Waiting for a forest fire

Our community of Red Lake is on standby to be evacuated from two nearby fires. Three communities north of us have already evacuated some or all of their community members. Last year we evacuated on a moment’s notice because of a fire that started very close to town. This year we have warning and systems are in place. But now we wait.

My mother was evacuated with her long term care home to one in Kenora two nights ago. She is safe.

We are packed. We have decided what we are taking with us.

We have let all of our loved ones know where we are going and what is happening.

We continue to go to work.

We watch Facebook.

We read the news updates.

We wait for the next update from our Mayor.

That is all we can do now.

Wait and be calm. Encourage each other. Be nice to each other. Help each other.

Pray for rain and pray for wind change.

Our firefighters are working hard. We pray for them too.

Look around

I saw a boat going by yesterday. It was a beautiful, hot summer day and a great day to be out for a boat ride.

There were two people in the boat, one was the operator, sitting in the back, steering the outboard motor. The other was sitting at the front of the boat. She had her hand out and was looking down.

At her phone.

I saw a mom walking down the street the other day, pushing a stroller with a small child in it. It was a beautiful day to be out walking with your child, enjoying the weather, the blue skies, the blooming flowers and listening to the birds in the trees.

The Mom was looking down at her phone.

I saw three young people the other day sitting at a picnic bench outside the street vendor’s truck. The sun was shining; it was a beautiful day to be young and free and with friends.

They were all looking down at their phones.

Wow, did you see that? A beautiful eagle just flew by…

Oops, no.

I was looking at my phone.

Contentment

Finally, it has come, a bit of contentment with life. Sometimes a lot of contentment. Content to just be. And really it’s because I can’t be anywhere else than where I am. I have to be content to be right here right now. It is like a gift. Usually as winter approaches, we dream of a vacation to somewhere else; somewhere warmer maybe but just to be somewhere else. With that dream can come a lot of stress. Decisions to be made and agreed upon. Arrangements for travel made. More stress. Plans and more plans. And then travel and meet deadlines and run through airports. Well, not this year!

It is peaceful. Don’t have to fill up my already full brain with all of those extra decisions. Can just stay. Be. Rest.

I see families hanging out together, enjoying each other. I see people spending time outdoors, enjoying creation. I see many things to be grateful for.

Yes, there is a terrible pandemic and people have died and are very sick all over the world. That is a fact. I worry about my mom, in long term care. That is a fact. But I see hope and a light at the end of the tunnel.

And right now, I am content in being.

New Year New Ways

Every day is a new beginning. I love that. If you were grumpy or bitter or jealous or envious yesterday you get today to change that. I am grateful for this.

There was a time when I opened my eyes and did not want to face another day. The pain of losing my child was so huge. Immense. Gigantic. Enormous. Smothering me.

But I got up and fumbled through the day hoping for relief. I did that for a long time. It was lonely. Then I prayed for faith because I had lost my belief in a Creator. I kept praying. And praying. It worked. So I am grateful for healing. For waking up in the morning with a prayer of thanks in my heart instead of an emptiness.

I haven’t written anything for a long time. Like others in this pandemic I’ve been staying close to home and focusing on my world around me, trying to make some peace with the confusion and fear of the unknown future. I’ve decided that I will write whatever I’m thinking about because writing is part of my healing process. I have to write for me. It might not always make sense to others.

I get tested weekly for covid so that I am able to see my mom in a long term care home where she lives her final years in her world with dementia.

I have continued to work throughout this pandemic in an essential job for which I am thankful. Violence against women has not stopped during this time.

Each day is an unknown. And each day I embrace. So with those thoughts I’ll share some photos of my walk the other day. Peace.

Mommy

She stood at the door

waving goodbye and smiling

I waved back and turned to go

Earlier she had said

she never thought her daughter would be

the one to do her laundry

Life is a circle I said

And I am privileged to be able to

do her laundry

to help her change her clothes

to hold her hand and

trim her nails

So very lucky I am

to hug my mommy

with my mask on

when others in the family

are far away and

can only pray

for my dear mommy

And so many out there

have lost their mommies

during this time

of scary unknowns

and can’t be there

at the end of the life

of the woman who gave them life

I am grateful that for today

I could be there

because I don’t know what

the code will be tomorrow

We’re cousins

Families get separated for many reasons; divorce, marriage, geography, feuds are a few. In my life I’ve had family members disappear and reappear or just disappear or just appear! I shared a few years ago, about cousins who moved away as children and then reunited with the rest of us forty years later.

You can read that story here: https://momhealing.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/1024/

This summer I met two cousins, Dan and Donna, I have never met before!

A few of us cousins have been in contact via Facebook for a couple of years now and I don’t even know how that all happened. But everything happens for a reason and I also believe in miracles.

My cousins were apprehended by Child and Family Services in the late 60s, here in Red Lake. Their father was my mom’s brother. He was struggling with addictions at that time as was his wife, their mother. Three children were apprehended and put into foster care and eventually put up for adoption. My cousin tells me that there was an add placed in the newspaper.

The three children were all adopted by a non-native family in the Toronto area and raised there. My mom always told me about these cousins who “were taken away”. I wondered what happened to them.

They were fortunate to be adopted into the same family! They have each had their own struggles in life but I am so happy that they have reached out to their bio family. It is only the beginning.

Their story is theirs to tell, so I’m not going to tell it. From my perspective, it has been a surreal experience, meeting people I had heard about since childhood but never expected to meet.

I can say that there is talent in the family! You can check out Dan’s artwork on his Facebook site: Trip with me.

In the Heat of the Pandemic

I said to my millennial son the other day, “I can’t believe my children have to live through a pandemic; I never thought that would happen when I had my babies.” His response, “Yes and there will probably be more,” was surprising to me. He was very realistic about it. I am freaked out about it. He is taking it in stride, but knows that this could happen again. His thoughts and comments actually made me feel better. Me, the mother, who knows everything.

I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day as I try to talk to her often these days. She is in a long-term care home and I am not allowed to visit. She is 88 years old and has dementia. I phone her as much as possible so that she doesn’t forget me. I tell her on every call, “there is a bad flu going around and so I can’t visit today but I’ll be there as soon as I can.” Her response yesterday was, “Oh don’t worry, I’m not a baby.”  And then she went on to tell me about the experience she went through as a young person with tuberculosis. Half of her community of Pikangikum, Ontario died from TB, including her brother and his baby and numerous aunts and uncles. Mom, herself, spent almost two years in a sanitarium because of it.

It’s all about perspective.

I am trying to follow safety guidelines and go on living my life. I’ve had to stop reading, watching media on Covid because it became too much for me. For now, I enjoy going home from work through our fence gate, looking at our small front garden and then going out the back door and jumping into the lake to cool off. We have been in a heat wave for the past couple of weeks. Most days have had heat warnings. Not complaining and I’m lucky that I live by the lake. We do not have air conditioning, just a couple of fans going.

I’m focusing on my little world for now.

Can’t keep it in

I awoke from my dream because I was crying. Then sobbing. And I couldn’t stop. The pain came and kept coming. I felt it. Everything that I had kept inside. Pretending. Pretending it’s all okay. When it’s not okay. Everything has changed. Change is scary. Unknowns are scary. The future is unknown. That’s scary. My role in life has changed. That is scary. I am floundering. What is my role now? I can’t be there for my mom. That’s scary. She needs me. And I am not there. I don’t have any control over the situation. Not having control is scary.

God forced me to let it out. To let it all out. It was a dream. I was at my parents’ house, the house where I grew up. I was outside the house in the yard and I could see mom through the window. Sitting where she always sat. I went into the house and there were toys on the floor and voices in the living room. A good happy sound. I went into the living room. My brother was there at the age he is now. My dad was there wearing his blue jacket; (he’s been gone for five years now). All four of my children. They were younger. I’m sure Ryan was there but I didn’t see him. (Ryan’s been gone for almost 14 years now). Mom said, “Kathy! You’re going to be okay.” And I started to cry.

Don’t keep it inside peeps. Let it out.