Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Life B.C.

Dear Claire,

You're probably thinking by the title of this post that it's going to be about Life Before Claire.  

Nope.  I can barely remember what that was like!

It's actually about Life Before Cells.  Not the tiny ones floating around inside of you!  Cell Phones.

I don't know what communication devices are going to be like by the time you're a young adult, but trust me, you don't want to have one with you all the time.

I actually consider myself really lucky because I went to high school and university before everyone and their seven-year old had a cell phone.  Believe me, those really were the days.

Why?  Because I left my house on a Friday night, crammed into a car with four other friends, and nobody's parents could get a hold of us!  It was bliss.  You made it home by curfew, parents would ask a few questions, and you could tell them most (okay, some) of the truth.  Best part - there was no evidence.  There was no cell phone with a GPS being carried around all night. There weren't a hundred pictures that were taken only hours earlier to scroll through.  There weren't texts from twenty people to read over. And they couldn't just go check out my Facebook or Instagram to see what I'd really been up to. Freedom!!!

Not only do I love how there was no evidence for my parents to see/read, I loved how there's no evidence for anyone to see/read!  High School is a bit of a gong show, and not one that I want myself, or the whole world, to have to re-live with me!  

But the absolute best time to not have a cell phone with you at all times?  University.

Being able to make some plans with some friends, head out to the bar, and just see what happens is a kind of freedom that is difficult to find these days.  Seriously, we would go out with a few people and then just let the night happen.  We might run into more friends, we might not. We might decide to leave one place and go to another so we just would.  We didn't have to text a bunch of people and let them know.  

The best part of that freedom was that we could talk to new people and make new friends because there was nothing holding us back.  There wasn't a friend who was going to be angry because we didn't call/text them back.  No one was going to see tons of pictures of us the next day and know our every move from the night before.  And when things weren't going great with a boyfriend I never received a series of angry texts that would ruin my night.

Ahhh, Freedom.

It really was great, just "being" out in the world, without technology cramping the fun.

So Claire, whatever your communication device is ten and fifteen years from now, I really encourage you to leave it at home when you're out with your friends.  It may feel strange, but trust me, you'll never find that kind of freedom again, it only exists for a short time so seize it while you can.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Letting Go

Dear Claire,

I haven't been able to write to you in over four months now, I've had a complete mental block and for the most part it's still there.  I'm starting to think that the only way to break through it is to write.  Even though I don't know what I want to say to you anymore.  Even though I feel like my writing is now frivolous.  Even though I feel like it's not important, that it doesn't matter, and that I really don't know anything after all.  I'm going to do it, I'm going to write because afterwards I always feel better.

Four and half months ago, on October 11, 2013, my cousin and friend, Lisa passed away.

I feel like nothing has been the same since.

Since then I have been processing and asking and avoiding and crying and wondering.  I've asked 'why' and slowly come to terms with the fact that there is no answer for that question.

I've blamed God, I've thanked God and I've begun to realize that when it comes to matters of life and death, God is not picking and choosing, it's just the natural cycle of coming in and out of our world.

This would be a lot easier if Lisa had been a terrible mother.  She was the greatest mother.
This would be a lot easier if Lisa had been an awful wife.  She was the most loving wife.
The most loving daughter, friend and cousin.

She hosted my bridal shower.  When you were born she hosted my baby shower and gave you your wooden table and toy box.  She is Jack's Godmother.  She loved having the family Christmas at her house every year and still used the place cards that Teghan wrote when she was just a little girl.  She organized an amazing golf tournament to raise money for the Hospital for Sick Kids. She made the best Slush and martinis.  She loved baseball and Zumba.  She loved dressing up at Hallowe'en.  She did everything she could for her kids.  She planned family vacations.  She put her family first.

Some days I still can't believe she's really gone.

I had pictured the two of us having each other when our parents are gone.

She was supposed to be at your wedding.

She was supposed to be there at every step of Teaghan and Chris' lives.

She and Bruce were supposed to grow old together.

So you're probably waiting for the "Something Profound" part.  I was watching a movie the other day and they were interviewing a grief counselor, he said that "grief is love's unwillingness to let go".  It's true, it's so hard to move beyond grief when I don't want to let her go.  I want to see her this summer.  I want her to come again at Easter so we can do another egg hunt outside.

But, then I ask myself, what would Lisa want me to do?

She would want me to love life fully just like she did.  And I can't love life fully if I'm stuck in this hole of grief.

Then I ask myself, what would I tell you to do if you lost someone you loved.

I would say "Claire, you have to love the person enough to let them go.  Let yourself have peace.   Remember them with an open heart of love and joy and not one of resentment and bitterness."

I'm not at the part yet where I can be grateful of the life she lived, even though it was an amazing life, i'm just not there.  But I will get there, I will let go, and I'll do it a little more each day.  Lisa loved reading this blog so I will keep it up and remind myself that nothing, done from your heart, is meaningless.

Love you Claire,