Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Ending on a High Note

Try as you might, it is hard to get through New Year's Eve without reflecting on the past year.  As such, this post is more sappy and less witty than usual.  It's still the holidays, so please be nice and humour me by not commenting on that last sentence, letting me believe that previous blog posts have been witty.

2013 was an eventful year for Tom and I.  I ran the Boston marathon with finish-line bombings.  Tom and I  sold our house in Arnprior and moved into an apartment in Ottawa.  We spent a long weekend and ran a marathon in Austria.  Tom began working as a private consultant.  I changed schools and teaching subjects, and had my first student-teacher. It was a good year, but a challenging one.

If you are reading this, you already know that that universe kicked the "$h!t" out of us in 2011, with the loss of Granny, Dad, and Father Bob in a 4-month window.  Looking back now, I think we used 2012 to prove that we were strong and that we could fight back.  Tom worked hard and was top of his MBA class.  I trained hard and qualified for the Boston Marathon.  In the not-so-famous words of Chumbawamba: I get knocked down, but I get up again.  You're never going to keep me down.

Maybe we tried to start over in 2013... I'm not sure.  It certainly felt like it in June when we moved into a new place and I took the job at a new school.  Why the big changes?!  I'm not sure about that either.  I think that part of it was a simple need for change.  Part of it was a need to get away from situations and places that reminded me of losing Dad.  It's not that I'm trying to forget Dad; that is the furthest thing from the truth.  What I would like to forget is the pain of the loss itself.  It is amazing the totally unrelated things that trigger painful memories of the days surrounding his death.  Two years later I struggle to teach the lessons I was teaching the day he passed away (even though I taught them that day before I found out).  I was never able to leave a West Carleton staff meeting without replaying my trip home and the news I got the night of that September staff meeting when I got the awful news.  The staff at my new school is so irritating at staff meetings that they take away the ability to think of anything but their ridiculousness.  

I've probably grieved more this year than any.  As it turns out, I needed it.  A lot of the sadness and memories culminated last week, on Boxing Day, when I made a photobook of memories of Dad.  I looked through every photo I have of him, and I put together pages of memories including racing and doing our favourite dance: The Twist.  Making the book wasn't easy, but it was worth it.  I cried and smiled in about equal proportions, and finished with a true sense of lightness.  I lost my dad too soon, but he left me with enough love and happy memories to last many lifetimes.

Feeling so refreshed from the Dad photobook, I also want to pay tribute to Granny before this year comes to an official close.  I spent a lot of time reminiscing about Granny during my long flight home from Egypt for her funeral, and in writing and practicing her eulogy.  Granny was a strong woman who loved God and her family above all things.  She appreciated everything she had in life, which may have seemed little to some, but which she saw as the most rich and abundant blessings.

Over the years I have collected several rings from Granny.  Since I don't wear many rings, I am going to use three of my Granny rings to make a necklace.  I received two of the rings directly from Granny when I was single and in my lower twenties.  I remember the day she gave them to me saying  "I'm giving you these gold rings Katie, in case a man never does."  Granny wasn't one to mince her words.  I received the third ring from Aunt Suzy after Granny's passing.  I love the ring and its green stone.  I wore it for a few months, but found that I never stopped fidgeting with it and pulling it on and off.  I will be much less scared to lose it in necklace form.

I did not buy any new beads to make this necklace.  I was tempted to, but thought that it wasn't what Granny would do.  She would make the best with what she had, and make it wonderful.  Thank you Granny, for a good life lesson and for saving me a few dollars!  Dad, Granny, and I used to say that we were "cheap, cheaper, and cheapest", but we never could agree on who was who.  Maybe I am cheapest now that the necklace is done without a penny spent.

With the end of this year comes the end of this beading blog.  This will be my last entry.  Aunt Christine may have been onto something when she said to me a little over a year ago "A beading blog Katie?!  How on earth is making jewelry going to be interesting enough for that?!"  I enjoyed writing the beading blog, and reading your kind comments, but beading is just too easy to put aside when life gets busy.  Stay tuned for a food blog in the new year.  I eat everyday whether I'm busy or not, and love talking about food too!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  2014 is going to be a great one... I can feel it already!


  1. I couldn't agree more that 2014 is going to be a great one for you! :)
    The necklace is a beautiful tribute Katie.

  2. WOW this is an awesome blog Katie!! What wonderful creative things to do for those you love and obviously respect. I am proud of you :)
    The photos are great as I am sure your book is as well!
    The necklace is so unique...a great idea to incorporate three rings.
    You two have had a huge year of changes, but with change comes new life. My mom always says a change is as good as a rest. I know...so many changes occur in my life on a regular basis!!
    I will enjoy your food blog as I too love food:)
    I look forward to 2014 with expectant faith!!
    Keep up the amazing entries....happy new year....ALL the best in 2014 <3

  3. OK not anonymous -just too lazy to set up an account -it should say Mom.
    What a beautiful blog-such a way with words -witty ,sappy or whatever .The necklace with Granny's rings is great -she would be so pleased(not that pleasing was hard -but I know she would love what you did with it.
    About your Dad-I too,think of him everyday (some of it not so good,but funny none the less- LOL). He and I spoke often about what great kids(people) we added to this world. He was very proud of the 3 of you (and so am I ) And it may sound weird -but I think fate planned for me to be part of his ife (and friend) over the 3 years I worked for him.
    Christmas is a time of remembering-both the happy and the sad--that is just how it is
    I agree --I get knocked down -but I get up again...........
    I agree 2014 is going to be a great one
    I have enjoyed your beading blog -and photos of your work. Looking forward to your food blog(with photos)

  4. Here's hoping that 2014 is a great year!! :-) Thanks for your blog entry... and your honesty. 2013 was an incredible year of change for you & Tom indeed.

    Love the necklace ... what a great tribute to your Granny. I'm sure it was a difficult Christmas season - with the missing / empty chairs once again BUT... your Granny, Dad and Father Bob left you with not just great memories - but great life lessons too!! Keep looking up my friend :-)