I wrote my Anticipation 2020 post way back in December 2019 and clearly god laughed – at all of us. I won’t take it personally.
And who knew when I wrote my ANTICIPATION | Autumn 2019 that within 15 days my life would be flipped upside down? Bill certainly made his time with me memorable. I miss him terribly and know that he is with me always – his living in my heart is a comfortable and constant feeling I don’t see going away. I didn’t manage much of my plans for last year, I got to do so many other things with a partner I’ve loved my entire adult life. It was worth every second.
Well, I’ve learned a lot.
I’ve been numb and sad since Bill passed away on 02 August. Music plays throughout the house day and night and every once in a while a song comes on that triggers tears. Instead of hiding from them, I’m letting the music and lyrics wash all over me. Feeling all the feels. Not stuffing them down, being “strong” or ignoring them, I’m living them fully and breathlessly. I’m finally making my way out of the thick, sticky, emotional molasses and trust my instincts and “intuitive hits” that come regularly. I continue to be grateful for the time we had together. I haven’t lost my temper once which is a strange thing to realize. Anger was always my go-to emotion. I can’t even say I’ve felt its cousin, frustration, very often. I feel love, compassion, patience and joy for what was and know that we will meet again.
COVID-19 has provided some interesting changes around here. All of the kids have been home for some time in a regular rotation. It’s been wonderful to have them often under my roof. (I am so happy they had a very intense six months to get to know and love Bill.) Now that school has started again, the boys are living here in Oakville with me taking courses online. Chloé returned to Edinburgh where she just finished a 14-day quarantine only to have the city shut down. Claire, who returned from Halifax last March, is looking for a job in Toronto.
My next three months will see a return to a lot of the things I didn’t do as I took care of Bill. I will only welcome back into my life the things and people I miss – not anything I feel obligated to continue or pursue. I chose HARMONY as my word for 2020 and though the year has shown up as the complete opposite, I feel called to find whatever harmony I can find in what’s left of 2020.
SCREENWRITING COURSE | This is my final required course toward the completion of the Creative Writing certification at UofT. I decided to finish off by choosing what I considered to be the most difficult offering. This is completely out of my comfort zone and it’s the kick in the pants I think I need to get back to writing. I took a 3-hour course with Anne Lamott in early August over at BookPassage where she advised all writers to take a screenwriting course – I was already signed up. How smart am I? Ha!
MASTERMIND | During the first session, after months of hard work learning so many things new to me and wondering “how does my life get any better than this?” it did. That was followed by another multi-month session of more deep learning and meeting the challenge to “dare to ask for more,” I did and I got more just by asking. I’m back again with the overarching question of “why not?” and “why wait?” The more I know the harder the work, as Colette says, “each up-level brings a new devil” and I’ve wrestled a few daemons the last couple of years. The difference this round is that I am so much calmer and confident. I feel patient, accepted and deeply loved by a power greater than myself. I am open to all the magic available to me and accept it with gratitude.
MEMORIAL | Bill made a tremendous effort to be as easy-going as his stubborn nature would allow. When he said “no” it was almost impossible to get him to budge. He was a man who often through his life had his wishes dismissed and promises to him were broken. He knew I wouldn’t do that and he left me with a few requests: keep his writing and do something with it; with all of our combined eight kids and the dogs (no one else) he is to be tossed into the bay – we are not to have a funeral or ceremony; and, don’t divide up his ashes. He was uncharacteristically specific. Instead, I am, with the help of his family and a few friends, hoping to purchase some land close to the bay and have a bench carved out of granite – or something equally as immovable as Bill – for people to visit “him.” It’s a big project that will no doubt require diligence and a few dollars.
VOXXLIFE | I love all of this product and have signed up to promote and distribute it – the REM patches have made such a difference. My goodness, it’s nice to get a full night of restful sleep!
WRITE | The last time I picked up my novel-in-progress was when I went on what was supposed to be a solo-writing retreat last October in Whistler. Bill joined me and helped with the writing only for both of us to put our projects away when he moved to Oakville 2-weeks later. Time to not only dust off my writing but transcribe his pages and pages and journals and journals of hand-written words of beauty and dreams. He was a poet – mine is pulp.
READ | Time has to be made for more fiction. Specifically, the new Ken Follett book which comes in at a mere 928 pages. And hopefully more!
ONLINE SHOP | Over at Redbubble, I have a shop. I hope to keep it open and introduce some new products over the next few months. The first thing to do is go in and noodle around to remind me of how it all works.
WEBSITE/BLOG OPERATION | Thanks to everyone who told me that the comments weren’t working! And that my newsletter wasn’t arriving! Much work to do. Fingers crossed it is all resolved in a timely manner.
BINGE WATCH | It’s not looking like I’m going to have much spare time but I hope to watch Schitt’s Creek (I’m the only Canadian not to have seen it) as well as Succession (I’m still looking for a service to watch it on). Oh, The Morning Show, too. There’s also a western with Kevin Costner I’d like to see.
MOVE | Last weekend, I was faced with the question, “what’s keeping you in Oakville?” to which I had to think (too) hard about my answer. I woke on Sunday morning to a clear whisper to take a look at the local real estate listings. I thought it was the gray house we had passed the day before. Wrong. It was “the big yellow house” that I couldn’t get off my phone until I looked at the complete listing – video and all. Okay. Message received. It’s time to shake things up. I’ve been here for 23 years, likely a decade too long. My kids visit me because I live here but they don’t particularly like their “hometown”. I know they’ll visit me wherever I am. This promises to be a big project but one I know how to do – I’ve had plenty of practice. Everyone is on-board and enthusiastic. The lists have already started, realtors hired, finances considered, purging and donating fully underway judging from the number of garbage bags in the hallway. The one thing I know for sure is when you know a decision is the right one, it’s the right one.
Lesson from the summer: life is short, live it.
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What are you up to this autumn? What is part of your routine or are you the spontaneous type?