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Anywhere and here

I’m back home right now, for whatever that’s worth. Back at the house I grew up in; my dad’s house. The place I told him a thousand times to sell, if he wanted to move somewhere that felt better for him. The place I told him was only a house to me while he was alive, and now, it’s a place that feels…




I’ve been here alone for the last week. This is the longest I’ve been by myself in this place since my dad passed. I’ve had friends and family allow me to stay with them, or stay with me – but now I’m here, trying to figure it all out, alone. There’s something I appreciate about that, something I feel like a necessary burden – but at the same time, it’s such a struggle and I really don’t ever know if what I’m doing is the right step or completely in the wrong direction.

Since I’ve been here I’ve repaired the washing machine, taken things to be donated and recycled, looked after the lawn, checked in on family, attended to legal matters and heck knows what else. Tomorrow I’m going to work on fixing dad’s truck with his best friend (fingers crossed I diagnosed the repair correctly), then sorting out more paperwork for dad.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here – a week or two, for sure – but I’m hoping at some point I can make a day to simply relax, unwind and appreciate the gifts, blessings and practical jokes my dad has left for me. Until then, I’ll be pressing on, trying to make sense of it all.

Strong shoulders, strong will. Come visit.

Yard Work

It’s almost 3am, and I smell like smoke. I have been back at my dad’s house for almost a week now, and spent a good part of today’s afternoon doing yard work. This morning I had my first therapy session in almost two weeks and feel like I mostly rambled on pointlessly for an hour. Being back here is still comforting and familiar, but it’s so strange without dad or any pets in the house. My brain feels frazzled, and despite my therapist assuring me that I am doing well given everything I have experienced I feel like I should be doing better, and more. I am struggling with accepting that dad’s house is now my house; that everything here isn’t dad’s, it’s mine to look after. The two biggest challenges I’ve been finding are that I still want to ask him about so much that I discover here at the house (why did he keep this? what’s the story behind that?) – and looking at almost every item in this house, realizing that at one time, my dad put that item down and never picked it up again. It’s not like I’m keeping the house as some sort of untouched memorial, but these thoughts hit me almost every time I move things to try and get this place organized.

Which brings me back to smelling like smoke. I’d gone for a walk along the rivers after my therapy session, and came back to the house determined to get some work done around here. The front of the lawn is absolutely covered in mud and rocks from the winter, so I started trying to make an impact on that. 30 or so pounds worth of gravel, deer and dog shit later, I moved inside the fence. I raked up under the massive cedar shrubs lining the front edge of the lawn and pulled over half a dozen wheelbarrows worth of dead leaves away from them. I had so many memories of raking the lawn in years past; of dad burning off the dead grass every spring. I wondered if I should rake the rest of the lawn or if it was too early for it (the back yard still has about 8” of snow in a lot of places, but the front lawn is bare). The guy I’d usually ask about this stuff isn’t here anymore, so I made my own judgment call, which is I guess what he had to do a lot, and sadly what I’m learning adulting is way too often about. I brought the leaves and branches to dad’s burn barrel in the back yard, right beside the garden. I brought out the stacks of papers and ancient cardboard I’d already sorted from inside the house and started a fire.

Standing there in the back yard, the sun setting behind the trees in the distance, wearing one of dad’s oldest and rattiest jean jackets, I didn’t feel how I hoped I would. Ordinarily I’d feel happy or a moment of peacefulness while watching a campfire (not exactly camping, but I don’t know how to specify that I’m not all zen watching forest fires and whatnot. I’m tired. Leave me alone). I hoped that burning some of the private papers and unnecessary memories might somehow feel cleansing, but it didn’t – it felt like work. Work that has to be done, and that’s okay too. I stood out there for about an hour or so, sipping my coffee and tending to the fire. There’s so much to do around here, all of it completely unplanned and entirely not asked for. I might not know what to do with everything here yet, but I’ll figure it out. 

Days in bed, not as fun as I’d hoped

Happy Cat, Happy Cup, sunshine in a happy shirt. Life is good.
Happy Friday, everyone!

..At least, that’s the superhappyfuntimes bs I always choose to share on social, and those first two lines are probably all that will get read by most and that’s okay. Let those folks think all is good and I’m happy. The truth is, last weekend one of my recurring injuries from my car crash chose to act up, and I’ve been almost entirely bedridden since then. I can’t stand for longer than 5 minutes before my back starts screaming worse than I did at Oilers games. I struggle to sit up, to roll over – hell, even sitting at my desk or on the couch becomes agony after a few minutes.

Needless to say I haven’t been able to work out this week. I haven’t been able to do much at all, and yeah, I’m frustrated as hell. I’m angry, fed up and depressed – but I’m not giving up. I’m grateful that I was able to see my physiotherapist once this week and she helped reduce the pain level quite a bit. She even kindly offered to see me again after her shift today to hopefully get me at least walking this weekend. Every one of my therapists keeps saying that I am doing everything they could ask for to recover, but I still don’t feel like I’m doing enough. I push when I can, I rest when I can’t. I’ll get through this and I’ll make everything better than before.

But – right now, I’m choosing to be mindful of the moment. Happy Cat (and a lurking happy DevilCat), Happy Cup and a stubborn JT. Let’s do this.

On mental health

I check up on people I care about. A lot. Sometimes to the point that I think I may be annoying, but I’d rather annoy someone than lose them. View full article »

Lessons.

If I should ever feel week again.
If I should ever doubt myself.
If I should lose my way..


I will remember this photo. I will remember my dad. The lessons he taught me. How proud he was of me. How much we loved each other. How strong he was, all through his life.

And I will remember what I have done. How I was able to be there for him the times he needed me. How the nurses at his hospital and his friends who’d never met me thought I was a private personal trainer because of how I’d push him and wouldn’t take no as an answer. I will remember this wise guy fake screaming in pain as I made him do exercises, just to tease his mom and lighten the mood. I will remember spending hours doing math problems, spelling words or running through his car history, just to help his brain recover after the strokes. I’ll remember being terrified when his eyesight would come and go and he would forget where the clock was in his room… but I would make him look around until he did find it, and then I’d stay on that task until he could tell me what time it was. Sometimes it would take an hour, other times it would be almost immediate – but we’d always stay on it, no matter how much he yelled at me (which was quite a bit some nights). He would get it, he would do the work, most nights he’d cuss at me.. but at the end of every night, he would thank me and tell me he loved me.

I liked to think I was strong before getting smacked by a truck and before dad’s strokes… but I’ll be even stronger from here on out.

Thanks dad. I love you too.

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