Thursday, 8 March 2018

Queens, Goddesses and Heroes

A quick google search tells me the origins of International Women's Day began back in 1909 see for history. I had thought it was a much newer movement. But of course I see that was silly as women have been active in asserting themselves way before my time. Those much more wise and wonderful than I have reached for the stars eons before I was even a thought. I marvel at the steadfastness and power of women in this world. The movements they have started that change global attitudes and behaviour, that effect social consciousness. From the Suffragette to the Me Too movement women have made their mark on the world for others to follow. What a sorry world it would be without these trail blazers.

This day gets me thinking about the women in my life. From my earliest relationship with my twin in the womb with me to my mom who raised me to my beautiful smart daughters all the way to the wonderful women friends I have in my life today. Friends whom I love dearly and who enrich my life beyond comprehension I shudder to think what I do without them? Just as an example, yesterday I spent the day with three amazing women. I visited my girlfriend Cindy, whom I love to the moon and back and whom has been my sounding board in this widow's journey these last many years. I always always feel better after I see her. I can arrive at her door or her at mine in the foulest of moods in the worst shape and a meaningful conversation later everything is right in my world again. Who do you have in your life like that? Someone I hope? Someone who knows just what to say and not say, just enough love and push to balance your psyche back to plum level. Women conversation-like none you could ever have with the male counterpart. Aren't we lucky to be female? Love you Cindy.

I then went to visit my momma. Her sweet smile greeted me at the door and let me know she was very happy to see me. This beautiful 85 year old women got me a cup of tea and hidden in a napkin two of my favorite cookies to go with it. She wanted to hear what I was up to. Love comes to you like none other but from a mom. I am so grateful she is there, I love you momma. I no sooner got home but found a message from my mentor in Washington, my photography guru who has become much more in this last year. We talked and talked in that meaningful way women do about life and I got a whole new perspective on my life journey. Then she walked me through a shot as we passed photos back and forth across our countries internet wires. Despite the distance I felt so close and connected to her, like she was in my bedroom helping me set up the shot. Her so willing to share her knowledge and expertise on light and modelling. And I didn't even have to ask for this somehow that intuitive nature us women have led the conversation into this topic. The two and half hours flew by and I felt that creative drive start to surface again. Love you Amy.

The end of the day saw a quick connect in to my twin, that women in my life who I have had close before birth and probably even in my other lives. My other brain- the one who knows all I like and don't like who has been there for me always through every hard time through every joy. The one who can suggest books movies and articles to inspire and spark the feelings I need. "Here check this out you'll love this" she is always right. What would I do without her there? Love you Pam.

Women. Not enough adjectives in the world to describe their divinity. I salute women around the world in their gloriousness, their happiness, their resourcefulness, their love, their selflessness, their brokenness, their downtroddenness, their power. To you and all the women I love in my life (you know who you are) I salute you this day. Keep reaching for the stars you queens, goddesses and heroes.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Not knowing

There are times, despite my incessant introspection, where I wonder if I learned anything at all. I feel at times like I am this floating entity lost in a huge universe swirling around me with all this knowledge and wisdom and answers and I can't catch any of it. Despite dancing as fast as I can on the cosmic consciousness of my sisters that went before me. The generations of wise crones who knew the answers I seek. Did I learn anything yet?  I am 55.7 years old now. Is my personality so ingrained now I can't change? Am I changing and I just can't see the forest for the trees? I like to think so, but when I honestly peek inside my heart I wonder. Did you learn anything yet? There are many lessons I know are in my life path - Sussey's own interpersonal lessons. These are what I am referring to here, these that I know but have not learned yet. Can you know a lesson but not learn it?

My life has been filled with both great and sorrowful experiences. I have had more come my way than many many people ever will in their entire lifetimes. I have been truly blessed with some very incredibly special people and experiences and gifts. I have been to the heights of great spiritual awakenings down to the depths of absolute despair and darkness. Nothing boring and in between for this women. I repel boredom in fact. I have loved very deeply. I have lost very profoundly.

There is a lesson for me in there. It's not fully formed and cemented in my head or heart yet, but it lingers on the periphery waiting for this student to come to it. I had the pleasure of spending some time with my youngest son the other morning. He my old soul child with his quiet wisdom and new found knowledge of all things scientific and worldly. We talked about books he's reading and what he is learning from them. He knew about the "uncanny valley" and we chatted about that, he listened while I told him some secrets about raising children and my own personal challenges in life. He offered his unbiased thoughts and opinions on same. I told him how wonderful it was to learn from someone so young. To be open to the fact that I have nowhere near all the answers or all the knowledge I need in this lifetime and in fact someone 30 years my junior may have some of it to teach me. It made me feel young again to listen to him and wise at the same time.

I thought about it again on my walk to work where the thoughts flow freely. One thing is for certain, in this life I am being taught about death. About losing and letting go. About fully immersing in what I have before it's gone. About embracing the love and the disappointment. Living in the moment is too light a sentence to attach to this but it gets at some of it.  This learn and yearn- this, as yet unproven theory, I can't quite mesh together- is the overarching paradigm of my life. I know it to be so. To live in the moment and not look for anything else, to be grateful and enjoy what you have while it's there, to love and need and desire and yearn and care and cry and hope and despair- and nothing else. To be - to just feel. Life and death, pain and grief, love and abandon. And nothing else. Just to feel.

I don't know how this fits, I just write and see if I can come up with answers and see if I can change my story through these words, but I had a terrible dream last night. I believe Freud was correct when he said dreams are the royal road to the unconscious. I had a number of children in my house (they were my kids but looked different) and they were all in some form or state of angst. They were addicted to drugs and alcohol, they smoked, one had numerous credit cards that were maxed and the desperation was evident. They were using me and taking advantage of my kindness and I was letting this happen. I was sidelined to silence. I was so lonely in my despair of these ones I loved that I could not help. Chaos reigned, I wanted out and could not let go. I awoke crying in the middle of the night and could not fall back to sleep. I know that everyone in your dream is you. I could not help her. The details of the angst not important or correct but the angst yes, the loneliness yes, the chaos yes, the inability to help yes.

I have so much and still look for more. Stop looking and just be it. I felt anger toward Terry for the first time. This happened about 2 weeks ago and life has been pretty tough ever since. I felt that anger because he left me, he didn't tell me how bad he was, he ruined our wonderful life together and now my life is shit, I was mad at him for this. I let myself cry over it but I want to resolve this and I do not know how (this not knowing, have you learned anything yet? Can you let it go?). This not knowing has me stumped, it has me blocked, it has me dreaming what I did last night. I wonder if it is a key issue in the grief process that if I knew how to turn it and unlock it's secret door it would stop the chaos? It is as if I am in the uncanny valley. I know something is not quite right and I am thrown by it but I can't yet see it for what it is. The lesson just on the periphery.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Grief is like a long term relationship

In a long term relationship you don't stay the same as a couple. You go through phases and changes and you learn, grow, take a step back, three steps forward. You just never stay the same. I guess that is how they can work- it's not boring and it just grows deeper and deeper. If you are lucky like I was it grows better and better as it grows deeper.  Grief is like a long term relationship. It changes, it doesn't stay the same. Thank god for that! I was reading a post from a newly bereaved and it had shock written all through it, she didn't know she was in shock poor thing. She was questioning everything, why she couldn't cry, how guilty she felt about that, how long it would be like this when the pain would start and stop. I remember being there, I wanted to reach through the social media barrier and just hold her and cry with her. I remember when I questioned everything. I remembered when I wanted and needed to know how it was going to be. How if I only had those answers it would make it all okay. Those answers never come to you, instead you live to them.

Recently I felt like my grief story was changing a bit. I was thinking of Terry less. I put one picture of him away. I felt like I will "succeed" in my grief for him, whatever the hell that is. It just felt like You're getting there. You can remember and not cry, you can remember and just cry a bit. You can think and not feel guilt or abandonment or numb or the need to run to something else. You aren't yearning for a dream of him. You know he is dead and what that means for you now.

And I came into my quiet lonely apartment this afternoon and I felt it again. Three steps backwards into grief. Run - don't feel it; feel it - don't run. There is always a choice. And way up on the top shelf I spied his clothes I had kept. In my incorrect poor memories of early days I thought I had let go of this stuff. But I hadn't, a part of that shocked women kept key important items she'd want to have later. His black hat with the small red rose, the hat he had when I met him and he wore all over our travels in BC when we were a young free couple. The shirt I gave him for Christmas, that fit him so well and he looked so handsome in, one item of clothing I bought him that he actually liked. And the tie he had bought for his business schooling when we were smack in the middle of our toughest shittiest years struggling with debt and kids and feeling most apart.  And I knew I had to smell these, and have them on my body, and remember when he did and imagine what these meant to him. I had to feel what they mean to me now. And it felt okay. Grief spiraling deeper, changing, getting better but still here like a long time married couple.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Valentine's day

After he died the first valentines day was brutal. That in your face red hearts and lovers all over social media slapped me hard. That day had meaning again and was painful and unwelcome. I turned my social media off that year and the next two. I felt cynicism and bitterness every time I glanced in a store window. I walled my heart off further. It emphasized my singlehood my lonesomeness my "one" ness, my grief. It's not easy for widows or widowers, for those alone, those trying to find a love or companion, for those who are unhappily coupled.

It was of course a special day when we were young and in love. I remember the red lingerie, the dinners out, the cards and kisses and special highlighting of love and all things related. I felt included in a day that emphasized love. As we matured and our love grew deeper and more wise we understood as a couple the need to celebrate a day of love was yes there but not essential to publicly display anymore. We lived it the other 364 days and didn't need an over priced supper and night out in a snow storm to prove it to the world.  There was always a card and an acknowledgement that we were still each other's valentine but the hoopla went by the wayside.

My attitude toward this day has changed a bit more this year as I find myself in the 4th year without my valentine. I see it as a day to reach out and say I love you to those I love - and there are many- and I can do that. Happy valentines day Jeremy, Sam, Candice, Mary, Michael, Matt, Andrew, Terra, Melanie, Jeff, Molly, Rupert, Cindy, Pam, Patrick, Carolyn, Tom, Greg, Matthew, Steven, Mom, Dad, Pax, Cindy, Karen, Kelly, Cheryl, Paige, Kevin.... all you future loves... all those I have forgotten that I still love. I acknowledge you all today publicly and feel that love I have for you everyday of the year as well.

But let's also see Valentines day for what it is. This picture says what it is. This card was hanging on my apartment door when I came home from a great meal of love with my friends. From afar it looked like the real thing and I thought someone had put it there for me. It looked like the ones we used to find in school in a brown paper bag on our desks and you hoped to find one from your secret crush - remember that? Back when the popular people got way more than those who weren't- when the rules were different and everyone didn't have to give everyone in the class a valentine. I saw this and thought wow did I get a valentine? Then I saw it. I laughed out loud. Yup this is what valentines day is all about. It's a business, the business of love. Fuck off - my love isn't for sale.

So, I will not ignore social media today. Instead I will send out a warm thought when I see couples publicly declare love for each other, even if I don't have that love right now I will let myself feel yours. I will acknowledge that today I have romance in my life. I have those I love in my life. I have hope for my future. I have beauteous memories of past valentines days. Time has dulled the slap from all the red hearts assaulting me. Today it's better and that is something.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

A day I gave birth

My twins. I remember the pregnancy, all the excitement and hoopla and the food I ate to make them grow and be healthy. The housekeeper we hired for 6 weeks while I remained on bed rest so they would not be born too soon. The books I read, the culture I submersed myself into so I would know how to be mother to "multiples". Terry with me every step of the way. I still remember telling him the results of the ultrasound that I had gotten from the doctor. I called him home sat him down and said guess what? I said it was good news, he guessed we'd won a lotto. I told him it was twins he said oh my god and kinda fell back down on the couch. In my last trimester I got so big, I was a circus when I walked into a room. Luckily I went three weeks early. They were 6'13 and 6'3 pounds. I had a c section not the natural childbirth I dreamed and hoped for but they were safe and beautiful and I was a mother of three.

It's all a dream now, they are 32 today. Life is funny this way - you forget things that were your whole world at one time. Years separate you from all that emotion and love and busyness. What was once everything is no more. My girls have their own lives but are still part of mine. I love that. But where did all that energy Terry and I invested go? I guess it went into shaping them and who they are today.  I still am left wondering where the memories go though. I have only snippets. Their beautiful white gold hair. Candice's beautiful smile - just for me I felt. Sam sucking her finger and rubbing her other fingers against the soft pink ribbon on her blanket. Rocking in the chair. Always rocking. Their baby talk with each other, their pink coats.

They are beautiful strong, happy vibrant gorgeous women not these babies we had in 1986. Those little girls, preteens and teenagers we raised in our rented houses on Kaye Street, Gloria Court, Bruce Drive and Aspen Cresent. That was then and this is now. And it's their birthday today and I love them so.

But I still miss them, I miss all my babies. I miss the memories I've forgotten and the ones I am  forgetting.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

So..... it's fucking true after all

Crazy but true. When you come to a realization that seemed so obvious in the first place. I am not a dumb person, I have a few degrees to prove I got some smarts on the intellect scale. The kind that gets you good jobs that sustain you in a level of comfort that many might envy. I get that, I got that.  But in other areas I have been a little slow on the uptake. Relationships for one. Now that I find myself back into them. Don't get me wrong, I learned plenty in my 34 year relationship with Terry. You don't go down the roads we did and not fucking find yourself and some hard ass lessons to boot. You just don't. But as I have said before in earlier blogs. Sussey you are not in Kansas anymore. I am learning a whole new set of lessons here.

You know what is really quite funny about learning? How some things can't be taught by others, how we have to come to it on our own. By that I mean, no matter how much I natter away at a student and try to take different approaches to a problem or concept I am trying to teach them, some just can't see it. The insight it missing. It is as plain as day for me, I will say that again. It is plain as day for me. And the pupil is absolutely in the dark. They just don't get what we see right in front of them. And that is okay. When the pupil is ready they will learn. The right teacher will come along or perhaps even an old teacher they know will turn that light on for them and they will see.

It happened the other night with me. My dear sweet friend pointed out something I had not seen. It was a very simple thing, it was so obvious when she noted it- all I could think was well fuck look at that in plain sight- can't deny that now can we? Yet previous to this moment in time I had not seen it at all. But I do now. And this wasn't what she pointed out but it got me to this---- happiness is a choice. Do you know what an absolute tear jerking- gut dropping- fall to the floor- relief that is to know and learn and embrace? It's not you, or you, or it, or that, or this or none of that or too much of this--rather it's what I say it is, happiness is what I define it is. It is what I choose it to be. These might just look like silly words to you right now. I know in the past this did to me. Before I really got it!!! No seriously not to beat a dead horse but listen I'll say it again---  before I really got it. Hah ha I just want to run up to a roof top and shout it because it's like a huge secret I was let in on that I want to share (because I am a generous person that way and want you too to feel this kind of joy) but I won't, because I also know you'll just look at the nut and say what the fuck is she talking about? Maybe she is manic and we should call someone? The recipients within earshot of my crazy revelation would not hear what I am saying. Because this is the kind of knowing you have to come to quietly on your own. But I do so want to share it.

If you can live in each moment and choose to let that moment be one of happiness and joy, then you are choosing happiness- no matter what is in that moment. It could be shitty weather on a photo shoot, it could be walking to work tired when you want to stay home in your jammies, it could be fully immersing yourself into something you know is one day not going to be there, but doing it anyway. Living totally for that time and place and experience and choosing to happy about it despite it's transience.  As the song I love goes "did someone tell you that life was not all lies? All your friends, and your family, your gunna lose eventually". So act like it, seriously......  act like it.
Choosing to be happy, to me this means you are not waiting for it to come from some other source-- a bottle, another human being, a deity, a job, wealth, a ghost to return. Instead you are the captain of our own destiny, soul master of your own fate. There is no one directing me to do something, there is no one waiting for me to do or not do, there is no one to watch as I fuck up. There is no one. There is me and what I want. And I want to be happy. So I am putting on my party hat and my silly grin just like my Paxie and I am going to do just that.

I choose happiness.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

If I could soar

If I could soar
it would be to you
on your holy mission
of eternal perfection
I'd entwine us in perpetuity

If I could cry perfectly 
it would bring you back to me
in the everydayness of us
 I falter in my mourning for you
 I misstep, and you slip my grasp

I am but a thought left of you
in the days that linger here in January
this frozen month of hangovers
I look for you over frozen lakes
The cold air bites my fingers instead

I plod through the dreariness of 
another winter of my discontent
more ingrained than years 1, 2, 3,
it's in my cells now, my mitochondria
I want you gone, I want you here forever

You never knew did you ?
how much of you was me
how I soared with you
how grounded I've become without
 a flightless mourning bird cooing

If I could soar
I would repair this ache
this return journey to sadness
where she heads for another fall
instead I'd ride the high currents with you