i'm darkness and light, bubbles and faerie wings. i am sparkles and glitter, shadows and clouds. i love purple, and faeries, and books, and music.

Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

coffee, sweet

I didn’t always drink coffee. I have never really cared for coffee. When I worked at the university bookstore, I’d have coffee during really busy, stressful times. People around me knew to avoid me when I was having coffee because I only drank it when I was in a bad mood.

Coffee isn’t a soothing, happy drink. If I want to be soothed, and happy, I’ll drink tea.

Anyhow, the last 10 years, I have become a regular coffee drinker. I used to have to drown the coffee in cream and sugar to cover the taste. And then I started dropping the sugar, and finally the cream. I have been drinking black coffee for a while. Every morning. Who am I? Eh, we all evolve. I happened to evolve into a coffee drinker.

But coffee is bitter, and I really only drank it because I was in a bitter mood. Well, at least to keep myself in a sort of stressed, on edge state, I guess.

But lately black coffee has been…wrong. I wasn’t drinking the cup I’d pour. And this past week I have started taking my coffee with cream and sugar again.

And that reminds me of my grandparents. I have vivid memories of them drinking coffee at McDonald’s. I used to get to drink those little cream cups that came with the coffee. I’d get to stir the coffee with that tall, skinny, brown plastic spoon with the M on top, and then I could put the spoon in my mouth. It was sweet, and bitter. It was creamy. It was a little bit of rebellious adventure since we weren’t allowed coffee as children. Really, I only started drinking coffee in my late-20s. Mostly in my 30s.

I don’t know why springtime always makes me miss my grandparents. It’s partly memories of how my grandmother loved the blooming lilacs and peonies. It could be because it’s the time of year that my aunt, grandfather, and grandgrandmother all passed away (May, June, and April). It’s ten years this month that my aunt passed away. Nine for my grandfather, and eight for my grandmother.

And something this week is tugging at my memories, and emotions, and I have these vivid memories of stirring coffee in styrofoam cups (oh, the 80s) at McDonald’s and getting to taste the sweet, creamy coffee on the tip of that stir-stick. And I feel… content? Nostalgic? Happy?

Happiness might be the closest. I am happy right now. I don’t feel stressed, or bitter, or anxious. I am in a very good place in my head, and I’m comforted by the memories of my grandparents, and their coffee. I don’t remember who had the sweet coffee – my grandmother? My grandfather didn’t like sweet stuff very much. I just remember getting to stir the coffee, and loving those little skinny stir-stick-spoons at McD’s.

I’m still not at the tea-in-the-morning stage, but I have started taking my coffee sweet. And as I drink it, I remember. I feel calm.

On a side note: I miss the pirate ship seats that McD’s used to have when I was a kid. It was the best getting to eat on a ship in the middle of a restaurant!

remembering – 2016 edition

erin walker 1977-1994

erin walker :: august 6, 1977 – october 23, 1994

when i close my eyes

she’s too young to be forgotten
her world has only just begun
her future is an empty slate
waiting to be filled
and i see her
standing there
when i close my eyes

dancing in the sky
over moonbeams, around clouds
starlight in her eyes
angels in her hair
and i see her
when i close my eyes

child of the sunlight
daughter of the day
sleeping on bed of roses
with flowers in her hair

the wind it softly kissed her cheek
the raindrops fell like tears

and i see her
when i close my eyes

a thousand white candles
their flames dancing with the air
as rocks play tag with ocean

she’s fast asleep
never to be woken

and i see her
when i close my eyes

© catherine healy
October 23, 1994

~~>–<@>–<~~

I have been reflective on October 22 and 23 for twenty-two years now. I have been blogging about this memory since 2004 (sadly the first posts were lost on a since-deleted blog). Whenever the dates fall on a weekend, it’s harder.

I remember sitting in the Church, during choir practice, waiting for Erin and her brother to arrive. We’d just seen each other the day before at school, and I was ready to start gossiping and giggling about all sorts of things in-between songs. But they didn’t show up.

It was a rainy, miserable October day. Just like today. The Church was damp, humid, a weird combination of too cold, and too warm. You can’t dress comfortably for this kind of weather. The sky was dark, grey. The day was gloomy and glum. Just like today.

I often see women around campus who remind me of Erin. I remember one year there was a student in my Faculty who looked so much like Erin, and whose name was Erin, it made my breath catch. I take the bus home to the South Shore from in town and I think about how Erin did that every day while in high school. A time I rarely ventured into the city. And I remember her, in her school uniform, talking about the bus, and the commute, and how confident she was about the trip. I was terrified of public transportation back then. Sure I would be mugged or worse. Always afraid of the people around me. But Erin was fire. She was flame. She was a spark that would shine bright and confident, even if maybe she didn’t feel that way all of the time. I admired her. I envied her. I loved her.

When you lose a friend while you are still young yourself, I think the loss and emotions stitch themselves into your entire being. Right into your bones. I have lost many others since 1994, but the loss of Erin and her mother are possibly the biggest imprint on my life. I can still vividly recall the smell, sounds, sight, and atmosphere of the Church that Saturday. I can still see myself watching the front doors, waiting for the arrival of my friends. I recall the whispers, the anxiety, the feelings that I can almost taste in my mouth.

And so this weekend, I remember. And I mourn. And I fondly remember all the laughs and good times. Because life is short, and you want to be a spark in the gloom. Remembering Erin always makes me remember to be that spark. For others. For myself.

january joy: friends

I am not alone.

This might seem like a silly statement, but it holds the weight of the the world within those words. I used to think I was alone. So alone. I could be surrounded by groups of people, yet feel nothing but alone.

I thought I was invisible. Insignificant. Unimportant. I was sure no one noticed me, if I were there or not.

But I wasn’t alone. I never was. I’m not sure when I began to realize that I wasn’t alone. It started slowly, until one day I woke up and saw just how surrounded I was with friends who cared about me. Friends who were there for me when I needed to be covered in love and support. It’s almost as if I blinked and the fog around me lifted and suddenly there were all these people right there in front of me.

january joy: friends

*note: don’t be offended if you’re not in this photo. I used what was on my phone at the time!

But this isn’t going to be a post about depression, even if it sounds like it is. What this is, is a post about how much I appreciate every single friendship I have in my life. Some of these friendships are online, and I have yet to meet the kindred soul I have been chatting with for years. Some of these friendships are with people I have known for years, but do not see very often. Some of these friendships are with people I see on a daily basis.

Sometimes you don’t notice just how well-insulated you are against the world because of your friends. I’m slow to trust, and slow to believe that someone might actually care about me. But when I clue in and stop thinking “why me?”, I realize just how strong of a bond I might have with someone and that will make me stop in my tracks in surprise. I’m not used to feeling like I matter to other people. That way of thinking was part of my life for more than half of the years I have been alive. I’m friendly. I’m bubbly. But I hide a lot of apprehension well, and I don’t like to let too many people into the core of my soul.

Each time I get a message that says, “I miss you”, or, “This made me think of you”, you probably have no idea how much that means to me. I never thought I was someone others might think of when I wasn’t around. It always feels new. I’m always surprised. And I appreciate every, single thought.

Having gone through an incredibly crazy and scary time in my recent past, I suddenly woke up to how much I was loved and cared for by people I already thought were amazing. Strange how it can take a trauma, or Big Event in your life to help you notice what is right there in front of you.

I have amazing friends. I have fabulous close friends. I am surrounded by so much love and humour and support. I am not alone. My friends will not let me be alone. We share laughter and tears. We share health woes and work woes with each other. We help each other.

And when things get tough, and I’m feeling down, I turn to my friends because they bring me joy. Thank you for that.

 

#JanuaryJoy @ Beyond Elsewhere

remembering – 2015 edition

erin walker 1977-1994

erin walker :: august 6, 1977 – october 23, 1994

when i close my eyes

she’s too young to be forgotten
her world has only just begun
her future is an empty slate
waiting to be filled
and i see her
standing there
when i close my eyes

dancing in the sky
over moonbeams, around clouds
starlight in her eyes
angels in her hair
and i see her
when i close my eyes

child of the sunlight
daughter of the day
sleeping on bed of roses
with flowers in her hair

the wind it softly kissed her cheek
the raindrops fell like tears

and i see her
when i close my eyes

a thousand white candles
their flames dancing with the air
as rocks play tag with ocean

she’s fast asleep
never to be woken

and i see her
when i close my eyes

© catherine healy
October 23, 1994

~~>–<@>–<~~

In 1994, I was 18.

As of tomorrow, I’ll be 3 months away from my 40th birthday.

Something about today was nagging at me. I couldn’t believe that October had vanished in the blink of an eye. I don’t even remember it starting (likely because I was out cold with a flu and fever the first two days of this month).

Today we went out to lunch with a friend who had worked her last day at her current job, and was about to start a new job next week. She’ll be working at a stable, with horses, on the South Shore.

When I got back to my desk, and half way through a task it hit me. Today (and tomorrow) is the 21st anniversary of losing one of my best friends, and her mother because of a car accident. They were on their way home from a riding lesson – horses, south shore, and October.

I often feel like I’m still 18. It’s difficult for me to get my head around the fact that I’ll be turning 40. Having worked in a school environment for so long has added to that baffling concept I am sure. I still think of time in form of semesters.

I will never be 18 again, but Erin will always remain 17. Twenty-one years separates us now. That’s old enough to drink the US. That’s considered adult. An entire lifetime has happened in the years between the accident and today.  It’s mind boggling.

I will always miss Erin, and her mother, Heather. Though I think I have let go of the anger that I carried with me for so long. I think this because I don’t watch the calendar for these two days to approach in October anymore. Now the anniversary sneaks up on me and I remember, fondly, the times we had together. Back then those years felt like forever together, only now am I realizing that more time has passed since the accident than the amount of time we knew each other.

But as always, I remember. And I will always honour that remembrance with this post.

20 years of remembering

erin walker :: august 6, 1977 – october 23, 1994

when i close my eyes

she’s too young to be forgotten
her world has only just begun
her future is an empty slate
waiting to be filled
and i see her
standing there
when i close my eyes

dancing in the sky
over moonbeams, around clouds
starlight in her eyes
angels in her hair
and i see her
when i close my eyes

child of the sunlight
daughter of the day
sleeping on bed of roses
with flowers in her hair

the wind it softly kissed her cheek
the raindrops fell like tears

and i see her
when i close my eyes

a thousand white candles
their flames dancing with the air
as rocks play tag with ocean

she’s fast asleep
never to be woken

and i see her
when i close my eyes

© catherine healy
October 23, 1994

~~>–<@>–<~~

 

I had grand plans for this year. I had even spoken to some music student friends of mine to help me realize it, but life, as it does, got in my way. I had wanted to officially record the song I wrote and gift it to the father/husband and brother/son of Erin and her mother for the 20th anniversary of their accident. I will make that happen at some point, but for now, I will just write in this space, as I have been since I started my blog.

I also had big plans for the post I would write this year, but I’m finding myself staring at the blinking cursor with little to no words to express how I feel. I have been so angry and sad lately about a lot of things and the last year and a half has left me emotionally spent. All I can think of right now is how angry I was at the time, and how angry I feel right now, over how unfair it is that these lives were robbed of long life and their deaths were too soon. Too sudden. Not fair. Lately it seems that anyone who deserves to be punished seems to walk away with barely a scratch, the loss of innocent lives, the loss of GOOD people, just feels like a slap.

I’ll never forget how I felt on October 22 when I was sitting in choir practice feeling like something was wrong. It was dark, cold, rainy, and the air was electric with wrongness. Erin didn’t show up for practice like she was supposed to. I had just seen her the afternoon before and we said we’d see each other that day. I knew, in my bones, something was wrong, but never in a million years would I expect what that Wrongness was.

I used to think about the driver of the truck that hit them as well. I used to wonder if he could be ok after what happened. It was an accident, I know. And now, after dealing with my own PTSD issues, I think of him again and wonder if he ever got over what happened. I don’t know if I could.

I can mostly remember all of the good times, and happy memories, of my years of friendship with Erin, and knowing her mother. I know my own Mum had years of friendship with Heather. Right now I am having a very difficult time in finding the happy in anything and it pains me to have my memories of this anniversary marred by unhappiness and anger.

There is nothing I can change. What happened twenty years ago happened and you can only move on from there. But I have always held on to the anger I felt about how unfair this was. I have managed to suppress it for years but it’s hard this year. It’s too tangled up with my own traumatic recent events and making a big, gloopy mess inside me. I have been thinking about how I will be 40 in a little over a year and there are things I just never got to share with my friend.

How did 20 years pass so fast. How is it even possible that it’s been 20 years since I was a TEEN. I felt like those years would never end and would last forever and yet, here I am with only a year and 3 months standing between me and the age of 40. How is it possible that 2o years have come and gone since this awful day. Some things are just so, so vivid. Sitting on my bed, penning the song above. The absolute fog I was in for weeks after hearing the news. The funeral and how I almost passed out and had to sit down during the mass. The massive amounts of people who attended the joint funeral for Erin and her mother. There were so many people. I didn’t want to wear black because it just seemed so cliché and morbid. I wore purple.  I think Erin would have appreciated that.

Erin was my friend. She always made me laugh. She was funny, sweet, bitchy, bossy, and I used to be so intimidated by her. Sometimes I was sure she didn’t like me and would cry, but she was just honest and blunt, and exuded such confidence. I was always (and still am) intimidated by confident people. Erin had her insecurities but she hid them well. She was a friend I knew I could count on to tell me the truth and how things really were. We wanted to start our own magical coven. We’d spend time trying to light candles with our minds. (It never worked. Bummer.) I was jealous when she came back from summer camp with a BOYFRIEND. I still hadn’t even had my first boyfriend yet. I was jealous of her. I was in awe of her. I was proud of her. I was so happy to have her as one of my best friends. She was fire. She was sparks. She was a firecracker.

She was seventeen. She lived her life with pure effervescence.  Her energy was contagious. So many people loved her. So many people loved her mother, just an older version of the daughter. They were both LIFE. Pure, sparking, raw energy, LIFE.

And  I miss her so much. All the time. Especially in October.

I should let go of this anger, but it’s difficult. I’m working on it. One day I’ll be free of it. I will always remember the happy memories though, and that’s what I should focus on now.

Twenty years is a lifetime. So much has happened since 1994. So much. I wish I could still share this all with her. Hopefully her spirit is out there somewhere watching over me. If she is – she’s likely telling me to man up and get over the anger and just be happy. That’s Erin. 😉

Erin & I – June 1994