Saturday, August 27, 2011

this week

What a week it has been.

So busy—so up and down

and down and up.

This week,

in the spirit of More! that I referred to in my last post,

I learned to program a Mindstorm robot

with my girl and her friend.

(The Lego League coach did a Girl's Only training session just for us.
Wasn't that lovely of him?)

I felt the sparks of my brain light up,

as we went through new step after new step. It felt kind of fizzy and delightful :)

In the end I watched, as my girl and her friend got the robots they'd built and programmed (with my help!)

to complete their first obstacle course. They looked at each other and beamed.

This week, in the spirit of More!

I did art class with my kids.

(The art teacher always says Of Course, when I ask to join in.
Isn't that lovely of her?)

We did a still life, with pots and pans, painting only in shades of grey. Looking for the light, the dark and the in-between.

At one point I thought, This is terrible. I'm doing a terrible job. I'm going to take this painting down and throw it in the bin.

Then I thought, No. You. Won't!

Remember, I told myself. It is the staying, the doing and the being here in my body in this moment that truly matters.

This week,

I went to a funeral. For my uncle who'd died suddenly on a ferry. Just like that.

The moment in the service that did me in was my aunt,

standing before the packed room saying,

'I didn't get one second. Not a single moment, to say goodbye.'

So she asked that we say goodbye, together.

And it struck me,

that out of a life this adventurous, this full, a journey filled with Go! and Do! and Change!

the greatest legacy my uncle left,

the feeling that was the strongest—so vibrant it shimmered in the room—

was how much he was loved.


I planned my own funeral

(…doesn't everyone? Or is it just me…?).

I wanted it filled with colour.

I told my beloved sister and husband so.

I told them: I would like ribbons. And bright flowers and music. SO much music!

And people beside an ocean
with gulls catching the wind.

That's all.

So if I have no words and no time to say goodbye,

the colours, the music, and the sea can do it for me.

This week,

it's been kind of quiet here, in my land of words,

as I've tried to sort through some Stuff.

You know The Stuff, don't you? It's different, but so much the same, as other people's.

The Stuff that blocks, trips, leaves you hollow. The Stuff you try to shift.

Which means I've been quiet in the spaces of others too. I am sorry for that. I love coming by to see you. When I stop by, I truly feel like I'm popping in for a cup of tea.

Though I haven't written, please know I still love being with you. Please know that I come by.

While sorting my Stuff out, I've felt alternately busy and blank. I've been weepy and muddled, and

distracted best by all the amazing kids I spend time with in the week,

and the kind grown-ups.

This week,

well, I suppose right now, actually,

I feel like

I am the still field.



All around, in the fields to my north, my south, my east, my west, 

—the fields that are my kids and their friends,
their projects and their happy lives—

I can hear bees buzzing.

I hear the thick swish of someone walking through corn.

The crick crick of crickets and the peeping of birds.

I can see bright colours, wildflowers everywhere.

I can hear the push of green up through the soil, blades of grass and new shoots.

I can see sunlight streaming.

I see children running,

doing a dizzy twirl that eventually tilts their laughing bodies onto the ground.

I hear their laughter like bells. 

I see

a swallow swoop down low.

So low I see its eyes
and soft edges.

How funny, it must think,

to see a lady in a field, sitting so still with her face up to the sun.


This week,

I wanted to share the music that has been my week's soundtrack. 

With all its downs 

and glorious ups.

The whole album is SO beautiful,

in every way uplifting and wild, 

strange, sorrowful and true, 

it might just be the entire playlist for my funeral.


this one. 


  1. That song is hauntingly beautiful. I just peeked on iTunes. Soon it will be on my iPod. Thank you.

    I am so sorry for your loss. An unexpected death is so hard because it is so -- unexpected. I have thought about my own funeral at times to...what music I would like, what kind of party I want after. My family is Irish-Catholic and we do the funeral party right. Someday I will write it all out.

    Beautiful post.

  2. Beautiful gorgeous words, once again. And the song is lovely too. I will add it to my ipod as well. I adore it when I see you have a new post as your words are so magical. You have a gift!

  3. I look forward to your posts too :-) Loved the lego, loved the learning you (and the kids did) and loved the song. And no, you're not the only one who plans their own funeral...

  4. Helena, thank you for sharing that song. How beautiful is that? It about did me in in all honesty. I am sorry about your uncle but what a beautiful thing your aunt did...asking everyone to say 'goodbye' together.

    Your "MORE" sound amazing. I love that you do that. Your 'stuff' will go away. Doesn't all of our stuff eventually leave and the wonderful comes slamming into us. And have so much wonderful. Happy weekend dear friend. Hugs and love.

  5. I'm sorry for your loss. Your post makes me love poetry and life through the highs and lows. I pray for healing in everyone's hearts.

  6. Such a beautiful beautiful post. We were able to say goodbye together that day of the funeral. If it helps Helena's aunt, then our love will shine through to her. There was enormous love. One good thing was that he died when he was next to her (Helena's aunt), and so he did not die alone. Somehow, I hope that he knew that.

  7. Ah yes, The Stuff comes with the change of each season. It makes me realize that we are connected to the earth and changes even if we aren't always aware of it.

    And of course Mindstorms...COOL!

  8. Thinking of you!! So sorry to hear about your Uncle. I hope he crossed over quickly and with no pain. And no worries about your "stuff", I think I have a lot of that going on over here too :).

    I have yet to actually plan my funeral, but I dream about it--not in the sense of wanting it to come true, but in the sense of wondering what it would be like. The video is lovely and the words leave a lasting impression--a great choice for a funeral.
    xx oo

  9. Sorry to hear about your family loss. And yes to the stuff. I'm there, too. Quiet on my blog for that reason as well. I hope you are able to move through the "stuff" and find peace in your heart.


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.