like losing a limb over the years, she still limps mourning her lost son (c) Tournesol '24/01.2021 Daily Moments - changed forever Jan 24 2021
a new dawn
daisies lift their heads to the sky
a new dawn
heart fills with butterflies
quiver with joy
daisies lift their heads to the sky
butterflies sip sweet nectar,
spreading hope in gold
© Tournesol’ 2021/01/10
It’s Christmas Eve and here I sit reflecting on my life during this global pandemic. I think I must have a few more wrinkles since March. I always used to say my lines were signs of life because I was very expressive. I laughed from my belly [sometimes too loudly], I smiled a lot in public even to strangers, which of course, add more lines around the mouth and eyes and I cry A LOT. I cry when I laugh too much; I cry when I am moved by beauty [my daughter singing in a choir as a child, my children driving 6 hours to visit me, my grandson’s birth, my son receiving his first award in primary school, my son’s first child born in a time of despair bringing hope to us and unity to the family, my mom coming to visit me after a long absence and any movie and touching commercial…the list is far too long].
This year, I have bursts of tears when I listen to the news, watch children walking with their family and distancing themselves from strangers, children in the park with masks and mothers who look so worn and tired…moments of reality like that open the flood gates and it lasts a few seconds until the next outburst.
So much has changed and yet has not. We all are experiencing Covid Fatigue [Yes! that’s a thing and it includes Zoom meetings fatigue for remote workers. I hear the difference on the crisis lines from March to December… it has changed. I feel fortunate to be able to hear their stories from youths from 5 to 29. Such a heavy load to carry at their age. I imagine the 20’s, 30’s and 40 somethings have an unknown future. Jobs will be changing for them and I imagine colleges and universities will be developing new programmes to fit with the new “times”. The saddest part is that they will be carrying the burden of our nation’s debt for many years to come. In Canada and even moreso in Quebec, social benefits are so different than our southern neighbours and other parts of the world…but we may be more aligned with European countries where health and welfare of all citizens is accessible. I cannot even imagine what it must be like to live in a place where health care is not free and only the “haves” have a better chance in life but the “havenots” are left to their own means which means not very much. It is inconceivable, no shocking and shameful in industrialized and rich countries, to see how access to good health services is not a right.
I remember when we started paying the government for our universal health care when it started…oh, we grumbled for sure if we were the lucky ones who were never ill and did not have to go to hospital and many ordinary people had Blue Cross which helped for hospitalizations. I know my sister paid her OBGYN after she gave birth for several years! But the first ten or so years after it was put in place, hospitals would send us a bill that we did not have to pay but it was a statement listing all the costs of our time there. It was shocking to see how one hospitalization could put a person in debt and how a surgery would force some to sell their homes. Yes, this is something we have come to expect…it is a right and I am grateful for that.
With the realities of what we are living, at least I don’t have to worry about how much hospital costs will come up to if ever I get sick. 60 to 80% of my medication is paid…sure I pay every year to the government a lump sum because I am still working part time but when I am no longer working and living only on my old age pension, I will not have to worry. Now if only dentists were part of the deal…[sigh]
I had not connected with friends for a few months when I lost my voice in November. I had to preserve it and when I started back to work on 2 hours a shift on the counselling lines. My GP and ENT both say it was due to my chronic sinus problems and GERD. Who knew that your digestive system could damage vocal cords? Okay well, I had no idea and my ENT also added that clearing my throat like I do so often is very damaging. I don’t want to blame it on the virus or stress because these are things that have been going on for years and I had no idea it could damage anything…I just thought it was uncomfortable and I bought a special pillow to prevent problems. Yeah, yeah, I know that my weight gain surely has not helped. In February with my busy months preparing for the move to my condo, I managed to lose 10 pounds just by being so busy and then I “found” them…I guess my body missed them. [chuckling]
I like to walk a lot but with this virus, I got a bit paranoid and limited my walks which then affected my health both physical and emotional. I needed to start practising what I was preaching.
Family and friends tell me it’s because I have a sedentary job but actually, the three days I DO work, when I get a call I usually walk around my dining room and living room and manage to do 5,000 steps easily. Of course I do believe it is the routine of getting up mornings, rushing to walk to the bus stop, walking up and down the stairs at the Metro and then walking to work…those were regular healthy walks twice a day. I keep telling myself, “Tomorrow, I’m going to pretend I am taking the bus and walk to the bus stop and then walk around the perimeter until I have done my 2 to 3 km and then start my shift. But do I do it? No, I sleep in longer because I get to bed too late and struggle to fall asleep so after 4 to 5 hours of sleep, I roll out of bed about 45 mins before I start taking calls. This is NOT good…I know.
It’s cold outside now and if I do go out like I did last week to the park at -22C and good lord, it takes about 15 mins to get dressed with all the necessary layers and then attach my mask to a special tie I purchased to slip under my chin and scarf once I am alone outside. I suppose walking in winter is a good idea since less people go out.
I have to say I am proud to see so many seniors walking their dog two to three times a day like clockwork…I bet dogs have never been so happy this year. My cats are happy to have me with them and Kali, my youngest cat who is so soft and silky I loved stroking her fur but she would bite me due to overstimulation but with my being home all the time, she has learned to crave my touch without biting…ah, to sit in my arm chair with Bette on her bench next to me (does not like to be held) and Kali draping her long slender black silken body on my chest, neck or lap (she decides, but of course) and relaxing to the purrs. That surely is a stress reliever…who needs medication?!
My goodness, I am going on and on again, Emma, and the first thought I had before starting this journal entry has not even been addressed. I guess I needed to talk in my mind and let my fingers tell you a thing or two that has gone on in my life lately.
Oh, yes, this is what I meant to start off my narrative…I was speaking to a friend this week and telling her that I reflected (a year of reflection is an understatement!) on how I felt. I asked myself, is this really the worse time of your life? And it dawned on me that there have been certainly other times in my life where I was much more stressed, depressed and felt so alone in my suffering. There were times I felt like I was drowning and only touching the surface briefly to take in a bit of air of sustenance and back down that black, cold hole at the bottom of the ocean. When I think back on those times, I realize I am truly fine and fortunate. I have a home, enough money to pay for the hiked up grocery bills, I am healthy and lucky enough to work remotely a few days a week which allows me to sleep nights not worrying about food and shelter. Yes, there are things I may have to change…like the humble amount I put aside to repair and remodel my bathroom (the shower will do) because I realize I may have to put thousands $$ on my teeth when I feel safe enough to take public transit and see my dentist next year…I was very upset and angry at times because I felt I only had about 2 years left to be able to travel a bit before I retire on my old age pension and 2 yrs is what will be the time before it will be safe enough to travel…so I need to be content with what I do have. I realize my life has had many hiccups and changes and I adjusted, and the most important thing is that now is a time to truly be mindful of each day and embrace what I do have. A new grandbaby and I have purchased items for when she can some day sleep over with Nana, my grandson who has his driver’s license already! can come to visit me and his school is just around the corner, so I may be blessed with more than I can handle [I can’t wait].
During boxing day week I plan to get a decent gaming monitor wich will be excellent for me to work with/writing and company gaming; I want to slowly clear out the guest room to be multifunctional…bedroom/tv room for kids/ craft room. I know that is a lot but I have had time to save lots of DIY’s on YouTube and purchased some tools to try and do it myself. I have lots of projects I started in March and come May I lost the motivation and slipped in those dark waters for a while. I need to and want to try to get back into this frame of mind of working on projects.
Lately, I have done some knitting and crocheting projects…I knit like a six year old…so everything is simple and most times I have to redo them multiple times to come up with something decent. With Covid, I have not been able to shop and touch yarns and ordering on line is not recommended if you’re an amateur like me…[did I mention I don’t know my stuff?] but now, I have about 30 balls of yarn for future projects. I did have to put some on hold when I fell down the stairs and sprained my wrist but hey! I could have banged my head, broken my arms or legs…I was pretty darn lucky, hence the safety of my extra padding that may have saved me…so there are some advantages of being extra curvy [mischievous smile].
I am hoping to continue on this path of looking forward to day to day blessings rather than look too far ahead. A video chat with my grand-daughter so I can make my silly faces, a time to visit virtually with my son so he can tell me about his stressful day teaching at his elementary school, a wonderful chat on the phone with my dear friends…laughing, venting, crying and always ending with a belly laugh. I am blessed and 2021 will be a year, I think for me, to let go of old dreams to make room for new (more attainable) aspirations.
I wish you, Emma, and all my readers a safe holiday season…hoping people will not give in to COVID-19 fatigue and fall into complacency…that ugly invisible enemy is just waiting for us to slip and fall. Don’t give in…I am refraining from giving my 2cents to non-believers and anti-maskers, Emma, because I want to end on a hopeful and calmer note. Happy Holidays!
(c) Cheryl-Lynn 24/12/2020
I just published a troiku (4 haikus piggy backing on one another) here in describing my daily thoughts and that inspired me to write a bit more, so I looked up Linda G Hill’s Saturday prompt of Stream of Consciousness and I decided to free flow write now before turning in and will post Saturday…
There are so many deliveries these past months that I cannot keep up with cutting up boxes to put out for recycling. My guest room is part library, part Kali’s room (my beautiful black cat) and where I have a make shift pantry where I put non perishable food that I don’t FEEL like WASHING the containers so it sits there for at least a week. It is enough that I wash anything new that comes in the house…I have become the twin sister of Detective Monk. I think the world has turned to Monk [chuckles]
I have received a few Christmas cards but yesterday I did receive a beautiful “first time ever” family Christmas portrait/card…homemade of course but still. My son, his beautiful wife and baby Lara sitting on mama’s knees. Well, let me tell you, I made room right at the centre of my fridge door and placed the magnets properly to ensure it does not fall. Then I notice a few picture needed shifting a bit to the left and others a bit to the right and then I heard one of the tiny round magnets fall to the floor. I got on my knees…and lordy lordy, getting on my knees hurts even more now that I have added more pandemic weight but search under the fridge, under the stove…the sink…nada! I sure hope it went far far so Kali does not try to swallow it. Of course I know her, she would just play with it like a hockey puck or soccer ball. If any cat could join a sports team, it would be Kali. She just moves those two front paws at such speed and finesse too!
So now that I have written this, I feel a bit guilty and worried and will pull the fridge and stove to find that darn magnet.
hearing the murmur
interrupt my worry mind
from my laptop
hearing the murmur
soft moans sounding like snores
my big fat cat
interrupt my worry mind
blare of the condo buzzer
from my laptop
sixty faces staring into space
another Zoom meeting
© Tournesol ‘2020/12/18
Daily Moments – 9 months later – Troiku
It has been months since I have written on a regular basis. Many respond to sudden changes in their lives to comments like “Life happened” with all the busyness one may be exposed to. But like the entire world, my only excuse is “Covid-19 happened” and it just took me a little longer to react.
Sure I was stressed and scared in the beginning but I was so busy putting out fires working on the crisis line three days a week, I would take four days to stay busy…distracted with still settling in my new condo since February…and yet every midday there was a press conference and I would freak out in my own little home.
I would rarely show my concerns with family or friends because they had enough to deal with. At that time I was worried for my future and the unknown but like I said, I was also busy trying to reassure, comfort and listen to those calling our youth line that, that kept me focussed. It reminded me a bit of a mom who is trying to tend to the family when they have an illness that is contagious. Chicken Pox comes to mind as I had to stay quarantined for three weeks with my son and THEN on the third week, my daughter caught it…so six weeks quarantined. Wow! I thought that was pretty tough then! How naïve I was!!
In March and April and early May I was still counting the days since our lockdown and now, I have given up counting. What used to be days, has turned to weeks and now turned to months. Actually now the thought of counting any amount of time has a bad ring to it…yep, when you start hearing that things will get back to normal…or sort of normal in 3 to 4 years…I dread even thinking about that…my future is much shorter than my clients and my peers, working in an environment where the average age is 25. So yeah, I’m probably the age of their grandparents. I wonder how my last decades will be. I had hoped to travel the first three to five years, while I was healthy enough and still working to afford the expense…now I don’t know anymore.
In the beginning I mourned the future of youths and anyone 20 years younger than me; I felt so bad for them. I was worried about my son and his wife and wondered if my son would be allowed to assist in the birth of his baby due in mid September. I worried about his return to teaching elementary school and putting his family at risk. I worried for my daughter and her three boys who were 12, 14 and 16, living in dullsville and wishing they could be with at least ONE friend other than each other. I worried about the sanity of my daughter and her partner working from home with extremely stressful jobs that has increased since the pandemic.
In May, George Floyd’s murder hit me more than Covid-19…one was a virus and difficult to contain, the other was an act of malice that could have been prevented. And so I mourned for his family and friends, I mourned for past, present and future people who have died maliciously. It took George Floyd’s death to finally have the entire world acknowledge and listen to people protesting in the streets about systemic racism for black , racially marginalized and indigenous people ALL over the world. The finger was first pointed at America and finally we all looked humbly in our own back yards at the injustices that have been going on for decades if not centuries. White privilege is finally being understood slowly…systemic racism is being acknowledged and recognized…notwithstanding our stubborn premier here in Quebec who will NOT use the word systemic racism pretending NOT to understand what it means…even if many have explained it perfectly in French for any bozo who pretends not to know. If one does not acknowledge it, they can give that as their excuse to NOT begin to resolve the problem.
Mid-May, I finally bought an inexpensive home antenna and caught the news on several American, Canadian English and French channels…so now I could watch a summary rather than the whole press conferences that I was getting to dread. I dreaded Zoom meetings and the echoey sound it had and would rarely attend to work meetings and rather chose to stay on the crisis lines. I am still not able to watch for long periods of time, shows that have Zoom…it just reminds me of a new world I dread.
I worried I would never be able to hold the newborn baby when my grandchild would be born and then July came and I had my very first outing with the family…we were allowed to meet with our 2 bubbles…so my son, his pregnant wife, and my daughter’s family, celebrating my grandson’s 16th birthday and finally saw everyone. We had not been together since Christmas 2019.
I was still scared walking outdoors and was not familiar with my surroundings. There is a beautiful gigantic park 5 minutes from my condo with an artificial lake that runs a mile and a half long. I was too scared to go but in August I decided to check it out. I hated walking alone all the time and not having a goal or destination, so I started talking to a friend in Toronto on my walks. I tried to go for a walk during my lunch time as well to get away from watching the news on YouTube, not having cable, I was stuck with only streaming information.
On August 20th, the Great Spirit answered all our prayers and my grand daughter was born three weeks early! My son was permitted to stay with his wife the three days in hospital and I even spent three days the week after helping mama and baby Lara with this new transition. I treasure those days I was blessed to hold Lara in my arms, soothe her and help her sleep. The week after school started, I had to stay away from family….AGAIN.
And then the lows hit me. It felt like I was buried alive sometimes. I hardly went out for walks, would binge on mystery channels and Netflix and had a hard time to concentrate on reading…someone who used to read 3 to 4 books a week…my mind seemed to be slipping.
Work was getting heavier…calls were abundant and intense and although I was relieved youths and young adults were reaching out, once off the phones, I was back in that dark hole.
I tried anti-depressants for three months and nothing seemed to change and then it was increased and after two days of that awful feeling, I called my pharmacist to ask if I could quit cold turkey…it happened to be a medication that had little to no side effects if stopped suddenly. That was the same day I heard from a dear friend who was caring for her son who had a terminal illness…I think that is what woke me up. Life is still going on…cancer, heart attacks, strokes and other debilitating diseases are still around…in fact, it is even harder for them with all the restrictions and precautions due to this pandemic. No, that was like a slap in the face for me…I wanted to try something else to get out of my dark hole. It was time to start practicing what I preached to so many of my callers.
But two weeks ago I lost my voice. Well, you cannot answer calls on a crisis line with no voice and even if this week it is raspy, my vocal chords still need a lot of healing due to a couple of reasons. Reflux was the main culprit as that damages vocal chords a lot! My doctor gave me a three month treatment and warned me it would take time. And so here I am, trying to write again. Today, I was admiring some of the posts my colleagues submitted on our internal Slack showing their hobbies. That reminded me how much I had changed.
In March and April I was writing a little more, refurbishing furniture and getting into artsy things like water colouring, colouring and considering oil painting. I was plugged into YouTube so many hours a day learning new DIY’s from makeover rooms to arts and crafts and then summer came, and I stopped.
I picked up knitting but within a few weeks my arthritis warned me painfully not to overdo it and so I picked up crocheting and with the help of YouTube learned new stitches or how to improve what little I did know. I just finished crocheting a shawl for my daughter in law, almost finished knitting a throw and almost finished knitting a long, long scarf. In the summer I had purchased over $100 worth of yarn for a baby blanket but every time I start knitting something, it takes too long and hurts my achy body and I get discouraged and take it apart. I knit a bit, then crochet a bit….that way I don’t overuse my body.
Oh, and in August, I slipped down the stairs of my condo on wet steps the idiot janitor did not put a sign it was wet and there I flew right into a wall. The only thing that still hurts is my left wrist which does not help with crocheting or knitting. But then again, those are things that may be soothing but they are passive…not helping with my dark moods.
Today, I logged onto WordPress and checked in my Reader to see who I was following and the first post that caught my attention was Linda’s. Gee thanks, kiddo!
So here I am trying to get back into writing. Oh, I have written similar posts like this one before but after an hour or so I would just delete them. This time around, I am hoping on this Friday the 13th, it will bring me good fortune and back to my old passion that has always been so therapeutic…writing.
© Cheryl-Lynn ’2020/11/13
(c) https://happiship.home.blog/2019/10/27/happy-diwali%F0%9F%92%95/ shaking in the quake uncertainty prayers interrupted obscurity reigns then - rising from the darkness Amma’s smile sneering in her sleep monsters gaining speed Kali wins the fight fear turns into hope cruelty turns to compassion darkness turns to light © tournesol’ 2020-11-13 Daily Moments November 13 2020 New beginnings (Troiku ) Celebrating Diwali - festival of lights
New sounds of silence – Troiku – Daily Moments Oct 29/2020
sitting in silence
Playing a game of Solitaire
Dropped the nine of Spades
Sitting in silence
Peering through the window
Folks with hidden frowns
Playing a game of Solitaire
All her hopes and fears
In one deck of cards
Dropped the nine of Spades
Far too many ghosts moaning
Breaking the silence
A mother of seven suffers abdominal pains
A family entrust a loved one in the care of health professionals
health care providers who should care with respect
Suffering woman wails and pleads
attendants curse and denigrate the patient
forever silence her with an overdose wrong meds
government officials offer their sympathy
Shocked, they fire one nurse and orderly pending investigation
Media probes the premier if he’ll admit existing systemic racism
stubbornly shaking his head says, no
tsk tsk tsk, how can he fix a problem when in denial
seven children and a husband grieve
a community of First Nations mourn together
Indigenous people raise their voices nationally
Sadly I sit,
Wrapped in despair and umpteen questions
Shaking my head, when will this ever end?
Stats read 896 positive cases today! Families are cycling; couples are walking hand in hand; can’t see the smiles of solo walkers.
summer’s hanging on
Keep on taunting me
But I’m safe inside
Wave at me
Summer’s hanging on
Knock knock knocking at my door
can’t catch me in here
© Tournesol ’20-09-27