Showing posts with label loss. Show all posts
Showing posts with label loss. Show all posts

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Garden of Small Beginnings - Book Review

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Let's start with the harvest here.  Lest you think this is going to be a book about a widow who has had a breakdown after her husband's untimely and tragic death, and who is still struggling with that loss, let me assure you that this is a book where the reader reaps joy.  I found The Garden of Small Beginnings, by Abbi Waxman, to be a brilliantly written, and delightfully humorous, take on how we get through the gritty times in life.

It's not often that a book begins with whale genitalia.  This is when you know this is not going to be your grandmother's gardening guide.  No... not at all.  This is where the irreverent humor and quirky cast of characters begin to emerge.  

You see, Lilian Girvan is a textbook illustrator.  And sometimes, though perhaps not every day, you are called upon to draw things like a whale's, ahem, penis.  Am I allowed to use the word penis in a book review?  This is surely a first for this reviewer.  

Anyway, getting back to Lilian.  On the day of her infamous illustrating assignment, she is called up to meet with her boss.  Lilian has been assigned a plum project designing the illustrations for a series of vegetable guides.  In order to garner favor with an important client, Lilian has been volunteered to take a Saturday morning gardening class at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden.  This is where the plot (literally) thickens.

Over the course of six weeks, lives will be changed in beautiful and unexpected ways by an eclectic crew of aspiring gardeners.  Though this is not a gardening book, per se, it is a book about how we grow from loss, and grief, and other heartbreaks into who we will become in the next season of life.

I loved this book's characters and witty banter.  Lilian's young children are sheer delight.  This is my favorite kind of read: so well-written, clever, funny, and full of heart.  Highly recommended.





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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Reviewing The Love Of A Friend

Honoring Friendship

My review today won't be about a product but instead will be about the love of a friend, a long time friend who was given her wings this weekend. She will no longer be here physically to talk to but she will always be in my heart. How could she not be in my very soul? We were friends for 56 years! Almost 6 decades of wonderful memories. Times of laughter, times of sorrow, times of struggle, and times of triumph; we shared them all.

love of a freind
There is nothing like the love of a friend
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Our friendship had an odd beginning. It began the year we entered 7th grade. We both came from small towns in small school districts. Those two districts had consolidated bringing us together that first year of consolidation. We had a lot in common before we ever sought each other out. We were both the oldest child in our family and we were both being raised by a single Mom. In 1964 divorce wasn't at all common, not in our area anyway. Up until the day our two schools merged, both of us were the only family in our school whose parents had divorced. Neither of us had someone to talk to about how we felt; to understand what divorce does to the kids. We both felt a little lost.

Oddly, my Mom had a date with her Dad. As far as our parents are concerned, that part of the story fizzled out pretty quickly. What did come out of that random date was a friendship that bonded the two of us quickly. Suddenly there was someone who understood! There was someone who cried with you when you missed your Dad. A person who didn't say dumb stuff like, "I'm not allowed to hang out with you anymore because you don't have a Dad." We would laugh about that one, of course we both had fathers; they just didn't live with us anymore. Comments like that seem odd in today's society but back then we both heard it a lot.

Looking back, I think we were meant to be friends. The connection was instant and strong. It almost seemed like in the matter of 5 minutes we were soul sisters. We were pretty much inseparable from that first day. There wasn't much we didn't do together. Trust me we did a whole heck of a lot together! It is probably best if most of that behavior is not mentioned here. 

We planned our weddings together, we had children together and raised them at the same time. As time passed we lived away from each other and there might be spans of time that we didn't see or speak to each other for months. You must remember that back then we didn't have cell phones or computers to connect with. A phone call to your friend was long distance and cost money to make; money that was short in supply in our early married lives. My granddaughters don't even know what a long distance phone call is! Anyway, my point is that after months of not seeing or talking to each other we would begin like we had just seen the other the day before. 

friendship
Friends hold your hand through life
image courtesy of pixabay.com

It is pretty special to have a friend that loves you through it all. They know all your faults and love you anyway. Her friendship was special like that, it is something I have always treasured and been in awe of. I've had many friends throughout my life but none quite like her. She was special.

When her daughter called me last week, things went very quickly. I wasn't able to go hold her hand one last time. I didn't get to tell her how much she has always meant to me. At first that broke my heart but then I realized that she of all people knew. She knew I wouldn't be able to come because of the restrictions the world is going through and she also knew that I loved her. It was more important that she be able to spend those last few days with her children, her grandchildren and her family. I'm glad she got that time with them. 

As much as it hurts to lose her, I'm finding comfort in that she didn't have to suffer very long. She had a rare form of cancer that took her quickly. I'm glad she was spared months and possibly years of pain and those horrible treatments. God was going to take her anyway, I'm actually thankful He took her before she had to go through much of that. Those of us who love her have lost her physical being but her spirit lives on in all of us. We have our memories to cherish as we continue on without her. I don't doubt for a minute that our souls will reunite. She is waiting, she is getting things ready, she will be standing there with open arms when I meet her again. Her fight is over but her memory will live on through all who knew her. Rest in peace my sweet dear friend!

My final message in this post is to remind you of that special friend you have shared your life with. Reach out to her or him and let them know what they mean to you. I don't care if you just spoke yesterday, tell them again today. Tomorrow is not a guarantee for any of us, make sure that those you love know how you feel today.






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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Supermarket Flowers by Ed Sheeran - A Review of An Incredibily Moving Song that Will Bring You to Tears

More Songs for Mom Here - Photo via Pixabay
Have You Heard Supermarket Flowers by Ed Sheeran?

If you haven't heard this song, and you've lost your mom or a mother figure, you're going to cry.

During my research for a unique list of songs to honor moms, I tripped on 'Supermarket Flowers' by Ed Sheeran, and was shocked by it's incredibly touching mood music and personal story telling lyrics that most of us can relate to.

At least thirty times; that's how much I've listened to this song since yesterday. Being one of the fortunate ones who still has her mother living, it caused me to pick up the phone to call her again today!

The song gets right to the story with painful lyrics that describe clearing out the room of someone loved and recently passed:
  • I took the supermarket flowers from the windowsill
    I threw the day old tea from the cup
    Packed up the photo album Matthew had made
    Memories of a life that's been loved
    Took the get well soon cards and stuffed animals
    Poured the old ginger beer down the sink
    Dad always told me, "don't you cry when you're down"
    But mum, there's a tear every time that I blink
By the second line, "I threw the day old tea from the cup", you know exactly what the song is about, and it hurts in a beautiful way.

If you've ever had to pack up the belongings of someone recently passed on, you know just how incredibly emotional it is. Everything holds a memory, there's a time marker on each of item, and as your hand touches each piece, you remember, and you cry.

Hidden amongst the pain is a hopeful message, "Oh I'm in pieces, it's tearing me up, but I know, a heart that's broke, is a heart that's been loved".

About Supermarket Flowers:

You'll find Supermarket Flowers on Ed Sheeran's 2017 Album, 'Divide'.

In an interview with MTV, Sheeran revealed that the song is about his grandmother.

He said she was in hospital close to the studio and had passed away during it's production. He wrote the song as a personal tribute from the point of view of his mother, and it wasn't initially intended to be included on the album.

However, when he sang the song at this grandmother's funeral, his grandfather encouraged him to include the song; and so it was, as the final track.

Get the Tissues Ready, As Ed Sheeran himself Said, "It Was Written to Make You Cry"






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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Remembering 911

Memorial Plaque
 & Country Music Songs about Loss Here
The loss, the pain, and the memory of that September morning remains fresh in our minds. It will never leave us, and for those who experienced personal loss, we know the burdens you carry are for as long you live, and the loving hearts in this world hug you tight.

We all have a story of what we were doing that day, and when you ask someone what they were doing on September 11th, they remember. It's a painful moment in time we all share.

That morning, where I live, just outside of Toronto, the sky was clear, the air was fresh, so I bundled up my baby Jesse to go on our lovely long morning walk. Jesse was just over a year old and a little bit into the walk had fallen asleep. I remember looking up to the sky thinking, 'what a gorgeous day', and also thinking how lucky we were to live in this part of the world (I honestly had that thought on that day at that time). Of course, that moment of peace would end quickly. As I parked the baby stroller in the garage, my husband came to the door and said 'the US is under attack!' I screamed what! and ran to the family room to look at the TV ... and like the rest of the world at that moment.... my heart fell to the floor. Even typing this brings back those tears.

Nothing we say can make it better for those who have suffered loss. Loss never heals, we simply learn to live life differently, with that loss.

Blessings to all and to this world ... love thy neighbor - Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning, by Alan Jackson




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Monday, November 2, 2015

Every Man Has His Place In Time - Reflections of Life in Song & Lyrics I Couldn't Accept

Read a Review of 'Go On Without Me'

Go On Without Me by Brett Eldredge Begins with These Poignant Lyrics - 'Every Man Has His Place in Time'...


When you've lost someone close to you, you understand that time only cements in the fact that you'll never see them again in this life. 

Of course, your own personal belief system may bring you comfort if it happens to include a knowingness that you'll see them again. Don't ask me how I know, I just know in my heart that we live on, just in a different way. However, I do respect the belief system of others who may see life and death differently. For me, there's no doubt, death is yet another beginning.

In my plight to understand the pain of losing dad, I've written a great deal about it and in fact have an entire category dedicated to him at Drageda.com - The Heart of Country Music. 

Even though I've already written an Emotional Review (I call them ER's ..lol) about this terrific song by Mr. Brett Eldredge, I feel compelled to re-introduce this song to those who may not have had the privilege of hearing it. 

Graduating to a Place Where Accepting These Lyrics Became Possible

When dad first passed away, other than what I had written for his funeral, I wasn't able to write for months about it. For me, it felt like writing about dad would cheapen his life. 

Sorry if that comes across wrong, it's just that the use of 'mere words' to describe this legend couldn't possibly convey who he was. And if I had to explain him 'in words', for me, it would have disrespected the grandness of who he was, who he is. 

I got over those feelings.

And the words poured out.

And I wrote and wrote and wrote some more.

In fact to honor him, I decided to write about him and dedicate a song to him on the one month anniversary of his passing for one full year

I lived up to that, and each month he lived again in words, and in my memory.

Getting over this kind of loss, the loss of someone so integral to who you are and who you've become is impossible. 

The truth is, we never 'get over it'. 

It doesn't matter how many months, years or decades go by, they live forever and who the hell would want it to be otherwise. 

To have known this kind of love, that's the eternal gift. 

The gift of love, the gift of having allowed yourself to be loved and to love with such depth that you dare the pain of loss back into your life ...why? ... because that pain reminds you how sweet and wonderful you had it and how much love you're capable of giving and receiving. 

Love with all your heart. 

My dad would say 'I love you' to people all the time. He was a large, tough man too. Yet his teddy bear heart was witnessed by many. Especially my brothers and I. 

He loved us so much, so so much that when he was passing away, I couldn't let him go, couldn't give him permission to let go, and I wouldn't say goodbye. 

He wasn't conscious near the end, and I would sit in silence by his bedside holding his hand just staring outside the window of his hospital room. Watching the swaying tall trees outside of that room, it's at that point I decided to create a life-marker. 

On windy days the tall swaying cedar trees in my own back yard bring me back to my dad: I couldn't say goodbye to dad, and now the swaying of trees remind me that I didn't need to. And I never will say goodbye. 

The trees have become my rocking chair; when they sway, dad is here.

Which brings me back to the lyrics of this song, 'Go On Without Me' 

After about one year, I was able to accept these lyrics. 

Sounds funny to say that doesn't it? ..'accept these lyrics'

The words 'go on without me' were words I had chosen to reject in that first year, and I'm 'not going on without you' dad ... I'm going on with you, with you forever being a part of me. Your love, your memory, your face, your voice, your hugs, all that is you, is still you, and having you with me in spirit is better than to have never had you at all.

The beautiful lyrics to this song are lyrics I know my Dad or any lost loved one would want to say to us...
"I'll always hear the prayers in your head late at night,I'm walking right beside you when nobody's by your side,I don't want you to cry over my memory, 
So go on without me, without me,
Every breath of life is short and sweet so glad that I'm up here and I got to see you go on without me"


Country Music Fans can Follow me and more via Country Music Reviews on Facebook or at 

Drageda.com - The Heart of Country Music 

Something I've Written For Dads in Heaven:



Love Barb


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Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Incredible Power of Love

Where We Are by Westlife
Another Sunday Post Another week gone by, and as the Country Music Contributor for Review-It, it's my privilege to introduce you to yet another beautiful song.

However, this week I hope you don't mind if I take you outside the country music genre to introduce you to one of the most powerful songs about losing someone you love you may ever hear.

It's such an emotional song, that I want to warn you that if you're feeling a little too emotional over the passing of someone you love, you may not be able to watch and listen to it right now. Having recently lost my dad, both my husband and I have weeped during this song. The music, the message and the story behind the song will deeply touch your soul. I'm sure of it.

The song was written and dedicated to two of the band member's fathers who passed away much too soon.
Memorial Wall Quote
You'll notice when you watch it, the two members in the middle only do the back-up singing during this song: Without knowing for sure, I suspect the song is in honor of their dads. I know for a fact I wouldn't be able to do any singing after the loss of my own dad. As with most families, none of us could barely speak, much less sing. This pain you can cut with a knife.

My dad passed away on March 5th, 2013, and there isn't a second that goes by that I don't have him in my thoughts. I've written so much about dad; some may think I've written too much, but when you've loved someone so deeply, and they've loved you unconditionally in return for your entire life, there's a part of you that will belong to them beyond a human existence, and 'til the end of time. Missing someone this much is almost like bleeding tears. Trying to find a way to explain it to others is hard, actually impossible. Only those who feel this, know this.

It's also the strangest pain. Although it's gut wrenching to miss a person this much, it's a feeling I would never trade. Without it, I would have never known and been loved so perfectly by the most wonderful dad a girl could ask for. So to have had this Father in my life for 78 years, I'll gladly take this pain now. I'm grateful and thankful to have been so loved. Because of his love, I work to spread a little more goodness wherever and whenever I can. When I'm feeling sad or wronged (which isn't often) I remember all the blessings in my life; my dad, my mom, my brothers, my children, my husband, my friends online and offline, and mostly the love I carry inside of me through all of life's challenges, no matter how big.

That is, for me, the incredible power, and gift of love.

Go hug someone you love today, I'll be sure to do it as well, many times.

In memory of my dad; wish I could hear your voice again. Thank you for always being there for me, for all of  us - You are my reason Dad.



By Barbara Tremblay Cipak Country Music Reviewer
Drageda.com - Don't Ride Alone, Get Emotional Daily Assistance


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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

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