Archive for ‘ghost stories’

July 3, 2013


“mom, do you remember all of the other days? when you were someone else?”

June 2, 2013

a mother used to live there

i left my children today, playing happily with their neighbors and friends. their father, competent and casual, was supervising and socializing, and all were relaxed, thoroughly enjoying the sun and the company. i left them, briefly, to travel across town to another home, a home where i’d never been.

i brought with me food that i’d carefully prepared, considering allergies and dietary preferences of a man and a child that i don’t know.  admittedly, i also felt casual, just “running errands so the boys can be boys” as my three year old summarized.

it’s true, it had become a to-do task, having signed up a couple of months ago and some of that raw sympathy having since eroded by our own day to day.

when i pulled up to her home, the sentiment, dormant, hit me. i saw the address, permanent, the cooler beside the front door, temporary, the art projects in the window, frozen in time. getting out of my vehicle, i heard the baby crying from the open windows- raw sounds, as only the really young make.

was she hungry, maybe? my body swelled in concern, betraying my semblance of composure and i had to shake from my head the passing notion of offering help to the stranger i knew would soon respond to my clumsy knock.

he opened the door, bottle in hand, before i regained my ground.  “hello, i’m heather, it’s a pleasure to meet you” i unfortunately said. “sorry” i blustered out, my eyes catching the eyes of the five year old at the top of the stairs, taking me in, taking it all in.

driving away, i couldn’t help but weep thinking of them, those two girls, wondering in which ways they yearn for her, their mother who is no longer able to nurture and provide for them. their mother, who is no longer alive.

i wept for him, broadsided, now alone to raise their daughters, one whose grief must be so complex and one, so new, who might still root, even, looking for her.

i wept for her, no longer being able to join them in their living.

i left my children today, for a short while, and then i came back. i joined my babies in the sun and i wiped the perspiration from their brows. i tucked them in before they napped, held them close when they woke, and aided them, with gentleness, to transition back to our day. i sang to them with the windows open as we drove to celebrate the birthdays of two of our little friends. i visited with the other mothers and celebrated life, in my head counting all the more years to come. i bathed them and read to them and rubbed backs and heads and necks goodnight.

i came home to my children today. our home, where we all live, alive.

May 26, 2013

good medicine

my family has just returned from a week away to tofino, a small and remote town on the west coast of vancouver island that serves as our home away from home.

sometimes, when driving in, and this trip was no exception, i realize what i seem to forget over and over: that this is where i went missing. it’s no one’s fault that we moved out so fast but, evidently, i wasn’t ready.

as it is now, life finds us well in vancouver, and we have a roundness and a wholeness to our life that we could not have achieved on the edge.  i remain confident that we made the right choice for our then son and now our plus one but my ghost lingers in that land, and i could almost hear pieces of me coming together as we drove further along, remnants of a spirit self lurking behind every curve of the treacherous highway and then surfacing, finding me.

my spouse drove us in steady, silent in thought and tapping his fingers to music we couldn’t hear, at ease in the familiar and soon to be in his family home, that of his family of origin- those that make him who he is and help explain some of what he has never been able to say.

my big boy, excited and anxious, desperate with anticipation to see “the tofino house” and the cousins that he adores and idolizes, played out every road trip cliche, asking every few minutes if we were there yet, begging for us to hurry, fighting sleep with repetitive movement like shaking his head, kicking his legs, rocking backwards and forward, and making obnoxious noises that he generously referred to as “songs”.

our precious baby, a living lesson in keeping an open heart and trusting those who love you, curiously looked at the passing scenery with an uninformed yet peaceful acceptance.

it seemed that all of us but our ever consistent baby behaved differently en route, gradually admitting to ourselves how much we miss living there and how right it feels to return.

we eventually arrived and unpacked- some baggage too. it was unintentional but the air, heavy with moisture, met my face and the release was immediate. then, on wednesday, a few days in, the release deepened. just like in yoga when the pose is enhanced by your breath alone.

my big boy had asked me on a date to the beach, just me and him, you see, and we went of course. he and i can’t get enough of that air- it brings us both to who we wish we could be, i think. he was down the path and soon knee deep in the water, and i, standing tall and facing the roar, was immediately overwhelmed with the sight of him free and unrestricted. both of us, made fresh, made clear, in mere moments.

it’s always been this way for me. same goes for him.

we spent his maternity leave in tofino and with hours and hours a day with nothing to do but love him, we found ourselves on long beach walks, almost everyday. not for nothing, either. tightly wound and full of complaint inside, my baby boy relaxed seconds after we closed the front door behind us, as did i. regardless of the weather, often near tempest, we were there, usually first thing in the morning before our moods could get ahead of us.

i remember walking with him mid winter in torrential rain, me in full rain gear and his stroller encased: a safe haven against the elements and his mother’s angst while she was making sense of her new life. it wasn’t an easy time. my first son was sensitive and particular and a lot of effort was required of me to keep his wails away. i sorted us both out over time, especially when i built in the beach ceremony- with waves and blood pulsing it all made sense somehow and i came to measure my parenting success on any one day if i achieved him getting rosy cheeks.

on crazy days, i thought that if he could face and take in enough of the storm that he’d be healthy, well raised, though i still don’t really know the details why. regardless, pushing him before me did us both good. i always returned from the treks breathing heavy and legs tingling, all my inner tumultuousness quieted by the louder chaos outside, and our days were calmer together, and brighter, optimistic even, having already conquered something, anything, that day.

this date day, all these years later, he was before me again. he had the same eyes, same look, and same vibe as he did when he was the most compact and intense version of himself but he’s matured so much now, and so have i. we made it. we made it through the dark, both emotional and literal, as tofino winters are not known to be luminous, and we made it all the way to another gorgeous life joining us on our journey of being born a family.

our morning at the beach was too soon over and, before we knew it, we all found ourselves on the ride home- marked by satisfaction and fatigue.

“are we there yet?”, he asked as we drove towards our permanent home. “i think so”, i answered.

January 28, 2013

a ghost just needs a home

a week before christmas i was on the ferry to vancouver island when i found myself in front of a large and unforgiving mirror in the poorly lit ladies bathroom.

my baby was being love hushed to sleep by my spouse and my three your old was running laps, quite literally, around the washroom- offending some with noise as he slapped opened doors; terrifying others as he bent down to peer in curiously; humoring grandparents who delighted in his high energy squeals, echo experiments, and relentless questions; and irritating those without children who were used to navigating their lives, or at least their time in the facilities, without the nuisance of interruption.

it was an early ferry, full of other families who don’t consider having to arrive 1/2 an hour prior to an 8 am ride unrealistic. i don’t much mind. i was always a fan of the morning and at this point i’m well used to waking up 7 days a week to bright eyes and high needs. i was tired, though, and looking at myself straight on i was undeniably pale and weary appearing.

it was the first time since my husband went back to work after our baby had come home that we were all together with no frantic functional weekend hustle to contend with. just us, just space. baby was fed and was learning how warm and strong his dad’s arms were and our big boy son was trapped near me, given the too heavy door back out to the open boat. plus, he was happily terrorizing the public. i kept looking.

it had been a long and grueling 6 weeks with my spouse away from the home from dark to dark and with me having over scheduled myself and the boys in fear of feeling suffocated by home life. it showed.

i remember that i felt very calm and that i perceived the moment to be very quiet, something, i think, the other women who were around me would contest. i felt as though i had time, one of the few reasons i don’t resent the boat travel as many others do, and i stood there for awhile, taking myself in. scene was the same: black tights, black tunic, black boots, black cardigan, black purse. hair straightened, hair up. shira bracelet on. no make up. lip gloss applied.

i recall that on that day i had planned it so i could at least stand myself. i had chosen a comfortable travel outfit that was also cute enough to allow me an opportunity to run into any number of possible ex people i once shared life without wanting to cringe, or feel like i had to make excuses for my life. i smelt good, and that goes a long way in me recognizing myself.

it didn’t work. looking in the mirror i found that i hardly made sense. it got quieter. i blinked, shook my head a little, eyes still fixed. this calls for water, i thought, and i lowered myself to the sink. my body whined as i moved or, rather, my back screamed and my pelvis ached, moaned, and shifted with an audible clunk into another gear. my hands, stiff and clumsy from dehydration and the damp, found the faucet- an irritating push and receive with no option for agency- and they were soon filled with a safe tepid water. in a routine gesture, i applied to face, rubbed eyes, blinked some more. i fanned away the excess and rolled my spine up, neck and head having no choice but to obey. there she was again.

the woman looking back at me wasn’t old looking, per se, but she was so worn. she looked okay, if you knew the context, i suppose, but she didn’t look happy. i winced for the immediate pang of guilt.

it was too quiet, suddenly. i shifted focus to the external, again. feet planted, i cocked my head, listening for the sound of boy child. he was quickly located, making friends with a woman changing her baby. my eyes shifted down and i stood, listening. “i have a little baby too. he’s max, he’s so cute. mommy pushed him out her ‘gina. her bum hurts now”.

a smirk found my face and a chuckle bubbled in my throat. my eyes flicked up. gaze met gaze. there, i thought, she looks familiar.

October 22, 2012

twinkle twinkle

there is a family that i became aware of sometime last fall who are losing their young and fiery daughter, actively, to brain cancer. in fact, today may be the day that she slips into the next world, or wherever young and pure lives go when they end too soon.

why i read these blog posts i may never know, but i think it probably has everything to do with awe and respect, for both the mothers and their heroism, and, of course, for the little girl’s spirit and fight.

i haven’t commented or publicly reflected on their story because, simply, i don’t know what to say. i still don’t. i respect the mothers and their family very, very much and it seems empty to say anything, at all, considering i am a stranger to them and my thoughts and words will not find home in any real way. and it’s theirs and it’s private and it’s sacred and it seems no right of mine to touch it with me when it is about them.

the thing is though, it can’t be denied that this is real, right now, and that truthfully, no words can be words enough to comment. and, despite the fact that the gifts that these mothers have given their daughter, and their sons, by honouring their daughter’s living in such a pure and focussed way will never be measurable, they remain extreme, and they are so powerful, and they have resonated very deeply in me and i feel that the time to draw attention to their mountain is now.

it is time because they are so very, very, brave and i hope that grace and comfort find them in their darkest hour and hold their hearts,  so tenderly, as well as the hearts of those people that love them, and i can’t help believe that sending cosmic energy has an impact.

so, i ask that you also acknowledge them and their mountain and send compassion and strength and healing. i ask that you send prayers, if you are the praying kind, and ask that their daughter be blessed on her dying journey, and that they, as mothers, are equally blessed for being courageous enough to love her, as uniquely as she deserves, until her last breath.

kleco, kleco.

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