Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Mom, Style Icon

When your mum served as not only a parental figure, but a best friend, it's impossible to turn off the sensor that screams "cool mom-related stuff". Even with Mum gone, I seek out books, movies... anything really... that celebrates how special mothers are. 

Case in point, I found a blurb for this wonderful new book in a recent issue of Easy Living magazine. 'My Mom, Style Icon' by Piper Weiss is the spin-off from the hugely popular website, The book and its blog celebrate the fashionable fabulousness of our moms. While growing up, we're all too busy with our own issues to realize that once upon a time, our moms had their own social lives and amazing closets stuffed with wickedly fashionable clothes. 'My Mom, Style Icon' celebrates these incredible women, their clothes and the love that bonds us. As a daughter of a truly fashionable Mum, I find this project incredible endearing. 

Here's a wonderful clip from YouTube that showcases the book and the heartwarming process that brought it to fruition.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Year Past

It's hard to imagine that I have experienced one full year since my Mum died. 

The first Easter, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthday. Despite the year being only the passage of twelve months it seems to feel like it's been much longer. I hate the thought of this distance. Sometimes it feels like my Mum has been gone for much longer. It worries me that I will begin to forget her voice, her touch and her laugh. The longer that I am away from her, the more faint she becomes. 

The journey of making my way in a Mum-less world didn't end when the calendar flipped to the year mark. If anything, I'm finding a new perspective on my situation as each day passes. The pain of missing her hasn't faded. If anything, I seem to miss her more on regular days than I do during holidays. She was part of my daily routine. Phone calls, visits... we didn't wait for holidays, or special occasions to get in touch. We spoke every day. Sometimes multiple times. The daily grind is truly that... a grind - but with each day, I try to move forward just as my Mum would have wanted me to. 

I wanted to start this blog as a way for me to express my feelings during the worst spells of my life. I do feel that the writing process helped. Keeping feelings bottled up inside is never advisable. 

So what's next? 

For now, I plan to keep this blog active. My journey is still on-going and I'm not sure where I'll end up. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Stumbling Towards the Inevitable

Is it human nature to find yourself tracking back to where you were a year ago? I'm assuming that it is, especially when a major anniversary is fast on the approach. The desire to compare and contrast where you stand today with where you were twelve months back is one that is at times overpowering, and somewhat inescapable. 

Since last year when I lost my Mum during its watch, March has lost its claims on being a kind, happy corner of the calendar. While I don't want the third month to be all doom and gloom -- especially as there are loved ones birthdays tossed in the March mix -- it generally feels like a cold, black hole. It's a strange feeling.

March for me, used to be that month when the NHL season was winding down. I'd be obsessed with my team's drive towards a playoff berth. The weather would often be teasing us with the first appearance of Spring. Robins would return, and the dirty snowbanks would be in mid-retreat. The first steps back into what felt like a renewed life with plenty of sunshine, warmer temperatures and budding trees was knocking at my door. Possibilities were right around the corner. 

March this year casts a different shadow. It feels...gray. Not just outside my window, but inside as well. Every day I find myself falling back into this time last year, and I get lost in my thoughts. I remember quite clearly what was going on, how everyone was. I wonder if there was anything that I should have done differently. Why didn't I fully realize the signs of what was to come? I try to make myself feel better by stating the obvious - it's so simple to question the past. At the time, we were too busy coping, struggling through daily events to analyze every single thing. Yet, this explanation still provides little comfort. 

The inevitable awaits me in a few weeks time. To say that I dread the occasion is an ignorant understatement. As my Mum would wish, I'm trying to be brave in the face of the worst anniversary imaginable. But like a magnet, drawing its prey ever closer, I cannot escape its pull. I will have to confront this milestone whether I want to, or not. I cannot hide, run away or pretend it isn't happening. Soon it will be here. Just another day for most, but for me it's one that will forever leave its mark on my heart. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Never Let Me Go

In the past year as I dealt with the constant storm of swirling emotions, I've tried my best to avoid movies that would leave me in a puddle of tears. Normally I'm no stranger to touching films - I love them, and a good cry prompted by a heartwarming (or wrenching) movie is often most welcome. But this year, I've tried to steer clear. I've managed to be selective about watching certain scenes in 'Forrest Gump', and I was lucky to avoid 'The Family Stone' completely. There will come a time when I want to watch 'One Week' again - it's one of my absolute favourites, but it tends to do a number on me. It's best attempted with plenty of Kleenex on hand, and on a day when you don't have to go anywhere - so you can get tear-induced puffy eyes to relax, and shrink back to normal size. 

Recently with nothing on television one night, we decided to dive into the pay-per-view realm and take a chance on some spur-of-the-moment entertainment. Our choice? The new Kiera Knightley, Carey Mulligan film, 'Never Let Me Go.' I don't want to give the plot away but it's a very poignant movie. It's billed as a quasi-alternate universe-sci fi thing, but in truth, none of this labelling mattered; it's as moving as any of the aforementioned films, and I still find myself thinking about it.

The story offers several messages, but one in particular I took to heart - how none of us have enough time in life to be with the ones we hold close and love dearly. Some of us live long lives, others short... but we all share the common desire to have more time, more memories, more love with the people who mean the most to us. 

'Never Let Me Go' brings this hope home. It's a wonderful movie, one that I recommend for all to see. Just be prepared for the onslaught of puffy peepers - a temporary ailment that's well worth it in my eyes. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Beautiful Quote Rediscovered

I found myself in one of my favourite places today - a greeting card shop - and I was reunited with a beautiful bereavement card that I once held dear. I have sent this card to a couple of my dearest friends when they lost a loved one, and to see it again in my current circumstances, well, it made me feel a little better.

The quote is well-known, yet there's never been an author attributed to it. Shame, really because the sentiment is so heartfelt and comforting, the writer deserves the accolades:

Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are with us.  

I've seen the quote with a slightly different ending... instead of 'let us know they are with us', it most often ends with 'let us know they are happy.' Both are beautiful messages, both offer solace at a time when we need it the most. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Card for Mum

Dear friends recommended that I continue the tradition of giving my Mum a birthday card. During my search, I found this beautiful greeting

Lovingly created by Tam Tam Design, it features a heartwarming image. I love how the baby bird is presenting her mother with a colourful posey. 

Unfortunately, Tam Tam Designs only ship within the US but all is not lost. I found this card in my local shop here in Toronto, so perhaps other savvy shops in non-US locales stock this unique line as well. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mum's Birthday

There's a hole in my diary this week, a day that I'm not quite sure what to do with. My Mum's birthday - the first without her. 

Up until last year, I would gladly take the day off. The notion of doing my usual thing, working away the hours on her special day, was just not on. I loved being with her so much. Mum was big on birthdays - for everyone else! She always went out of her way to make our milestones count. We would try to reciprocate the best we could. No matter what we bought, or did, it never felt like enough - I mean, what do you give to the person who loves you more than anything in this world?

This pressure was self-imposed. The presents, a special meal, flowers... Mum loved all that we gave her, but most of all she just loved our company. She valued the hugs, and laughs more than any trinket. We could have appeared on her doorstep empty-handed, and she would have been thrilled. We were there! That's all that mattered. On Mum's birthday for as long as I can remember, I'd spend the day with her. Now that her birthday has arrived, and she's no longer here, what am I supposed to do? 

There's a hole in my diary this week, and an even bigger one in my heart. Happy Birthday, my dear Mum. I miss you. xo

The gorgeous cupcake photo is from the beautiful Cupcake Blog

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Beautiful Bereavement Card

I have a habit of collecting meaningful greeting cards for 'just in case' occasions. Many of these cards never end up leaving my house - I fall in love with their message or image and choose to keep them close.

Here's one example that I found this past Autumn at a local shop. It's dressed with a lovely sentiment from writer, James Joyce. 

They lived and laughed and loved and left.

(inside) And the world will never be the same. Deepest sympathy.

It's so melancholy and achingly beautiful... I just had to keep it. 

If you would like this gorgeous card, it's a creation of Positively Green, and can be purchased at this link

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Can't Let Go

It's January 6, and my Christmas tree is still standing proud. For someone who was hesitant back in December about marking this past Christmas in any shape or form, it seems odd that the biggest, most prominent sign of the holiday is still hanging tough in my living room. Even I'm surprised by my renewed attachment to this glistening pine. Just a few weeks back, I chose to shun its festive spirit, but now I find comfort in it like a security blanket.

I just don't have the heart to pack it away. As much as I wanted 2010 to be gone forever, a part of me wants to hang on for dear life. 2010 will be the last year that I hugged my Mum, heard her beautiful voice, and saw the love she had for me in her eyes. I'll never get that sweet comfort ever again. Every day is one more step farther away from her.

It's true that the move into any new year brings with it a collection of regrets, hopes and remembrances, but when you're still raw from loss, everything seems more vivid, more heartbreaking. 2011, at least for the first few months, will continue to be as upsetting as 2010. The one year anniversary of Mum's death is nearing with every day - it will be the last of the first-year milestones, and the most poignant one of all. So perhaps it does make sense why I'm dragging my feet regarding my Christmas tree. If I can delay the inevitable even by a day or two, perhaps I can feel a little bit closer to my Mum. It may sound silly but right now, it just makes sense.