Saturday, 19 July 2014

Double Edged Gratefulness

13 months.

It’s been thirteen months since I’ve seen the liveable inside of my home. Thirteen months since being evacuated from my home, from the town of High River and from the life my husband and I worked hard to obtain and begin a family in.

No, we aren’t homeless - thankfully we do have a roof over our heads and 2 sq ft of counter space to prep meals, cook, stack dirty dishes, wash said dirty dishes over and over again.

Thankfully, we have a room to share with our 9 month old who’s sleep patterns are driving us crazy but sleep training in the same room you are trying to sleep in is futile.

Thankfully, we have a place to put our clothes that we did salvage from our flooded home but we have to rummage through them in Rubbermaid bins stored in a barn stall 400m away from the room we call home.

See, I’m grateful for things, but thirteen months in and everything has a double edge.

It’s 13 months of uncomfortable living in a cramped space that would have been fine for my husband and I alone but with a pack n’ play, exer-saucer, high chair, bin of toys, basket of plastics, stack of children’s books and other additional paraphernalia a little one seems to collect, the space feels cramped.

I know they say love grows in little houses but quite honestly, it’s not growing.
Or at least I’m so clouded with frustration, exhaustion and angst that I don’t see the love that’s growing aside from the rare cuddle I get from my little one. She’s not a cuddler. She pushes away from me and I can tell that she too gets tired of this tiny space. She’s already explored every nook and cranny available.

On Facebook these days my girlfriends are posting lovely things that they are grateful for. All things that normally, I like to think, I’d be sharing as my gratitude list as well but like I said, everything has a double edge right now.

I have things I’m grateful for but I’m struggling. I’m exhausted and frankly I’m tired of the fight.
I don’t think I have any fight left in me to be honest.

Take me out  for I am DONE.

I’m cranky, crabby, removed and I know that my friends have distanced themselves from me because I’m a toxic personality right now. I know this. I’ve started to seclude myself too because I just don’t want to keep crying in front of everyone and have to explain what’s up. I’m done. I am emotionally taxed, physically burnt out and beyond mentally broken.

I initially responded to the flood so well, so positive.
I fought for other people, for my neighbors and their homes. I built contact lists for better communication with my neighbors, I became a liaison with government officials, I made very hard decisions (that some think I made poorly) and I stood by, hugged and supported those who were broken and lost because of the impact of the flood on themselves and their family.
I cried for a day. I made jokes the rest of the way.

Thirteen months later, I’m grieving, not because we have absolute loss but because I am FED UP.
Our house is being built but all I want to do is go home because for some reason, in my head, being back home will make everything all right. Everything will be better. Our lives will be revived, we will see that love again and we will stop seeing double edges to everything. For some reason, returning home seems to be the only solution.

Yes, I’m grateful for the ability to even rebuild our home. I know that in itself is a miracle, but then again, I worked hard for that to happen too. So much background stuff that no one knows about or cares to understand/listen to.

Thirteen months of fighting feels like a lifetime. I’m ungrateful for the fight.

I’m broken and am unsure of what will rise once the pieces find their resting places.

  I    WE so badly want to go home. Now.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Down, Down it comes

(The Highwood River - June 18, 2014 @ 3:05pm - normally you can't see it from here)

June 18th, basically one year since the Flood of 2013 that drastically changed my life along with thousands of others in Southern Alberta.

June 18th, and it's raining. Lots. Flooding Claresholm, Lethbridge, and many other communities further south of High River.

I thought I was ok. I thought my mental toughness was firm, my belief in safety strong and my stance that we wouldn't flood again (to that extent) was very solid but here I am, in my temporary home, looking at the river... meer meters away from us and I watch it rise. I watch it pick up speed and all I hear is the rain, coming down as if it had been unleashed from a thousand day prison sentence in the sky.

Naturally, poetry has found it's way to me once more...

Pounding. Pounding
Down. Down it comes.
Pouring. Pouring
And so the river runs.

Banck swell, speed picks up
Nerves and fears develop

Higher. Higher
Watch. Watch it rise.
Opening. Opening
Unleashed fervor from the skies.

We know this happens every year
Nerves, fears, ring in my ear

Looking. Looking
Hope. Hope soon it will be over.
Believe. Believe
Not again, we refuse to take cover.

River you will not say you've won
Nerves and fears, you are done.

Stay dry everyone!

Friday, 7 February 2014

It's Go Time! - Sochi 2014

As I sit in my temporary home, coffee in hand, stomach filled with scrambled eggs, peppers and feta cheese and the TV on in the background, anxiously awaiting the official opening of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, I ponder my feelings.

What am I feeling?
Excitement, Anxiety, Pride, Joy, Nervousness, Nostalgia

Some may be surprised that there's no Sadness, no Jealousy, no Regret.

For those who don't know, 5-6 years ago I was on the COC, OTP, BCS and personal list of "should be/would be" 2010 Olympians for the sport of Women's Bobsleigh. Not 4 years ago... I had a stumbling block during the crucial team selection period for the 2010 team.
There was a loophole I was willing to put myself through to try to qualify for the team on a points basis but politics took that loophole from me. Such is life.

Was I jealous, sad or full of regret in 2010 when I watched my fellow teammates jump on top of the podium to claim their Gold and Silver medals in February? No. I was beaming. I was so proud of those ladies who worked so hard, are incredible athletes and truly deserved those medals.

Yes, there was a moment I grieved for my opportunity. There was a moment I cried, a moment I sobbed, nay, bawled like a baby. But then the moment passed, life when on and I got to experience something not even the best athletes in the World get to experience. I had the fortune to experience what it meant to be a "Volunteer Athlete" at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. I was a forerunner for the events along with close to 15+ other athletes (I don't think I actually counted how many bobsledders there actually were, but we were all needed).

This experience was amazing. We had access to places no one else really had. We got to see the dress rehearsal for the Opening Ceremonies in person, 15 rows away from the stage. We had the inside scoop on some information that in the intensity of the Games would be kept from the competing athletes. We got free passes to events. We were able to skip past security at the finish dock and hug and hug and hug our teammates after their wins. We were even able to sneak in some celebratory drinks in our sled bin and slip a bottle of Bailey's to one athlete who LOVED the stuff as a celebratory gift to her in the moment (don't worry, she was done competing then).

We owned that track.

Now, fast forward 4 years and here we are, another Games. Another chance for Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse to try and reclaim Gold (although I have a feeling this time will be a great challenge). This year, it's different. I'll be watching the events from home, unlike in 2006 when I was in Winterberg, Germany and then busy sliding in Calgary day and night to continue my young pilot development. And of course unlike 2010 where I watched the events either onsite or in the volunteer eating lounge in Whistler alongside my peers (we always had viewing parties).

I can't wait. Although this time I'll need to figure out the PVR so I can watch the events on my schedule rather than the 11 hours ahead schedule of Sochi, Russia. I can't wait.

This is such a new and unique experience for me but I embrace it. I said farewell to the life of bobsleigh athlete in 2011 when I made my official retirement and I look forward to sharing the wonder, the thrill, the dedication and the absolute awe that is the Olympics with my newborn sports fan, Hadley. To know that we will get to watch her grow and take part in these spectator experiences with us is truly exciting - I just hope she'll be as thrilled as her momma.

Hadley, one wish for you, no matter what you truly love, truly get into, and truly want to become may you be involved in at least one sport, learn to love the dedication of sport and understand the hard work to become "the best". For this understanding will get you far in whatever else you do in your life. May the Olympics be an inspiration to you.

With Love,