It has been four months since I last published a blog post here. I feel awkward picking up from where I’ve left off, and I’ve re-written the start of this paragraph at least six times.
At one point, I wondered if I should even bother. Perhaps my prolonged absence from blogging is a sign that I should take a break from it. I mean, how do I get back into it when I’ve been MIA for so long? How do I catch up? Do people even care? Do I even care?
All of these questions bounced around in my head during those four months “away” when life was zooming by at full speed. I’m happy to say that things have slowed down now and that life has resumed at a more steadier pace, so I had a bit of time to think about it.
And here’s what I discovered.
During those four months of not being able to sit, write, create and publish blog posts, I actually turned to journalling instead. My blog posts may have been quiet, but the pages in my journal have been filling up with untangled thoughts.
And I felt so much better with every scribbled page.
This solidified something “new” about myself: at the end of the day, I need to express myself.
Whether it’s through photography or DIY creations shared on this blog, or whether it’s writing poems and documenting my day and how it made me feel in my journal, I have an innate need to nurture my expressive and creative outlet.
So this is a long-winded answer to say: No, I am not taking a break from blogging.
I will continue to share inspiring and helpful posts when I can here, and I will also continue to journal privately. Both have been beneficial to me during these strange times, and I’m excited to keep exploring that. Who knows, maybe one day, those two worlds will collide.
So, even though I can’t promise regularly scheduled posts, I am happy to say that I am still here.
So where have I been?
First and foremost, all is well. Life just got hyper-busy towards the tail end of this year. A lot of changes were happening in our personal and family life, and it all happened in a very compressed timeframe.
From the end of August to end of October, my time and energy were being pulled in many different directions. I’ve decided to share them here.
Not only as a life update for those who are curious or those who are looking to relate to someone else’s story, but to actually honour these life experiences here, and what I’ve learned from them.
End of August: Postponing our reception (again)
We were meant to have a simple brunch reception of 60 guests at our venue in October 2021. It seemed promising when we resumed planning it in the middle of summer, but not too long after, uncertainty crept up again.
Aside from the COVID-related weariness and delays, a lot of family changes were happening at the same time. My husband’s grandfather was in the hospital, and my parents sold their house, bought a condo in another town and were preparing to officially retire. It did not feel right to plan a reception during these times, so we put an indefinite pause to it, and decided to shift our focus on family.
Sure, signing that postponement contract for a second time pinched my heart a little, but there was something comforting about ridding ourselves of the the exhausting process of decision fatigue and planning ahead during a prolonged pandemic. We actually let out a big sigh of relief when we sent off the contract. That’s when we knew we made the right decision.
In fact, realizing that just a year ago, my husband’s grandfather attended our virtual wedding, and my parents’ home wasn’t packed up in boxes, made us feel so relieved that we followed our gut a year ago. Life is funny that way.
September: Honouring a life
As if by sheer irony, a week after that postponement, my husband’s grandfather passed away. When I first met him five years ago, he welcomed me with open arms. Flashbacks of family reunions in The Soo and seeing his smiling face waving at us on a screen during our virtual wedding saddened my heart. This was my first time experiencing close family loss on my husband’s side, so it was a new experience for us both, navigating through grief and mortality together. It made us hug each other even more tightly every day.
We took time off work and drove up eight hours to Northern Ontario for his grandfather’s intimate funeral service. Having the ability to gather with family and honour a life is something I felt lucky we got to do. Not being able to do something as important as mourning and having that closure in person was actually one of my biggest fears of the pandemic. We truly felt like we were in the best case scenario, in one of the saddest periods of life.
The day after the funeral, my husband and my in-laws brought me to the cottage that his grandparents used to own and where they would spend their Summers growing up.
And almost as if to say hello, there was this sunset across the cottage shore, sinking quietly over Lake Superior. Sitting so high on the shore rocks made me feel like I could touch this sunset, yet the panoramic vastness and the deafening silence that came with it, made me feel so small. Sunsets like these make me feel vulnerable to the grandness and beauty of this planet, and the finite life that we have on it.
Being brought here felt like stepping into an intimate chapter of my husband’s past and childhood, and how much his grandfather meant to him. I felt so honoured to be a part of that memory.
September: Packing away 32 years in boxes
Once we returned to Toronto, my brain shifted gears to helping my parents pack up their home, and 32 years worth of memories. Selling furniture that had been part of our homes since we started our new life in Canada in 1989 hit me in a way I wasn’t ready for. I honoured the moments of sadness, and I also embraced the joyful gratitude of a happy childhood.
But the empty rooms felt so strange. I came to realize that it’s because they’ve been empty for almost two years.
Images of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, birthdays and graduations, anniversaries and job milestones, overseas visits and travel stories shared around the dinner table floated by as I stood in the empty dining room. All those gatherings felt like a long lost time.
The most recent memories that happened in this house, engagement and wedding celebrations, felt especially hard. I replayed the scene of my Dad happily serving champagne to my in-laws during our engagement dinner, unbeknownst to us that a pandemic was looming around the corner. Those crystal champagne flutes were packed somewhere in a box.
It all felt so strange and fleeting to pack up decades and chapters of your life, when life was on pause to begin with. In a way, I too was grieving.
October: Helping my parents move further away (and coming to terms that they are aging)
No one ever wants to think about their parents leaving us, but having just returned from a celebration of life and shifting to help my parents start their retirement journey during a pandemic, opened some unexpected flood gates to a lot of worry and anxiety. Seeing your parents getting visibly older, accepting that they are moving further away from you and aren’t just a 20 minute Uber ride away, and acknowledging what all this means, hits you a certain way that no one prepares you for.
But once I allowed myself to dreadfully feel those feelings, my clouds cleared up and I was able to focus on the present reality: my parents are healthy, they are mobile, and they are starting a milestone chapter in their lives. Amidst the stress of moving, they were actually excited about their new life in the cutest of ways. I needed to be present with them for that.
Downsized and settled in their new condo just an hour away from the city, we celebrated Thanksgiving on new furniture, with unpacked boxes surrounding us. We enjoyed a colourful walk in the park nearby, and explored new coffee shops and bakeries in their new neighbourhood. They shared their plans for Christmas, Spring and Summer, and it comforted me to hear that. It made me feel that everything will be alright, and that they will be just fine.
So that pretty much sums up where my mind and soul have been during these last few months of the year.
2021 started in a weird, monotone lockdown life that painfully lasted for six months. Then, we had a small glimmer of hope in the summer. And then right back down to a fast forward life change. You can say that it’s literally been a roller coaster of emotions.
So here’s to confusing times.
Here’s to scary and lonely times.
Here’s to times that break you down in tears.
But also, here’s to the strong embrace of a loved one.
Here’s to laughter and relief.
Here’s to the smell of my Mom’s linen closet, my Dad’s herb garden and my bother’s wooden sailboat.
Here’s to feeling confident and in control amongst uncertainty.
Here’s to the humans who understand you and build you up.
And here’s to sunsets on your birthday and lavender cocktails in the sky.
Here’s to you, reader. I hope you are well.
xo 💛 ✨