ellensagh

14. A New Day Revisited

I bought my pots and pans with the unexpected bonus vacation pay and passport picture taken. Review again: “My whole life in perspective: Growing up, farm, school, church, music, felt older than I was. Left home; another world, different worlds, wanted home. Marriage: A new life, children, building a life; working outside of home; saw unfairness, Injustice of it all, building a career. Crash and Burn when sexual abuse memories come back; What’s Left: Education, Fight for Justice, Developing Community. Inner Sorting through the Darkness, Calm Acceptance, Flowing, Feeling of Over, Really clear, Really Deep”.
 I was sorting out all of Mom and Dad’s pictures through their years. I’ve been doing it for several months and glad I am able to do it without horrible reactions.
 The women and I from the disbanded New Hope group got together on a Sunday afternoon before I started work. I saw two of them and the whole couch in white light; one of them had a brilliant green light around her heart. It was right when she was really listening and being there for the other one. Is that the colour of love? They were talking about forgiveness and I told them forgiveness to me is about giving back what isn’t mine and that still fits for me.
 I kept wondering what it would be like at my first work week at SGI and the Tamara’s House Weekend Retreat was that upcoming weekend. The work week went well. I did not feel a lot of responsibility there and not thinking of anything else when I’m there. They are still talking about golfing, cabins, winter holidays in the sun, recipes, and I listen a lot. It is a different life. Glad I have Friday off to get really grounded for the retreat. On Friday I picked up the van and drove ten of us to the retreat centre. The next morning’s dream was that I was building the roof of my house and to me that meant spirituality.
 The theme was ‘Coming Home’ and on the Saturday night when we were celebrating steps we had made in our lives, mine was: “I have arrived, I am alive, I can feel joy, I can be sexually aroused and feel good about it.”
It was the first time I knew what the word serenity meant. It is how I would describe that weekend. One of the women was sharing and I saw an orange glow all around her top half and brilliant blue from her stomach, chest and up to her throat. When I share my experiences later with the co-facilitator and the safe worker, deep, deep crying comes from somewhere inside me.
 Back at SGI; a different world. I had to learn the switchboard. A few days of that and my dreams were about accidents. I had about ten to thirteen questions to ask the person who called in and to be as fast as I could as there could be anywhere from five to twenty calls waiting.
A call went like this. They said they had an accident. And I went through the questions: Were you the driver; Are you the owner; the plate #; telling them the number is at the top right hand corner of their registration; and I’d ask when it happened; and I’d just whip through the rest of the questions; telling them I’d have someone phone them back as soon as possible. Sometimes some would be asking, “Don’t you want the other person’s information,” and sometimes, some would say, “Slow down!”
 I volunteered at the theatre and the first play was a Holy Roller Christian preacher coming to this small town on the prairies. I saw the actor playing the pool hall owner surrounded in white light and as he spoke, blue light emanated him across the stage. I found it interesting that I was not seeing any of my family of origin in light and I am spending lots of time with them.
I thought mom would get better in the home; being so cared for all the time; but when I went out on the weekend and realized she couldn’t play rummy or chord on the piano anymore, it kind of breaks through the denial. She had something to say about everything; as if really angry; like mad at the world; would ask me something and no matter what I answered, she’d say things like, “you have a mind of your own,”; “you’re so stubborn,” or “nobody can tell you what to do.” It was awful to listen, and yet later, I told dad everything was great.
 I drove out to this prairie land of unbroken sod that an original homestead family had donated to the province. I walked the prairie for a few hours and just before I left, happened to look far off and saw about a quarter mile away, where trees were being bulldozed over I felt like the land was being raped. So little virgin land left. Reminded me of a Carolyn McDade song line, “the broken and unbroken of the land; the broken and unbroken of my life.”
 In the first few weeks of my job, I wrote about where I’d been, am and want to be. “Deepest fear: I’d be alone and no one care for me. If I don’t judge or self-criticize, I am okay. I love life. If I imagine living more consciously, I’d take better care of myself, be a non-smoker; be fit. Scary thing about being more conscious is I’d have no one to blame. I am responsible for me. If I bring more consciousness to this, I get into not good enough and I am.I want more sunshine. I need more energy. I love myself and my kids and I’m on the right track. What I think a guy could give me, he can’t. I have to give to myself. Unsure how yet, but it will come. I’ll figure out a way to deal with life. Amazing the good days I’ve had, the calm, peaceful, content serenity days. Right now I know there’s a universal force out there; that there is time and I’ll give myself time; all will come to me that I need, peace and contentment are here more often; give it to myself. Having a bath Sat. night was so good; how my skin felt. I have only 4 days of work this week. Only played volleyball for an hour wed night instead of three. I have done well to go into a new job and my back didn’t go into spasms; didn’t get bronchitis or pneumonia like I used to whenever I started something new.”
 Went into grief on the weekend as I told my sister how I miss being with people I know and the work I did. This filing all day or being on switchboard is really hard. Realize the guy I am seeing isn’t what I thought. As if seeing him clearer all the time. It irritates me that he doesn’t care, doesn’t love me; doesn’t want a sexual relationship. I’m still saying, What is love? Like I want the perfect society idea of a man; caring; always there for me; protect me; hold me when I cry. Know I have to fill up the empty space inside me. I want to believe there are men out there who care for someone else besides themselves I am alone and it’s okay even though right about then I was angry and would like to wreck something.
 My passport came. I went to a counselling appointment and went into despair and hopelessness; like a do I matter; Like a lot of people know me but that they don’t know who I really am; and I question who am I? Don’t know myself. I don’t care. Do I care? Does anyone care? SGI, what am I there for? A deep sorrow is going on. Trying to have compassion for myself as I change jobs, change lives again, change. I’m so tired for days; hardly being able to put one foot in front of the other; crying for what was; what might have been; what I had and is gone. I carry this grief in my left shoulder and every time I read about someone who loved or a story about kindness in the world, I cry. The only thing I hadn’t said in that counselling appointment is I hurt, I hurt a lot. They say acceptance is the key to end the suffering. Maybe pain and anger are part of the acceptance.
 November 1999 Am I setting too high a standard for myself and just never measuring up? I went to a vipissanna meditation for two hours on a Friday evening and nine hours Saturday. Nothing big happened except the colours in my mind’s eye and yet I think something wonderful is like body, mind and heart coming together. When I think of meditating for eleven hours; sounds bizarre; was called Open the Heart but what really happened was we sat for three quarters of an hour and then we walked for three quarters of an hour and continued to do that for the eleven hours and a few short talks about three times by the leader.. A little bell sound indicated walk.
I was restless between one and three pm on the Saturday but other than that, was okay for me. Unsure if I’d do it again. The first five hours I had grief on my mind but after that; saw some colours but mostly blank spaces in my mind. Sometimes, as if stories that weren’t my stories were there. Was different for me to be in a hall of about twenty people and not to connect or even make eye contact with anyone for all that time; to be with my heart. Felt calm and peaceful when I left. Different…..but really quite wonderful.
 The next day was like a foreign experience; as I went to a movie; something I rarely do. In the movie, a woman who cares for others says, “I was so lucky I was able to love”. Maybe that’s what it’s all about. How can I love in the moment. An idea comes to have last Friday of the month as a pot luck supper and giveaway night. Invited anyone who wanted to come; maybe do it once and see; even if no one came; okay for me to do it. Ever since I did the eleven hour meditation,I have hymns in my head, I used to play and sing.
 A woman I knew has memories return of her father abusing. She phoned me from the psych ward. Then I had to relook at it all again; how society pushes that there is a male God in the sky; that fathers are there for you and care for you. Realize many men I had relationships with had no father. I’m still unsure about Jesus; was a man; burned from within and had power; stood up for what is right; wanted change, showed his emotions; was a teacher.
As if anger energy in me, and as I wrote that in my journal, had energy coming out my body, can feel it coming out my back, under my ribs; just heat coming off of me Is depression blocked energy; no wonder people work out – they don’t have firewood to chop or physical work to survive so makes sense we need gyms. Let the energy move through I read a romance book about a woman who wanted someone to love her who needed her. Is it we have to accept what someone has to offer? Is giving and receiving the same thing? In receiving, we give. End of organized religion. It is as if everything has changed and nothing has changed.
 Every morning I still am in a donut shop, have coffee and write for an hour before work. Thought if I had a smoking cessation product, it would be easy to quit smoking so got some. It wasn’t and I didn’t. Worked up and don’t know what about.
 Nov 20, 1999. Journalling: “I am a writer whether or not I have something to say or anyone reads me. It is an avenue for me to express, slough off the layers, keep some layers that are needed; connection to inside of me that needs to feel connected to something other than me. Deep in my heart is a song waiting to be sung. As if I’m going through another transformation. As if moved beyond despair. Bereft. Unsure what that means besides being beyond deep deep grief over what is gone or was I robbed of it? What is choice? Did I choose coming into the world when or how I did? Who I came to? Circumstances? To catholicy? To rural? To nature? To the abuse? To each event and circumstance after? Did anyone choose me? No it happened. I am here. What for? Mystery? Our actions have consequences and birth comes from action. Birth is new and pure and light and connected and spirit filled? Pure energy and then comes the layers; am I sloughing off more layers that have built up as protective coverage to protect my light; my energy. If I allow the layers to flow away; is my energy dissipated? Not there as a living entity but more able to blend with like minded energy; is that how we move beyond those who keep their walls up; the ones who keep the old? Love isn’t the be all and end all; the nirvana; it is the being in everyday; being in reality; coming into awareness; together; it’s the NOW – the moment of connection; the sharing and okay if you don’t and the acceptance that this is all there is and that this changes.
 Nov. 23, 1999. Collage: The court of love is here, inside me. Before it was about being primed for war. I lived a war that left a bleeding heart and deep fear of being hurt. It has been long and hard. I found my angel turned goddess inside. I’m finding what balance is all about; being touched by desire, intimate moments. Being female doesn’t have to mean slaying dragons the rest of my life. It’s time to put my weapons down and put my desire where it can help me build a future in my life. Imagine being a rock for me; to have all I need, want and desire and it’s okay to need, want and desire. It’s all here.
Lots of mornings phoned Mom and that day came when she didn’t know anything about my kids.
 I relook at what I used to call my circle of life and as if I go through four parts:
One: All is okay in my world and I can experience love, delight, pleasure, wonder, fall in love and every moment in my own power
Two: Go into the darkness; could be deep suffering, nothingness; pain feeling; relooking at personal past; silence, emptiness and if I can let go and let it be
Three: Move into expression, trust, creativity, imagination
Four: rebirth, transformation; to justice; celebration, unity, compassion; inclusiveness; balance; all energized and know not alone.
I still see living as like a spiral and don’t want to get stuck in one and that this is a continual process in life
 DREAM: about a woman who is gay who gives a ring to woman who is not gay and I say ring may as well be a ring watch as there is no such thing as time, but to live in this world, sometimes you need a watch. This is taking place in a meat shop that is gay friendly.
 I am wondering if Mom is dying. Found out today glass is natural, made from sand. Never knew that. Thought glass was like plastic or something. Guy I was seeing was in shit space and saying a bunch of things I didn’t agree with. Whatever I’d say, he’d discount. It was awful and just before I left his place, I saw his whole body in light and the light around his head; was like a box; a boxed head. I knew it meant I could disregard what was coming out of his head. Notice I’m making gains in some areas; have learned some computer skills and am functioning at work. This change of life has been pretty heavy; having some compassion for myself; wore a dress to work.
 Nov 30, 1999. Collage: I am still here; the feminine part of me that has lived a hell and learned how to cope with flair; using mostly natural methods. Out of the darkness comes light; even a cactus blooms. Then; love was a catastrophe; all a matter of heart. It is crazy what I have been through; slices like a knife; left me crying out in pain. The legacy of generations of Male Power are over; I have learned how to live and I won’t quit now even if I feel like I’m getting screwed. I am doing it to myself by smoking to keep the anger and tears inside. Parts of me are thawing like ice crystals turning into water; dripping off as I reach for better. Sometimes its like toughing it out. Layers of sorting out what it means to be a man and a woman in today’s world; what relationship means. I am learning to lighten up; to have fun. I am growing with good food; orange juice; peanut butter always and totally enjoying my own sexuality; ooh, ahh; oh; wow. I still go to extremes but less often. I am beginning to consolidate; more in the light; daring to expect results. I treasure the old ways; sending myself flowers; potlucks; savouring the classics. I am softer; in the beiges instead of black and white; enjoy fruit and bread that’s homemade; stretching my feminine; listening and being listened to in comfort and safety; full of spirit inside; connected to all knowing. The growing has begun. Music melds me together; dance will be a part. Travelling to new realms with the spirits gone before; animals, plant and human brings me the gold that glistens inside. My passion is unfolding; blooming as love blooms as a flower blooms as I go on enjoying the fruits of life; the unexpected moments. It is more than simply knowing how to be alone. I am building a home for, in and around myself. A poem comes:
Help me Hold me Heal me
I am a little butterfly
Help me Hold me Until I begin to fly away
Help me Hold me Thrill me Fill me
Fill me See me Try me Until I am free again
See me standing here in an open doorway
I’m on my way to my flight with destiny
Give me what I need; what is staring out at me
Give me my freedom, freedom to walk away
Reach for all of me; reach far into me
Keeping nothing back; leaving the best for me
See me, feel me, see me coming free
Carrying the weight of years from deep inside of me
Deeply I try to be only what’s best for me
Trying my best you’ll see; saving the best for me
Crying and sighing, trying and hiding
Carrying my life with me listening inside
My body is showing me what it needs to do for me
Keeping my sanity crying out for me
See me, feel me, hear me, hold me
Handle me with care
Help me release the fear.
My son tells me at supper time that he is gay. He told his sister’s first, who told his dad and his other step-sister. He said that it was hardest to tell me. After he left I cried seeing the darkness in his eyes; what pain; know what a struggle it’s been for him to come to terms with it and as well as what is ahead; dealing with society’s criticisms. It’s his journey but what a life- changing night for him and me. I think my reaction was okay but how do I know. Over next few days like I was in shock and then days of deep sorrow realizing what he’ll go through in our world. Took a wrong bus and ended up on the wrong side of the city. Went into really rough space for weeks on end. Nothingness; it’s beyond darkness; it’s an acceptance that I am who I am and everyone, everything else is what they are; deep cold through and through my body; energy trapped. Wrote in my journal; what is the point of this writing over and over; a minute by minute description of my life; I am not seeing a point to it for me or anyone else; I used to think someone might see it as valuable and it might help my kids have less pain. I doubt it. It doesn’t matter anymore. I guess I do value it on some level or I wouldn’t be doing it. My son took the phone off the hook at home and when I wasn’t at work; I was in that nothingness. It wasn’t about me having nothing; all just is nothing. I talked to that guy I was seeing about what I was experiencing and he left me a phone message that said he saw me as spirit manifested, consistently in tune; have hope, purpose, wisdom; freedom and an abstract knowing; that I express it in my actions and to keep doing it; as he sees me as being ruthless without conniving.
 I went one day and talked to the director at the Sexual Assault Centre. As she commented on something I said, I saw green and white light around her and her heart. I knew it was the colour of love, balance, harmony and the colour of the heart.. I heard anew a line of Carolyn McDade’s music: “Know this time and this place, Know this place as home. Hear ones name spoken lightly in the call of things.” Brought on the wailing. I had lived with a head and chest cold for weeks. After the wailing, the chest cold was gone.
 I had my last appointment with the new counsellor. She said she saw my book as a gift to the world who didn’t want it. That about summed that up. Ending counselling was okay as I felt like I had all the mirrors I needed in the people around me; and if I keep aware of what and who I react to; I can continue growing.
 Someday I want to live where I can see the sunrise.
 I went walking downtown to think about Christmas shopping and knew I was angry. I went by my lawyer’s office thinking of sending a Christmas card and write in it, “I know there is no such thing as time, but what is your concept of time.” A little passive-aggressive instead of saying, “When can I hear from you?”
 On the phone Mom sounds like she is going to die; as if she needs energy; and as if she gets it while we talk. I told my sister if she gets energy from us, she rallies; like she did after the 50th anniversary; and if we all phone her; as if she gets better. Going through Christmas things; decorations, etc and ready to give them away. Gave tree away Kept one string of mini white lights and put on a plant.
 Two days before Christmas, I get a call at work. Mom is taken to hospital by ambulance. Family is called. There every day; and Mom rallies. Interesting to watch; ten minutes before the arrival of many of my siblings; she would perk up; change; her face luminous; the day before Christmas; her eyes; as if Spirit leaving. Christmas morning as if she has a new lease on life; sitting up; thinks she can walk again; as if last four months never happened. Dad said he prayed for a miracle and it happened. Forty four of us were home and hospital gave us a wing that had a kitchenette craft type of room and we made the turkey at the hospital.
 Back at work, I am exhausted. Two of my extension cords were stolen over the last two weeks. I wondered if it was symbolic of losing energy or is it like someone is stealing energy?
Jan 2, 2000 Collage: I am the observer of inner, outer and around me. I am connected to all and that is my spirituality. Still listening to the seperateness inside and bringing it together. I can do that by eating well; taking care of my body and creating beauty around me. By being in the beauty of the natural world; my inner and outer will merge in clarity. By giving myself the best with no expectations, I will receive the best of what is to come.
 I was so down one night and my sister phoned. She said Dad had commented on how hard it must have been for me to have been at the catholic hospital with the priest coming into the room and leaning over mom; giving her the last sacrament. I said it felt good that it is acknowledged.
I decided to have a potluck supper for my birthday.
 I went to my sisters for the weekend and saw her figure in white light but it was 4 feet away from her. She had a housecoat on and there on the wall four feet away was her figure in white light. I could see the ties of the housecoat. Is that where the expression, “She was beside herself” came from. The same thing happened a little while later in her bedroom.
 I received a journal for my birthday and wrote on the inside front cover, “I am who I am and I’m enough.” I told a friend the only thing I’m feeling really good about is I can do my job; it’s repetitive and I know what I’m doing; there are no big expectations of me; that I’ve already had a promotion from a temporary clerk one to a two while someone is on leave; doing much the same for more money so A-1 okay with me. The job is like a rest; I know I can go there and do a good job; no matter what space I’m in. I was telling her the rest of my life didn’t feel too good. Realizing how difficult it was to go through the Christmas season when it doesn’t mean anything to me anymore; Mom dying is emotionally draining; she no longer walks; can kind of feed herself breakfast but not really the rest of her meals. It’s okay for me when I’m there but when I get back to Saskatoon it’s not so easy. Safe to feel when I get home I guess.
 It was hard to write my friend when I didn’t have anything good to say. I had woken with a stye in my eye and knew it was not wanting to see all I was seeing. I struggle to feel connected to anyone or anything. The stye in my eye makes me think of image and how much stock society places and I used to and still do in some ways about what I look like. Never feeling okay or good enough about how I looked when I was growing up; then feeling OK about myself in my early 20’s and then in my marriage; getting into makeup big time; to the extent of selling cosmetics as a career; to in the last five to six years; wearing absolutely no makeup and now struggling with how I look for work when the majority of women there wear lots of makeup. I even had a dream and in it was embarrassed to be who I am but guess that’s better than it used to be; embarrassed is a lesser version of shame. It’s difficult sometimes to accept that this is who I am; that abuse has been part of my life. Wondering when the court thing will start up again or ever end. Last summer was supposedly the landmark case in Canada and we were going to go full steam ahead and haven’t heard a word since. I read a quote that said, “If someone owes you, they own you.” I guess I feel pretty vulnerable out in the world right now; and wondering if that will change if I receive permanent status at work. I know nothing is ever permanent; things are always changing. I have so much sadness at home and when I’m on my way to work, song comes into my head, “ I love my work.” Co-workers saw that as pathetic but work is a life saver for me.
 I became a Tamara’s House angel; which means that place can take $10.00 a month out of my bank account to keep the centre going; the idea being that if two thousand people give $10.00 a month; they’ll have $200,000.00 a year to keep offering services to survivors. Feels really good to have a job and be able to do that and also like a natural progression to move from hands on work with survivors to supporting them in a new way.
 I want to be inviting women over to my house for singing, potlucks, sharing meals but haven’t been able to do that. I told my friend next week will be my 45th birthday and I feel OLD. I felt like I had lived so much; so intensely for so much of my years. I did have a potluck for my birthday and it turned out nice.
 I went to a full moon ceremony; all aboriginal women except me. The woman leading said all these dead people were in the room with us. I wonder are they or are they her thoughts? I reread my journals from when I was on 20th Street. More accepting of myself all the time but I think what I write is drivel.
 Out at the home where Mom is, I sit on the edge of her bed as now she is bed-ridden, and I tell her my son is gay. She says, “I should know what that means but I don’t.” and I say “it’s okay, it doesn’t matter.” and it doesn’t. Now I can sit for hours on her bed and talk about anything. I told her how hurt my son was or mad I guess as I used the expression ‘think you’re gay’ instead of ‘know you’re gay.’ I guess makes sense. Difference between thinking and knowing is quite big!!!!
 Was going to leave the room while the staff changed Mom’s diaper because last time was so hard to see Mom shifted like a sack of potatoes, as they put the electronic lift in use; her head over the side of the bed; and then she was swinging like a bungee jump. Before I left the room; I tried out the lift; really scary to be inside; being out there above and beside the bed; no control over anything. Poor mom!
 This day, I went out in the hallway and a 94 year old woman was walking it. What a nice outfit she had on; takes care of herself and a great brain and still using it. Mom was 76; this woman had not had ten kids. But, she was a great role model. We discussed her saying all the men have died twenty years ago; meaning the men her age. I had been in the dining room that morning; it was full with only two men, the rest women and most in wheelchairs. She said she refuses to go in one.
 I was there for four hours; Mom had diarrhea 5 times. They don’t move her for two hours and twenty minutes after she asked to be moved. They put her in her nightgown at 4:00 in the afternoon. I was asked to cut four more of her dresses straight down the back so they are open. It benefits the nurses more than Mom. Everything is such big business. Dad is there every day nearly all day; feeding her; rubbing her legs; just talking like they had all their life. I did phone the head nurse and complain. It was sickening listening to the defence of their practices. “They don’t listen,” Mom says.
 I am still sorting out about my son being gay. Thoughts are sometimes about if it was something I did; even though I know that isn’t how it is. I keep telling myself how we fit in the world doesn’t apply; that we can create where we want to fit. I want to spend the next year or two at SGI doing nothing different except learning to nourish and feed myself with good food, beauty; putting myself first and still unsure how to do that. At work, saw a young woman’s light all around her. I told the two women I go walking with each day that I had written a book and about my son being gay. So is one of their sons and someone else’s brother but they said no one would mention that at work as people are funny there.
 I talked to dad about how much grief there is some days and he said one of these days it will come and go right on by. Last month, a big chunk of maintenance money came in time to help out the kids and in next month, final maintenance of $600.00 came; finished except money he owes me for other things. Court system worked. The public library from Saskatoon sent a letter requesting to buy a book. About that time every time a magpie flew by, I felt like I was having a spiritual experience and one day even talked to the women at work about that.
I began playing volleyball with a former men’s team with my son and the guy I had been seeing. A t-shirt worn by one man said, “Wife for sale. Take over payments.” Intense inside; able to let it go; it was my kind of volleyball; fast pace and I was in the moment.
 New Journal. Wrote in front cover, “Creating Through Living.” Dream: older woman says to me, “You have lived through World War II and it’s up to you if there’s a World War III.”
I spent any free weekend hours laying in the sun in that guy’s living room. He said if an apartment came open in his building across the hall, he’d move there and I could move where he was. I let my son know it might be a possibility., which would mean he’d be moving out on his own and I would be childless. Same week the SGI manager called me into his office saying my six month term was nearly up; had nothing to offer me, but would have liked to keep me on. Frustrating. My car which I hardly ever drove was having problems. 
 March: Whew! I am extended at work until July and in the afternoon I am offered a different job position as a customer service attendant. I’d still be paid the same as a Clerk II but totally different; only woman in a garage with men. Still at SGI. Not permanent but still there.
 I was trying to decide whether to buy my co-worker’s little white Ford Taurus. It’s old; I think 87; feels like I deserve better but I don’t know.
 I am clearing out my house again. My son laughed when I said I am not responsible for you and your life over something and he said to me, “I’ll let you vent in your own personal room,” and left the room. It was so funny. Glad he found it funny as well. I gave away a garbage bag and two grocery bags of clothes. I could tell light energy from heavy energy by lifting them up. My son had changed. It was like he had energy freed or something. Next day he and I were walking and I told him I was moving out; as the apartment had come up across the street. We had such fun, as he ran down the sidewalk; flapping his arms saying; “I’m ready to fly”.
Collage: What’s inside? Lots of unknowns but in the centre; lots of light ready to burst forth if I can fertilize the new with lots of spirit filled growth. Trying new things so I can thaw out and find faith again. Fill up the empty spaces with love and allow the girl with her eyes wide open; scared of commitment to a person or organized church and know I no longer have to take a backseat to anyone or anything. I can bloom and enjoy all; blossoming in life. I have been brave through it all and I have courage. I can let it out; sing it out or yell it out.
 I was singing about every second week. Lightened my life in some way. That guy saying I fear conflict. I don’t. I am fantastic at it. That is his stuff. I asked him if he could hold me while I cried. Not could he. Would he.? He said not. I have to look elsewhere for emotional support.
 At work, a woman had been off work, sick for days. When she came back, I was walking towards her; and asked how she was. As she described the bladder infection she was still experiencing, I went into extreme sharp pains in my bladder area. I could hardly walk away from her and it stayed like that until an hour and a half later, on my lunch hour I walked a few blocks away from SGI and sat in the sun till it dissipated.
 I saw Mom and Dad Sat morning. Saw dad first; who wasn’t expecting me and had breakfast with him. I hadn’t planned on going but at six in the morning, the sun was rising. I drove east to see it; kept going; stopped at the hill of unbroken land for awhile; found four crocuses out there which was extremely early as it was beginning of April; so took two to Dad and two to Mom.. Dad seemed different; I guess kind of resigned; down; accepting I guess but unsure of it all. Mom looked like a little bird about ready for take-off; in that big bed. She was so little now. It’s a single bed but looks huge. Her eyes are usually so small; this time were big; bright; clear; as if knows what’s ahead or something. She was in a tremendous amount of pain in the middle of her back. I think it’s a lot to do with not feeling emotionally supported. No matter what the nurses do to physically support her, the pain doesn’t go away. She gets heavy pain killers. They don’t touch it. I didn’t stay long; maybe an hour and a half; but was glad I went
 Stopped at the a second hand store; a pair of $2.00 summer sandals for summer for $2.00 and two outfits . 5.00 each. Good deal. I’m a little concerned about another move; but it has motivated my son. He’s found a place and is xcited about it.
 I started my new job yesterday; working with fifteen men and one woman. I want to get to a place where it feels like working with sixteen people. I have lots of fear.The way they talk to each other is atrocious; and they say it’s all in fun. Most of the men appraise the damage to cars after auto accidents. I am the customer service attendant; some call me greeter and know I will do fine; but brings up stuff I haven’t dealt with. When a man I hardly know; don’t know really; sits on my desk; or another one puts his hand on my arm to thank me for something and I just sit there smiling but inside I’m screaming; know there are still issues I need to deal with.
 The guy I’m seeing has this belief system that when sexual energy is flowing; it is better that this sexual energy be used to become self-aware; to create instead of with a partner; and I say let’s not go overboard. What a waste of beautiful, pure powerful energy but I also have to respect where he is coming from. Sometimes when it just naturally happens, it is beautiful, a fantastic experience; but I think what happens is that when he is deeply moved by the experience, I think it scares the hell out of him and he backs off for a long time. His loss. Actually when he seems really interested in me, I back off. In both cases fear, I’m sure. Next few months should be interesting.
 I met with an aboriginal man who wants me to do part-time work for him; cataloguing, sorting and dating newspaper clippings he saved for last ten years; all to do with residential schools and priest’s abuse of children. He has a lawsuit going between him, the Catholic Church and the government. He’s not in a panic for me to get it done and there’s no deadline so feels okay for me to do it. He wants to track priest’s movements; find out what sentences were when they were convicted. I feel like an observer; not connected
 Learning something here. Finding it in all areas of my life. As if my body and mind aren’t connected in some way; why I couldn’t do the Irish dancing; couldn’t get my body and mind to work together; had a massage of head, neck and back and as she did it; feeling came back into my legs; as if my body is divided up into four sections and right now it’s only a quarter connected; and when I’m truly connected is when I see light around people and otherwise don’t.
I question if I’m seeing their spirit or their energy body; is it the same thing; or is it their aura or my own that I am seeing. Yesterday a woman and I were having tea; eight feet away from each other and as we were talking; she was sharing something; I saw green light over on the wall a ways away from her; the term new growth kept coming into my head. Was the green light about her, me or the plant in the room?
 Glad I’m spending lots of time with my grandson and daughter. Phoned Mom yesterday; she knew me; but not much strength or life left in her. Dad has been sick with a bad cold for a week; it’s what I get when I have a lot of unexpressed grief. Will come out when it’s time I guess or maybe that’s how it is. A forty seven year old guy from work, that everyone commented on how nice he is; committed suicide last week. Shot himself. No one talked openly about it. He worked directly with fifty to sixty people directly every day and only went went to the funeral. Hard to understand.
 This year’s monthly costs are Rent $ 485., Utilities $ 40. Phone $ 75.00 Student Loan $93. Bus Pass $45.00 Co-operators Insurance $19.87, Car $50.00 Tobacco $68.00 My once a month group expense $10.00 to be a Tamara’s House Angel $10.00 and Groceries. Had cable TV for a few months and cancelled. Will give my son the TV. Waited 25 minutes for the bus this morning and am just frozen. Sang at the bus stop. Gave my notice to the landlord. Cancelled my life insurance as now SGI covers me. A poem comes:
Little girl grown, a princess in disguise
A little girl inside; a woman through and through
With so much to do. Patiently she waits
Wondering her fate; listening to the fool
Following the rules. When she is ready
It’ll all come steady and living will be fine
As she follows the line of her heart that’s true
True to be Sets her free. For right now
Sitting on a shelf is an elf inside
Curling up her back Primed for attack
Pressing realization Can’t be taken
It keeps coming back; it’s never slack
It’s tightly coiled Ready to unwind
Fun to find the wisdom inside
Time for me Me to be free
Of the shit from behind
Leave me alone Let me come home
In my own time Don’t hesitate
To keep me awake whilst I’m alone
Keep me aware of what to beware
And when not to speak
Place my hand on the light within
Give it room and soon, oh soon
The sorrow will ease
Live for now
Love what I can
April 7, 2000 The picture of a woman on the front cover of the new journal inspires these words, “Glowing with Love. I am curled within myself, lying low, listening inside, singing my heartache, letting myself know the pain inside; the pain gathering in my shoulders, in my throat; the pain that’s been right through me; stored in my legs and toes. It’s moving up and out of me. Layers of gold have protected me and flowers sustained me. Gold are the people in my life; nature, sun, birds, the magic of the universe. I am one strong woman. The apple is behind me and the bird of love I can wear proudly. It is me. The aspect I show the world comes from inside; makes a nice hat; a hat of healing and caring and Christ Consciousness and as I shit, growth of the world happens for those leaving the apple behind. Flowers are the fruit of the earth to fill up on. There’s enough for all. It’s time to sing and make my own music. Soon I will be standing tall and free; no longer curling into myself but the curling into oneself produces freedom as it uncovers darkness and gets in touch with the music inside; the flow.
 At SGI, moving out to the garage has my body banded in fear; the men walking by me; sitting on my desk. Collage: Growth like a truck. So much for clean living. A heart so pure had her days and nights stolen. What it’s been like to keep the secrets inside. I am the light in a forest of trees. I am the bringer of colour and flowers. Two hundred adjectives of these last few weeks; bloody awful, pits, put downs, panicky, pure hell; passive me; pissed off; sad, serious, stunned, at stake, fearful, frightened, frail, festering, angry, put out, prayed upon, joked about, on guard, jumpy, jittery, judged, dismissed, dismal, desperate, dismay.
 I can’t phone Mom anymore. Dad said morphine increased. Every morning I catalogue ten newspaper clippings for that guy re residential school abuse before I leave for work Trying to cross reference it all regarding names of abuser, locations, settlements,
 Otherwise I am packing, washing walls, crying over mom, letting fear out in teeny tiny little girls voice; comes out like a high pitched singy crying. I keep giving away things. Dishes to my kids. Not much left. No living room furniture as gave to my son. Now only have a bed and nothing else for my bedroom. Not sure why but will live a spartan existence for awhile yet.
 My job is secure for up to two years. Thinking of putting in request for next year for March 2001 for two weeks holidays to go to England for fifteen days. I will goo see the woman I’ve been writing letters to for five years. Seems right to do.
 Now every time I phone Dad, he says Mom is stable. She is about 90 pounds but really aware. Every time I go out, she grabs my hands. I can feel energy going through. Her legs are just vibrating. I asked her if she can let go and let God and she rolls her eyes; cynical; didn’t say anything. I came back to Saskatoon and stopped at my daughters. She said I sounded just like Mom. I went out to Prairietown again and again. Mom was saying things like, “I don’t know if there will be a place for me. It’s not up to me when you turn 10. There are all these people. I don’t know any of them. They won’t turn around.”
 I wonder if it’s her diabetes that’s killing her or the thirty two pills a day. They say she’s in diabetic shock now. She’s 75 and I think of all the aboriginal people in their 60’s dying from diabetes. Our family is all taking turns at the hospital now. My sister asked mom if she was ready to go to heaven and she said, “Don’t rush me.” I took a few days off work. My aunt was sitting on the edge of her bed, telling a funny story about their dad and some oxen; and I saw raspberry pink light all around my aunt’s chest area and radiating out from her as she spoke.
 Dad is in pretty rough shape. Still feeding her every day. Maybe it’s good that I’m back working; still cataloguing those newspaper articles and I have hired that same team of men from the co-operative to move the few things I have left in my house. Within a day, I had nearly all in place. Felt like my house and felt all right. Felt at peace. I went out to Prairietown on the Monday; had the day off. We all had a family meeting with the doctor the previous Saturday so knew there was no more intravenous and no more intervention. As soon as I got there Dad said he couldn’t decide whether to phone my brothers to come and a few minutes later, as we walked into Mom’s room, he said, “Didn’t they bring her dinner? “ and I had to remind him “Dad she can’t swallow.”
 Back to Saskatoon. How hard it is to work. Expecting the call anytime Fear about taking time off. At work at my desk at 11am,I pick up the phone and dial my brother’s cell number. He was in the room with Mom and I called as she died. He said, “She just died. I think she did. Just a minute,” And I said, “I know and it’s okay.” I had felt it. I walked out of the garage, met my supervisor in the hallway, told him and that I was leaving. He said take the time I need. I went home and another supervisor had left a message that I could have a week off which was so nice to hear. I told my kids; we packed and went out to Dad’s.
 I was so glad Dad had chosen and paid for cemetery plots. Now we did the funeral home thing as a family. Bought a blue coffin, rough box, etc. for $4300. Slept while they sisters did flowers and church arranging. Some talk of me writing a eulogy. I had a dream a house burned to the ground. I played the organ for one hour at the funeral home while the family was all there. As if Mom was never there even though her body was there. I wrote the eulogy. A sister had started helping me and left. It was hard to hear that the guys in the family were calling my son tinker bell. Dad’s chest was concaved. Really bad. He did well. We all did well.
 I saw the lay person at prayers the night before the funeral ll in white light around him as he was speaking. He invited me to speak the eulogy.
Eulogy for Mom May 5, 2000 -Rita, Mom or Gramma is what she was mostly called but tonight I will call her Mom as she said a week ago in the hospital, “Don’t let them call me Sorita or Mrs. Harvest.”
 Mom loved people. Mom knew how to be with people. If she met someone on the street, she had a comment to make. “You look like a million bucks,” or “Who died and made you boss?” At the Co-op store yesterday, the cashiers said, Nellie gave us such a rough time. She had a saying for every occasion. “Mother pin a rose on me, or you horse’s neck, or You’ll get a reward in heaven for this.
She loved her tea. She loved cards. She loved to smoke. I told her last week,“We are so glad you quit smoking and aren’t coughing anymore.” She loved a good party. If someone wanted to tell a joke, she’d say, “Is it a clean one?” She loved to dance. She took pride in the fact that she went to fifty two dances in one year and not one during Lent.
 She liked going places. She loved the hunting trips with Dad and the neighbours or out to Radium Hot Springs to see her brother or all over to see her children. Or the trips down east to see her sister. We’re surprised Auntie is here today as she gave her such a hard time and yet it was Auntie she asked for two Sundays ago; when they brought Communion; she wanted Auntie with her; but she didn’t want her to sing. (family joke).
 She loved the trips she took with Dad to visit the kids; she’d call ahead and say, “we’ll get there about supper but don’t worry about it, just a cup of tea and a piece of bread will do.” Even when she was at home with the ten kids, the neighbours would come over and it didn’t matter whether clothes were piled up or weeds were in the garden, she’d say,m “ Come in, sit down and have a cup of tea.” Or, she’d be going to tea at their place. As her nephew said at their 50th Wedding anniversary last summer, “He graded roads and she inspected them.”
 But seriously, she was at every event for her kids, her grand kids and her friends that she could get to when she wasn’t making meals, making lunches and washing clothes or baking the twenty seven to thirty loaves of bread every three or four days.
 She took pride in her ironing.. Maybe it was a leftover from her working days at a dry cleaner’s before she was married. Through the years, she didn’t lose her Irish too often, as in get angry, with Dad or us kids; but she knew how to get her point across. Usually, “Wait till your Dad gets home.” Her grandchildren looked for their birthday cards each year with their two dollar bill enclosed. She liked the little things; the plastic lilac flowers she had for years that we used in the spray on top of the coffin. She loved gladiolas; the cow ornaments on the lawn,t he carousel pen holder made by a blind man; the pictures a guy drew for her; the little stuffed chick my sister brought her Easter morning. My sister said when she was little, the Friendly Giant would come on, and my sister would yell every day, “Mom, come see; the cows jumping over the moon!” and every day, mom would stop what she was doing and go in and watch the cow jump over the moon.
 She had friends. She was not judgemental. No matter what we had done or who we brought home, we were okay. They were okay. She would listen to teenagers or someone who society saw as less than. She would lend them ten dollars and know it might be going to smokes or beer and she’d give it. She didn’t forget she’d given it but nearly every time they would come back, pay it and sit down and have another visit.
 She enjoyed the teasing, card-playing and visiting of friends and relatives. Many who couldn’t be here phoned. The in-laws and grandchildren had a running commentary every time they saw her about “I’m the favourite son-in-law or daughter-in-law or this is your favourite granddaughter phoning. Her oldest and youngest grandchild of twenty nine grandchildren and eleven great- grandchildren were with her when she died. Now the argument will still go on who was the favourite. You all were.
 Many times she knew more about the lives of the woman in the grocery store or the guy in the bowling alley than she did of the lives of her children and grandchildren. That wasn’t a bad thing. It just was.
 Mom or Gramma seldom said she loved us but her actions showed how to stay connected. Her address book; her phone lists; her letters. Years ago even though she was terrified of mice and so was my sister, she went to her place as my sister had three small babies and lots of mice and she had phoned and said , “Mom I need you.” Mom set the traps, Mom emptied the traps.
 Dad was everything to her and everything for her. She would always check it out with him first and say, “I will see what Randy thinks.” For someone whose Mother died when Mom was 5 years old, she did a fantastic job of being a wife, mother and grandmother. If anyone doubted it after she had raised the ten kids; or after my sister, Louise died; these last few years proved she was an incredible strong woman.
 Every time we thought she would die, she came through; and even this last time; doctor’s nurses, no one could predict if this was the end. She was getting closer and closer and she was getting ready. She told us she was tired She was questioning whether she had said or done the right thing. When her son or grandson came into the hospital room and she’d say, “Here comes trouble,”, she was wondering.
 About two weeks ago, two of my siblings were with me when she asked me if I knew the number to open up the gates and I knew for her she was talking about the gates of heaven and last week another sister and I were with her when she said, “I’m ready, I know the number.” She told one of my sisters who spent hours and hours with Mom and Dad that she saw angels. She told the nurse last week, “I’m trying to die but I’m making a hell of a poor job of it.”
 Most importantly, she was at peace at the end and no pain. She was trying to sing along fifteen minutes before she died to one of her favourite hymns. Over the next few months, ask Grampa, Dad, Rarndy how she looked at him when she died; lots of love there.
 Last night we were talking about when she was five years old in 1931, she was on a Regina radio station and sang:
“Kitty my pretty white kitty
Why do you scamper away
I’m finished my work and my lessons
And now I am ready to play.
Well, Mom, Rita, Gramma finished her work and her lessons and now she is ready to play.
I was really impressed with the priest who did the Mass and told him that. He was young and a very humble person. My sister told him about a priest abusing me; what our family had gone through; how sometimes even seeing someone dressed in black bothers me; and he kept his white vestments on even when he travelled out to the graveyard which is something that priests don’t do.
Something that was weird. There were three priests there con-celebrating the Mass or whatever they call it. We only asked one. What was that about?
 We decided as a family to have the day after the funeral as a day when we could have a small memorial type service for my sister Louise; to put her ashes in the same grave as mom. Her daughters were there and Dad had made sure they were okay with it before we decided. That morning, one of her daughter’s told me; that a real live crow had been trying to get in the window where she was sleeping. What was that about?
That afternoon;everyone got into a volleyball game in mom and dad’s backyard. It was so good for all of us to hang around for a few days, look through pictures and just talk. Shocked and yet not; at how many people were there; over two hundred and fifty at the prayer service and more than four hundred at the funeral. Dad had over ninety calls in three days. The amount of flowers and food. I was so tired. I wondered what Dad would do with the old black family bible given to him by the priest who abused me. If it was up to me, I would have burned it in the graveyard. I realize how powerful an impact one person has on another for the whole of their life.
 The wailing I did at the kitchen table the next day was a surprise to some and even to me. My sister’s friend ran from the room. My other sister covered her little one’s ears. Grief was more intense than I figured it would be. Still, mostly have the feeling that everything happened as it was supposed to. Universal feeling or something.
I am waking up every few hours all night. Surprising me how intense the grief is. Back at work, like I’m in a fog;. NO; not a fog; like brain dead; functional but brain dead.
 I had another fire dream. In it everything to the west had burned to the ground and I knew when I woke up it was like all the old belief systems; the hurts; the mom and dad not being there was gone; was like it had been transformed; like it was history.
 I was so glad the new apartment felt like home. I love my son’s apartment but it is so full of stuff. Unreal the amount.
 I did buy the 1987 Ford Taurus for seven hundred and fifty bucks. I bought some white spray paint to cover the rust spots on this Ford. Just like I used white out and pencil crayon to fix holes in the linoleum on the new apartment flooring. A friend gave me her golf clubs to use to try out golfing. I went to the bank and locked some money into a retirement saving plan; something I always said I was going to do if I got a steady job; now I’ll put a little towards that each month; and a little to go to England.
 A few days later, I was walking down the street and as a man was striding towards me; I felt energy come in to me; like felt something come into me as we passed each other; like sock it to me feeling just above my abdomen; in my solar plexus area. I later called it anger energy as that’s what it felt like. A weird experience.
 I was still working on the documenting of the residential school abuse court cases from the newspapers. I think a goal of the man who wanted this done, was to publicize it on the internet to track where these priests abused. That part does not interest me; no interest in publishing the offenders I will finish my part in this and give it back to him. It was valuable for me to do the work as I have such a bigger appreciation for what residential school survivors have endured and how much more healing has been going on than I realized. It’s been a learning experience.
 I went out to Dads and we went golfing together. Most of my sisters came home for the weekend as well. We sorted Moms clothes. Realize she didn’t have much in the way of material things. Wonder what I will have when I’m 74. On my way home a moose went across the highway, about two to three hundred miles south of where moose are usually in Saskatchewan. What is that about?
 Over the next months I am shocked at how tired I am. Fell asleep on the bus one day, and on another, pulled the cord at the wrong stop. Some days just feel numb. Feels like the winter of my life; as if I missed spring. So much pain in my left leg and know my heart is blocked. Pain in chest area so intense. Laid on the grass on the hill and saw a blue aura light around the trees.
 As if back in a place where my old belief,faith in family, community and my roots are with me; and yet such aloneness. I write, “ I listen inside; one with universe, all things; beings, craving silence and time and yet want to be with people. I gave away more things; still owned a light I had been carrying around since my marriage. It’s now gone.” A poem:
Lonely is the night and silence is the people
Give me a home, the angry part of me
Who has been shoved around and put down
And yelled at and never been around
Listen to the lady
The mother of the baby
Give her room.
June 6, 2000 Collage; I am torn. Time means nothing. I have friends but only on one level. I am alone in a place of beauty. Time to triple my energy. The gift of seeing will come through music and nature. When I remember what I said to myself, it’s been like blaming myself for the agony I experienced, I will find what comforts me; what the solutions are; what works for me to say goodbye to my mother. I will dare to date again. I love life and I can date without commitment as I leave the ghost behind of a little girl who was betrayed beyond belief and who is now willing to be open to the universe.
I was in this grief energy all the time. It was blocked. What is the wisdom? Something I just have to get through? I went to the Sexual Assault Centre and one of the women gave me a sheet of self-care notations which I used as a writing exercise:
Breathe, fresh air, phone a friend; allow yourself to feel your feelings: Paint,write poetry, journal ; put my writing on computer. Write one word of what you’re feeling over and over: pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain. Left hand writing: What’s the use. It’ll never be over. It hurts. What hurts? The horror, the hurt, hurtful words. Write to your abuser:You ass holes, creeps,You gave me pain. Praying; What for? Outside authority? I don’t think so. Connected. Maybe. Meditating. Finding my Words, My Feel, My colour: Down Despair. Do something Fun and Enjoyable: What? Spend time with Nature? Alone. Share with someone; Who? Exercise:Will it help? Run: Where? Walk : Why? Go to the gym. It would probably help. Have a bath ;glow, glisten. Phone a Relative; Who? Phone the Crisis Line;I May. Sleep softly. Find a Safe Place:My house Talk to My inner Child: What do you want? Love. What way can you get it? Listen. What do you need to say? Help me release.
Have Tea .Yes Cocoa : No Clean :Too much effort. Comfort food: Strawberries, Peanut Butter
Be Patient with Myself: Yes. With my feelings. That’s difficult. Stuffed Animals:They’re cute
Swear: Fuck it hurts. Scream: From Deep inside. Cry: Help. Dance: It away. Sing: Sleep Baby Sleep. Massage:: The hurt away. Tape record myself. Go out with someone close to me: Not feeling close to anyone. Spend time with Pets:they’d see the pain of it all. Scream into a pillow: loosens it a bit. Punch a pillow: smash it. Watch TV: why? Watch a Movie: so can bawl. Paint my toenails :Will it help?
Listen to Music: can’t stand the noise. Take a break: from the pain? How? It’s there. Feel it. How? Anywhere Draw: What? Craft: What? Do art: Others okay; mine isn’t. Plant a garden. Buy myself flowers. I deserve them but seems too much effort. Buy Something I’ve Wanted: Shoes. Get in Touch with my Inner Child: So I Can scream? Put on a relaxation tape: Let my muscles go. Read: No
Say Affirmations: Will it help? Have some Ice cream: Add to the coldness. Explore what self-care means to me: Means I’m sick, No I’m not. Means I feel. I love. I listen. I cry. I’m angry. I hurt. I howl. I rage. I wither. I die. I live, I love. I care. I last .I endure. I put myself first. I take care of myself. I’ve lived a lot. I have a lot to do. I can be. I can wait. I’m patient. I am kind. I keep keeping on. I live in silence. I love in light. I let the whispering speak. I hate. I honour myself. I am rigid. I refrain from saying what’s happening. I keep myself safe. Let it be. Live. Laugh. Cry.
I was having a hard time out in the garage listening to some of the shit I was listening to. Overheard one of the guys to another; “Hard to be out in Vancouver with my wife; with all that pussy around” and another one saying, “I have no power around here except over women; they have to stay three steps behind me.” A senior asked me what it was like for me in the garage, and I gave him those two examples as they’d happened that day; and he said; “they’re labourers and we’re professionals” as if it didn’t matter. I was trying to go into staff meetings and motivate us all to move from an 89% customer service rating to a 95%. Over the next week or so my tongue was so swollen until I realized I was biting my tongue at work; not saying what I really wanted to say.
 Father’s Day and going through something shitty again. Something disgusting about it. I was in a pissed off space about fathers around me. What Allinblack did. That Father’s day was so angry and I was living it as body pain in left shoulder. Drove to a woman’s acreage in the country. She told me to stop in anytime. She wasn’t home. I parked the car in the yard and walked over to her horses. The one horse reached its head over the fence and kept sniffing at my left hand and as it did, pain left my left shoulder. The horse left me; moved away and rubbed and rubbed what would be like its left shoulder on a fence post. Felt like a wonderful connection and no longer had any pain. 
 I knew all weekend I was angry about what I listened to at work. I was making speeches in my head. Thinking of ways to broach the subject of what is acceptable at work. I knew I deserve better I knew I didn’t want to go to court, fight all my life to resolve conflict and wonder if I should talk to Occupational Health and Safety about it.
 A new journal and wrote, “taking care of me”. After anger for weeks, the grief comes again. I guess saying good-bye to Mom’s physical body as don’t feel like her spirit is around. A friend was visiting me from B.C. and I was in such a down space, I left and went walking by myself and writing in my journal in a donut shop. The next morning the down space was still there and when my friend said she was going to have a shower, I said I was going to lay down. As I was laying there, as if the woman figure of Mother Theresa was in the room with me; at the end of the bed; just her top half and as if her right hand was reaching out to me. I was laying there conscious of putting my right hand up towards hers. Her hand reached out and down to my hand. As if I became conscious of this time and this place, and had the thought ‘what the hell is going on?’ Like that she was gone. For the rest of that day, I was asking myself, “was that really Mother Theresa in my bedroom,” and “what is happening to me?”
 Over the next while, I tried to figure out the Mother Theresa experience. Mostly I think it could have been her; as in my belief system now; all that was; is and right now, I feel close to between the worlds; the spirit world and this world. The thought came to me that right then I needed support and with that thought; the deep, deep sobbing and wailing happens.
 I went out one evening for a Memorial Mass at the hospital for my mother and all who had died that month. When the priest asked us to pray that we want Jews and Muslims to accept not only God but that Jesus is the Son of God, I felt sick. Still get the feeling that they, meaning catholics, are saying their way is the only way. Can’t hear it. Can’t accept it. Cried during one of the hymns and felt fine about it but would rather have or make my own type of healing loss ritual and tell it like it is. But, it was a wonderful sunset and the sky was beautiful all the way home.
 I’ve been offered a new job inside the auto department; now a Clerk III. Didn’t know what I’d be doing but was ready for another learning curve. A woman training to become a minister came by as she was looking at apartment buildings. She had the choice to have rooms in the rectory where she was interning or go be on her own. She chose the former and said she was picking comfort over living in a dirty apartment building. The comment had me looking at my building with new eyes every time I walked into it. Barrenness is where I’m at. Reality is this is where I live and it’s okay for now. Universe will give me what I need. Job wise I’m back inside the main building at SGI; in auto claims and on the switchboard.
 July 5, 2000: Collage: I am timeless. I go on and on; was; is; will be. I journey taking an olive branch with me; the priceless rose of love protects me. I want best for my children. New insights come as I experience beyond motherhood; letting go of the past and looking to the future in remembrance. A shrill voice inside screams to get out. It’s like a game without rules as I find each hornets nest. In doing that, I release the rage of whats being done on planet earth. Underneath the surface, I uncover a sign language I’ve tried to speak and will speak in a smaller pond; telling others of being in touch with the universe. I am testing my limits as I juggle the old; as I shed the influence of an earlier time and find real life solutions. Rest. Relax. Fit. Fun. Life’s rewards in the moment. Seeing is believing in me; the power within that replenishes my creativity as I move towards the exotic; the beauty in everyday; my life full of colour and beauty; sharing what I want.
 Went through months of RE-MEMBERING. A stark, painful process. I look 80. My chest concaved. Protecting my heart. I feel tormented, deserted, destroyed, desperate. In darkness. Know I am really shaky; admitting the multiplicity of me. A poem:
Let go
Lest u be seen
Laughing in the darkness
Living in the light
Shadows displaced
Lightening is here
Less is more
Lie always
Let it out
Lift it up
Leave it in the open
Battle scars
Time to heal
Rigid cuts
Crashing in place
Chrysalis opening
Fledgling awakens
Flight unfurls
Fathomless waters
Fills my soul
Flattening out the wasteland
Fluttering away in the breeze
Friends forever fight for each other
Finished and unfinished
Coming together
Safe and strong
A sarong of hope
I know I am no longer divided. The snake has uncoiled. And then a song:
Reframe, reframe
In the darkness reframe
This lonely night of yonder
Create, Create
Create what I need
Give back to the earth mother
Take from the sky all that I need
All that I want for me
Listen to the universe
The wonder is there
Wonder full Wonder full me
Fill me with air, the air that I need
Come to me thru my breath
Come oh come Come to my Self
Come softly to me
Crashing and lashing
Living no more
Torture and teasing
Trusting no one
Trading transforming
Targets awake
Tell it like it is to someone
Tears go by
Tears all alone
Tears tested and true
Tears I sleep, Tears I awake
Tears get thru to you
Tears I sleep
Tears I awake
The bear in front of you
Tears I see in front of me
Tears I care for you
Tears I treat
Tears I speak
Tears transform me
Tears I weep Tears I sleep
Tears listen to me.
Hard hearted bastard
You have a mind of your own
Help me, hold me, heal me
Don’t hesitate to drop me
Despair destroys
Detail darkness
Drift off into your own world
Dense distant demons
I am going crazy
Crazy is wonderful
Wild and wacky, wretched
Where will I go
What good am I western woman
Want to win
Rising above the swilling pain
Rigid, raving, rancid, realization
Rare respect, righteous anger.
I am going through a darkness. What a life. My four sisters registered with me to go to a singing weekend.
 July 24, 2000: Thinking of finding out what the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is and what I need to do to find a counsellor. Who would need to know? Does it matter? How do you do it?
Lots of grief/ and pain still in my back; muscles in spasm again. Have had to take some sick time from work; instead of dying; maybe I’m birthing.
Maybe time to listen
Go within
Hear the Hurt
Feel the Pain
Pretend again
Prize the moment
Prepare the Nest
Preach Goodness
Mercy for Myself
Prepare the Heart
Practice impeccability
Pleasing me
Past history falls away.
I am fine when I am with people but when someone phones me; I can hardly make conversation with them. These days keep thinking of unbroken land and a piano. I bought a new journal and wrote on inside front cover. Journal #69 “I am important. I am OK. I have freedom” Guy I’m seeing still doesn’t want anything to do with a sexual relationship. He still maintains sexual desire is best used to increase self-awareness and that through that, sexual desire will become obsolete. I doubt it. I believe sex without felt connection would be meaningless but don’t understand if what he is saying makes any sense. He quoted Ghandi so I read his biography but no clearer.
 I was meeting once a week with three other women.The idea at first was to meet and give support because one of the women was in treatment for breast cancer but the first night; became apparent we all could use each others support. The one woman said she wanted to find the goddess within herself and over the next weeks, the thought would come into my head. “I see her as goddess. Her beauty shines through. Can I find my own?” I bought a piece of pottery and when I turned it a certain way, I could see the shape of a woman. I went out and bought a hanger to display it on the wall and the minute it was hung, the words were in my head, “I am a goddess any which way you look at it.” What a feeling of freedom.
 All my life I had this external flow; in touch with the universe; although I labelled it God. It’s deep; whatever I’m experiencing now all the time. I am soul. I surround myself with love, but what is love? Reality, awareness, bigger than me, in the moment?
 JULY 30,2000 COLLAGE The big wolves are inside me and its okay. Heart has some hurts that are festering. Can I call on outside guidance? It’s all there. An adventure. I am travelling and it’s free. I am comfortable even tho it’s the unknown. I am winning the battle; expanding; stretching my limits and feeling great doing it. I no longer have to cover up anything or save something for later. The ashes of the past have a few more smouldering embers. .As I stop the hurting, I have found the man at the head of the pack. Me who is ready to snarl and be part of the circle of life. My life wasn’t a disaster. It’s allowed me to experience love as I’ve found a way to dreams I never thought I had. Fear taught me a lot. I am at the helm as I go to the heart of a matter. Follow my gut, adding my creativity as I learn new ways to love myself and others., I can roar and be a pussycat as I love the push and pull of new questions. I can love both the hurt and the essence, the not so hidden surface questions on my mind. We have been together a long time and now we are connected again in spirit.. The rose is growing.
I went to work the next day and had to come home early; really down and throat doing funny things. I could hardly talk on switchboard. I was supposed to go to Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan and just laid on my bed instead. Shaky, cold as if I wanted to sleep but needed to get something out. I phoned a friend; the wailing started.
 I went into another darkness. I told myself to stay centred in my own experience and I will understand what I need to understand. I was dreaming nonstop at night. Someone would phone and not recognize my voice. When I was downtown over the next few days, I would keep seeing that teacher who had abused the kids. A friend of mine who had moved to the Maritimes to be away from her family phoned; she was out of money; couldn’t pay her rent and said she felt like walking in to the river. I could not decide whether I should be sending her $500. or not. I had a dream of stars in the black night and the next night; I woke up at 4 am and the night sky was the same as in my dream.
In my journal I wrote out name of family members and friends and what I think they would say to me or tell me to do. Leave it alone, give it up, the Lord hears the cry of the Poor, read a book; come stay with me, help, listen, you’re important. It’s okay to cry, give me a hand; there is a God., Breathe.
 One afternoon, I drove out in the country and ended up parking in a cemetery. As if as I sat there, I had another Mother Theresa experience and asked her, “What do I need to know,” and as if she said, “One Truth. Hell is separateness. All people, things have a part to play.” A few days later, I was meditating in my house, and as if I have a clear picture in my head of Phil Fontaine, who is at this time the National Chief of the Fist Nations Assembly. I can’t figure out what is going on in my head.
 I went out to visit Dad. I see a sister and a niece who have both gained about twenty five pounds in the three months since mom died. One asked me to bring her Ibuprofen and a Jumbo Coffee to her at her work with three Irish cream and five sugar. Talk about how we stuff. I play the piano at dads for hours. All sorrow and pain songs. Felt better. Saw the moon set. It was stupendous. When I say, “ Oh my God.” Now, that is a moment.. I decide to go to counselling.

August 13, 2000. Collage: Then and Now. Then: The big lie; living in a black and white world; where the Word of God was all; his and hers was to be equal; your dreams would come true. Commitment was for life. Only deal with surface things. Power over is what was really happening. Woman at the service of men always. In a very big way, church, state, man were the landlords in my land. To have and to hold. I was the servant and they had control. It’s agony to live like that from sunrise to sunset and beyond. Where they can say a statement without saying a word. Where only the doctor can decide. No one questioned them. Everything kept under wraps and women weren’t consulted. Count your blessings is what I heard. It’s a formula for losing in all areas. It’s time to kiss your merchandise good-bye. Memories of six to seven generations stored in me. I will allow the hurt of past generations to go out into the universe so I can see clearly what is happening now and prevent toxic future tragedies. Discover NOW. Another view. Connect to new views. I can recall the luminous moments in my personal discovery as I become whole. I can mine the opportunities of life; the challenges and be comfortable telling the truth. Simplify. Flexible. I want all twenty four hours belonging to me. Freedom from smoking. Relaxing. Taking time for me. Living in the Spirit in the Present. Discovering the Calm within. I have created it.
 My aunt was always sending me catholic literature and in some of it; there were always articles that went on about some saint and how roses would show up in someone’s life. In the books on sorcerer’s and warriors that that guy in my life wanted me to read; was also written about the power of roses. Since mom died, roses had been showing up in my life all over the place. The cut roses I received started growing.
 I went for a one hour session with a male counsellor. I told him what I was looking for was clarity; and about the hopelessness and despair I’d been in since mom died. Talked a bit about the abuse; giving him overview; didn’t talk much about family of origin; but did talk about some of those weird experiences and saying, as if sometimes; as if I take on others stuff; or feelings. I said maybe I am starting to accept more and more that others are not going to understand.
 The next counselling session, he said before he could hear me this time, he wanted to be up front. He suggested I go medical; get a psychiatric diagnosis; that I am having delusional thinking. I was able to be there till the end of that hour session; and tell him the difference between his world view and mine; that he had heard me for one hour and made this judgement and that through all these eight years since my memories of sexual abuse in the family and the priest returned; going through the court; trying to find jobs;go to university; still trying to put together a career and now my mom dying. Through it all; I’d tried to find middle ground. I told him I dealt with shit without the medical model and without drugging myself, that I see the psychiatric medical model way out on one side and shamanism or energy balancing, etc,, out on the other side and I thought coming to him; counselling would be somewhere in the middle.I asked him where is there a place to grieve? Who will listen? Who can hear? I said just because I told him I see auras and saw energy lines from a tree doesn’t mean I’m delusional and suggested a book store where he could get a book on auras. As I was walking out, I said, “ I don’t suppose you want to hear that I saw Mother Theresa.” So much for the EAP program from work. I left his office and rented a piano.
 I went with four sisters to the singing weekend called Circle of Relations with Carolyn McDade. It was held at a retreat centre in the Qu’Appelle Valley. The brochure had read, “Soon leaning in the long curves of hills and hearts; women will gather. Celebrating women – land – spirit.” We weren’t staying for the whole weekend and we weren’t stay at the retreat; we stayed in a hotel in a nearby town. We were to bring something that symbolized the theme for us. I brought black dirt; knowing we are all dust and yet matter. Biggest song for me that weekend was singing the question, “What shall I do with so great a love?” We sang that line over and over and with as many harmonies as fifty or so women could sing. I knew my answer to that question was “Be who I am.”
Other song lines were “We shall release a new justice rooted and deep” and “uprising of hope”. The five of us were leaving on Saturday before the singing was over and Carolyn asked if I wanted to sing, “We shall release” and I said, “yes, before I burst.” And a sister said, “Yes, we want her to release before she gets in the vehicle with us.” As we sang, I was crying and singing and dancing; and I had heat radiating off my body; and my youngest sister looked at me with ten thousand year old eyes; asking “are you okay?” and I was. She wanted the song, “No woman is required to build the world by destroying herself.” An hour later, in the vehicle, she put her hand on my back and the heat radiating off her hand was unreal. When I got home, realized I am so EMPTY.A poem comes:
Let go of the knot
The knot in my soul
Let go of the knot and learn to live
Live from my heart and give up the soul
Leave it open wide and fill up the hole
The hole in me that was dead
And filled up with dread
Deeply singing out the pain inside
Please pressing on; the partner I will see
The partner who is there in front of me
Please pressing on; pride has got to go
Presence that I know will set me free
Presence that I own that’s inside of me
Presence that I know will set me free
Presence I believe Spirit of all I see
Presence that I know inside of me
Keep keeping on Kill the one that’s wrong
Carry the new ones on so all can see
See the reality of what is meant to be
Of what it means to live a life of song.
I had a dream of a boy in pure white and at the end of August that year I knew was still a transition time for me. I was having a lot of fear of God dreams and would wake up realizing the belief was still there of a punishing God. As if I’m still chasing a God that doesn’t exist. At 1:30 am, woke up to a fight going on in the next apartment between a man and woman. I called the police. That was progress as ten years before that, a similar thing happened and I had been too paralyzed with fear and not been able to phone. The next morning I was out in the country watching the sunrise and a song was in my head.
I know a love larger than a father
I know a love larger than a mother
I know a love larger than a mountain
I know a love larger than a God
Love that is boundless
Love that is free
Love with no expectations
Love that’s inside of me
Love flowing out to another
Love listening as we
Sort out our futures
And live the life we see
Love that’s full of anger
Anger allowed to speak
Lifts us in its power
Allows others to see

I know a love broader than a sister
I know a love larger than the sea
I know a love that spans the horizons
And keeps filling me.
Days later, again in grief; journaled about what I was missing. “My mom; my quiet life, my comfortable life; my being taken care of, my knowing where I fit; my role in the catholic church; my role as a mother; my role as daughter; my mother’s sayings as she could only say them, my mother.”
 I was now putting away one hundred dollars each pay cheque to an RRSP. I started a new journal and wrote, “I am me. Be who I am.” Went for another drive in the country and thought about writing a second book titled: “when did a magpie become my god?”
A letter from my lawyer towards end of September lets me know we have heard nothing from the church’s lawyers; next step is completing the Statement as to Documents and let them know how I’ve been doing.
I phoned her. Pathetic conversation. I said I’ve wanted to go ahead for six or seven years. She will prepare a statement of documents. I will wait to hear from her. She said the discussions with them over who will pay for assessments is like a petty war. Now is when this costs money. She said Examination of Discovery will be next and asked how I was doing. I said I went to a psychologist; who saw me as delusional; was his impression..I say I am functioning. I’m doing clerical at SGI. She said, “Good for you!” and I said, “Is it?”
 I was down after the call. I left a message on my friend from England’s answering machine. I said I haven’t been able to write her; and still dreaming of coming to England; that sometimes it scares me that she won’t write because I tell her what it is really like; that she’ll see my life as pathetic. I realized after I hung up that I have to start having some compassion for myself because I lost a lot of what I loved.
I was driving in northern Saskatchewan in September. Some deep stuff going on at a spiritual level. Seeing the hills, the valleys, the colours, the grandeur of it all; a powerful headache type thing was going on in the top of my head; as if the top energy centre or chakra or whatever it is was wide open or something. That morning, I had been at a friend’s place and went for a walk in unfamiliar territory as it was the first time I was there. I saw a tree in the distance and said to myself, ‘I will walk as far as that cemetery. When I got close and saw the cemetery, I started crying. How could I know there was a cemetery there when I’ve never been there before. Later that day; seeing fall colours inspired this song:
Being in touch with spirit is a wonderful wonderful thing
It brightens up your days and gives you everything
Living in the darkness allows the songs to sing
Capturing the beauty that’s in the world we bring
Bring to each other all the songs we sing
When we make the time to listen to what each of us brings
Love one another – what does it mean
Bringing hope to another; hope that’s not in vain
Hope that our children have sunshine and rain
The wisdom of the moment comes from inside
When it’s connected across the great divide
Dreams of the future Loss of the past
Are not what matters as nothing lasts.
Home and nine phone calls on voice mail. Still lots of people in my life. Went to volleyball that night. Only thing that feels stable, fun and healthy. At work feel alone and isolated. Still volunteering about once a month at live theatre. Last play shows me how much I loved the farm growing up and how life saving that was.
October 8, 2000 Collage: Whether anyone is interested or not, I am introducing an expanded version, a close up look at who I am. I am a natural, authentic, timeless worth keeping around woman who currently has spirit or life force visions that are powerful reminders of why we are here. For openers, to be up front, this has been a year of renewal; that we are all one searching for the same things; letting go of attachments and images of who we were. Life is a circle; body and soul are connected. We are ever flowing. As aspects bloom, aspects die and aspects are rising. What is worth keeping is the authentic, the natural, the timeless style for life. The Unexpected. Today’s moves are to lighten up, enjoy the ride, no strings attached, travel, enjoy the pleasures of life; let the fun begin. It starts here with myself; make it happen. The freedom to be me is here. I know. It is time. My inner voice is ready to break out. On the fringe, I influence women. I am like a kitten with her eyes wide open, testing the world around her. I like living and believe it is to be easy and comfortable. It takes touch for natural relief; touch of the spirit. Ask without even thinking. I am a calm oasis – a refined, ultimate, beautiful woman. A classic. I have been truly stretched and will be again. I am beyond survival; am on the front lines again. It is essential I start. The time is coming. I will grow through sound.
 I went to my niece’s wedding. A cousin’s wife told me how sorry she was I still smoked. I told her the doctor said last year I had the beginnings of emphysema which isn’t surprising as I’ve smoked over 30 years. Said will quit when I can. My family all went together and bought my brother and his wife a gift for what would be like an anniversary. They had lived together for twenty five years and even though they weren’t married; were common law. I was really impressed with my sister or whoever thought of us doing that.
 DREAM: A woman; a native woman has been chosen as leader; called LAKOTA WOMAN. Two of us begin singing like trilling ; which I find out is a type of Métis song; as she with white hair moves to the wall, sitting down; sliding down against the wall and we go sit with her; one on each side as she cries and empties herself before she joins the circle.
 That afternoon I fell asleep on the living room floor as I lay in the sun. I also started staying home some mornings instead of going out for coffee. Very seldom but sometimes. I went to a First Nations Award Ceremony and it was uncomprehending to me the amount of empty tables. They were bought by corporate sponsors and no one showed up to use the tickets. The woman who won the major award talked so much about God. Seemed strange.
 The next morning I was out in the country walking through some bush by the river. A white animal; looked like between a coyote or a wolf, walked along side me; about 30 feet away for a long time. I didn’t think of that as strange at the time.
My lawyer sends a letter mid October enclosing the Statement as to Documents and a copy of a four page judgement which explains I will have to give authorizations for records to be provided. Records from all areas of my life. The statement as to documents is ten pages long listing seventy four documents in a first schedule and forty seven documents in a second schedule; most being letters between me and lawyers, my lawyer and their lawyers, those first notes regarding meetings between me and church committees and all that was in possession of my lawyers.
I respond with list of counsellors I have seen.
My lawyer sends letter that she received and sends authorizations for me to sign. She says there has been a court decision regarding residential school victims having to pay their own gathering of information and hoping the church will pay regarding mine and will let me know. She reminded me that the church lawyers were still waiting for an answer from us what she called a demand for particulars. It was for me to let her know if I had any further information on what the church knew when. She included the May 1997 response where we had told the church that Allinblack told me he advised the church and that I had stated in evidence given at trial.

 November 8, 2000 – I fax all signed authorizations to release information and stated I have no further information to add regarding their May 1997 response.
One day I saw a strong green light or aura around a tree. The next day I was in my kitchen; my son was in the living room and I saw a green light all around him. One of my children is visiting Ontario. I phoned my friend in England and a friend from Kuwait phoned me. I think how the world is different from my parent’s generation.
 I told the guy I was seeing; (not seeing I guess but talking to all the time); that I had woken up with sexual energy just coursing through me and I don’t like his no touch rule. He answered that it wasn’t a rule but a state of being.
 My horoscope said a job offer. I went through the whole day and nothing happened until I left the SGI building; an Injury Department supervisor asked me “When are you coming up to Injury?” and I asked, “how do you do that? She told me to bring her a resume.
 The next week I was in my familiar switchboard station; when the injury manager asked if I would be interested in working in the injury department. I said yes and he said he’d let me know the next day if he had something to offer me. I was offered a temporary position as a Personal Injury Representative which really shocked me as I thought it would be clerical. I took it.
 I went to a singing workshop full of toning and chanting; as well as meditations throughout the day. I AM LOVED. I AM LOVE. I AM was what fit for me.
 Over the next while I sorted out my store room, closets, bills, filing boxes, scrap books; music. I started the job in the injury department and could change my hours from 7:30 – 4:00 each day taking a half hour lunch. The first week I was on an excitement high. The departments are totally different. The auto one I’d call frenetic; frantic all the time; whereas injury is more laid back; wonder if it is because claims are longer term; takes time to heal?
 I am the official phoner for the singing group. I’m also a one night a week grandmother and as much on the weekends as I can. I was able to have the kids; my sister and her family for like a lunch supper; and look forward to when I can make meals again like I used to.
 I read a book on living a simpler life and what my wants are compared to what my needs are. It asked me to list each item in my house. It wasn’t hard to do. I don’t have much anymore.
In a meditation in early December that year of 2000; as if a voice said, “Live deeply from my heart, remembering who I am”. Felt big.
 I now have my own little corner, office cubicle in an office maze in the injury department. Most of my co-workers brought a stocking from home to hang outside their cubicle for a Christmas decoration. I had some shiny white shelf paper with gold angels my daughter gave me; so made a stocking out of that. Still trying to fit in! At the Christmas Gift Exchange, I receive an angel candy dish. I couldn’t get into the Christmas spirit. Was in a Christmas down.
 I received my first half month pay cheque. Over a thousand dollars. net. I was so impressed. I knew I do the job well. I deserved what I received. I phoned the guy at the Credit Union and decide to put five hundred a month in RRSPs. The second cheque came for one thousand dollars clear. Still hard to believe.
 Christmas came and went. I was down so much. Wondered if I was avoiding family or if they were avoiding me? Heard a grandpa saying that every Christmas for them is retelling the story of Jesus’ birth. Realize I don’t have that story anymore and making a new one I guess. What is the grief telling me? I loved. I lost. I live. I will die. It hurts right now.
 January 1, 2001 Collage: I am at home anywhere, all places. Light, joy, romance, my kids, my dreams are here. Unknowable is a part of that. I am only tired when I hold in my emotions. I have survived, brought all that is together; giving myself freedom and can take it all in and flow.
I was at a friend’s for New Year’s Eve Dinner and when asked what I wanted for 2004; without thinking; said I would have a birthday party for myself; sing my own songs and go to England. The next day, my daughter helped me make sixty invitations: that went like this: “You Are Invited:
I am having a birthday party for myself and I am having it in a church. I’m going to make my debut as a singer/songwriter. I’m going to sing twelve original songs and then maybe a couple we can all sing together. Then I will accept hugs and then we’ll eat the finger food you bring. I’ll supply the refreshments.”
 I also put on the invite that it was a singing birthday celebration and was in the church where the singing group always met and I was having it to celebrate, laugh and cry together. I made a list of twelve songs I wanted to sing. Over the weeks up to the party date, I said to myself that I would be okay no matter who comes; but went into a lot of grief when one of my sisters said she couldn’t come.
My lawyer sent me a letter indicating she had sent a letter to the church lawyer in November listing the seven counsellors I had seen since 1992 and the authorizations giving them permission to get the counselling records; but her letter indicated to me that she had no response; so wondering if it is because they do not want to assume the expense; but asked if we could diarize the file until end of January and see if we heard from them. She had also let their lawyer know that we had no further information for them about when the church knew what.
I phoned the piano store to figure out if I could buy my piano and wondering if I could take a loan. It was five days before the party and still was unsure if I was playing the piano to accompany myself or would just sing the songs with no accompaniment. I finally told myself I would do whatever felt right; that it is and it isn’t a big deal.
 I left a message for the lawyer to put my file on hold until end of January 2001 and no response is required to my message.
 Sixty two people came for my birthday. The church had a hall attached and the woman who organized the support circle decorated it. She didn’t want me to see it so I went straight into the church instead of the hall and all of a sudden it was 7:00 and all these people were in the church pews.
I sang the following songs on my own; without the piano: Hear Me Cry, Healing Thru and thru is what I’ve got to Do, My Child of The Night; Angel Inside; I trust in the Universal Light; Peaceful Feelings; Searching; Grieving Alone; Wounded Within; Searching for Peace; Found; I Know A Love Larger Than A Father.
I told a little story about how the songs had come and what each meant to me. In one of the songs, a line says, “Men, why do we need them?”, and just as I sang that line, my grandson ran up the church aisle with his arms outstretched for me to pick him up. I did. It exemplified why I need to heal.
I played the piano a bit and most joined in singing the songs; You Are My Sunshine, Where are you going, my little one, little one,; Come sing a song of Joy; If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands; I will know what to do when the time is right; Come and Sing a Simple song of Freedom.
 My grandson sang with me as we did Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes and I’m A Little Teapot. We all did a few Carolyn McDade songs like Spirit of Life and We shall Release A Justice and then we sang Happy Birthday to Me and then had the wonderful, wonderful, selection of mouth-watering food in the decorated hall. The decorations were wonderful; the table was beautiful; a fill up your senses experience; the people so there for me; the gifts wonderful; all the food; was like a wedding.
 I asked the woman who decorated and my sister and her husband over to my apartment after. We spoke of the long term healing process and my sister spoke of fractured spirits. That kind of said it for me.
 Two days later at my regular singing group; as if I had found a new voice. I could sing harmonies I never could before.
 The next week I bought a return ticket to England for Mar 11-26/01 for eight hundred and eight dollars. Then I went into fear. Back went into spasms. Had to see a chiropractor. Days of healing.
I went for a long walk and went into a store called Spirit Works. Before I left, the owner suggested I pick a Lakota Medicine Card which told me to honour my dreams, expand my vision and rekindle lost goals and dreams.”
 Collage: Milestones on my Human Journey. The crowning achievement is to know who I am. I have made a career out of it. Going back to the future. Choose with care who I am around. I need special care as I say good-bye to the old; to Mom; and as I move to new things; the trip to England. I am a strong woman who knows about caring and is in touch with the spirit world and is able to bring it to the surface for myself and others through my dance of life. I am blooming beautifully, always new buds opening. Who I’ve been: a powerful force in the world; liberating for people; powerful change without shame. As I build new beginnings, I will fly in all areas of my life. What I’m not saying or seeing: My heart hurts. I am lonely. I am alone. I am like a child. I am scared. I shut down. I was hurt a long time ago. It’s over. It will take awhile to work through and the hurt to be gone. I am okay.
 Had to spend one hour looking for my passport. The paradox of it all. I crave solitude and companionship. I want to be left alone and I want to talk. Weeks on end, in some primal type stuff all night. Feel disoriented when I wake up. Usually walk for an hour before work trying to get grounded. Hurting inside and outside. Body pain. My six months of renting the piano are over. If I buy it for three thousand dollars, the six months rent I paid will go towards the piano. There is an old upright piano for sale in an apartment building close by. Do I want to spend one thousand or three thousand. I offered eight hundred for the one thousand dollar one and they took it. I arranged for piano movers to deliver and take the rented one back and someone to be at my apartment as I would be at work. That’s where I was when they phoned to say the piano wouldn’t fit. They couldn’t get it up the stairs into the apartment. I phoned the woman. She wouldn’t take it back. The piano mover said he’d store in his heated garage for a few days while I made a decision. Talk about beating myself up. I was not in a crisis but ????. In the end, after people suggesting a few things, including using a crane, I took a loss and sold the upright for five hundred to the piano store and bought the rented one. Who would have thought?
 When that was over, I couldn’t wait for the two week holiday in England. I wanted lots of laughter, love and song. A friend lent me a bag for my trip. Luggage I had wasn’t appropriate. Talked to a friend about getting English money. Amazes me that I will get paid from work while I’m on a holiday. A woman at work the same age as me; who has been at SGI for eighteen years says has a problem with someone who says they don’t have ten dollars for a taxi. Poverty was beyond her understanding; and if someone didn’t have the money, it was like it was their fault.
 I have been thinking lots about wanting to buy unbroken land.

ENGLAND: I got to my friend’s house after flying to Heath row and taking a bus to Manchester. Her little house was built in the 1800’s. Windows with windowsills a foot and a half thick; and I sat in the sun in one of them. What I enjoyed: that I could be who I was; the incredible pampering, rest and relaxation and more; the sherry’s in the middle of the afternoon; wine with every meal; fresh squeezed orange juice every morning; the duvet to die for; the incredible beauty of the moors; sometimes stark and forlorn; a peaceful beauty that resonated with the likes of our unbroken land; surprised that they had magpies and Canadian geese; We don’t have songbirds like they did. They were just a singing at five in the morning. am. The houses so old; centuries old; the lanes, the shops; the footpaths (our sidewalks but ours are twice as wide as theirs). Their streets are about a third of ours; and I now understand the phrase – hairpin turns.
 To me, it was like living Coronation Street twenty-four hours a day. Hard to understand peoples accents; never quite knew if I had caught it. I did feel at home; the English know how to make small talk. The shops were different. Charity (2nd hand) shops on every street. Flower shops were combined with fruit and vegetable shops. Most houses had fresh flowers in the window.
 Their tea time: potato pie, fish and chips, bacon butty, stewed fruit and salmon supper. Parkin; a cake like bran muffin; only heavier and winter berry pie. Quite heavy meals
 The up and down of the Dales, the stone walls between each farm, the hedgerows, the churches in every town and no desire to see one and nearly all had graveyards in the churchyards. Manchester with one million people was twenty minutes from my friend’s house and non-stop towns between that and my friend’s village of fifteen thousand people. I went to a theatre performance, loved the art galleries, enjoyed the mezzo soprano and the pianist; the phenomenal yoga and meditation classes I experienced, the pubs both in daytime and evening; seeing girls and boys in their school uniforms; the classical music in her home; the great literature; the work of Chekov; as she’d completed her master’s on that Russian writer’s short stories.
 Some days the land seemed barren, forlorn, unforgiving, harsh and bleak. Another day it held an aloof beauty and I’d say peaceful. I can still see the sheep on the hillsides and the little lambs. The farms had straw and disinfectant at the gate because foot and mouth disease had just struck. We went to the seaside for a day and I’ll never forget the smell in the air. 
I hardly smoked. Most I smoked in a day was six. What surprised me was one mention of Canada over there.
 Started a new journal and wrote, “And all is well.”
COLLAGE: I believe in real life. I have all I need to stay healthy. I have nothing to hide. I can take all masks off. I am ready to allow someone in. Nature – life is my medicine. I know how to take care of myself. I am committed to me. I can make the light happen. I am ready to risk. I am a world class lover, an exceptional woman with my eyes wide open. I have come out of the deep, the black and white world with class. Life is special; an adventure and I won’t have sleepless nights over meeting men. I know how to handle conflict. I work through it and I become more in tune with all.
 The second week I was back from England, I went to the singing group and one song came out just like the mezzo soprano’s voice I’d heard over there; and the women with me said, “where did that come from?”
 It wasn’t long before dropped into hopelessness, hating my life; sounds of the apartment, look of it; smell of it; something was wrong with the hot water; hearing other tenants; didn’t like the clothes in my closet; was ripped off about so many things. Bothering me that I went to England and the kids hardly have any money. As if another big over. I realize I haven’t kept much of my former life. Still want a piece of land. Unsure why. Something that’s mine maybe. On the weekend went back to the farm where I grew up. How small it is. Amazing. Nothing there for me. Roof is caving in How did twelve of us grow up in that little house. Bunk bed frames, the cream separator and the bathroom pail were there in the bush. How things have changed. Now only my Dad and one sister go to the Catholic church.
 That last counsellor I had seen phoned me at work saying he received a release dated November. I was in work mode and thought he was phoning about somebody’s injury claim. He wasn’t. When I asked who it was regarding; he started naming the Big City Diocese, I caught on. I told him it’s okay and appreciated his phone call. He told me he had phoned the law firm and they said I was in the process of an examination of discovery and they wanted to see what harm there had been.
 That night I dreamt someone was investigating who I am and what I’m doing. I think my lawyer’s customer service stinks that a counsellor phones me to tell me what is happening. I phoned the lawyers office and my lawyer’s husband comes on the line; saying his wife – my lawyer; left the firm; that the file is now on his desk; and this might be a good excuse to contact the diocese’s law firm to see how much they want to offer. I brought up that I thought he had said the Supreme Court decision was in our favour. He said somewhat favorable; said he’d maybe approach it like an accountant and will they pay a bundle to save money in the end; save a long drawn out process; went on to say approach like an insurance company; ending with the saying a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush.
 I felt so disgusted with so much in life I started writing Book II. I paid off the piano and was reading lots of different books. I found a pamphlet on customer’s rights and expectations on dealing with a lawyer. No idea who made the pamphlet but some interesting reading:
- given written instructions 
- expect confirmation and acknowledgement that the lawyer will proceed as per instruction
- in about 3 weeks, lawyer to provide a defence plan showing activities intended to take in litigation
- time estimate for each activity but not necessary to include re phone calls, letters and reports in defence plan
- defence plan can be changed if a)obtain approval for different activity b)explain increases in time estimates
- estimates given of time if file settled through negotiation or trial from time proceeding with file
provides progress reports on the litigation once every three month period
- lawyer provides discovery report to you within about three weeks of examination of discovery which includes a)evidence summary b)assessment of liability c)damages d)recommendations for future of file e) indication if undertakings to be complied with
- lawyer requests approval before retaining expert witnesses or psychological examinations and costs of either
- copies of relevant documents such as pleadings, reports, medical or otherwise, correspondence, expert reports, settlements, documents provided to you by lawyer
- if necessary to go to pre- trial, review claim and instructions
- provide a pre -trial report seven days after trial
- lawyer notifies you of trial date
- trial report sent within seven days
- copy of judgement sent immediately
- if layer recommends an appeal, does so in writing, setting out grounds for appeal
- you give appeal instruction in writing
- notifies you of date of appeal and copy of judgement following appeal including recommendations re further appeal
- bills legal fees and disbursements once in each three month period
- disbursements and registrars fees, photocopying, postage and telephone must be supported by bills and receipts.
As if months of despair, hopelessness and crying lots, angry and yet as if can’t connect to anything. Then went into memory of Allinblack. I had been at a friend’s house and she asked if I had ever been to a bigger Saskatchewan town and I said, the only time I’ve been there is when Allinblack took me. And then there was the memory. Could remember the dormitory where I stayed for 4H, being in the bathroom at that place; and at night there; looking out at the lights of that big town and the fair that was going on; the lights of the rides and wondering what it would be like to run away. If I try to think about Allinblack, I can just picture his black creased pants and cry.
 I frantically triy to distract myself. I wrote out things I’d like to do; go to a bed and breakfast somewhere where no one knows me; quit smoking; do something physical; waste time without feeling guilty; finish my book; buy new clothes, buy a tv, vcr; watch funny movies; get a good novel; watch dramas; have a singing evening; get up early and listen to the quiet; dance.
 I had a chance to go on a canoe trip. I turned it down. I had the opportunity to apply for a Personal Injury Representative II, who works with more severely injured. I said no.
 July 1, 2001 COLLAGE: In every decade of my life, I’m defrosting a little bit more. Now I’ve found a little star frozen in place; who is scared she won’t do it right; a timid little girl who says it’s time. Still waters run deep. Time for them to talk. I’ve created a family that has balance. I can call on them when my life blows wide open. Smile, you’re on TV. Is that fear talking or a knowing of what’s to come; my private life exposed again. The wait is over. I created an expanding universe. I have extensive growth to back me up. The aging process. I’m in it and would like to know how I can do it differently as a woman. Live the policy of least resistance. Conditioning is there to act all the time. Create circles of support. Right now I need follow up The shy girl’s guide to exposing the secret. Prepare slowly. I am turning blue into gold; truth into light. This is a season to shine. I am a fruit bearing branch as I discover what is eating me.
I was in dread, down, fear, despair, hopelessness. What is shocking is I went out to Dad’s for the weekend and sitting at the kitchen table, so down; I told Dad and my oldest brother, Stretch; about the memory of Allinblack taking me to 4-H. I went into immediate wailing and both of them sat there. They didn’t say anything; but they stayed through it.
 On the Sunday, I was giving my 90 year old aunt a ride back to Saskatoon with me and as we drove through a new area I’d never been in before, I started telling her that our old neighbor who had gone with me to confront Allinblack had been placed in a care home somewhere in this area. With saying that, I turned right at the next corner; made a few more turns, stopped in front of a house and said, “I think she lives here and I’ll be right back.” I checked at the door. She did. When we were in visiting and the woman asked how did you know where I lived and I said, I don’t know. I didn’t. This was a big city; a new area I’d never been in and we were there. My aunt said, “I think you’re a spirit.”
 A woman close to me went through a violent episode; what some call a domestic dispute.
I was so down and went through weeks of hell trying to come to terms with it. My son and I watched a movie based on a true story called Boys Don’t Cry and the next morning I felt better. Was the horror that young person experienced validating my pain?
I took two vacation days and went on a little holiday all by myself. I drove north of the city and then just kept taking country roads north and then east and then north. Saw a sign Our Lady of Sorrows Shrine. Went there. Didn’t do a thing for me. Saw a hawk really close that had reddish gold tail feathers. That did. Came to a town that I had heard had a famous statue of Christ by a world class sculptor. Found it. Didn’t do anything for me. Drove north of Prince Albert and by the place I had lived for one year when the kids were small. I tried to remember how the kids went to school and couldn’t; did they go by bus; did I drive them; couldn’t remember and I bawled and bawled. I came to a sign for Christopher Lake and asked a conservation officer how close was the catholic retreat centre in the area. One of my sisters had told me about it but had no plan on heading there.
In minutes I was driving through the gates that said, “Peace to all who enter here.” I couldn’t quit crying. A man approached the car and asked, “Did someone hurt you?” and I said, “A long time ago.” He asked where I was from and I said I hadn’t planned on coming to this place and he said “there’s someone here to listen and I can take you to the house.” In the kitchen, I was crying as this woman gave me a drink of water. It was about three in the afternoon and she led me to the outside gardens where we sat. I cried. She listened. I talked. She talked. She said I could stay over when I said I had a tent and that there was more than enough for supper. She was a catholic nun who had a dream of building a retreat centre and did it. She had been questioning her role in life and was still in some ways; and at that time was building a log cabin from scratch with that man’s guidance; the one who had met me at the car. He didn’t live there and was now gone for the day. I cried telling her about the abuse I had been through; the civil suit; about my first book; now writing a second one; about the forgotten years; the too unbearable to remember.
 We were surrounded by forest; unspoiled, and the gentle wind in the trees. Raspberries and saskatoons growing wild. The next morning eating breakfast, the only other person there was a new Anglican woman priest; she a young woman reading on an outside deck; a cat stretched out in front of the fireplace; the dog outside; the dog who didn’t bark; even when I went outside at three in the morning for a smoke and stayed looking at the stars. There was a labyrinth out in the trees. Had a one and a half hour breakfast talk with the nun about how this retreat centre had come into being with the backing of her order of nuns. It was everything I wanted when I had dreamt of having a healing retreat centre for women healing from childhood sexual abuse.
 I came home different; more accepting of myself or something. I was in a temporary position in the SGI injury department, so began taking a correspondence class that was an educational requirement for the position I was doing. At the same time, I wrote all the Saskatoon SGI managers saying I want permanent if anything opens and that I like what I am doing. The next morning I woke up with a song:
Dear Heart
I know
In keeping with the flow
My answers will come to me
I want the truth
The truth to be told
In telling I am set free
Come listen and wander
Listen in wonder
Listen in wonder to me
Dear Heart Transform
Be here this coming morn
And I didn’t know the last line. I went to a family reunion weekend. Didn’t know it would make me physically sick by the time I got home. Head and chest cold. Was okay when I was there but didn’t really feel connected. I saw my one cousin in light. She is one who is actively healing from her child sexual abuse. The Sunday morning sunrise; out there at 5 am by myself; the sun rising through the mist on the lake; a beaver and a bunny come really close to where I’m sitting on a downed tree. I think about sharing my newest song with everyone but when hours later, I’m in the breakfast tent; and see everyone; that idea is just too farfetched.
 One thing all this healing did was that my boobs are even again. One had always been bigger than the other since I had quit breast feeding twenty years ago; and now in the last few months, they are even again. A friend of mine asked if I’d house sit the end of August and first few weeks of September while she was in Europe. I said yes.
 From my journal, “There is no longer an excuse. I can do anything I want. I want to discover the web of life; the energy lines that connect us; disconnect ones I need to and not get entangled in them. Learn the wisdom of my heart. I no longer have to be starved for love. I am free to and for love and it doesn’t have to be from a man. It is time to live!”
 On a Sunday morning; lying on my couch; I go into like a mediation and as if I am this woman standing in this doorway. As I glance around, behind me I see the floorboards are covering the dirt floor of a log cabin. I have a tea towel in my hand and I am looking east over prairie; gently rolling land; filled with despair. I know I have lots of kids and as I lay there; the scene changes; I am still the same woman; but I am lying in bed and people are around me praying the rosary. Someone is sitting on a chair; someone is leaning against the wall. I know I am dying. At that, I am into wailing as I lay on my couch in my apartment. I sit up and know it’s like I have re-enacted or seen or lived a time frame out of my mom’s mom’s life. I thought I knew what prairie land I was seeing and that it was about two miles from where I grew up so that minute, I grabbed my purse, was in the car and drove one hundred miles east to the place and walked through the fields to where that would have been.
I believe the vision I lived through that morning was a scene that actually happened in the 1930’s and for some reason I was accessing it and feeling the despair.
During that week a song came out:
Give me a reason to go on
Give me a reason to go on
Give me a reason to go on
Give me a reason to go on
Because I want you to
Because you’re valuable to me
And to others as well
You’re talented and creative
And kind and generous
And you listen, You listen in love
There’s lots to discover in this world of our own
This world that we share
That some would call home
There’s room enough for me and you
And others will join us
When we allow them to
I need hope for tomorrow
When so much feels so lost
When I can’t see the gains only the cost
Listen to me and you will see
There’s a reason
A reason to go on.
I organized all the things I would need to move in to where I would be house sitting. Scrubbed floors, vacuumed and cleaned; feeling like my life was very organized and I was really excited. I moved in.
 While at the new house, I saw that I was making changes in my life. I still had so much pain though. I could hardly hear about violence. Some days I was still going through the wanting to lay down and die feeling. What has to die; I would ask myself. Is it the feeling lost and alone? Or is it, I know what it’s like to be connected and when it’s not there; it’s unbearable?
 I knew I wanted my own house. The freedom to wake up at five am and be singing in bed. I wanted it. I went to my sister’s for a weekend. She had a birthday party for herself. It was an okay weekend although I had pain around my heart area. I went into this big time crying when I was telling my sister and my aunt about the experience the day it was like I was my mother’s mother. I was really impressed how I was able to talk and now feel around my family.
I could do some things to help; I could listen to people; and I was able to work on my essay for my class.Years ago; I was barely able to function. My aunt said I should go back to the catholic church; saying how I had been a pillar of the church; and then a pillar of Tamara’s House. I said now I’m a pillar of me. A week later, I invited my aunt and my dad to the house where I was house sitting and my aunt said again, that I should go back to the catholic church. I was able to say to her and in front of my dad; that to go back to the church would be like going back to my ex-husband.
 I loved that house and yard. It had such an abundance feeling about it. I went golfing by the river; the autumn colors were out; and the lush carpet feeling of the greens; just sank into it when walking and I parred two holes. Wow!
 Terrorists attack the US. The world changes. Sept 11, 2001 My heart hurts. Long nights.
My Middle of the night w.riting re NINE ELEVEN: “I can write. What can I say? I am scared. My belly cries out with anger Firefighters found six bodies in the rubble. Lullaby and goodnight. I want to cry, cry out the pain. Listen to me and you will gain. Live forever; silently screaming; seeing auras of the trees high into the sky; whispering, whispering hope. Terror in the skies; I will live among you; what about the kids of mcnab park (one of Sasktoon’s poorest neighborhoods). Treat me gently. I want a life; the life denied me; to see life more than in black and white. Listen children to my story, Where are you going, my little one? Let’s listen to the children. Wake up, don’t just stand there;a bombed out car; give me the space; the space that I need; Christ has died; alleluia; Take from me all that you need. Gentle woman,quiet light; Sunshine lollipops when we’re together; Sleep baby sleep. Turn around and you’re tiny, turn around and you’re grown, turn around and I’ll have a house of my own”
I am an old woman who is very wise
Who knows a lot; can tell the lies
I know an old woman whose worked so hard
Who’s dreamed big dreams; who now has a yard
I know an old woman who lived so long
Looking for comfort; who sings her own song
I know an old woman whose left out of much
Who cries and sighs and gives too much
I know an old woman whose seen a lot
Who gives to others and can’t see the cost
I know an old woman whose been sleeping too long
Who creates what she needs who no longer plows
I know an old woman whose cried so long
Who listens deep to her inner song
I know an old woman who’s becoming young
Living lighter and lighter as she sheds the throng
I know an old woman who can’t take any more
Who is speaking out like never before
I know an old woman; happiness aside
Lives life knowingly whispers her guide
Her guide is there within her soul
Lived there endlessly, capturing her goal
Listening so deep traveller here
Waits for the day, overcome her fear
Listen Listen to myself
Sunshine and flowers
Laughter and tears
What do I need.
Tamara’s House; an actual house was being built. I couldn’t believe it when I heard my ex-husband was doing the drywall. Oh well, it would be done well. I was packing up; getting ready to move back to my apartment.
 I tried to figure out what the last song was saying: wise, knows, clarity, worked hard, visionary, carries others (no more), lived, longing, comfort, sings, follows, hears, at another level, mourns, gives too much, sees, creative, at ease, cries, listens, youthful, discriminate, angry, speaks, knows, guided, goal, waiting, travelling thru, self-listening.
Oh my child I’ll listen to you, all through this day
I have waited long to hold you, listen to what I say
I have given lots to others
Now it’s time to give to me now
Wait for others, they will follow
Peace is on its way
Listen listen
I have a wise one listening for you
She is our guide.
I won tickets and took a colleague to a celebrity fundraiser; silent auction and dinner. They were seventy five dollar tickets,a comedian performing and was to raise funds for a counselling place I had used. I walked around in my long dress and the four or five counsellors I knew gave me big hugs. I bid some money for the chance to lead the symphony. I didn’t get it but it only went for one hundred and seventy dollars and made me laugh thinking about it. 
 I made a list of what I want in a house: fridge, stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer; new and good quality of it all; singing place like piano room; fireplace; formal living room; dining room, large bedroom; full length closet; bathroom; whirlpool bath; private back yard, deck; landscaped lawn, underground sprinklers; attached garage, central vac; a view; quiet; mature trees.
I went walking many days and chose the area I wanted to live. It would be close to the river and have a park nearby and I wanted to walk to work. I phoned the credit union and was accepted for a pre-approved mortgage.
 I was studying for my final exam for a first vocational rehabilitation class that would help me in my career.
And near end of September I receive a letter from my lawyers saying they had been in various telephone conversations with the church lawyer over the last six to seven months and the church is prepared to make a final offer of twenty thousand dollars. They’d like me to make an appointment to come in and review the enclosed written offer with them after I’ve had the chance to study it; indicating there are various pros and cons to the offer.
The church lawyer letter written mid September indicated the Diocese of Big City was prepared to offer twenty thousand dollars as full and final settlement of the claim. The letter took the view that liability would unlikely be established in this case, that they are making this offer on compassionate grounds as it is similar to others regarding Allinblack. They also said had received thirty seven hundred dollars of receipts and that we could consider five thousand towards treatment to date, five thousand towards future treatment costs and a further ten thousand to conclude the matter. A paragraph spoke to that amount being similar to other victims of Allinblack and it was important for them to be even handed treatment of claimants. They indicated if we accepted, the money would be forwarded with minutes of settlement and a release form for me to sign.
A settlement offer of twenty thousand dollars. My thoughts. Laugh. It happened. They offered something. Took them seven years. So paltry. It will happen. Allinblack pays nothing. What about my kids? Percentage to the lawyer. A friend said that’s what the natives from residential school abuse are getting. It is something. Others have settled with this diocese for twenty seven thousand so letter isn’t even factual. Did the lawyer complete four thousand dollars worth of work.? Maybe ask him if he feels he has done the best he can do for me? I’d like to tell him about my kid’s lives. Maybe I need to refer my lawyer to the pages of my book where I told the church what I wanted and how everything is tied together; church, Allinblack, God, my brothers. What has church given me to date? A letter I didn’t receive. Can’t compare one person to another.
 I looked up the word paltry. Means insignificant, meagre, petty, worthless. Over the next few days I was writing lots; again trying to figure out what my role in life is; to heal, healer, healed, healee, share with others, musician, writer, author, personal injury rep at SGI, worker, student, mother, friend, sister. What is my goal? to give to self more security, house, land, sing, write, make a CD, Book II, Prioritize classes to get permanent, place of sharing, Flow.
 I was trying to decide when to go in and see lawyer. The couple came back from Europe and gave me a beautiful silk scarf for housesitting. I received eighty seven per cent on the final exam. I entered an Arizona spa contest. I went for a Sunday morning drive to see the sunrise and then to a co-workers home for brunch. She had two other friends there. We had just begun eating; when she was called away unexpectedly to pick up her kids. The rest of us continued visiting and one of her friends asked about my house sitting, my renting and whether I’d be interested in coming to see her house. We set an appointment for two days later.
 The next day I phoned the lawyer. We just talked on the phone. It felt disgusting and discouraging. He said we could go on. Used words like; it’s a crapshoot; shot in the dark; fifty – fifty chance; can’t guarantee results; said either way he gets paid.
 I went and saw the woman’s house; and it wasn’t about house sitting. She was giving me the opportunity to rent a brand new duplex; beautiful duplex on a street by a park overlooking the river and if you know Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, it was on Spadina. I said yes but thoughts were all scrambled after that. Do I want to move? Why rent now when I could own? Why am I moving? Not ready to build came into my head. Not ready to buy. This way, if I rent again; like I’m being taken care of feeling.
 A friend was helping me sort out what I wanted from the court process; from the church; from the lawyer. What had I expected? My dreams. The idea I had of helping others; the dream of a retreat centre; had wanted someone to do it for me; seventy to one hundred forty thousand seems reasonable; not twenty thousand. I was angry that decisions are not made in court rooms; they are made in three to five minute phone calls. I thought going to court would hold Allinblack and the church responsible. Again, what is justice? I don’t agree with what others received.
 The next phone call to the lawyer was a bit better. He asked what I thought. “Paltry ,”I said and he said, “Paltry is correct.” He talked about me understanding this is a first offer and at this time, he figured I could get a little bit more; or could go to a pre-trial settlement conference & trial and then he asked how I was.
I said I was ok. He asked what my thoughts were on this and I asked if it was the best he could do. He said no; best might be ten per cent more at this time and I asked what about if I went further. He used the words, “It’s a crapshoot. “ He talked about sixty, seventy or eighty thousand; saying if I was a gambler, he’d say I have about twenty per cent chance of losing and I’d have to pay their costs and my lawyers. He was guessing thirty per cent chance that I might get seventy to eighty thousand and forty per cent chance that I would get at least the twenty thousand they were offering.I told him the day before I’d had the idea of seventy thousand in my head. He said that was his idea or we could close the door now and it was up to me.
 I said I would go for more than the twenty thousand and asked if he was willing to do that He said sure. He would write them that he’ll not accept their offer; that all exams are over and we can go straight to pre-trial conference. I said Exams aren’t over. I wasn’t examined. Well then, he said, We’ll set the date asking if I was ready for that. I said I’m ready.
He then said, there’s probably a thirty per cent chance of losing with his gut instinct saying take what their offering saving trouble and heartache. He said he’d send me a copy of the letter. I said I’ve waited eight years.
 My sister was in town for a conference and she went with me and looked at that house for rent; by the river; quite something; a new home. The only issue was the woman hadn’t said what she would want for rent. OOOOhhhh, it was nice. Room to share. I liked that I would be able to give the kids the experience of being around a new house. I could play the piano there. It seemed too big for one person and yet not.
First part of October my lawyer writes the church lawyer saying I’m not prepared to accept their offer; I want substantially more compensation, that it appears I have never been examined for discovery and to let him know possible dates; saying if he hasn’t heard from them in one month, assume they choose not to exam me and my lawyer would set a date for a pre-trial settlement conference.
A day later I received a letter from my lawyer saying the church lawyer contacted him directly when received his faxed letter saying I wasn’t accepting offer. This letter let us know that church is not prepared to offer sufficient funds. November 8 and 9, 2001 are dates set for the church lawyer examination of discovery of me. He indicated an examination of discovery is a questioning of me under oath as to what occurred and how it affected me at the time, throughout life, economically, socially and emotionally and I’d have to give more documents like income tax. He wanted to hear from me.
October 4, 2001 My anniversary; two years at SGI. Still employed as a personal injury representative; every file is different; am caring for about one hundred and forty files. This day set up a new file with an underag person who was not only a ward of the courtspersom, hearing impaired and had many scars from this accident claim. I met with his caregiver, social worker and an interpreter at his school and explained the permanent impairment process and how money amount for benefits are figured out for the scarring and why the money goes to the Public Trustee. It took a lot of time and I knew all the phone calls waiting when I’d get back to work. It was interesting. I did like the work.
 In my work, I didn’t have anything to do with tort claims where people had the ability to sue but on a personal level found out that a guy suing SGI for his back injury with a tort claim was at the Examination for Discovery stage of the process. He figured the least he would get was one hundred and seventy thousand. The amount was shocking to me as he was working and yet had struggles similar to mine because of his injury. I had ideas of what I’d like to say to my lawyer and then it was gone.
 The woman with the house phoned. I was okay asking her what she wanted to rent the house for; saying if it was seven or eight hundred dollars, I didn’t want to be going there. She said four hundred dollars plus utilities which would be one hudnred and six dollars for the equalized power and sixty dollars fo electricity and water. I said yes. She suggested I think about it.
 I did. Nonstop. I thought about what would go with me. I had a blue couch and chair during my marriage. It was not going. The piano was. I wrote out a rental agreement so we would have a landlord and tenant rental agreement. We both agreed on it and I would be moving in December 1, 2001.
 I had a dream which came down to the question; “Is the universe friendly or not?” or does anyone care?
The guy suing gave me his process papers to look at which showed he was asking for general damages, pain and suffering, loss of amenities, enjoyment of life; past and future loss of income, cost of reports, interest costs, future care costs, the total with twenty per cent contingency for the lawyer, plus taxable costs; whatever some of those terms meant.
 I had a three inch file of lawyer letters starting with going to see the first lawyers in April 1993; the retaining of these second lawyers in March 26, 1997 and I reread the file. It just seemed to go on and on.
 I had the June 17, 1999 Supreme Court ruling finding an organization vicariously liable. I had articles for and against going through the court process. The ones for going through; spoke to taking back power; forces the abuser through the system for accountability; that even if I lose, I would benefit; have my say or my day in court and that the law can right past wrongs.
 Another article suggests find the natural place to call it quits. That article makes me cry; and I feel like no one is there for me. I had a copy of another woman’s release she signed to get her money from the same church diocese. She was abused by the same priest as me. The release says she gets the money but she is signing that the church isn’t responsible. I wondered if I’d ever be able to sign that.
I reread my first book. What I learned. People have done lots for me. Church offered something. Questionable what. It is as if I can’t see or hear something that needs to be seen or heard.
October 11, 2001. I just rented a new house. They want me to have insurance. I haven’t had that for years. They’re landscaping the back yard this year. That even sounds rich. I go into the house; yard, park; river; view; all feels too rich in a way but I think that’s a deserve thing again. I thought about how nice it is; quite big; and so many in the world have nothing; and whether I should be sharing with a roommate or something but as if I want my privacy and to be able to play the piano when I want.
Went into grief again. Drove out to my mom and sister’s grave and sat there and bawled. So much is beyond understanding.Why is my aunt ninety and can do more in a day than me and why did her daughter die when she was four years old? Why does it still get to me that Louise, my sister, died? It’s tied up with Allinblack and the church.
 I went with a woman and spent a day in the country; walking through bush. I was always ahead; wanting to see what was around the next corner.As we were walking, I was telling her about the dream I had of having a retreat centre for women. As I said it, a bald eagle flew up in front of us. WOW! What an experience! Then I wonder, does that mean anything?
 Moving again. Is that how my life will always be. All of a sudden, I am in amazement when I realize that I had picked out where I want to live and am only a block and a half from there. And, that the house has all the things in it that were on my list except a fireplace. I found out there was one in it which they took out when decided to rent. 
 As if know I will write a second book and think it will be green.
 I start sorting out my house again even though I know I have a month and a half until I move. I was crying over everything. I went into an Allinblack memory; and could see the nuns; called the “Sisters of Service”, when I was growing up and how they; Allinblack, the church, the sisters were involved in bring 4-H to the Community; how I had gone with Allinblack to that big town in Saskatchewan for a 4-H event and if that wasn’t him playing a parental role; what would be?
Lots of times, I couldn’t lay down to meditate like I usually did as memories were just there.
I’m still thinking about the letter that says Examination of Discovery will be Nov. 8 &9, 2001; and the line in letter says my lawyer wants me to meet with him so I can answer questions as he wants me to ….?? or I guess it says how he would like me to give my answers. 
 Those days when I talked to certain people on the phone; as if I was seeing their aura as I listened to them. I did some meditations I’d call going deep. One day as if deep blue and yet bright blue like water took over my whole head and yet I was so conscious, sometimes it was yellow and there was an instance where I had knowing; knew the deep blue meant deep healing was taking place; the green was love and yellow was being in my own power.
 I wrote in my journal, “I so love being a grandmother. He is so good. Hate that word good. One of the clerical staff is leaving SGI. Maybe it’ll help me get permanent; some job security. Set up a meeting time with my lawyer.”
 I went to a two day aboriginal conference. By the second morning, I was sitting outside, watching the sunrise; crying about all the shit I had heard there; and thinking how difficult it is to be white and feel Indian and wondering if it is worse to be Indian and feel it. What was I trying to sort? One of the women at work who is treaty Indian, who doesn’t know her culture asked if I knew anything about a sweat and as she asked me, I had this experience of being totally able to picture it as if I’d been on one; could hear the sizzling of the hot rocks; the preparing; the darkness; the sitting in a circle; the smells; and I say out loud to her; “I don’t think I’ve been on one.” At this conference, it was the first time I saw myself as a government worker. That is interesting in itself; realizing what people think of a government worker; and what reality is. Interesting hearing people think out loud about who they see as having nfluence and power.
 Two people I didn’t know from different parts of the province phoned me and ordered a book. At singing one night; one of the women there gave me a photo she took of an orange butterfly with a backdrop of green; and I wrote, “Butterfly coming into her own power; feed on the abundance of life; it’s all there in the universe for my asking; love is underneath and growth is all around me; I’m seven eighths healed; light is here; can listen inside and move onwards.”
 Know there was some heart and spirit at the Aboriginal conference that I don’t get at other places; felt filled up in some way; not so alone; trusting that I will have what I need. Sitting in the go-around of the pipe ceremony; woman next to me had been beaten up during the night; helped me realize the healing from child sexual abuse I had done; realize the personal is political as women had told me; think of my kids; one does not have a phone and how many in Saskatoon don’t; and how difficult it is to hear people’s experience of the homophobic, sexist, racist talk of our society. It was weird to hear and see the first nations woman start the conference with a prayer and end up with the sign of the cross. Thoughts every so often, while I’m there about what court will be like and realize it’s not court; it’s the examination of discovery but I don’t really know what that is.
 I went and saw the house again. Still feels unbelievable but will be happy when I’m in. I have a bit of fear about scratching or hurting the hardwood floors; will get felt things for anything I’m putting on it.
 The next weekend I went to a singing weekend. I felt so disconnected. There were about fifty women there. I had chosen to billet. The singing was in a United Church Friday and all day Saturday. I just could not connect with anyone; as if the whole time I was there; was in this deadly calm place; sitting watching the women; middle class; white; many overweight. I woke up at three am with words and music in my head:
Speak out what you’re dying to say
Say what you need to live
Listen inside.
I wrote some scrambled thoughts and lines of some song we’d been singing that really struck home. I dream a lawyer tells me to have fun. How prepared am I? I can change on a dime. This music of Carolyn McDade’s has been my formation. “I come of my people, my people I come. I come of my people of this earth rising.” Who are my people? How do I talk to my lawyer without revengeful bitterness. I can trust myself and others. Why I don’t have a TV – still can’t stand the pain in the world. Do I feel sorry for myself? Am I doing the, “you’ve never seen a story as bad as mine; is that what goes on? Well, it feels true.”
A woman said power is in the tension between sorrow and joy. Butterfly on my name tag. People keep giving me butterflies.
 Home. Down and I know it and as if I accept it. Used to believe it was a time of gaining power. Different people offering that if I want to talk, they are there. Nothing to talk about.
Made a few notes of what I thought I would talk to my lawyer about. Maybe talk to him about this partial 4-H memory I keep getting to do with Allinblack; wonder if I’m going to get memories the rest of my life? I want to know the difference between a personal injury type of case and what I’m doing; why the discrepancy between how much is being sued for between an auto accident and an assault? I understood a young law student that was articling was working on this case to find the precedents of what has been awarded. Should I talk about how Social Assistance has put out about forty thousand dollars for me to live and retrain; how women’s organizations have put out about twenty five thousand. I have to pay back Saskatchewan’s Department of Justice one thousand if I get a settlement. Does it matter that I lived in poverty and uneducated for so many years. Other questions I wanted to know was what would the church lawyers do to prepare for this examination of discovery coming and what would they be trying to do.
 I went to the meeting. My lawyer first told me where we were at. For this matter to proceed, they need me to go through an Examination of Discovery; then he would do a brief examination of the diocese; then to the Pre-Trial Conference and then Trial to prove that in the balance of probabilities that allegations against Allinblack are true knowing he denies it; and that the diocese as employer is responsible for placing him in the situation where he could do it.
 He said what they’d be trying to do is get any admission under oath that they could use when they examine me. He said there are no secrets in an examination of discovery. He said our allegation is twofold – 1)what happened and 2)how that affected me and damages are based on that effect. He said they will question and question what occurred. He said over and over how brutal it would be; that they will question and question what other things affected me, before, after, about all that happened in my life. He said tell the truth. The rule is that they can ask anything relevant to the issues. He said if not legally correct, he will step in and tell me not to answer. He said things I don’t know the answer to let them know that; tell them I will find out the answer; and give them authorization to find out the answer. He gave an example of if they want to know my marks in Gr 6,7, or 8 or medical records or school records; then say they can have the authorization to find that out. He asked me to provide him with my income tax for as many years as I could.
 He spoke again of how brutal it would be and talked to me about a man walking out of his office after talking to him about his sexual abuse and killing himself. I did bring up about the costs to society and organizations and felt dismissed. When I brought up wanting to know the differences between personal injury from auto accidents and this; never received answers I understood. He didn’t know anything about the young guy articling and looking up precedents to do with cases like this. He suggested I come in a day or two before the actual examination of discovery date to read through all my journals and material that were part of my file.
 I had been so wound up before I walked in there and so down when I left. It took a lot out of me. Hard rest of the day. Hard, hard night.Couldn’t get things out of my head.
 The next day my manager at work told me he had budget approval that there would be enough money for my job until December 2002 but reminded me if I don’t have a permanent position by October of that year, I’m done. He asked how many insurance classes I had. When I answered one towards this type of job; he said, “get going,” as three are needed. 
 I went to Revenue Canada and got Income tax assessments for the years 1994-2000 and dropped off at the lawyers.
Oct. 25, 2001 Up at five am and the next morning and know there is grief and fear there; but an I will deal with it feeling. I go for a walk and have idea to rent a room for the first day of the examination of discovery. It would have to have a piano in it and I would invite all the women I could to help me deal with this. If this was going to be two days, I thought this would help me process the first day; let it out; and feel supported If the women could come from four to six pm; maybe they would listen to me.
 The next day a woman on social assistance asked if she could borrow fifteen dollars from me. I said sure and asked if, instead of paying it back, would she want to do some work for me instead; like phoning about the thirty to forty women as well as phone movers for me. I made a list of names and what I wanted said; and had to find a room. Over the next day had the piano movers booked; city, power and phone hookups made.
 I took tobacco to a Métis woman I knew who performed pipe ceremonies and lead sweats and asked if she could come to SGI and be a guest speaker for the Aboriginal Advisory Network’s lunch and learn. At the same time, I booked a sweat for five aboriginal women colleagues and myself to happen November 23, 2001. That and having the new house to move into after the examination of discovery was over would be so good to be looking forward to. I gave blood at work for what I thought was the first time in my life; and as I was lying on the table; the Red Cross gave me a T-Shirt because I had given ten times. When I questioned them about it; they had dates. I hate it when I have no memory of something. Pretty hard to trust anything.
 I had a song line in my head for days, “no one can take my freedom away”. The woman I house sat for and who listened to me so many times over the past five years asked the most famous gallery in Saskatoon if I was able to book the large lower level room with a grand piano. YES! TOO COOL!!!
 As the days for the Examination of Discovery got closer, I was in either grief or fear.I phoned the guy from Southern Saskatchewan who had been abused by a different priest. He had proof the catholic church knew the priest was an abuser; and had gone through an examination for discovery before settling. I asked what his had been like. He said he listened to his lawyer’s advice as close as he could, said there were two church lawyers and a person recording all proceedings. He said an expert witness was called who was a priest from the catholic church. He said they didn’t finish his in two days but said they made excuses to prolong it. H added that they ended up with two books of recorded testimony; that they had asked him everything except what brand of nail polish he’d used. He thought the questioning of me would be about them using my book against me and said they will keep implying that I am doing this for the money. He suggested I eat well, have lots of water; stay away from the coffee and attempt to stay focused.
 I had a dream that a lawyer says to me, “will you shut up,”and I say I didn’t come here to be abused.
 I phoned the lawyer and said I’d like to come in on the Monday before THE DAY (which was to be a Thursday), to review the documents. He said all the documents had gone to Regina to their lawyer. I said it doesn’t matter and hung up. I went into sobbing. It did matter; was scared of whether I’d say the right thing; what I would say. I kept having thoughts in my head of all different times through the years. In 1992, the priest from Big City writing me a letter saying, “We recognize you are a Victim.” Days of in so much fucking pain and I’d ask myself why I was doing this and the answer would immediately come; that it wouldn’t be finished if I didn’t.
 One day that week, I left work at noon. Another day, I bought myself a bouquet of red, orange and fuchsia flowers. I was feeling alone and detached. A woman phoned me at work; saying a guy in her life was still abusing her; I felt totally detached; hung up the phone thinking about what does the word psycho mean? Having no feelings or emotion all of a sudden and then it would be there and overwhelming. Started rereading my journals one night at 3 am. Quit. Not reading anymore. Sick of living in the past. Felt same now as back then. Worthless. The next day my groin muscles went into spasms; could hardly sit or walk. Sometimes in such shame, as if scared someone would see me and yet; as if wanting someone to take care of me. People were starting to notice at work that something was wrong. Deciding whether to talk to anyone about it or not. Told about four women and said to one the day before the examination; that I am confronting the ugliness of humanity.
Song lines come into my head:
We are the prairies
We are the women that bleed
Come from earth mother
Who give of our seed
Welcome us home again
Give us your wisdom of life
Let us heal each other
In times of strife
Help us feel connection
Hear our pain and our despair
Giving hope to others
When we’re not there.
Thought about taking a teddy bear in and holding it in front of me. The day before was my son’s birthday and I cried for 2 hours. The lawyer phoned that the binders of my journals were back if I wanted to pick them up to read through. I did go get them and opened them up to find a $9.46 cheque from their lawyer to my lawyer for photocopying.
 THE DAY OF THE EXAMINATION OF DISCOVERY: 5 am – walk to the donut shop. JOURNAL: I am in fear and I will listen to that fear. My lawyer said be concise and not expand as what I say will be used against me. Tthis is twisted; or is it me seeing the dark side; or is what is happening this day abuse? We know what happened; the church has admitted it and I am being questioned for hours. What is that if not abuse or torture? Tough day at work yesterday but some high points; the woman who came in to have her final expenses paid; gave me a hug and said she wishes she could keep seeing me.
I had so many phone calls of support and a woman at work gives me this card with the following with no author:
“The Oak Tree
A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak trees leaves away
Then snapped its bough and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark
But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke
How can you still be standing Oak
The oak tree said I know that you
can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away, shake my limbs, make me sway
But I have roots that stretch in to the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You’ll never touch them for you see
They are the deepest part of me
Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I’ve found with thanks to you
I’m stronger than I ever knew.
The card went on to say, “I know you can get through this, you’re good and you’re strong and you have a lot of people around you who care, people like me.” It made me cry. The woman who gave it to me is a born again christian who used to be a catholic. I was wondering what the day would be like; knew I’d live through whatever comes; knew I had righteous anger. Jesus had been angry was a thought that morning. All of a sudden felt like I had lots to say; wondering if I was over prepared; have so much in my head. No holds barred feeling. Smoking lots. Guess I’ll be in fine form if I get to express all day. What will I take with me? Shoes? Lunch? Smokes? Glad I was able to do the birthday supper with ice cream cake for my son yesterday.
 Leave the donut shop and walking home down the main drag.. Still quite dark. Weird.Guy who is partially blind with a walking stick who I nearly ran into the other day; is on my right on the opposite sidewalk. He is a little behind me and all of a sudden is making crying noises and yelling out loud; WHERE WERE YOU and he is letting out this big cry.
 In my head I’m thinking, “what is going on here as they were the same words I always went through to do with Jesus being on the right hand of the Father. That was my question and there, on this day; it was being answered, “In the person next to us; beside us.”
 And with that, there was a song in my head to the tune of glory, glory halleluiah;

I want for everyone of us the freedom I have now
I want for everyone of us the freedom I have now
I want for everyone of us the freedom I have now
The freedom I have now.

Freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom
The freedom I have now.

 I walked into my house; in the bathroom mirror saw my third eye big and red – swollen like a hive in the middle of my forehead.
 I was to be at my lawyer’s office at 9am for final instructions and together we would walk to the building where it was to be held. When I got there, I was told location had changed, the church’s lawyer wouldn’t be there until 10:00. My lawyer had nothing to add so told me to go for a walk. I walked around the block for awhile; then took up residence in the conference room in the lawyer’s office where it was to be held. Court reporter came at 9:45, my lawyer was in the room at 10:00 and we waited. He was late – and 15 minutes later; my lawyer phoned theirs. He had had an eye appointment; couldn’t see; was on his way. Made me smile – couldn’t see. At 10:30 he walked in and he started.
It was brutal and at times it wasn’t. He had me review abuse. How it affected me.
At one break in the proceedings, that lawyer bolted out of the room. I think it was when I was bawling so bad; like a child. He ended it; for a lunch break. I enjoyed my lunch by myself at the river. I was back in the room before the lawyers. I felt for the court reporter. It was like I took care of her at the noon hour. She said felt like she was intrusive; like she was going to be sick. I told her she had the most important job and about debriefing that night. Bottom of my back was so bad shape. Some of the questions about having a strained relationship with my kids; ability or inability to sustain relationships; trust anyone. All true. In some ways can’t sustain a relationship and in some ways can sustain a relationship more than most.
 At end when found out it was over and didn’t have to go back the next day; as if I could have laughed in sheer exhilaration. I walked out of there after 3:30 and into my lawyer’s office who talked about a bunch of things to me but later had no idea what he said At about 5 to 4, I told him there were about forty women who supported me at the Mendel Art Gallery in about fifteen minutes. He said how lucky I was; commenting that most people have very few in their life that are there for them.
 I walked along the river bank for the 15 minute walk and when I walked into the basement of the art gallery and saw everyone; WOW: what a feeling! I was so happy to see my kids; I went over and gave my son a hug and said, “I lived through it” and a hug to my daughter saying, “It’s over.”
AFTERWARD:
 For my kids, one said going to the art gallery for the gathering was like going to a funeral. For the other one, it was like a wedding. There were forty eight who came. I felt so many had been there for me. One woman who was facing death with breast cancer had phoned, telling me I have a lot to teach others. A few days later I journalled.
Nov. 10, 2001.Stripped bare. Memories of the priest; cloth of his clothes rubbing against my bare bum. What I’d like the church to know. I lived on a farm. I had a dad. I knew my dad. The only FATHER I knew was Father Allinblack. Church ruled our house When he drove into the yard and knocked upon the door, we had to go. We had no choice. Obey your father and mother. Mother was Mother Church. I had a mom. Only mother I knew was Mother Church. Father said that every Sunday for thirty years. Pray for Mother church. A father raped and abused me in Mother Church. Don’t say they didn’t play a parental role. A doctor told my mom she couldn’t have any more children. She went to the bishop and asked if she could have birth control. NO! The church ruled our lives. What happened to the church takes care of widows and children. I am a widow of the church. The child inside me lived in terror of father and mother church. Father and sisters of service showing me pictures of fires of hell and the red devil with the fork. At that time, we went to Sunday mass, first Friday mass, benedictions, stations of the cross, blessed Sacraments. My brothers who would later abuse me were the alter boys, where did they learn it from? We’d say the rosary kneeling; the priest would round us up for catechism. I’d see the terror in girls’ eyes; little girls, their eyes bulging out; would be chosen to tidy Father’s house. Father drove me to 4-H. Sister taught me to sew. The church picnic; remember the whole time I’m there; to watch where Father sits ; where Father moves; so he doesn’t get my sisters again. Father left when I was 12 When I was 13; I had my first depression; safe to feel. I turned to religion. God. Church was my family. Got married. Husband is head of the house church says. Trauma as an adult. Know church knew a priest abused, moved the priest, priest then abused guy I know, the guy asked church for help; is questioned for days. Knowing what they did; they did not give him a fair settlement. What you do to the least of your brothers, that you do unto me. WHEN YOU KNOW IT HAPPENED and you still questioned me for four hours, that is TORTURE. Keet thinking of all the references to how many times I’d been referred to a psychiatrist. Am I MPD? Printing in my journal like a little girl. Still so angry of what I and my kids go through
On weekends I would cry for hours. Had to take some EAP appointment times from my work.
Bright spot.The landlady for my new house to be, brought the rental agreement for me to sign. Beautiful new home soon.
 I saved my sister’s lamp; my sister who had also been abused by the priest and died. I’ve saved this lamp for well over fifteen years. After the examination of discovery, I took it back to Dads with the thought, I see enough. I took all the religious song books I had gathered over the years to Dads. Think back to what that day;the examination of discovery was like The whole process was sickening. My lawyer had said he’s a hired gun to get ammunition and that I shouldn’t try to explain anything as he wouldn’t understand and that he would use anything he could against me. For weeks after; I’d try to sleep and my guts would just be rolling. Sickening shit. My sheets would smell and my nightgown would smell like churchy incense. Where the hell was it coming from?
Out at Dad’s told him when I walked into a lawyer’s fancy office in 1993, and it had high wing back french provincial chairs; tables of cherry wood; and how my boots had left mud and water all over the floor; the shame and embarrassment I went through. Now I’d like to wipe my boots on their floor. I was telling Dad I felt empty; just so totally empty.
 I talked about how the lawyer had told me he had sent my receipts to the church so I could be paid. He never had. One of the lawyers told me they were in touch with that guy’s lawyer who had also been abused by a priest. This lawyer representing me at the examination for discovery, knew nothing about it. How angry I am that all the decisions are made in the phone calls. Told Dad that it felt over and I am going to go on and enjoy my life. Dad sat at the table shaking his head through it all; not really saying anything to my commentary.
 I went home and it wasn’t that easy. Still angry lines in my head kept coming of what I’d like to say to that church lawyer. “Did you go to sleep every night for the last year playing lullabies to get to sleep? Do songs come from inside of you saying, Give me a reason to go on?” A poem comes:
Wait for me to come out of hiding
Where I’ve been for oh so long
Living in freshness
Loving you as you are
Living in the darkness
Deep inside I wait for you
Tell me what you want from me
And I will give to you
Listen to my horror
Hear me tell you how it was
Heaven isn’t here for me
It never was
Hatred gets us nowhere
Healing helps us on our way
Heaven can be anywhere
When I’ve had my say
Say whatever you need to say
I can hear you out today
Take my hand and we will stay
Together we will pray
Pray for each other
Prayer can be just anything
It can be whatever you say
Sleep now and dream again
Sleep and create whatever you need.
Whenever I wasn’t at work, I was crying; in body pain; inside my groin was the fear; left lung and shoulder area the grief. All felt ridiculous; going to work was hard; it was there; like this deep despair or hopelessness inside; that I would succumb to the pain; the despair and not get out.
I went for a massage and to sing. A woman at singing led a meditation and asked each of us to go to a safe place. We went around in a circle and everyone spoke of where they went. Many went to a childhood home, others to a church. I said mine was right there with them inside myself.
 People at work were telling me really heavy stuff; like a co-worker told me about when she had attempted suicide; another about her child running away and having to call the police. Another about the abuse she experienced at the hands of her father. I was still thinking about that song that just came out and about prayer. Wondering what does pray mean. Is it a wish or intent?
 I went to the women’s sweat held on an acreage just outside the city. Driving out there with the Métis and First Nation’s women; listening to all our nervous chatter. No one had been on a sweat before. We had put money together and bought the cloth that was a gift to the creator or spirit or something. The elder leading it said her sweats’ colors were yellow, red, green and white so one of the women had gone to the fabric store and bought a length; about a metre of those colors of broadcloth. The other things we were to bring was a long nightgown, a towel; a blanket and some food for the feast after. Either sweetgrass, tobacco or a small gift of money could be given to the elder leading the sweat. When we got there, she suggested we go into the bedrooms and bathroom to change in to our nightgowns and nothing else and carry our blanket out with us. We walked outside in the snow with our boots on; stood outside the dome shaped sweat that had been built behind the house. The guy preparing the sweat continued his preparations. He had been keeping the fire going all day; and there were rocks in the fire that were red hot. He smudged each of us; him holding the smudge as we stepped our bare feet over it and then we stepped inside the dome. This dome was made out of willows or some kind of trees; covered in cloth as far as I know and after we were all in; and prayers were begun; rocks were passed in.The rocks were called the grandfathers. A pipe was passed around with prayers being said and then more rocks came in on a pitchfork and each of us were asked what we wanted out of this.
I wanted to feel connected from the inside out. We were in total darkness inside this dome sturcture and water was poured on the rocks and it was hot. In between each fifteen to twenty minute session; the flap would be opened and more rocks put in.. The steam was burning my nostrils and it was hard to breathe. It does do something though. When I came out, the women all commented that I looked years younger. I felt like something big had happened in there but no idea what. The elder said the eagle spirit has visited. So much I don’t understand. When she was talking about something after it was over, she was saying if women are needing more energy or power, they would wear skirts at that time and would have more energy.
 I spent a whole day Saturday with the women I used to meet in the country for a last group meeting. We couldn’t use that space in the country anymore so one of the women asked if we could meet at my house which was okay with me. I wasn’t in the new house yet and I was sharing. Felt good.
 I was called into my supervisor’s office at work and gently reminded that if I didn’t have a permanent job at SGI by next October I would be let go.I didn’t need reminding but appreciated him talking about it; and was so close to crying, Before the session ended, talked to him and my manager about what I had just gone through at the examination of discovery. They were both very supportive saying ask for what you need and asking if I was aware of the Employee Assistance Program. As I walked home from work a little while later, the tune to the Bridal March was in my head.
 The move to the new house was the easiest move I ever had. A friend helped by washing walls with me after I packed and another by being there to meet the movers at nine am while I was at work. She was at the new place to let them in. She brought the key to me at work at 11:45am and it was all done.
 Dec. 1, 2001. Journal: “ I’m in and I’m unpacked and it’s beautiful. The view across the river is spectacular; like looking into the country. The piano sound!!! WOW!”
All of the move went terrific. Nothing broke, damaged. Excellent.
 My friend who helped wash walls came over; helped unpack; washing dishes; making the bed. The next day, my grandson came and said, “Gramma, you’re only supposed to have one toilet.” That night, I woke up and saw the moon and stars out my bedroom window. How beautiful is that! I can even go out on the deck from my bedroom.
 Christmas that year. All I own is one set of teeny white lights. Laid them across the piano. A song comes.
I really want to live
To live and love again
To keep keeping on even when I’m troubled
I’m sleeping easy now, have no worries or no cares
So why am I crying so despairingly
I want to share my life with someone I can love
Who cares what I’m thinking and I’m feeling
Who listens to my songs
Who can see when I am wrong
And cares enough to honestly tell me
Someone who’ll spend the time
Getting to know what’s me and mine
And all that I so deeply do care about
I know that when I find
Caring within my mind
My world will reflect my deep deep caring.
I wrote a work exam that week; challenging the bodily injury insurance class on a Monday and a beginning insurance class on Friday.I t was an attempt to have what I need for the educational requirement if a permanent job opened, and taking into consideration my previous education. The manager asked and I agreed to spend a few hours a day training a man coming into the injury department.
 I was a PIR I. That week a PIR II job opened. I applied.
 I went to my sister’s for the weekend. A song comes amidst lots of despair.
I’ve been walking such a long long time
And it seems like there’s nowhere to go
There doesn’t seem a point; a reason for it all
We’re all on the same road home.
Why tell me why are we living here
Why tell me why are we living at all
We’re all going to die, it hurts right here
So why tell my why the reason for it all.
Sleep baby sleep and don’t ask why
Some things you don’t want to know
We keep you innocent for just so long
You’re like us – you’re out in the cold.
It’s out in the cold that we learn to live
To appreciate the basics of life
The sun and the moon and the stars in the sky
They’ll be there to welcome us home.
The examination for discovery document arrives. One hundred and forty eight pages. One thousand and fifty six questions detailed what that day was like. More than half the questions were asking me to look at the documents we had submitted to substantiate our claim and whether they represented a true and accurate copy of the original document. If I said it did, it then became an exhibit for future purposes.
As I wrote earlier, there was the actual questioning regarding the abuse and I won’t repeat it as there was nothing new in the questions or my answers that haven’t been written about in here.
Questions reviewed the chronology of my life; where I fit in my family, what churches I attended, what schools, everywhere I had lived. Many questions were about the counselling and doctors I had throughout my life and if any one was new or different, then I was asked to undertake to provide authorization for the church lawyer to be able to get any information from my file with that person.
There were many questions about my memory or lack of it and my psychological condition through out my life. I was asked to explain what I meant by each piece of information listed in my statement of claim. More authorizations for me to sign. They were regarding the undertakings and I was to get them back to my lawyer. I did.
They were directing the following to release any and all information they had on me to the church lawyers; places like the Sexual Assault Centre, the family service agency I had used, the Crown Prosecutor’s files, the RCMP files, Oiltown’s RCMP information regarding complaints against my brothers; and the medical clinic records.
 I went to a Christmas Party. My gift was a huge teddy bear. An aboriginal co-worker came to see my new house and the next morning,asked if she could decorate. She did; and had beautiful greenery going up the stair rail and across the landing. It was beautiful but seemed weird; Aboriginal; little angels in the greenery; Christmas? What am I doing? I went walking by the river one morning – the hoarfrost on the trees and a pink sky; a winter wonderland.
 Coming up to Christmas was hard. Was in really rough shape. Yuck
 A friend from BC phoned and said would pay half my airfare if I would come out for three or four days. I said I couldn’t as I was too tired or down to phone an airline. Just too down.
 Since the examination of discovery and my move, I was having these dreams about their being shit in every room and I was pulling up the blankets.The guy I had been seeing moved soon after I did to within walking distance of me; he wasn’t interested in spending time with me; but was phoning all the time and I knew he was wanting emotional support; or that’s what I felt like I was giving.It was irritating me. I wasn’t getting his.
 The last day of the year in 2001, I did a review of the year; and realize I had gone out for New Year’s; had my own birthday party; sung my own songs; went to new employee orientation for the new PIR I job; still had New Hope, volleyball and singing;can’t forget the trip to England. I was still being grandmother once a week; learning to golf; volunteering at the theatre, took my first vocational rehabilitation class; did that month of house sitting; church offered 20,000; I said no; the examination of discovery; the support of so many at the art gallery gathering before and after that; going to a sweat; moved to the new house; my grandson turned three; we had a party in the new house; challenged two classes; worked full time and made it through Christmas. Even if I was down, I was doing great.
 I found out I didn’t pass one of the exams I challenged. It was the insurance one. I was shocked. I had never failed an exam in my life.
 I woke up at 3 am one of those days thinking that one of the church gifts to me all those years of preaching was to put others first. It allowed me to see another’s view or others perspective and I saw that as a good thing. I lay there at three am thinking and wondering what that has to do with anything.
 Days later, a song with music came into my head:
I am at home
I am at home
Oh, I am at home
Wherever I am.
And it just kept repeating.
And then one day soon after, my brother phoned to say Dad was on his way to a Saskatoon hospital by ambulance and asked if I would meet him there. A co-worker drove me; and I waited there by myself till 9:30 when the ambulance arrived. Dad wasn’t talking but was able to nod. Looked okay. A nurse told me he had nosebleeds for days and his blood pressure was way too high. I waited till afternoon till they got his nose packed and stopped and my brothers were there. Thank goodness as it all seemed too much and I had that want to lay down and die feeling.
 Wrote: have such longing; unsure what for as God has been replaced with a universal love, or a force; connects us all; so what is the longing? Unrequited love is what comes. People tell me they admire me and inside I feel like a loser. Loser. Right !!! I have lost lots but I have gained too.
 I went up to see Dad everyday just about. Wouldn’t you know it; when I was there, a priest came in to anoint him for the catholic sacrament called the anointing of the sick. He didn’t ask dad or me; just handed me a book and pointed to where I was to answer the prayers he started. Even the ones not in the book, I could still say by heart. He closed the book and said, “Now, where did you learn all those prayers?”
 I tried to take really good care of myself. Everything was feeling way too much. My chest was so tight and burning up feeling like I had a chest infection. I thought it was anger. I got a letter from the lawyer in early January enclosing the letter from church lawyer with a list of six more undertakings that I had agreed to provide during the examination for discovery. He asked if I could provide.
I read about the undertakings but couldn’t do anything about it.This anger energy just kept coming out of my chest area like in heat waves.
 Jan. 19, 2002 COLLAGE: Relationships. Lessons in tough love. Not a love I’d subscribe to. I deserve a diploma in relationship. I know how to back people up, support people and the universe has supported me. I can celebrate a rich heritage. The dream has ended; awaiting the prince; there is no such thing. I am my own prince; a partner in my evolvement. I have the chance to develop beauty in body, mind and soul. It’s always been in my heart. I need to feed myself well; easy on the wine; be free of smoking. I’m building a home rich in spirit; beauty; a cozy comfy bedroom; a welcoming living room, taking the time to take care of me; accepting the flowers people give me and playing the game of life with my grandson. It’s time to rewrite her story. I can do it for myself and the rest. There I find my strength and my innocence. Spirit woman is my name.
Jan. 24, 2002 Sat at my table and wrote out what undertakings I was asked to provide such as the doctors name I saw in 1967-68.and then next one all doctors names I ever saw. Then I was to provide authorizations for all those doctors as well as one to get court documents regarding custody arrangements. I was to provide income tax calculations and a copy of my book.
 I had my five sisters at my house for the weekend. We invited three sisters who had been our neighbors when we grew up and they brought their mom, who was my friend Isobel.She went with me when I confronted the priest. We had a wonderful pot luck supper evening with fun and laughter. My youngest sister brought her 6 week old daughter so there was an 80 year old and one 6 weeks old. 
 My sisters covered a lot of relationship issues through the weekend and we were sorting out Dad’s bills; as since he got out of the hospital he wasn’t living at home anymore. He was at my oldest brothers and the plan was to renovate his house. While my sisters talked about relationship issues, I could honestly say my struggle is with aloneness; but know somewhere inside that the bigger struggle is coming together seeking wholeness. We did some singing. We talked about how we all remembered my friend, the eighty year old there who used to sing a song over and over called the Baggage Coach Ahead. Her first husband had died and his body had come by train and she’d been on the same train. Wonder if singing that song; had always been her way of remembering and honoring her experience.
 My sister baptized her baby in the United Church. When the young woman priest poured water over the baby’s head, a niece took a picture. Her mom brought the picture which showed the cross with fire on it. It hadn’t had fire on it when the priest was baptizing the baby.
 After they left on the Sunday, I was in my car and out in the country in minutes. High pitched crying came and as if I was releasing lots of stuff and didn’t feel like it was all mine. Heat kept pouring out of my left hand.
 COLLAGE: The end of an age. The Strong One. Dazzling breakthrough of light. I am the way , the truth and the light It is time for New Life and an end to the tears; the child of pain. I created a healing garden for myself; freedom through journaling; active living with universal life force;a whole lot lighter way to live and I am worth sharing with others. Water is a healer of mind, body and spirit; it grounds me. Renew and replenish will be my mantra as I move out of the ashes into a holistic balance to face the future which is continually changing. I can access inner peace. I am strong medicine; wise counsel; the vital force inside; access is through soft touch. I have intense powers to heal the divisions. There is a new love as I balance my energies; use this energy sense I have; enjoy a peace I deserve. Fitness will reign as I have the information, knowledge and I will gain new insights as I enjoy my new choices. Treat myself. I outlasted the pain and the beauty inside is intact. I am in the know. Back in the flow. Building a serenity garden appeals.
 As I gather doctors names and relook at how many depressions I’ve had, crying goes on and on. Look up the word lament; says its a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. When I cry so much; I ask; are all these tears mine?
I phoned the lawyer and told him regarding the Undertakings that the first doctor. left thirty years ago. No address. Clinic notes kept for last ten years. I gave him list of doctors names. He can make up authorizations for them. He can make up authorizations to get court documentations. For the incomeloss calculation, I reminded I gave him Revenue Canada assessments long time ago and same with a copy of my book. I told him I’d been in like a depression since I went through the examination of discovery.
 Feb. 5, 2002 COLLAGE: The before and after of releasing grief. The running has to end. Grief has an extreme influence on me. I have the advantage. Can look at life most can’t. I can tell it like it is. I have courage and confidence to believe in myself. Before I felt captured and disposable. Now I’m free; moving into that timeless place again; living the present from my heart.
 Had a bone density in 1994 and it was below normal and now had another one and it was worse so I guess it’s years of neglect of my body catching up to me; coffee; smoking and my bones. I need to not only repair and maintain but renew, replenish and move into abundance. My doctor has been telling me to take calcium for years. Finally this week I got some. Making more money makes such a difference. Having food; healthy food to eat is wonderful.
 The stuff to do with the lawyer is always on my mind and feels like a joke to me. It makes me realize why I feel overwhelmed, unsupported, vulnerable, exposed and dealing with trauma. I am. I have to rethink if I want to continue doing what I do at SGI; listening to people in pain. It’s okay if my life is in balance. It’s not and I have to figure that out.
End of February my lawyer sends me a church lawyer letter saying they want more information about doctors I saw from birth to 1978 as well as they wanted us to prove an income loss. He asked me to provide any information about either.
And then a permanent job chance came up at SGI. Permanent Clerk II position at a different claim centre. I was told by my management that I would get a call from that manager sometime the next day. I could tell it was basically the beginning position in SGI. Bugged me that I wasn’t told a set time for the interview. I cancelled a doctors appointment that had taken three months to get.I wrote in my journal the morning of an interview. “know how to establish rapport, comfortable with people, non-judgemental; give good customer service; responsible, punctual, conscientious; ability to set and achieve goals, handle multiple tasks and remain highly organized.” I answered the phone at 11:00 with Sharon speaking and heard, “Can you come down?” “Down?” I say and went to find the manager who was calling and the one who would be interviewing me.
I didn’t have to answer any questions. I asked him what he would like to know about me and he said everyone speaks very highly of me. He offered me the permanent position in a different claims centre; and I would be back in an auto department..It would be filing, reception and more filing. I didn’t have to start until April and I felt okay about it. Thought it would be a chance to re-evaluate my life.
 My daughter helped me go out and buy a lap top computer to celebrate being permanent. I couldn’t believe how despair and down had gone on for these last two months and I could not respond to the lawyer. I wrote in my journal some ideas of what I’d like to say to him but couldn’t put it on paper.
 Dad lent me a TV and first time I turned it on there was a beautiful picture about Ireland and a commercial saying how I could travel there. I could run a marathon; help the arthritis society. I stared at it and thought, “I could do that.”
Early March my lawyer sends letter saying has been in conversation and correspondence with the diocese’s solicitor; that he has convinced them their other offer was way too low. He said they still want to do lengthy examinations of me as well as an independent psychiatric evaluation of me with a psychiatrist of their own choosing. The letter indicated rules of court alllow for this and that due to the costs involved they have agreed to raise their offer of settlement.
The letter indicates the diocese is prepared to make an offer higher than any other Allinblack victim has received; it would be for fifty thousand for a full and final settlement and my lawyer suggests I accept. He indicated that Allinblack has filed financial information and would not have any money to put towards a settlement and reasoning for my accepting the offer was that I would probably get no better if went to pre-trial or trial; there is danget of getting less by a judge’s judgement; recognition that Allinblack’s activities with me had significant effect; church recognizes their grave responsibility.
He reiterated that we could not do better going to court and had a way of saying that it could cost me lots emotionally and financially going on; but ended with if I want to continue, we will with vigour and confidence that it will be resolved.
In the days following as I wrote down things I wanted to say about the lawyer letter; I went to the Arthritis Society and paid one hundred dollars to become a marathon participant for an October 2002 Dublin Marathon. I agreed to fundraise five thousand dollars for the arthritis society. I felt like it could be a fresh start.
 My lawyer phoned and asked if I got the letter with the church offering fifty thousand dollars. I said yes; and I have to think about it. He repeated some of the things in the letter and ended saying his office would get about twelve thousand of that and said, after all he had to feed his family. I was immediately angry and said I’d send him my thoughts.
I sent a five page letter to my lawyer. First page was a list of doctors from birth to present. It also provided signed authorizations not previously sent. It asked my lawyer what my income loss is and what it was based on. Then their were the following three page response of my thoughts.

To My Lawyer:
Re: Your letter March 6, 2002
My Thoughts.
* They can do as many lengthy examinations of discovery as they want. What does it change.
* I am prepared for an independent medical examination.
* March 22, 1993 – In a letter representative of church said, “We recognize you are a victim.” The November 2001 Examination of Discovery for me was like – Stripped bare, Torture – What happened, church admitted it and I was questioned for hours. What is that if not abuse or torture?
* Trying to find a positive note, this whole process allows me to remember who I am.
* $50,000 – Can the authorizations/names of Dr’s be passed on while I am thinking about it.
* $38,000 — $12,000
* $38,000 – my income for 2001 – using a little bit of my potential.
* Do I have to pay taxes on my part of a settlement?
* March 25, 2002 – I start over again – entry level clerk at SGI – to sort mail and file – $24,000 gross/year.
* Daily struggle – fear, how to trust, how not to feel used/taken advantage of.
* $12,000 is a lot of money. In relooking through my file, I note a letter from your office – Sept. 20, 2000 – “I note that it has been in excess of a year since we last met and discussed this matter.”

Thoughts Page 2
* Belief when I get March 6, 2002 letter. It’s not going to go on and on and on. Church beginning to realize the ramifications.
* I have been asked to write a 2nd book; what they want to know is:
* What happened to you and your kids?
* What did the church give you?
* How does the court process work?
* Justice – decisions aren’t made in the courtroom. Made in 3-4 minute phone calls between lawyers.
* I was angry seeing $3-4,000 worth of receipts of me asking for help sitting on table at examination of discovery. Have you ever been on social assistance or in fear of going back there.
* I don’t agree with what others received from Church – “What you do that you did unto me to the least of your brothers…is what I was programmed with from church.
* A 2nd book will be written no matter what happens here.
* Sometimes, when the abuse doesn’t get in the way, I have a direct link with Spirit (when 28 songs come out in 18 days)
* They tell the horrors of abuse and the church’s response. In about September, 2001, 2 chapters came out.

Thoughts Page 3
* My son is on Social Assistance. Not all my kids’ experience is from the abuse I experienced but the experts you speak of in March 25, 1997 Retainer Agreement would make the link.
* 15% – if settled by way of negotiation before a pre-trial conference – is that where we are at now?
* I have lived this for nearly 40 years. I have asked for assistance for the last nine. When I sign my name it is still there; for me and my kids, and as I said, I have to feed my kids.

* We spoke of $75,000. That does not seem unreasonable.

* I want us to be on the same wavelength. I want resolution to this.

* I am interested in hearing your thoughts and answers to some of my questions.

Thanks,
Sharon Speaks

 I was so angry and pissed off at so much. Things like; that I had to take a vacation day to go to the Examination of Discovery. What’s that worth? Who pays for that?
 I bought a new journal. Wrote:“All That I am” The end of so many things; nearly a decade and I have come out on top. Have to pack up my office today. Had an evaluation of my one year as a Personal Injury Representative. Was extremely good. All good things said about me by senior, supervisors and management. I appealed the insurance exam;the appeal went through. I won.
I am now leaving injury department when I have the educational requirements for the job.
I wrote more thoughts to lawyer
To My Lawyer: March 21, 2002
More Thoughts:
* I don’t want to go through any more examinations for discovery or a medical examination.
* Cost is too high for me. I value myself more than that.
* I don’t believe most decisions are made in 3-4 minute phone calls between lawyers as all decisions take into account previous.
* I am tired of it all. I want better for myself.
* When Nov EXAM was over, it felt over.
* $50,000 felt OK. – $38,000 didn’t.
* I appreciate what you and Janice have done and are doing.
* I don’t want to put a lot more energy into this.
* I chose to take the $24,000. job for permanency and long term security.
* Much of what I sid in Mar. 18/02 letter is valid.
* Thank you for doing the best job possible you can do for me.
Sincerely,
Sharon Speaks

And then I receive a letter back from the lawyer. A response to my thoughts. He was saying if the agreement says it was fifteen percent fee if settled before a pre-trial settlement conference, then the amount to me would be slightly over forty thousand and that I was correct about it. He let me know I do not have to pay taxes on the money if I receive a settlement. He wrote about a settlement being a compromise and going to court would be a gamble; a risk and his best advise is to settle for the fifty thousand.
I wrote in my journal regarding all the thoughts I’m sending to my lawyer. “They are thoughts. They aren’t a decision.Hopefully will work out well for all concerned. Realize I am forty seven; seems so old; in my mind like I’m thirty seven and what will people think of me at this new job; new claim centre; forty seven and I’m beginning as a clerk. Doesn’t matter what people think. It’s a job and I’m glad I have it”.
Journal #76: March 2002 I bought that laptop computer for myself for being permanent and hardly use it. My lawyers letter said strongly advises and when he phoned, it was to ask for explicit instructions in writing.
I wrote the letter saying will take the money.
April 5, 2002

My Lawyers
Saskatoon, SK

Dear My Lawyer,

Please advise the Diocesan Corporation of Big City and Allinblack that I accept the offer of $50,000 as full and final settlement and I ask that they consider giving the same amount to Tamara’s House: Services for Sexual Abuse Survivors to go towards weekend retreats for survivors of sexual abuse.
A briefing package is enclosed for you to pass on to the corporation and if you could let them know that I will make sure they receive recognition for the contribution towards healing for many survivors.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Sharon Speaks

I receive a letter from my lawyer thanking me for my written instructions of April 5, 2002. He attached a copy of the letter he faxed to the diocese’s solicitor saying I agreed to the fifty thousand dollar settlement and how I wanted church to give money to Tamara’s House. He had enclosed the briefing package for the church. He said if church decided to give money to Tamara’s House, church solicitor would let him know. When the solicitor forwards the money to him, he will sign all necessary documents to conclude the case and let me know.
An April 10, 2002 letter is sent to me saying my settlement cheque has arrived at my lawyer’s office. A cheque in the amount of forty one thousand,twenty eight dollars and twenty seven cents, whihc is fifty thousand less my lawyer’s statement of account is available for me to pick up with their statement of account as well as two binders to give back to me. They wanted me to pick it up as soon as possible.
I phone. He said to bring a big bag or box to pick up the binders. He added he’d leave it at the front counter. I said I’d come at 4:45. I went and picked it up; walked one block to the car; then to the Credit Union and put it in the ATM.
 The end of 9 years.
 I was studying for two finals for the insurance industry so went home and studied.I started my new job at the different claims centre in April 2002 Permanent. Figured out I spent fourteen hundred dollars on my little seven hundred ford escort since Christmas.
 My new manager told me I didn’t know how to empty the coffee filter basket the right way and so I stood through a ten minute instruction time.
 Tamara’s House was in the provincial budget money that year. I had an idea I’d like to have a Friday night sleep over there with a Saturday breakfast and potluck lunch and leave by Saturday at 5 pm in this new house for survivors to feel like we fit there. Had the thought that Tamara’s House needs to have some people on their board that don’t have a home of their own.
 A friend I went to school with from grade one to twelve and livd with arthritis from the time of childhood became what was called my HERO; the one I would walk the marathon in honour of when I was fundraising for the arthritis society. 
 I went to a financial planning seminar. I was on a winning streak. I won opera tickets, a landscape credit for one hundred and fifty dollars and tickets to a seventy five dollar plate dinner.
 I phoned the financial advisor and found out I had ten thousand dollars in my RRSPs in the past two years. YES ! That was shocking.
 I took a typing test at work as I need sixty wpm to move up the clerical ladder. Made 56. I notice when I work in the injury department, I love the work; I’m in the moment but have no energy after work. Now, I’m a clerk in the auto department and I have energy after work.
 Tamara’s House Board of Director’s asked me to meet with them and talk about the future of this house that was built; talking about what survivors in the past wanted in a house. I went thanking them for asking my opinion. I talked about where I had come from in 1992 to 1995; being a survivor in the middle of it; and in 1995 being staff at the drop in; listening to survivor’s voices; more personal healing; and coming back to the house as staff. At that time, my work was the community development work developing workshops and fundraising. I talked about the volunteers that spent hours listening to survivors and the development of the missions and goals; wondering what had been added. I asked aloud where survivor’s voices were now. A week previous I went for a tour of this new house. Each year since it opened in 1995 there had been a long sheet of survivor’s voicing their wants, needs and dreams for Tamara’s House. They had always been visible, front and centre and now those six big sheets were behind a door.
 I spoke of survivors those first years wanting a serenity room, a soft room, big back yard, a speak out wall, swing set, hot tub; lots of couches, library, art area, art classes, group therapy, massage, counsellors on staff, anger room, somewhere to go for support 24 hours a day, place to wail; porches, baking and cooking in the kitchen, sandbox and toys, pool table; TV with closed captioning, education of doctors, nurses; the whole house be the healing centre;
 My ideas were that when the survivor is there it’s like her home; the doors are locked and it’s not a public place; staff have the keys and take crisis calls; listen to survivors; but that there are also volunteers that come to listen. A survivor might come to drop in and on a good day; make cookies; muffins etc., and on a tough day; be able to share and have someone to listen. Other things wanted by survivors had been a sewing room; reading, music; an office type with computer; indoor plant room; massage. Now I’d say dig up the parking lot for a garden. Have an overnight room for up to two weeks. My belief had always been that survivors will create what they need. I really wanted the opportunity there that sometimes a survivor was there to heal, sometimes to volunteer and sometimes staff to be there for others; to lead the workshops, education, etc.
 I wanted there to be the chance to work towards a retreat centre in the country. I did not believe it is okay to call it a residence or a facility. Enough aboriginal women had been abused in residences. I felt there were a lot of rifts between survivors, the board; staff, volunteers as well as between Tamara’s House and other agencies in town and thought there had to be ways to work through those. In speaking to other women, I knew everyone had a different answer of what Tamara’s House would be for them but many always spoke about wanting it to be like a home away from home. Most wanted someone to listen. I wondered what, with the budget money, were they now obligated to do and who did they owe? What does it cost to keep the doors open? With and without staff? A sleepover has very little cost. For myself, I see it as a part of a life long process of healing; and can be a connecting place for people.
 At home, I hooked up the internet.May 2002
My letter to all who were there for me:

Hi,

My newest adventure – MARATHON in IRELAND – October of 2002.

Why? Saw a T.V. ad – raise $5000.00 for the Arthritis Society – thought, “I can do that.”
I want to stay in touch with you; you who believed in me and supported me through the last decade. The civil suit is just over (see insert) and I want a new beginning. Celebrate Life! It will be fun. 26.2 miles. (When I first thought I could do this, I thought it was 26km; this is 42km.) I’m feeling a might challenged.
I can look at it another way; get to walk on Irish soil; where some of my fore-mothers and fathers walked. Cool! More than fun. Exciting.
I have a friend with Arthritis and know many with forms of arthritis such as lupus and fibromyalgia. I went to school with my friend for our first 12 years. She has lived with arthritis since childhood. This and misdiagnosis has her struggling with always present pain, lack of understanding from others of what she goes through and limitations such as writing difficulties form the loss of wrist movement and strength in her hands.
Personally, I shrunk ¾ of an inch in the last year and losing bone density similar to my mother’s struggle with osteoporosis so an increase in walking (training for a marathon) will dense those bones again.
I am asking you for a donation to the arthritis society. This will help me, my friend and countless others through the ripple effect. All the money goes straight to Saskatchewan Arthritis Society and you get a tax receipt. My goal is to have the money in place by June 15, 2002 so I can concentrate on the training. It is actually on Oct. 28, 2002 in Dublin, Ireland. The back of this sheet has a fun way of looking at a contribution. Thank you for being there in the past and I look forward to connecting with you.

Sincerely,

Sharon Speaks

I choose to sponsor Sharon Speaks and honor her friend and others with Arthritis by giving the following amount to The Arthritis Society.

$5000.00 A stunningly generous sum. Together, we shall end Arthritis.

$2000.00 I want to know more people like you.

$100.00 Yes, I love it!

$78.60 At $3.00 per mile, I will think of you every step of the way!

$20.00 Very symbolic for me of how many wonderful people there are in our world.

$2.00 Please reconsider. Did I mention this is 42K?

In any case, I appreciate any and all donations. Cheques would be made out to the Arthritis Society. If you would rather mastercard/visa, phone me the details. Take care.

SHARON SPEAKS AN ADDRESS SASKATOON, SK PHONE NUMBER

INSERT:First, thank you for buying the book. I mentioned the civil suit is over. Wish the pain and anger were gone too. Still a struggle some days but much better. In Oct. 2001, the church offered me $20,000. I had originally gone to the church in 1992 and to a lawyer a year later. It took 4 years for the civil suit to be filed and the first $20,000 was the first concrete offer. I said No, and went through an Examination of Discovery in Nov. of 2001 where a church lawyer questioned me. It was hard. In Jan. of 2002 the R.C. Corporation wanted me to gather more information such as every Dr. I had from birth on, police and court records, etc. That was a struggle for me and in March of 2002 when they offered $50,000., I accepted it as a full and final settlement. After I paid the lawyer and repay the Dept. of Justice the $1000.00 they loaned to me in ‘93-‘95 for counseling, it is over. I have $40,027.28. I put away for a year until I decide what to do with it; maybe put towards a house or something. Interesting that when I accepted the offer, the money was sent immediately. I am writing a 2nd book about the whole process and the marathon will be a light relief.
Thank you very much for being part of my life journey and for your support. Many times it was that, that kept me going. I do grief and pain well. The next decade JOY and PEACE, right?

Song comes:
I can do anything I want
You can do anything you want
I can do anything I want
Life is living free
Tell me what you want to do
Tell me what you want for you
Treat me nice and gently
And that is what I want for you
Living life oh so free
Living life as it was meant to be
Listening inside for the seed
And creating what ever I need.

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