Losing Hand-Written Work

On the eve of Saturday, July 20, I watched a movie called “Life Of Pi”. There were a few scenes that saddened me, but none so deeply as the part where the hand written notes flew out of the boy’s hands.

The next morning, I was cleaning my room. I had a few of my old journals in a pile, and set out to put them back where I normally store them – in a big bin with the rest of the past 23 years worth of them.

I remembered that a few weeks earlier I’d had necessity to temporarily store the bin in my 19-year-old daughter’s room in the basement, so I went downstairs and asked her for them. She handed me an empty bin, saying, “You mean this? I’d been using it for shoes…”

She pointed at a pile of boxes in the living room, saying, “The journals might be in there somewhere.”

It was a daunting mess that had accumulated as a result of my daughter having moved from one room to another, wherein she had rearranged various items I’d kept stored in the spare room, but I finally got through all of it after several hours.

None of my journals were found.

I searched the whole house and property, asking everyone if they had any idea where my journals might be. Nobody claimed to know.  One family member said they had seen them in the basement a few weeks ago, and, as they realized they were not in their usual place, they put them back to where I normally keep them.

I’ve been beside myself with heartache over losing these hand-written accounts that spanned half my life, dating back to 1990, including details of all my pregnancies, births, cute events from the childhoods of my kids, stories from living in the wilderness of Alaska, and so much more.

I’ve had a lot of trauma in my life, but the journals represented the everyday and the good. I could look back at them and remember that things weren’t always bad.

I wanted to save those journals for my kids as a legacy, but now they are gone.

It is hard to shake the fear that my daughter is lying to me about not knowing where they are. I suspect that she wanted the bin for shoes while she was rearranging her living quarters, sought out the bin, removed my journals, disposed of them, and didn’t give it another thought until I asked about them.  Even if she is behind this, I’d feel better knowing than not knowing, and I would forgive her if she told me the truth.  She knows this.  We discussed it.  Yet she insists she doesn’t know anything about their whereabouts.

My heart is broken. I feel like a large chunk of my physical body has been removed from me. I feel violated. I feel I am in limbo, not knowing for sure if the books are gone for good.

I cry sometimes as I think about it. I don’t know what hurts more – the loss of my books, or the thought that they might have been thoughtlessly taken by my own adult child who is lying to me.

With writing I do on the computer, I can and do back it up. With hand-writing that fills book after book, it would take years to scan and save it if I worked at it eight hours a day.

I am trying to be strong about this and get over it.  I know it is only a material thing, not a life, that has been lost.  Still, it feels like a part of my own life has been lost, and so it hurts accordingly.

I think back to how deeply I felt the pain of the boy in Life Of Pi losing his hand-written work.  Little did I know it was a foreshadowing of what I was about to discover had happened to me.

Have you ever had your hand-written work disappear? How did you heal up from it? Or did you ever heal up?

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Taking heart in the other post I published today:  A Beautiful Spirit

Gratitude is not always easy

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Today I am grateful for:

1.  The colourful hat I have on my head.  It was left here by my third daughter, who had borrowed it from my first daughter.  My first daughter is in long-term rehab and I miss her.  Wearing her hat warms my head and my heart with thoughts of her.

2.  Tears that are flowing from my eyes while I write, to help wash out a smidgen of the pain I have been enduring of late.

3.  Having heard from a friend with whom I had once thought I had lost touch forever, but from whom I now occasionally hear, and he even subscribed to my blog.  (Hola, Señor Heelez).

4.  The sip of Zevia ginger rootbeer that was just brought to me by my eight-year-old son.  He said, “Here’s some fresh Zevia that I just opened.  It’s fresh.”

5.  The smell of lentils and barley cooking in the kitchen, to which I am about to add carrots, onions, garlic, celery, and chopped ham.

And an extra mention of gratitutde to the blogger at Inspirationenergy, who inadvertently prompted me to write this — Inspirationenergy’s Gratitude Page.

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me and charlie2 me and charlie3

For more gratitutdes, check out:  my Gratitudes category.

When Similar Stuff Happens

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Another of those weird but cool things happened to me today.  There’s got to be a name for it, and I’m calling it “intuation” unless another word can be found.

Today, out of the blue, this song popped into my head, “Don’t know much about history, don’t know much about geography…”

I looked up the lyrics and found that it’s called “Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke.

I wondered if I could find the scene from the movie “Witness” I had seen decades ago…

Aha!  There it was on YouTube — that one I posted above in this blog.  (I said that mostly for the people who are receiving notifications by email).

I looked up the lyrics and guitar chords, as I do for a lot of songs that pop into my head.  It seemed simple enough for my limited skills, so I printed it out.

Later, my almost-16-year-old daughter, who I’ll call “S”, was in the basement with a guitar.  She started learning the instrument in school a few days ago and is gung-ho about it, practicing every minute she can get.

I brought my two latest printouts into the basement and lay them on the bed.  Idly chatting with S, I strummed the chords for “Dance Me To The End Of Love”.

I glanced at the 3-ring binder that was open to the song, “Wonderful World”.

I didn’t remember putting that song into a binder.

Confused, I said, “S, is this yours?”

“Yeah, Mom.  It’s one of the songs we’re learning at school.”

I picked up my own two papers I’d had on the bed and looked to make sure my copy of that same song was really there.

“No way,”  I said.  “Look at THIS!  I just printed this out today.  I’d not even thought of this song in YEARS and now here you’ve got it???  Woah, that’s SO weird.”

We weirded out over it for awhile, and then we played and sang it together.

I love it when intuation takes place.  I intuate a lot.

Related posts:
Thinking About Something And Then It Happens

Today’s Gratitudes

  1. The sun is shining.
  2.  My two youngest kids are out at a children’s program with our behavior interventionist, where they are having fun, burning off energy, and I get a bit of quiet time to work.
  3. I have an excellent friend in Toronto with whom I have been having good conversation, and he is truly like a brother to me.  He’s one of the few in-person friends I have (he used to live in BC, and we have been to each other’s homes)  who has stuck with me through thick and thin.  Bro, if you’re reading this, you already know how grateful I am for you, but here you can see it again.  (And if anyone else is reading this, please don’t get the wrong impression.  This is truly a brother-sister kind of friendship and he also knows my husband.  I could write a whole blog entry on how much I thank God for this friend, and maybe I will someday.)
  4. The microwave oven we ordered to replace the one that blew up last week is waiting to be picked up at the Sears pickup store.
  5. My oldest daughter, who is in long-term rehab, is finally allowed to receive and write letters.  I am doing the Snoopy dance on the inside, even though I am still exhausted from adrenal burnout.

When My Son Went Missing

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Photo: My front yard, 8:30 a.m., January 30, 2013

At 7:45 a.m., I woke up and realized my boys were abnormally quiet, so I went to check on them.

My eight-year-old son was fast asleep, but my five-year-old was not in his bed.

I climbed the ladder to the loft in their room and looked for him there.  I did not find him.

I checked the girls’ room. I did not find him.

I checked all over the middle floor. I did not find him.

I checked everywhere I could see in the basement.  I did not find him.

I was still half asleep, barely standing upright, stumbling around the house, searching in every room, closet, and cupboard, lifting up blankets, looking behind and beneath furniture, gently calling my son’s name so as to not awaken my other kids, but panic was starting to set in and I raised my voice a little.

I felt a mixture of anger and fear, but strangely I was mostly calm.

That might have been shock.

After combing the entire house twice, I called the neighbours.  He had wandered over to their place a couple times before in the summer, but the snow this time of year is well over his boots so I doubted he’d go through the field.  Still, I left them a message just in case.

I tried to reach my husband at the mill where he works, but it is a noisy environment and he doesn’t keep the cell phone on him.

I called the mill’s office and they tried to reach a foreman, but nobody answered.

While I continued to re-search my house, I called 911.

Within minutes, a police officer was at my door.

Soon, another officer showed up.

Then a third, and a fourth, and I’m not sure if there were more in that blur of blue uniforms.

There were two RCMP cruisers and an RCMP pickup truck parked in my yard.  A third cruiser was out on the street in front of my property.

One officer informed me that a police dog was being brought down from a town an hour away.

Cops were all over my house, my yard, and my quiet semi-rural street, searching for my son.

I called my husband’s work again, letting them know it’s urgent and that our son was missing.

A few minutes later, my husband phoned me.

“I can’t find J anywhere,” I told him.  “When did you last see him?”

“He came into the kitchen around 5:00 this morning,” he said.  “I told him to go back to bed, and he headed up the stairs, but I didn’t follow him, as I was leaving.”

We exchanged words of horror, shock, fear, and prayer.

“Well, I guess I’ll just finish the shift,” he said, but I could hear the worry in his voice.

“Yeah, there’s no point coming home.  There’s probably nothing you can do, either,” I told him. “But as soon as he shows up, if he shows up, I will call you.”

My eight-year-old son and my three-year-old daughter were now awake and involved in the hunt for their brother.

“Check the deep freeze,” I told my son.  “I haven’t looked there yet.”

My 18-year-old daughter heard us and also joined the search.

Tromping through the snow in my yard, I called and called for my son.

I alternated between uttering whispered cuss-words through my teeth and softly begging God to please keep my little boy safe, and that we may find him.

I went back inside and up to the middle floor, where I suddenly heard the cheerful voice of my three-year-old daughter shouting in the basement, “I found him!”

Not sure if she was just playing around, I ran to her, my heart racing, and demanded, “WHERE?  Where is J?  Show me!  SHOW ME!”

She led me to a closet, where I’d checked a few times already.

She had to have been kidding.

She reached into the bottom of the closet and pulled back a pile of egg-carton bed foam.

She sang out, “He’s right here, Mama!”

And yes, there he was, peering out with a mischievous grin.

It was 8:30 a.m.  I had been hunting for him for 45 minutes.

I was relieved, but I was also angry.

“J!  You must NEVER hide on Mama again.  DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?”

“I was just playing hide-and-seek,” he said, trying to act innocent.

My boy didn’t seem to have any idea how serious this was.

“You stay right there,” I told him as I ran outside to talk to the cops.

“We found him,” I said.  “But you guys can take him, I’m so mad at him.”

They wanted to see where he’d been.  One officer said he had looked in there with his flashlight and did not see him.

All the cops looked sternly down at my son.  There were no smiles on their faces.  Two of them gave him a short but serious talk.

My son stood there with his arms crossed, trying to look tough, putting on a fake scowl.

I thanked the police and they went on their way.

I was about to call my husband to let him know all was well, but he called me first.

I called and left a message with the neighbours, and then I called the Child & Youth Mental Health clinician to leave a message for her to call me.

Then I called my son’s Behavior Consultant (he has a diagnosis in the autism spectrum, high functioning, with symptoms of ADHD, so we have government funding to cover her costs).

The BC told me she would contact a colleague of hers who might have some other ideas, but that until we hear back from her, I should have my son sit in a chair right beside my desk while I work so he cannot be out of my sight.

If he has to go to the bathroom, I would have to go with him.

He can eat his meals right beside me, and he will be watched with the video monitor when in his room for a nap.

His Behavior Interventionist, who works with him two hours a day, three days a week, came over, and he was allowed to work with her, but when he was done, he was in the chair.

Any time my son tried to talk, I said in an even voice, “No talking.  You are sitting there because what you did this morning was very bad, and you must never hide from Mama again.”

As I write this, he is having a nap, but when he gets up, he will return to the chair until bedtime.  Our only discussion will involve reminding him how important it is that he stay in bed, except for toileting, until he is told by his dad or me to get up.

Before the cops had left, I had taken a picture of the three police vehicles in my yard.  I posted it on my facebook wall, and then went to make breakfast.

My 15-year-old daughter saw the picture and called from her dad’s house nearby, asking what’s up.

When I told her about J having to sit in “the trouble chair”, she said, “That should be ‘a thing’.  We should call it ‘The Trouble Chair’.”

She also suggested that we decorate the chair by drawing teeth on it, and that we should paint it black, or red, to make it look scary.

I said, ‘Yeah, and we can write words on it, like, “HA HA.”

She said, “And draw arrows on it, like they’re pointing at whoever is sitting in it.”

She also added, “We can put Velcro on it, and make a pair of Velcro pants for the person to wear when they sit in it.”

I said, “Yes!  So it makes it harder for them to get up.  I like it!”

We had some fun with it, but realistically, for now, The Trouble Chair just has a name.

I hope we won’t have to use The Trouble Chair very often, preferably never again, but knowing my kids, I’m not sure that’s likely.

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J and me, spring 2012

(This post also appears on my other Holy Sheepdip blog at Blogger).

Grace Greater Than All Our Sin

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I love how hymns pop into my mind at random.

Before I had to work so much, when I cooked every day, I would sometimes have a hymnal open on the kitchen counter, learning the words, feeling peace (as long as the abusive ex wasn’t home).

Other times, I’d go to my digital piano, play a part and sing the harmony to it.

As a side effect, my kids memorized the words to those hymns by hearing me.

In retrospect, I learned some hymns from hearing my own mother sing, even though they didn’t take on meaning until I became a Christian at age 20.

I don’t know these people who are singing this hymn, but they bring back sweet memories of crackin’ out the guitars and harmonizing with my sisters and brothers in Christ.

Grace That Is Greater Than All Our Sin

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Refrain

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Refrain

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Refrain

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Refrain

He Touched Me

“He touched me, Oh He touched me
And, oh, the joy that floods my soul
Something happened and now I know
He touched me and made me whole.”

(He Touched Me – Midi File)

When I lived in a remote forest location of Southeast Alaska, we made the big trip into town one day to watch an Easter play performed by a Sunday School class.  It was the most moving rendition of the Resurrection account I have ever seen.

I recorded it on my big ol’ VHS camcorder.

My oldest two children, all I had at the time, then aged two and three, were so impressed by one part of the show that they used to imitate it.

They’d stand there in the little terrycloth bathrobes I’d made for them, hoods over their heads, swaying a little bit, as they sang a capella just like the girl in the show, “He touched me, Oh He touched me, and oh the joy that floods my soul…”

I’ve got video of that, too.  It’s always a treat to haul out one of the old tapes to bring back the memories afresh.

But today, that song came to mind, and these memories accompanied it even without the videos.

Thinking about something and then it happens

I experience this a lot, but today it happened to my eight-year-old son.

He told me, “Mom!  ‘Big and Small‘ is on TV!  I was just thinking about it, thinking, ‘Hmm, I wonder if Big and Small’ will ever be on,’ and then there it was, right after ‘My Little Pony’!”

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I marveled, “Wow, that’s so cool!  I remember I used to watch that with you sometimes.  I didn’t know it was still on.  When did you last see it?”

He said, “At the hotel.”

That would’ve been at least last August.

So, he randomly thought about the show, and then suddenly there it was.

I love it when that happens.

I don’t know if there’s a name for that, but if there isn’t, there should be.