Waking dreaming

Grief is an uncaring emotion. When you think you’re past it, it sneaks up on you years later and hits you straight in the solar plexus, leaving you emotionally bruised and struggling. It can be even worse when it hits you when you’re unguarded; when you’re low or lonely, when you have none of your regular conscious defenses.

In my case a simple conversation about beloved dogs (I believe) triggered mine; the boss and I were talking about how dogs have individual characters. Going to sleep, I wasn’t even thinking of that conversation, and besides, I like to remember Tam, my family’s first dog.

We lost Tam, our very own red dog, over 6 years ago. She lived to a ripe old age for a mid-sized dog, and she went without trauma or suffering.

Our beautiful old girl

She has been a frequent character in my dreams since we lost her. There was one time she had a very Death Becomes Her cameo, complete with cartoon-ish hole in the middle (she was happily trotting around, unawares, so it wasn’t all terrible). I often remember these dreams, so in a way it’s good to have a memory of her there.

The grief that has hit me was only a little bit about missing my first dog. It was what I said to her in the dream.

“Haven’t seen you in a while.”

And it’s true. She hasn’t been a part quite of my dreams for a good while.

It’s reality; life stretches on and you have other experiences. You won’t remember one person, entity, memory quite as frequently. And so it goes.

And that is what is driving my waking grief today.

My writer brain is trying to step outside, to think about how this applies to stories I might write. The compulsion to write is there, hence this blog post.

Grief is also tricky to capture. It’s a diverse experience, that has no time limit, few hallmarks of returning to life. It can be crushing, melancholic, hovering.

I’m feeling, wanting to talk about my grieving today. We are often encouraged to go on, ignoring that loss doesn’t follow the same course for everyone. If you do want to talk about yours here, feel free to drop me a comment. Or if you’re feeling sad but want to chat, drop me a line any way you know how.


Zen tea

Zen_teaTea is one of my favoured past-times. It’s bracing and calming, and hell, some cups may even be good for us (a good summary of studies from the University of Maryland). My dad would bring me gifts of delicious varieties when he came to visit the impoverished little student, back in my undergrad days. When we moved to Canada, I had an exorbitant collection I had to disperse.

I’m not a huge green tea drinker, except for the blends you get at Chinese restaurants which I can never seem to find, but my to-be mother-in-law–the master of tea appreciation and collection–introduced me to this delightful experience. She also introduced me to Tea Leaves, a shop on the main street of Sassafrass in Victoria that Greg and I always stop at. I could spend hours between the tight shelving smelling the many varieties of green and black teas, gazing longingly at gorgeous tea pots and Japanese tea sets.

On the left is a teapot containing a Pink Chrysanthemum China Ball tea from this delightful shop. The pleasure of this tea is when you put it in a clear pot, as shown. It starts as a dry, tightly wrapped little ball. As it absorbs the water, the bubbles ease from the leaves, unfurling the flower by gentle degrees. The flower is buoyed to the surface for a moment, before sinking again to the bottom.

Watching these moments of change, of becoming, block out everything. For a minute or two, there were four people in the kitchen, watching tea steep. A collective sigh as the flower sunk in the last strains of its finale.

I wish that I did that more; shut out the world so there’s only you and the art, the experience. It reminded me, yet again, that I need to go back to my writing work in an environment where its me and the story. My breath and a world unfolding.

So tonight, I leave you with the last moments of the china tea ball’s becoming, and a thought for more mindfulness in your day to day. May you find where and when you need it most.

Zen tea

zen tea3

Life with a lead-in

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If only life were handy enough to give us a synopsis of a situation or of people we meet so we could judge it by it’s cover. Think how much less wasted time and money we would have.

I would think my current personal synopsis would read something along the lines of:

Sophie, an outgoing but slightly insecure girl, is learning about herself and the world.
She would dearly love to make a few more friends. She is mostly a good friend, but can be a bit lousy with emails and phone calls. 
(Don’t mistake this for ambivalence though, she’s just a scatterbrain somedays)

Maybe it could even help with our social schedules:

You’re invited to Hermoine’s 30th birthday party. 
All drinks and food provided.
Invitation comes with obligation to hear the hostess complain about being old, no matter who you are.
Also, bring old pants because her dogs will love you and drool on your leg with friendly affection.
Your cat, on the other hand, will despise you for a month.

Of course, it wouldn’t be that easy. A reply of “I’m sorry I can’t make it, I’m double-booked” would come with the obvious sub-text of “I am going to wash my hair instead, because you get nutty when you’re drinking”.

It would make decisions about people you invest your time into and which events you went to so much easier.

If only real life was like a good novel’s synopsis.

Do you have an event or person that you wished came with a synopsis? Or perhaps do you have one in mind for yourself?