Friday, June 17, 2016

bigmouth strikes again

It occurred to me this week that it's been 30 years since I've been to Peterborough.  I only realized this because I'd read that it was 30 years ago this week that The Smiths "the Queen is Dead" album was released.

That week, we must have been finished school already, or had a day off in our exam schedule, we got into the car with my mom and dad, probably the green Buick Century, and took a little road trip together.  I know we drove through Havelock, to Peterborough (to see the lift locks!) and eventually ended up in Oshawa.  The Oshawa part is important.  We went to the mall, the Oshawa Centre probably.  My dad and my brother went to a movie and my mum and I shopped. 

I don't remember much about what else I bought or looked at but I can recall, very clearly, clutching a copy of "The Queen Is Dead" in my hands for the drive home, anxiously, almost breathlessly, waiting to run to my room and put it on the turntable.  That's right kids, this was 1986.  Your choices at the store at that time were vinyl or cassette.  I always chose vinyl for a couple of reasons.  First of all, the artwork was always better and secondly, I had a turntable.  I also could make a tape copy of the LP and listen to it on my walkman.  How many times I listened to that album, hundreds probably.  I loved the Smiths, so much, still do. 

They really spoke to me and a year later, when I got my first apartment, the first poster I hung up in the living room of my brand new apartment was of them (I also had posters of Bruce Cockburn and the Communards in the bathroom but that's another post).

Everything about their lyrics resonated with me and there were only a couple of people amongst my wide circle of friends who even knew who they were, much less loved them like I did.  I remember my mum telling me to "turn that down! he can't sing!!" - that always made me laugh.  You could like his voice or not but the words were poetry, no argument.  I spent a lot of time and probably too much money tracking down 12" singles and imported versions of albums I already had.  There was no such thing as too much Morrissey and Marr for me.  Even now, all these years later, I still keep The Smiths, and solo stuff by Morrissey and Johnny Marr in regular rotation.  I never grow bored of them.

Admittedly, this week has been pretty rough for me, I'm feeling a lot better about things today and listening to Big Mouth Strikes Again, surprisingly, is helping.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

10 months and my body's in trouble

Mark’s been gone for 10 months…

He died 43 weeks and 4 days ago…

For 305 days I’ve been on my own, navigating through my life without him.

Most of the time, I’m okay.  I get up every morning and feel positive about the day ahead.  The past few months have been really good I have to say.

This week though, my resistance is low, my ability to deal with things seems lacking.  Maybe it’s the Orlando shooting (I’ve kept sort of quiet about it because if I think about it at all I start crying and have a really hard time making myself stop).  I think I’ve had a bug or some kind over the past week or so too. Yesterday I stayed home from work to nurse a horrible headache and ended up sleeping the day away.

Today I feel groggy, hungover from the headache I think. I still feel exhausted, like I could sleep for days.

I hate feeling weak but that is how I’m feeling right now, in this moment.

On days like today, I feel like I’m confronted with grief triggers everywhere I go.  In a day or so, I know that this cloud of grief which is hanging over my head today will clear.  The triggers won’t be as powerful.  The tears won’t come so easily or with such violence. I will feel strong again, and capable again and happier than I feel right now.

Right now, I’m just holding on tight with both hands, white knuckling things I suppose,  until this passes and I can get back to feeling good again.

...sincere thanks to Mary Margaret from Margaret Mary... 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

all of the laughs

Recently, I've been spending more time laughing than I can remember doing in a very very long time.

On the weekend, I got together with some girlfriends who I haven't seen together in ages (we used to get together once a month and haven't done that in a while).  We had such a good time that I had tears rolling down my face from laughter.  Fortunately, no peeing in the pants happened (hey, 3 women over 40 - could have happened!!).

It was so good for my soul.  These women are amazing.

Last night, I saw another old friend. We hadn't seen each other in at least 5 years.  Not only had we not seen one another, we'd not been in contact, at all.  Within 3 seconds it was as if we had never been apart.  I just love friendships like that.  The conversation was fantastic and again, so much laughter.

I am so lucky to have all of these gals in my life I tell you.  I love them like crazy.

Woke up this morning with Future Bible Heroes in my head. Hope this turns into a delicious ear worm for you.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

8 Months and Breakfast for Mimi

It was eight months ago today that Mark died.

Looking back on the last month, I can see that for me, something shifted and I'm feeling more at peace than I have in a long time.  After a long winter spent in a fog of grief, with too much time inside my head, I feel a bit like a flower trying to push through the soil in spring.  I can feel the warmth growing and am looking forward to facing whatever might be coming my way.

I feel stronger and happier than I have in a long time.  I'm starting to realize how much Mark's illness, and not just his death, affected me.  Going back 4 years to when he was first diagnosed with colon cancer, I started to live my life in fear.  I was desperately afraid that he was going to die.  Every time he would have surgery, I was terrified that he wouldn't make it through.  Funny thing is, he was never afraid of the surgery (one of the benefits of getting to sleep through it we would joke), he dreaded the treatments and I know his own personal idea of hell was a long lingering, painful illness. I continue to be grateful that he didn't have to endure something like that.

Over the past couple of days, I had the chance to spend time with some of my wonderful friends, people I haven't seen a lot of recently.  It was nice for me to be able to laugh with them, cry a little at times, and just feel reconnected to the world outside of my own four walls.

In addition to it being 8 months since Mark died, today is also Mimi's birthday.  Before there was a Mark and Peggy, there was Mark and Mimi.  As difficult as it was for Mark, I will be forever grateful to Mimi for leaving him. If they had remained happily married, I would have never had the opportunity to meet him.  For many years, Mark and Mimi "slung hash" side by side at "Mimi's."  She passed away suddenly in July 2010.  It was a total shock to learn of her passing.  She was only 54.  Today, Mimi would have been 60 and I know that for the people who loved her, in particular her life-long bestie Elaine, it's a difficult day to get through.  On April 16, 2011, in honour of Mimi's birthday, Mark cooked up "breakfast for Mimi"

I don't know if  you could even count how many breakfasts Mimi and Mark cooked over the years but I know that anyone who was ever fed by them walked away from the table very happy and satisfied.  As much as Mark was a culinary adventurer, he was never happier than when he found a really good version of bacon, eggs, toast and coffee.

Breakfast for Mimi

Thursday, April 14, 2016

They Say It's Your Birthday

Happy Birthday Mark.

You would have turned 64 today.  I never thought that I wouldn’t get to sing “When I’m 64” to you on your birthday this year (even thought it’s a Paul song).  We both knew that 65 might be a push and 70, well we didn’t dare dream that 70 was possible, but 64, that was a no-brainer.  I had already made plans for us to visit Montreal and you were so excited about that.  We would have left last night on the train (something we NEVER do – travel by train) and checked into John and Yoko’s room at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.  We would spend the day wandering around in Montreal, celebrating your 64th birthday in style.

How I wish that could have happened.

Instead, today, I have plans to celebrate your birthday with some lovely friends.  I am even heading out of town to do it (the first time I’ve left Kingston since we took that trip to Brockville to have your PICC put in).  We will remember you and will laugh a lot and probably cry a little and talk about much we loved you and the joy you brought to our lives, not to mention how much better off we were for having you in our lives.

Happy Birthday Mark

Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?