I feel as if every time I write, it is to bear bad news.
Today in the lunchroom at work, there was a bowl of strawberries left over from a staff potluck this week and they had seen better days.
I announced this to my dad, and he remarked “Well, it is a pretty good metaphor for Christmas 2011.”
See, last night, we received word that one of our staff members and his family were in a serious accident and were t-boned by a drunk driver at the intersection just outside of our store. His eleven year old son is in critical condition and doctors are saying there is nothing they can do. Right before Christmas. Right before what would have been the birthday of their eldest son who was killed in a tragic car accident in March this year.
The article on the accident can be read here: http://www.therecord.com/news/local/article/643846–young-boy-critically-injured-several-others-hurt-in-crash
I feel like anything I can say regarding my Christmas is merely whining compared to what these dear people are experiencing. And we are reeling as a staff team and community to find a way to come alongside them and support them. There are no words. But the way that we have chosen to support them is to raise money for the expenses of their trips to Hamilton, purchase of a new vehicle and all the other costs that tragedy can bring. CTV is announcing tonight that we are accepting donations at our store (Wellesley Home Hardware) but if you are unable to make it, consider sending a request for their address so you can send aid directly.
And send a prayer on their behalf.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who sent messages to Jolene. It has been decorated, filled and is on the way to Utah!
You are all such a support to our family and we cannot thank you enough. There certainly were tears shed to feel such a caring community around us.
I mentioned a few posts prior that I am taking part in the Bliss Connect Challenge over the holidays to keep me writing. It is a different topic every week and this week’s is on the health/wellness item that tops my list this year.
Well. I am a little biased in my wish because I know I am getting it but no matter.
The top of my list is a pair of cross country skis.
I am a cross country and trail runner. I love darting through the forest and uneven ground, climbing rocks and mountain biking. So Jesse decided that the best thing to get me for Christmas was a pair of cross country skis so I can continue darting through the forest even when there is snow on the ground. (I am glad he needed to tell me beforehand to get me fitted or else Christmas could have been a lopsided fiasco.)
So I found myself being bombarded with questions like “steel edge or no”? “cork?” “one of those bar things that attach your boot to your bindings or two?” (They didn’t really ask that last one, I just forget what it is called). I just blinked at them and let Jesse field the questions.
So I am completely and utterly thrilled to be getting them because I love snow, cross country anything and Jesse so this sort of encapsulates the whole thing into one present.
Merry Christmas indeed.
Christmas dredges up a lot of different feelings for me and I have to say I am relieved. For a very long time, I have not felt much regarding Jolene; people ask how I am doing and the answer is fine. I am not lying. I am. I have had this discussion often with my family and others dealing with tragedy. It is an excellent tactic of the brain because we are not meant to spend our days in our pajama’s, eating ice cream from the carton and wallowing in our own tears and misery because that will not help anyone. So we just feel nothing but a lot of love for Jolene.
But as Christmas approaches, I am feeling it all. Frustration, anger, guilt and sadness.
Frustration with the fact that Jolene seems to be going backwards. That her voice sounds smaller every time I talk to her and her desire to fight her eating disorder doesn’t exist. It is so much money and so much time from my family, the government and friends and it sometimes seems for nothing.
Frustration with the well meaning people that touch my arm and tell me “She is going to be ok and completely healed, just wait.”
I am sometimes tempted to whirl on them and ask them what secret knowledge they have discovered that my family has neglected to unearth along the way. How they can flippantly promise such an unknowable thing? Jolene may never be healed and that is something we need to work through every day. It is like telling a family member of a level 4 cancer patient that “They will live, just wait and see!”
Anger that Jolene is needing to miss Christmas with our family.
Anger that the monster has grown stronger and she is trying to self harm so they cut her nails to the quick and put gloves on her, like an infant. So she will spend Christmas day sitting on a couch, little hands in gloves, eating food that she loathes to touch and without the tangible support of loved ones.
The other day my mother came up to me, put her head on my shoulder and said in a small voice, “Some times I wonder where God is.”
And I guess that is where we are all feeling as Christmas approaches. What we all felt when we heard that Jolene’s Christmas wish was to come home for Christmas, say good bye to us, and go back to Utah and allow the eating disorder to take her life.
Guilt because I am moving forward, living a wonderful and colourful life while my sister cannot do that. Guilt because I live for the moment where I can wake up to my life and Jolene lives so she can go to sleep and forget. Guilt that I have a beautiful man in my life that makes me feel like I can accomplish anything, that I just received three of my dream jobs in the last month teaching enriched high school english, writing for the Waterloo Region Food Roundtable and working at Alternatives Journal. Guilt that I can laugh till I cry with my mother, talk for hours with my sister Megan and discuss ideas about life and the world with my dad.
I am living and moving and I feel like I am leaving her behind.
So naturally, this conjures up a lot of sadness right now. You will not find me in my pajama’s, face planting in Ben and Jerry’s but you may find me crying in the car or at random inopportune moments.
Like on my run this morning when Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts” came on my iPod because that is the song Jolene had chosen for her recovery song.
She chose it as her message to the Eating Disorder this summer when she came home. And that hasn’t changed, but she just let her heart get broken again.
Last week, we had family therapy session with her councillor and her and as a family we were supposed to say what our hopes and dreams were for her in the future to show that there are people who believe in her when she doesn’t believe in herself.
She responded “Well, I like everything you said, but I think I will just let you all down”.
So I began thinking that it was about time she had a jar of hearts that she can see every day. Full of dreams and hopes and memories and inspiration that are not just from our family, but our community and the world. So I am collecting them from you. I am taking the messages you said, placing them on a heart and sealing them in a jar with the lyrics to the song and sending it with a local family that is driving to Avalon Hills to see their daughter who is with Jolene there. This way, Jolene can get a message of hope, love and a little laughter for Christmas so maybe she won’t feel so alone, so hopeless and so sad.
So if you want to join in on this, please send your message to me in the comments below, my e-mail account or bring it into Home Hardware in Wellesley tomorrow. I will be accepting messages until 5 pm tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who has already sent some, you are encouraging our entire family with them.
If you are unable to send a message and want to help Jolene in some way, we are selling Eating Disorder Awareness Bracelets at Wellesley Home Hardware and Anna Mae’s Bakery for $2.00 with the message “Freedom” and “Courage”. If you are unable to make it to those locations, contact me and I will get your order to you.
Thank you for helping us believe in miracles.
Tonight I have an exam. Tonight I also have a Gloss Christmas Party with Jesse. So I will be writing my Canadian Literature exam in a dress and my Christian Louboutins.
But today, I am studying in my pyjama’s.
A very very very long time ago, I was contacted by a rep of Anastasia Beverly Hills , The Definitive Brow Expert to see if I wanted to try out their products and do a give away on my blog. I was saving it for such a time as this.
For one, I wanted to try out the brow kit that they sent me to review.
People. Sheer amazingness. I am never going back. I wanted my mother and sister to give it a try for our company Christmas dinner and then we could all pose and look beautiful, but they looked at me like I was a loon.
“Jess…it’s a BLONDE brow kit.”
Anyways. This is me BEFORE.
And this is me AFTER.
Also, Christmas is on the horizon and I want to thank everyone for all the support you have given me this year.
So Anastasia covered that too. If you want an amazingly awesome bronzer, click here and then comment or like the post and I will enter you in to win it. I will pick the person on Christmas Eve so you can have one more Christmas present!
I did it.
I handed in every single last paper that I researched till my eyes were sore and wrote till my fingers were numb. And now with exams just on the horizon, life is slowing down a bit and I am searching for a constructive hobby for the holidays. (Don’t get me wrong, I have a whole “honey do list”…for myself this season) Thankfully, I do not even need to move in order to get this hobby underway.
I am going to join the BlissConnect challenge for the next few months. It is an online community of bloggers that I have been contributing to for a while now. They have been very good to me. Like the time they gave me a $50 lululemon gift certificate so I could buy my new awesome winter coat.
Welcome to my new little hobbyhorse. (see eighteenth century)
Challenge 1: Why did you start blogging and who/what inspires you the most?
The first part of this is easy. I have always loved blogging, since the moment I got my grimy fingers on multimedia. I had the xanga account, I had the tumblr, I had the blogspot and now I have the wordpress. I have written all my life and I mill out a journal about once a year. Blogging takes this writing to the next step, because although it is incredibly narcissistic to write a whole website about ME, it keeps me writing. (Got to write about what you love, I guess….) It comes in handy for job applications, and recently I was listening to the Canadian author, Adwoa Badoe, speak. She said something that stuck:
“You should be writing something every day, in as many forms as you can”
So I do. Sometimes that is on here, or a poem or a really long epistle on the well being of my inner soul, but I write.
And who inspires me as I do it?
Cliché to say SO many people, so I am going to tell you what I tell the malleable little elementary children when they ask me who my role models are when I participate in Team Up. I am a perfect example of how who you decide to make your role models shape who you become. I want to be a teacher and that is mostly because of two amazing women who have taught me, one in high school and the other in university.
Both of them were genuine, forthright, interesting and intensely fascinating to me. What they wore, what they listened to and read, who they were outside of school. The kind of teacher you knew you would be best friends with if only you were the same age. They were as likely to be running a 5 KM race as growing an organic garden or doing an outreach trip to needy countries in Africa. They were so many things and that is why I loved them. They inspired me to live my life with purpose, colour and circumstance. And I am hoping I can prove them right.
I would like to think of myself as an enabler.
For instance, I just gave a quarter to my friend so he could do …something. I am not sure. He trounced up to my cubicle in the library where I was busily writing up a research project and asked for money. (Which is a trick I should have thought up earlier).
For instance, when Jesse brags that when he puts on his favourite Led Zeppelin t-shirt from the ’70′s he has trouble finding the right hole to put his arm through in the monstrosity of raggedy threads, I surreptitiously leave coupons for Gloss on his desk.
(Just as a needless aside, I was just shopping there this week and bought the best shirt ever! It is my favourite store in the area because it sells European clothing and it makes me feel like I never left England!)
(Just as another aside…Jesse was NOT alive in the ’70′s)
Anyways. For all my fellow students slaving through the Make or Break week, let me enable you.
Here is a list of the most quality time
wasting enhancing sites I know:
Celebrity child scrutiny from Ms Cruise. I die laughing.
A friend told me about this site and it is at the top of my Google Reader. Brilliant and talented, and the most important stipulation…hilarious.
Enjoy, my friends. I am of to
go online shopping finish my research paper.
1. Some of my favourites. 2.Gavin chilling in a speaker wall. 3.You turn your back for ONE second. 4. A wet and grumpy Wilson. 5. My suggestion for Jesse’s new work truck. 6. Wilson challenging the food chain wearing a cylish coyate scarf. 7.Girls Night Out. 8. Drive home from work. 9. Standard. 10. I am spoiled by my friends at work.