Monthly Archives: November 2010

When you wish upon a star…

Be careful what you wish for, that’s what they say isn’t it?  For years I have wished I had a healthier balance with fear.  From the time I was a young child I was more of a dare devil, honestly that is my Dad in me and it’s a quality I loved and so did he.  I was proud to accept his challenges, to be brave, to “not let fear control me”.  But just as my father did at times, just as many people do, I too took a lack of fear too far sometimes.  This however has changed dramatically since my Dads passing as I now seem afraid of everything.  I do not want to get hurt, I do not want to put me (or my family indirectly) in a compromising position.   
The other day we went driving off-road to a private beach with a couple host couples we were staying with.  I could tell by the conversations this was going to be a rough ride with a bit of a dare devil himself driving.  I was really clear with everyone that I wanted to take it easy and because of my Dad I am really nervous to get hurt.  I know what it’s like though to not have fear and to want to show people a bit of a crazier side of life so the driver decided to do just that and unfortunately after a fairly scary drive we got into a car accident.  Thankfully everyone was alright.  I got whiplash and my neck and back have been killing me ever since but comparatively in life right now it’s really not much to complain about.
The part that is scary is the thoughts that this accident brought into my mind.  It made me realize how much my life is out of my control.  I could get into any vehicle and be killed or paralyzed from someone else’s actions, nothing I can control unless I chose to never drive with people again.  I could walk across the street and get hit by a bus, I could get bit by a venomous snake, I could chock on a cherry seed.   Life is delicate and I cannot shake that thought from my mind.
This is not a good time to get into an accident.  Its not a good time to see a vehicle coming towards us, to know we are going to crash and to understand it could get messy.  Almost instantly I was thinking about my Dad and seemingly absorbing the seconds it took to crash, quietly thinking to myself “is this what it was like”?  These thoughts aren’t fair and they are not what I want.  I want a refreshed mind, a mind innocent to what it would be like for a loved one to die a horrible death.  I want to be off-roading in Australia, get into a little fender bender and get out of the car shaking it off and writing it up as another crazy experience.  Unfortunately this is no longer how my mind works.  A once requested prayer for a healthy amount of fear in my world has backfired and im left scrambling in a world consumed of fear which is completely foreign and new to me.  Balance people, I need balance!


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Neither am I…

I remember the night my parents called us girls.  The five of us on the phone, the air thick with worry knowing we were about to hear something we really didn’t want too.  Dad broke the silence with a shaky voice “girls, I don’t want you to panic and I want you to know I am going to be alright but we got some bad news today.  I have cancer”.   His words hung in the air, forceful and terrifying.  His girls, all four of us broke, we simply broke that night.  Our stronghold, our rock, what was going to happen?

I held on so tightly to his promises of being ok, his reassurances became my only breaths of air.  The night before Mom and Dad flew to Detroit for Dads surgery I bought my Dad a book.  The book was called “Why a Daughter Needs a Dad” and it had dozens of pages filled with reasons why a daughter does indeed need a father.  Under each reason, I matched it with a reason of my own and asked my Mom to give my Dad the book before he went into surgery.

“A daughter needs a Dad because without him she will have less in her life than she deserves”…. SHE WILL HAVE LESS IN HER LIFE THAN SHE DESERVES.  I found myself repeating these words over and over the day of the surgery, almost challenging God by questioning “you DO understand if my Dad is not alright I will have less in my life than I deserve, you get that right”?  And I felt He did, because from that day forward my Dad was cancer free and I couldn’t have been more relieved.  I sincerely thought we fought through our scariest moment as a family; that we triumphed over it and became stronger and safer.   

“I love you so much and without you I am not too sure what I would do or who I would be.  You will be fine because if you’re not fine than neither am I”.  This has always been my truth, it was my truth then and it is my truth now.  My Dad is not fine and neither am I….


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Australia week one…

Week one in Australia has been a rollercoaster of emotion.  I am so glad my first few days of settling in are over as I think the adjustment more than anything was proving to be really tricky.  I am happy to report things have been better for me these past two days.  My last blog post had a few people worried and I want you to know you shouldn’t be, it is just my way of purging.  I knew coming over here would be hard, and it was/is but I also knew/know that I am strong and able to make it through this.  The fact of the matter is I am going through a really difficult time and I don’t know when hearing truths or speaking them became so difficult for some people but it is my reality and I choose to be realistic about it.  Sometimes I have happy things to report back about, sometimes I have sad things, I believe it is part of the process and I don’t believe it is helpful to anyone to have things candy coated.  It’s like asking a person how their day is going and expecting to hear a “good” in response when both of you know that’s not the case, it’s pointless. 

This week has been quite an adventure.  We have spent most of our time in Sydney and although it was a great city to visit I am excited to be out exploring more of the country.  During our stay in Sydney we were hosted by a wonderful couchsurfer Charl who was wonderfully helpful and great company.  Throughout our week in Sydney we saw some of the highlights of the city; we ate Kangaroo, experienced some fun markets, and spent a couple fun days on the beaches.  Sydney tried its best to take me in and spoil me; it offered me some patience then gently nudged me on to a different direction. 

So the other day we rented a car and threw an add up on gumtree for a ride share.  The day was quite interesting with a newbie in the backseat and Quinn learning to drive on the wrong side of the road; both interesting experiences.  Giggles were in order much of the day and it was a well needed few hours of downtime and laughing.  On our drive we stopped at a place called Seal Rocks and it was a simply beautiful beach where we laid out for a while and took a break from driving.  The guys went climbing rocks and I sat in the sand, coffee in one hand and a book on grieving in the other.  This was the first time where I was able to stop myself and think “you know Jenelle, this could be an alright way to grieve…you might want to give it a better try”.

A few hours later we arrived in Port Macquarie where we were greeted by another CS host who was so lovely and within minutes we were making plans to stay an extra day longer with him.  He made us the most wonderful Indian supper and we spent the night eating much too much and talking until late in the evening.  The following day was spent with our host spoiling us by driving us around to all the prime spots and showing us straight Australian magic.  Within one afternoon we had seen a family of Wallabies, a handful of wild Koalas, dozens of dolphins, local lizards and birds, and some of the finest private beaches I have ever seen.  It was so thrilling to see all of these amazing things…there is a rush I get from newness and today I felt high all day, it was simply wonderful.


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Australia…oh joy!

Oh how I wish I could report back happy news on my first Australia blog.  I wish I could tell you I am having the time of my life and enjoying myself to the utmost, or that I am finding a mysterious healing magic power that is unavailable in Canada, this however is not the case.  So far this trip has been very very hard, actually much harder than I thought it would be and right now the only thing I want is to be home.  I have learnt from this experience that there is no one who knows me better than me.  So many people encouraged me to go on this trip and told me how healing it would be.  I knew in my heart it was too early to be going so far away for such a long period of time and I am already regretting I did not stick to my instincts. 
Now don’t get me wrong, I am trying to enjoy myself but right now I seem stuck.  Yesterday I went to the Sydney Opera House, this is a dream place to visit for many people and as I stood in front of that magnificent building the only thing I could think was “humph isn’t that just a lovely place, now how many days is it until I get home”???  Today I took a ferry around Sydney, I cried and my heart broke into a million pieces when I realized half way through the trip that I just took away yet another “last” with my Dad.  The last time I was on a boat was with my father in one of my most favorite places on earth, and I took that away from myself today, my last boat ride will never again be with my Dad.  I am staying in one of the most beautiful flats Sydney has to offer, as I look out on the balcony I look past the harbour bridge, past darling harbour, and I see grass and pavement.  I wonder what the grass and pavement is made out of here and I know the one person who would know (or find out for me) was my dad, we had countless conversations over grass and pavement, I didn’t even realize how much I asked about these things until now.  I want to know what this pavement is made from and why they choose those materials; I want to know so fiercely it gives me anxiety when I think about it. 
This morning I went to Manly Beach, a world famous beach that I have seen in pictures a million times.  Quinn went for a walk and I found myself alone in a puddle of tears.  Looking around all I could see was black seaweed and charcoal from late night fires in the sand…mixed together they looked awfully similar to the remanence of a burnt plane.  And this is my reality, sitting on a beach in one of the most beautiful places on earth and all I can think about is the absolutely horrific way my Dad had to die.  I am sad and I am angry and I feel alone.
I do not feel safe here thinking about my Dad.  I do not feel comfortable grieving him the way I think I should.  The moment I think of him my world seems to crumble and its not exactly convenient to become a mess of tears when your standing in the middle of the botanical gardens with hundreds of people surrounding you.  I want to lay on the ground and kick and scream in anger when those feelings arise, I cant do that stuck on a boat in a crowd of people.  I want to fall asleep with my mom and sister, I want to have games nights with my aunts and cousins, I want to receive text messages from my uncles, I want my mom to hug me when I am sad, I want to see pictures of my Dad hung up in every room…these are the things that make me feel better and these are the things I cannot have in Australia.
So to sum it up, I suck right now, I suck really bad at enjoying Australia.  Not exactly the update everyone expected to hear I’m sure, but none-the-less it is my reality and now more than ever I want to go home.
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He and I, me and him

He and I, me and him…

One more sleep and Quinn and I will be boarding a plane to the other side of the world.  In less than 48 hours we will be discovering Australia, amazed by its beauty, and eating up the newness of yet another beautiful land.

I wish I could say I was more excited for this trip, its crazy to think that im not.  I am blessed to be able to travel the world and see all of these magnificant places and yet this time it feels too soon, too unsettled to be going anywhere.  I have never been scared to go somewhere before in fact I have never experienced fear like this in my life, but indeed I am am wrapped up in worry and unable to clear these feelings from my mind.  I know I will be alright and I know I am strong enough to do this, I hope however that I am strong enough to want to do this.

Please keep Quinn and I in your prayers while we are away.  Ask we are able to soak up this beautiful blessing and leave behind the anxiety and stress.  Ask  that I dont have a straight panic attack on our 24 hour flight, and ask that we enjoy ourselves and live in the moment rather than remain focused on everything else going on our worlds.  Please pray a million prayers for us and never underestimate what a gift it is to me when you are bringing us to God.

Oh and the beautiful picture above was taken by the lovely Tiffany Matson.  She spoiled us with her photography-love as a going away gift and I couldnt be more thrilled with the way they turned out – ill be sure to post more soon!  Be sure to check out her website to see the whole collection of our photos and many more.

The picture below is of the last flight I/we have taken.  I suppose maybe that has been another reason I have been aprehensive about this trip.   The last time I was in an airplane my father was the pilot.  I dont want that “last” to go away.  I want to forever think that the last time I was above ground looking at all the beauty of this world it was with my Dad.  I am scared to replace my “lasts” with my Dad, and I know tomorrow as I board that plane my last flight will never ever again be with my father – this is terribly sad for me.

But alas we are leaving, we are getting on that plane.  We are opening our hearts to new challenges and we are well aware there will be many blessings coming our way.  Wish us luck!

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Somewhere along the line trouble finds you.  It disguises itself as a beautiful reassuring thought, or a calming to your madness.  Its crawls under your skin and cuddles in like a cold person does to a warm bed.  It breathes upon your chest ever so softly and whispers sweet nothings into your ear.  It delicately handles your sense of unease and reassures you by delving into your mind, erasing your fears before you even have time to give them a voice.  This sweet tender fuel trickles down my throat too easy, too smooth, and suddenly I am aware there is danger creeping around the corner, a set of teeth digging into my skin.

I drink you in, I swallow you up.  I fall for your lies, I give in to your temptation.  “Why” is my poison, it is my danger drug.  Without realizing it, I am gently sucked in to the tornado of “why’s” and I begin to drown.  Gasping for air, begging to find a way up…a way out.  I unconsciously invite this monster into my mind and within a few short moments I am paralyzed with anger.  But with each and every taste of trouble there also comes a magic moment, the point where you just know, where suddenly you have the gift to see clearly and every sense in your body screams ‘this in no longer a game…run’.  At that moment you have a choice, gamble and stay a while longer, or walk away for good.

I refuse to accept you.  I refuse to belong to your world.  I will do everything in my power to make it clear that you do not control me, I control you!  So tonight, I will rebuff you, tomorrow I will do the same.  As many times as it takes I will kindly ask you to leave, to pack-up the bags you have strewn about in my mind, and gracefully retract.  “Why” will not change this, there is no answer acceptable enough to make this ok.  And so pleading begins, “why” please move on, remove yourself from my mind and stop forcing your way into my spirit.  You are not welcome here.

Image Source:  All It Takes Is Patience

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Final Checklist….

I day dream a lot lately.  I try my hardest to think about memories with my Dad but my head seems to be too full and I am falling short in this area.  Instead, my mind is now often consumed over what my Dads last flight looked like; how it went, what his thoughts were, what kind of view they had that day, and what he last said.  My Dad loved jumping in his plane and going through his ‘daily inspection’ list.  He was a perfectionist in his aircraft, him and his plane worked well together…they were a good team.  I loved getting into my Dad’s plane and listening to him go through his routine, I ate-up listening to the airwave commotion and hearing my Dad taxi off with a great deal of authority and confidence.  During one of my favorite day-dream experiences yet, I heard my father review what would be his final flight checklist.  This is what I heard:

Charlie Foxtrot Golf Lemma Alpha, we have taxied out to runway 1-9-2-0 and are holding short until clearance has been granted
Departure is from Springbank Airport with a landing into Heaven at approximately 1:48pm, Friday September 24th 2010.
As always, Jesus will be flying as pilot in command and I will be sitting in co-pilot position
We will be flying at unlimited altitude and beyond perfect weather has been cleared for the flight
Our load is light today as we have left guilt, pain, and sorrow on the ground in order to leave enough room for ample blessings to join us on-board.
Daily inspection has been completed, there are no snags; this flight will go exactly as planned.
Seat-belts have been fastened and we are now prepared for the most amazing flight of our lives.

Roger that:
CFGLA, you are cleared for immediate takeoff…


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The day I lost my mind…

Sitting in traffic my hands begin to shake, adrenaline filled my every vein and my mind went into overdrive.  My chest began heaving and within seconds I was a puddle of tears.  Ahead of me an accident, behind me a vehicle with a man yelling so clearly I could make out his every word.  My mind became flooded with emotion.  Instantly I began praying, pleading with God.  “Lord keep those cars ahead of me safe.  I will sit here for the rest of my life in exchange for You to never give these families the pain I am feeling now.  Just let these people be safe.”

Again the screaming from the car behind me steals my attention.  I look in my rearview mirror and the man gives the passenger a hefty smack across the face, he is yelling so uncontrollably he needs to take sips of water just to sooth his throat.  I watch; my eyes are transfixed, my mind is boggled.  After five minutes I feel like I am about to explode in emotion.  I lay on the horn and manage to muster up the meanest side-mirror glare a girl ever could give.  This became the only solution I could think of, the only distraction I thought would work to offer that poor woman a minute of interference.  It did.  Soon enough I drove on past the accident and the tears began falling as I saw the vehicles were nearly untouched with their healthy occupants standing at the side of the road trading insurance policies and talking about the weather.  I was relieved; I was jealous.

Once again the vehicle behind me kidnaped my thoughts.  This man was violently yelling; I dont know if I have ever seen a person scream at this level.  I move over so I am side by side with his van and I see something that makes my blood boil: this man is yelling at his DAUGHTER.  I am infused with anger.  We are past the traffic and are now going 80km down the road which is precisely when I snapped.  I cannot remember a time I was this angry, it was an anger I could taste, an anger that was new and foreign to my bones.  I caught his attention, rolled down my window and I lost it.  Lost it in anger, in sadness, in tears, in screaming, I just lost it.  Of course in his rage he bit back quickly and before I knew it we were parked on Glenmore screaming at one another at the top of our lungs.

“Stop it, stop it, STOP IT!!!  You cannot talk to her like that.  You need to stop, you need to be kind, you NEED too, she is your daughter”
“Get the F* outta here little girl or youll get it next”
“You dont understand, I just lost my Dad, my perfectly wonderful Father who treated his children like gold.  He is dead, YOURE alive.  THIS ISNT FAIR!!!!”
“Ohh your Dad died?  Isn’t that just soooo sad.  Boo-hoo.  Now F* off and go cry about your Dad”
“SIR, you cant keep doing this you have a chance to be a good Dad, you have a chance to be nice.  You need to be kind, she is your DAUGHTER.”

Then somewhere between him calling me foul names and the honking coming from the cars at a stand-still behind us, I realized I had momentarily lost my mind.  I retreated to the side of the road and proceeded to melt.  I cried out in frustration, I cried out in self pity.  How can this be?  HIM, he gets to be alive, he gets to be a “Dad” and what about my Dad, a good Dad?  THIS IS NOT FAIR!

And when I allowed my breathing to level, when I allowed my heart to regain its natural beat, I was once again reminded to be grateful.  “This is what made your Dad special Jenelle, this is what put him above the rest.  Your pain wouldn’t be this great had your Father not been such a wonderful Dad.  You are lucky.  You are blessed.  Now get back on the road and stop acting so crazy.”  And so I drove away, consciously marking the moment by silently acknowledging “ohhhh so this is the anger they all talk about”.

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