Category Archives: Dear Emma

Dear Emma,

I heard it was World Gratitude Day today, on this 21st of September 2021

World Gratitude Day on this 21st of September 2021.

1- it is my hairdresser’s birthday today, so I am very grateful to have found her
2- I am grateful to have a purpose every morning I wake up and have work that I embrace
3- I am grateful having amazing managers and  an supervisor that allow me to be who I am and support me when things are tough
4- I am so grateful for my adult children who have also given me amazing grandchildren
5- I am most grateful for the friends I have who are far and near and some  are my colleagues as well.
6- I am grateful for my health especially for my sight , so I can read, and soak up all the beauty around me
7- I am thankful when my muse comes for a visit and I can create a poem or story
8- I am so grateful for my ears and voice so I can continue doing what I love best
9- Of course I am thankful for my bff’s (best feline friends) who adapt to my lifestyle (or maybe it’s the other way around…)
10- I am grateful for my peers who are my siblings and cousins…a supportive family who can laugh and cry together.

© Clr’16 Hopeful moments

Dear Emma – Decemember 24, 2020

 

Image may contain: cat and indoor
(c) clr 2020 Bette and Kali

Dear Emma,

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

Dear Emma, Friday 13th Nov 2020

 

Dear Emma,

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

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Nov. 14/2020 Ring

living today (troibun)

Image may contain: tree, plant, sky, outdoor and nature
(c) clr’20

A month has passed already!

Since January 1st, she had been working remotely more and more. First there was the move and later, the struggles on her body traveling and walking on icy sidewalks and flu season worried her a lot. In three months she may have gone to the office five days at best. It was already her new normal. However shopping for odds and ends she needed to fix up her new home and doing her own groceries were outtings she looked forward to until March.  What she misses the most is seeing friends and family…oh my, miss those hugs!

Last night she slept thirteen hours losing part of the day. After months of sleeping four to six hours a night, she gave into her body’s screaming request. Was it the exertion from cleaning and scrubbing? Was it giving in to her chronic pain? Or was it hiding from another day? Perhaps a bit of both but her body thanks her? A much needed vacation after months of packing and unpacking. Oh! There are still many things to do but at least she had the opportunity to make her new home look decent enough and not “quite” climbing the walls (or have to wash them down too!)

What really worries her most was the unknown future. She is saddened her children and grandchildren …people who are younger than her have to be faced with a very very different world. She knew the world was changing but never thought she would be alive to see how it would impact on so many younger people…how her heart breaks thinking of this.

It’s also a time of year when she usually does a bit of cooking…home baked beans, split pea soup à la Jeanne Benoit (she’s tried a few including Ricardo’s and no one can beat Jeanne plus her added touch of course) along with ham, pâtés and tête de fromage and a variety of sweet pies. Her Grandpères are not as good as those from la Cabane à sucre but lots and lots of chocolate.

When she was younger, during la semaine sainte (holy week) her grandmaman would cook eggs in syrup for breakfast along with beans baked in molasses or maple syrup. Of course beans were a regular Sunday breakfast even outside Easter week. After Sunday mass many churchgoers would pick up home baked beans at a grocer.

She takes comfort thinking of those days, just like food giving one comfort. It is enjoyable to cook and bake for others but to do it alone is a challenge lacking so much joy, missing the smiling faces and comments of “Mmmm” and “More please”.

It’s 18:30 and as much as she has avoided hearing her prime minister or premier speak…she turns on the screen awakening her to reality.

Under grey skies
A leader talks about peace
Spring snowflakes

Under grey skies
Heavy
With new angels

A leader talks about peace
Birds chirp softly
Chasing soporifics

Spring snowflakes
Maples running gold liquid
humans may not taste

© Tournesol ’20-04-09

Daily Moments – April 9 2020 – Living Today (haibun)

A haibun and a Dear Emma journal…just thinking on paper

 

It’s driving her bonkers visiting so many condos. She is working still but this new place should be affordable when she no longer works and accessible to basic needs. Public transportation must be achievable so she can still get around at all hours of the day and evening. She loves the city for the culture, education and so many interesting events. She loves to read and if her new location does not provide what she needs in books, she wants to be able to hop on a bus and go to her Alma mater, having access to it’s library.

visiting
searching
a place to call home

visiting
private homes
of strangers

searching
impossible dreams
peace of mine

a place to call home
yet, fearing isolation
single … not alone

(c) Tournesol ’19/10/30

Yesterday she heard a radio broadcast of a man who retired. He talked about how it was a terrible shock to him. She has been planning to write more and teach English part time on line or in person when she retires. She planned on volunteering doing group work like she did a few years ago but somehow she did not feel “at home” in community outreach programmes like she did in Toronto. Why was that? Was she tired of volunteering in the mental health world where she has worked for almost 4 decades, volunteering and working? Well, that would make sense. Even if she offered workshops, she knows she would still be drawn into their narratives that pull at the heartstrings.

And, to hear this man voice his misery with retirement, jolted her. She thought about the time when it will be an END…rather than her usually way of thinking that it will be a new beginning. Even if she got certified to teach last fall, she never really grasped the idea of cutting ties to workforce. She remembers not working for one year when the children were little and she found work to do from home to keep her sanity. Somehow, being productive AND connected to people was a need and not just a desire.

How did she get here? She has always talked about volunteering and working part time here and there to fill her time. She has relished the idea of going to a library or coffee shop with her laptop and writing to her heart’s content. And yet when it is a choice and something in the future, it looks like a dream come true. When it gets closer, it feels like a death sentence. Oh my, why is she seeing her future so bleak? Is it that time of year?

November approaching is like opening your heart and home to death. The only good thing about this month was her first child was born on the 7th. She feels herself slipping into the darkness of despair and numbness. Knowing it is going to happen; understanding the why’s and how’s makes it even more frustrating because that mood just takes control over her. It snickers and sometimes bellows at her weakness. It weighs on her like a heavy duvet with iron fists keeping her under, and all she can do is concentrate on breathing…waiting for a break in that dark sky. Until then, she will go through the motions…work three days a week; listening to the darkest stories from callers, searching for hope. She sometimes, feels like a hypocrite not being able to take her own advice. She can hear them, feel them, open her heart to them and engage them and help them get to a safer and lighter place even if it’s just for a night, one more day, one more week. If only she could have someone like that to do the same for her.

It is probably one of the toughest parts of being in the service profession. Police officers, first responders, nurses, physiotherapists, massage therapists, doctors, teachers and social service workers and any other outreach career, have the same risks of slipping. Some take comfort with their family, friends and balancing self-care. Others drink too much or eat too much. The things they see or hear are not things you can share and vent with a friend.

In Toronto she had a great therapist (doctor/masters in social work) covered by healthcare. She was even her doctor and her support was helpful and refreshing. Even her doctor would pick her brain on ideas for clients she had who were parents.

She doesn’t feel it really matters where you live. It is how she feels inside…the heart of any home is the soul of the person living there. The living space can be spotless or cluttered, shiny or dreary, quiet or noisy, it all depends on what is going on inside that person. However, lots of windows make a huge difference…just being able to look at the sky; looking out and also seeing life around her like pedestrians, cars, squirrels and chipmunks. Seeing life is vital…it is a connection to the living and she can relate more and more to older people she worked with years ago. She is minutes away from any of these persons now.

She so admired their energy and persistence to keep moving and staying involved with social events. She wonders what their secret was when that heavy duvet weighed them in the morning or when it hurt to move a muscle or hurt even more to open their eyes. She did get advice from her 90 yr old aunt one time. Roll out of bed, shuffle to the bath and run a nice hot bath to oil the joints; then you can move!
She does this on most mornings now.

Maybe she could learn from more retired people. Experience is worth its weight in gold…now she is feeling a bit more hopeful. Thanks, Emma, for listening.

Daily moments Oct 30 2019, clr

 

Dear Emma, (January 17 2019 ~ lucid dreams) Haibun

breastfeeding nightmare
infants waiting in the queue
sucking me dry

Dear Emma,

I called in sick today, on this 17th day of January 2019. Every joint screamed with pain. As I tried to get back to sleep, I said to myself for the first time in 18 and a half years, “I hate my job!” Just saying it to myself was a shock! You see I am the type of person that talks out loud in my mind. When I read, I talk out loud in my mind. That’s why it takes me forever to read but I read a lot so I guess I have gotten over this attribute about me.

Two weeks ago, I had difficult calls during the week of New Year’s two days in a row. Yep, call after call after call after Live Chat I heard about child physical abuse, child sexual abuse, child neglect and suicide, suicide and more suicide. That last Monday was so heavy that on the following Thursday, I did not feel the energy to go to work without throwing up. Yep, all the shit was stuck in my throat and I was afraid to open my mouth.

This past Sunday and Monday were a bit better since it was not the holiday season anymore but still. Last Monday, I ended my shift with a long 2 hour suicide call which was the third suicide call of the shift. I tried to nonchalantly chat but not requesting to debrief. I had my coat and boots on and just skimmed through parts of that call because I was also pleased that I gave something to this caller…hope. Although chatting about it nonchalantly, as if this was just sharing, I know now, was wrong. I should have debriefed privately to help me process how I felt before leaving home for two days off. Two days of allowing the suffering to fester inside of me.

I wished I had benefits to process this therapeutically with a professional but anyone over 65 is cut off from this support. Another bad employer policy…not supporting the hand that feeds the service.

This morning I woke up several times snoozing my alarm over and over and over until I finally decided that was it today! After I said those words in my head…um, I can’t repeat it here again but you just have to scroll up to the first paragraph…I felt so many emotions. I was sad, angry, frustrated, shocked and really did not want to feel anything. I wanted to roll over and get back to sleep. I got up to let my black cat, Kali, out of her room (my guest room) and made myself a cup of earl grey and came back to bed. I tried to watch a sitcom “Grace Under Fire” but my mind was still spinning. Kali jumped into bed with me and curled up in the curve of my arm and purred so loud, it finally put me to sleep.

When I woke up, Bette, my older friend, a Siberian Mix feline, was sleeping next to me. She never cuddles though. She has issues of space, contact and feeling trapped. I really enjoy her company, nonetheless as she has improved over the years and frankly, if you see her, you would have to admit, she looks like a queen. She is that beautiful!

I felt this way last year too and it was because I was refused time off to rest emotionally from my too demanding job. I had tried to avoid this from happening again this year. I had taken 10 days off in February last year and that helped my mind and soul but my body took months and months to catch up. I planned a summer of lots of time off and saved a week to take during Christmas week.

Unfortunately, the people who count our allowable time off made a huge mistake by 10 days! Yep, so by mid-summer, I was told that I could take 5 of the days I had reserved without pay in August and that was that. I knew December would be a problem. In the past 10 years, I rarely worked during the holidays because I needed to recuperate from demands of my type of work and wanted to see family and friends. In the past three years, however, I no longer even see anyone…I am that drained. I see family Christmas Day and then hibernate in my home, sleeping, writing, reading and vegging on Netflix.

I had reserved 10 days off in February this year, again but without the Christmas break time off, I did not know how much I would be able to endure before cracking. So many of my peers were taking time off, and too many had already quit. That revolving door would NOT stop spinning and as much as I try to give hope and a positive attitude at work, I could feel something I have treasured for decades was sinking into an abyss deep inside the confines of my soul. Nothing shows on the outside. I think that I still look more or less like passionate for the cause, lady, but I am struggling to keep this up.

I have never taken a job JUST for the salary. I know, I know, that may sound unbelievable but for me, it is the position and work environment that has always drawn me. I have left better paying positions to move onto positions where I could grow ; it is sort of like going to school and getting paid. I remember leaving the corporate world to stay home for a few years and type court recordings until my kids went to school.

Going back to college and taking a job as personal support worker; working in the helping field is so fulfilling. Leaving a high paying sales position to finally work full-time as a youth counsellor. Passions filled are bonuses that feed the heart and ensures employee retention. Granted we have gone through many changes and the goals have not changed but the means have. I have always felt when a workplace no longer meets the needs of an employee, it is time to seriously think of moving on. For now the service is still my passion but how long will I be able to swim without a floater?

Today, I admitted something quite frightening and I hope it is JUST the emotional fatigue talking and not a sad reality.

breastfeeding nightmare

infants waiting in the queue

sucking me dry

© Tournesol ‘19-01-17

Daily Moments – lucid dreams haibun

Dear Emma, “and what about patience?”

when will the darkness cease
day after day
night after night
light hovers behind rain clouds
trying to rescue her
looking for relief

she reads fiction
but
the darker kind
thrillers and killers
of demented minds
still
it’s an escape
her reality is boring
drab, greyish taupe
like the colour of mud

when will the darkness cease
day after day
night after night
light hovers behind rain clouds
trying to rescue her

music tends to rise her spirits
lyrics may not always
bringing her to a darker place
long ago
perhaps unfinished business
ghosts from her past
haunting her day and night
taunting her to give up

her humble abode breathes memories
dead and alive, people who matter
exhaling
in contradictory salutations
leaving her more confused
riled with shame and blame
fills her soul with guilt

when will the darkness cease
day after day
night after night
light hovers behind rain clouds
trying to rescue her

it all started months ago
her body let her down
joint after joint
abandoning her
leaving her vulnerable
robbing her of so much joy
walking feebly with a cane
worried for another fall,
a sprain, a tear
that heals so slowly

when will the darkness cease
day after day
night after night
light hovers behind rain clouds
trying to rescue her

mind and body
work in tandem
whispering mockingly
awaiting her decline

when did it become
them and me?
when did they become her enemy?

the mind plays tricks
distorted reality
tries to fill her mind
such energy it takes
pushing it away
blocking every crevice of her soul.

They will not win!
she is too smart
and loves life
way too much to give in

she will wait, give it time
her body needs to heal
her soul needs to recuperate
patience is her weapon
compassion and self-love
her antibiotic

when will the darkness cease
day after day
night after night
light hovers behind rain clouds
trying to rescue her
she will use the power of imagery
feel the sun warm her soul
make her mind and body whole.

(c) Cheryl-Lynn 18/09/15

Dear Emma (haibun)

I wrote a post this afternoon to you, Emma,  but cyberspace was very hungry, I guess, and it ate the whole darn thing!  Let’s see.  I was telling you about my plans to visit two amazing friends.  One I can only see once a year when she comes from Brazil to visit her daughter in Toronto.  The other is a friendship that grew over time who I will also be visiting in Ontario.

I met my friend from Brazil through an old boyfriend and we connected immediately.  I felt we were like soulmates.   I guess there is nothing to explain that…it is a feeling you get with some rare and unique people in a lifetime.

Each time I spend time with this friend, I grow on so many levels.  She is an artist as well as a therapist and so since I cannot draw, I paint my canvas with words and am also a counsellor.  We have children of similar ages and share starting life over, or ending it (however you want to look at it) on our own, like big girls.

My other friend is brilliant, creative, rational and warm.  Where I am touchy freely, she is artistic and a doer.  I admire her tenacity and although life has thrown her several curved balls, she has succeeded in ways, I am not sure I could have.  Her strength is what also sustains me. We connected first at work and I felt inclined to share my poetry with her right from the beginning.  Our friendship just blossomed over time.

After spending time with these two amazing women, on my drive or train ride back home, I feel so inspired and have the urge to write about it.  I feel I grow creatively, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and physically because I feel a bit taller, sticking my chest out and holding my head up high.  I so look forward to seeing them both next week.

Well, Emma, I don’t think I told it like it was on my first draft but the essence is there. Thanks for listening, as always.

seasoned minds
sharing life
past and present

past and present
fears and joys shared
future in between

(c) Cheryl-Lynn

 

Dear Emma, and a Cherita

Dear Emma,

When I was a child, I remember picking up my bellbottom pants at the dressmaker one time. In the early 60’s I could not find any kind of long pants or jeans that were long enough and slim enough. In those days, Marilyn Monroe was the fashionable shape. Although Twiggy was slowly becoming a trend, in my part of the world, it was still more common for women to be shorter and curvier. Alas, I was pretty much a straight line more like Olive Oil at between twelve and fourteen.

Another client was just leaving the dressmaker as I was entering and she asked me how my mother and grandmother were doing. Of course, I shared the latest updates on my newly divorced mother and lifesaver grandmother who had taken us in not realizing I may have been a bit too open. Being naïve, then, was just assuming that people always inquired about you because they cared.

I remember trying on the charcoal grey bellbottoms and was so excited they fit like a glove and were long enough to wear with a boot or higher healed show. That was the beauty of tailor made clothes. Fortunately, her fees were very reasonable and in fact, less expensive than going to a designer shop to purchase clothes.

As I was leaving, the dressmaker looked at me seriously and said, “You must be careful. You are such an open book and you never know the true intentions of people when inquiring about you and your family.” I could tell she was concerned for me and I always tried to remember her wise words, but still, it is still difficult for me to think anyone would want to hurt me intentionally. And so years went by and I learned the hard way. I find learning through life experience teaches more, don’t you? What have you learned better through experience rather than through teachings of another person?

( a cherita)

a child runs freely through the woods

Stumbling on hidden roots and branches
Scraping arms and knees along the way

Fastforward several decades
Walking through the woods, listening to the birds singing
Leaves rustling, she leans on her walking stick

© Cheryl-Lynn ‘18/09/06

Daily Moments with Emma – August 9th, 2018

Dear Emma,

 

I saw a post today on facebook that truly spoke to me. It said:

Don’t bother walking a mile in my shoes, that would be boring.
Spend 30 seconds in my head and that will freak you right out!”  (c) Me vs my Inner Bitch

It is amazing how much goes on in one’s mind when it is idle. Have your ever noticed that? Of course you have! I wonder if women think more than men? I guess that may not be a gender thing either but how much one worries and others take life more in stride, I guess. Here is an example of a sixty something lady getting ready for work.

She presses the snooze button for the third time and lets out a loud sigh. She knows she would have to get up eventually and get ready. So much to do in one day …so much to do in one life. Will there ever be enough time to follow her dreams? And yet, she still does not know what she wants to do when she’s grows up. She never wants to grow up. Living day to day is so much more fun but is it okay in our society. Ah fuck society! she thinks to herself.

She wonders if he would do okay with his new home? What would it take to mend things with her? No matter what she does, she feels she puts her foot in doo-doo. She tries not think of other family members that pull at her heart strings. If only she could shut off that brain of hers sometimes. It is a family trait, after all. Her mother had it, her grandmother too and she and her sister inherited it as well.

She jumps in the shower and feels the water pour over her face and it reminds her of walking in the rain one summer day. Oh that was delightful and the rain was warm too! Her hair did not curl then. She gets out of the shower and looks in the mirror. How did she get here? Why had she been raised to focus so much on appearances when down deep she knew that most people she interacted with appreciated her for her compassion. Maybe compassion is like the perfect foundation that illuminates your skin! Yeah, that makes sense! With a touch of joie de vie on your lips, a hint of passion mist on her neck and voilà, she is ready to face the world.

She turns away from the mirror and gets dressed and puts on her cream, that special cream to hide those wrinkles (which has never done a damn thing but smear false hope from that fancy jar). She must not buy anymore. With the money spent on that she can start saving for another trip far far away. How she would like that!

She picks up her backpack, and walks out the door.

Holding on
Yesterday’s regrets blurr
Hopes for tomorrow
Still, messing up today
Weaknesses of humans

(c) Tournesol’ 18/06/08