Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The trip home... thoughts on grief

I spent just a few days in New Brunswick last week, and was thankful for the opportunity to be home for my grandmother's funeral. In some ways I don't think it has sunk in yet. The first few days after I found out were busy, so I kept myself and my thoughts occupied until I could be home with my family.

I found myself starting to dislike answering the question of whether or not I was close with my grandmother. What does close mean? Does it mean I called her every week, or had sleepovers all the time with her? In the end, she was my grandmother... a role no one can fill or replace. There is a richness, stability and rootedness in my life that she brought, and her loss will alwas be felt.

I'm tired of grief being something we are supposed to go through, to get over. You don't "get over" grief. The pain of it fades over time, it moves from a raw pain at the front of your consciousness to an ache that is just a part of who you are. I'm not "over" my grandfathers'deaths, I'm certainly not over my sister's death, and not over my grandmother's death. They were all people too important in my life to be forgotten through something as insignificant as the passing of time.

That's part of why I sometimes hope people don't ask me how many siblings I have. It's a personal thing, that I refuse to ever only name my living siblings. I have 2 living siblings, but I have 3 siblings. But when the question comes up, it often leads to an uncomfortable discussion, because people trying to make small talk don't want to hear about a death in the family. She just is, and always will be, too important to pretend she didn't exist, merely for the sake of keeping conversation light.

Ah grief. It's part of life... but that doesn't make it easier. God does do good things through it though. Emerging from ashes and dark valleys my eyes are opened to see beauty and love, and even hope.

Anyway, it was good to be with my big fat French family for a few days, and to be there for the funeral with them. Good time with family, even in the midst of sad times is always a blessing. Below is a picture with Deven & Heather and Melanie.

“It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live. There is but one reasonable explanation of it. The intellect is stunned by the shock, and but gropingly gathers the meaning of the words. The power to realize their full import is mercifully wanting. The mind has a dumb sense of vast loss—that is all. It will take mind and memory months, and possibly years, to gather together the details, and thus learn and know the whole extent of the loss." Mark Twain

Salsa Party

Andrea, Amy and I converged for one brief day last week. The three of us haven't been in the house together since early September. We gathered together on the 21st, and threw a party. :) Then the next day I flew to NB for a few days, and by the time I got back she had already left for AB for a week and a half. She'll be back a few days before Amy leaves again, and then we'll have a few days before I leave again. :) Three very independent single women don't make for a very stable home environment. :) It's a good thing we all get along on the rare times we are together. #26 & #27 are pretty great, when I do see them.

Here's a summary of our Salsa Party:
We had an open house throughout the afternoon, and we had several waves of guests. Overall I think we estimated we had about 25-30 people come.
I got a pinata and filled it with candy... and then forgot to bust it. Now I'm trying to reach in and get all the candy out and it doesn't work as well.
I was amazed at how many people participated by making salsa: we had 16 contributions!
Everyone had to vote for salsa entries in three categories:

Best Tasting
winner: Amy Styles, with Magical Mango Salsa

Most Original
winner: Edward Yan, with a watermelon concoction

winner: Jonathan Zubick with a mouth-burning contribution

I came in second for most original with a blueberry-grapefruit salsa recipe that I found on the internet. It was orginal alright... but it didn't taste very good. I'm secure enough to admit that. :) All in all it was a fun day, and it got my mind off other things.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sad day

I got one of those phone calls this morning.
Early this morning my mom called to tell me that my grandmother died in the night. The funeral is on Monday, and so I just booked my tickets to New Brunswick Sunday-Tuesday.
I am going to miss my Memere, Florence Landry, my mom's mom.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Summing up Mt. Baker/Vancouver trip

Since moving in together in the beginning of September, Andrea, Amy and I have all been home together for about one week. Amy and I are home now from our travels (for now), but we're waiting for Andrea to return to us from Mexico. We'll be reunited on Friday, just in time for our salsa party on Saturday.

For now, here is a bit of a summary of my trip out West:
I traveled for an orientation with Pioneers, in which we had 10 people applying or looking at going with us overseas. It was a great group, and so neat to get to know them a bit and hear about how God is leading and working in their lives.

Washington State (Seattle and Mt. Baker)
Three of us met up in Seattle and spent the afternoon looking around the city while we waited for our fourth to arrive. We went to the Pike Place Market which was quite interesting, except that I didn't get to see anyone throwing fish, much to my disappointment.
Lots of seafood though. We enjoyed some nice fish and chips, and later on some Starbucks.The orientation was held in a chalet partway up Mt. Baker. Beautiful surroundings. I didn't even realize beforehand what it was going to be like. It was great, and the most inexpensive option to run an offsite orientation. The rental car was in my name, so I had the responsibility of driving the whole time. I enjoyed it, Washington is such a beautiful state... I just think I scared some of my co-workers with my driving. :) One of them, after some hair-pin turns on the side of the mountain going up casually said, "you know, this really is the kind of place where you need to stick to the recommended speed limit". I wonder how long it took him to think up such a gracious way of asking me to slow down. :) It didn't feel that fast to me, but maybe his life was flashing before his eyes and he was worrying he would never see his wife and kids again. I'm guessing that next time the rental car won't be in my name. :) I took several walks around the chalet and lake. It was so beautiful.Mountains... so beautiful. Something indescribably incredible about them.A rear shot of the chalet during one of my solo walks. This was right before I got kind of lost. I basically knew where the chalet was, but I lost the path. So I tried to cut through in a place that seemed to make sense, but didn't really. I was laughing at myself as I fumbled through the thick and wet brush that was over my head, falling and tripping over the uneven ground, getting caught in the brush and getting completely and utterly soaked as the light faded and I barely found my way back. It was kind of fun, and would have been hilarious for any of the others in the chalet to watch from the upper windows. I found my way back, and into the chalet, dripping water and squishing my shoes, to find them all engrossed in a movie, oblivious to my absence.

VancouverI spent a day in Vancouver after the orienation, just for fun. I got to show a friend from Texas around a bit, her first time in Canada. As I've said before... I love this city-province-part of the world. Someone remind me what I am doing in mountain-less, ocean-less Ontario?
Me with an Inukshuk. I love those things. "Now the people will know we were here" How many of you remember that?

No good excuses- breaking the silence

Well I've fallen even further behind in my blogging. As long as I nurse my guilty conscience and try to make excuses, the lack of posting continues. So... no excuses (no good ones anyway) and back to posting. :)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tozer quote

I can do no more justice to the awesome wonder-filled theme called love than a child can grasp a star. Still by reaching toward the star the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one might look to see it. So, as I stretch my heart toward the high, shining love of God, someone who has not before known about it may be encouraged to look up and have hope."

-From Knowledge of the Holy by AW Tozer