Monday, August 13, 2012

Curl up with a book...

My favourite reading spot. I've been participating in a ton of read-a-thons and reading challenges this month, so I've been getting a lot of reading done...even when I should be working. Oh the hazards of working from home. ;-)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Saturday morning

On Saturday I posted about the one-year anniversary of my Grama's death. Saturday morning my mum, brother, sister-in-law, two nephews, and I went to visit Grama's grave. It was the first time we'd been there since her burial (a year ago today). My grampa and great-grandparents are buried there too, and although my great-grandparents' stones were marked and the big family stone was marked with their last name, my grandparents' names weren't marked, and their individual names weren't on the big stone. We had that done this spring, so we wanted to see them, plus visit Grama's grave in honour of the anniversary of her death. 

The cemetery is about an hours' drive north of here where my mum grew up, and it's a beautiful, scenic drive. It was my first drive this whole summer, and it was amazing to be out and get to see all the beautiful fields and trees and pass through Amish country and revisit the area where my mum grew up. 

I didn't think visiting the cemetery would bother me. I know my grama's not there - her spirit is with us and it's just her body there, so I was sure I would be okay. During the drive up, and even as we walked in I was fine, but the minute I saw her marker - saw her name and the dates of her birth and death - I lost it. It seemed so final. All this time I've been able to convince myself she wasn't really gone, but seeing it there in black and white carved into stone made it real, and it was like losing her all over again. There have been so many times over the last year when I've forgotten that she's gone and when I remember it's like being swept under a tidal wave. I feel like I've lost her a million times over in the last twelve months.

Then when Logan (who turned two-and-a-half on Saturday) got down on his hands and knees and hugged the grave and said 'I love you', I thought I was never going to stop crying. There's no way he could remember her, but he seemed to know. We talk about her, we show him pictures, and there's not even a flicker of recognition there, but at the cemetery, he kept hugging her grave and talking to it. 

I don't know what Noah was thinking - he remembers her, of course, but he was very solemn and kept asking me questions about the family. We had a moment standing in front of the grave where he came to me and leaned against me and put his arms around me and we just stood there for a few minutes in silence. He so rarely does that anymore - he turned ten in July - and I would have given anything to know what he was thinking in those moments. I also would have given anything to freeze those moments and hold onto them forever. I said on Saturday, I know the whole point of August Break is to post pictures and not have to come up with blog topics, and after being almost completely silent the whole month of July, of course I choose now to start blogging again. Typical lol.

My maternal great-grandparents and grandparents
Me and Mum - we owe everything to Grama
Noah and Logan
A happy moment on a sad day. Me and my sister-in-law Amanda - she's helped keep us strong this last year

Friday, August 3, 2012

One year...

I know the whole point of August Break is to take a break from blogging and post pictures and not have to come up with something to say, but I can't let today go by without talking about this.

Today is the one-year anniversary of my Grama's death. My Grama was an amazing woman. She was smart and funny and creative and pretty much the nicest, sweetest, kindest person you can imagine. Everyone loved her. She was one of those people you just fall in love with the instant you meet them. I saw it happen countless times. She was one of my best friends - a kindred spirit - someone I could count on, trust, and talk to about anything. 

I lost a piece of my heart the day she died. Life hasn't been the same in the last year. She was the heart and soul of my family, and so much of my mum's and my life centred around her. I miss her so much, and sometimes it's still hard to believe she's gone. 

So much has happened in the past year. I achieved my dream of becoming a published author, and it breaks my heart that she wasn't here to see that since she was my biggest supporter and my biggest fan. When I finished writing my second and third novels, I just sat and had a meltdown both times because I wanted to tell her so badly and knew how proud she would be. My nephews have grown so much, and she would have enjoyed every story, every photograph, every visit. I'm constantly thinking 'I'll have to remember to tell Grama that' or 'Grama will love that picture'. Still. Sometimes I wonder if I'll do that the rest of my life. wouldn't feel right not to remember and honour her today. She's a huge part of the reason I am who I am today, and she continues to inspire me even though she's gone.

U2 has been the soundtrack of my life for many years, so I thought it was fitting that I was listening to them when I got the news that Grama had died. I was home alone while my mum was at the hospital with family, and I was basically pacing around going crazy, making and taking phone calls, waiting for the inevitable. I came to my room, sat down, and put on Kite by U2. As soon as it started, I knew she was gone. I just knew it. But the words were so soothing, so comforting, so appropriate, it was like she was saying them to me herself. The song wasn't even over when my mum called to tell me. 

This version in particular breaks my heart because Bono had just lost his dad. It's so raw and emotional and powerful. This may sound incredibly messed up, but even though it hurts to listen to this song, I make myself listen to it on a regular basis especially when I'm feeling numb - the pain reminds me that she would want me to be happy and live my life. 
"Something is about to give
I can feel it coming
I think I know what it is
I'm not afraid to die
I'm not afraid to live
And when I'm flat on my back
I hope to feel like I did
I want you to know
That you don't need me anymore
I want you to know
You don't need anyone or anything at all
Who's to say where the wind will take you?
Who's to say what it is will break you?
I don't know which way the wind will blow
Who's to know when the time has come around
I don't wanna see you cry
I know that this is not goodbye"

Living in the moment

Yesterday on her blog Susannah Conway had a post about living in the right now. She suggested we be more mindful of where we are, and she encouraged us to take a picture of the moment we were in. 

Living in the moment is a concept I have a bit of trouble with. I'm not one of those people who thinks she'll be happier *when*...when I have a boyfriend or when I make more money or when I can travel. I may be a daydreamer but I'm also a realist and I've seen too many people fall into that trap, and they're never happy, even when their *when* comes to fruition. I'm content with what I have, and I know I'm blessed. I do get bogged down though, and for awhile now I've felt like I was stuck in a rut. It feels like all I do is work and when I'm not working, I'm thinking about work. As a writer, there's no 9-5 Monday-Friday. It's more like 8-14 hours a day sometimes seven days a week. 

I just finished writing my third novel, so now my mind is constantly whirring with thoughts of having to revise and edit not just book 2 but also book 3. I have to deal with beta readers and editors and proofreaders and get reviewers. I have to think about cover design and formatting and promoting. Besides that I have a book blog, my author blog, and this blog. I read a lot for the book blog, and for pleasure since reading keeps me sane. But that's my life. That's pretty much it. I go out once in awhile. My big, exciting weekly trip is to the library. I'm always multitasking and it's exhausting. I keep thinking 'if I could just get caught up, I could relax' but I never seem to get caught up. 

I need a break. I want to travel so bad that sometimes it's like a physical ache. I just want to GO. I want to do and see and be. But it's not possible right now, so I need to learn to live in the moment - enjoy each one - and not try to do so much that I completely lose my mind.

So this is my 'in the moment' picture from yesterday. I'm actually kind of embarrassed to post it, but the truth is my desk usually looks worse than this! I wanted to clear it off before taking the picture but then I realized that's not a real, true representation of my daily life. I'm an artist - I'm crazy and I'm messy and my life is chaotic. And that's ok.  I'm living my dream. How many people can say that?


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Down on the farm...sort of

These were taken the other day at Taste of Country, a locally owned store that sells frozen food, freshly baked goods, and the most unique, beautiful gift stuff you can imagine. It's in a great big old house on a big plot of land, and there's a little area for kids to play with two old tractors. 

The munchkin in the picture is my 2-year-old nephew, Logan. 

The entire ten or so minutes we were playing, he kept asking "Where the keys? Where the keys?"

"Mimi, where the keys? Where the keys, Mimi?"
With Nana, a real farm girl. She learned to drive a tractor when she was six.