Home, Torn From Me

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There I was turning in for my last night. The last night in the home that held many tender memories of the last 15 years. Our girls were so little when we moved in. Three, five and six, just wee children at primary school. There we created 15 years of our our new family chapters. The birthday party’s we had  were epic. My favorite was the Sparkle Pony party where we had an actual pony on the property for the afternoon. It was a magical day. Pinata’s, games of pass the parcel, cake, candles, laughter, water fights and swimming in the pool. Perfect autumn day. It was simply ideal! My 50th and 60th birthday party’s held there, complete with a live blues band performing in the shed. A fleet of motorcycles and classic cars choking the street. Chilled craft beer on tap!

My beautiful quality bed linen was safely stowed away, I had neatly ironed it all the previous day, lovingly folded as to capture time. The big bed that the three girls were conceived on had gone earlier that evening. Here I was on a camp bed, the house completely empty. My girls gone to their separate new accomodation. Our faithful three dogs gone with them.

They say the saddest sound in a family home is the empty silence when the children have moved out. I found it to be unsettlingly true. I was so used to hearing the dogs in their habits. My girls goofing around laughing and teasing each other in the kitchen. The sound of the gate as they came and went. Seeing them at the kitchen table immersed in study. Morning greetings exchanged and plans for our day as we made breakfast. Asking who’s ‘science project’ was jammed in the back of the fridge? All those habits and routines now recent history. Looking back we might say I should have avoided that night. However I now feel it was necessary to recognise and accept the closure in the situation.

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I lay in my camp cot, in that silence, shuddering in tears. The feeling was like many precious things had been torn from me. Torn from me in the space of a day.  The next day at high noon the property would legally pass into the hands of another, for them to create their new chapters. This was an emotion I had never experienced, how could I? I was unprepared for the waves of grief and the immediacy of those emotions. There was no way back. No healing by saying ‘it was all a mistake, lets put it all back together again and make it right’.

Emptying every room, every corner, closet, cabinet in the house, garage and shed was an olympic task to say the least. That night it was all empty ready for the final sweep and mop out. So foreign to see the home empty wall to wall. Now simply a house. Hear the hollow echo of empty space. It was a vision and sound of what my heart felt like that night.

This was the path that circumstance had put us on. Other than a large sum of money falling into our laps there was no other solution to the issues we faced. No other solution my advisors had proposed or I could conceive. This was the parting of ways with the home, it’s memories and our living together since the birth of each daughter.

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Comfort Zone

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10 cm snow fell last night while I enjoyed the camaraderie of new friends. We all contributed to the dinner for 8.  Marinated BBQ pork loin, crunchy cabbage salad with toasted noodles & nuts, grilled asparagus, scalloped potatoes for the shared main. Yes the BBQ man dashed in and out of the -17c to tend his prized contribution out on the snow covered patio. Winter in Canada eh? Pavlova and Florentines for sweets. A card game of random questions after coffee. I was deflated by the final presentation of my contributions but the combined experience was most enjoyable. As the meal progressed I got over the internal Gordon Ramsey judgement of my contributions.

It is remarkable how I seem to fall in with like minded people when I travel. Rarely do I sit in an extended social situation amongst folk who’d opinions make me bristle. Typically that occurs in Florida. However last evening here in Calgary I sat amongst children of farmers who talked of wheat harvests and cattle. The difficulty this long winter on calving. The  struggle ranchers are having,  stalking around the deep snow with new born calfs searching for the right mother in order to maintain a fresh life. Or overcrowding in the barn to try and adequately accommodate the extended herd that normally are comfortably out in the field this time of year. Stories of childhoods out on the big prairie. Stories of the 2 km drive up the snow drifted driveway. Stories of how appreciated modern appliances are today compared with life on the farm 50 years ago.  Stories of life on the land really connected me to where I have cast myself. A lovingly constructed hot meal and great company. The present soft knocking of my Lord,  reminding and rewarding me with what life is truly about. A deeply satisfying evening that reminds me why I set out on this journey of discovery and uncertainty.

These conversations really brings into focus the over processed sheltered lives the majority of  city dwellers in Western society live. The tale of peoples daily habits is borne out in their shopping trolleys being pushed out of supermarkets. Without white flour, sugar and over processed food these trolleys would contain very little. I am shocked to witness the huge volume of bottled beverages that are sold. Has anyone ever read the ingredient labels on those products? Oops that was judgemental.

I am strive to be observational here. This purchasing evidence seems to be a consequence and formula of the pressured lives people endure. The unhealthy outcomes in many peoples lives. In the resource based economy of today, we seem to be rushed through daily life lacking the time and awareness to avenues of healing and improved life. We are rushed through each day like cattle in a chute bound for the abattoir.  Breathing our last, branded with marks globalism’s greedy manipulative capitalists.

We know the high rates of diabetes,  blood pressure & cardiovascular issues,  food allergies and autism were quite uncommon back in the days of the rural economy and simple primary production. Our meats and veggies wrapped in brown waxed paper. Carried home in paper bags that fractured with too much weight. Ah the perceived simple life of yesteryear!

Why, Man Called Fellah?

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Fellah is the Ottoman term for ploughman, tiller or pheasant.  A tenant or smallholder who worked the land tirelessly to provide and survive. Knowing they would never own land or attain a better lifestyle.

This term came to me when I saw it graffitied on a wall in an industrial area. An area where men, big trucks, concrete and mountains of stacked containers dominated. An area where toil continued 24/7.

The term fellah resonated with me over time. It came to represent the grind of my own existence. Sweating away the years in a demanding industry.  60 hour weeks through every kind of shift. Working with my hands, on my feet meeting clear deadlines day after day. Securing elementary products and transforming them into products that sold. Providing well for my family over the many decades of my career.

Unlike a true fellah I worked indoors and my aspiration’s eventually came to fruition. But my weeks of hard work and stress did seem like ploughing a field. Each financial year was like the cycle of the land. Having the burden of operating my own business was similar to how a fellah coped with the weather that the season dealt out.   Managing my staff was like tending to the faithful beast that pulled my plough.

I did sweat like a fellah, my clothes did get grimy like a fellah, my body ached like a fellah, my time out in the field was too many hours away from my children, my sleep was one of exhaustion.

Thus my domain is http://www.fellah.me

 

 

Observations In Warm Places

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Each day brings unexpected gifts, that’s the joy of a new dawn. This week I’ve been delayed in Calgary. Snow -15 and an extended winter here. To keep warm my time is spent drinking $2 coffees at various wifi spots. Spending time at the gym and focusing on eating healthy.

Being mindful has sharpened my observations. In one haunt I notice three, well dressed, middle aged men conducting business in a burger chain a la Tony Soprano. iPads and cell phones out, managing their comms. Various guys coming and going, exchanging greetings, sitting in the 4th chair for a time then moving on, then the next stranger comes to sit in the 4th chair. Being a multi cultural city these men are of middle eastern decent. Their affairs transplanted into a burger joint where it is -15 outside.

The next scene,  two chaps, one about 20 the other in his 30’s. The older man seems to be counselling the younger man. The younger man seems to be afflicted with some sort of anxiety illness. He spends a lot of his spare time at ‘the mall’. He is being encouraged to apply for a job at the mall. As a new venture the older man asks, “have you considered travel?” The younger man relies “yes I do already travel. Sometimes I take the train to the mall.” The older man is very patient and understanding. He doesn’t judge, just listens and makes more helpful suggestions.

The next boost in my day is at the supermarket. This place is huge, big as an airline hanger. I am trying to find unsweetened almond milk, I’m lost in one of the 68 aisles. A young man with a sharp trendy haircut lugging a 10k bag of potatoes rushes up along side me, like the agitated white rabbit “hey man where’s the salcha sauce?” How do I know? I can’t even find my almond milk! He rushes away from me the bag of potatoes hitting his legs. “Thanks” he kindly says. “For nothing” I say. He laughs and disappears into the vastness.

My next haunt is a thriving public facility that encompasses a High School, YMCA, Library, prayer rooms and a large indoor gathering space as the hub. The place is humming with people of all ages and cultures enjoying themselves. Laughter, camaraderie and squeals of fun reverberate. My spirits are lifted immensely and I settle in the library. Satisfying to see the place full and being utilised to the max. Senior men in turbans playing cards and chess.  Many students studying and doing research. It is difficult to find a spot to settle, but I do eventually. Surrounded by books ad erstwhile learning I work away at my projects. The hours pass easily. I am satisfied.

Best gift of the day, a long time mate says he will meet up with me here and share the ride to my next destination Prince George B.C. Bonus, we have spend many hours in our younger days, cruising he streets of our home town together. Now we can share one of the most beautiful drives in western Canada together. We will overnight in magnificent Jasper. Fresh snow is forecast. Should be absolutely picturesque!

As the cold night fell and the wind chill reached -26c I met the man who sleeps most nights parked near me. He sleeps in the cab of a dual cab pick up. He seems to be in his mid 30’s. Cheerful and jovial he says he has been living like this for the last 10 years. He says he has a job that provides well. He prefers to be untethered and is quite settled in his lifestyle.  Camel cigarette’s balanced conveniently on the dashboard, macBook in his lap. We bid each other a good nights sleep.

This night I can quietly drift into my dreams with thoughts of a fine day spent in Calgary. Praise God Almighty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emotional Bridge

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Today marks 14 weeks from the day our relationship ended. Today I honestly feel as though I have crossed to the healing side. The gut wrenching grief and sorrow has passed under me.

I had to clean out my email storage as it was at the limit. I saw all the exchanges between us. There were times over the last 14 weeks where seeing anything like that would have sunk me emotionally for days. Sent me to the depths of devastating sorrow. Today I glanced over them, archived them and moved on.

My heart and emotions have reached the solid ground on the other side. I am still wounded but not devastated. I will love her until my dying breath. Today I accept. I have moved on. Today it is not about her. It is about me and my journey. Today my perspective shows me ‘we’ would have not worked out.

Circumstance and addiction conspired against us. Our lives had been set in opposing directions. After three years together, she pictured me tolerating her addictions and living in a combined domestic situation with her and her two teenage boys. Me working to keep that circus going. My plans for the future were very different. She is 14 years younger than me, that factor started to make a difference too. Thus a combination of circumstance set us in opposing directions.

As documented below

1) July 2017 lost my business and lively hood

2) went through my savings and had to sell my house and split up my living situation with my adult daughters

3) December 30th addiction and circumstance finally ended our tender loving relationship

My mind is returning to normal. Where I again see the world through my eyes. Less and less seeing the world and situations as they relate to her. The early stages of grief truly do take possession of your mind. It is devastating and you are unable to get your mind off the loss. Praise God I have crossed that bridge.

 

Honestly, I don’t think anyone will ever read my blog, but it heals me to express myself. It is satisfying to see my journey set out.

 

 

 

Unconditional Love

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We are told ideal love relationships are where unconditional love is present. When a relationship fails we hear “I never really knew you.” We believe that when our hearts join and we are heady in love, carried away on that magic carpet, that we have known the other person all our lives. How well we instinctively know them and we promise to never take them for granted. We make all these promises to each other  as we fall more deeply for each other. It is rare to encounter a relationship where unconditional love is present. Maybe it’s just me and my life experience. Romantic love has always been withdrawn from me. Weather it is my choice or the other person, it has gone. We do fallout of love. Tragic but true.  “I never really knew you”

The only true, faithful, unwavering love I have ever received or given has been with the dogs in my life. Their love has been the definition of unconditional. My heart aches as I write this because the short lives dogs have. I’ve had several dogs and the grief of each of their losses wells up in me now. Their love was unconditional and pure. The inherent liability in that dynamic is accepting the 10 – 14 year span of the individual relationship. This is one of life’s sharp side.

I know I can practice unconditional love based on my experience with my dogs. With another human when I feel slighted or even hurt from time to time in the dynamic. Being wounded I withdraw my love for a time.

What is it with me. Guess I will have to learn to cope with grief rather than the hope of having unconditional love with another human.

 

 

 

Free Fall / I jumped into the abyss and found it only comes up to my knees

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Circumstance seemed to be telling me something is 2017, I’ve had to forge this treacherous terrain. I’m looking out from the shore to this vast expansive horizon. The universe has given me a push.  I feel like I am falling, but this is good. Spent the last 40 years wondering, if I had nothing tying me down, what would I really do? What do I want life to be? I’m in this for experience and growth.

The details are missing but they will fill themselves in as time passes.

I feel like I should be excited, this is what I want. But even as I drive across this barren, frozen land I question myself. I do not feel ready, I think I’m prepared. Still I feel lost and this irritates me.