sighs of sweet content (troiku) daily moments

blue skies
sun rays beaming hope
sighs of springtime

blue skies
billows move in tandem
winter’s softest breeze

sun rays beaming hope
looking winter in the eye
walking on thin ice

sighs of springtime
tapping giant maples
where sweetness flows

© Tournesol ‘19-03-04

Winter s captive Daily Moments March 1 2019

Day 7,
silent chisels fill her head
ears that cannot hear

winter cold and flu
mockingly whisper
“Ha Ha, I got you!!

sleepless nights
coughing
chasing germs away

hope is in the air
taste slowly returns
first cup of java

© Tournesol ‘10/03/01

Daily Moments March 1, 2019 winter’s captive

silent sighs in the night (troiku)

Inspired by the haiku of a talented poet/haijin,  Celestine Nundanu.

moonlit night
a shooting star fades
into sounds of silence © Celestine Nundanu ‘19-03-01

moonlit night
lovers skate on frozen pond
tracing figure eights

a shooting star fades
in abyss of ecstasy
echoes from her lips

into sounds of silence
nestled gently
on virgin snow

(c) Tournesol ’19/03/01

The river flows (haibun)

Patient river flows

Rich and fertile

Ever slowly

After reading a chapter from a friend’s book on her years of trying to have a child filled with losses, disappointments, frustrations, self-denigration to a miracle, I was inspired to go over my own journey. Of course I did not suffer like so many women have and do to have a family but I do remember my personal hopes and desires to become a mom…

Motherhood

God’s gift to humanity

Perfect miracle

I remember when I felt ready to start a family. We had married young. I was a 19 year old bride, having married my teenage sweetheart I had met at 15. He was just 21. Our marriage started on rocky grounds but when the paths seemed smoother, I felt ready. I still don’t know why I changed my mind since going back to university to get my degree had always been on my mind but my body was begging for something different. And why not, I thought to myself. Most of my friends were just getting out of university and starting their careers but my new friends I made had started from the age of 18 to 24 years old. So I guess there was no right or wrong here but what suited each person…in a unique way. For me, my biological clock was ticking, oh so early, and yet, it was blocking the sounds of logic and long lost career dreams. I could become a teacher or counsellor later, that’s all. What did I have to complain about? At 22 I was working for the CEOs of a multi-million dollar steel company? People dreamed to get so far at a much older age…and so my journey began.

The first two years, I blamed my inability to conceive to those damn contraceptive pills. They were so damn strong in the ‘70’s! Women were such guinea pigs in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s on so many levels. And we continued to hand over our bodies and minds (how my mother was exploited with her mind and stuffed with valium). In those days, most doctors did not listen to women but they shut them up with pills.

After over a year I started getting hormone shots. The doctor never explained how this might affect my moods…you did not dare ask too many questions then either…and so I endured the shots and discomfort it gave me in my thigh and my legs. After several rounds of shots and multiple “negative” pregnancy tests, I was almost ready to give up.

Let’s step back a moment to talk about those tests. There were not any home pregnancy tests then…at least I was not aware of it and I would go to the same pharmacy because monsieur Lasalle had such a sympathetic face when he would come back to whisper to me discreetly with a sympathetic look on his face, tilting his head to the side, “C’est négatif, chère madame.”

The first few times, I was disappointed but since this Pharmacie was in the town where I worked, I was able to busy myself in my work.

Another year went by and I could not understand what was going on. Everyone was telling me that I thought about it too much. Some would laugh about it. One of my good friends who also happened to be my friend and HR manager at work told me her story. She had tried to conceive for 10 years and finally she and her husband gave up and planned a trip to Western Canada. When she returned she was pregnant. Moral of that story, according to every friggin busybody who pissed me off was that you just have to relax and stop worrying. I was so angry that everyone was blaming my mind and worry nature (GAD was not a term anyone used at that time) for not conceiving. My mind, apparently, was controlling my body, my ovaries, my womb. Fine! I was getting frustrated. When I would see a woman who was pregnant walking on the street, I started crossing the street to not cross paths with this fertile queen. It made me feel so sorry for myself. I was a mess.

Then I heard from our local CLSC (Local Service Community Clinic) that some women were using the Billing’s Method as a natural contraceptive. Hmmm, that might be interesting to take my temperature every morning to see when I DO ovulate. So when most women knew, “tonight is too dangerous”, my motto had begun, “Tonight is the night!” I still do not understand why the first doctor I saw never suggested I do this to understand my cycle. I had never been regular…it was always 35 to 56 to 65 to 90 days between cycles. I was quite ignorant but slowly began to take things in my own hands to get to know my body better. Lord only knows my maternal GrandMaman who was midwife tried to explain to me how to examine myself to see the difference when I was ovulating but I just did not get it.

Within six months I learned that I always ovulated between 14 to 18 days from the first day of my periods. Well, now, there is something consistent here. I also learned to see how the lines on this temperature graph would stay up and steady for severe days and weeks (sometimes) and then dip suddenly when I started my period. Alrighty now, there is a plan of action on my part here. I felt a bit more in control. I knew when was the most optimal time to conceive!

A year and a half passed with no success. My husband refused to even discuss adoption so I finally decided to go to a fertility clinic. It was interesting to see the people waiting in the waiting room. Everyone seemed so quiet and even a bit self-conscious or perhaps I was projecting my own feelings of inadequacy. I was only 27 but already felt a decade older. That year, I decided to go back to school and took two courses in English literature just to see if I was smart enough to pursue further studies for a degree.

The doctor suggested my husband take the first test since it the most least invasive…just spilling his seeds in a jar seemed quite harmless compared to the poking and prodding women went through. He felt embarrassed but for once, I was sort of happy that he was finally participating in this chapter of our lives. We learned that his sperm count was slow and low, whatever the heck that means. Yet, they said it was not a reason for my not conceiving after I had shown the doctor my ovulating graph.

The doctor examined me from head to toe and when he noticed I had colostrum leaking quite easily from my breasts when he squeezed them a little, he had me hospitalized a few weeks later. Two whole weeks of resident doctors wanting to probe me, squeeze my breasts and then murmur to the side with serious looks on their faces. I was a wreck by the end of the first week and lost 10 pounds. My roommate told me I was allowed to refused to be touched by these doctors since their teacher had already performed several examinations in front of them. So the next time one doctor came up to me to squeeze my breasts, I said NO. He asked, “How are we to learn since this is a teaching hospital?” I still did not budge and simply responded, “You were there when Dr…..performed an examination yesterday. Have you forgotten already?!” I was sore and tired of feeling like a lab rat.

I still did not quite understand why so much blood was taken out of me daily and one day over twenty times in a special unit where there was another girl next to me. I told her excitedly, “I’m here to pass test to get pregnant!” When I asked her why she was here as she seemed so young, I was shocked and confused. “Oh, they’re checking to see about a tumour on my brain.” My mouth dropped…I was passing the exact same tests!

Apparently my doctor felt this must be checked before any further fertility procedures since he felt my pituitary gland was overactive, hence the colostrum easily leaking form my breasts. It took several weeks to get the results but all was well, the doctor announced and I would be going for the real “tests” after the Christmas holidays.

That summer we had planned our first trip abroad. We had never taken an airplane or gone any further than road trips to the Maritimes and New England states. My husband wanted to visit Germany and Austria but I wanted to visit my roots…England, Scotland and Wales where my paternal grandfather was born and gee, wouldn’t it be nice if we conceived in the UK? Okay, it was obviously still on my mind.

What a perfect trip to take since I had finally gone back to school and taking Introduction to English Literature at Concordia University. I had to know first if I passed this course if I was smart enough or college material still at my age.

On our trip we visited Lake District and William Wordsworth’s cottage, Shakespeare’s house and so many places where famous writers and poets had lived.

We also became closer to one couple on our tour that came from Montreal. They were about our parents’ age and they suggested we purchase a home now before the prices go up even more. And so upon our return from this trip, we decided to purchase a home that would be ready the following summer. Since we were both working, it was time to do something with our lives besides trying to have a. baby. And if I did get pregnant, we would be ready with a home.

The holidays passed and no news from the hospital yet. There was a long waiting list. I was still taking my temperature every day, just in case. This time I wanted to save the money for useless pregnancy tests. If the graph showed differently only then, would I take an other test. My neighbour downstairs was four months pregnant and she told me she thought I was as well. She kept saying my eyes were different and so sparkly. I really didn’t want to believe this and be disappointed with a negative test again. She promised to come with me and so the following morning we did go…the pharmacist comes over to me saying the test was “Positif”. I could not believe it! I asked him to repeat it and then asked him to write it on my receipt…POSITIF so I could show this to my husband.

I was so excited that my hands and legs were shaking so much, I could not drive yet so for several long minutes, my friend and I were giggling like silly teenage girls in the car and waited for my shaking to stop. I will never forget that moment…EVER. Just like I will not forget the morning we were in our new home and the basement was flooding and my husband was so irritated. But I had a big goofy smile…it was June 1978 and I felt the movement of my baby bouncing around inside my womb. I could feel life inside of me!

After seven years of marriage, the seventh grandchild in the family, our beautiful eight pound baby boy was born.

The universe smiles

Bonding with her bundle of joy

Blue eyed treasure

© Tournesol ‘19/02/23

Winter daybed (troiku) Daily Moments Feb 23/19

honey ginger
scent of peppermint
lingers on her lips

honey ginger
battling winter germs
always on duty

scent of peppermint
opens pathways
breathing with ease

lingers on her lips
oh for the memories!
that sweet first kiss

Daily moments Feb 23rd 2019 winter daybed

© Tournesol 2019/02/23

So much more than an uncle (haibun)

I was away when my cousin was kind enough to phone me about the sad news but I had to write about it…will add photos when I get back home.

He was a father and a friend, a comforter and a teacher but most of all he was my protector since I was a very young child.

I grew up looking up to this handsome “James Dean” lookalike. I followed him everywhere when I could even when he was with his girlfriends. One winter night, it was a full moon and he decided to go out skating with his new girlfriend on the river behind the house. They both invited me to join them. How naïve I was to follow these two lovers but I did and I loved them both even more for it.

One Father’s Day, my sister and I bought him a necktie. He looked so shy and awkward and all he could say was, “But I’m not your father.” That year my parents had temporarily separated, so what did we know, right? Thinking about that now, it must have been odd for a 17 yr old to be looked up to as a father! Ah, kids!

I remember when I was very young before I went to school, my mother punished me for being rude and impatient with my GrandPapa. I responded to him just like my father used to talk to me when he was impatient. My mother probably knew where this was coming from and wanted me to learn that it was not acceptable. She sent me to my uncle’s bedroom to sit there until she felt I had learned. As I was walking to the bedroom, I still remember seeing my GrandPapa rocking in his chair in the living room and smiling at me. I knew then, he had forgiven me.

I sat on my Uncle Bernie’s bed and cried. I did not like being shut in and of course, I just felt sorry for little old me! My uncle came in and sat on the bed next to me and looked so uncomfortable seeing me cry. He offered me a WHOLE dime to stop crying! Now you have to understand that a dime bought a lot for a child my age! I could get a bag of chips and five gum balls!

I remember watching him from the kitchen at GrandMaman’s when he would be getting ready to go out…probably on a date. He smelled so good of Old Spice! My grandmother and he would argue like mothers sometimes do with their older teenager. He must have been about 19 because GrandPapa had already died. Poor Bernie, having lost his father so young. GrandPapa was the best father and grandfather on the planet…no, really!

I remember when I was still quite young and my uncle had seen me trying to take a cigarette from GrandMaman’s pack. I was only about 6! I know, how bad is that?! I loved the smell of fresh tobacco and especially the scent of pipe tobacco. (Uncle Bernie would add a piece of apple in his tobacco pouch to keep it moist but I think it also gave it that nice aroma too.} Anyway, Bernie, lit a cigarette and blew smoke on a tissue to show me the colour it turned into and warned me that that was what would happen to my lungs if ever I smoked. I knew he was worried for me. Yeah, well I did still smoke eventually for three decades. And every time he saw me as an adult, he would say, “You are still smoking…you know it’s not in style anymore, right?”

I remember his wedding so well. I was 14 years old. I had just become a woman that morning (and you ladies all know what that means). I felt so grown-up that day! Later, when I was 17, his wife, Denise and he asked me to be the baby carrier for their first born, Annie’s christening. I felt so proud. I used to babysit Annie since I lived next door at GrandMaman’s. Aunt Denise would ask me what I wanted to get paid for babysitting and I said, a bottle of Pepsi and BBQ chips was fine with me. I would sleep in Annie’s bedroom next to her crib and I loved being awakened by her smiles and cooing. That was the first time I experienced what it was like to wake up with a beautiful baby.

That same year I got engaged. I know, so young and my family were not too pleased but Uncle Bernie and Aunt Denise bought me my first set of sheets for our engagement that Christmas. I felt I had bonded with my Aunt Denise, that year.

Uncle Bernie walked me down the aisle on my wedding day. I felt so proud having him by my side. My legs kept shaking and he kept whispering to me to calm down. It helped, since I was just fine by the time I got to the altar but my husband was the one who seemed dumbstruck.

That year he taught me how to drive. My husband tired but that always ended in tears since he would get too impatient. Uncle Bernie trusted me and I know I did not drive that well but he gave me the impression I was fine. I finally got my license when I was 20.

One spring day my car stalled on a country road. There were no cell phones then. I remember walking to a house nearby and calling him to tell me what I should do. He came over and got on the wet cold ground and temporarily fixed what was wrong (I still have no clue what it was) and told me to go see his friend who was a mechanic, who had a garage, to have it fixed right away. What did I tell you? He was my protector!

A few years later I moved just a half hour away but I would see him less and less by then…life went on, I guess and he was such a homebody. He welcomed everyone to his home but never accepted my dinner invitations. I understood though. My uncle was the type of person who was always used to giving.

When I would visit with my children, he would tell me to let them be kids and have fun. He had lots of property at his home and he noticed that I worried too much. My kids…well, especially, my son, loved the freedom running around there. And we all loved Aunt Denise’s fudge. We would call her to say we were coming over and she would have the fresh warm fudge ready by the time we got there!

Time went by…life happened all too quickly and I moved six hours away. I was lucky to see him when I came down to see my mother. He always checked up on her to see if she was okay.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s the same year my mother was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. It was sad to see him when he visited my mom because he was surely seeing himself slip away eventually.

He passed just before Valentines, early morning on February 13, 2019.

May he rest In peace and tease my mom and all his siblings now. (Jan. 4 1940 – Feb. 13, 2019)

Another petal
How he will be missed
Has fallen

Another star
Twinkling in the sky
His winning smile

Another angel
A welcome committee
For me

© Tournesol 19/02/17