friendship (haibun)

Our host , Chèvrefeuille, writes a very moving post at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, about friendship before continuing on to the lesson in The Pilgrimage on acknowledging friends and support around us.
In times of sorrow or personal strife, I have found solace in my solitude, my writing and my readers. The latter have become friends from afar, who have read my words and “got it”, felt it and embraced it.
I love this passage we are referred to on friendship:

[…] ‘Once, a poet said that no man is an island. In order to fight the good fight, we need help. We need friends, and when the friends aren’t nearby, we have to turn solitude into our main weapon. We need the help of everything around us in order to take the necessary steps toward our goal. Everything has to be a personal manifestation of our will to win the good fight. If we don’t understand that, then we don’t recognize that we need everything and everybody, and we become arrogant warriors. And our arrogance will defeat us in the end, because we will be so sure of ourselves that we won’t see the pitfalls there on the field of battle.’ […](Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho)

How true! Amma, (Mata Amritanandamayi) says, “We are all beads strung together on the same thread of love”.

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Amma’s Facebook page

As much as I love to help others, be supportive and it is part of my work as a counsellor as well, I find it difficult to ask for help. I am working on that. It is not arrogance but perhaps the attitude, “I can do it on my own” may be my giving into vanity which is really the same thing.

on pebbled roads
my walking stick breaks
a rest is due

watching travellers go by
humbly ask a stranger’s help

limping’s not so bad
free of a heavy knapsack
a comrade now carts

©Tournesol’17/01/22

Precious Friendships

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Friendship is a precious gift I so  treasure

many relationships I tenderly embrace

a true friendship withstands the pressure

when you are placed face to face

with differences of opinions and adversity

but I take this as an opportunity

to grow and go with the flow

sometimes I even advocate for diversity.

You see how friendships make me grow?!

Let us not talk of those present in my life..

I’d need a book or two to fill the richness

some angels have brought in my life.

They know who they are…

it’s a heartfelt sense of pure love…

 

And then there are friends who are

just passing through for a little while.

 

Some friends are here for just a season

like delightful school chums and working buddies;

that special friend that shared a desk

a coffee, a muffin in such and such a class.

 

Grace, who shared her deep dark secret

I listened, she cried, I listened some more;

who knew I might be faced with a similar

dilemma a few years down the road!?

 

Oh and that committee friend that made me laugh,

that task force we were sitting on that year.

How she helped me not take things so seriously.

 

My sailing and walking friend by the lake

great times spent for leisure’s sake;

 

But,some friends are here for a reason

and once departed I might see why;

 

Louise who encouraged me to keep

on trying to have a baby…

she knew the agony

the despair of waiting,

she too waited ten years

…my  seven  seems trivial  by far.

 

My dearest neighbour and midnight friend,

Janet, how we shared so much together,

to speak aloud of what we shared

… oh my God!!! we’d never

be able to find this same measure

of  understanding….of such treasured

secrets…shared in strict confidence.

 

She blessed my life with her love of life

her immense patience that  unfortunately

did not rub off enough on me, but still,

it saved me and the kids tumultuous times;

it kept my marriage intact for a few more years

holding on, walking,  talking, burning her ears.

she taught me to relax and play more

enjoy the kids, just play and roll on the floor

and be silly and just BE.

 

And Wayne,  why did he leave so fast?

I still can’t accept he’s gone at last!

he was my boss, my colleague,

my dearest friend.

We shared our woes of so many things

relationships, partners and our children, too.

Oh how he was such an amazing dad!

And what a cook he was …a great chef!

feeding his daughter’s umpteen pals

he was the most  fabulous dad of them all!

And then he left this plane for good.

My only true consolation is that

someday I will meet them all in that

other dimension…up there or around here;

my family awaits too also near. 

We’ll have a bash, a pint of beer!

when my time comes they’ll all be here. 

For friendships past and present too,

I’m blessed, I’m rich, and thank all of you.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts,  originally written on November 3, 2013

Dungeon Prompts on Friendship

Rock a bye baby…

Emma June 14, 2013
Emma June 14, 2013

Finally I get to see my friend and her squeaky new born baby!! Yay!!  I can`t wait to smell her newborn baby scent.  I wish they could find cologne to mimic that awesome smell.  Just like the smell of leather…when you walk into Danier`s the smell of leather just fills your nostrils and it`s such pleasant and raw, sensual smell.  Oh my! Now how did I get on the subject of scents?  Oh yeah…babies!!!

How I remember well my first born!  When coming home from hospital, my son`s dad was getting things out of the car and I had laid my son on our double bed.  He looked so darn tiny.  I had undressed him and just stared at this tiny precious human being who was so dependent on me…on us.  The only thing he could do on his own was breath, pee, pooh, fart, burp and cry.  Well the burping needed a little help too.  But still!  I was just so overwhelmed with the sight of this infant and wondered if I would manage.

2013-04-07 16.17.56Speaking with my friend on the phone tonight made those entire memories flood back to me.  She has lots more friends with young children to tell her what to do and not do though.   Hopefully she will limit the “free advice” to a few that are consistent with her beliefs.  It can get so daunting and annoying too.  It is a time that moms are vulnerable to criticism and advice.  Advice giving can also destabilize a new mom.  She needs to build her confidence not be told what to do every second of the day!  She needs to be empowered and a little reasonable support and suggestion here and there is fine…but please!! Women, don`t you remember how you felt when tom, dick and harry told you what to do and not to do?  Most advice contradicted with others and it got so confusing you just wanted to scream!! More often than not, you just curled up and cried out of helplessness and discouragement.

I had a few close friends who had young children and family of course.  And I limited regular phone calls to ONLY 3 moms that had similar values and parenting styles that I admired and wanted as a model.  I was nursing my son and back in 1978 it was just returning as the “norm”.  So many family members kept questioning me, “Why do you bother to do that? You are going to be so tired and what if your milk does not come in? What if you don`t have enough milk? And what about when you get back to work in 3 months?” In those days maternity leave was maximum 4 months paid by unemployment insurance.

Well, I will never forget the support I got from those 3 moms and I joined a support group similar to La Leche League at our local CLSC and eventually volunteered and offered support in turn too.  It replaced the old-fashioned huge extended families.  Many moms supporting other moms with breastfeeding, child development, nutrition, parenting and so much more.  It was a place you could feel “normal” for feeling overwhelmed at times being a stay at home mom.  It`s the toughest and most important job you will ever do in a lifetime…raising a child.

Boy oh boy, they sure don`t tell us that at sex Ed classes and not even during prenatal classes!  The little infant does not EVEN come back home from hospital with a workbook with instructions adapted to “this particular model”.  No Sireee, once you get home…you are on your own!

So it is a good thing you can scrounge up some supportive friends, some family and professional resources too.

annetteI remember when my dearest friend,  Annette came to visit me when I first came out of hospital. I was so tired. I could hardly sit down for obvious reasons and I had not got the hang of the nursing quite yet…I was so awkward, weak and sore.  I bet I looked like a rag for sure. Well, she didn`t stay long and 4 days later, she arrives at 11a.m. with a huge container in her arms.  The container was 2 full course warm meals for our lunch.  I was so surprised and pleased as well.   After we ate, I fed my son and then she asked if she could burp him and put him to sleep while I had a nap.  Oh boy!! Did I run to bed quickly.  I trusted her with my baby…she was his godmother after all!  Normally I was a little tigress with my baby but not with Annette.

I could hear him whimpering and then crying. Oh dear, I thought, he must have gas…poor thing.  But she sang to him and rocked him and he finally went to sleep.  She nestled him in the crib next to my bed and shut the door.

For 2 hours she dusted, mopped the floor, vacuumed the entire house, washed my kitchen, did the dishes and washed my bathroom from A to Z.  And when Annette cleans up…you DO notice!!  I was so touched when I woke up and saw all that she did.  I will never, to this day, ever forget her selfless act that day.  I guess that`s why we have been friends for so many years.  My son is now 34 and I still remember that day like it was yesterday.

I hope I can be of service to my dear friend tomorrow too and rock that beautiful infant so her mama can rest a bit.  This is the beginning of a new chapter in her life, and in mine as well.  Thank you, Marie-Hélène for being you and having Emma.

Easter sure IS off to a good start!

20130311_233302Easter weekend is among us and for many it can mean a lot of things.  Good Friday often means repenting for your sins…not that I believe in “sin” but I do believe in taking an inventory of my life and what I have done and what I can do to improve myself as a person.  What can I do to be a better person?  That is something I have asked myself since I was a teenager I think.  Praying and asking the Great Spirit, “Please help me be a better person.” Souvent je m’entend demander à le grand Créateur,”Aidez Picture of me 46moi à devenir une meilleure personne.”

I suppose being raised Catholic, guilt and never feeling I measure up or am good enough could be partly the reason I may have thought  this way.   So that would be it is something that I “learned” growing up.  Then there is the “nurture” part, being raised by the most loving mother and grandmother that this planet has known…really!  Also being loved by extended family as well, wonderful aunts and uncles…and yes, on my father’s side of the family too…I never doubted being loved by these wonderful people in my life…EVER!     Possiblement c’est mon passé étant Catholique de vivre de la culpabilité, de ne se sentir assez à la hauteur, mais bon…la vie m’a donné une mère et grand-mère qui m’ont nourrit des méga doses d’amour! Ainsi une famille qui m’ont permis de ne jamais douter d`être aimé.

Yet, there are persons that crossed my path and yes, some who were  part of my life that did place stones in my shoes and I felt their pain, doubted if I could walk straight and tall enough…but I still did despite those hurdles.  A new friend I recently became acquainted with often says this good-humouredly…Stand TALL…and I have, I do and I will!

C’est vraie que j’ai aussi connu des gens qui ont placer quelques cailloux dans mes souliers qui me faisait mal donc je ressentais la douleur, je me suis douté un peu de pouvoir marcher (agir)  correctement et à la hauteur…mais je l’ai quand même réussis malgré tout ça.  Une nouvel connaissance me dis souvent en riant, Tiens-toi GRAND…et je l’ai fait, je le fait and je vais continuer à le faire.

The Great Spirit planned some learning experiences  throughout my life I think…but also ensured that I would always have a hand extended to help me up every time I looked up from a painful fall.  I am thankful for that miracle of what I like to call “love”.  I have known love in so many facets and colours…but I have known love and still continue to be immersed in love.  What an amazing velvety blanket to surround myself with too!

 

Le grand Créateur m`a placer des expériences toute ma vie pour me donner des bonnes leçons.  Dans ce plan, il y a toujours eu aussi une main tendu pour m’aider à me relever quand je trébuchais. J’ai connu l’amour… Des petit coup de velours de ressentir l’amour pour autrui et l’amour pour soi.  Que je suis choyée! Me sentir dorloté d’amour des amis et de la famille est tellement resplendissant.20130112_182435

Being loved as a daughter, a sister, many loving special cousins have crossed my paths…some longer than others, uncles, aunts, grandmother and grandfather…special amazing teachers in grade school, high school and university…so many wonderful people.  I have even had several employers that were kind and giving…they  too feel like family to me.

I have also known romantic and passionate love…some short lived, others longer…and the most amazing and intense love of all…my children…loving them so much it sometimes hurt…seeing them glow is contagious…seeing them struggle and cry breaks my heart in pieces every time.  Only a parent knows that joy and pain…and then as if that is not enough love to overextend the heart…a grandchild is born…and the flame of love burns even stronger.

J’ai connu l’amour de ma famille, ainsi ma sœur, mes cousins, oncles, tantes, grands-parents et parents. ET l’amour le plus profonde de tout…mes enfants…les aimer tellement que ¸ça fait mal parfois…les voir s’épanouir m’entoure de joie…les voir effondrer me brise le cœur et si cela n’était pas assez fort comme amour…le cœur s’étire encore plus avec l’arrivé d’un petit fils…la flamme de cet amour brule encore plus fort.

This morning I  prepared a homemade meatball spaghetti sauce for my family dinner.  I have to work Easter Sunday, so tonight was going to be our Easter family dinner.  I kept thinking of my dear friend Maria as I was rolling my meat into little meatballs and adding them into my “secret” sauce to allow them to simmer 3 hours…just enough time so I can leave for my visit back home.

Maria is the only Italian mama that I know personally who cooks constantly for her family but with such love.  I  had occasions to sit in her kitchen many times in her home in Mississauga.  Talking and listening to me, stirring here and there…chopping garlic and onions, shaving cheese and making me a cappuccino at the same time.

20130224_094316 This morning as I stirred my sauce and added my spices I too felt the love I was adding into my meal.  I knew my son and daughter in law like meatballs, and so it pleased me cooking something that makes them happy.

Then off to pick up my son so we could visit mom in the nursing home together.  Today I would not have time to feed her lunch since I was going to Assomption to pick up a guitar my son had found…a GREAT deal.  I was looking forward to the drive…me and my son travelling for a few hours, brought me back to yesteryear; remember those times made me smile.  How we drove around together, carpooled his friends from concerts and parties; listening to music and enjoying the view on those drives.


It was a blessed picture seeing mom and my son hold hands…one could easily see the tenderness he has for her just by his smile.  I guess one could say it was a “Kodak” moment, even if that sounds lame…it was beautiful and filled my heart with so much love and joy!  Eh, oui regarder la tendresse dans les yeux de mon fils qu’il avait pour maman me remplissait avec tellement d’amour et de joie.20130329_162819

We spent 4 hours afterwards driving to and back to get that special guitar.  As he fiddled with it while I cooked the pasta, I was reminded of those soothing melodies I heard late nights as I went to bed.  They were my lullabies that gently put me to sleep as my teenage son practised on his classical guitar late at night.

This sure has started to be an amazing weekend thus far!  I have more to enjoy tomorrow…sneaking a visit with my grandson and ending my day with a nice friend.  Ce fut le début d’une fin de semaine céleste pour moi!

I am not sure if it is springtime or just my realizing how lucky I am to have family and great friends but the love I am feeling this weekend is pure joy.  Est-ce que c’est le printemps ou tout simplement que je réjouie de ma famille et des amis extraordinaires…mais, l’amour que je ressens ce weekend me remplis d’une joie fraiche.

Happy Easter…welcome madam Spring…let love flow through the currents of life …

Joyeuses Pâques…bienvenue madame le printemps…laissé allez l’amour couler dans les courants de la vie.

Betty Boop reminds me of an important lesson that just may be a nice way to celebrate Spring.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, March 30, 2013

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