6. Gratitude

Journal # 82 July 26, 2003 – February 3, 2004

Feeling wonderful sitting home this weekend; thinking thoughts of past, present, future. Ideas re house, a condo or an acreage? Would I choose a realtor? Find out what is out there and add to my choices. Now have a pre-approved mortgage of $120,000. Was told will end up paying $150,000. by time done. I don’t think so. But, I am wanting a home with neighbours. A big part of this is seeing where Dad is at and how alone I feel. I still feel like I have nobody.
A friend came to visit; saw the changes in me since quitting smoking; fifteen pounds of weight gain; the challenges I go through watching aftereffects of abuse on my kids; their relationships. Most challenging is the amount of people phoning who want me to listen; especially to the hard stuff; like when a parent dies or they’re in some deep pain.
Aug 8/03- I know I am in like a despair, a deep, deep pain, and it has gone on a long time, as if nothing else exists, surrendering to it must be happening cause as if nothing else to do; still lots of body pain, as if need to release so that body pain trapped in left leg and hip can escape. I am nearly to the point of asking for help; body pain is so intense. Years ago would have phoned the sexual assault centre. This morning left side of vagina burning; pisses me off; unsure what to do with this raging inferno inside. Christ the light doesn’t mean a thing anymore.
Progress. I gave a bunch of things away. Cleaned out some drawers. Eyes are full of stuff. Bitterness comes into my mind. Healing something re the world or nation these past weeks. What is it? Am I okay without writing a second book or without a house, land or home? What is the issue? Am I worth it? Do I deserve? Crying on my deck; thoughts in my head; what is my purpose?
NO. Know my purpose; not living it. Write a second book.
Next day, changed hours of work to start at 8:30 am as I work best in morning. Maybe do some writing for myself between five and eight am. In fall if I start another class; another distraction. Haven’t been able to sort Dad’s stuff for awhile.
Where I live has such beauty; and I’m going to go with the suggestion someone gave me. When I look for a house I’ll say “This or better”. I like that suggestion.
My daughter phones; saying in the court custody case; they have entered a fifteen page affidavit putting her down; much of it quotes and pages from my first book.
That motivated me to go out and get a printer and work hard on second book. The more I worked on it; better I felt. Saw a financial advisor. Talked about RRSP’s and pensions; putting away extra for a trip; putting some in a term. Will keep renting while it is reasonable; and continue down payment saving. Started making a “Dad’s binders of his life.”
Went out to my aunt’s birthday and took the pre-1950’s binders. Everyone seemed to enjoy. Went to church with Dad and my aunt. Priest’s sermon saying don’t go to to communion if not living right with church and asking all to sign against gay marriage petition. Oh boy. I didn’t go to communion. My aunt asks me to talk to a priest in Saskatoon so I won’t go to hell.
Dream: walking in the town where I grew up; lots of different things being built; looking for a young girl I used to know; another young girl hears me crying and will show me the way.
Dream: as if in a snowbank in Prairietown; trying to catch a train and checking that I have money to do it.
Dream: In a school, as if on twentieth street; girl has sewed a sweater for me; unsure if want it; am wandering out in the country; then in the city; I’m trying hard to get back to where I was.
Wonder if I’m dreaming like this to sort out where I’ve been and where I’m at.
I bought a swing chair. Rearranging house. Singing here the other night . Eight or nine women. Beautiful. Took grandson to the circus. The manager has had me training new personal injury reps. Decided I could not stand the swing chair. I had chosen the cheap one as the beautiful one I really liked was so much money. Was able to phone and tell the furniture store that it does not suit me or my house and have it changed.
Now I have the beautiful leather chair and ottoman, as if satisfied and not feeling like working on my book or binders for Dad. Oh well; notice cyst came back behind my right ear since I started writing book. In Louise Hay’s book, that would be about nursing old hurts.
Listening to brother in law talk about God. My God is Energy.
Sept 2/03: I’m in 1997 to do with my second book. Feels like moving at a snail’s pace.
For nearly a week, everyday I’m sitting with my older cousin at her dying husband’s bedside. On Tuesday went up at noon. He had died the night before. What a weird feeling walking into that room and nothing in there except the empty bed. I hadn’t listened to my messages.
Saw an acreage for sale; a 2 acre yard site. Fell in love with it. Felt like my place.
Dreaming lots; mostly always feeling guilty when I wake from my dreams; guilt I wasn’t able to take better care of my kids; not give them material things; still not providing suppers once a week; think I should be a better gramma. Still so much grief. Looking at houses and funding re houses which I guess moves me to next step. Just like finishing these two insurance classes will get to next step even if it may be five years down the road.
Just realizing it’s 2012 as I write what was happening in 2003 when I was writing about 1997. Strikes me as funny.
Think non stop about the acreage.
October 2003:Wrote the following song with notes:


Feeling good about my work in the injury department. It’s Thanksgiving and my daughter wants a Thanksgiving dinner with me; her brother and stepsisters; offers to come make cabbage rolls and pies with me. They all come. It’s the first time we are together in about six years. Still think everyday about the acreage and now even about building a house on it. Won tickets to the symphony. Invited out to friends. Still get overwhelmed so quick it seems; but am up early writing on my book and it’s always intense. Line from Carolyn McDade’s song “deep is the sorrow” is always there inside. Maybe not enough down time; alone time and yet so alone feeling.
Having new ideas: maybe buy dad’s motor home, or buy a scooter; build that house on the acreage I want; have a dance hall attached and I could teach dance or have retreats. Now I’ve begun taking people out to the acreage. I talked to the bank about money. They said quite the penalty to cash in my money after we set it up in terms. Looked at the motor home again and wonder if I would put the church settlement money into a motorhome? Would that be my church? No. Every moment is my church.
Debating about giving my son pictures of him for his birthday. I have one picture for each of his twenty five years; I could make it into a collage from when he was a baby till now. I went for coffee at my one sister who is still Catholic. I told her about all my ideas and how I am deciding how to write my own will. I’m learning about it through PLEA: Public Legal Education of Saskatchewan.
Woke up one morning early in November and had the urge to go outside immediately. After seeing the following incredible sight; wondered how I could share it with people. These words with music for a song came into my head:


I phoned my dad; singing it over the phone and he said, “that sounds like an Irish Ditty.”
I hear about a child whose parents are fighting and he is wheezing. They call it asthma; I call it fear. I’m working on another insurance class; this one by correspondence. I’m still trying to figure out costs of living on an acreage; to have power and energy in the yard and getting the water tested. I went to the land title’s office. Title is clear for the 2 acres. I dream I’ll be able to be a gramma on an acreage. I told the owner I’m not putting in an offer until I know the water is safe to drink.
Speaking out a lot at work. Wrote head office about the amount of files saying excessive workload is not sustainable; brought up the higher demands since customers are more educated and demand more. Things are changing as management has higher expectations on claims investigations and file documentation. There has been no quantification of what is a reasonable workload. We learned at fall training from the main speaker that when there is a workplace issue; at least eighty percent will be at a policy,system and management level. I just knew, as a PIR; I want more support.
My son asks me to be the token woman at Saturday’s volleyball tournament. I get there before him and find out I’m on the Hoes and Skanks team. Don’t even know what that means. Enjoyed the volleyball. Debating whether I could take my niinety year old aunt and dad to Ireland. Not by myself is what I’m thinking. She just had fluid on her lungs not long ago. Months ago; she had a a vision; is adamant she will not be here for Christmas; as in dying before then.
Spending lots more time these days being gramma. Then a Sunday afternoon in November met my aunt and my dad out at the acreage. They walked around the old school yard in their tall boots. My aunt brought hot tea in a sealer; cookies and sandwiches. We had a picnic.
Friends brought a Christmas tree and decorations. My house is decorated again. I had years of not. So hard to explain to women at work no belief in Christmas; no belief in God. It’s just not there. A few days before Christmas; I put in an offer of $25000. for the acreage. The owners want $35000. Offer has a fifteen day time limit. Scary!
DREAM: As if have gold shoes on; skating on thin ice. I want to leave and young teen boy who is eighteen to twenty years old is attacking or assaulting me. I am fighting him off. He’s a young teen; so unloved; doesn’t matter to anyone; has no Mom.
Kids ask if it feels like Christmas Eve to me. NO. NO JOY. Such grief in body; think if don’t let it go; can’t feel joy. But begs the question, what is grief? Energy? Where does it come from? The pain in my chest area is so intense. Pain in my mid-back; same place my mom used to have pain when her back would go on her is how she described it.
Notice my daughter has kept up the tradition of crepes, whipped cream and strawberries for Christmas morning opening of presents. I had the turkey meal in the afternoon; glad the kids are with me and we can play games.
Next day phoned my aunt. She is alive. So much for the vision that she would die by Christmas. Christmas Day I bit off all my nails.
Dreading that the acreage would be mine. Then what?
New Year’s Eve they say $35000 is lowest they’ll go. I say I’ll look elsewhere. I dressed up in long gown and went to a New Year’s Eve single’s dance with a friend. Danced every dance except about 5. Nice men there; no attraction to any. My daughter and I got into it on New Year’s Day; not sure where that came from except she gave me non stop examples of my judgementalness.
Had singing at my house the night of my January birthday; a friend brought a birthday cake. I is 49. Two friends and I went to Manitou Lake Mineral Spa for the weekend; spent twp days in the water; beautiful healing waters; lake water that has salt in it like the Dead Sea. Restorative! Had my first full body Swedish massage; two wonderful suppers.
I got home and my daughter lets me know she earned her university degree; passed all her classes. YEAHHHHHHHH! She came over for a visit and I told her I would give her a thousand dollar present toward a house down payment.
Went to work next day; and I received a B in my class. That’s a good thing; have eight of the nine I’m hoping to have as they will help with my career at SGI.
Wrote a nine page letter to my friend in England; said at end; feels like a state of the union address. Told her how the one day finished first draft of second book and immediately coming up with ways to get someone to type it; edit it; etc and even though I tell myself to slow down; ideas just a going in my head. The new director from Tamara’s house met with me and asked if I wanted to put together a proposal She said maybe I could be paid for some of this writing. She said if I could put together some things like an example of how to go through the court process or the process in suing the abuser. She talked about how women want to know how to deal with the emotion. All things I’ve thought about and haven’t had the time.
Told her about experiences I have like being at my aunt’s after Christmas and all of sudden in like an exhaustion; that I know from experience is emotion inside. I finally tell my aunt, “I’ve got to wail.”
My aunt said “Like a coyote?”
That sounded funny; but the wailing happened.
She asked “Where did that come from?”
I said “I wish I knew.” It’s so loud and so deep. It seems to go on and on. like a keening letting go of some primal hurt or something. When it’s over the exhaustion is gone and I have energy.
I am in awe that I have this much of my book done. It’s a little less than the first draft of my first book but not much. Right now it feels like it doesn’t matter how many books I’d write. It couldn’t take away the pain of it all. I have to focus on, it’s over. I’m through it. Part of what I go through is the after effects of writing about what I went through. I’m still raw and vulnerable.
I also told her about my aunt who didn’t die by Christmas as she thought she would from her vision and when that didn’t happen; she decided the reason was God was wanting her to get me, Sharon Speaks back to the Catholic Church. My aunt was talking to other nieces; trying to line up a meeting for me with a priest in Saskatoon. I was getting phone calls every second day.
I’m trying to tell my aunt my spirituality is being in the moment and being connected to all that is. I talked to a woman that left the Catholic church and how she is feeling about her six year old grandson being in a Catholic school. She let me know she is telling him there is no hell or devil as does not want him indoctrinated. That makes me cry and cry as I would like to stop the hurting that goes on because of those teachings. Hope my words and my book can be a healing tool.
A woman phoned me out of the blue yesterday saying read part of my first book and that I am a profound writer. Maybe I’m on the right track.
Over the next month I’m trying to figure out grant applications; what the words and terms means, the amounts of money to ask for; to do with book writing. No idea. Like don’t know how to do it. Don’t know who to ask.
My End of Jan 04 home budget: rent $450.; RRSP savings $500.; electrical $70.; energy $120.; phone $90.; car plates $60.; bank charges $13.50; gas $50.; loan $93. Rest -groceries.


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