Thursday, January 26, 2012

Life as we know it

The writer in me

Mom always wanted to be a writer. I was reminded of this on the weekend as we went through Mom and Paul's house, dividing up their belongings amongst the seven families. It felt like an intrusive thing to do, that it was a little too soon, but the circumstances were unusual in that they were both gone. A house cannot sit unoccupied for long. Besides, two of us from out of town were there.

Upstairs in the spare bedroom closet was an old word processor I'd helped Mom buy and a scrapbook that I didn't know existed. I brought home the scrapbook and Mom's reading glasses, plus a few other things so precious I'll mention them in future posts.

Today I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down in my office with the scrapbook. It is unseasonably warm this year and the sun is shining brightly in through the patio door that opens onto the deck in the backyard. I'd moved from the farm to Winnipeg in 2009 and this past September, followed my heart to the house with the most beautiful yard in Grunthal, Manitoba. The last three years have been emotionally difficult, overflowing with change and grief. Once I realized in June 2010 that my Dad was going to die, I lost the ability to formulate what I want to say. Since I was a little girl my best writing always emerged while sorting through emotionally charged events and with the exception of Dad's eulogy, the blank page has become my enemy. It's called writers block and I've never experienced that before.

Opening the scrapbook is overwhelming. Taped to the pages are a year's worth of monthly columns written by my Mother, her musings printed under the heading, "Under the Dumb Plum Tree." The clippings were from the North Interlake Echo, the paper I once owned. Twenty years have passed since then and I'd long forgotten that Mom was once our columnist.

Later today my son Laurie is coming for a visit. I'll bake a batch of cookies from the column she wrote on January 27, 1991. Tomorrow I will publish her column here and will continue every month for a year.

I am more like my mother than I ever realized.

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