Friday, December 26, 2008

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end

It feels like it has been a long, long while since I posted here. I've come by multiple times each day and I've had tons of posts whirring around in my head, but I couldn't bring myself to post. After everything that happened with Leah and then my parents leaving literally right after her funeral, Ive tried not to think about anything other than Christmas. Coming here and seeing Leah's picture or reading some of the posts about her made me feel like there was no point in writing anyway. The thing is that I've never really believed that and now that my Mom is gone, it is even more important for me to write.

In my 4th year women's studies class in university we discussed writing as a way to hash out what is in your brain or maybe to understand better something you've read. Since then Ive tried to write about anything that I seem to be struggling with and I think it helps me. I rarely plan what Im going to write in advance, except for maybe a topic, and whatever comes out is real. I try not to filter myself and that's why I stated flat out in one of my first posts that I will only write the full truth here. I don't like lies and I don't want to pretend to be something Im not. So I come here and I work out my thoughts and in the process I get to connect with all of you. You have all become very dear to me and I feel an obligation to continue to write my mundane thoughts about my mundane life. Guilt about this blog has become pretty normal lately and I think it is high time I change that.

So now that I am finding myself sitting at our new desktop computer on boxing day writing a post about my blog and what it means to me, I think it is fitting to finish with a list of my new years resolutions. After a whopper of a year (finishing school; loosing my car, house, boyfriend; having a baby with no father; moving three times; learning that The Ex is engaged again; Leah's passing and my parent's move across country) I am ready for some goals! I think that I am certainly in a better place emotionally that I was this time last year but everything else seems to be the same. Well, maybe not. I am living in a much better house than the hell-hole apartment that I was getting ready to move out of last year. So that's a plus. But I am still in a massive amount of debt, Im still alone, I've still got kids to raise and feed and clothe but now without really a job. I've grown on a personal level in ways that I never knew existed and I've been tried by hitting lows that I never thought I would experience. I think I've come out a better person for it, but with the year all said and done, I cant help but look at it as a year wasted.

So to 2009, I welcome you and everything you have to offer. To you I commit to achieving the following goals; albeit with much complaint, tears and/or alcoholic beverages:

  • Are you ready for it? This is a big one......ok, I am going to write one MILLION words this year. After having a successful NaNoWriMo it got me to thinking about writing and how much I enjoy it. I really, really suck at it but that's not the point for me. I plan to be home with the kids for at least half of 2009 so why not get to those books that Ive always wanted to write. I know now after November that fiction is definitely not the right avenue for my work but I have a few other projects that I'd like to tackle. Im sure you're doubting my ability to write a million words this year because well, like that's A LOT. But I have it all planned out you see. The writing will not only include books like NaNo did! No, I will be writing all sorts of things and if I start something, get a few thousand words in and decide I don't like it anymore? That is totally cool; those words will count. My blog posts will also get tacked on there as well as anything that I write on my new blog (that I plan to start, see below). So there you have it, ONE MILLION words by January 1 2010.

  • Cut my credit card debt in half. At the moment, I no longer use my cards but they sit at a balance of about 6300. Somehow this year I want to see that number much closer to 3000. I know that I wont be able to tackle my student loan debt this year and that is ok. Ive already changed a lot of bad habits and reversed my thinking so I know Im on the road to freedom from my debts, it's just a really, really long road. This Christmas, the kids are more than happy with their gifts and I don't feel any guilt about what I gave to anyone or about the people that I chose not to give to this year. I did it all this year without compromising my budget or going into anymore debt (actually that is a lie, I bought this computer back in August on credit and I'll be paying small monthly payments for three years). I think I am doing really good when it comes to my finances and 2009 will only help me to get further OUT of debt.

  • Find a boyfriend. Ok, so this one is pretty much self-explanatory. I hate being alone and I think I am at my best when I am in a relationship. I joined an Internet dating site about two months ago and I've been talking with a lot of people. There are a few prospects but I'm taking it slow. The two men that I've met in person from the site so far have wanted a relationship but I couldn't commit to that. I have reached a point with men where I refuse to settle. I obviously know that I will probably have to bend what Im looking for a bit but there are just some things that I can not give up. So I plan to end the year with a wonderful man doing something fun while we bring in 2010 together. Having that to look forward to makes this lonely New Years a lot more bearable.

  • Find a job. I have a degree so it shouldn't be that hard to find work. I don't really care at this point what I'm doing, the point is to just do something and start bringing in some money. I've continued to work very part time hours with a research project that Ive been assisting with for about two and a half years. I know that I will continue to be a part of this but its more of a freelance type thing and the pay Isn't even really something I'd call income because I have so few hours. After June or so though the project takes a turn and we will stop collecting data and start to process what it all means a little more. This means that there are lots of opportunities for writing projects and conferences to come out of it which is fine for a side thing but I cant rely on it in place of a real income.

  • Start my second degree. I know this one sounds kind of stupid considering I'll probably just be getting into a new job and I've got the four kids and enough debt already but I really do think I can manage. I've looked into this degree program from a university in another province that offers it through a distance option. I can either take it full time in two years or part time in three because I already have a degree. I also don't need to take out any more student loan debt because the cost of the courses is manageable if I do the part time route and Im working. So yes, September 2009: start another degree.

  • Find the joy that I used to experience from being a mother. I lost this years ago in the midst of my terrible relationship with The Ex and I want desperately to get it back. I think I am taking baby steps in that department but maybe another six months will be enough to really help?
  • Finally reach my target weight of 140. I made it as low as 161 a few months ago but since Halloween I haven't been able to get even close to that number again. At the moment Im probably closer to 170 but Im a little afraid to look at the scale. Either way, 30 lbs in a year is not that big of a deal if I am serious about it. This also ties in with the next one...
  • Stop f**king around and just join the damn Y already. Ive been there twice to get this process going but I never have all the right forms or whatever. I am seriously close to just forgetting about the subsidy and just paying the full dues anyway. But if I did that, then my goal up there of reducing my debt would be compromised. The difference by the way is $40/month which after a year would be $480 less debt to my name. Obviously the subsidy is the way to go here but I just have to get on that and get organised!
  • Start another blog. I don't want to get into the details about what this one will be about or anything yet, but know that it is in the works ;)
  • See a dentist. I honestly haven't been to a dentist in over a decade and my teeth are horrible. I never once had a cavity as a kid but I know that my mouth is full of them now. My wisdom teeth are also squishing the rest of my teeth together like something fierce and its to the point now that I don't open my mouth much. I know that this is going to be a big process and an even bigger expense so I haven't been in any rush but I do need to make it a priority.
  • Network with other moms and be more social. At the moment I really only talk with (make a point to see) family members. Ive never really been one to keep friends and I know that this probably isn't good for me because I tend to go within myself and shut others out when I have a problem. Social interaction is healthy and I need to put in the effort to include it more in my life.
  • Eat Better. Related directly to my weight is my consumption of pop(soda). If I stay away from it I tend to feel smaller and happy about my weight. Whenever I give in and start drinking it again, my clothes seem to get tighter and then I start to eat cookies or chocolate and we all know how that ends. I also have the issue of possible glaucoma when Im older and so taking the steps (ie reduce sugar intake) now can prevent that from happening. The last time I had my eyes checked (about a year ago; ugh, add that to the list) the cups were a 4 with 10 meaning blindness. I have no idea what any of that really means except that I would prefer not to go blind, ya know?
  • Get organised. I know that I am happier, life runs smoother and I spend less money when I am organised and have a plan for things. If I take the time to plan my meals and my grocery list, I spend a good bit less at the grocery store. This Christmas I was able to buy lots of good presents because I started a long time ago and didn't succumb to the lure of the toy stores in December. My desk has also been a complete disaster since we moved in to this house so I think it is high time to organise all my papers and various junk. Over the last few years I've done really good with getting rid of things that I don't need around and de-cluttering our home so I plan to continue that and hopefully in a years time I wont be sitting here with a list of boxes/closets/drawers/rooms that need to be cleaned out or organised.

Ok, that is all that I can think of right now. There may be more and I may end up adding to the last over the next week but for now, this is where it stands. What about all of you, what are some of your goals for the coming year?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Second Try

This morning I meant to write a nice post about Leah that celebrated what a wonderful person she was. Instead I ended up being very negative and I really shouldn't have been. Leah was never negative and was always happy and smiling. I feel really bad now complaining about not being able to get any help when duh, she's dead. Im sure there are a lot of people out there worried about a lot bigger things then what I am and I forgot that for a moment.

So as a bit of a do-over, I just wanted to post what the priest said of Leah today at her funeral. He knew her well from all of her work at the church, so I feel confident in his perception. He called Leah a cross between Mother Theresa and Lady Diana. I don't think I need to say anything else about the type of person that Leah was and will forever be remembered as, this says it all.

Celebrating a Life

Today is Leah's funeral. I cant go because there is no one to watch the kids. Im feeling really upset about this and Im finding myself snapping at the kids almost constantly. I wasn't able to go to Leah's benefit concert before she left for her surgery, then I couldn't make any of the times for the viewings and now I cant make her funeral. I am so sick of things like this! People say things about feeling like they are a single parent because their spouse is gone a lot of the time or whatever but the truth is, most of the time you will have someone to help out. I have no one. I come from a family that would do anything for each other, no matter what. My brothers, parents and I would drop what we are doing to help the other one out, if something comes up. We do not expect anything in return and we just do it because we care about each other. It was a big shock and something I still have to remind myself of, when I realised that most of this world does not operate like this.

Its a f***ing funeral and I don't have a single person in my life that is willing to help out. This is why I do not keep friends; I probably expect too much out of them, but to me a friend is someone who is there when you need them. I would do anything for anyone. A few days ago I dragged my sick ass off the couch, packed three kids into the car and drove someone across town because they had an important meeting to get to and their car broke down. This person? I had never before met them in my life and only knew them from talking online. This is who I am and how I think people should act. Why the hell cant I find someone else out there that cares enough about other people to act like that towards me? The Ex just blocked me from facebook when I sent him a msg asking for help for today.

Its crazy because Leah is exactly the person that would have gone out of her way to help anyone that needed it. She spent so much of her life volunteering and just helping wherever she could. The world needs more more people like Leah Walsh! I found out yesterday that right before she went into her surgery, she told her parents that she had a will on her computer. It wasn't finished because Im sure it was too hard for her to get into, but what she did write was beautiful and only about the good in this world. She wrote to her friends at school about how wonderful they all were and that their differences were nothing and that they should all just get along. Then she wrote a little to her teachers telling them that they did make a difference and that their work was appreciated. She also included a paragraph to the children's wish foundation about what an amazing support they had been over the years. That is as far as she had gotten before she left, but wow. This girl was dying and she cared so much about her friends and teachers that she wanted to write them encouraging messages like that before she left.

We've also learned that my brother proposed to Leah before she left and even though no one knew, he says that she said yes. The day before Leah died, my brother bought her engagement ring and then a few nights ago he gave it to her dad. By the time of the viewing the next day, they had put it on her hand. I think it meant a lot to my brother that her parents accepted how much he and Leah meant to each other, even though they were so young. She is being cremated, so the ring will come off and Leah's mom promised Sam that she will wear it in Leah's memory.

There have just been so many sad, yet wonderful things come up this last week. I have so many little things that Id like to write about but I cant even remember all of them. She was just an amazing girl. My family has some kind-of out there ideas about life and spirituality so Im sure that colors how I see things. I also know that many of you will not share the same ideas so I am hesitant to write freely and openly. I've decided though to just be true to my own beliefs and hope that you will respect them.

Anyway, so Leah was born and immediately they found that she had something wrong with her heart. She was flown right away to Montreal and had her first heart surgery at 18 days old. At the time, they knew nothing of her condition. Every day was a miracle with little Leah and the doctors did everything they could. After this last surgery, her surgeon (the same one that she has had all of her life) came out and apologized to Leah's parents. Her mother instead thanked him for the 17 years that he had given them with their daughter. Without him, Leah probably wouldn't have lived for very long. But also without Leah, the doctors wouldn't have learned as much as they had. Her surgeon told her parents that from what they learned from Leah, thousands of people will be saved. How amazing is that?

Leah's poppy was the only one to pass away in her family up until this point. He actually died at Christmas time himself. Anyway, a few weeks before Leah left, her Poppy started to come into her dreams. Then when she would come in and out of consciousness at the hospital, she would tell her parents that her Poppy had told her it was going to be ok. She said that he was there at the foot of her bed and so her family is taking great comfort in knowing that she is with her Poppy now; a man that she loved so much.

Ugh, I don't even know why Im writing all of this. Its real and its whats in my head at the moment but there isn't really any point to any of it. The funeral is today, in an hour and I so wish I could be there for Sam as he carries the coffin of his first girlfriend out of the church. Immediately after that, my parents have to leave for their move just because they are completely out of time and have to rush as it is. They cant even stay for the reception afterwards because they have to make the ferry departure time. One of my other brothers will be there today with Sam and I just hope that will be enough support for him. I am completely messed up about all of this and I have no idea how he is holding up. I know that he feels honored that God chose him to be the one and only boyfriend to this special girl, and that God only gives us what we can handle. I also know that Leah wouldn't want us all to be upset about this and that she would be the one trying to comfort everyone if she was here.

Rest in Peace Leah, you will be missed.

If you would like to read some of the things that people have wrote to Leah and her family, you can visit the facebook group Prayers for Leah Marie Walsh

Monday, December 15, 2008

100th post

My posts lately have been very, very sad. I haven't been thinking about much other than Leah so its been hard to even come up with anything to write. You're words and thoughts meant so much to me though and I want to thank all of you for them. Leah passed away Friday night with her family. We don't know when the funeral will be but I imagine it will be in a few days.

My brother is impossible to read. He seems mostly normal but you can tell that there is this massive amount of anger, just under the surface. Im worried about him and I really think he should go up north with my parents when they move now after the funeral. I don't know how he can continue with his normal life with all of that emotion that is so obviously there. My heart goes out to him.

My family decided to go ahead with our Christmas party that we had originally planned for today. We cancelled it when my parents changed their moving plans so that they could make the stop to see Leah in Montreal. There was certainly a sad note to it all but we were able to get together one last time and enjoy each other's company. My camera was dying so I don't have many pictures myself, but my SIL sent me a couple:

My mom and I

The kids and I

Friday, December 12, 2008

Leah has taken a turn for the worst and they have taken her off of life support. My parents were about two hours away from here on their way to bringing my brother to see her when they got the call. They spent the next hour on the side of the road while my brother made the decision not to try to get to her (it would take two days because we live on an island) and instead come home and say goodbye at her funeral. Thank you to everyone who kept Leah and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

No change

Leah with Josiah shortly after he was born
I wish I had some good news about Leah. The truth though is that there hasn't been much of a change these past few days. My brother is most likely leaving tomorrow to hopefully get to Montreal by Saturday night so that he can have a chance to say good bye. We are hoping that it would only end up being a chance to see her, but it is possible that it will be a good bye.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Apparently Ive got booty!

The Muddled Sage gave me an award! She had two on her blog and at first I didn't know which one she was giving me but after a bit of research I decided to take this one just because there are no rules. I gave most of my blogroll an award the last time one came around so Im not going to do it again. Instead, Ill just selfishly accept this lovely piece of bloggy bling and give nothing in return. Wow, that sounds bad! I promise I don't mean it that way. :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Leah isn't expected to make it.

On Friday, when I wrote my last entry, Leah had a heart attack. Her body is full of toxins because of the kidney failure, so they have some sort of tube in her stomach to help remove some of it. Other than that, we do not know anything else about her condition.

My mom went to talk with Leah's grandmother today and found out some more details that we didn't know before. Because my brother was so young they didn't want to tell him that Leah only had a week to live when she left for her surgery. It was to the point that they couldn't not do it because she was having heart failure every couple of days. Anyway, her grandmother today said that it looks so bad that we probably wont see her again before her funeral. As I write those words, Im just blown away by them. Not since I was a small child have I had one of my peers die and Im so shaken up over this. She is still here, and she is hanging on so we need to keep up hope.

My brother's boss offered to pay for a flight for him to Montreal to see her but my parents declined the offer because we don't know anyone there other than Leah's parents. With a dying daughter they don't need to be worried about my brother and where he would sleep and all that. So instead we are hoping that she will at least hang on until next week when my parents can drive my brother there. They leave on Sunday for their move anyway and planned to go right through Montreal so as long as she can hold on, my brother will at least get to see her one more time. Oh my God, One more time? How can this even be?

I remember when my grandmother died I spent a long time afterwards hoping that everything was a dream and that I would wake up and she would still be here (I was 8). I feel the same way now. Oh God, please let her come home.

Friday, December 5, 2008

We need your help

My youngest brother is 17 and is involved with his first girlfriend Leah. Leah has an extremely rare heart condition where only three people have been diagnosed with it. The other two didnt make it past the first few years of life and Leah wasnt supposed to either. Despite all odds she has thrived and led a mostly normal life.

A couple months ago, she flew to Montreal for some heart tests which revealed that she needed another surgery. Her pacemaker had to be replaced and there was something else too, but I dont know the details. Anyway, she flew back a couple weeks ago for her surgery and has been in an induced coma ever since. Her heart has just not been strong enough to handle waking her up yet.

Yesterday Leah's kidneys failed and he had to have her heart shocked three times last night. Her sister flew up last night as well to join her parents and be with Leah. My brother was just told this morning and I havent spoken with him yet. I know he loves this girl so much. Leah is just the sweetest most precious girl you could ever meet and this is really hitting everyone hard. We dont know if she will hang on much longer.

Please pray or whatever it is you believe in for Leah and her family. Pray that she makes it through and that her heart becomes strong enough to let her have a normal life again. Im just trying to believe and trust in God, but Im also feeling very low right now.
Those pictures were taken when Leah left for the airport to go have her surgery.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas DVD Giveaway

This is again a shameless attempt at a second entry into Mommy Daisy's contest for a Jim Henson Christmas DVD. So everyone follow that link and go enter!!!! The contest closes tomorrow so hurry, hurry!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

And the Winner is....!!!!

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:4
Timestamp: 2008-12-03 04:22:33 UTC

Which means Astarte wins my PIF!!! SO Astarte get in touch with me at with your address and Ill get it sent to you in time for xmas!!!