Wednesday, 26 September 2012

bereavement: the condition of having been deprived of something or someone valued, esp through death; a period of mourning after a loss, especially after the death of a loved one

Admittedly, my word this week is slightly morbid; however, drawing my inspiration from everyday life, sometimes life offers up sadness, or grief, or in this case bereavement.

I love the definition I have found for bereavement: the condition of having been deprived of something or someone valued.  So simply stated, so succinct, so profoundly presented.  I am sure that anyone who has ever lost someone who is special to them, feels as though they have been deprived of one of the most valuable blessings in their life.  Perhaps that's part of what makes letting go so hard.  We feel like these people who are a part of our lives, belong in our lives.  Sometimes maybe we even feel like they were stolen from us.  Or that their lives were stolen from them.

One of the hardest parts of dealing with bereavement is most definitely hearing 'the news'.  Sure, I heard the words come out of someone's mouth, or I read the text or email that someone has written, but do I really believe it?  Right away, I feel my hand reaching for the phone, while I tell myself it's not true.  If I could just call them, they would answer and I would know this wasn't real.  But something stops me from making that call.  Knowing that if this is indeed real, I wouldn't want to hurt their family members by making them explain everything to me once again.  What makes this stage even more difficult is distance.  If it's already been so long since I've last seen them, or I've only been in touch through phone calls, emails, letters; it seems so much harder to wrap my mind around the thought of not being able to reach them anymore.

After some time, I have to face the fact that this isn't some horribly cruel joke, and that wave of sadness that has constantly been on my heels, trying to overtake me, finally catches my heart with it's fingertips, slowly engulfing my delicate organ entirely, wrapping it up in pain.

And then of course the anger comes in.  It's not fair!  Why is it that some die and others live?  But the one question burning within me personally is: Who or what decides when each life will end?  I can't help but question everything about life, and even what happens after life.  But I'm only left wondering.

Once the anger subsides, it seems like I must make way for blame.   I blame myself.  I blame the doctors.  Sometimes maybe I even blame the person I lost.  But perhaps blame isn't fair.  Maybe, if it's our time, it's our time, and if there's nothing we can do about that, then it's nobody's fault? 

Finally releasing the burden of blame, I try shaking off the mountain of guilt that is slowly piling upon me now, weighing me down.  I should have told them this.  I should have done that.  I should have visited them more.  I should have been there for them, at the end.  This part of grief is my least favourite because if only I'd known, I wouldn't be left wanting to say goodbye.  But most times we have no warning, and we're always left wishing we'd called one more time, or gotten those pictures sent sooner, or taken every possible opportunity to let that person know how much we care about them, and appreciate them, how grateful we are to have them in our life!!

I know eventually I will reach a place where I will no longer feel such an immense sadness when I hear this person's name, see their picture, or smell that perfume they always used to wear.  Eventually all of that will dissipate and I will be left with fond memories reminding me of the warmth and love I felt, and still feel, for this person, bringing smiles and the occasional giggle with them.  This is the hardest place to reach, but I know I'll get there..... eventually.

In the meantime, I can't help but wonder if we would be better off knowing exactly how much time we have, for then we would most definitely make the most of it.  But then I wonder, would we really?  Maybe the fear and anticipation leading up to those final days would only make things worse. 

There really is no easy way of dealing with death, and I'm sure that death will forever haunt us with it's partner, bereavement.  Even though we know and we say, it's a fact of life, that doesn't make the pain go away.  It doesn't make the tears stop pouring.  And it doesn't make us stop missing whomever we lost. 

In the end, death at least makes us realize how precious life really is.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

quixotic: preoccupied with an unrealistically optimistic or chivalrous approach to life; impractically idealistic

In order to truly understand the word quixotic I think one must have read Don Quixote by Cervantes, an old fashioned yet extraordinary book.

Lately I've been feeling quite quixotic myself, although perhaps not to the same degree as the person who coined this term.  Admittedly I've always been a dreamer, I've always believed that everyone should have a dream.  For what is life without something to reach for, to wonder about, to hope for?

However, my dream (well my latest dream) has been taking quite a hammering this last month or so, and after receiving blow upon blow (or in this case rejection letter upon rejection letter), my poor dream has been smashed to smithereens and is scattered about on the floor at my feet. 

My question to myself is whether or not I have the courage, the heart, or the energy to pick up those minuscule pieces and attempt to string them back together, to perhaps carry on with hopes of success through another avenue.  Or would it be safer for my weeping heart, and better for my aching exhausted eyes which have produced far too many tears over one topic, to just let this dream slip through my fingers and force my soul to find something else to be passionate about? 

Or perhaps, like others, I should just give up on dreaming altogether?

Well, with the quixotic spirit behind me, channelling Don Quixote and adapting his lackadaisical, headstrong approach, I decide that I am going to continue pushing forward.  At the end of all this, even if things do not turn out the way I envision, at least I will be able to look back and know that I did all I could, and like a true knight, I did not back down.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

quinquennium: a period or cycle of five years

When we try to look ahead at our lives, wondering what they will be like, generally we only look as far as the next quinquennium.  Taking a moment to look back at my life, the last quinquennium has brought me so much change.  Starting in the small town of Krasnoyarsk, Russia working as a nanny, I learned a lot not only about the Russian culture, but about myself as well.  I survived a car accident, but still was not strong enough to stand up for myself and tell people how I really felt, too afraid of hurting anyone's feelings.  Fed up with grossly unhygienic living conditions, after eight months my travels took me to the south of France.

Now living in Nice, working again as a nanny, I have grown into my skin a little more.  I'm finally starting to develop a sense of who I really am, what I really want, think, or like.  Having been away from home for a while, no longer am I influenced by my mother's opinions.  Through all the experiences I've had over the last year, I'm becoming more capable of speaking my mind.  The more I am around my current employer, the more daring I become.  After spending Christmas day in the kitchen doing dishes, eating the scraps of this rich family's meal, my reserve is crumbling quite fast.  With an altercation nearly every month that I have been working for this family, I now have no problem standing up for myself, and despite my commitment to spend a year here, it is time for me to move on after just five months.

Finding myself back home in Canada, ready to set down some roots, life itself has other plans for me.  Upon discovering that my grandmother is ill, a move from one end of the country to the other ensues.  It's all for the better though since I was having a hard time finding work.

It takes me a full year to settle in here, find a place I'm happy to live, a job I enjoy, friends to go out with.  But it's the next three years that bring the most change.  The biggest change to my life thus far, and the greatest part of my life as well.  Nine months of waiting somewhat impatiently, my first daughter is born.  Another fourteen months later, my second daughter is born.  Looking back on the last quinquennium, I never would have guessed that I would have gone from travelling about with no responsibilities, not a care in the world, to becoming a mother of two darling little angels.

Despite all the ups and downs, all the trials and tribulations, all the good days and bad days, I wouldn't change a thing.  With my children in my life, I am looking forward to the next quinquennium even more, and the one after that, and the one after that.  And now I ask you..... What will your next quinquennium bring?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

ort: usually orts; a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal.

We've all had orts, well maybe not all of us.  But those of us who have should consider ourselves lucky.  For those of us who haven't could and probably would willingly live off of our orts to at least have something.

Orts are a sad thing when you think about the sheer volume of everyone's combined.  They would probably be enough to feed all the starving people in the world.

We're lucky to find ourselves in possession of orts.  Not only unlucky, but possibly starving to find ourselves without.  So in the end, are orts a good thing or a bad thing?

Sunday, 2 September 2012


I stumbled upon this today.  For all of you writers out there:

Deana Barnhart is getting together with some agents and offering up a wonderful opportunity.  Take a look at her blog here:

Starting with a good ol' meet and greet, here we go, here's me:

-Where do you write?
Anywhere and everywhere.  When an idea hits me I just hope that I have a pen and paper so I can write it all down before it escapes.

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
A mountain full of blankets.  My most visited writing space is on the couch in the living room.  Next to it is another couch, home to those useless froufrou couch pillows and at the moment a duvet and a couple of blankets.

-Favorite time to write?
Whenever I have the chance, but mostly in the late evening once everyone has gone to bed and I can enjoy my quiet time for the day.

-Drink of choice while writing?
Probably a tea.

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
Generally there is music on in the background.  I think I would find it far too unusual if there were complete silence, and therefore harder to concentrate.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
The beginning of my novel came from a dream.  From there, I spent my spare time daydreaming in order to develop the rest of it.

-What's your most valuable writing tip
Oh, there's so many!  Write everything down.  Don't take a chance, because you could forget it.  Even when you don't feel like writing or don't know where to begin write anyways, you can always erase it later.  And my personal favourite, based on my own horrible experiences with computers: write it out first, then type it.  Not only does this mean that if something happens and your work accidentally gets erased, you'll still have a copy, but I find it a little easier to edit as you transfer the written copy to typed text.