I am so easily distracted. It’s kind of crazy. I sit down to work on a blog post and end up searching “yellow lamps”. I go to put on a load of laundry and find myself hanging a picture, or vice versa. Unpacking a box takes forever. Organizing my kitchen is impossible. Forget about reading a book, I can’t even get through a page. I’m so forgetful too (more than usual). I write something down so I don’t forget, but I forget where I wrote it down. Sometimes I think I’m losing my mind. I get mad at myself for being such an “air head”. I tell God I’m sorry for being so easily distracted when I’m spending time in prayer and in His Word.
I’ve done a little research and good news, I’m not losing my mind. What I’m experiencing are symptoms of bereavement. I’m also learning that I’m pretty hard on myself and perhaps I need to cut myself some slack…everyone else is. My family and friends are so patient with me. And God, He is so patient. He loves me and He waits for me. I’m definitely learning more about His grace. Even though my “prayer life” isn’t what is has been in the past, my communion with Him is greater than ever.
God continues to patiently direct my footsteps and He has brought me to a place I love. It’s a beautiful place by the river so I think it’s an appropriate time to get out of the boat. Although, being at a river might make you think of getting in a boat, I’m getting out of the boat. Let me explain: In my February 27 blog post called, ‘Take Courage, Here Am I’, I wrote the following, “I really feel if I step out into this huge ocean of mourning, I will drown … so I just sit in the boat and patiently wait for the waves to subside. Even when the waves subside, I’ll probably stay in the boat because I’m afraid. I’m afraid if I step out, I’ll sink; I’ll drown. This ocean of mourning is huge and from the middle of it, there is no shore.”
I have no idea what it’s all about, but I’m getting out of the boat and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be okay. I’m not as afraid as I was before, although just writing that makes me burst into tears.
Most mornings since sleeping in my new bedroom, I wake up between 5:00 and 5:30. I go pee and then lay in bed and doze a little on and off until the sun rises. I watch it rise (sometimes hidden by the clouds) through my very large and very exceptional bedroom window. I hate to brag, but I have two of those windows in my room. One faces east and that is of course how I can watch the sun rise – and the birds fly and I can also look at the Fraser River and watch the trains go by. The other window faces north, with a view of an empty lot and some trees. On the other side of the trees, is the historic Haney House and Museum, where I have gone everyday since I moved here to take Madison’s new puppy, Glen out for a walk. We don’t go in the house, we play in the yard and stroll the path that leads to the next street over and a large park.
Recently, I shared on Facebook some pictures of different views from my new place. Some of them are of the Haney House and some of the Haney Wharf which is just steps away, and three of them are pictures of my building’s roof top view: two of the river and one of the Golden Ears Mountains. And this is what I said: “My realtors, father/son team, Art and Nathan Neufeld of Remax are amazing! I told them I’d like a view of the Golden Ears Mountains, but even more, I really wanted a view of the Fraser River … they found me a place with both.” Beyond that, they are really great guys and always do an outstanding job!
It was funny because the same day Nathan Neufeld messaged me telling me he wanted to show me this place, Madison also texted me to tell me she saw a place online she thought I would like, turned out it was the same place. I love it here and I know Mike would love this place too: The history, the river view, the “sketchy” (or rough) neighbourhood and all the characters. I’m constantly saying to myself and/or God and others, “Mike would love this (or that).” Elanna says it too.
Something is happening here in this place with the stunningly large windows, the sunrises and the river view. I think there is some healing happening here. I never would have thought I needed any “healing”, but that’s what I feel the Lord has in store for me here. I’ve talked before about being vulnerable, but being called out of the boat and into a river of healing would have to be the most vulnerable I have felt. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to do much; God’s going to do all the work and of course He has already begun.
Pic 1 – rooftop view, Pic 2 and 3 – view from my patio, Pic 4 and 5 – At Haney Wharf
On another note, I’m feeling the same way about the change of seasons that I do every year. I really hate saying good bye to the summer, but I gladly welcome the fall. I started my new job this week (although I’m on call and haven’t been called in yet) and I will continue to teach fitness classes. I’ve been teaching fitness for 25 years now! I became a certified fitness instructor just before Nathan was born and he turned 25 in July (that’s how I keep track). It’s been amazing and I have always loved teaching group fitness classes and hope to be able to do that for many years to come. I’m a very blessed woman!
I really thought my summer was going to be low key. A time to unwind after a very busy (and understandably tough) winter and spring. I was under the impression that it was time to do nothing. Maybe lay by the pool and get a tan. Well, I did lay by the pool some times and was in the pool, especially during our extreme heat wave, but for the most part, I was busy.
Here are some of the highlights:
I went to Victoria twice. The first time I went with my good friend Karen Acaster. Karen told her friend, North Vancouver MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly), Jane Thornthwaite about me and Mike and our book, Hold On, Let Go – facing ALS with Courage and Hope, and within a day or two, Karen and I were invited by Jane to their next session at the Legislature. We were introduced by Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows MLA, Doug Bing and Jane gave an excellent speech about ALS and the need to raise awareness and find a cure. She, Doug, other MLAs and Karen and I did the Ice Bucket Challenge after the session on the steps of the Legislature. Karen and I were treated like royalty, we were served lunch, given a tour of the buildings and we met many amazing people including House Speaker, the Honourable Linda Reid.
The second time I went to Victoria was with Nathan and Leah. We decided to go to Victoria because our trip to Toronto was postponed (until October). We had a great time visiting some of Mike’s favourite places (places he and I took Erin, Nathan and Madison when they were growing up) and we had a really nice visit with Mike’s aunt Aileen and cousin Monica.
I went to Kelowna with Madison and her boyfriend Josh to ride in the ALS Cycle of Hope fundraiser event with Scott McComb’s team. Elanna, Michaela, Luke and Peter also decided to join us (kind of last minute, which was very cool – Peter couldn’t ride because he was still recovering from his fractured knee). We had a great time together, we also made new friends and went to the kangaroo zoo.
Just last weekend, I climbed the Golden Ears Mountains. Erin, Nathan, Madison and Josh had planned on going and I thought I’d just hang back and take care of Glen, but when they mentioned taking some of Mike’s ashes up to spread, I knew I had to go too. Our friend, Nuala joined us as well. I forgot how gruelling the trek is, but it was well worth the physical and even more, mental exhaustion. Nathan has done the climb many times, but the last time the girls did it was with their dad (and Nathan, Katrina and Amanda). As we approached the top, I become quite emotional when Erin said, “This is where dad helped me last time.” She was a little ways ahead of me, just slightly out of my reach and I wished I could have just extend my hand and placed it on her, to make her feel secure, like her dad did. I’m so sorry my children have lost their dad! He’d be so proud of Erin climbing that mountain just a year after her hip replacement surgery. He was so proud of his kids and he had good reason to be.
Many other highlights include spending time with James, my cousisn’s little boy who has Down syndrome and Autism. Madison and I both worked with him to help him get ready for Kindergarten and he sure taught us a lot! He is such a sweetheart and it was such a blessing getting to know him and spend time with him. Also, hanging out with family and connecting with a few friends and welcoming Madison’s new puppy, Glen (he’s a pug). And of course being here by the river in my new place on this next leg of my journey.
As excited as I am about my new home, I miss the one we left. Thank you again Elanna, Peter, Michaela and Luke for making your home ours. I know it’s hard for Elanna in particular. First Mike left and she and he were very close. They were great friends for many years and like blood brother/sister. She tells me often how much she misses him. And now Madison and I are gone, so their house is a little quiet. But we will always be close. We are not just sisters, we are best friends. She’s the best sister a girl could have.
Wow, I made it. I actually finished this blog post. It’s hard to believe I’ve posted weekly in the past. Those of you looking for more frequent posts, thanks for your patience!
PS – My book is still doing well on the Amazon Best Seller’s List. I look forward to resuming promotions. Link to my book, Hold On, Let Go – facing ALS with Courage and Hope: hhttp://amzn.to/1FFBkSS
In closing: From the book of Mathew in the Bible – “Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, ‘It’s a ghost!’ But Jesus spoke to them at once. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘Take courage. I am here!’ Then Peter called to him, ‘Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.’ ‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. ‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. ‘Why did you doubt me?’ When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. ‘You really are the Son of God!’ they exclaimed.” Matthew 14:22-33 New Living Translation (NLT)