Friday Fiction: Reunion*

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– Reunion –

He sees her
at the edge

of the crowded soiree
and knows her instantly.

It is a blow.

The first time
in thirteen years
Fate has brought them
together
years for her
he’d heard
were far from kind.

He thinks
how dramatic
change can be from
Life’s random cruelties
and how no one
can prepare.

A nervous voyeur
he peeks into her eyes
smudged windows
at the brink
of unimaginable pain.

It frightens him
makes him wish
he hadn’t heard the rumors
the images evoked
and now the proof.

Her face
the same yet injured
from the inside of her trauma
haunted eyes far too mature
for her years
aspect stamped with the hurt
she tries to hide.

And he wonders
when she finds his broken smile
how it was ever possible
that once
she swarmed his secret dreams.

She turns away.

It occurs to him
she read it in his heart
and knows
the Muse has passed.

***

*First published here.

Jennifer’s Friday Fiction

Thanks for reading!

Friday Fiction appears on random Fridays as a place to share my writing in the form of short stories, flash fiction, poetry and vignettes.

I Dream*

Always in my heart – Happy Father’s Day, Dad

 

*Poem originally published here on Sept. 25, 2013

Sad

I have always hated good-byes. They suck.

There are all sorts of good-byes in this world. This past weekend, a blogger friend of mine had to say good-bye to one of her dear little cats, and everyone who knows me at all knows what cats mean to me. I feel your grief, Lois!

And you might think when another blogger friend decides to no longer continue with her blog that it wouldn’t be a very big deal, but to me, it is. A virtual, cyber relationship can be meaningful, especially when it is a relationship that has gone on for a while and you have supported each other in ways other people can’t. She will be missed. 😦

But I am richer for having known her. As a writer, I understand why she needs to do this. And we will still be in touch on Twitter (though that isn’t the same!)

I wish all the best for you, C.R., in your writing career and everything you do.

Try to drop by once in a while, okay?

That is all.

scarecrow goodbye

A Cup of (Extra)Ordinary

Nothing gets me out of bed in the morning quicker than the expectation of savoring rich, delicious coffee.

At least two big, fragrant, caffeine-infused cups are an essential part of my routine and a necessity to get my brain working. Later in the day, however, my beverage of choice is tea, usually of the green variety.

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I know; big deal, right? Why am I blogging about something so ordinary?

Because sometimes, something as simple and mundane as your cup of tea or coffee can be elevated to (extra)ordinarydepending on where you are, who bought it or brewed it for you, or who may be around to share the experience.

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Sometimes a cup of tea is made extra special when it comes to you as a gift – a pretty mug and coaster in your favourite colour, along with your first infuser, and a yummy variety of loose tea flavours from DAVIDsTEA. (Thank you, Daughter. 🙂 )

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Forever Nuts is my new favourite from there. How fitting. 😉

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Other times, a cup of coffee can be special when you get to enjoy it in a new locale.
Like the Caribbean!
And that is whether you drink it inside where it’s cool…

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…or outdoors in the incredible, tropical  heat.

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Morning coffee tastes particularly wonderful in Rome

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Of course, when in Rome, it should be espresso, shouldn’t it?
Perhaps cappuccino? Nope. I stick to old, reliable Caffé Americano– style.

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Java on the balcony of your room in Cannes also tastes pretty darn special.

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And during a dinner cruise on the Seine in Paris?
The pleasure of a coffee after your gourmet meal is hard to outclass.

But as delightful as you can imagine all of these cups of coffee and tea were, there is one cup of tea I remember the most with enduring fondness. Today in particular, it makes all the others pale in comparison.

It is the memory of Mom and I sipping tea together in the late afternoon sun…

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My wedding day, August 1998

…on an incredibly special day, made that much more memorable by an intimate moment shared.

Today also happens to be a noteworthy day for my family. To be able to indulge in a good ol’ cup of orange pekoe tea with my mother today, on her birthday…it doesn’t seem like a great deal to ask for.

But again this year and for the rest of my days, fond memories will have to do.

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Happy Birthday, Mom.
Knowing how much you always loved your tea,
this morning I’d like to imagine Dad putting the kettle on
and the two of you enjoying a cup together.

And I’ll raise my cup to you.


Jennifer

Friday Bouquet #22

 

Karen at Healing Your Grief knows all about the enormous shock of suddenly losing a precious child. She lost her nine-year-old son to a car accident, and found a way to journey through the pain by writing about it in her blog.

In her own words:

When we tragically lose one of our children, our entire world comes to a grinding stop and everything we have ever believed is questioned.
Through understanding this journey you have been given, my wish for you is to connect to a new hope and to a process of complete healing.
You may at first not understand how you could ever survive this loss, that there can be no way out of this pain, yet over time, I promise, there is a way through.”

I have chosen to share her first post because it explains how she is courageously surviving such a profound tragedy.

My Journey – Walking Through Grief

shamanismandhealing.wordpress.com
shamanismandhealing.wordpress.com

Comments are closed here in the hope you will visit Karen’s blog.
If you do, please tell her Jennifer sent you.

“You’re Like Your Mom…”

During a conversation with my husband last week, he said, “You sounded just like your mom, the way you said that.”

This wasn’t the first time he made the observation. Along with the unmistakable signs that I have become “a woman of a certain age” (ack!), sounding like my mother seems to have become yet another aspect of my getting older.

“Hmm,” I replied. “I was always told I was like Dad and his side of the family.”

“You may look like your dad, but you have more of Carrie’s mannerisms lately,” he told me.

So, yes. I grudgingly have to admit that sometimes, when the words fly out of my mouth, or if I behave in a certain way, it makes me think I may be morphing into the woman who raised me. For example, if I defend myself when teased, it’s as if I am channeling Mom. “You proper fun-makers!” Or if I refuse to give in to someone else’s demands, the comeback that comes to my mind is “And I won’t dance to your pipes!” These are just a couple of the dear old “Mom-isms” from yesteryear.

And there’s so much more. I’ve adopted her quick laugh, as well as her sardonic humour and her no-nonsense way of handling whatever life brings. All showing up in my actions, the older I get.

There was a time, when I was much younger, that I would have taken issue and disagreed with such a comparison. The truth is, I have always thought while growing up that I turned after my father. Dad had always been my hero of sorts, and he was the parent I had always identified with and wished to emulate.

But now, I see that bearing a resemblance to my mother is a badge of honour and a cherished rite of passage. In fact, I’m realizing if I could only be half the woman she was, with her intelligent observations and her kind, fun-loving nature, I would be more than proud.

In a couple of weeks when Mother’s Day rolls around, I will be remembering my mother again for the lovely yet strong person she was, for the way she lived her life, and for each and every valuable lesson she taught me.  And even though I continue to miss her every single day that goes by, I will give thanks that she is still showing up in my life in other, more subtle ways. And I will give a special thank you to the universe for giving me the dearest woman anyone ever called Mom.

Behind the Door

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The knock came softly yesterday. Unexpected,
perhaps too late. Today she watches the bolted door
from inside, and waits. With trembling fingers, 
she summons the strength to turn the key,

To swing wide the barricades, to open her heart
and her trust yet again. She weighs the risks,
of losing another piece of who she used to be,
or gaining some back. She holds her breath.

There is no anger, no bitterness, her thoughts
tempered by the warmth of a childhood memory. 
Alas, today, a second look and a second knock
confirms what 
she had already known.

The sad knowledge that she wishes him well
without her seeps through the cracks. Wistful,
she peeps through the hole at a sacred promise
broken, and 
she stares in the face of guilt.

 

Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.
– Johnny Cash

Don’t let people disrespect you. My mom says don’t open the door to the devil. Surround yourself with positive people.
– Cuba Gooding, Jr.

A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push. 
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

*photo: Paris

Christmas Renewed

As the busy days of December flurry past and we march through our calendars to Christmas, I ponder on the many elements of the season. The dictionary gives us the literal definition:

a. the annual commemoration by Christians of the birth of Jesus Christ on Dec 25
  b. observed as a day of secular celebrations when gifts and greetings are exchanged

Reflecting on most of my Christmases, I feel a warm glow around my heart. But does that feeling come from observing the season as defined above, or from somewhere else? What is my common denominator, the origin of these warm, fuzzy, though sometimes bittersweet, emotions?

For me, it is Family. My most precious memories are intertwined with the love of close family through the years, especially the early reminiscences of my mom and dad, bless their souls, who helped create the tinseled childhood magic I hold so synonymous with Christmas.

Then came the low period. For years, more precisely since my mother became ill, I was the Scrooge who just wanted Christmas to go away. Putting up a tree, cooking and baking, the shopping, I only wanted to get it over with. Nothing seemed the same anymore after Mom got sick and passed away. I missed Dad too, of course, but to me, my mother epitomized Christmas, with her Nancy squares, her sumptuous turkey dinner, and her selfless but fun-loving spirit. I couldn’t look at a tree without thinking of the time I couldn’t get home, and she kept hers up and decorated for my visit on January 15th. Without my mom, my heart was no longer in it.

Mom - Christmas 1967
Mom – Christmas 1967

But somehow, this year feels different. At last, I can say I’m not going through the motions of the season. There is a sleigh full of love, too, in the shiny new memories I forge these days with my children and their significant others, and with our two beloved grandchildren. There is a renewed love, baked into the Christmas cookies I prepare (and the ones I buy), and in the gifts I wrap for them (yes, that includes gift cards!). There is love and wonder in our hearts seeing our grandson sing in his Grade One Christmas concert. There is laughter again while watching TV shows with the kids, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and silly Mr. Bean’s version of the holiday.

There is revived anticipation of traveling back to see our loved ones in a couple of weeks, a fresh gratitude when we gather round with our extended families, to eat and celebrate together. And when we return, there are the New Year’s festivities with friends here, who always make us feel like family.

Until I am with my grandbabies again, I will hang their pictures of the Grinch they drew for us this past weekend.

"What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store?"
“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store?”
"What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”
“What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will gaze at my grandson’s Kindergarten portrait…

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“If you’re that tall, people wouldn’t be able to talk to you. Not even your girlfriend could talk to you.”

“I don’t want one,” he said.

“A girlfriend?”

“No,” he said, giving me a hug. “I only want you, Nanny.”

Me: {{{heart melting}}} “Awww!” ❤

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What do you love about this time of year? Celebrating with family? Giving to the less fortunate?
The church services? The carols? The decorations?

Or is it all “Bah Humbug”? Has it been overshadowed by loss in your life?

Please share: what does Christmas mean to you? 

The Daily Post: Getting Seasonal

Remembering Rhonda

I started following Rhonda Elkins’ blog around this time last year, and was profoundly moved by her tragic story. It had only been months since she, a registered nurse, lost her 23-year-old daughter Kaitlyn to suicide, and writing about it in her blog, My Bright Shining Star, was her way of dealing with the devastation she was experiencing.

As tough as it must have been for her, Rhonda’s heart-wrenching posts turned into a new project: a book about her daughter to help raise awareness of the rampant depression and high number of medical students who take their own lives. Like her blog, it also proved to be a source of comfort for others who were going through the pain and anguish of losing a child to suicide.

With her permission, I reblogged this post back in February to help get her message out there, that even those closest to us often keep their depression hidden.

Earlier this week, I was shocked and saddened to learn Rhonda had followed Kaitlyn last Friday, leaving her husband and older daughter to pick up the shattered pieces of what remained of their family.

Rhonda had blogged recently about the good reviews her book was getting, as well as her decision to return to her nursing profession part-time (she hadn’t worked since Kaitlyn died in April of 2013).

I, like many others, had believed she had gotten through the worst of it, and was ready to go on with her life.

We were so wrong.

Your life had a purpose, Rhonda. You shared your heart and soul with your readers, painfully, yet with great eloquence. I’m so sorry you were suffering and unable to get past your grief and depression. I’m sorry we couldn’t help you more. And I pray you have finally found peace, and are reunited with your beautiful daughter Kaitlyn.

I will never forget either of you.

Links for Rhonda:

http://hosting-9605.tributes.com/obituary/show/Rhonda-Elkins-101642909

https://www.facebook.com/inmemoryofrhondasellerselkins

https://www.facebook.com/events/771748509514127/

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On Mother’s Day and Always

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Mom,

I miss you when I’m happy
I miss you when I’m sad
but I’m forever grateful for
the precious time we had.

On Mother’s Day, as always
I’ll think of you in prayer
’cause if there is a heaven
I know that you are there.