Best Birthday Ever? Could Social Distancing Actually Bring Us Closer Together?

Best Birthday Ever?

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Could this social distancing actually bring us closer together? This post will include a few ideas on how to celebrate with friends and family during these crazy times; but more than that, I think it demonstrates how we are changing the way we interact with each other and our rediscovery of the importance of being kind to each other and to ourselves.

I’m not going to lie, the prospect of spending my 50th birthday by myself in my apartment, by myself, seemed a bit dismal and depressing. But what I hadn’t considered is how creative and thoughtful my friends and family would be. Could all this extra time apart help bring us closer?

The pace of our daily lives has slowed to a, sometimes painful, crawl; our routines and our interactions with each other have been completely flipped upside down. One of the side effects is that we are having to connect with each other in different ways; maybe even better ways?

Here are some great ideas if any of your people have birthdays or celebrations during this social distancing time. But you really don’t have to wait for a special occasion to make someone feel special and loved…just saying.

Card Campaign

The week before my birthday I started getting birthday cards in the mail, a lot of cards! I had forgotten how nice it is to open your mailbox and see brightly colored  envelopes; some even took the time to make me a card, seriously, how freaking thoughtful is that?

The keyword here is thoughtful; I feel like we are all being more mindful of the effects that our small gestures of kindness are having on others.
The thought of my friends taking the time and effort to go out of their homes to buy me  a birthday card; or getting their glue sticks out to make me a card; or digging through their storage to find a Halloween Card in order to customize it for me, because they know that I love Halloween, tugs at my heartstrings and has made me feel so special.

This card campaign as also helped to spread out this warm and fuzzy feeling; they are still coming in. I think we should bring snail mail back!! Are you thinking about someone? Instead of shooting them a quick text, send them a note or card.

Parking Lot Parade Party

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The morning of my birthday, I was puttering around my apartment, thankfully I was dressed with my lipstick on, ready to take on the day when I heard some honking coming from outside my window; when I looked out I saw 15ish cars with hot pink balloons parading down my street. 

I was so touched, and yes, I cried, just a little. The theme of this post is love; my friends and family took the time to do something nice for someone else; I was so fortunate to be the recipient of all of their love.  Had I had a party, my friends would have showed up to help me celebrate; but the thought that they coordinated meeting in a parking lot close to my place; where they decorated their cars with pink balloons and signs was extra special. As they made their way to my place, cars they passed pulled over and let them pass. This was so much more memorable than any regular party; the only shitty part is that I couldn’t hug anyone. Lots of hugs for everyone when this is over!

Feeling la Love!

When challenged with strict social restrictions, we are having to find new ways to stay connected and to show our love for one another.

I was invited to a super cozy lunch for two in a friend’s garage that included a 12 foot long table, perfect for social distancing. We sat there without any distractions, no checking our phones, we didn’t have anywhere else to be. We ate leftovers, laughed and listened to Van Morrison.

If you are feeling disconnected, put your best face covering on and go sit in your friends driveway! Thinking of someone? Send them a card or drop off a plate of cookies; simple, inexpensive acts of kindness are appreciated more than ever.

A few friends and I have started weekly zoom calls, my friend Kenda made the observation that she couldn’t remember the last time we were all in town at the same time and able to celebrate a birthday all together. Four out of the six of us travel for work and planning events has always been a scheduling nightmare.

I am noticing that we all seem more present when we spend time together now, even if just via video. Josette mentioned that when things get back to “normal” she is going to try to let go of a lot of the things that stressed her out and all the things she thought she “needed” to do. Our lives are much simpler now and it’s kind of nice?

We then decided that we should all make side ponytails as an homage to our 80’s roots; speaking of roots, some of us are starting to sport some pretty gray roots!! lol

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Feeling the love at a distance with Dawn! ❤️

Thank you for reading! In these crazy times be generous with your kindness and attention; if you love someone, tell them! If you see that someone is struggling a bit, reach out and be kind; it doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated.

And finally if you have any extra love to share, subscribe to my blog below, just scroll down a bit. Or you can follow me on Facebook or Insta at oui-liette

Stay safe and be kind!

muah!

Liette

Behind the scenes

For any new readers, behind he scenes are just extra fun facts and bonus pics.

I brought up the banners and balloons from my birthday parade and set them up in my dining room, see the pic below. Notice the frames picture on the right; that’s my cousin Brigitte. She added her picture in with the group gift that she and my two other cousins gave me. She also edited their birthday messages in the group card. Her behavior perfectly demonstrates our families sense of humor; and explains a bit of my unique weirdness. ❤️

I am blessed to come from a family and friends who love to laugh and have fun!

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I didn’t have a big 50th birthday party planned, I know it’s shocking! But I did have a girls trip to Palms Spring planned for the weekend after my birthday. I had planned a theme for our après party, party; the theme was/will be: Let them eat cake!! One may think that a Marie Antoinette theme would be difficult to pull off? One would be wrong, lol

This tulle skirt and rock n roll t-shirt was/will be my party outfit. I was feeling a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to wear it anytime soon; so I decided to put it on and wear it around my apartment last week; it made me feel fancy and festive, so here it is, someone needs to see it!

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My awesome photographer Jack!

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I also wanted to share this painting that my sister in-law made for me; I absolutely love it! The picture doesn’t do the colors justice.

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Had anyone told me six months ago, or even two months ago, that I’d be super excited to get face masks as gifts for my 50th birthday, I wouldn’t have believed them. This jazzy one was hand made by my cousin Nicole, it’s reversible and freakishly comfortable.

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Hoppy Easter!

Hoppy Easter!

This past week was my first full week off work. I’ll be off until June 1; and I have to admit that I’m already bored to death!!!! I know some people are thriving in this social distancing/staying home shit, but I am not one of those people, lol.

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But, this Saturday morning, I woke up with purpose!!! I was inspired by a few of my friends; Gilles, Kenda, Richard and my sister in-law April, who have been dropping off special meals for me this week. I was thinking it was just because they like me; but it may actually be pity food, because I live alone??

In the spirit of giving back and paying it forward, I’ve decided to make up special Easter baskets and drop them off on the doorsteps of a few of my friends and family. Partly because it’s a super thoughtful thing to do and partly because it will give me something to do; but mostly the thoughtful part. And sorry, but I have a massive family so I couldn’t hop over and leave a basket for everyone.

My baskets are pretty special; instead of having chocolate eggs and bunnies in them. I’ve added something much more valuable; toilet paper!! And not the cheap kind, I splurged on the three ply!

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Here are a few of my special baskets. Kenda and Richard got cheesies in their basket with one roll of toilet paper; their kind of special, but not special enough for two rolls and cheesies. lol

So this Easter morning, I hopped across town delivering my Easter toilet paper baskets… you’re welcome friends and family!!

To make them even more special I hot glue gunned a chick to each basket and added a cheery Easter card, that’s actually a sticker; so my loved ones can stick me on their fridges and have my smiling face staring back at them forever!!! It really is the gift that keeps on giving.

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I love this little thing, it’s called a Sproket and it’s a Bluetooth printer. It prints business card size stickers off your cell phone!

Happy Easter to all of you; I know it’s a really weird time and we are missing being with our friends and families, but hey, you can still drop off chocolates, toilet paper or ham!

Please stay safe and be kind to each other! We will get through this!!

muah!

Liette

Behind the scenes

OK full disclosure, I wanted my Hoppy Easter cards to look like this one below, but I censored myself; what with it being the resurrection of Jesus and all. I decided to curtail my sassyness just this once.

Also I may have dropped off baskets to my mom and brother and then asked for the baskets back? But they got to keep the toilet paper. I just needed the baskets for others; it’s called recycling.

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How to Beat the Blues…During a Global Pandemic.

How to beat the blues…During a Global Pandemic.

Full disclosure, this is my first global pandemic, so I am not really sure what I am supposed to be doing? Except for staying inside; it’s pretty clear that we need to stay home.

Things just seem pretty messed up; we aren’t sure what day it is? What we should be doing with all this extra time that we now have on our hands; and we can’t figure out how doing pretty much nothing is so exhausting??

It’s only been 3 weeks and many of us are on the verge of falling into a funk; it’s official, we have the blues!

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I did my best to give my; I have the blues, but there’s still hope out there face, not convinced that I nailed it?? Plus I was trying not to laugh. 

Please note that I’m not a mental health expert; I am just an extrovert trapped in her house trying not to lose her freaking mind! But I am a sharer, so I am going to share 5 ways to help you beat the blues; and then at the end I have an extra 7 super quick emergency Blues Busters just in case you’re having a really bad day…you’re welcome!! 💙

Just Stop It!

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We need to turn off the news!! I have to admit that I’m a bit of a news junkie; I live alone so I always have my TV on in the background and it’s usually on one of the news channels. I like hearing voices chatting, so it’s not dead silent. But the constant cycle of bad news is just too much!! We need to stop!! I think we’re all on information overload at this point and it’s causing us anxiety.

Last week I decided that I needed to turn off the news; I’m still getting my daily updates from the CBC, but that’s it! I also cleaned up my social media feeds and hid or deleted people who seem to be stuck in a negative death spiral; and its had an immediate positive affect on my mood!!
If you just do one of my helpful hints, maybe this should be the one?? But the others are also good, so keep reading!

I just don’t think that you can immerse yourself in negativity and expect to have a good day? Actually I know for a fact that you can’t.

It may be a good exercise to ask yourself; is this adding to my life or sucking the life out of me?? I’m currently trying to keep all the life sucking things to a minimum these days!

Move It!

Soooo it’s taken me two and a half weeks to jump on the, Move It, bandwagon. I know how important exercise is and how it can help beat the blues, blah, blah, blah; but in my defense, I really didn’t have enough time to exercise, what with all the naps.

I’ve started daily walks, not leisurely walks, they are get out of my way, I’m on a mission walks; there’s a difference. I’ve also set the goal for myself that I need to do 3 different online workout classes per week; I’m being very strict with myself, ouff I can be so bossy, lol.

I’m hoping that this level, of Moving It, will help my body combat the levels of chocolate that I am feeding it? Sure, I could reduce my chocolate intake, but that would set me on a blues crash course. I mean, we need to do whatever we need to do to stay sane; giving up chocolate at this point in time would frankly be reckless.

My two fav online workout gals are Robin and Josette! To workout with Josette go to Bend City Yoga’s Facebook page; and to have Robin, rock your butt off; go to Move, Sweat, Live on Facebook or movewithrockinrobin on Instagram.


Make a Plan 

We are creatures of habit and not having anything to do sounds amazing, until you actually have nothing that you need to do. On day 6, I think it was a Saturday, but I can’t really be sure? I slept in until past 10am!! And then stayed in my pajamas all day; I think I had 7 meals that day and took 11 naps?? I woke up the next day and decided that I need structure; actually my mom told me I need structure, but whatever.

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So I’m working on a new weekly schedule for myself, since I’ll be off work for the next two months. Here’s what I am planning in order to beat off the blues and keep myself sane. The point is to have things to do and structure your days, weeks…and months.

  • I am going to set up weekly chats and Facetimes with friends and family. My plan is to schedule a few different chats per week; Monday evenings at 6 will be cousins video time; and then Thursday nights could be the night I talk to my friends in Vegas? Those will be in addition to my regular daily chats with my mom and my bffs; I don’t schedule those, they are spontaneous.
  • I am going to create a weekly menu; I think this will help me remember what day of the week it is? Tuesday will be Taco Tuesday, obviously. I’ll make my menu on Sunday evenings; I’ll take inventory of my food so that I can go to the grocery store on Monday’s if I need anything?
  • Clean UP! When I was traveling for work, I would come home and tell myself that I should clean x or y, but I just didn’t have the time. It turns out that time wasn’t the reason my cleaning projects weren’t getting done? lol. My new schedule will include 10 to 15 minutes of light housekeeping when I wake up each day; I’m just going to get it over with first thing each day. And I’ll tidy up my kitchen every evening before going to bed; it’s a pandemic mystery how dirty dishes just keep popping up out of nowhere??
  • I am going to set aside one day of the week as my deep cleaning day. That way I only have to procrastinate one day a week instead of the full week! I think it’s a pretty brilliant plan!
  • I’m going to schedule my, Move It, exercise time and will do my best to abide by those set times…ish.
  • Special projects; If I’m going to beat the blues, I’m going to need to have a few special projects on the go at all times. One will be to focus more time on my blog. This blue theme/global pandemic/I have way too much time on my hands post was my special project kick off! See, I’m already being super productive!

Learn Something New

My friend Claudia wants to finally learn a third language, another friend is going to sign up for an online painting class. I think that I’m going to attempt one fancy cooking recipe per week; I’ll pretend that I’m a contestant on Master Chef! I’ll take out one of my aprons, that I never ever use, and I’ll organize my ingredients like they do on cooking shows. The meals that turn out will be divided into smaller portions; some will get frozen for later and I’ll give a few single serving portions to my mom. Those that don’t turn out will quickly be forgotten; like they never happened!!

Take this time as an opportunity to do or try something that you’ve been meaning to do or try…in your house, don’t forget that part.

Stay Connected

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Social Distancing is lonely!! We miss our friends, our family and our coworkers. I have added staying connecting in my, Make a Plan, section, because it’s soooo important to stay connected in these uncertain times.

My friend, Nadine, has been great at scheduling regular  happy hour chat times for us; those seem to be very popular these days. Sign up for zoom, get your friends together and try it.
The other day, I was loosing my mind and going stir crazy; so I called up my friend Kenda and we had a driveway date. She set up lawn chairs in her driveway and we sat 10 feet apart and chatted in the spring sun! So that’s an option if you need to see a face in person and not just on your phone or computer.

I also have walking partners; we meet up in the woods, which sounds a bit creepy. We take our separate cars, so we aren’t contaminating each other and we walk and talk loudly staying more than 6 feet apart at all times.

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In order to stay connected, you’re going to have to be a little creative, but you can do it!!

Quick Blues Busters!

This one is going to sound simplistically dumb, but make your bed every morning. It will start your day with a formal purpose. Think of it, you’ll have already accomplished one thing before breakfast; and it’s less inviting to get back in bed once it’s made…so I’ve been told.

Music/Dance

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Feeling anxious or angry? Crank up the tunes and sing!! My two favorite places to listen to music are my kitchen, while I am cooking, and in my car; drives in the car are allowed by the way, so crank the tunes and go for a joy ride!!

Let it out!

One of my friends, who I would never picture as a crier, told me that she cried three times in one day this week; which reminded me of when I was a little girl and I would get out of sorts. My mom would tell me to go to my bedroom and have a good cry and then come back out when I was happy. And it actually worked every time.
I think the point is to release stress; cry, go for a run….do whatever you need to do in order to reduce a bit of stress; let it out!!

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Laugh It Off!

Nothing beats the blues like a good laugh! Phone a friend or watch some Netflix; my go to comedians are Sebastian Maniscalco and John Mulaney. I also get a kick out of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars, Drinking Coffee. They aren’t all funny, but lots are; the episodes with Ricky Gervais made me lol.

If you don’t have anyone to call that can make you laugh so hard that you almost pee your pants, let me know and I’ll set up a quick call with my cousin  Brigitte, for a small fee, she’s pretty funny!

Find Your Spirit Animal

I’ve notices that a lot of people are adopting strays or fostering animals lately. That’s because animals are pure love!!
If you’re unable to have a pet of your own, watch pet videos; it’s almost as good as having one of your own? And you don’t have to clean up their poop.

I love Pluto Living on Facebook; he doesn’t think that cats are that important, but I still love him. And my fav singing dog is on Instagram; bee_bee_the_dog. I don’t have any dog pics on my Instagram account but you can still follow me on at: oui-liette; I can be mildly amusing, lol. Oh and every once in awhile I do feature my brother’s cat Roxy, she’s beautiful, but super cranky.

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Thank you for reading, please subscribe below if you haven’t already; and if you liked this post you may love this one: https://oui-liette.org/2020/03/22/5-bad-ideas-to-avoid-during-social-distancing/

Stay safe! Try to see the positive side of things and if all else fails, watch cat videos!!

muah!

Liette

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Physical Distancing While Socially Connecting

Physically Distancing While Socially Connecting.

5 ideas to help us feel good while we do good.

My previous post; 5 Bad Ideas to Avoid While Socially Distancing, was a funny attempt to lighten the mood a bit. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the heaviness of our current situation; this post isn’t as funny, but I think it will help make us feel good.

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Let’s get started! Here are my 5 ideas that will help us feel good while we do  good!!

Feed a Friend

And by friend I mean a support worker!! This is my second week of working from home; and like so many of you, I’ve been working in my pajamas and eating chocolate chip cookies for lunch.
To be honest, I’ve struggled a bit being isolated, but do you know who is struggling more? All the healthcare workers, truck drivers, grocery store workers, pharmacy workers, flight attendants, pilots, ticket agents, airport security people, cleaners, corner store and gas station people, 911 operators, police, ambulance employees and so many more!!!
They are working extra long hours so that our society doesn’t completely fall apart.

Those of us who are stuck home seem to be cooking up a storm in order to stay busy; why don’t “we” make a bit extra and drop off some food to someone we know who is working their butts off for the rest of us?

Is your cousin a nurse or a Cosco cashier? Call them up and tell them that you are dropping off a lasagna or homemade soup on their front step, so that they can relax with a home cooked meal after their shift.

On Sunday, my mom and I made a bunch of pâtée chinois; which in English translates to Chinese paste??? It’s meat and potatoes, so not sure what funky French person came up with that name? Lol, it’s Sheppard’s Pie; sorry I digress.

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Single servings of Sheppard’s Pie. My mom put cheese on hers, I went without.

We made a bunch and dropped some off to my brother and his wife. He works in a manufacturing plant, they make air exchangers for hospitals and big buildings. My sister in-law works for an airline; she’s been working crazy hours helping Canadians get back home; knowing that she’s getting laid off soon. 😕

They were so happy to get our goodies; we also gave a few to my mom’s senior neighbors who are scared to leave their apartments.

It warms my heart that others are « feeding a friend » too. My bff’s family own and work at Gustos, an amazing restaurant here in Moncton. Sadly they have had to close until this craziness passes (but will be opening for limited hours daily for Skip the Dishes orders soon). They happen to make the world’s best cheesecake! What did they do with all the cheesecakes they had left after closing??

I’ll tell you what they did; they, as a family, cut up mounts of cheesecake pieces and packed them up and delivered them to hospital workers!!

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Team Judson/Malenfant, my bff with her teenagers doing good for others!

Random acts of kindness

This is probably the easiest to do, be open to being kind and helping others when the opportunities present itself. I dropped off magazines that I was done with and left them in front of my neighbors door with a note the other day; she was thrilled. My across the hall neighbor, who is in his seventies, was outside the other day cleaning off all the cars in our parking lot after a dusting of snow. Canadian Blood Services is in need of blood, book an appointment and save a life.

Is your neighbor or family member one of those still working? Offer to walk their dog? Offer to pick up groceries for them. It doesn’t have to be super complicated.

Be thankful

This one is similar to being kind, but a little different; be thankful and say thank you. I was at the grocery store the other day and I thanked the cashier for showing up for her shift. She was a bit caught off guard and smiled and thanked me for thanking her; man I love Canada! She said that she stays 2 hours after her shift everyday to help sanitize the store as they are short staffed.

I have an office job, I sit at a desk, when not travelling, if my boss told me after my 8 hours that I needed to stay an extra 2 hours to help clean the office, I don’t think I would be very happy? But she has been doing it for over a week! So thank him or her!!

When you go to your corner store, thank the clerk, the grocery store staff, the pharmacy staff…If you are somewhere getting necessities and you see someone who is working,  thank them.

Let’s all just be thankful that when push comes to shove; and when some of us are called to take one for the team, that they do so without hesitation. They show up! So thank them!

Phone a friend

Everyone is saying that we need to be Social Distancing; I heard someone online mention that this is not what we need. We need to be physically distancing from each other, but we need to find a way to socially come together so that we are not alone. I thought that was a great point.

Check in on your friends, family and coworkers. Use technology to stay connected; I have a zoom video date with 3 of my bffs later tonight. And one of my friends in Las Vegas has set up a social mixer video call for this weekend.

I have been FaceTiming with friends all week and my boss has asked that our conference calls be video calls. I can’t imagine being home alone for weeks at a time without seeing the smiling faces of loved ones.

And if you are having a really bad hair day, then skip the video chats and talk on the telephone, old school.

Be kind to yourself

My first week inside I started feeling bad because I wasn’t motivated to work out in my living room or run up and down my stairs. I was comparing myself to all those people who are posting their workouts online. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome that people are doing all of that. But I was feeling bad about myself because I had zero motivation to join in. And do you know what? That is ok; we all deal with stress and anxiety differently and we need to give ourselves permission to deal with things in our own way.

Want to have cookies for lunch, go for it! Don’t feel like getting dressed on a random Wednesday? That’s fine!! Do you and do what you need to do to comfort yourself and make yourself feel safe and whole.

I do think we need to be on the lookout for signs of depression in ourselves and our loved ones. But needing to retreat for a moment to re-calibrate ourselves is fine.

For the record, today is a random Wednesday and I am dressed and I just got back from an one hour long walk in the woods! Oh wait, it’s only Tuesday…or is it Thursday?? Oh shit I don’t know what day it is?? But I have real pants on! lol

My last helpful, be kind to yourself, hint is to turn off the news for a bit! At this point, I think we are all aware of the gravity of the situation, but hearing it over and over and over again isn’t helpful; for my mental sanity anyway.

I’ve been seeking out funny and ridiculously silly videos to balance things out a bit.

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Ok the hat, the hair and the face are all the same shade…not good! lol

If you have any other suggestions on how we can do good, please share!!

And if you haven’t read my 5 Bad Ideas to Avoid During Social Distancing, here is the link; it was super amusing, lol.

https://oui-liette.org/2020/03/22/5-bad-ideas-to-avoid-during-social-distancing/

Thank you for reading, sign up to receive my blogs via email if you haven’t subscribed yet; seriously, you’ve got lots of time on your hands!! Lol

muah! stay safe and sane!

Liette

 

Surviving Death

Surviving Death

One of the harshest things about death is that you are forced to go on with your life. It doesn’t seem fair that something so utterly devastating can happen and the next day you have to wake up and go on with your life.

I have lost my grandparents and an amazing aunt, so I thought I knew what it was like to lose someone I loved, but it turns out, I had no clue.

I want to apologize to all those close to me who have lost a parent, mate or a child. I am sorry I couldn’t grasp the depths of your loss and to be honest, it’s such an uncomfortable place to be that unless you are forced to be there, you gloss over it. The truth is that unless it happens to you, you have no clue what it really feels like.

Everyone’s journey is very different; it’s weird the things that you think of; I remember wondering what would be better, watching someone slowly die or getting a phone call that your loved one had been hit by a truck and was gone, just like that. I actually though about that for a long time and weighing the pros and cons of each.

I was and am still a very lucky girl, I was blessed with a father that others wished they had. He was the absolute best with a personality that was beyond charming. He had a killer smile that lit up the room. Have you ever talked to someone who made you feel like you were the only one in the room? Some people have that gift to make you feel important and special. My dad had that quality, people were just drawn to him; and I was his favorite person; of all the people, I was the one.

I am just realizing now that not everyone has someone in their life who loves them like that; who loves them unconditionally. He was my greatest cheerleader, he encouraged all my hair brained ideas and adventures. So I know how fortunate I have been and I am truly thankful. Someone told me the bigger the love the bigger the loss, I believe that to be true.

He was the most positive person and had the best outlook on everything even death. He wasn’t afraid to die, which made it easier for us to let him go. He told me he had the best life and did everything he wanted to do. He had no regrets; how many of us will be able to say that when are time comes? I aspire to live a life with no regrets, but man, I am not certain I will be able to rise to that challenge?

When someone is sick you morn them while they are still alive so that by the time they pass, you are relieved that they don’t have to suffer anymore. I remember being angry near the end; I just figured that there would be more dignity in death. You live a great honorable life and then it ends so horribly; it didn’t and still doesn’t seem fair. But it is what it is and you have to accept and keep going.

Something really strange happened right before my dad passed, while I was making funeral plans, I was able to talk to him about what he wanted and that in of itself was a gift. That’s not the strange part, the strange part is that I told my mom, that I wanted to speak at his funeral.

That’s so strange because I am a huge crier and never would have imagined that I would have the strength to do that.  Buy something came over me that made me think I could get up in front of hundreds of people and eulogize my father, like wtf?? My mom, also super supportive and positive, told me to see how I felt the morning of the funeral; she gave me permission to change my mind at any point. But I told her I had things to say. I actually felt like he was giving me strength, and I think that is exactly what happened.

I had 5 bullet points written down on an old envelope, they were 5 examples of lessons he taught me. I felt I needed to speak and I wanted to make him proud. I know he would have been proud. Fast forward 5 weeks later, I can’t picture his face without bursting into tears, that’s why this post has no pictures of his handsome face. I know he was with me that day, giving me strength.

Because I am my fathers daughter, I am able to find positive things even in the face of such great loss. I feel that even though this is the most horrible thing that will ever happen to me, it has shown me how strong I am. That if I can survive this, I can survive anything. It also puts everything into perspective, things that I used to stress about now I could care less. It’s like, is anyone going to die if this doesn’t get done this very minute? No, ok then let’s chill out and move on.

This has also reminded me that I have the most amazing extended family, we were always close but this made us much closer and way more huggier and affectionate. I love them so much and can’t imagine how we would have gotten through this year without them.

I also have great friends, it’s funny how in the daze of death you remember every face that shows up to pay their respects. I was so touched by those who took the time to come pay their respects. You expect your close friends to show up, but there were a few people that I was so surprised to see and was so touched that they took the time to visit.

And if I am being honest; I was disappointed by some who didn’t come. Here’s a tip, if for some reason or another you are unable to show up for a friend, make that call or send that text saying thinking of you, but I will be working, I am out of town or just I am not a funeral person; trust me it will be so appreciated.

Thinking there will be so many people there that no one will notice your absence is apparently not how it works. Even now, I will be  talking to my mom and she will, out of the blue say, I was surprised that so and so wasn’t there. It’s like you have some sort of weird laser focused memory of every face that you saw. And at the most random time you will realize, gee that person wasn’t there. I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can remember who showed at the funeral parlor and church. Ok enough of that, moving on.

I feel like I am now part of some twisted club, the loss club. There is something comforting about being around others who without saying anything know exactly what you have been through.

So 5 weeks in, it all still feels like a bad dream, like he’s just gone on a trip and will be back soon. The other day I picked up the phone to call him and for a full second I forgot he was gone. I am told that is very normal by my new club members.

I wish I had some magical formula for getting through the grieving process that I could share with you, but I don’t. I wake up, put a smile on my face and go about my day, I still cry a lot, mostly at night and usually only for a minute or so; I think that’s “normal” and it relieves stress.

My way of surviving death is to live my life in a way that honors my fathers spirit and joi de vivre. I know he would want me to live my happiest, best life and I am trying really hard to do that, it’s not always easy, but it is a choice I have to make everyday.

I want to thank everyone who has been so kind to my mom, Serge, Ginette and I! And if you know someone who has lost someone, check up on them every once in awhile, especially after the dust settles. And if you are part of the club, I hope you are able to find some comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Sadly everyone reading this will have their turn at some point.

 

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I love this pic of my dad and my nephew holding hands. I remember that day so well. Go out there and make memories with your people and take lots of pics!

muah!

Liette

 

 

 

 

Senior Living

Senior Living

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a senior citizen? Neither had I. My parents have been in a seniors apartment building for the past five years or so. I would visit and say hi to the “old” people in the halls, but I always seemed to be in a rush; rushing in and rushing out.

Then something happened, my dad go sick; at first, when I would travel back, I would spend a few nights with my parents; they set up a bed for me in my dad’s TV room, but I would eventually end up in a hotel or at a friends house.

This last time I was home, I could tell they really wanted and needed me to be here with them. So instead of rushing in and rushing out, I stayed.

Here are my observations; I don’t think we give “older” people that much thought because it scares us. It’s scary to have aging parents, so we don’t think about it. We deal with issues as they arrive, but we try not to think about it too much, plus we are busy, rushing in and rushing out.

Newsflash! We are all aging and one day, if we take good care of ourselves, we are going to be in our 80’s and maybe even in our 90’s too. Have you ever given any thought to what that will be like? Neither had I, until now.

At some point we stop rushing and have lots of time on our hands. I suspect their will be a lot of time for reflecting and thinking about the “good old” days. But guess what? If you aren’t 94 at this very moment, then the “good old” days are now! So maybe we should stop rushing through our time? Maybe we should slow down from time to time to take in the scenery?

My parents apartment is not an assisted living place; their fellow residents are independent, active and vibrant people; some seem to have better social lives than I do?? Mmm, I may need to work on a better balance?

There are lots of “younger” residents, in their early 70’s to mid 70’s, but the people that I am noticing more, since I have stopped rushing, are those in their 80’s and 90’s. I’ve been watching them and talking to them.

It’s at once heartbreaking to hear them talk about dying, and they do talk openly about it. And inspiring to see a calmness and acceptance they have on the cycle of life. We are all born to die, but we don’t think of it, we push it away. I guess when you are in your 80’s and older, it feels a lot closer. It must get harder to ignore? It looms over you in a way that a 40 year old doesn’t have the time to notice.

Being here has made me slow down, instead of walking past the gang that make puzzles on the third floor, I stop and talk to them. I am thankful that when my dad is feeling up to it and wants to go for a walk they greet him with a smile and give him the best chair.

Instead of thinking puzzles are lamo, I think, how nice it is that if you are feeling lonely you can walk down the hall and join a group of people.

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I stop on the second floor in the common area to say hi to my mom and her friends who play cards every night from 7 to 9; except for on Wednesday nights, when they play bingo. I pick up treats for them to share.

Today I made a point to walk three cars passed my spot to thank the man who has been dusting the snow off my parents car for the past week. I asked if he was the snow angel who’s been clearing off all the cars; he gave me the biggest smile. Turns out, this not rushing in and out is proving to be good for my soul.

And when I am feeling grief stricken with what is looming over me and my family; I find comfort in the faces of people who know how that loss feels, because they have lost husbands, wives and other loved ones.

So being here, living amongst a bunch of senior citizens has proven to be a gift. I will try to never be too busy to give someone a heartfelt smile as I rushed past them.

Full disclosure, the goal of this post was going to be funny and light hearted, because these old people are pretty sassy and funny as hell. But it quickly took a turn and I just went with it, lol. I hope that it makes you think a bit, even if it makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, that’s ok too. Let’s be nicer humans!

muah!

Liette