I just returned from Tofino. A place that I have visited so often over the years, to walk the beaches and often praying for you Karen in my own personal way. However on this mini road trip, I decided to go on my own – well with Ms. Lola. It is the one year anniversary date when our family life changed. Over a month ago, your daughter said to me, “I am going to take Monday January 24th off, to write in my journal, work on my memory box, eat Swiss Chalet and think of my mom.” It was then I thought, yes, I too need to do that.
We can get so busy in our day that it is our own responsibly to carve out time in our life. Daily, weekly and or monthly to allow your self to reflect on those you have loved and lost. Annually, for many years, I would reflect on our mom and dad. I would block off a Friday night, get my comfy clothes on (you know take off the bra, put on sweat pants) open a bottle of wine, sit on the floor and surround myself with pictures and read all the personal hand written letters mom wrote to me in the 80’s when I lived in Jasper. I would sit and feel the moments and memories that included them. 3 – 4 hours would pass by and it felt like 30 minutes. I don’t do that anymore, and that is ok.
So I decided to book some time off work – and when I was in Tofino I decided last minute to extend my stay as I could just work from there – one of the MANY GIFTS (there are always silver linings) that COVID provided for me – is working remotely.
I packed my bag, laptop, wine, cheese, tapenade, vibrator, yoga mat, gin and drove off to Tofino. The most Westerly part of Canada. When you walk these beaches you feel the power of the ocean. There is a spiritual energy. Nature at its finest.
Over a year ago, I started listening to audio books. I really enjoy them as I can be in the bath, cleaning the house, stretching, relaxing – listening to them. I am currently listening to, “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Daily Life.” A little bit of a heavy topic however I can very much relate and I always learn something new. But on this journey to Tofino, I thought, “Ugh, I don’t want to be listening to lessons on behaviour lol fuck that !! I wanted to listen to something sexy, empowering and fun. So I decided to listen to Matthew McConaughey’s audio book – “Greenlights”. He is an amazing story teller because he has allowed himself – since a very young age – to really experience life by saying YES !! So as I drove off to Tofino, with Lola in the back seat and and the company of Matthew, I felt freedom, love and sexiness all rolled into one.
When I woke up the morning of Monday January 14th in Tofino, I had a piece of the banana bread you always made. I baked it the night before I left. I still have the recipe card, covered in food, torn but it has your hand writing and when I make it I always think of you. You would always say, “Can you believe the secret ingredient is Miracle Whip NOT mayo but yes Miracle Whip!!” It is so good – I will always call it, “Karen’s banana bread.”
I started a blog to you when I was in Tofino but I stopped because it was taking away my attention from thinking and feeling you. When I was sitting the patio, blogging on the morning of the 24th, your daughter Samantha called from Ottawa. I told her the timing was perfect, as I too was feeling emotional. Ironically enough, we were both thinking the same thing at the same time. Events and moment leading up to this day. Sam said, “It isn’t so much about the “death day”, as in today, I am thinking about everything to do with my mom. I am just so overwhelmed with so many feelings.”…and then she laughed through her tears, “Oh, actually, hang on, I am not really sure…what the heck do you call this day?” Of course my personal opinion was, definitely not DEATH day – yuck – and I said to her,” It really is a time to remember, to feel and give your mom some space in our lives as we choose to celebrate her.”
The crew called me from the cemetery. As we were taking the selfie pics, I could hear you saying saying, “OK everyone focus back on me please!!!” And we would all laugh. They were not too sure what to expect when they arrived however the snow was all removed and there was a beautiful path leading straight to the area where mom, dad and now where you are placed ? Resting? Buried ? More choice words that our culture uses however I know you are anywhere and everywhere. You are at peace, that I do believe and you are still around as I know you do not want to miss a beat in this world.
Brian, Les and the kids (well your young adults) all went back to the his house. In honour of you they picked up Swiss Chalet Chicken with the extra dipping sauce. Our family comfort food. I FaceTimed them when they got back to the house. There is something pretty special when you have all the “kids” sitting together around the kitchen table. I love any time I connect with family. And today was pretty special.
After we spoke, I rushed out to Chesterman Beach. I wanted to get there before the tide came in, as I wanted to walk out to Frank Island. Frank Island is the Island that divides South and North Chesterman Beach. I wanted to release your ashes. However the tide was in, it was getting dark and I did not get to walk out….and that was ok. So yes you are still with me – I am not even sure how I feel about this “release” any more – different thoughts now – BUT I did just recall as I am typing this that I need to get you out of my glove compartment haha – sorry sis 🙂
These are not my pictures however I am sharing as they certainly show you the beauty of Chesterman Beach.
I often wish you were just sitting on my couch so we can have one of our good heart to heart talks – we did those so well xo The world is a different place, it has changed, people have changed – and I truly believe all for the better. There are definately struggles in our Country and in this world right now – and when I refer to change, I am referring to internal. I don’t think there is one person out there who has not changed due to this Pandemic.
It is now 2022 – and the year has started off pretty amazingly. I will always miss you Karen. I have constant reminders of you daily. And I will choose my time over the years ahead as to when I will cry with you and when I will laugh with you.
If there is one thing I know for sure is that I am going to continue saying YES to adventures and the life opportunities that we have the power to manifest….because the “highway” is a lot more fun when you do.
Love you sis, thank you for “hanging out with me” in Tofino.
ps. Over the holidays a friend sent me this…..a beautiful shawl with butterflies. I did not open it till a few days pre my departure. In her note she said, “….As I was meandering through this scarf caught my eye and immediately I thought of you. Your sister will find a way to you through many vessels, I have zero doubt. I hope it brings you warmth in memories.” As I referenced earlier, constant daily reminders, wrapped around me xo
More pics of Tofino….
Your daughter sent me this pic of you….love this. I also have a phone date today at 5pm with your son Carter. I am so excited for him as he is packing up his car and leaving Ottawa in two days – Feb 1st. He is 20 years old and is stepping out of his comfort zone and I could not be more proud of him.
Your kids are doing great xo