Now, I'm not here to be a Debbie Downer or Negative Nancy. I don't want to make your sunny Saturday any less cheerful.
But for a minute, just hear me out. GRIEF is powerful. It's a heavy-hitting human emotion. It can steal the wind from your lungs. It can knock you off your pedestal, rob you of a lifetime of joy. Once where only bubbly happiness resided in your peppy soul, now a flood of darkness and hopeless despair has crept in, choking that giddy girl or smiling guy.
When GRIEF hits, look out!
Recently, the home I've lived in since I was five years old was sold to a developer. I knew this day was coming, did not want to come to terms with it. Oh sure, I've been warned for years. The family heirloom was going to be sold off for a handsome sum of money, leaving the seniors to retire and downsize.
This place has been my saving grace, my EVERYTHING. If anyone were to label someone or something their "lifetime love" then I would indeed dub this place exactly that. I don't think my heart could be owned by someone in the same way it's ruled by this old homestead. Here's an excerpt from my memoir, to be released in the coming months:
When the news broke, it devastated me.
They were selling my home.
A part of me felt robbed. A part of me that I could never get back. I'd moved here at five years old and basically grew from shy, pig-tailed wallflower to outspoken, jaded adult. Everything that encompassed my life began and ended in this place.
I recall the summer thunderstorms, the fallen trees, and the bewildering clash of thunder. Those were some awful, but magnificent storms. The smell of the rain falling on the meadow. There was nothing like it. Part moss and part hot, sticky air.
Summer nights from age 16-21, planted by the radio in my small room, listening to the radio broadcast LOVERS AND OTHER STRANGERS. These nights defined me. They inspired my own romance writing, and I learned a world of wealth in the articles, poems and love songs that were played. Encapsulated in my heart and mind, these memories are forever branded. No other era of my life felt so real, so joyful. I cannot express what life felt for me, listening to that show and feeling those hopeful feelings for the future. I had big dreams for a young, awkward teen with no worldly experience. Those hot nights led to a flood of romantic passages and powerful prose. They were truly a definitive part of shaping my author experience.
My parents never had air conditioning til I was grown up and out of the house. I sweltered in my tiny room all summer, with a cold face cloth and small fan.
In Autumn, the towering Oaks would morph from summer green to flaming red and burnt orange. They were spell binding. I took many pictures, every autumn. It was my favorite season. I worshiped it. Finally, cooler weather, where I was comfortable and happy. Firewood burning in old chimney's across town and the occasional rain and cobalt skies. Crisp leaves crunching under foot, and kids begging for candy in freakish costumes. This is how I remember my charming little Southern Ontario town.
Winters spent here with the oil furnace cranked. The old, drafty floors and outdated windows brought that chill to the bones. Yet, I nestled under warm covers and slept better here than any place on earth. There was a peace to this place, as though angels blessed it. Set on fifty acres of lush greenery before the greedy developers decided to take the land, it was a paradise. I still cling to every childhood memory of running in wheat fields or playing in the hayloft. Summers of manhunt in the corn fields or a bonfire with roasted marshmallows before the city people moved in to rat us out to the fire department. Riding my jet black filly "Cadeau" (fittingly, French for "gift"--a 13th birthday present). The forest behind the house was magical, my own prayer garden. I would run away there when Mom was cruel and spiteful. It was a safe haven, a place to be heard by a Higher Power that sheltered me.
Now, some thirty years later, so much has changed, to the landscape, and to me.
Sitting here on my Toshiba Satellite laptop, I write by candlelight. Years have passed, bittersweet years of pain, hardship, joy and some good memories too.
Losing the homestead is killing me.
This place is my first love and undeniably, my last.
Where do I begin? To tell the story of a place that owns every corner of my sentimental soul?
(end of memoir passage)
I hope this blog entry sheds light on what grief means to me. The whole point here is to just identify that stages of our lives will experience highs and lows. That change is constant, and to go against it is to deny our own evolution. While change is functional and healthy, it also warrants the need for a season of grief and self examination. We must embrace all the feelings of the change, and let ourselves feel the grief, sadness, loss and anger. Like any loss or breakup, to move forward, we must transition through the stages of this change.
Female friends -- one or two that I've confided in-- don't seem to get it. They chant "cheer up, dude, change is for the best."
But I cringe at their lackluster comebacks. They have no idea what they're talking about. They never lived here, loved here, had their first child here, wrote a string of passionate books, while also losing and finding themselves in this place. I've left here twice and come back again when those marriages failed. Let me tell you, there's no place on earth like this one.
So, in closing...to those clueless people in your circle who slap you on the back and tell you to "cheer up, life goes on." They have no right to tell you how to FEEL and at what pace to progress or to just "move on."
Grief needs healing and subsequent closure. Take your time, cry, weep, wallow over the loss. Let the reality sink in. Let the wounds heal. Then pick yourself back up.
Sure, change is good, they say. You'll love it over here, they say.
THEY don't know what they're talking about.
Own your story. Live your life. Never back down. Stay true to you.
Cheering for you always.
xo RR xo