It was a productive and rewarding day, that turned into a storm. I sat down to relax and enjoy working on my puzzle with a glass of wine, music, fresh tulips and the beautiful scent of lavendar candles to relax me. As I puzzled, I thought how nice it would be to have some company. So I began texting friends inviting them over. One after another, the same response came “Sorry Lee, I’m busy right now.” I began to think of Sandra and the many fun filled creative times we spent together.This began a spiral downwards, a spiral into grief, anger, sadness and loneliness.
Every song that played reminded me of her, it brought me back to visiting with her every day in the hospice as she was being taken away from us by brain cancer. As I grieved Sandra, I thought of my friend Kelly who passed away suddenly just this past September, and then another friend who abruptly left my life in November. Then a love song would come on and remind me of how much I am missing Neil. Two bottles of wine later, I was in distress. Unhealthy thoughts circled through my mind like a cyclone. I was about ready to call the Distress Centre.
Thankfully, an angel by the name of Robin, offered to support me in anyway I needed: text, phone or in person. Talking to her on the phone brought me calm, peace, love and gratitude, she even had me laughing. She was able to gently, yet firmly bring me back.
That night I decided I needed to do something for myself – something that has been put on the back burner due to the busyness of preparing to move to Malaysia, and taking care of my daughters and myself. I decided that Saturday I would venture into the mountains, immerse myself in nature, photography and surprise a dear friend. This was the gift to myself that I desperately needed to help me through the storm.
As I drove into the mountains there was horizontal snow, the majestic Rocky Mountains were surrounded and hidden by dark stormy clouds. I pulled off the road and sat. I sat and watched the storm clouds and thought about how eerie and spectacular they were. They were almost dancing around the cliff faces, swirling so quickly. I briefly went back to my days of learning meteorology and marvelled at weather patterns. I thought about how the forces of nature are so powerful: they can wreak havoc, and they can also bring such tranquil beauty. It’s the ebb and flow of nature, which is a reflection of life.
I continued on, wanting to journey up to Spray Lakes where we had recently gone on a dog sledding trip. Driving up the winding gravel road I was awe struck by the beauty that surrounded me. The clouds had parted and all I could see was blue. The turquoise water was a breathtaking foreground and incredible contrast to the rock faces that protected it. I sat by the shoreline of one small body of water, and took in the texture, contrast, tones and beauty of the rocks. There was a small dark cave. The rock face reminded me of people – some harsh, some smooth, some filled with depth, some shallow, some light and some dark – and as I appreciated this rock face and the beauty of it, I thought all people no matter whether they’re harsh, smooth, light, dark – are beautiful.
Just around the corner was yet another incredible wall of rock, similar lines, textures and tones. As I was looking at it I saw three mountain sheep resting in the warmth of the sun. How grateful I was to be witness to these beautiful creatures, and the environment around them.
I pressed on, wanting to still visit Vermillion Lakes before arriving at the Castle in the mountains. I ended up taking a detour, well actually I was so enthralled by the beauty around me I missed all three turn offs to Banff, and found myself on the Bow Valley Parkway. It never ceases to amaze me how gifts are always there to be found when we make mistakes, or maybe they’re not mistakes! I drove for a while, enjoying the quieter highway. And then I found myself at the beautiful Vermillion Lakes, the colours, the sounds, the fresh crisp air – aaaahhh!
Arriving at the beautiful castle in the mountain – the Banff Springs Hotel – always brings me joy. The history, the beauty, the grandeur, the service! I sat on the window seat in my room, taking in the exquisite view before my eyes with deep gratitude.
After venturing through the castle for a little while I found myself (thanks Melsha) in the Cascade Ballroom, entering the room and witnessing the look of surprise, happiness, joy and gratitude on Gemma’s face. This was the icing on the cake of a spectacular day! That night I let go and enjoyed myself. The entire day and night was a gift to my soul and helped the storm pass.
Although not as dark, the storm was still there on Sunday – challenges don’t just disappear. Many other circumstances and personal issues have left me crying at the drop of a hat, and very emotional. Yesterday I had brunch with one of my most cherished friends. I want to end this rather long blog post with her wise, caring and beautiful words to me. If you can take one thing from reading this – I hope that you can accept that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and this too shall always pass!
“I know it’s hard to do our lives on our own, harder doing ours and our children’s lives, and even harder doing it while we are missing the daily support and love of our partner and also concerned for our partner… those are pretty big shoulders you have.
I would like to remind you to reflect on where you have been, how far you have come, where you are today and allow yourself to be optimistic about what the future holds for you and your family!
Your first love is self-love and I believe you need to focus more attention right now on the relationship you are building with yourself and less about your external relationships… I truly see gifts coming your way right now whilst I see you struggle.
You are not truly alone… ever!!! Don’t forget you also have a higher power!”