I feel like I want to start this story by telling you about going cocktail dress shopping in downtown Vancouver on Tuesday, when I had to move a meeting, and buying not one, but two cocktail dresses, including the last one in 20 minutes. I literally ran into the Bay in downtown Vancouver, found a sales woman, told her I needed a size 12 dress in black and I was going to stand in a fitting room and she could bring things to me.

Or I could tell you about dashing into a bathroom in Winnipeg 15 minutes before my flight today started boarding, and slamming the stall door shut and practically tearing off my clothes, throwing an expensive suit on the filthy floor while I shimmied into the same cocktail dress. I could tell you about taking up half the counter in the bathroom and how I didn’t give a damn, while I touched up my make up. I could tell you about sprinting through the Winnipeg airport in 4 inch stiletto’s, my trench coat flying out behind me, almost bowling over little old ladies, yelling sorry as I kept running. I could tell you how I threw my luggage at Mr. Spit and I threw money at the parking machine and I just kept checking my watch.

My best friend is getting married tomorrow. Her rehearsal dinner was tonight. It started 20 minutes after my flight landed. I was 15 minutes late. I could tell you all of that, but the truth is what I am telling you is that I would have bought a million cocktail dresses, and I would have run from Winnipeg to Edmonton. I would have flown the damn plane myself, driven through a million parking barriers and run over any little old lady that dared stand between her and I. There was no possibility of me not being there.

You see, this wedding? This romance? This love? The fact that Sky and Timby have a step father? The fact that she has a partner, the fact that we were there at all is the single greatest testament to resilience and courage and faith and hope and mercy that I can point you at.

It’s about magic. It’s about the moment that we tied ourselves to each other in a ritual of blessing and recited a word and I picked sunrise.

I kept thinking of that verse, the one that says joy comes in the morning. I thought of the long dark hours of the night, the times when it just hurt every moment of every day. I thought of my insistence 5 years ago that there was better out there and she had to go and find it. I thought of the moment that she walked away, and the moments afterwards, the children who stayed with us evenings and weekends while she got her feet under her. I thought of the false starts and the times that she displayed more courage than I would have thought could be contained in a single woman; how she got knocked down, how she took blows on the chin and how there were times my heart ripped to watch her struggle and I could do nothing more than affirm that there was better out there and she was on her way to find it. I believed in her and I believed in her right to goodness and mercy all the days of her life. When it was hard going, as it often was, all I could tell her was that. That I believed in more for her and the children.

I will set my alarm and I will get up early tomorrow and I will make muffins to feed people, and I will drive to the house and I will do whatever tasks they put in front of me. I will work tomorrow until the moment I drive home, throw on a dress and a cardigan and drive back with Mr. Spit to see them pledge their troth.

Tomorrow – before everything starts, dearest friend of mine, piece of my heart, I will stand on my front porch and I will face east and I will watch a sunrise, and I will whisper my prayers for you, as I always have.

I will thank God, the universe and everything with every little bit of my body. I will pour gratitude and joy into the sunrise.

Tomorrow of all days, joy comes with the morning.

Posted in Marriage | 8 Comments

I need to go to bed

It really is Friday, although barely. I have to go to bed.

Mostly, given the unreasonableness of the guests in the room next to me, because I need to do this . . .

Posted in Road Warrior | Leave a comment

Always Worse

Most mornings I roll over in bed, turn off my alarm, grab my phone, text Mr. Spit, check for email, check facebook, say good morning to the Handsome Aussie and then look at my calendar.

Now, you might suggest that looking at a calendar which is over full before you have even left the warmth of your bed is not a good plan and I would allow you are right. I’m used to it now, so I usually wince a bit and possibly whinge a bit to Mr. Spit or the handsome Aussie about how full my day is, and then I get out of bed, pour coffee into myself and get on with it.

This morning, knowing it was going to be a particularly bad day, I rolled over, did my usual things and flipped to my calendar, which was  . . . . blank.

Blanker than a white wall, blanker than the look on a teenagers face as she gets caught with a mickey of Jack Daniels and tries to find some reasonable excuse, blanker than blank.

And when you are already overbooked, these are the sorts of things that spiral into a crises very quickly. I have 7 meetings today between 9 and 5, located across a very large university campus. I have practice stuff to do and I have to keep it all organized and straight and get it all done before 5.

There is no way I was going to be able to manage this if I didn’t have a calendar.

If you were wondering – for a moment, I thought about calling in dead this morning and going back to sleep.


Posted in Flying with Warthog Air | 1 Comment

Bucket List

After I was diagnosed with MS, everyone kept asking me what was on the bucket list for me, what I needed to do sooner rather than later. . .

And I had no answers. I’ve never really kept one. I had a few things – I wanted to dance at Nephew the eldest’s wedding, hold his child. I wanted to be well enough to care for the next set of babies.

For all my planning, I’m not a bucket list sort of person. I’m an experience, live with those who love me, care for those around me sort of person. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive, experiences and travel, big plans and small events with those you care for. It’s just that I don’t think about the big things much. They happen or they don’t. There’s so little you can actually do – you can plan and save and hope, but it can all fall apart. Hold on to the now. That’s mostly safe.

I’m not in Edmonton this morning, and I’m thankful. Winnipeg is not my city. I don’t much like it here. I have no real idea why, but for today at least – I’m glad to be here all the same.

You see, I had a bucket list in 2007. I had a list and it involved a little boy. And this morning, on this first day of school, I was going to take his photo on the front porch of the house I still live in. I was going to walk him across the street, our street, into the school he had looked at out of his bedroom window. I was going to drop him off in a first grade class room, with his backpack and his lunch.

There are secret anniversaries in grief. Days, moments, that pass that are so intimate that you never share them with another person.  I remember not just the day I first felt him move in me, but the day I first wore maternity clothes.

Then the anniversaries of my hopes and dreams – the days I thought would come to pass. The Christmases of my dreams that will never be the Christmases of my memory. Days that do not mark a thing that happened, but a thing that you thought might happen. The days that mark what was on your bucket list back then.

Still, you grieve those days – the bucket list that never was. You will grieve them every day of your life. And in the hurt, you hold out your hands when someone asks you what your bucket list is after MS – as the ground shifts under you again.

And you think – now. My bucket list is holding on to what I have now. Because what I thought I once had still hurts.

Posted in Baby Loss, Gabriel | 4 Comments

Monday Miscellany

  • 4 days. 22 Meetings. That’s what this week is.
  • But Niece the eldest came home this week to start her almost last year at University. (Well, home for me. Her mother has a different view of which city is home)
  • In Winnipeg this week. Which, I am sorry to say, is a city that I do not like. Possibly I have been spoiled by the charm that is Victoria, or the hustle and bustle and options that is Vancouver.
  • Winnipeg is hot, humid and it smells. It smells bad. I’m sorry, but it does. It’s not even a consistent smell. I keep telling myself that the water was high and it was late summer and this another trip, but Winnipeg, you are killing me. . . . .
Posted in Salmagundi: A collection of various things | 1 Comment

A Dreadful Weightlessness

It’s the sort of comment that is so carelessly thrown out and it floats in the air weightless. If it finds a weakness, it sinks in at that spot, driving where it finds deep into the ground. Most of the time there is no weakness – no one knows from anything, and the comment just dissipates. Sometimes though.

“You never buy anything before the baby comes. God forbid something should happen and you would have to pack all of that stuff away. Can you imagine how terrible it would be?”

As it happens, I can. I don’t even have to imagine. I can close my eyes and just . . . be there. I can, if I want to, remember every single moment of it. The packing up of my maternity clothes and then giving them away 3 years later.

I can remember Mr. Spit dismantling furniture, I can remember hauling it downstairs to the basement, I can remember the people we gave it away to, I can remember repainting the nursery so that it could be my office. I’m typing this, sitting where the crib would have sat.

Every single agonizing moment.

I don’t have to imagine.

I got in the car after the conversation, and drove myself home, crying. Angry that I was still crying. It’s been so very nearly 7 years.

There comes this moment in grief where you simply become tired of it. Tired of the fact that Gabe is still dead, I’m still here, it still hurts.

If I am truthful, it hurts  every moment of every day.

Not like it did.

Never again like that pain that first happened. But this pain that comes every so often is an echo of that pain. When the random pain from a weightless statement comes home and it becomes the heaviest weight you can imagine.

Not forever – but for a while. You pick up that terrible weight that you carried anew, or maybe it was always there – and you heft it along for a while.

I wonder, in the frustration of still this pain, still there, still hurting, still real –


Just why. All of those why’s. Why did I get pregnant? Why couldn’t I carry a child? Why did he die?


Just why.

Posted in Baby Loss, Gabriel | 12 Comments

Monday Miscellany

  • I made macaroni and cheese and apple brown betty last night for dinner. It’s a meal that gets consistent raves and every time I make it, I feel a bit guilty because it simply could not be easier.
  • Why is it that we feel like we need to drive ourselves crazy making really complicated stuff, when the easier stuff seems to make people happy?
  • Speaking of which, as part of slowing down, I was thinking of more simple dinners. I grew up with a roast, 2 veg, some sort of starch and a dessert for Sunday dinner. What do you cook?
  • It’s finally feeling like fall. I love fall. I have no idea what about fall it is, but I love everything about fall.
  • Maybe it’s because I like fall clothes? Or the cooler weather? Or my birthday? Or school supply shopping?
  • Honestly, I’m super sad that I don’t get to buy duotangs and gluesticks and felt markers.
  • It’s the one thing that I think sucks about adulthood with no children.
Posted in Salmagundi: A collection of various things | 6 Comments