Saturday, March 18, 2017


Drifting. Like the few clouds in the sky. Thoughts frayed and incomplete yet beautiful. Hills were just springing into life, tinged light green. The lane I walked, lined with drying winter ruts, would be dusty and soft in summer sun. There would be time for that later. Today, I felt the silence that shrugged around my shoulders and was glad. Glad that there were buds on the trees, new grass peering carefully above the ground, even glad that weeds were boldly showing life again. Robins searching the still moist ground for worms my only companion. My shadow grew long. Breathing deeply of the late spring sun, I gathered peace and balance within me for my return home.

“The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.”
~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Friday, March 17, 2017

Snowfall and Lace

It was time for a walk. I needed to clear my head after a rather busy day. Too many thoughts raced through my mind with no place to go. Shrugging on my coat, I slipped outside, leaving my family to clear up the supper dishes. The village was quiet. Soft gentle snow fell. As soon as I felt the first snowflake on the tip of my nose, my heart and mind softened. Ancient trees, still waiting for spring warmth, patterned dark lace against the slate blue evening sky. My mind balanced as easily as the gentle snowfall.  A silent sigh escaped me and with it the tension of the day. A short walk outside, in the cold, had stayed my thoughts. 

“Well, I know now. I know a little more how much 
a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person.”
~ Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journal of Sylvia Plath

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I Know Why

How do I voice the joy and gratitude for a career so filled with stress and strife? From simple alcohol withdrawal - predictable and relatively straight forward to the incredibly difficult withdrawal from all the opiate drugs on the market this nursing specialty has become incredibly challenging. ‘Drug abuse’ suggests a desire to get high, when the real desire becomes a desire to survive. When survival is challenged by the pain killer, the party drug, the cool drug there is only one way to survive. Stop using. Stop using means going through the pain of withdrawal. When it comes to the opiate:  heroin, oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl and carfentanil and so very many others, this withdrawal is literally full of pain. Too many people believe and say it is deserved. I watch every day what that pain is like and no one…….no one…..deserves that pain. With each drug that is developed in the pharmaceutical world, with good intention, the focus is more acute. 

The unfortunate part of this story is that the withdrawal from that drug becomes much more acute. Incredibly exquisite anxiety that prevents rational thought or reactions. The pain is not just emotional, the pain is also in each muscle of the body. Each and every muscle. Cold, deep bone cold flashed away by perspiration soaking sheets and pyjamas to be replaced by bone cold.  Lights and noises like laser-daggers preventing sleep from coming or staying. Brain chemistry gone awry while this great organ of our body goes through these changes and creates these pains. Fortuantely not all experience this type of severity, but each drug has different intensities, and each human being comes to us with their own differences and abilities.

To shepherd a man or woman of any age through those days of this pain, supporting them, caring for them and reminding them of their goal is one of the most rewarding things I have experienced. Restoring balance so folks can walk on their own, engage with life and family once more and express their gratitude opens a warm spot in my heart and I know why I remain in this nursing specialty.

Am I angry that the drugs are out there? That dealers keep dealing? That our health care medicines, therapeutic for some, are deadly and can kill others? Am I angry that there is such a thing as addiction? Many times I am, but my anger will not restore their lives. My anger only gives me energy to continue this important work. My anger and angst soften when I receive a gentle touch on my shoulder and a sincere and heartfelt thank you. It is then that I really know why I do this work.

“We are all here to be a service to those who can’t be a service to themselves. 
We can give people hope and more reasons for being human.”
Dionne Warwick

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mystery Solved

“Why are you acting so mysterious?”

“What makes you think I’m acting?”

“You just don’t tell me anything. That damn phone rings and you bolt up and just leave the house. Why can’t you tell me where you’re going?”

The house was silent, empty. The only sound was rain spattering against the kitchen window. Randi was frightened. Was Ryan having an affair? She hadn’t found any strange notes. The credit card bills were ordinary. No lipstick on collars. What was going on? Randi and Ryan. The perfect couple. But now everything was off kilter, off balance in a marriage that had been solid and dependable for six years. Standing at the stove, the whisk she held was still, hovering above the gently bubbling gravy. Tears threatened to fall. Randi didn’t hear the door. Even so, she turned. Ryan stood quietly, waiting for her to notice his return. His eyes smiled before his handsome face smiled. Reaching out, he gently took the whisk from her white knuckles. 

“Where have you been going? I can’t stand this any longer. I know I haven’t done anything to chase you away - have I?”

“Now I can tell you. There is good news. Remember the adoption that was denied. I have been meeting with a lawyer and ……..’ just then the doorbell rang ‘…….and we now have our baby.” A newborn wail split the tension. “The social worker is here with our new family member. I love you so very much. We can now be the parents we always wanted to be.”

“What it’s like to be a parent: It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do 
but in exchange it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love.”
~ Nicholas Sparks,  The Wedding

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Good Flight

Riding back to Victoria this afternoon I had opportunity to reflect on this last four days. The plane was full. I had the questionable good fortune to have a center seat, when I usually prefer to sit by a window. My usual nap, leaning against the wall of the plane, was challenging. The young woman beside me in the aisle seat, while pleasant, was focussed on the story she was watching. The gentleman in the window seat, also pleasant, was likewise focussed. So I leaned back in my seat, arms folded, closed my eyes and drifted. I heard different languages spoken in low tones, moms crooning to calm their children and some children not being calmed. Airline attendants strolled the aisle answering calls, bringing us coffee and snacks and checking that seatbelts were buckled. Just before our descent to Victoria airport, the captain came over the loudspeaker to let us know that there would be a bumpy descent and that we should all fasten our seatbelts.  He wasn’t kidding!  Within a few minutes, the plane dipped suddenly and rose again to level off. The response from passengers reminded me of cries from a roller coaster on a fair ground, with just a tinge of worry. In that same moment, from my seat, I watched the wings stabilize the plane, restoring balance - just as this weekend has restored my balance and rejuvenated my heart.

“Use the wings of the flying Universe, 
Dream with open eyes:
See in the darkness.”
~ Dejan Stojanovic

Monday, March 13, 2017

Silent Prairie Afternoon

Two sisters and a dog
Down the lane and t’ward the field
Walk in softening snow then
Pause to breath the clean, clear air
Trees and bushes elegantly rest before spring
Winter coated horses graze quietly
Stubble pokes tentatively through moist white blankets
Only a distant plaintive train whistle
Frays the fabric of this quiet winter afternoon
a balance to city streets and crowded buildings.

“We must believe that there are places where tranquility exists
 and nature is given back her power to speak…..”
~ Nanette L. Avery

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Just Because

Aroma of fresh coffee greeted this once young girl as I headed to the shower. Getting ready for the family gathering that had been planned was only a bit of a challenge. At one time, I may have been worried that wrinkles and graying hair would be unwelcome.  But I knew I would have company. I also knew that there would be grand-nieces, nephews and tiny cousins that would not know me. At the restaurant we waited patiently for our table to be ready. It would be set for 22 people! A family gathering that I had not shared, save for a wedding or funeral, in many, many years. Some of my memories, like most of the pictures I snapped, are a bit fuzzy. So sharing the memories and creating new ones brought balance and clarity to my thoughts. 

Our table was in the ballroom filled with round tables all seated with others enjoying their meals. We, however, were at the far end, where several tables end to end and covered in white table clothes, extended almost the width of the ballroom. Little hands holding big hands, we hastened from the ballroom to the brunch buffet and back, plates piled with delicious foods. Breakfast, while important, seemed not so necessary as the visits that spanned years. Swim meets, farming, book groups, degrees, awards and histories of other extended family members in other cities, provinces and out of the country buoyed the conversation. Kids were great, keeping themselves entertained with games of their making - using an app that had them playing charades. It was a lovely, lively morning. My thanks to all for bringing and sharing more joy in this short visit!

“Family is not an important thing, it’s everything.”
~ Michael J. Fox

Thanks to Betty for arranging our reservations - so many back and forth phone calls to confirm and update the numbers!

Thanks to Lori for suggesting the Carriage House Restaurant for the fabulous brunch!