In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “If You Leave.”
Leaving or being left has been a consistency in my life from early on. I was very young when i attended my very first funeral; the tragedy, a young girl who attended the 5th grade at my school died while riding her bicycle. She looked both lovely and perfect as she lay in her small white coffin, long sandy blonde and wavy hair carefully placed around her shoulders. I was just 7 at the time, but this was not my first death. Much of our summers were spent visiting friends on a farm in rural Quebec. The river that flowed near Joliette was where i learned to swim. Currents were strong and tricky and the waters proved dangerous as lives were claimed by it’s rapid flow. I remember my father boosting me up onto his shoulders, at my insistence, so i could see what the crowd gathered around. There before me lay a man, flat on his back, not breathing, his neck and head a deep blue. Images can stay with us a lifetime. I was just 5 at the time. That was the same year i was struck by a speeding taxi just yards from my home; it was i who darted out, no driver could have breaked soon enough. I lived. I had no fear of death, i examined it, understood it’s finality, and, had a healthy acceptance. Children do i find.
At ten, my dad had left us. He was my primary parent, a strange division existed in our household; my mother partnered with my sister, and i had my dad. Life changed considerably after that event. In between there were school changes, and then, my sister left. She was three years older than me and at 19 was hired by CPAir, and stationed in Vancouver; 3,000 miles away from Montreal where i remained with my mother. Shortly afterwards, my mother remarried and i went off to Toronto to start a new life. I have started a new life so many times i have lost track.
At seventeen i flew to Vancouver from Montreal, again a new start… A year later, i was on my way back home where i would stay for another three years only to return to Vancouver… all new starts.
I remained in Vancouver for approximately 25 years, but don’t kid yourself, there were many new starts within that span of time as i darted about to different areas of the mainland. In the year 2000 I fled to Salt Spring Island where i remained for 4 years. I moved three times in those 4 years. My next move would be Vancouver Island. Here i remain, but my life has been less than settled. Often i have met people who have described their lives as living in one house, or one town, for decades and i think to myself “What might that be like ?”…. I could not know, but i imagine that to have that sense of belonging which i guess comes with years spent in one place must be a comfort. I have had to find my comfort in that which i carry with me, my thoughts, my feelings and my sense of belonging to a global family . The idea that i am one of many that makes up our humanity… and that God and Humanity are One.