Sunday, August 11, 2019

It Hurts

 It hurts. Grief actually physically hurts. Drawing from my own experience, I can say that my gut clenches up and there’s this terrible constant dull ache in my chest that feels like my heart is breaking. There are times when I feel like curling into the fetal position and bawling my eyes out. Sometimes when I’m alone or with a good friend who understands, I do just that. Mostly, though, I wear a mask out in public to hide the pain.

For me, grief is like a Jack in the Box. One day, I'll be feeling fine, feeling as if my life is somehow on course, and then - Pop Goes the Weasel!  Some little thing will trigger me: a place, a song, or a smell. The tears start to flow and my mind starts to reel.  Images tumble around in my head - memories of one person I've lost ... two people ... three ....  Over the years, I've lost so many people I love.  My grief snowballs and becomes massive until I let myself cry it all out. There are days when I'm busy and happy, and I'm surrounded by people I adore.  And then, suddenly, once again - Pop Goes the Weasel!  Sometimes, when  I'm faced with any kind feelings of joy or accomplishment, I am immediately overwhelmed by guilt and regret. How can I be happy without the people who loved and supported me, and who were there from the very beginning? I know that this reasoning is faulty and that the people who have passed away would want me to be happy, but tell that to the ache in my heart. In recent years, my grieving process has gotten somewhat better, but that mean old weasel still keeps popping up occasionally, fucking with my mind and emotions.

Why am I writing this now?  Well, when my friend Leon died recently, and that damned weasel kept popping up, most of my friends and family were supportive and sensitive upon hearing the sad news. They said things like: Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that, Anne. I know how much Leon meant to you. If you need to talk, I'm always here for you.

 That's fine. That's all you need to say. Sympathy and support - that's all!

There were some insensitive things said and done, though.  Sure, I get it.  Not everybody has known loss or the pain of grief.  I understand that, I get it, I really do.  And yet, I feel like some people just don't think before they speak. Platitudes are only just bearable, things like:  Well, at least you have your memories, or Don't worry, sweetie, you'll feel better soon .... Yeah, right.  But people say worse things, like: Well, everybody dies, you know. Everybody dies.

I think the worst thing for me, though, was when I told a friend of mine that Leon had bone cancer.  Her response was, "That doesn't sound good!" and to Google the life expectancy of people with bone cancer.  I didn't want to her this information, hell, I was barely coping with the fact that Leon was sick.  I had lost so many friends and family members already, I just wanted some emotional support.  This may sound ridiculous, because it even seemed ridiculous to me at the time, but I actually hid in my own bathroom until my friend left.

In closing, I just want to sy, if you know someone who is grieving, try to be sensitive to their feelings, and try to put yourself in their shoes.

Grief hurts, man.  Grief hurts like a fucking bitch. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

My Wonderful Friend Leon Marr

I just found out that my dear friend Leon Marr died the other night from complications of bone cancer.  Leon was one of my closest friends, and he always called me his best friend.  Every Saturday he would come to see me at the St. Lawrence Market.  And every week he’d drop by to say hi to me and the cats. When I was in the hospital with pneumonia, Leon visited me every day. We were friends for 16 years!

He loved old movies, cats, and more than an occasional toke.  If you look him up on IMDB, you’ll see that he was a filmmaker -  a brilliant one at that!

It would really make Leon and I happy if you checked out “Dancing in the Dark “ and “Second Time Around.”

Thank you.

Rest In Peace, my old friend....

Saturday, June 1, 2019

It’s 2019 and I’m Still Busy

How can it be June 1st? Time keeps flying by at a breakneck speed.  Like a roller coaster ride, it’s both frightening and exhilerarating!

What have I been doing for the past six months?  Well, first, mundane things, like filing my taxes and  training new employees.   It’s both time consuming and yet necessary.  Writing and replying to emails and texts is also very necessary.  It’s like playing a never ending game of Whack-a-Mole! Managing the schedule of my employees is a less intense version of that game.  So is keeping on top of my financial log and ordering in new products to sell at the market.

I am a juggler, though. It’s what I do.

I am also an advocate for people like myself who have physical and communication disabilities.  Back in April, I gave a small talk at Queens Park regarding some of my own life experiences and views…

(Because I am a non-speaking person, I need someone who can assist me with communication within many social settings, such as, but not limited to, meetings and appointments.  This is important for me because I need to have a say in my own words and to feel included. If I was a person who was Deaf, organizations would automatically pay for a sign language interpreter to be on hand. What about having a communication assistant as well?  Not everyone with a communication disability is fortunate enough to have someone who can come with them to assist them in communicating.  We need to have access to trained assistants.  We want to see that addressed in accessibility laws. People who organize meetings should ask if we need assistance with communication, just like they ask if we need sign language or attendant services. It has been my experience that not many attendant services have been taught in the complexity of communication assistance.

In March of 2018, I was a victim of disability discrimination from a company that both sells and repairs wheelchairs.  Twice, I wrote emails to the management of the company detailing the inappropriate attitudes and actions of their employees. When I received no satisfactory response, I decided to register a formal complaint to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario. I was more than a little surprised and disappointed by their response. In their email, the A.D.O. first indicated that I should handle it myself by writing to the company that had discriminated against me - even though I had explained that I had already done so!  Their second suggestion was that I should take my complaint to the Human Rights Commission. I thought that their response was extremely disappointing.  As a person with a communication disability, I lack the funding, resources and time it would take to go through the lengthy process of trying to receive help from the H.R.C. In conclusion, It is my opinion that the A.D.O. needs a more proactive system in which to handle complaints from people with disabilities, such as myself. Once a complaint is received, it should be taken seriously and investigated as soon as possible, and when the person or company is found guilty of discrimination they should be fined.  So many people are unable to register complaints of discrimination either because of physical limitations,  fear of retaliation, or frustration that their concerns won’t be taken seriously.)

I've also been extremely busy getting ready to go back to England in July for an Art Fair.  That's right, folks, I'm going back to London!!!  I think that's where I belong. And, I'm not sure why, but my art sales have been extraordinary this year!  Hopefully, I'll have the same luck at the Parallax Art Fair! 

Some people have tried to tell me to slow down because of my age. To them, I want to quote Queen, "Don't stop me now, I'm having a good time, I'm having a ball!" Keeping busy and juggling everything makes me feel alive and happy!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Highlights of My Life in 2018 - in Photos!

This is a review of my year through photos.  Sorry that I haven't been able to write many posts, but as I said in my last post I'm very busy!

However, a picture is worth a thousand words.  So, enjoy these "words"....

First, January 6th was my 30th anniversary.  I had to celebrate without Rob, which was sad, but I made the best of it by having an ice cream at Baskin Robbins (where Rob and I first met) and I painted anniversary flowers.

As usual, I've been going to St. Lawrence Market every Saturday ...

... and dote on my two sweet cats Sherlock and Watson.


My employee (and friend) Megan brought her two adorable kids with her for shifts during the summer months. 

 I hired a new employee, who works at the pet store where I buy my cat food.  Cassandra is fantastic!

I celebrated my 60th birthday in style, in London, England.  Woo-hoo!

I was in a group art show, which featured artists with disabilities.  That was fun!

I recently got a sweet little kitten. I named her Frida (after Frida Kahlo) Zappa (after Frank Zappa.)

The year 2019 fills me with both apprehension and excitement.  Just like 2018, I have two thoughts in my mind:  1) Whatever life throws at me I can handle it, and 2) I'm going to live life to the fullest because you never know when the other shoe is going to drop.