what is right and what is your way. If others accept your honesty in staying your ground and making a stand, then it was meant to be because you are being true to who you are. We all have a “journey” upon this earth – discovering your passion and following that road makes life fulfilling. She would love to see this story as a movie – so would I! Love you, Mom.

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