I AM Canadian.
And Proud of it.
And yet, today, that pride is tinged with sadness.
A few days ago, musing that I could not believe it would soon be July 1st, I suddenly got a clear, vivid image of Canada Day last year. And it hit me like a kick in the gut.
Every year since we have lived in this house (16 years) we have spent Canada Day with the kids at the park. To enjoy the festivities. While they ran and played (and later hung out) with their friends, munching on hot dogs and free cake, while they enjoyed the soap slide, I would stretch my picnic blanket out on the side of hill and revel in the sun, while reading a book and enjoying the music.
Every Canada Day except for last year's, that is.
My brother and his wife happened to be down for a visit. And as it turned out, it was three days before Mom was admitted to the hospital. For the last time.
I didn't know that was to be then of course but I do know that I was not in the mood to go to the park. HWWLTBO and the girls went, as usual. My sister-in-law went to. But I just couldn't get up the ambition. Despite the fact that, unlike today, it was a beautiful sunny day. I wrote a Canada Day post and messed around on the computer for a while.
I kept saying I would go. A little later. Eventually my brother sat down at the computer and tried (key word, tried) once again to teach me to fly on the simulator. So the two of us stayed home with Mom.
I remember that Mom was laying down and my brother and I were on the computer, when there was a knock on the door. A close friend had recommended a friend of hers (actually her ex-husband's ex-wife, but why get technical?) as a possible respite-provider for Mom and I had asked her to drop by.
I took her into the bedroom to meet Mom, who was laying down at the time. When Mom opened her eyes, I introduced them. She smiled sweetly, said "So nice to meet you" and promptly closed her eyes. Gone again.
I was very taken with Marg though. Stood at the door and chatted with her for quite a while, getting a real sense of who she was. And how she seemed made for this type of work. Turned out I was right, we had her stay with Mom a few different times in the hospital when we were away for a weekend and she was truly a gem.
But thinking back on last year Canada's Day, I feel a deep blanket of sadness settle over me. I put on my "Canada Eh!" T-shirt this morning and I know I should, I know I will try to go to the park this year. And try to forget last year.
Try to forget that in a few days will be the anniversary of Mom leaving our home for the last time. Try to forget how sad that makes me and how truly I sorry I am that I couldn't keep her home any longer. Because even though I know I couldn't, I still feel bad about it. For her and for me.
Some would say that life goes on. Indeed it does. And on and on and on. So Happy Canada, eh.