Pages From The Past: Moving to Newtown

Moving to Newtown, Newfoundland in 2010

These are a few excerpts from my private journal in September 2010, shortly before I started this blog.  We were living in Mike Perry’s summer house here in Newtown, while our future home’s interior was being renovated on Perry’s Point by Paul’s two handy cousins and by Paul himself.  

Of note, this excerpt was written during Hurricane Igor and its aftermath.  Also of note is my poem at the end.

Very slowly, the old house on the point is undergoing its planned metamorphosis. My emotions are mixed. To see the rot exposed, the peeling paint and wallpaper, the ancient cobwebs hanging from the now-bare and blackened rafters, the unbelievable mess in the yard created by demolition, and now reconstruction – all of this plays havoc with my need for cleanliness and order. Are we really going to live here, in this two-storey house on a piece of rock jutting out into the cold North Atlantic? And are we ever going to find carpenters to install the new windows and clapboard while the rest of the work is done?

But then on one occasion when I visited the point last week, I saw something. I caught an encouraging glimpse of what could be. Of what that old house could become. My eye is drawn to the sun shining in through the multi-coloured glass of the windows we are not replacing. I see promise in their dazzling jewel tones of green, pink and yellow.

I get a mental picture of the rooms, devoid of junk and sawdust. Instead, they are neatly decorated, warm and comfortable, the kitchen filled with welcoming smells, music playing, Paul laughing at our cat Vivian as she skitters across the floor after a pop bottle stopper. I see Paul in his home office working on design plans, and I see me typing another page in my new novel. I welcome a visitor, put the kettle on…

I pretty much wish we were already there, playing house. Patience has never been my strongest virtue, so time drags on.

Sept. 21

So the house in Paradise didn’t close yesterday as planned. The buyers require a survey of the land…why did they wait until the last minute??

And now we are back in Newtown, enduring the wrath of Hurricane Igor as he sweeps over the province, the likes of which we have never witnessed. There’s a leak in the living-room here at Mike’s that started since Paul left to go out on the point. The wind is howling, the rain is hitting the windows in sheets. Mother Nature is showing her teeth today and she means business! The radio assures me that this storm is a record breaker, and I feel like I have three houses to worry about: this one, the one on the point, and our biggest investment up to now, the one in Paradise that is almost sold.

Even Maisie and Vivian look worried.

Sept. 23

Everyone I love now has their power back. My sister Lynn got hers at 1 yesterday, my mother-in-law last evening, and daughter Denise at 4 this morning (no other family lost theirs). We had it gone for about seven minutes on the night of the storm. So I breathe a great sigh of relief that all is well once again. I smile to realize that many have no cable TV or internet access right now – just like us!

Of course, we still wait for a phone call from our real estate agent or our lawyer as to when the house will close. I pray the walk-thru goes well. We wait to see if the Trans Canada Highway will open later today. And we wait for our new windows to be delivered. Sometimes life feels like a long drawn-out waiting game.

I love cooking and baking. Sometimes it feels downright therapeutic. As I made cod au gratin and a strawberry-apple crumble yesterday, a feeling of such peace and contentment enveloped me, it made me think of the book Simple Abundance and how much truth is in it. Whenever I cook and there is lots of time to do it right, I adore it. Thinking of living on the point and cooking and baking in my brand new kitchen fills me with happiness. I taped some loose recipes into my personal cookbook just this morning, in anticipation of using them soon.

The only thing that hurts is to read the recipes that Mom dictated to me over the phone not that long ago.

And I wait for a call from Lynn to see if they have a new placement for Mom. I don’t think I will get over the hurt of her Alzheimer’s disease for a very long time, and the worst is yet to come. Right on the heels of Dad’s ALS and death in 2003, the dreaded condition swooped in on my precious mother and changed her forever. Why has this double whammy hit our family, I wonder. I fear that the knowledge of it and the pain of its aftermath have changed me forever too.

As a way of dealing with these feelings, I wrote a poem this morning.

God, give me back my mom, I beg you and I plead

we’ve lost her much too early, the pain will not recede

First we lose our father to a death no one should know

too young he was to leave us–my God! I miss him so..

The grief it proved a burden our mother couldn’t bear

her sadness turned to illness with a name I’ve always feared

I know not how her soul survives as her mind and body waste

she lives and yet she doesn’t;  a stranger took her place

Where is my mother’s heart?  Where is her winsome smile?

I miss the wisdom of her words, her gentle, caring style

God, give me back my mom, if it’s only in a dream

let her put her arms around me;  let her hold me as she sings

Then please take her up to heaven, let her suffering be gone

reunite my precious parents–maybe then I can go on.

***

21 thoughts on “Pages From The Past: Moving to Newtown

    1. How nice of you to drop by my blog! How are you, Debbie? Your mom was such a sweetheart. I enjoyed her visits to Newfoundland in the past and our later phone conversations over the years. You must miss her terribly – I’m so sorry for your loss. Hugs. xx

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  1. It’s so coincidental, that I just read this post now, cause it was just a couple of hours ago a couple of beatles songs were playing on my ipod and I always think of your Dad when I hear certain Beatles songs. Tonight, it was “Across the Universe “. I could hear and envision him, playing his Gibson and singing it. I was telling Janusz, about the wonderful parties we used to have and about what beautiful, wonderful parents you guys were so fortune, to have had and I too, was also fortunate to have been part of your family for a time. I can only imagine, how horribly heartbreaking, it must have been, to lose both of them to such horrific diseases and at such young ages. I know my heart broke for you all, from a distance. Your poem, is beautifully written it brought tears down my face. You’re a wonderful writer, keep it up, you always draw me in. You’re parents would be very proud of you. Lots of love! XO

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    1. Thank you so much, Lynda. I know what you mean about the Beatles. Paul and I were watching a Beatle documentary the other night and I can’t even look at John without thinking of Dad. He adored John.

      I’m glad you liked my poem but I’m sorry I made you cry. My parents were two very special people who were loved by many, and that’s what we have to hold onto. I’m so very thankful they were in our lives, even if the time was shorter than we would have wanted. ❤

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  2. Thank you for sharing these very personal thoughts – they are so full of emotion, I feel for you and the losses you endured. I am so glad you got settled in your beautiful home and very much enjoy the reports from your part of the world!

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  3. Anais Nin observed, “We write to taste life twice: in the moment and in retrospection.” Your thoughts, eloquent and insightful, remind us that our narratives hold moments of profound sadness as well as joyful abandonment. In the writing and sharing, we feel a kinship, and a healing. Many hugs coming your way.

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  4. Sending a huge virtual hug your way, Jennifer. I can relate, having just lost my mom after 15 years of Alzheimer’s and my dad back in ’02 from a sudden heart attack. I will miss them till the day I die. But I know both of them would want me to enjoy life. I’m sure we can both hear our mom and dad’s voices in our hearts, so they’ll always be with us.

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    1. Well said, Connie. Again, I offer condolences to you for your loss. I think the worst part of it is that Paul and I lost three of our parents within nine years. His dad died from vascular dementia in between my parents, so we were worn down by it all, with the nursing homes, hospitals, the funerals, the grief. But you’re right. They would want us to be happy and they are always in our hearts and minds. Thank you. xo

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  5. That must have been a very stressful time indeed. Your journaling is beautiful. I don’t keep a journal, but if I did, it would never read so eloquently. Heartbreaking poem, too. Alzheimer’s disease and ALS are both cruel diseases. So sorry your family has had to face them.

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