Wednesday, September 30, 2009

4 and 33

Last night, Mathew asked if he can see my tattoo again (it was peeking out of my shirt). When I moved the strap down, that wasn't enough...he wanted to see it all. After staring at it for a while, he says, "look the flower is falling down here." Perfect! The tattoo artist, Nicole, did such a remarkable job that even my almost 4 year old son can see the tattoo in motion. Awesome! Exactly what I wanted. After he was done scoping it out, he asked if he could get a tattoo. I told him someday when you are a lot older. He then says, "older like a Mama!" I smiled and said, "Yes, older like a Mama!"

The perception of age changes with age. Mathew looks at me and thinks 'my mom is OLD!' But when he hits his thirties, he won't be singing that same tune. What constitutes old anyway? Is it relative to your health, state of mind, or based on a number? All of the above? If age is really just a number, why do we still judge people based on their age, why are discounts given to senior citizens, why do kids under 12 get all sorts of free stuff, why are movies rated by age, why are toys given age appropriate labels, why can women over 60 get pregnant, why do some bald in their 20's, why do we all mature at different ages (if at all, in some cases), why do athletes retire in their 30's, and why is my mom on facebook? Obviously, age is not just a number, it's a number and a whole lot more.

Sometimes I feel old and other times I feel young, footloose, and fancy-free! Check out this old blog: Top 10 Reasons Why I Feel Old - 2 years later and that list still fits!

Next week, Mathew is turning 4 on the 4th and I'm turning 33 on the 8th. Happy Birthday to us!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


what once seemed unlikely
considering a memory like mine
fear of forgetting
or letting the days go by
I am now certain
without a doubt
till the very end
my memory will not give out
with peace in my heart
it's easy to say
Robin, I will
think of you everyday


Friday, September 25, 2009

Closer to Love

This song

...brings me back to the phone call...that literally dropped me to my knees

...brings me closer to love

...brings me closer to spirituality

....brings me closer to Robin

Closer to Love
by Mat Kearney

She got the call today, one out of the grey
And when the smoke cleared, it took her breath away
She said she didn’t believe ‘it could happen to me’
I guess we’re all one phone call from our knees
We’re gonna get there soon

If every building falls, and all the stars fade
We’ll still be singing this song, the one they can’t take away
Gonna get there soon, she’s gonna be there too
Cryin’ in her room, prayin’ “Lord come through”
We’re gonna get there soon

Oh it’s your light; oh it’s your way
You pull me out of the dark, just to shoulder the weight
Cryin’ out now, from so far away
You pull me closer to love, closer to love

Meet me once again, down off Lake Michigan
Where we could feel the storm blowin’
Down with the wind
And don’t apologize for all the tears you’ve cried
You’ve been way too strong now for all your life
I’m gonna get there soon, you’re gonna be there too
Cryin’ in your room, prayin’ “Lord come through”
We’re gonna get there soon

You pull me closer to love

My Grief

It's been 44 days since you died, Robin. And tonight, my grief strikes hardest. Who would think a stupid TV show would instigate the endless supply of tears. Season Premiere of Grey's Anatomy, 2 hour episode. I don't remember if this is one of the shows you watched. I do remember you liked Private Practice, which was sort of a spin off from Grey's. So maybe you did like Grey's. Anyway, this episode was about grief.

Today, I spoke to our cousin Joe and he asked me a unique question that is sticking out now…he wondered if anyone was asking ‘me’ how I was doing. And truth be told, I don’t believe so or maybe I didn’t listen for it. I guess I didn’t feel like I needed to be asked. I’m focusing on all the lives around me who are grieving. I’m being strong. And I really take on to that role naturally, instinctively. And I know that a lot of my pain, tears, and sorrow have been for the empathy and sympathy of others’ grief. My sporadic moments have been just that, sporadic and fleeting. Where is my grief for ME? I wondered why I haven’t broken down and lost myself yet. I wondered if I was so heartless as to not have loved you enough to feel the pain and suffering a sister should feel from losing her older brother so suddenly and unexpectedly. Tonight I grieve and I ache and I can’t stop crying. I’m alone. I turned to writing to you, because I can't call you. And this is the only way I know that helps my process.

In hindsight (I do my best thinking in hindsight)…I realized that Robin, you would be the person. I would have called you tonight. You were the first person I called the night I made the decision to give Harley up for adoption. You were the only one that understood that kind of heartache. You comforted me more than you know. Seriously, who knows me better than you? With the least amount of words spoken, we understood each other. No one in the family listened to me better than you did. No one in the family can relate to some of the family drama I went through. No one in the family, opened up to me like you did. And here I am, grieving and you are the one person who could understand me, and I can't call you. You would be the one who would ask me “How’re you holdin’ up Nance?” I can hear your voice asking me this. I can’t pick up the phone to hear you tell me “everything will be fine.” “You know how mom and dad are, just give them time” These are your words. I didn’t appreciate you here in life, alive, next to me, a phone call away…I MISS YOU SO MUCH IT HURTS! Tonight, it hurts the most...!

I think of you every day. I can easily talk about you and reminisce about you. I love talking about you. I love talking about you with your friends Anthony and German. I have a picture of you in my office, car, wallet, fridge, and bedroom. I think of you when deciding on adventurous ideas. My tattoo is so inspirational to me. I try to take in and absorb a little of you in me. I have no idea why this is hitting me so hard tonight…but I’m kind of relieved that I am finally breaking down. I guess it was only a matter of time and I can only assume this won’t be the last time either.

Robin, you have always been there for me, even when I didn’t see it. And I see it now. You always were and still are here for me. Your 11:11 signs are still appearing frequently…I saw one yesterday after mom and I went to visit you at the cemetery. So thank you for giving me your signs to remind me that you are still here for me and with me. I love you bro! Help me get through the night…so I can smile again thinking of you!

Oh by the way, are you getting our balloons in heaven? Mathew sends messages with them and Mom seems to really treasure this new idea, this tradition for you. I love it too! I want you to know that you will always be here with me, remembered, honored, and cherished for as long as I shall live. I promise you! Rest peacefully my dear brother, till we meet again...

you're #1 sister,

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Parents

As time goes by, I see my parents slowly moving forward...
little by little, step by step.
I see them struggle and yet balance each other in their new lifelong process.
Their suffering is unimaginable, incomprehensible.
I find no words to describe or understand their loss.
My heart breaks for them over and over again.
They will never be the same again.
My parents, forever brokenhearted.
And...that's okay.

They smile with weeping, hollow eyes.
They laugh with a drowning sound.
They speak with a melancholy tone.
They hug with heavy arms.
They live and breathe with a broken heart.
And...that's okay.

Their pain will subside but never fade.
Their heart will feel joy but never be whole.
Their lives will go on but never fully.
And...that's okay.

I will forever celebrate the memory of my brother Robin.
I will forever ache for my parents unfathomable heartache.
And...that's okay.

Mom, Dad
I love you.
I will always be here for you.
I will hold your hand and journey with you through this process.
I will cry with you and I will listen to you.
I will melt away the numbness in your soul.
I will soften the edges around your jagged hole.
I will light the way out of the darkness in your heart.
This journey will never end and your heart will never be whole again.
And…that’s okay.
Robin will forever be missed and never forgotten.
And I hope you find comfort in knowing you are not alone.

Mom, Dad,
I love you!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I had some family members in town from Montreal last week and we had some deep conversations about life, death, and religion. One of our biggest discussion and debate was about my firm belief in that "everything happens for a reason" and that life is beautiful even with all its suffering. We need to see the beauty within and all around.

And today, I read an article on Stephen Colbert in the Rolling Stones magazine. I want to paraphrase and quote Colbert from one of his answers, since it plays into some of my recent discussions with my family and friends. It was like Colbert picked my brain and added a new element to what I was so desperately trying to explain to my family. It's a feeling that's inexplicable and illogical, but also sublime and spiritual.

One should be grateful for suffering.
No one doesn't suffer.
The level at which you are aware of your own humanity is the same level at which you can "accept with open eyes, your suffering." - Colbert
"To be grateful for your suffering is to be grateful for your humanity" -Colbert

There are times through my grieving process (for the loss of my brother Robin) that I feel heartless. There's a part of me that wonders if I've grasped the reality and magnitude of my situation. Am I in denial? It's a strange feeling to be "okay" with death, especially when no one around you seems to be. It's weird to feel "okay" when you've just lost your big brother. It doesn't feel normal to feel "okay" with your current and recent situation. Don't get me wrong, I miss my brother and wish he was here with me right now. My heart still feels pain and suffering. But something inside of me (heart, mind, faith or all of it) also tells me that this is life, this is all part of life. And in every experience of suffering there is also beauty. To me, life is beautiful. I see beauty in it all; the pain and suffering, the love and joy, it's simply beautiful. Life and all its wonder, it is truly amazing! And when I read Colbert's words "to be grateful for your suffering is to be grateful for your humanity" it made me feel normal again, human. Without sounding superior, I now understand that the"okay" feelings are a true testament to my strengths in my personal faith, humanity, and love. I accept suffering. I take suffering and find beauty in it to live on. I know I am a very compassionate, deeply emotional person and at the same time I am balanced, rational, and passionately spiritual.

Furthermore, I want to point out that Stephen Colbert is a practicing catholic. I point this out because it doesn't matter what religion you are, faith is all the same, whether it comes from your bible, psalms, or self-help books. For me, when I read the word "suffering" my immediate thought turned to the words of Buddhist teachings. I even mentioned recently in my blog Tattoo This, that all life is suffering and one must simply give in to the suffering and let go. Through this letting go the suffering ends and people can achieve enlightenment. It's hard to deny after every life altering experience I go through, I find my answers in the words of the Buddhist teachings. Maybe, Buddhism, is for me after all.

While I'm on the topic of Buddhism, I want to end this blog briefly talking about the The Four Noble Truths. This is one of the main teachings and the essence of the Buddhist path in relation to suffering. It has enlightened me and guided me through some many hard times in my life...

These are brief explanations to the best of my ability (I'm not an expert on the Buddhist teachings). And surely, more reading and understanding is involved to grasp the true meaning of the Four Noble Truths. And in my opinion, is a lifelong journey. So here's a glimpse:

1) The Nature of Suffering
The very essence of life is suffering. Nothing lasts forever, even happiness. And as pessimistic and depressing as that sounds, it is truth. This truth is part of a strategy or therapy to find the solution to the basic problems in life.

2) The Origin of Suffering
The reason for our suffering comes essentially from our minds. Our main problem is our delusions (of one's self) and attachments (of objects). Because delusions and attachments are transient, their loss is inevitable, thus suffering will necessarily follow. With every negative action (karma) we do, we create a potential for negative experiences.

3) The cessation of suffering is attainable
Suffering and the causes of suffering are dependent on the state of our own mind, so if we can change our own mind, we can also eliminate suffering. The reasons we do actions that cause ourselves and others harm come from our delusions and attachments.

4) The path to the cessation of suffering
If we can control our body and mind in a way that we help others instead of doing them harm, and generating wisdom in our own mind, we can end our suffering and problems.

"Only with great spiritual attainment can we then see through this delusion and see things as they really are."

One should feel happiness, compassion, love and joyous effort when practicing the Four Noble Truths.

Before I go, let me leave you with a simple quote:
"Smile and accept" -Mother Teresa


Monday, September 14, 2009

Mathew Lines - Part Deux

I've written a blog before with a list of Mathew Lines. The difference now is that these phrases/lines are his own concoctions, derived from shows, school, people, and placed in a unique and proper context. I like to say my child is brilliant...but I know, I'm biased! So here are some more of my favorite Mathew lines from the last few months:

i don't like ugly things; i like pretty things, like you!
you can be my girlfriend and I will be your boyfriend
you're the bestest mom I ever had
i want to take care of things with you
i want to take care of you
you make my heart happy
i missed you so much
i was dreaming about you last night
so, how was your day today?
You are the bestest mom I ever had
i love you to the moon and back
i love you to infinity and beyond
i love you more
i love your hair
I like your skirt (he compliments my outfits, earrings, and more)
i need another hug
i need some more huggins (combination of luvin and hugs)
Mama, I love you

can it really get any better than this?


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Heart to Soul

From my heart to your soul...

see blog: "tattoo this"

Mathew (my almost 4 year old son) says after seeing my tattoo: "Whoa! Cool!" Mama says: "Did you see the little bird?" Mathew's response: "I don't think it's little!" - lol...gotta love it! :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009


what is with 11:11?

Almost everyday (more than once a day) since Robin passed away I see 11:11 everywhere. I'm not exaggerating or kidding. I noticed it several times in my car, or in bed when putting my book down. I could even be sleeping for a while and need to go the bathroom and it's exactly 11:11 on my alarm clock. Or I just turn my head to peak at the time at exactly 11:11. Or like last night, I'm watching TV and turn the guide on to check the time, I swear 11:11. I've heard people refer to 11:11 as the time one should make a wish, but nothing more. It's happening so often to me in such a short time frame, during a tumultuous time in my life, I had to research this freakish phenomenon that I was having.

In my initial google search, I yielded thousands of different explanations and theories discussing this phenomenon, from math equations to divine acts of god. Apparently, this is a really common experience, I'm not that special. In my research, here are some explanations about seeing 11:11 on digital clocks.

* It represents a positive connection and a gateway to the mysteries of the universe and beyond.
* It is related to the concept of synchronicity.
* It means that it's eleven minutes past 11:00. Anything else is superstition.
* A movie once said that hells gates opened at that time
* It means someone is thinking of you.
* It's supposed to be the sign of an angel
* Those who experience 11:11 are "light workers" being called to a higher calling in their lives.
* It's a beneficial act of Divine Intervention telling you to take a good look around you
* It's confirmation that one's spiritual/awakening journey is right on track.
* It means there are exactly 49 minutes left in the day
* And too many others, I had to stop reading...

Like religion, there are many interpretations or non-beliefs and only you can decide for yourself which meanings/symbolism comforts you most.

Maybe it is just coincidence, but I'm not a believer in coincidence. “Coincidence is god's way of staying anonymous.” I believe this phenomenon that is occurring to me at this present moment in my life is a spiritual message or intuition. I've been asking Robin to appear in my dreams every night...and he never does. I ask myself why not?

***okay, something literally just dawned on me***

As I'm typing this blog, I just remembered something. I don't need to search any longer to find my answer to "what's with the 11:11?" Wow! Divine wow! I'm astonished yet not surprised! What you are about to read may come off as cuckoo or concocted; it's not. I'm actually crying as this moment just hit me...

okay a little background information first:
I used to wonder when I was younger if my lost loved ones, especially my Aunt Lilianne could ever show me a "sign" from after life; a physical sign. Well, I never got any but the idea of signs from the after life never escaped my spiritual dreams of possibilities.

The idea of these "signs" and "after life" came back to me recently (for obvious reasons) while driving in my car. I tend to do some great thinking in my car alone. The song "Calling All Angels" by Train comes on the radio (which is odd that I was even listening to the radio cause I rarely ever do). I sang, but it really was a form of communication: "show me a sign" Robin..."to let me know you're here." I remember singing this song with such passion and hope...I was really bolting out those words for Robin to hear. So maybe he heard me? It sounds so ridiculous, even to me as I'm typing this. Seriously?! But it's hard for me to think it's just coincidence, especially since this blog was actually going in a different direction before this memory and realization hit me.

Robin (who by the way, passed away on the 11th) is showing me a sign (11:11) to let me know he's here, as I asked. He never came to me in my dreams cause he was already here.

So now the only thing left to wonder I just engaging in some subconscious self-fulfilling prophecy? Call me crazy, cause I believe it's Robin showing me a sign!

Robin, I see the sign. Thank you! :)
I love you and I'm smiling!!

Calling All Angels
by Train

I need a sign to let me know you're here
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere
I need to know that things are gonna look up
'Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup

And I'm calling all angels
I'm calling all you angels

I won't give up if you dont give up

I need a sign to let me know you're here
'Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me


Friday, September 4, 2009

Letter to Robin

Dear Robin,

I regret not spending more time with you
I always thought there’d be a next time...

I regret not appreciating you more
I took you for granted…

I regret not calling you every time I thought to
I always thought we’d just talk later…

I regret not being there for you or doing more for you
I figured you didn’t need me, not realizing I needed you…

I regret not taking more pictures together
I always thought there'd be another occasion...

I regret criticizing you for not having ambition
I never thought I’d have to regret those words…I realize now you lived ambitiously in the moment and I lived ambitiously in the planning. Neither were wrong, we were just both different. I admire the life you led and will remember to live passionately in the now, like you. I wish I learned that when you were here with me rather than because you’re gone.

I regret not giving you a hug or taking the time with you at the gas station when we last saw each other. I was in such a rush to get home…I never thought it would be the last time I’d see you. I know we hugged and kissed 10 minutes before that at the restaurant…

I wish we had more time together…
I wish Mathew had more time with you…
I wish you were the one giving him the life lessons of “mental toughness” like you did for me.

I hate that I can’t hug you anymore.
I’m scared that I will forget your voice and the sound of your laughter.
I have yet to see you in my dreams, but I know you are always with me…

I miss you so much Robin!
Know that you are always on my mind!
Please watch over us…we need you still!

Oh and by the way, I’m getting this awesome new tattoo on Tuesday right before I visit you again for the one month services. I can’t wait for you to see it! It will honor you and your beautiful life. It will remind me that you’re always watching over us. It will be a constant expression of your life, my lessons learned from you and a reminder to live life more like you did…you will always be a part of me, Robin. I promise you will live on through me...

I love you!
Your one and only sister,

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Who You'd Be Today

"Who You'd Be Today"
By Kenny Chesney

Sunny days seem to hurt the most.
I wear the pain like a heavy coat.
I feel you everywhere I go.
I see your smile, I see your face,
I hear you laughin' in the rain.
I still can't believe you're gone.

It ain't fair: you died too young,
Like the story that had just begun,
But death tore the pages all away.
God knows how I miss you,
All the hell that I've been through,
Just knowin' no-one could take your place.
An' sometimes I wonder,
Who'd you be today?

Would you see the world? Would you chase your dreams?
Settle down with a family,
I wonder what would you name your babies?
Some days the sky's so blue,
I feel like I can talk to you,
An' I know it might sound crazy.

It ain't fair: you died too young,
Like the story that had just begun,
But death tore the pages all away.
God knows how I miss you,
All the hell that I've been through,
Just knowin' no-one could take your place.
An' sometimes I wonder,
Who you'd be today?

Today, today, today.
Today, today, today.

Sunny days seem to hurt the most.
I wear the pain like a heavy coat.
The only thing that gives me hope,
Is I know I'll see you again some day.

Some day, some day, some day.

The only thing that gives me hope, Is I know I'll see you again some day.
I love you Robin!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Inside My Head

My little brother, Philippe, turned 27 this weekend. He had plans months ago to go on a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas with all his closest friends. But after our brother Robin passed away, he debated whether to go or not. I told him he should go and just take it in at his own pace. Robin would never hold any of us back from a moment like this and he would want us to live life. I know that if I were the one up above, I would wish my family to continue living fully and happily! Philippe went on the cruise for his birthday.

Less than a week before the cruise, sitting at my parents house, some of us saw a commercial for an airfare to the Bahamas for $19. My cousin, Mu (Muriel) and I contemplated the idea to go and surprise Philippe! I was very skeptical at first. And even after booking the trip, I was still unsure of my heart's desire to go. I can now appreciate fully my brothers initial apprehension. So I did what any sane person would do, I spoke to my dead brother, Robin. And I remembered the words I shared with Philippe. And eventually, excitement was building and doubts were being overturned.

So Mu and I flew into the Bahamas Saturday morning and set off to make our surprise. We spotted my brother sitting casually at Senor Frogs, hanging out with his friends. When finally, the bartender hands him a tequila shot and says it's from that girl over there (pointing to me). Looking over to the "girl", my brother's face when recognition sunk in, was priceless! The weekend was fun, fun, fun. A total mental escape.

Back to reality. Back inside my head. Since I've returned, I am working through some sad emotions and feelings of guilt. I'm crying in my brief moments of alone the car, at my desk, in my bed. I can't tell you why I even begin to cry. I just do. I am diving even deeper inside my head. It's in solitude when I reflect most (maybe some might say I reflect too much, but it's me and I embrace it). Losing my big brother Robin will be a lifelong process. I accept that this is all just part of it. Everyday, I concentrate on remembering my brother's voice and laughter. I don't want to lose that memory ever. Inside my head, today is a day full of emotions and pensive thoughts.

Before I go, I want to post a passage my friend shared with me this morning. It released a stream of tears and even a smile. It's from one of my favorite books. And I am so glad he shared this with me in this context...thank you Andrew:

"When you look up at the sky at night, since I shall be living on one of them, for you it will be as if all the stars were laughing. You and only you will have stars that can laugh. And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be happy to have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And from time to time you will open your window, just for the pleasure of it....and your friends will be astonished to see you laughing whilst gazing at the sky."

-The Fox (from "The Little Prince" by Antoine De Saint Exupery)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin