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goodbye, too soon


I am confused. Bewildered. So, so angry. How could this happen again?


Mom and Dad on my wedding day, November 22, 2008

This time, the sudden loss of my dad didn’t shatter as much as the sudden loss of my mom and uncle. The world already seemed less safe. I have had two years of practice walking through the world feeling incomplete. I have become more comfortable sitting with my negative emotions.

When I learned without warning that my dad had died, it had eerie similarities to learning that my mom and uncle had died. I was in a different place, on a different day. It was morning instead of afternoon. But, I was not prepared for it. I didn’t want to believe it was true. I was 38.5 weeks pregnant instead of 37 weeks pregnant. Both memorial services fell exactly five days before my due date.

Two of my three babies will have joined this world when my heart was full of sorrow. I will again, have to find the space and do the exhausting work of holding both the joy and the pain. But, this time, I know I can survive. I have done it before.

It feels so unfair. To be an orphan at 33. To not have my parents know my kids. But, as my sister and I talked about the other day, one of my mom’s favourite things to say to us was: “life is not fair.” How right she was.

I don’t understand, and I’m not sure that I ever will. Goodbye to my parents, my home base, my childhood. Hello to this empty new world.


From the kitchen of Mama B


It’s the 2 year crapiversary. Words cannot express how much my Mama and Uncle are loved and missed. Sometimes when the missing gets to be too much I retreat to the kitchen for childhood comfort food, always found in my Mama’s recipes. Here’s one of my favourites:


It’s good timing because I’ve been able to find my laughter again, my real side-splitting, pee in your pants, can’t-control-my-crying laughter. And, according to this recipe, it’s necessary to make the recipe just right. It doesn’t make the missing any less, or the sad any less sad, but it sure is welcomed back into my collection of emotions.



I’m just coming off of the never-ending stomach bug from hell. One evening, while the littlest was siphoning off the only fluid my body had managed to retain (I wish I was kidding), I started thinking about all the times my mom has helped me when I’ve been sick.

When I was little (and not-so-little) my mom would always station me in her bed so I could put on the TV if I was feeling up to it. She would place a bucket next to the bed, with a little bit of water in the bottom, knowing that I was horrendous at actually making it to the toilet to throw up. Mom would bring me ginger ale and ice in a glass, with a spoon, so I could stir out all of the bubbles. She would make me chicken noodle soup. These are still the things I like when I’m sick. My very patient hubby, Eric, still even lets me throw up in a bucket (I can hear my mom scolding me, exaggerating the vowels in my name).

I learned young where my mom learned her skills from, when once while my parents were away, I had to wake my Grammy in the middle of the night after a nose bleed had covered my bed sheets. Despite (probably) being quite tired, she was kind and patient, and helped change the sheets and stop the nose bleed.

My favourite ‘sick’ memory is from when I was in grade three. My mom and dad had been away on vacation, and my Grammy was staying at our house. On the day my parents got home I didn’t get to see them before leaving for school. I waited until I thought they’d be home, and then I faked sick.

Once we were home, my mom called my Grammy, as she often did. I was lying in our family room, in the sun spot created by our sliding doors. I was enjoying the warmth of the sun on my skin when I heard my mom say, “Ashley’s home sick. I thought that she just wanted to come home because I’ve been away, but she must really be sick…. she’s sleeping on the floor in the family room.” The thing is, up to that point, my mom never made me feel like she knew I was faking. She took the time to take care of me even though she had suspected it was that I missed her, not that I was sick. There was no lecture about faking sick. I couldn’t even tell if my mom was even slightly annoyed that I faked sick to come home. On that day, in that moment, my mom gave me exactly what I needed: her love and time.

Mom and Grammy, 2013

Mom and Grammy, 2013

There is still a lot of sadness for me when I think of these memories, depending on the day sometimes crippling sadness, sometimes just a few tears. This memory had me really thinking about all the hours I saw my mom talk to my Grammy on the phone. I have always spent a lot of time on the phone with my mom, but I had assumed that I would have many more years of that. I expected afternoons with tea and shopping trips, just like my mom and Grammy had enjoyed. I expected to chat with mom on the phone when one of the girls was home sick from school. I expected more.

I expected more, and even though I believe that I am missing out on so much, when I think of these simple memories, I also know it to be true that my mom gave me everything.