My Precious

If I had to name an item, a physical object, my most-prized possession, it would not take much time or thought to know what it is. It is not a childhood memento of mine, although I suppose at some point it could be for someone else. It is not a flea market find, but it certainly would be a splendid find, for the lover of the saturday flea market. It is not a family heirloom, not yet, anyways.

The future for this object holds some uncertainty, as the best laid plans can change. However, I have a grand plan for it’s future, a desire to pass on, the beauty of it and the emotion that it holds.

It was many, many years in the making, passing through my thoughts as time went by. I had seen a few of them, and was always drawn into the beauty, of the idea that it held. Like building or creating anything, you will have a finished product to show for it. A house, a craftily designed room, a piece of artwork to hang on a wall. Something for you to admire, and bring with you into the future, even if only on film. The memories, right from the moment of conception, are given new life with each and every glance. I experience emotions from years gone by, good or bad, happy or sad, it doesn’t matter which. I love that I can be reminded to get my act together, again, or to be awestruck at the perfection and beauty.

When I wear it, I feel as though I am wrapping myself in love, and taking them along with me on every adventure. I hold them in my hand, or slip them into my pocket, protecting them in a sense. I carry their spirits with me, a closeness which is my substitute for the real thing. Nothing can touch the real thing, but the memories it provokes, go far and beyond the fact that it is just a ring.

Unlike my engagement and wedding rings, which held meaning for only a few years, my family ring will hold fast. Yes, the dad’s birthstone is on it, and rightly so, as he was a part of this family that we created together. It wouldn’t feel right any other way. I will treasure it to the very end, and hope that it will spark someone else’s memories, as it did mine.

Writing 101 last day.

Comments are always welcomed!

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Lost and Found

lost and found tagAs a child, I don’t recall much loss, and the same throughout my teenage years. There must have been some, and at the time, I assume I responded accordingly. My life was filled with so much happiness and love, that I suppose I was able to just get on with it, or I blocked it out. As a young adult, I remember the loss of family, hitting me hard, but not lasting any great length of time. I can look back now and see the stages of grief I went through, depending on the relation, and how close I was to them in life. My focus seemed to lie with how my parents felt about the loss, not so much me. I can remember thinking about how much they were hurting, and that is what made me sad.

When I married, and had kids of my own, the idea of loss was much greater. I had so much more to lose, much more that was precious to me. I also had a clearer sense of how I responded to loss; part of my journey on getting to know myself better. (…and I just noticed that I put my comfy shorts on inside-out; I wondered why they seemed darker…brb)

There are many different types of loss: death, ability, material things, relationships, plus. At one time in my life, the loss of material things was much greater. Now, yes I will be upset at it, but I will also recover very quickly from it. Even my photo albums, with all the wonderful expressions, and celebrations, and thoughts on the pages, don’t have a hold on me anymore. Again, I would be ticked, but what I have in this world with me now, is of much greater importance.

The loss of my marriage, of the white picket fence, the fairy tale, hit me the hardest, and I also learned the most about myself. My worry for my kids was front and center, and yet I knew there could be no other way. It was the best thing for everyone, and everyone will, in their own time, see that. I came out of that with a wealth of self knowledge and wisdom, that I can draw from.

With aging parents comes my experience with the loss of ability. It is like beginning the grieving process, and putting a hold on it, until the next noticeable change in behaviour, mentally or physically. For me, it feels a little less traumatic, spreading out the anguish into little parts, instead of one giant cry-fest. Learning to adjust to the changes in smaller increments, less pressure, less stress, a transitioning. As I go through it, I can discover my patterns, and adjust my behaviour, my reactions, with a sense of knowing, and an understanding.

As my kids grow into young adults, I experience second-hand loss. I watch their challenges, wins and losses, and grieve on their behalf, for I only want everything in the world for them. I’m not sure how much they actually process, when I share my life experiences with them, in hopes of alleviating some of their hardships. Even though I’m well aware that we have our own journeys and life lessons, I am full of great advice.

With the years beginning to add up on me, I’ve accumulated some losses, and looking back, the best conclusion I can see is; the less we have in material things, the greater the space in our minds, the less traumatic a loss will be. If you have the space to feel and to process and to love; less trauma, more peace. A knowing that the connection you’ve created from clearing the clutter (say that fast five times), will give you strength and the endurance that is needed to continue on. In loss, you find life.

Feel free to add your comments, they are always welcomed!

Writing 101

Bad Man Comes (Part 2)

Bad Man Comes (Part 1)

The dampness hangs, heavy and listless, in the air. As I move through it, I feel its slickness, gumming my hair and my oversized t-shirt, tickling my flesh. Movement is slow, after a storm. It feels as though I’m trying to breath underwater. The house is old and offers minimal protection from the elements. It lacks double-paned windows, decent weather stripping, and most of all, a dehumidifier. My stress-induced asthma doesn’t help much. I didn’t move here with the intention of fixing up the place. It merely lends itself to being an out of the way, sort of hidden, shelter.

Everything is damp, the windows are covered in condensation, the mould has commenced climbing the sides of the window panes from its usual place at the bottom. I even see it coming through the wall in places. All the linen, comforter, towels, anything that is out, is slightly wettish. The classic mildewy scent fills the air. It’s May, in Northeast, Ohio. There have been a few thunder storms lately, adding greatly, to the mugginess. “You do know how to pick em,” I say out loud to the broken, reflection in the bathroom mirror. “You’ve really outdone yourself this time.”

My funds were running short, a bus ticket and some rent money, was all I had access to on short notice. I lucked out, Wooster had a job opening for a UPS Package Handler, something I’ve done before. A bachelor’s degree in museum studies, was near completion seventeen years ago, when my good intentions strayed. The boyfriend, the charming bad boy, swept me off my feet, at a time when I longed for adventure. However, it was the third bad boy, in the series, that sent me spiralling. That seemed so long ago now. My life, along with anyone I cared about, was turned upside down two years after I broke it off with Joshua. My assumption–psychopath. So I take what I can get now, preferably behind the scenes. I’m still hopeful, that I might one day finish my degree.

blue house wooster ohioThe house I ended up in this time, is old, not much to look at, and located in the sketchier part of the city. This is not unusual. Minus several coats of paint, a newer stove and fridge, and I imagine a few half-assed, patch-up jobs to the outside, was all that this house had seen in lots of years. Rent was cheap, it was furnished, sort of, and I was in need. The first thing I do, is put in a security system. Not just any security system. I consider myself a DIY artist, after years of practice. No one is getting in easily, and not without my knowledge.

A quick shower, a semi-dry towelling off, and I pull my hair back into a ponytail. Dressing in the lovely shade of brown, that is the uniform, I’m off to work. Since I don’t own a vehicle, I’m grateful for the short fifteen minute walk. “Hey Bruce!” I said as I walked through the office door.

“Good morning to you Silvie!” He greets me with a big grin and a wink. “How are you this wet morning?” He is such a nice, happy, man. I do find solace in the people I’ve met over the years. Those people who work behind the scenes, keep life moving forward for everyone else, my temporary families. I flash my best, teethy grin at him, followed by a long, eye-roll. “There is an envelope for you Silvie. Just got through the last bag. It’s over there on the desk,” He points to it without looking up from his task.

“Thanks Bruce.” My heart beats faster, my breath shortens, and I can feel the perspiration sliding over my lip. My back to Bruce, I turn the envelope over and over in my hands.

© Gerri Leathley 2014

Comments are always welcomed. Let me know what you think!

Writing 101

 

Destination Cold

The year of 1978 presented me with some life changes, none of them being my choice. Moving to a new city, fitting myself into a new school, was to say the least, unpleasant. We lived in Penticton for only one year. I had a best friend.

mr pg prince georgeMy parents and I moved to Pr. George, because of Dad’s job. We rented a three bedroom house. A dark green rancher? We were not in that house for too long. It was the second house on the left, in a crescent. I remember the snow that winter, completely blocking the view of the house across the way. The snow piled so high in the centre, in an attempt to clear the road. The winters in P.G. were cold, snowy, and long. Blah!

I, being the youngest by almost eleven years, to two brothers and two sisters, was living as an only child. All the others had moved on to their own life adventures. On occasion, one would come home for a while, re-assessing their life before moving on again.

Being quiet and shy, I was never very good at starting conversations. In fact, I never did. Lucky for me, people seemed to be drawn to me, for various reasons. The first day of school, my mom in tow, we stood outside with other kids waiting to be told which class we were in. I was being scouted right then, by a couple of the popular girls. I found out later that they thought I was pretty, and they liked my hair. THANK GOD! Yes, I had beautiful hair.

I had one year at the elementary school, then moved on with some of the others to the high school, where, to my relief, I stayed until graduation. P.G. was my home for nearly fifteen years.

Writing 101     As always, comments are welcomed and encouraged!

 

 

 

Mmmm, Mmmm, Good

chocolate chipsWhile I’m unable to remember a meal that I enjoyed as a child, I do recall one single item, I suppose one among many, that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was something I used to sneak. Or, at least I thought I was sneaking it.

We had a staircase in our house that rose two steps to a small square landing, then you’d make a sharp left, and go the rest of the way up. That landing, and a couple of the steps to the left, were open to the kitchen. If you wanted to, you could climb right onto the kitchen counter, from the stairs. I’m guessing, when my dad built the house, he left this spot open to have a direct view of the front door.

I clearly remember, quiet as a mouse, descending one step at a time until I reached the counter. Directly above the counter lived mom’s baking cupboard, filled with wonderfully, sweet baking supplies. Now this particular spot on the stairs could not be seen from any other place in the house, not including of course, the front door and the landing at the top of the stairs. So I would put one foot on the counter to brace myself, while opening the cupboard and reaching in, past the chocolate chips, straight to the raisins. I would sneak raisins. What child does that? Since it was all in the ‘baking’ cupboard, I assumed it was off limits.

Little did know, until years and years later, that mom knew all about the raisins. She let me think I was getting away with it, because they were healthy. Apparently, she kept the cupboard stocked with raisins, just for me.

I don’t know when I started hating raisins, but I think it had something to do with how many I ate as a child. The texture, especially when baked, and the sickly sweetness of them, turn me off. It’s a great thing when it comes to baking, because if there are raisins in anything, I have absolutely no desire whatsoever, to have any. So, in a weird way, my dislike for them now, has saved me many a calorie.

Writing 101            Comments are always welcomed!

Love, Phantom, Amor

music musical notes black whiteNo editing today. A very difficult approach to writing for me. I want to change it!! Oh well.

“Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat

When I was four years old, I would go into my brothers’ room, they had a record player, and I would put on this 45. I have no memory of how many times I listened to it, but I would cry and cry and cry. To this day, I do not know why. It still has that effect on me, only not as bad. If I’m in the mood for a really good cry, song of choice.

It is an instrumental piece infused with lightness, grace, love, and beauty. Whatever your mood, this music will enhance it.

“Phantom of the Opera” sung by Michael Crawford

I have one word I use to describe the sound of Michael’s voice as he sings this song, haunting. Each note he sings, is filled with melody. I must use the word infused again, as his voice is infused with song. The type of voice that can take you away from what you are doing, transporting you to the stage with him. I’ve seen the broadway show three times, but it has never been Michael Crawford. No one can quite sing it like he does.

“Un Amor” by the Gipsy Kings

This translates to ‘I have a love’. I love the flamenco guitar, their raspy voices, and of course, anything about love. I was in Hawaii about twenty-five years ago. We were shopping, and I entered a clothing store. They played their music very loudly, and I was immediately taken by it. I asked what it was, and discovered the Gipsy Kings. I have been hooked ever since, and had the opportunity to see them in Vancouver a few years ago. I was mesmerized. Their voices are even raspier now. They played my two favourite songs, and we all stood outside, swaying to the music, and feeling the warm breeze. I feel like this music, mostly the flamenco guitar, is a part of me. Maybe in another life.

Writing 101: Day Three   What are your three favourite songs? I had some trouble deciding. Feel free to comment!

Pr. George to Anchorage

dirt road never ending road tripAlaska. Bitterly cold. Never ending snow days. Never ending darkness. Of course, it was nearing summer time when we made the trip, so there was never ending daylight. Three (almost three), straight days of driving, or as the policeman said, “I thought this was a low flying aircraft.” In our favour, we were young, and pretty cute, so my friend got off with only a warning. We were headed to Anchorage, Alaska. Where the ratio of guys to gals was, and is, the highest in the country. This, according to one of Oprah’s guests.

Because you should never trust what you hear on television, it was up to us to make sure the statements were true. A road trip was in order. There was never any other reason for me to go to Alaska, seriously. Not at the age of twenty-four. My friend would suggest otherwise, whenever I made that statement. I thought it was funny, and definitely a unique vacation story.

So, off we went, in her little white car. There were a few, too many, long, dusty, slow moving, monotonous, seemingly never ending, stretches of dirt/ gravel road. We hit these on day two. Oprah never mentioned that! I have my photograph to prove it. Purple cotton capris, red tank top, scraggly hair, pulled up into some kind of half pony-tail. Eyelids straining to stay open. Facial expression is somewhere between, I’m so tired and I just want to go home, and, I can’t wait to see how many guys there are in Anchorage. So, onward we went.

What do I remember most from that trip? Whenever I blew my nose, over a two to three day period, there was dirt. There was dirt in places you would not imagine there to be dirt. My friend’s car was filled with a fine layer of, “Hi! My name is dirt, and I’m going to cover everything you own, even you. I will be relentless in my effort to stick around.”

Despite all of that, we did have some fun, we did meet some guys, we did some sight-seeing, and we got lots of pictures.

Daily Prompt