Posts in creative non-fiction
And Rain Makes Applesauce

Every fall, I used to read a picture book with the title “Rain Makes Applesauce”, to my Kindergarten students. I never owned my own copy. It came from the Hutton School library, Lincoln’s library. It was a funny, quirky, off-beat little book with the delightful refrain, “You’re just talking silly talk”, and it was always a hit.

Read More
Walk This Way

I am coming to the end of a month long stay in Victoria, an escape from the lingering mountains of snow in my hometown of Revelstoke and an opportunity to spend time with my 97-year-old mom. After a lovely lunch with an old teaching friend and mentor, I then walked with her the 10 blocks to where she had parked her car downtown.

Read More
I Had a Plan

I had a plan for this winter. My idea was to go downhill skiing one last time. You see, the last time I was on my skis on the mountain, I didn’t know it was the last time. I did know that I was finding that getting on and off the chairlift was harder than it had been, that I was having trouble timing just when to sit and when to stand. 

Read More
Lincoln's Party

A week and a half ago we held Lincoln’s party. About 60 of us, family and friends, gathered on a day when it finally rained, a day washed clean and clear of smoke and that awful, oppressive, our-world-is-burning dread. It was a day of weeping skies, a day when, surely, the earth softened and sighed with sweet relief. 

Read More
I Am Fine

People ask me how I am doing. I tell them I am fine. I am. It is fine to be sad and I have been sad for a long time. I am good at it. It makes sense. How else could I feel? It seems that there has been a current of unrelenting sorrow running through me forever and now there is, by times, this cataclysmic grief. But I am not alone. I think we all accommodate that sorrow.

Read More
The What the Heck of Sorrow

I spend time each week with a wise teacher. She specializes in the wounded, those of us dealing with injury and pain. We work on breath and mindfulness, with discovering where and what our bodies hold on to and how to let go, how to find balance, how to know ourselves. I first sought her expertise in order to better manage my Parkinson’s Disease.

Read More
A Good Sleep

This is how the sleep goes: good night, bad night, good night, good night, bad night, bad night, good night  badgoodgoodbadbadgoodgood… and nothing seems to really make a difference except ½ of a little blue pill which has to be taken at exactly the right time or it wears off too early and I am awake at 4 am or it wears off too late and I find myself fighting to surface at 9 am and the day, even before my first cup of coffee, seems already too warm for anything.

Read More
Good Morning

Last evening, I arrived home from Lincoln’s cottage without my cell phone.  It was late, after 8 pm, and I was hungry because after dinner I had taken him for a walk…no mosquitos yet, sun gilding the top of Cartier, and a perfect temperature. I had to stop for groceries during which two bags of Orville Redenbacher’s sweet and salty popcorn jumped in my cart and would not leave.  Hungry-shopping is always a bad idea!

Read More
I want to remember so I am writing it down

I want to remember the first night I slept in his room, 6 days before he died. I want to remember how he woke in the night, how I heard his breathing change, how frightened he seemed, wide-eyed and staring into a distance I could not measure and at something I could not see. I want to remember how quickly he settled when I leaned over him and touched him, whispering, “I am here, honey. I am always going to be here now”. 

Read More
Bring Him Home

Do you know what I wanted to do? I wanted to bring Lincoln home to live with me. Not because his caregivers aren’t skilled and kind in the long-term care facility where he lives. They are. There aren’t enough of them but that is the nature of healthcare in Canada, isn’t it, in this rich, beautiful country. (Oh, there is a tangent just waiting for me to follow it, in that!)

Read More
Angels Whisper

When I was little. I sometimes heard a “shushing” in my ears, just as I was falling asleep. I imagined that it was an angel whispering my name. It meant I was not alone, that something wondrous and beautiful watched over me in the dark.

I think of that from time to time and wish I could still hear those angel voices. 

Read More
Drift

I am taking an online writing course. It’s challenging. It’s really hard work but the course is beautifully constructed. It’s really hard work but it feels very safe. It’s a stretch. Stretching is good. I like and admire the other three women, all young, in my cohort, and our instructor, also young. I have trouble with the technology, no surprise. I post the wrong things in the wrong places and in the wrong format. Documents won’t open for me but Saint Ryan, the tech support guy, is kind and patient and never makes me feel more of an ancient idiot than I already do.

Read More
The Duvet Cover

I have been sick, sick enough to stay in my pajamas, sick enough to stumble as far as the couch and no farther, and far too sick to go anywhere near Lincoln or my grandchildren for almost a week. A night spent sleeping soundly and breathing more easily in my own bed instead of shifting position in the recliner, marked a corner turned yesterday, the virus (viri?) in slow retreat. 

Read More
One Winter Morning

I write this with my left hand in the blue, spiral bound notebook I used for a writing course in the fall of 2013.  

I am reading the remarkable “Fallen” by Kara Stanley in which Kara tells how her husband, Simon, wrote with his weak left hand as part of his recovery following a traumatic brain injury. For two weeks I have been close to finishing “Fallen” but find I can only handle a few pages at a time.  It is not a fault of Kara’s writing this slow reading.

Read More
Parkie Day and a New Bike

Parkinson's Awareness Day today. The estimate is ten million worldwide and growing quickly if not, exponentially. The most effective medication was discovered in the 1940's and has been in use since the 1960's. Some people are helped by DBS...think tiny holes, tiny wires, electrodes deep, deep in the brain and a battery pack in your chest. Exercise helps mitigate symptoms. There is no cure. It sucks. There are worse things.

Read More
Left

Today was sunny and cold. I borrowed cross-country skis from our daughter and dressed warmly before heading out to the golf course trail with friends. As I was putting on my gaiters I noticed one of them had been labeled. That must have happened sometime during the last winter in which Lincoln lived at home with me.

Read More
Defining Cool

My new home is a condo for people aged 55 or older. The building is a stucco shoebox painted an indeterminate orangey-pink with green trim, accented by long balconies and faux, multi-paned windows. It is sturdy, well maintained and very quiet. So what is my problem? If I am honest, it’s that it just isn’t very cool. I loved our former house; it was old and funky and, to my mind, gracious. And I thought it was very cool.

Read More
December 4, 2015

Yesterday it snowed and snowed and then it snowed some more. This morning all that snow was the perfect "packy" consistency so I bundled Lincoln up into warm clothes and wheeled him out through the dining room door into the courtyard. He snoozed while I made a snow person, a tilty, lumpy, big-nosed being with pebble teeth. He/she stands in front of the big windows that flank the door, easily seen from inside the cottage. 

Read More