The world became a much scarier place on September 12, 2006. Yes, that’s correct, not September 11, 2001, but September 12, 2006. While I acknowledge the horror of 9/11, for me, the day my father died was the day the world became a little closer and lot more disturbing.

My father stood fast to his role as the protector and defender of his family. As a child and growing up I always knew, on a subconscious level, that he was there to protect me from the world and from myself. Very often I did not recognize that and I ignored his protection going merrily on my way causing hurt to others as well as myself. He was there though to help me pick myself up, in his no nonsense way, and set me on my path again. He was there, providing a comforting sense of security my whole life. Then, suddenly, on that day, it was gone.  


I’ve wandered the past two year, going through the motions of getting on with life without him, not quite understanding the terrible loss I feel on a daily basis. Since that day, the world shifted a little sideways and it has been off balance, like a movie that is playing just one frame off the story since. I don’t know that the world will ever be right again. The poles have shifted and a whole new, scary world is there in place of where I lived.


For many months I was envious of my brother who says he felt dad when he died, and of my brother who found dad in a message in the storm clouds. Why had he left no message, no sign for me? I was as spiritual as either of them, why should I be left alone, afraid and uncomforted. The father I know would not do that. He would leave me something and my loss that I could not see it, or find it in the sky or the earth or the wind has plagued me.  I blamed myself and my belief system, envious of those with a religious bent who could find comfort knowing they would be reunited with loved ones some day, but I could not convert just to find solace. That would be unprincipled, and my father taught me principles of self.


I look for him in the birds, the murder of crows at the roadside in the mountain. I listen for him in the wind in the pines high on a mountain pass. I long to hear him remind me to have my car ready for winter with the appropriate survival gear and I realize now, what that was. It was my protection and security. He was watching out for me.


In my recent journey I traveled the mountain passes in a mild winter. As I ascended a particularly steep and dangerous pass I found road crews had closed the road and we were rerouted back to the low road, longer but safer. As I continued on my journey and night fell and I found myself alone, in the dark, in an isolated area of the mountain, tired and with increasing anxiety about the drive ahead of me. Did I have any survival supplies to keep me alive should I go off the road and be unseen by passing traffic? Did anyone know where I was? Did the cell phone even work out here?  I realized that I must stop for the night and recover my energy and my stamina to get home alive.


Obviously I made it home, but the trip was an epiphany of sorts. I realized what I lost on September 12, 2006. I also realized that while dad did not brush by me on his way out, or stir up the clouds to show me his presence, that he will always be there to protect me from myself and the world through the things he taught me and the advice he has given me. If not for the road crews on that mountain pass I would have gone on and tried to get through. If not for dad’s yearly reminders to be ready for bad weather, and to stop when you are tired, I would have gone on. I realize the world without a father is a very frightening place, but maybe in this new off kilter world without him, I need to look through a different lens to find him. He is there in all he taught me and showed me with his protection and security and in what I learned about being independent and self-sufficient in a scary world. He is there in the value of family and support and protection of my own children. And I think, knowing my dad, that was what he wanted.


I miss you dad.


I hear the water dripping

I’d forgotten how much I like this little hotel on Kingsway. Despite the view out 313’s window of the auto repair next door, the place has a retro feel of the 1920’s. It isn’t the decore, that’s modern. But there is something in the air of the place that suggests speakeasy’s and times forgotten.

It’s raining, of course. Rain that rivals Scotland for variety of types. This one is a dense rain with slanted patterned drops bouncing off the pavement. The gutters run dark red in the dim light off Main where I’ve gone for sushi, again. No sense of adventure, I am unwilling at this point to try anything new. Just some tea and rice is all I need. A good sushi place though I can’t remember the name – the ubiquitous TV shows ultimate fighting every time I am there. I’d have rathered stayed in the hotel and read and write but knowing there would be no food until day light tomorrow a walk in the west coast rain was necessary. I’d stopped earlier today to pick up a coat; my own was long forgotten in Calgary. I’d traversed the mountain passes without a coat and determined that was unwise so I picked up a parka which turned out to be a good choice for tonight.


Dinning alone I fret and worry about alex. Or maybe it is me I fret and worry about. The house back across the mountains seems so lacking in appeal. I think I can understand just a tiny bit how people can just walk out one day and disappear into the mysts. Once you no longer have the purpose for what you do, what do you do?

May the road rise up to greet you

After about 8 hours in the car listening to ally’s choice of music and wondering if the breaks are really good, I discovered several important things. One, her choice in music really isn’t bad, it’s just never ending. Silence is not only not golden, it isn’t an option. Round about getting out of Kelowna I had to ask for some quiet time so she plugged herself in and I was left with the drone of the road.

Two, the breaks work fine. However after many hours of clutching the steering wheel I was getting carpel tunnel in both hands. There must be 10 passes to climb and decend. The traffic was as non-existent as the snow until entering the interior valley and then suddenly people came out of the trees and congregated in the lane in front of me. Kelowna, where I had not been in many years, has become a unpleasant place to drive. Too much traffic, too many people and I wanted out.

Which led me to my other important discovery. Well, not really a revelation, but I don’t like crowds or groups of people and city living is only tolerable if I avoid both. Out on the highway I was much more content to feel the isolation whizzing past and wonder about where obscure roads led and if I could live way out there in one of those remote houses high on a hill side. Discovering your muse can be an epiphany. No wonder I can’t write at home, it is the road that takes me there. I need the travel to see the trees, smell the air and stimulate my creativity. The problem is the people though. I wonder if AMA does trips to exotic locals where you can avoid crowds? Could you market that? “Want to see the world but not the people? Join us on a tour of the world’s greatest spots without the world’s teeming masses!” Where can you go except the deepest darkest jungles and Antarctica? Neither hold much appeal. And could you even get a decent cup of tea in either?

Another important confirmation was that a cuppa is rather curative. I like the sushi place over here in whatever part of Vancouver I’m in (Kingsway Mall is just out side). They bring you a cup of steaming green tea with the menus…so when you are exhausted and starving the tea is essential as you pick your fishy choices. They also have a nice selection of vegetarian rolls in case you just can’t stomach more raw fish.

And on stomaching, I woke with a killer headache. I haven’t really had many headaches for years since moving out of Calgary, but lately, with visits to Calgary I have started again. Last weekend it was a Chinook moving in, this morning who knows? Do they have the same phenomenon here? I found myself shortly after rising with my head resting on the seat of the toilet as I purged my hotel tea. It was all very sad. All alone, vomiting and nothing for nausea or pain in my bag. And you call yourself a nurse.