Dégénération, or when you learn I’m half Acadian

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”― Mae West

On April 25, 2021, my beautiful Mémère passed away, aged 102. Yes, 102 years old. She would have been 103 on Canada day, July 1st.

I missed her birthday last year, thanks Covid. I was sick and unable to visit out of fear of making her ill (no, I didn’t have Covid).

Two weeks before her death, I got to visit her. She looked great! She held my hand tight, looked deep into my eyes. She loved having her family near. She was a very devout Catholic and I’d like to believe that she is in her heaven with her husband, my pépère (he died in the 1980s), and her daughter, my matante Clairine, who died almost 13 years ago in an accident. I hope she is surrounded by all her loved ones.

Ma belle Mémère, my mom and me

Her name was Albertine Doucet (née Dugas). She survived the Great Depression, WWII, and so many other calamities. She started life with no indoor plumbing, no phones, none of the things we take for granted now. After my pépère past, she got her driver’s license at the ripe young age of 66! She raised seven children, only losing one in her twilight years.

My mémère spoke very little English, but always had a warm hug and a huge smile for those who didn’t understand her words. She accepted everyone for who they were. She had a huge heart and loved all of us, and we are a BIG family.

My mémère survived to see the youngest members of her extended family six generations on. She was a great great great grandmother to my cousin’s grand-children! She was the matriarch of our family and I know it just won’t be the same without her.

For the first time in years, I won’t be travelling up north to see her on her birthday. For the first time in years, I’ll be making plans for Canada day locally. It feels weird.

Je t’aime beaucoul et je t’embrace ma belle mémère. T’es toujours dans mon cœur.

Mes Aïeux – Dégénérations

Posted in The Journey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

30 Years

“If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.” ― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

30 years ago today, my best friend would answer my call and excitedly tell me about her new stockings her mom found to match her dress. She was prepared for junior prom, the dance at the end of 9th grade at that time. She told me how they were a perfect match for her black and purple dress.

Then, she told me she had to go. She was going to hang out with a different group that night but would call me when she got back for curfew.

She never called.

Six days later, they would find the body of Pamela ‘Pam Pam’ Gail Bischoff in the river.

We knew she wasn’t a runaway, even though they tried to tell us she was.

We knew she would never leave without telling us.

We knew it was going to be bad.

Pam would have loved Pink, or at least I would like to think so. I know the song below seems a strange one to pick for a memorial post, but trust me – Pam would have loved this song. She had the attitude, she had the spunk.

30 years later, I still remember the sound of her voice and her laugh, even when other memories have faded.

Her signature on my old jean jacket

30 years later, I still wonder if she would have been auntie Pam to her friends’ kids, have kids of her own. She would be so proud of her sister and nieces.

30 years later, I still wonder why.

30 years later, it still feels like yesterday.

Yesterday, she talked me into hitchhiking (omg Pam lol).

Yesterday, she and I rolled old tobacco into a somewhat smokeable cigarette (I quit a long time ago now, Pam).

Yesterday, we drank a magnum of Hermits – never to do that again (I don’t even drink anymore, Pam)

Yesterday, we were staring up at your Poison poster over your bed, talking about which of the band was hottest (I still listen to them now and then, but not often as I think of you each time, Pam).

Yesterday, you were telling me about that guy who was so hot (I’ve been married twice now, Pam, number 2 is amazing).

Yesterday, I was able to hug you.

30 years feels like yesterday. You would have loved this song, Pam. You had that attitude and it made you larger than life.

Pink – U + Ur Hand

Posted in The Journey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Demons

“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.” ― Voltaire

Before I moved into our new home, I have a beautiful Indian Ringneck parrot. She, however, had been aggressive towards my little birds (that I had before her), and I thought my best option was to rehome her.

Guilt is a large emotion. I feel it often. Rehoming her was the worse guilt I have had in a long time.

Fast forward a year and a half (about) later…the woman I rehomed her to could no longer care for her. I took her back instantly.

Welcome home, Kyra. I’m so sorry I let you down and didn’t push myself more for a better solution. Between Charman (the cat) trying to nab you, the littles getting hurt, and you being relegated to a cage because we were selling our house, I thought it was in your best interest. I see now just how wrong I was. I have missed you so much and I will carry that guilt with me always.

Guilt is one of my many demons. I have guilt for not being enough for everyone – human, animal, bird, everyone. Guilt for not calling my friends, guilt for not sending that email, guilt for not making it to that late show. I have guilt for not eating right in the past, guilt for not being enough for my husband, guilt for spending any money, guilt for not spending, guilt for not being able to get everything my kids could dream of.

Anxiety and guilt are best friends in my life.

I’m working on that. I’m working on letting go of the past. I’m working on ME.

Don’t let the demons swallow you up.

Imagine Dragons – Demons

Posted in The Journey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dream On

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist

I constantly feel younger than I am. I turned 47 a little over a month ago. Forty-freaking-seven. I am the unhealthiest I have been in my life. The bariatric surgeon says she can’t help me. I felt lost.

Notice I said felt? I’ve have found my stride. I have found my group of ladies who want the same goals and are helping me stick to it. I’ve already lost some weight, but it’s not just the physical weight coming off, it’s the mental.

I’m a very introspective person. Maybe too much so, in that I see and acknowledge my faults, whilst forgetting to acknowledge my strengths. This season is always hard on me, however, I do believe that this winter has been very hard on most people.

The days are getting longer, though. I’m no longer getting home in darkness. The sunlight dappling through the curtains in my living room are proof of that. Even with the snow we’ve been getting, signs of the Spring to come are starting to show. I feel that change. I haven’t felt it in a long time. I can’t wait to be outside, doing yard work, planting, growing things – reveling in that sunlight.

I breath in deeply and can smell those days, I dream of them. Don’t get me wrong, I do like winter. I used to be very winter active – skiing, cross-country skiing, hiking, etc. The cold seeps into my joints now though, it makes me feel old with the creeks and aches that come with it.

As I age, my mind has been left young. I am forgetful, I do struggle with some things I didn’t before, but when I look in the mirror, that image is not who I picture in my mind. I’m working of bringing those two images together into the one I want to be, the one I should be.

Meanwhile, I will dream on about the spring and summer. I will dream about being fit and working on my goals. Most of all, I will dream of having inner peace and loving myself.

Aerosmith – Dream On

Posted in The Journey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Downtown

“Downtown. Lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” ― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I’m feeling particularly nostalgic the last (very long) while. Listening to Downtown by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis makes me reminisce of the past – driving in my old Pontiac Acadian (cherry red, 4 door, 5 speed hatchback – loved that fucking car), sun blinding me and those tiny sun visors doing nothing to stop it. The smell of beach air, friends talking, dancing, singing, laughing.

Summer Shine summarises a bit, but the essence…oh that essence

Summer Shine

I love that summer shine
you know it
The sun so hot
the grass so cool
you just want to sit
in the shade just right
under the willow
The clouds so high
and barely there
you wish you could dive
into the blue sky
so inviting in the day
When the night comes
the stars shimmer so clear
the moon kisses them
until they disappear
into another summer shine day
No breeze to fly a kite
the hum of insects
frogs croaking
birds chirping
today is the day
of that summer shine
The reflection off the lake
strikes the eyes
and makes you blind
to that child that splashes
the water on you
It freezes and feels so good
Tip toe over the hot road
feet in the sand
make it to the beach
When the summer shine ends
the bonfire full roars
at that full moon
They sing and dance
filling the night
with an intensity
until the next
summer shine

My hand holds an Alpine, it’s starting to get too warm, but I don’t care. Later, we’ll head down to the green downtown. We’ll hang out on a blanket, so much laughter peeling out from our lungs.

Driving with the windows down, the gas gauge is broken, but it doesn’t matter. We’re together. We’re innocent. We don’t have cell phones, we don’t have computers. It’s just us, my old Pontiac Acadian, laughter, love, friendship. That guy I have the crush on is there, I’m wayyyy too shy and anxious to act on my feelings. Butterflies are floating like crazy in my stomach. My friend teases me, but she knows. They just get me.

I have trauma in that innocence, but it’s grip is soft. I’ve constant friends about me…I’m lonely, but it’s a warm loneliness. I don’t worry as much, I don’t feel like I’m imposing by existing. I’m the driver in my life and it’s pretty damn good (why didn’t I see that then?).

Now, present day. I have a constant yearning in my soul. I can’t pick it out. I can’t identify it. Constant anxiety, worry for my kids, worry for my husband, worry about this world. I’m overwhelmed. I’d love to go downtown, sit on the green and just soak up the sun. I want to hold that memory in a steel trap and never let it out. The grip of trauma has grown so much stronger. I’m constantly raw by it’s chaffing hold. I’m just a breath away from seeing that moment, that crisp feeling of wholeness. It sits just out of my sight, barely in the shadows, waiting for the sunlight to wake it, move it.

The wonder that once filled me has dimmed in the lights of age, but I know I can find it again. I know it’s there.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Downtown

Posted in The Journey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment