Grieving the loss of a friend

I wrote this last month(January 24th, 2010), but I thought I’d post it on here. I don’t know, it could actually help somebody out there (which I’m hoping it might).

Today was the day that I began the grieving process of a dear friend of mine, Scott Dunlop. I know a few people would say that I hadn’t seen him in over 15 years so why is it bothering me so much now. Well, for starters, today marked the 2nd anniversary of his death. I guess it was a delayed reaction, I’m not exactly sure why it took so long to hit me, but it did. I mean, I remember the day I found out about it and it was complete and utter shock then. I started thinking that I hadn’t seen any activity on his Facebook account for a bit so in March I thought I’d check it out and I couldn’t believe that I was reading he had passed away on January 24, 2008. I had a little cry then but pushed it down…until today.

I started thinking about the last time we had been in contact with each other. Steve and I were still living in St. Catharines but were planning a move to Corunna over Christmas. Scott was living in Alberta and I had read on his wall that he was planning on coming home for a visit with his fiancee, Christine so I sent him a message and told him we should meet up. He sent one back to tell me the days he would be in town and I told him I couldn’t promise anything since we were moving at the same time. It didn’t pan out since we also had to pull off Christmas with Steve’s family back in St. Catharines and my family here. I thought to myself, oh well, there will always be another time. Since I have family in Fort Saskatchewan, I figured, when we got the chance to visit them, we’d set up a visit with Scott and Christine as well.

Now thinking back to 2 years ago, how difficult would it have been to take an hour or 2 out of moving to spend some time with both Scott and Christine. I would have met Christine and both of them would have met Steve and all together we would have just been happy in the company of friends, old and new. Now we’ll never have that chance again. I still plan on meeting Christine someday since she was such an important person in his life and he was such an important person in my life (even though it had been years). Scott was that person that you could talk to when you felt like no one else was listening or even cared. He was that person that lifted your spirits, helped you to see the beautiful person inside of you. He was always a shoulder, an ear, a smile.

So today while sitting here at home, in Wyoming, Ontario, I couldn’t help but feel a little empty and I took a little drive to Corunna, where we both grew up. I sat down by the water, where his ashes were scattered, and had a little “talk” with him. I thought about the past and laughed a little and cried a little. I also got angry. He left an impression with everybody he met and I don’t know a single person that didn’t care for him deeply. There were people that would have been there for him like the millions of times he was there for everyone else, yet he didn’t reach out. He didn’t ask for help. He would still be here with us today if he would have just reached out for the help he so desperately needed. He hurt a lot of people in the wake of his death. Some will never fully recover. Those who were closest to him were left to pick up the pieces and today it angered me and I told him so.

I’m not writing this to paint him in a bad light. That’s the farthest thing from the truth. He was a wonderful, caring man but he obviously didn’t know how to let others love him in the same way he loved us, in order to save his life. Scott, know that you are and will always be loved. You took a little piece of all of us with you when you left us 2 years ago. But that emptiness that we feel, I know for a fact, not one of us would change it if it meant never having the chance to have been part of your beautiful life.

Love Tanya

The Diary of a Snow Shoveler

For those of you who deal with tons of snow every year, you’ll relate to this I’m sure…LOL

The Diary of a Snow Shoveler

December 8 – 6:00 PM. It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our tea and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses Print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!

December 9 – We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more lovely place in the whole world? Moving here was the best idea I’ve ever had. Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life.

December 12 – The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment. My neighbor tells me not to worry, we’ll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we’ll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I’ll never want to see snow again. I don’t think that’s possible. Bob is such a nice man, I’m glad he’s our neighbor.

December 14 – Snow lovely snow! 8″ last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn’t realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I’ll certainly get back in shape this way.

December 15 – 20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4×4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife’s car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that’s silly. We aren’t in Alaska, after all.

December 16 – Ice storm this morning. Fell on my butt on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt sooooo bad. The wife laughed for an hour, which I think was very cruel.

December 17 – Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should’ve bought a wood stove, but won’t admit it to her. God I hate it when she’s right. I can’t believe I’m freezing to death in my own living room.

December 20 – Electricity’s back on, but had another 14″ of the horrid stuff last night. More shoveling. Took all day. Stupid snowplow came by twice. Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they’re too busy playing hockey. I think they’re lying. Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they’re out. Might have another shipment in March. I think they’re lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he’s lying.

December 22 – Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white stuff fell today, and it’s so cold it probably won’t melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to stop and help my wife. By the time I got back out there again I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter; but he says he’s too busy. I think the jerk is lying.

December 23 – Only 2″ of snow today. And it warmed up to 0. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What? Is she nuts!!!?? Why didn’t she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think she’s lying.

December 24 – 6″. Snow packed so hard by snowplow, I broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the idiot who drives that snowplow I’ll drag him through the snow by his hair and beat him to death with my broken shovel. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at a 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I’ve just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was too busy watching for that rotten snowplow.

December 25 – Merry -GROAN- Christmas! 20 more inches of the white slop tonight. Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. I hate the snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she’s lost her mind. If I have to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” one more time, I’m going to stuff her into the microwave.

December 26 – Still snowed in. Why on earth did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She’s really getting on my nerves.

December 27 – Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze, plumber came after 14 hours of waiting for him, he only charged me $1,400 to replace all my pipes.

December 28 – Warmed up to above -20. Still snowed in. THE WOMAN I MARRIED is driving me crazy!!!

December 29 – 10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That’s the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?

December 30 – Roof caved in. I beat up the snowplow driver! He is now suing me for a million dollars for the beating I gave him !!! The wife went home to her mother. 9″ of new snow predicted.

December 31 – I set fire to what’s left of the house. No more shoveling.

January 8 – Feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. But wonder why I am tied to the bed?

Life Is Short (Long Blog)

Once again, I’m reminded how short life really is.  On Tuesday March 14th, at 12:37 am, a dear friend of mine, Pastor Ian Ruddell, passed away.  Although I hadn’t seen him in several years, I had kept in touch from time to time, speaking to him on the phone a couple of times and through emails.  He had been battling (and winning up until a couple of weeks ago) brain tumours for several years now and always stayed positive that he would beat the cancer growing in his brain.
 
Sadly, the battle was lost and I wanted to share what a wonderful man he was, through some of my own memories of him, as my tribute to him.  I met him and his family in 1994.  When I met him, I was struggling with a low self image and didn’t feel accepted or loved by too many people.  I felt like an outcast.  Possibly part of the reason was due to the fact that I was 18 years old and my father whom I’m very close to was living in Alberta and I in Ontario.  I also didn’t have many friends and the ones that I did at the time weren’t healthy ones.
 
I was living with my aunt and uncle at the time and one of their rules for me living there was that I attend church with them every Sunday.  As much as I hated that idea, I thought to myself, "oh well, it’s just church, it could be a lot worse".  Ian was the Associate/Youth Pastor at that time and he and several other people welcomed me with open arms.  He and his wife had made me feel accepted and loved.
 
As time passed on, I grew closer to both of them and there were a few times that Ian had sat down and talked with me about my life, my low self-esteem, and my overall view of myself, among other things.  He and his wife helped me to see the inner beauty that I possessed and I learned how to accept myself with all my failures and faults.  He taught me that everyone has things that they have failed at but it’s made us who we are and it’s ok, as long as we had learned something along the way. 
 
I eventually became a youth leader and a backup singer in the youth band (since he knew that one of my dreams was to sing).  I recall one time during band practice (when we were first starting out), he told me that he couldn’t hear me in the monitors and flat out told me that if I wasn’t willing to sing louder, then there was no point in me being in the band.  Although it may sound a tad harsh to put it in those terms, it’s exactly what I needed to hear to sing a little louder and begin developing my voice.  He knew my fear of not being able to sing in the band would force me to grow some courage and SING.  That is one gift that he gave to me, the courage to follow one of my dreams.  Although it’s not as far as I wanted to go, I am still content with where I am with my singing.  Since that time, I have been asked to, and have sang at a funeral and at a wedding.  And of course there’s the youth band and the fun that I had with that and the millions of times that I’ve gone out with friends to do the kareoke thing and had a blast.
 
Ian loved to joke around and I can still hear his contageous cackle.  He didn’t just laugh, it came straight from his belly and it was definitely a cackle, it was almost frightening if you weren’t expecting it.  He laughed at some of the silliest things that would make some of us just shrug our shoulders or roll our eyes but we’d still laugh with and at him.  There were several of us that used to love playing practial jokes on him although he wasn’t always happy about it, he was still a good sport and usually found a way to get us back.  I will share one story with you.
 
He was planning on going away to a conference for a weekend so a couple of friends and I went over to his place while he was out doing some running around.  He had his suitcase packed already so we talked his wife into letting us get into that suitcase and mess with his clothes.  She said she wanted no part of it but we could do whatever we wanted.  So we took needles and thread, and sewed the leg seams of his underwear together, sewed all of his socks together, sewed the inner seams of his pant legs together, then left a pair of scissors and a note (I can’t recall what it said now) at the bottom of his suitcase.  It was great fun and everyone got a good laugh over it, including him.
 
But all joking aside now.  Ian was a man of compassion and love and he cared a great deal for people.  Back in 1996, I believe, he and his family moved to Oshawa so he could be closer to his family, start his own church and share that love and compassion he had with others.  I know he did and he left a mark on so many others in Oshawa like he did here in Sarnia.
 
There’s an emptiness in my heart now knowing he is gone but my heart is still filled with the love and acceptance that he shared with me before he left this world.  I sent his family a quick little email in the last weeks of his life in hopes that he had enough energy and strength to hear it so that he knew how much he meant to me in the short time that I had known him.
 
He gave me empowerment and strength in myself as a person that I still carry to this day due to the love and acceptance that he had shown me.  He accepted me for me, and loved me for me and due to that acceptance, I, in turn, was able to accept and love myself.  I have become a much wiser and stronger person because of that acceptance and love.  I have learned, also, that if people can’t accept me for who I am, then they aren’t worthy of my friendship or my time and I will be nothing more than just myself because I am a wonderful person and I am loved for just being me. 
 
Although he is no longer in this world, I know he is looking down on all the people he loved and love him back and I want to thank him for being a part of my life.  I can only hope now that he knew how much he did for me and how much he touched my heart.  Ian Ruddell, you left a footprint in my heart, where an open wound used to be.  I love you and will never forget you.  Your life will be remembered always.

2005

Well, I was just reflecting over the last year since this year is already coming to an end.  Man did it ever fly by. I was thinking about all the changes that have happened in my own life over the past year (good and bad) and wanted to share some of my accomplishments with all of you to let you know, that even in the face of change and adversity, you can still overcome and stand up tall and proud…
 
I have managed to lose 85 pounds in less than a year.  I can’t tell you how I did it since I’m still trying to figure that out myself.
 
I started to come out of my shell again and become the social person that those of you that knew me before, may remember.  Although I still have a little way to go yet.
 
I developed a new circle of wonderful friends and stopped allowing old "friends" to walk all over me.  I have also continued to stay in touch with several of my past friends as well, although probably not as much as I should.
 
I was able to find another job that I am enjoying, thus far.  Pay cut, yes, but I no longer feel trapped and miserable in the job that I once had.
 
I am able to smile and laugh more.
 
I rarely stress the "small" stuff anymore.  Financially I’m still completely strapped and live paycheck to paycheck but I know it always works out somehow.  And stressing doesn’t change the inevitable, anyway, it just makes it harder to deal with.
 
I have pretty much accepted every aspect of myself, flaws and all, although I still allow my insecurities to get the better of me at times.  I am who I am and I can’t please everyone (although I do try).
 
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY…
 
I have done a lot of self-reflecting this past year and have started to change the aspects of my life that I felt needed to be changed.  The result has been self-respect and self-love (two of the greatest gifts yet greatest challenges one can face).
 
This past year has been a year of challenge and change for a lot of people and I hope that everyone took out of it a wealth of experience and learned the lessons they needed to learn.  I hope that 2006 is going to be a wonderful year for every single one of you and that we can welcome in the new year on a positive note and a HUGE smile on our face.  May 2006 be our year.

HAVE YOU EVER

I came across this questionnaire on Kim’s site http://spaces.msn.com/members/layitonme/ and thoroughly enjoyed it so I wanted to share it with you all as well.

HAVE YOU EVER….

(x) smoked a cigarette
( ) smoked a cigar.
(x) smoked a joint
( ) crashed a friend’s …car
(x) stolen a …car
(x) been in love
(x) been dumped
(x) been used
(x) failed someone
(x) shoplifted
(x) been fired
(x) been in a fist fight
(x) snuck out of my parent’s house
(x) had feelings for someone who didn’t have them back
( ) been arrested
( ) made out with a stranger
( ) gone on a …blind date
(x) lied to a …friend
( ) had a crush on a teacher
( ) been to Europe
(x) skipped school
(x) seen someone die/dying
(x) been to Canada
( ) been to Mexico
(x) been on a plane
(x) seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show
( ) thrown up in a bar
( ) purposely set a part of myself on fire
( ) eaten Sushi
( ) been snowboarding
(x) met someone in person from the internet
( ) been moshing at a concert
(x) been in an abusive relationship (emotional abuse counts)
(x) taken painkillers
(x) love someone or miss someone right now
(x) laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by
(x) made a snow angel
( ) had a tea party
(x) flown a kite
(x) built a sand castle
(x) gone puddle jumping
(x) played dress up
(x) jumped into a pile of leaves
(x) gone sledding
(x) cheated while playing a game
(x) been …lonely
(x) fallen asleep at work/school [both!] 
(x) used a fake id
(x) watched the sunset
(x) felt an earthquake  (more like a tremble)
(x) touched a snake
(x) slept beneath the stars
(x) been tickled
(x) been robbed
(x) been misunderstood
(x) petted a reindeer/goat
( ) won a contest
(x) run a red light
(x) been suspended from school
( ) been in a car accident
(x) had braces
(x) felt like an outcast
( ) eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night
(x) had deja vu
( ) danced in the moonlight
(x) hated the way you look
( ) witnessed a crime
( ) pole danced
( ) been obsessed with Post-it notes
(x) squished barefoot through the mud
(x) been lost
(x) been to the opposite side of the country
( ) swam in the ocean
(x) felt like dying
(x) cried yourself to sleep
(x) played cops and robbers
( ) recently colored with crayons/colored pencils/markers
(x) sung karaoke
(x) paid for a meal with only coins (not a meal but a drinking under-age fine…LOL)
(x) done something you told yourself you wouldn’t
(x) made prank phone calls when you were younger
(x) laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
(x) caught a snowflake on your tongue
(x) danced in the rain
(x) written a letter to Santa Clause
( ) been kissed under the mistletoe
(x) watched the sun rise with someone you care about
(x) blown bubbles
( ) made a bonfire on the beach
(x) crashed a party
(x) gone rollerskating/blading
(x) had a wish come true
( ) humped a monkey
( ) worn pearls
( ) jumped off a bridge
( ) screamed penis in public
(x) ate dog/cat food
( ) told a complete stranger you loved them
( ) kissed a mirror
(x) sang in the shower
( ) had a little black dress
(x) had a dream that you married someone
( ) glued your hand to something
(x) got your tongue stuck to a flag pole
( ) kissed a fish
(x) worn the opposite sex’s clothes
( ) been a cheerleader
(x) sat on a roof top
(x) screamed at the top of your lungs
(x) done a one-handed cartwheel (not well I might add…LOL)
(x) talked on the phone for more than 6 hours
(x) stayed up all night
( ) didn’t take a shower for a week
(x) picked and ate an apple right off the tree
(x) climbed a tree
( ) had a tree house  
( ) are scared to watch scary movies
(x) believe in ghosts
( ) have more than 30 pairs of shoes
( ) worn a really ugly outfit to school just to see what others say
(x) gone streaking
( ) played chicken
(x) been pushed into a pool/lake with all your clothes on
(x) been told you’re beautiful by a complete stranger
(x) broken a bone (do fingers and toes count?  LOL)
(x) been easily amused
(x) caught a fish then ate it
(x) caught a butterfly
(x) laughed so hard you cried
( ) cried so hard you laughed
(x) mooned/flashed someone
(x) had someone moon/flash you
(x) cheated on a test
( ) have a Britney Spears CD
(x) forgotten someone’s name
(x) slept naked
( ) French-braided someone’s hair

 

Well there’s a few tidbits about me.  I’m sure there will be more to come soon.

Chick Humor (Sorry guys…LOL)

One day my housework-challenged husband decided to wash his sweatshirt.
 
Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me,
 
"What setting do I use on the washing machine?"

 

"It depends," I replied.

 

"What does it say on your shirt?"

 

He yelled back, "University of Oklahoma."

 

And they say blondes are dumb…

————————————————————-

A couple is lying in bed.

 

The man says, "I am going to make you the happiest woman in the world."

 

The woman says, "I’ll miss you."

————————————————————————

"It’s just too hot to wear clothes today,"

 

Jack says as he stepped out of the shower,

 

"honey, what do you think the neighbours would think if I mowed the lawn like this?"

 

"Probably that I married you for money," she replied.

————————————————————————-

He said, "Since I first laid eyes on you, I have wanted to make love to you really badly."

 

She said, "Well, you succeeded."

————————————————————————-

He said, "Shall we try swapping positions tonight?"

 

She said, "That’s a good idea, you stand by the ironing board while I sit on the sofa and fart."

————————————————————————

He said, "What have you been doing with all the grocery money I gave you?"

 

She said, "Turn sideways and look in the mirror."

————————————————————————

Q: What do you call an intelligent, good looking, sensitive man?

 

A: A rumour

————————————————————————

A woman’s perfect breakfast:

 

* She’s sitting at the table with her gourmet coffee.

* Her son is on the cover of the Weaties box.

* Her daughter is on the cover of Business Week.

* Her boyfriend is on the cover of Playgirl.

* And her husband is on the back of the milk carton.

————————————————————————

A Woman’s Prayer

 

Dear Lord,

I pray for wisdome to understand my man;

Love to forgive him;

And paitience for his moods.

Because, Lord, if I pray for strength,

I’ll beat him to death.

———————————————————————–

Who’s Really To Blame?

Ok, so technically this is my first blog entry and it’s a rant, go figure…lol.  I wanted to share this and welcome any opinions you may have.  Now on that note, I shall continue…
 
I am so tired of people blaming others for their misfortune, terrible life, mistakes, financial problems, emotional problems, etc.  I have been guilty of this as well.  But honestly, who’s to blame?  Not the other person, not your childhood, your parents, your friends, your loved ones, but yourself.  Really now people, how is it anyone else’s fault for the choices YOU have made?  We are all adults now and make our own choices (and remember what goes around comes around).  Yes, granted, we will make some choices based on what we have learned from others and pure naivete, but that is also how we learn.  If we don’t learn, change and grow from our mistakes, then it’s our own damn fault for the lives we are living (if we’re not happy with them).
 
I can honestly say myself that I have made mistake after mistake after mistake, yet, do I blame others?  I have, I am guilty of that, but I do also know that my choices led me to the concequenses that I’ve had to face.  It wasn’t my mother’s choices, it wasn’t my father’s choices, or anyone else that has come into my life, it was my own.  I must own up to that and I have for the most part.  The only way to grow as a human being and become more at peace with who you are, where you are, what you are etc. is to own up to it, deal with it, accept it, learn from it and move on.
 
I’ve heard so many people say, I did this because of this person, or I am this way because of this…blah blah blah.  Get over it and own up to your own damn mistakes.  Unless someone is making your decisions for you because for some reason you cannot, you are the master of your own life, make it what you want, take what you want out of it, accept the things that have happened in your life and learn from them then change what you feel you need to change.  I have had enough crap happen to me in my lifetime that I could write a book about, but if I was to turn around and blame others, and not own up to my own mistakes I’ve made along the way, then where would I be?  I can tell you that I wouldn’t be the person that I am today.  I took my life experiences and turned them around to become a stronger, wiser more loving (and forgiving) person that hopefully can help make a difference in others’ lives (even when that means getting hurt myself, because it’s still all a learning experience).
 
So people, now that I’ve vented, and got this off my chest, I welcome your opinions and views.  But remember, when it seems like it would be easier to blame someone else for your mistakes, own up to them instead  so you don’t have to keep facing them and you’ll be a much happier person in the end.
 
Tan

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