The dog is curled up in a ball on the carpet in front of “Mom’s” sofa in the front room. She yawns a stretches as though there is not a care in the world. She has had her walk. She has had her breakfast. She has been pet, coddled, and watered and fed. She is loved. She is happy.
The sun streams in through the slats of the shutters and warms my face which has grown pale from the absence of exposure to the great summer outdoors. I welcome the warmth. There is something about sitting in the sun on Mom’s sofa that is reminiscent of my childhood. I remember so many mornings when I would get up and sit on this same sofa with my Mom. We would have a coffee and chat. The house was always quiet. Everyone else was asleep. Mom and I would share secrets. It was “our” time. We were happy.
Mom and Dad’s stereo system streams in music recanting the joys of a love borne relationship. The voices are raised in harmony. They are passionate. They are articulate. They are in love. They are happy.
The portrait of an old red-brick house during a summer thaw hangs on the wall in front of me. This had been a gift from a friend, Tony, 23 years ago – the day Kevin and I were married. August 24th, 1991 saw a celebration like none other. I had always dreamed about what they day would look like – and it was just as beautiful in reality as it had been in my dreams. The reception was held at Mom and Dad’s house in the country. Our guests wined and dined and danced under the stars. It was the beginning of a marriage that has seen the birth of three wonderful children, the death of three wonderful parents, the transition from youth to maturity and old age, and the challenges of building a life together. We are happy.
The gentle breeze ushers in a warmth that cloaks the yellow and red leaves clinging desperately to their mother maple. Fall is such a beautiful season. It is a season of opposites. It invites me to move inside but entices me back outside to crunch my feet in fallen leaves. It invites me to sleep but awakens my senses by the crisp morning air. It fills my sights with colour while I anticipate a palate of winter white. I am happy.
Mom’s phone book lays neglected under the phone. This book used to be Mom’s life-line to friends and family. She would enter the area codes and phone numbers meticulously through the holes on the rotary dial which would grin forward and backward to connect to the callers. She would spend hours on the phone catching up with news about births, new recipes, and stories about the drama playing out a her place of work. The phone connected Mom to the world and she eagerly sprang to answer its beck and call when it sounded. She was happy.
The Boston ivy sprouts new delicate leaves toward the sun. The tiny tendrils purposefully navigate the their way to be closer to the window. It was Auntie Helen, my Mom’s sister, who gave me this ivy on the occasion of Mom’s funeral. It was to remind of my Mom when I felt alone. It has thrived here in the front room. I often talk to it when I give it some water – my Saturday morning routine. It likes the music. It is happy.
Grandma sits in the kitchen with her phone and her list of phone numbers. She is searching for a treatment for her eye condition which has robbed her of her sight. She moved into our house just this past summer to be closer to family. She and I have a routine and rather enjoy each others’ company. I cook and she does dishes. I like this arrangement. When she first moved in I thought I would be taking care of her. Funny how it turns out that she is also looking after me. I am not alone with myself to ruminate about cancer. We can focus on her eyes. We can focus on her abilities and her hopes for improved quality of life through the gift of sight. She is happy.
Today brings gifts that are ripe for the picking. All I have to do is “pick”. I pick gifts that make me happy.
Today Canada mourns the loss of one of its own. And through this loss, we have come to see the spirit that moves us to be united, to be more determined for peace, and to have more of an appreciation for the simple things a life in Canada has to offer: a pet dog, a warm sun, harmonious music, ephemeral seasons, friends and family, a beautiful environment, and a body that helps us to take the beauty of the outside world to the miracle of our brain. It is through loss that I am able to recognize and appreciate what I have. Loss may not be what I want – but indeed it seems to be what I need to live my life more deeply, appreciatively, and happily.