Every Moment Counts

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2016 has been a hard year. That’s not news. Personally for me, it’s been a pretty big year of firsts and with that of growth and sometimes pain. I’ve lost my way a bunch, found it, then lost it again. I’ve cried a lot of tears and I’ve learned what it is to walk beside someone else in life and share the heavy burdens of everyday. I’ve discovered that when I suffer, he suffers too and I’ve discovered that when I feel joy- likewise so does he.

It took me a long while to understand that when I live my life with someone else, it impacts them too. I think sometimes we all somehow believe we don’t have the impact we think on one another. Random encounters with strangers can have impact on their lives good and bad and of course so does the impact sit with those we live with day-to-day. We all leave an impression on one another- a residue of our energy that stays on long after we’ve gone.

I’ve thought about this through the tragic and sudden death of a young friend this year. He was kind. He lived his life in a way that shone light on others. He smiled the biggest, hugged the tightest, laughed the loudest. He had so much joy about him that in his absence, I think it’s still here. His happiness was so big you couldn’t be in his presence and not be touched by it. Isn’t that how we should all live our lives? He only got 30 years here but I think he’d figured out the secret to a full life no matter how short the years. He was present and he felt so much joy I can’t think of him without smiling.

This year has been a tough one but if I have learned anything, it has been the importance of living in joy and in being true to me. I feel like I’ve strayed from that this year more so than ever. I’ve wandered off the trail in search of happiness for others. I’ve tried to be different so I don’t upset those around me and ultimately I think it is the thing that takes me the furthest from my writing and my ability to stay in touch with who I am. The desire to make others happy is something that weighs on my mind often. Sometimes it’s like a tidal wave that takes away every true perception I have of who I am until I have no voice. Without a voice, I have no opportunity to be great in this life and I think it is the realness of this that overwhelms me most.

It’s not about the year or the circumstances within it, it’s about being true every second, making the most of the time we have, not letting life slip away. It’s about hugging one another tight when we have the chance, taking quiet moments for ourselves, being gentle with others and with ourselves always. It’s also about knowing that each and every one of us has a purpose and it is to be great in the little moments we have everyday to shine.

My friend was not famous- he didn’t invent anything to change the world and my children won’t read about him in history books. He joked a lot, laughed a lot, hugged a lot, and loved a lot. He taught me that every moment counts. My only regret this year is that I’ve wasted too many on sadness. I’ve wasted too many moments in my own head spinning wheels that make the pain of not feeling enough more real.

I’ve convinced myself that I am small when I have every opportunity to be more.

I hesitated to write this because it’s been painful but I’m taking the moments back and turning them into something I can use to be better, stronger and more resilient because truly, every moment counts.

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Dreaming Goodbye

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Three years ago my very strong, courageous, beautiful grandmother passed away. She has had such a significant impact on my life, even now that she’s gone. She was witty and independent and strong and she was all this in a time when women were only beginning to understand their own strength and the impact they could have. She met my first boyfriend when I was 15. She eyed up all six feet of him then and said, “Rhianna’s going to university you know,” as if to warn him off in case he thought to change my plans. She approached every single day with such a feisty sense of humour and spirit that it’s hard not to feel an empty space without her. She was larger than life and so how fitting that the morning she died she requested to be dressed early (something she never did) and went out to the dining room to socialize, where she passed away surrounded by people. How fitting that less than a week after she died I had a dream about her and 3 years later I still remember it in detail like a memory of her that never fades. I’ve wrestled with how to write about it for a while because it felt too big to capture. I’ve cried my way through the words and the pages to get the right stuff to describe the way she came to me and said goodbye…

Dreaming Goodbye

I sit between the mantel’s warmth,

And my tearful last goodbye.

The cassettes spread,

In a listless promenade of dusty memories

Of a life in rearview.

Wandering cagey triumph,

Full of the possibility of tomorrow’s embrace.

Dipping low on the pink horizon.

Cotton candy and despair kissing the earth.

She knocks and I rise to understand.

She’s warm but she’s cold to the touch.

I am hushed but the realness of her movements burn the moment.

And I am crushed by the weight of the world,

In this last embrace.

She is everything I may never be,

And it catches in my throat and my eyes,

Until nothing is clear.

And I am alone here.

And she is okay but she is gone.

The old white house with the crooked barn

And the quilted roof remain.

Empty vessels brimming with the clutter of happiness.

Vacant rooms buzzing with thirsty excitement and quietude.

And all along there she was.

At the center of a distant vision.

Warm light,

Smiling in the peace of its glow.

Fat tears of longing wash through my heart.

Gentle waves on the ocean back home.