Showing posts from June, 2011

Awkward Moments

It just after noon and I need a writing break.  I am feverishly trying to get my classroom unpacked and things lined up for doing work in the summer and I am even sending a bit of photocopying to the printers for the fall.  Busy--but the more work I do today is less work I have to do during the summer.

This morning I ran into a former colleague, Donna, who is also a parent of a student that Hugh taught (her son came to my school, but I didn't teach him).  She gave me a hug and the first words out of her mouth were, "I'm so sorry to hear about what happened."  I teared up--the good kind of tears--and thanked her for acknowledging my grief.  She told me a number of really nice things, but the best one was that she thinks of Hugh and I often. 

As time goes on, I realize how hard it is for people to bring up Tripp. Death is uncomfortable to talk about and I know that people refrain from saying things partly because they think they are sparing my feelings and, I think, p…

5 Foot Chicken

I didn't even have students writing final exams and I am EXHAUSTED.  There is just so much to do (but its too boring to actually tell you about).

If you need a laugh, you need to check out this blog that my friend, Cara, sent me.  Laugh out loud funny. Thanks, Cara.


This afternoon was graduation for the grade 12's at my high school.  It was emotional for me (as are most things these days).  My thoughts went to Tripp.  Acknowledgement that graduation is one more experience we won't have with him.
I was also emotion for a few students.  I felt pride for a number of them.  Some for their incredible accomplishments (athletic and academic) and others for just getting there.  
Hugh and I have the unique opportunity to teach some of the same students.  His elementary school is a feeder school for the high school I am at and many of his grade 8's choose the school down the street as the place to finish off their secondary education.  The connection I have with a great number of his students clearly stands out on days like this.  I got teary eyed when I saw a number of students and all but one were in Hugh's grade 8 class of 2007.  This group started at Aden Bowman the same time I did.  Hugh and I have watched them grow up.  Pretty neat.
I ca…

My Happiness Project Week 6

I should be reading chapter 2 of the book and moving on this week, but quite frankly, I don't have time.  With school winding down there are projects to finish and parties to attend.  I think it is actually fitting that I continue to work on organization this week.  I have printed off a calendar for July and August that will fit in my happiness project book.  This way, I will be able to keep track of all our our commitments and schedule any new ones in. * * * Today was a bad day.  It started just at noon.  I was listening to the radio in my classroom and the news reported a boy who, while fishing off a dock, drown.  I felt sick.  No one should lose a child.  I decided I needed to get out of the building for a few minutes, so I decided to tackle a few things off of my list.  I took my broken driver back to Golf Town (it looks like they are going to be able to do something about it) and then headed to Walmart.  It was baby central.  Some days I notice more than others and some days …


I am sick of the rain.

When I posted yesterday morning I was wearing shorts and a tank-top.  The sun was shining and warm.  By the time we got to the lake, I needed jeans and a bunnyhug.  We spent the day outside doing yard work (which I actually don't mind doing if the weather is half decent).  Then, I could barely eat supper on the deck it was so cold (I put a fleece blanked on my legs for added warmth).  We got home today to more cold and rain. We have 3 trees in our yard that are dying.  The leaves on one are entirely yellow and the other two have partially turned yellow.  THEY ARE DROWNING! My garden is pathetic.  I even replanted a number of rows this past Monday, because approximately half of it hadn't even come up.  I have little hope for those seeds.  The garden is a mud pit and I don't doubt the seeds have rotted or will.  This is the second year in a row.  I am sick of it.

I am almost ready for a road trip to the south.  I need some perspective.  People are losi…

The Peace Outdoors

A bird just hit my mom and dad's front window.  That happens on a daily basis.  They have picture windows that run from the floor to about 9 feet up.

I just had to run in from outside to post this.  We are heading to the lake for the night and there is no internet there.  It is one of the perks.  No cell coverage and no computer.  It feels good to be cut off from time to time.

I was walking around Mom and Dad's yard with Calder this morning.  He was cutting in and out of the bushes exploring.  I couldn't stop thinking of Tripp and what he and Calder are missing out on.  Tripp is missing out on this, serene, peaceful place where adventures are waiting to happen, and Calder is missing out on having his brother with him to explore and ultimately terrorize that peace.

Being outside feels closer to Tripp.  I am going to lather 50 sunblock on and let the fresh air seep into every one of my pores.


The bottoms of my feet are going numb--in the new running shoes I bought.  I went to The Running Room and got fitted with a pair of Asics shoes about a month ago.  I tried running with them on the treadmill 3 different times and they hurt my feet so bad.  I took them back and they sent me home with a pair of Adidas.  The aren't quite as bad, but they still make them numb.  I tried them twice - the second time with the insoles from my old Asics - still numbness.  I took them back and they wanted me to try another pair, but I am tired of returning shoes and having to run on the treadmill to test them out.  I am sticking with my old ones until it is absolutely necessary.  So annoying.

The good news is I am running!  This week I did 6 minutes of running, two minutes of walking.  Monday is 7 and 2.  I am pretty proud of myself!  I even got Hugh into it last week and I think he is on board for the long haul!

Rolling Thunder

My cousin-in-law, Kelly, wrote this after I posted about pulling into the residential street and having a cry in front of a random house:

For what its worth, I think you should have rolled the window down and told the couple your story. Perhaps there was a reason you were in front of that particular house, at that particular time when that man was leaving for work. Fear of a moment being awkward can mean missing out on something bigger or a deeper message sometimes. The man asked because he cared and if you had let him, he would have cared for Tripp too:)just a thought...

It made me think.  

I read a book just out of university called The Celestine Prophesy  by James Redfield.  It talked about the same kind of thing Kelly is talking about.  I remember really connecting with the book.  In fact, my copy is full of highlighted passages and notes in the margin.  I have about 5 books on the go right now, but I think I am going to start rereading that one.  I have been really starting to belie…

I thought I was going to blog about. . .

Before school, I thought I was going to blog about how Hugh's main mission in life is to try to annoy the hell out of me.

Mid morning, I thought I was going to blog about perspective.

This afternoon I thought I was going to blog about Kerri and my excitement/apprehension to see her, Drew and Dylan at Richie Brothers and all of the events that unfolded in the late afternoon.

At supper time I thought I was going to blog about all of the reminders I have of Tripp on a daily basis.

After supper I thought I was going to blog about dancing.  I love dancing with Calder (and tonight Dylan, Chris, and Kerri).

But right now, I want to blog about being sad, because I am sad.  I think back to 4 months ago--at this very moment--I was holding Tripp and feeling his skin and listening to him breathe.

It is so interesting to me the immense love a parent has for a child.  My love for Hugh grew over time, but my love for Calder and Tripp was deep right from the very start.  This reminds me of one of…

Drive to Work

On my way to work this morning I was thinking a bit more about Tripp than I normally do.  I think about him every morning, but I don't let my mind go back to those 5 days.  Today I was letting my mind slip for brief, little moments.  It was long enough to have the heavy sinking feeling creep into my being.  I was about 10 blocks from my school when "If I Die Young" by the Band Perry came on.  Lately, I haven't been letting myself listen to that song.  It is just too sad.  This morning I had let sadness in and I wanted to hear that song.  I knew that if I listened, I couldn't drive, so I immediately pulled over onto a residential street, put the van in park, rested my head on the steering wheel and cried.  I closed my eyes, listened to the words and let the tears stream down my face.  About two thirds of the way through the song there was a knock on my window.  I looked up and a man, dressed for work, asked, "are you alright?"  I sat up, waved my hands a…

My Happiness Project Week 5

This is the last week of month 1 of my Happiness Project.  As part of exercising to feel good,  I have begun monitoring how many steps I take on a daily basis with a pedometer in hopes to get myself to the 10 000 steps a day level. The idea is that 10 000 steps is about 5 miles (using the average person's stride length) and that for most people in order to get to the 5 mile mark they would have to do 30 - 60 minutes of walking/running per day on top of their daily activities.  Thirty to sixty minutes of activity is the recommended daily amount.

The first day I wore the pedometer was Friday.  It fell off when I got out of the car at home, so I only monitored my steps until approximately 4 pm.  I was at 1500 at that point--FIFTEEN HUNDRED?!?  I couldn't believe it.  I knew I hadn't had an active day, but still, it was pathetic.  We did go for a short walk after school in the rain, but I don't know if I would have even got to the 3000 mark that day.  I completely forgot a…

Father's Day

It is another emotional day for me.  I knew yesterday would be hard, I knew Father's Day would be hard, and I know Thursday will be hard.  I am glad Father's day fell between Tripp's birthday and his death day. It is already a hard week, so it seems fitting to have the additional hard day just added to the pile.  It's better than dreading another day in some other week.

Today is Hugh's day, so I am sure many of you are wondering how Hugh is and I don't really think I am equipped to answer that.  I know he is sad, but I am not sure the degree.  Hugh is different than me.  I like to verbalize every emotion and he doesn't.  I do know that it was important to him for the three of us to be together, so that's what we are doing.

4 Months

Happy Birthday, Tripp.

Rainy Friday

In spite of the drab weather and wet conditions, I had a marvelous day.  I got a ton accomplished at work and have been enjoying my evening with Hugh and Calder.

Hugh and I were able to drive in together today (which I love. . . my favorite work days are ones that include Hugh on my drive) and when we got home we ordered pizza and wings. We thought it might be fun to puddle hop with Calder in the rain while we waited for our grub. This spring Calder was obsessed with puddles, but he hasn't been out in the rain to puddle hop yet. Hugh and I gathered up his rain gear, got ourselves bundled up, and headed to M's to pick Calder up.

We got DRENCHED!  It is raining so hard here!

There is a park at the end of our crescent with a huge hill. Calder scaled up it and Hugh and I followed behind.  As we turned to walk down the hill, Hugh grabbed Calder's hand.  Hugh took one step down the grassy hill and wiped out - taking Calder with him!  Calder immediately started crying. The spill…


The title thoroughly explains my mood tonight.  Today I questioned whether tonight would be the first day I stopped blogging. Not quite ready yet.

Calder got a new haircut today.  It was time.  He kept having to push it out of his eyes (because of this, Grandma Hamilton put barrettes in it on the weekend:-o).   The cut's okay, but next time we will be going to see my friend, Heidi.  She's the best.

It's a Bird, It's a Plane. . .It's a BAT

During period 3 I was standing at the front of the room teaching trig to a small group of grade 11 boys.  All of a sudden my attention was drawn to what I thought was a bird.  I gasped and started pointing, because the boys hadn't noticed it.  As I stared at the bird, I realized it was not a bird I was looking at swooping through my room, it was a BAT.  Upon my realization, I bolted out the door, hollering for the boys to get out of the room.  I didn't want the bat to get out in the hall (not to mention I was petrified and wanted to get as far away from that swooping thing as possible).  If you have seen the episode of Seinfeld where George is at a birthday party and a fire starts in the kitchen, you can imagine what I looked like making a beeline for the door.  I was freaked right out!

I called the caretakers to come and "capture" the bat.  Two showed up.  One with a broom and the other with a badminton racket!  They slowly opened my classroom door and crept in.  Fi…

Kelly's Mom

Happiness Project -- This morning I realized I needed another list.  My "Get off my back" list is wonderful for those nagging tasks, but I needed a list for things that need to get done right away like booking Calder and Cleo hair cuts and mailing Father's Day cards.  I now have two lists.  My 2nd is called ASAP and it contains things that really can't wait.  I LOVE a good list! * * * At the end of the school day I was walking to my classroom and met a bunch of grade 9's.  I had taught a few of the girls and gave them a smile as I passed.  I stopped at my room and looked back at them only to see 2 or three of the girls turning their heads to look back at me.  I stepped in to my room just as I heard one of them say,"oh, that is so sad."  One of the girls obviously hadn't heard about Tripp.  I felt my emotions overwhelm me.  I tried to name the feeling, because it's easier to control my emotion when I know what it is.  It wasn't that they were t…

My Happiness Project Week 4

I have been doing a really good job the last 3 weeks of eating right, exercising and getting ready.  I am already feeling like it is a bit unnecessary to circle the days on the calender that I complete those tasks.

The one minute rule is rocking my world.  It is amazing what I get done when I just do it.  It is so brilliant, I can't figure out why I wasn't doing this sooner.  It just seems so obvious!

As an amendment to the one minute rule I have added a folding laundry rule.  Our laundry is in a closet on our main floor right outside our bedroom.  We have a tendency to pull items out of the dryer and leave the remaining pile of clean laundry laying on the floor (sometimes it can lay there until it needs to be washed again). It takes more than a minute to fold laundry, thus the amendment.  It is nice not to trip on clean clothes to get into our bedroom!

The "GET OFF MY BACK LIST" is not going quite as well.  It's just getting longer.  I have only completed 5 of …

Ava Faith

I have been avoiding all things baby and pregnancy on the Internet the last 3 weeks. I only check Facebook when I get notifications to my email that I have been sent a message and I have stopped reading anything on the Internet associated with these things. They make me sad. I wish they didn't, but they do. I figure, I feel bad enough during the day without looking at things that are highly likely to make me feel worse.  I am glad that everyone has wonderful pregnancies and healthy babies, but it is a constant reminder of what I don't have.  Ultimately, it just makes me miss Tripp more.  So, I have been avoiding.
For some reason, unknown to me, I broke my "no pregnancies and babies" on the Internet rule.  The author of a blog I follow is pregnant and she made a post with the title "Birth Stories." I clicked on it. Her post led me here. This is the blog of Ava Faith's mom.  In her mom's words, "Ava Faith Monchuk, was delivered directly to God.&qu…

Down a Driver

Today was the annual Shellbrook Elks Golf Tournament.  Our foursome consisted of me, Hugh, Nate (my sister's boyfriend) and Brittany (my brother's girlfriend).  Jes had to coach and Luke had a stag, so Hugh and I happily took their significant others along!

We parred the course.  In fact, we parred EVERY SINGLE HOLE!  I thought we rocked.

I was hitting my driver amazing.  It is the hugest club I have ever seen.  It's head is bigger than mine! (Seriously, people have actually told me that) On our 12th hole, the boys stayed behind after their tee shots (we were golfing with another foursome, so there were 6 of them) and Brittany and I headed up to our tee off box.  I took my trusty #1 and got comfy.  I took a solid swing and as I connected, I heard Brittany say, "great shot!"  I didn't have a clue where the ball went.  The only thing I saw flying was the giant head of my club.  It soared up in the air and flew 50 yards down the fairway.  I turned around howling…


About a month ago, Hugh, Calder and I started giving thanks at supper.  We don't pray in the traditional sense; we just mention something from our day that we are thankful for -- Sort of like Thanksgiving every meal.

For the first 3 weeks, at every meal, EVERY time we asked Calder what he was thankful for, he said, "green" (his favorite color). It seemed like we tried everything to get him to say something else, but it probably didn't help that we laughed every time he said, "green"!  Recently, he has come up with his own things on a couple of occasions.  Once he was thankful for "sandbox" and the other time it was "cars".

I have really enjoyed this.  We get to reflect a bit on our day.  Sometimes it gets us talking about the good parts of our days (which often get overshadowed by the challenging, sad, or maddening parts).  Other times, it is just a wonderful moment in our day that we acknowledge one of the many positives we have in ou…

Calder's Brother

After work, I suggested to the boys that we go for a bike ride after supper.  Calder immediately responded, "Kerri's House?"  It sounded like a great idea, so I gave them a quick call and we were all set up.  After we ate, Hugh and I were in Calder's room changing his diaper.  I was reviewing with Calder what we were going to do for the evening.  Curious to see if he remembered Kerri's son, Drew's name, I asked him, "What's Dylan's brother's name?"  Calder answered, "Drew," had a slight pause, and said, "Calder brother Tripp."
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.  Tripp gets talked about in our house.  A bear that Hugh's brother Billy and his wife Abbey gave Tripp is in our bedroom.  We call it, Tripp's bear.  Calder occasionally tries to play with it. Tripp's soother is in a beautiful memory box that Kerri gave me and sits on our dresser.  Calder has pulled the soother out of the box to play with. …

Welcome Back

I was apprehensive to return to work.  The biggest reason was that I was concerned how people would react to me.  I felt like I needed my loss to be acknowledged, but in the same breath, I didn't want awkwardness (and it has been my experience that those things go hand-in-hand, so I am not sure how I thought that was going to work).

There were staff that I hadn't had contact with since I left school and when I visualized seeing them for the first time, I had hoped they would greet me with, "I'm sorry for your loss". With a few exceptions, that hasn't happened, but almost everyone on staff has taken a moment to welcome me back.  Those "welcome backs" really and truly feel like, "I'm sorry for your loss."  Everyone knows why I was gone.  It feels like acknowledging my return is, in a way, acknowledging Tripp.  And, even if my co-workers or students want to bring up Tripp, I know it's difficult to find a time that feels appropriate.


My Happiness Project Week 3

Monday was supposed to be my Happiness Project Day, but my first day back to work was pretty major and needed front page attention.

This week I am trying to focus on nagging tasks.  I made a list in my Happiness Project Book that contains items that are hanging over my head. Hopefully, I will be able to enjoy things more fully if I am not thinking about all of the things I should be doing--because they will be done (or on their way to getting done!).
I titled the list:
GET OFF MY BACK! Compile May family video  Call Grandma FCall DanielleLook into autopsyMake Counseling appointmentInquire about pension buybackArrange books in bedroomEmail MattClean out closet. . . again!Some of these things are what Gretchen Rubin calls "boomerang errands".  You do them, but then they come right back to you.  So for example, today I got Hugh to get me some times that work for him so that I could book our counseling appointment. I called, only to find out Brad only books until 2:15 pm and all the…

First Day Back

This morning emotions hit me at the breakfast table.  I teared up, but wasn’t able to put to words how I was feeling.  As I drove into the city, it was more of the same tears and an abundance of emotion. When I pulled into the parking lot I wiped my tears, took a few deep breaths and headed to the office to collect keys and my laptop.  One of the kindest students at my school was in the office when I arrived.  A huge smile lit up her face when she saw me.  She ran over and gave me a hug. 
I had wanted some sort of acknowledgement from people when I came back to work.  I knew that everyone was thinking about me, but I guess, I greedily wanted to see it first hand.  I wanted hugs and I wanted words. I know that not everyone is comfortable with that kind of emotion, so I tried not to expect anything.  I got at least a half a dozen hugs and even more welcome backs.  It was so good.  I needed them.
It wasn’t until about the 3rd person asked me how I was feeling that I was able to finally pu…

Back To Work

I am heading back to work on Monday.  Since Tripp died, I only get 15 weeks of maternity leave and Friday was the last day.  I am ready to get back to work.  There were times after Tripp died that I felt that I would never feel like doing anything again, let alone go back to work.  It wasn't until about the 2 month mark that I started thinking about what it would be like to head back to work and at the start of May I gave my notice.

My employer has been wonderful through everything.  Most recently, they have make my return to work as stress-free as they possibly could.  I will head back to school with 2 weeks left of classes and final exams.  Rather than giving me my 4 math classes back, the division has brought me back to my school as a resource for the math department.  I will be helping a group of students in each period who are selected by their teachers as needing some extra support.  We are hoping we can give a few students the extra bit of help they need in order to enable…

No I Want

Calder has started doing a great job of using the pronoun, "I".  He will say things like, "I do it" or if we ask him "who's truck is this?"  He will respond, "I".  Obviously, Calder is not using it totally correctly, but it is a vast improvement on him talking in third person (for months, he would say things like, "Calder do it" or Calder truck).

With the pronoun, "I", has come a bit of confusion.  Calder has started saying things like, "no, I want milk" and "no, I go in bath".  So I will get him milk, or start the tub.  Screaming then ensues.  "NO I WANT MILK".  I will then hold out the cup of milk and say, "this is milk." This follows with Calder whining, "Nooooo, I want miiiiilk".  Apparently, Calder is meaning, "No, I don't want milk."  He wants water.  UGH.

Forging Ahead

After we read Calder his stories and tucked him into bed last night, I drove over to Kerri's. I had had a good day and felt like I need to share some things with her that would be better said in person.  I missed her.
I told her what it was like after we left her house on Monday. I needed her to know how hard it was for me.  I am fairly confident, Kerri already knew how hard it was, but I wanted her to hear it from me.  I wanted her to know that losing our friendship would be worse than how I felt on Monday.  We lost Tripp, but we don’t have to lose each other.
Kerri and I are in a situation where she has her baby and I don’t have mine.  Life isn’t fair, but what we make of it is up to us. 
Both of us had conversations with our husbands this week about what could happen to our friendship.  We both thought of the possibility of not recovering from this. 
Neither of us want that, so we forge ahead, together.  
I wish this wasn’t the path we were on.  I wish that when she told me Drew …


Calder spend his first and only full "practice" day at his new daycare, as I am headed back to work on Monday.  He did amazing at M's house.  Calder used his manners, cleaned up toys, and even went to sleep well.  We are proud parents!
* * * I had lunch with a friend, Cara.  I have been looking forward to chatting with her for weeks.  Cara's dad passed away from cancer a few years ago and our worlds are intricately woven together.  Our parents are really good friends and Luke is a groomsmen in her brother's wedding this summer.  
Cara has lost big, just like me. She is a few years farther ahead of me on her journey and I love to hear her perspective.  Cara has questioned her beliefs, read books and developed her own sense of what the world is about.  I admire her willingness to share.  I am sure discussing my suffering brings up emotions from her own suffering, but it hasn't stopped her from connecting with me.  Cara is strong and determined to learn from her ex…

Picnic At The River

I removed the disclaimer from yesterday.  Last night, I kept thinking, why do I feel the need to have a disclaimer?  So, VOILA--It is gone!  Instead I left a little note for anyone who stumbles on my blog and wants to start the journey from the beginning. * * * Hugh wasn't able to come home for supper last night, so Calder and I met him down by the river for a picnic in the park.   Calder sat extremely well at the picnic table and wouldn't even stop eating for a photo! The boys love to wrestle.
I felt happy at the river.  The 3 of us. Outdoors. Cupcakes. They were from the Cupcake Conspiracy, so  obviously they made the list.
I didn't have to force a smile and I didn't play with Calder because I felt like I should.  It was an hour of, plain and simple, happy.