Tag Archives: grief

the listener

Hello, friend…

The rain in Toronto has stopped for the night (or so it seems) and I’ve got my tea and am in my favourite chair. A busy day has ended rather peacefully. My life seems to be settling down, though – blissfully- because with moving and transcripts and writing and documentary life and bakery I have been feeling as though I’ve not had time to breathe. Calmness has been a really cool idea, just not practical. But! As I say, I’m finding my balance again.

I had a moment at the bakery today though, which knocked me a bit. It was a private moment, nothing that happened with a customer, which in a way made it harder to deal with because no one around me would have understood. I’ve talked before about how I have this odd connection to the song “I Want You” by Savage Garden – it’s a song that would play whenever I was about to see my love James. When James passed, it’s now become a song I hear whenever I think about him or feel he’s around.

I feel pretty in-tune with myself, I listen closely and observe… I feel energies in rooms and around objects. I don’t think it’s all that unusual, really – but perhaps my willingness to talk about it is. So when I hear “our song” (I find it utterly ridiculous it’s a song by Savage Garden, but who am I to judge?!), I know that it’s James letting me know that yep, he’s there. He can’t speak to me directly, so I have to listen closely. I can still hear his voice, I remember his hands and how they felt holding mine… how he’d look at me. I get these reminders in this dumb pop song that I love SO much.

Didn’t hear that song today, but I did have a moment of knowing that James was there. And this is only something you can relate to if you’ve lost someone particularly close to you. This feeling that that person is there. You’re not sure where, but they’re there. I can equate it to a magnetic pull; I was there in the back, washing dishes and thought “James is here”. I felt it so strongly in my gut. So as I do, I just opened up and listened. Watched for a sign. Something.

And then “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey came on.

Here’s the thing about that song. And James. And I.

Grief is the funniest damned thing. It comes in waves. Crashing over you when you least expect it… ANYWAY…

When James was in the hospital, and things weren’t looking good at all, I summoned a couple friends to lip-sync and film themselves doing so to that song “Don’t Stop Believing”. I did it myself. And the plan was to edit them together and get it to James. But I had trouble contacting the lady who was taking care of him, and at this point James wasn’t able to speak and had limited social media time. And then we got word James had passed… he never saw the video. I don’t know if I’ll ever forgive myself for not getting it to him in time.

So I’m there in the bakery, knowing I feel his presence, and I hear this Journey song start and I froze.

But what did Jung call it? Synchronicity. A meaningful coincidence.

James promised me years earlier to always protect me. Always be there to guide me, and that I’m present enough to feel our connection despite his being gone… I’m so grateful to that but I also kind of hate that I’m connecting to someone who is no longer here. My friend Natasha mentioned twin flames tonight and it resonated with me… perhaps he really was my other half. And we talked tonight about how we connect so little with each other nowadays, really connect… we’re in our bubble and filter out what we don’t want to hear or see. It’s all customized.

Random conversations or random moments are rare. Being present is hard when it truly shouldn’t be!! I read once of how the singer Glen Hansard likes leaving his headphones off when roaming city streets so he can listen to those sounds.

I met James before email was a thing. When I got myself online I went by IrishLager as an inside joke to the night we went for Guinness and that lovely beverage hit me a bit too hard that night. I love that we met as we did, in the green room at Second City and got to know each other by phone calls and walks to the subway.

I’m still listening to him and learning.

I still see him at the College subway station.

He’s still adding music to my life.

xo.

 

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… a little bit of magic

Hello, friend…

I’m just home from a really great night. I did some stand-up at a venue I’d never been at before and the place was packed and friends were there… and there was some super fun karaoke times afterwards. The simple fact that I get to go and tell jokes is something I beam over. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE stand-up. I feel my nerves go up to a level I cannot describe as I’m being introduced and then I get to the mic, and I feel like I’m home.

I feel at home on stage, just me with a mic, telling jokes.

I don’t think I could have predicted EVER saying that 20 years ago, when I was at the bar next door to the venue I was at tonight.

20 years ago, I headed over to Toronto’s famed McVeigh’s for the first time with my dear James for a pint. I’d never had Guinness before, but James didn’t need to know that. But that night was magic… we talked about EVERYTHING, we confessed having feelings for each other. We kissed for the first time in a corner of the basement. That night I fell in love with James, and Guinness and Van Morrison.

As you know, if you follow my stories, James has been gone for just about a year now. Tonight, as I left the club, after a girl power inspired of No Scrubs with my friends- I was smiling as I do and looked at McVeigh’s and saw James and I that night 21 years ago saying our good-nights. Or trying to. 😉 I kept walking and then completely caught my breath… because…

When James was getting really, really sick we talked. And I decided with my love being so sick, he couldn’t do all he wanted to do so… since I had been thinking about doing stand-up for a good year at that point, I decided to jump and I asked friends if I could do a set at their show. They said Yes.

Something I now love to do SO MUCH came from my pain of knowing he wasn’t well. So James… thank you for pushing me. You always knew I could do things I never thought I could do. Thank you so fucking much.

I’m home and it’s 2am and I’m eating McDonald’s and my throat hurts from laughing and singing off-key and I’m so happy.

xo.

park life

Hello, friend…

An interesting thing happened today. Well, a sad thing… but it became interesting. Today my late James’ … well, there wasn’t a funeral but there was a ceremony to remember him today. And I thought I’d be okay to talk about it… but clearly, I can’t.

I’ve tried and erased it more than five times.

So.

A few years ago he moved out of the city, and I am without a car, but you use what you’ve got right…? So, I headed to the park across the street. James’ service was begin held among the trees and such, so I made do with what was nearby. And sat on a bench dedicated to someone named Francis*. I’ve sat there before, and I like the bench. It’s got a good view…. Francis’ friends chose well.

I can’t tell you much about my sitting there today, except to say I cried a fair bit. I miss him. I miss him a lot. He saw courage in me before I did. He knew I was capable of just going for something and getting it done. And as I was thinking about this, I cried … and closed my eyes. And when I opened them, I was face to face with a bunny. Yep! A bunny. I’m going to go out on a limb and say James wanted to me to stop crying so he called in a bunny. Good call, dude. It helped. A random rabbit sighting always helps!!

I looked up and then saw a butterfly. At which point I said out-loud “really, James? A butterfly?  Show-off.” 😉

Look, I guess the point of this blog is grief is weird and death is such a fucking downer and I want my friend back SO BADLY. (sigh) Look. I hate that James is gone, but I admire his magical bunny & butterfly powers & his reminder that I still have courage and I can still do stuff. (I’m making a documentary!! I’m doing stand-up comedy!)

I took a selfie after the butterfly went by… there was a beam of sunlight over my shoulder. Jeepers, James… why do you have to be supercool even in the afterlife?

Cripes… you’re such a jerk.

But I love you anyway. xo.2016-06-27_19.21.56

(Bunny! Me & my light! Flowers in lieu of the butterfly sighting… damn thing wouldn’t stay still.)

(* James’ dad had a middle name… it was Francis. Ridiculous.)