Sunday, May 8, 2016

My Sister's Things no. 2

It is interesting to consider the effect a scent can have on you.  The memories that come rushing back with a specific smell.  Combine the scent of a person with the loss of that person and you have the perfect storm for sensory and emotional upheaval.  

This is Shari's perfume.  It is a cream scent, purchased from the health food store.  I had bought one - but in the scent of Patchouli Rose and I showed it to Shari.  She loved the container, and liked the smell, but she quickly decided my choice of fragrance was not 'her'.  On her next visit to the mall she went to the health food store and picked up Oasis... a 'sister scent' to my Patchouli Rose.  It is a lovely, beach smell and it is so very Shari.

I keep this little container on a table in my bedroom.  On occasion I open it, stand very still, close my eyes and inhale the scent deeply.  I can't explain how wonderful it feels to do this.  It is interesting how, although I rarely allow myself these moments (I am strangely worried that the fragrance is going to 'run out') I often smell Oasis when I walk into my bedroom, as well as in other areas of my home.  When I catch the scent I stop - frozen in a moment of remembrance, and I can't help but smile.  I see her, warm, smiling, colourful, vibrant... Shari.

A while ago I was at my parent's farm for a visit, and my mom went up to Shari's room and pulled Shari's art portfolio out from under her old bed.  Mom gave it to me as I have become the keeper of Shari's artwork, and it only makes sense for me to store it properly in her portfolio.  I couldn't seem to find a spot to store it when I brought it home, so her portfolio has taken up temporary residence in my living room, leaning against the wall near our piano.  I noticed a few days later when walking past it I could distinctly smell Oasis.  Bending down and smelling the portfolio directly it is as if someone has smeared Oasis all over the cover.  This is interesting considering the portfolio sat untouched under her old bed at the farm since she graduated from university.  It is not logical that the portfolio should carry this scent as Shari only started to wear Oasis in 2014.

I choose not to question this.  Instead, I prefer to walk into my living room, pause, smell, and smile.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

My Sister's Things no. 1

It has been very difficult to write since losing Shari.  I did continue to write, but it was in a word document saved on my computer.  I wrote miscellaneous ramblings about how I was feeling.  Free-flow text containing shock, loss, sadness, lists of the little things I miss about her... things I didn't feel like putting 'out there'.  At the very top of the document I typed the word 'BRAID'.  I typed this word without thinking much about it.  It just seemed to belong there... 

Shari was such a unique soul.  A gypsy girl with the most interesting sense of style.  She combined colours and patterns that I would never consider, and pulled them off flawlessly.  She always asked me if she looked 'crazy'.  I always thought she was stunning, and was forever proud to show her off when we were out together.

Since losing Shari I have felt very connected to her things.  I suppose it is because they are the only physical items that remain of her.  Lucky for me, she was a collector.  She loved to shop and pick up special items everywhere she went.  Touching her things, holding them, wearing them make me feel connected to her.  Interestingly, I tend to receive many compliments when I wear an item of hers.  Likely because the item is usually far more colourful and interesting than my usual uniform of black or grey.  

A few months ago an item of hers, a fun little, colourful keychain broke.  It upset me more than it should have (considering it was, after all, just a keychain).  It felt tragic because it was hers, and as much as I want to use and wear her things, I want to be able to keep them perfect as well.  It was a reminder that we can't hold on too tightly to anything.  It also gave me the idea of starting a catalog, an archive of Shari's things.  Nora has been gifted much of Shari's special jewelry, and even some clothing that is far too big for her now.  Both her and Julian have numerous pieces of her art.  I would like them to be able to see Shari's things, and know the story of where they were from.  Just another of the many reasons I miss her - she had an incredible memory, and she could tell you exactly when and where she purchased every item she owned, as well as exactly how she was feeling when she purchased it.  She could also tell me what I wore to a random family get-together 15 years ago.  My memory is very foggy on such things, but I will do my best to piece together a little archive of some of Shari's more special objects - or, I should say, some of Shari's objects that are special to me.

Shari bought this braid ring in the summer of 2014 at the second hand store:  Goodwill.  It is sterling silver, and she paid around $6 for it.  I freaked out when she came over wearing it.  I can still remember her sitting at the island in my kitchen, and I must have asked to try the ring on five times.  I loved it - and so did she.  She asked me if I wanted to borrow it, but I just couldn't.  It was perfect on her long, elegant finger.  She was dating a sailor at the time and she bought this ring because it reminded her of a sailor's knot.  Shari was wearing this ring when she died, and I have worn it every day since.  It has become one of my most treasured possessions.  

When I am particularly sad or missing her I close my eyes and give this ring a little kiss.  The symbol of a braid means many things to me now.  It reminds me of the time that Shari wasn't well, and I brushed and braided her hair.  A braid is two pieces that come together to form something beautiful, something stronger than each piece could ever be on it's own.


Saturday, December 20, 2014


We were more than sisters, we were best friends.  We grew up together on a farm outside of a small town, sharing vivid imaginations and a love for music and art.  Our Hungarian grandfather used to call us his little gypsy girls.  As we grew up, and moved on to separate universities we stayed connected through many letters and late night phone calls.  Shari eventually moved to to the town where I live so we could be closer.  She became best friends with my children.  She was one of the most unique, funny and special people I have ever known.  Her kind heart touched everyone who met her, and her art continued to flow, becoming special gifts for those whom she loved.  On September 15, 2014 my sister lost her lifelong battle with anxiety and depression and died by suicide.  I lost my beloved sister.  Our hearts are broken, but we are so grateful for all of the moments we shared with her.  Be at peace, my sweet sister.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Conversation with Julian over dinner tonight:

Julian:  "I never want Grandma to die, do you know why?"

Me:  "Yes, because you love her."

Julian:  "Yes, and also her banana bread is very tasty."

Love you mama, and I hope you live forever too...


Part Two - April 29, 2013

Grandma just spent the weekend at our house.  Nora is getting ready for bed and just came into my room crying, with the following to say:

"I miss Grandma, because I like how her house smells, and when she is in our house it smells like her house, and now she is at her house and the smell is gone..."

Wow!  Not only can she bake, she smells great too!

Friday, March 22, 2013

love child.

Nora (exasperated, devastated, all around upset and bothered):  "Mommy, I told Julian that all I care about is love and Jesus, and he called me a hippy."


Monday, October 22, 2012

tears of taco bell...

Julian is a sensitive boy.  He has a huge heart, and I often think he is an "old soul".  He feels things very deeply, and expresses those feelings fully.  Last week we were driving home and noticed that the Taco Bell in our 'hood was closed, signs removed, lights out, done.  I commented that it must have gone out of business.  The car was quiet for a while.  Then Julian said:  "Mommy, sometimes when restaurants close where you have good memories from it makes you sad... actually, it breaks your heart."  

I looked in the back seat to see tears streaming down his cheeks.  That broke my heart too... I really have to start bringing him to some better restaurants.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Marketing for Children.

Today is Nora's fifth birthday. After a day of festivities she was in the bath. She looked at her legs and said: "Mommy, why is there hair on my legs?". I replied: "Because you have hair on your legs, it's ok - Mommy does too." (it is winter, after all...).

Her response?: "Mommy, we need to get a 'no! no!', you rub it on your legs - and they are hair-free for weeks!".

If only I would have known, I could have bought her one for her birthday instead of Serafina, the Fidjit that says the same five things over and over...


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

baby talk.

Nora is spending some time with Nanny and Pop this week. Nanny emailed me the following conversation she had with Nora today in the car:

Nora: I see a crane.
Nanny: Yes, it's downtown. That's close to where your Daddy used to live, downtown. They're building a big parking lot there now.
Nora: Did I live there too?
Nanny: No you weren't born yet.
Nora: Was I in Mommy?
Nanny: No, Daddy didn't know Mommy yet. They weren't married yet.
Nora: Where was I?
Nanny: You weren't here. Then Daddy met Mommy and they got married and then they had you and Julian.
pause for thought..........
Nora: Did you have any children?
Nanny: Yes, I had 3.
Nora: Who are your children?
Nanny: Daddy, Uncle Ian and Aunty Jenny.
Nora: and Mommy.
Nanny: No, not Mommy.
Nora: Not Mommy? Who got Mommy?
Nanny: Grandma
Nanny: Grandma got Mommy?
Nanny: Yes, and Aunty Shari and Uncle Brad. Grandma had three children too.
Nora: Aunty Shari doesn't have children.
Nanny: No.
Nora: I don't want to have children either.
Nanny: No?
Nora: No. I don't! Do I have to have them?
Nanny: No but you're only young now you might change your mind.
Nora: No, I won't! I want to be like Aunty Shari. She doesn't want childrens either. I'm just going to be me!
Nanny: Okay then.
Nora: When we get back I want to ride the scooter around the block and take Bella for a walk.
Nanny: Okay then.
Nora: and I'm not having children.
Nanny: Okay then.


Monday, April 4, 2011

a religious experience.

I spent a lovely weekend at my parent's farm with Julian and Nora. On Saturday I drove them to my grade school, they played on the playground, which, by the way had changed SIGNIFICANTLY since my days there! There is now one, large play unit - like you would find in your local park (primary colours and very safe)... when I went to the school we had:
1 set of monkey bars
1 set of swings
1 row of see-saws (teeter-totters... not sure which is correct)
1 row of tires... yes, tires... ranging in size from car to truck to TRACTOR, all buried half way in the ground - the goal being to jump from one tire to the next (I am surprised there were no casualties on the tractor tires - they are HUGE!). Julian didn't seem to believe me when I told him we used to play on tires at school. He kept asking me to "tell the funny story about the tires" again and again.

I decided we should go for a walk to the cemetery (behind the school and church) as a few of my relatives are resting there. Julian and Nora decided they would walk around and pick up the "stray" artificial flowers that have fallen away from their holders during the snowy winter. They each walked around with handfuls of plastic and silk florals. We brought most of them to my grandparent's headstone. They neatly placed the flowers into the soil in a row. Nora wanted to be different and decided that she would put hers on graves of people we didn't know. At first Julian didn't like this at all - but after a while he was okay with it.

The headstone next to my grandparent's has an engraving of Jesus on it. At one point Nora was trying to decide where she should put the flowers when Julian said: "Hey Nora, you should put some on Jesus' spot. Everybody likes Jesus."...


P.S. Julian saved a blue flower to give to his friend Isabella. He told me he gave it to her at school today, but one of the children said it wasn't a real flower. Julian said he told Isabella that it is a magic flower because it will never change... love it.