I woke up thinking about my nonna

I don’t know why…

So I’d like to share with you a little about my nonna Concetta

She wore black for like 50 years after my grandfather passed away

She used to have really long hair

I remember being a kid and watching her in wonderment comb it and then put in a bun

She never wore it down so I felt like I had gotten a peak behind the wall

She took care of me during the school week

My cousins and I would go home for lunch and she’d be always be ready for us

It’s funny to me now

But back then she never missed a lunch

She always sat with us

She didn’t eat

I don’t know when she ate her lunch

But during our lunch time as we spoke to each other in English

She sat with us

Just being with us

I remember once my cousin was telling a story and said the word ‘stupid’ to describe someone

And she backhanded him lightening fast

Because she thought he had called her stupid

I remember hiding a grin and a laugh

One time my cousins and I took our time returning after school

We approached with a big group of friends

She was waiting on the veranda

Yelling and screaming in Italian

Putting her hand in between her teeth

I can’t explain it

It’s an Italian thing

Anyway

My cousin was so embarrassed in front of his non Italian friends

That he told everyone our nonna was a witch and had just put a spell on everyone

When no one was around she would sit on the couch and play cards on her lap

But as soon as someone showed up at the door

She’d sweep the evidence under the couch cushion

I don’t know why she didn’t want to be caught playing cards

But it always bothered me

Maybe she felt she’d be judged

I don’t know

As I got older I didn’t see her as much

I didn’t speak to her as much when I did see her

Embarrassed by my broken Italian that I had once spoken well

I’d say the usual greeting and whatnot

But didn’t really talk to her like I once had

We’d go visit her and my cousins would be there

We would sit at the table and laugh and tell stories in English

Reminiscing

And she would sit there

Like old times

Just smiling

Being with us

She got sick and older and frail

I went to the hospital to visit her

It was late at night

My cousin left to get us something from Tim’s

My nonna looked scared

I got up and went by her bed

She looked up at me and I whispered

‘Ti amo tanto Nonna’

She smiled weakly

Eventually she got better

She went home

I visited again

I got a text from my cousin

Saying la nonna had died

It actually autocorrected to the nonna had died

That stood out then

Like she was the only one

She passed away at home

I went to see her one last time

I went to her room

Where she laid in her bed

She looked so small

So frail

So unlike the strong woman I’d looked up to my whole life

There was so much I wanted to say

So much I wanted to thank her for

Time had run out

But it didn’t matter

She knew

I just didn’t realize no words were needed for her to understand

She always did

Ti amo tante e per sempre

‘The Happiest Place On Earth.’

Today is Joey’s birthday

Last year at this time

I was living with my parents

My mental state was super fragile

We had cake for his birthday at my parents house

I remember trying hard that day

To put a smile on my face

To be brave

To not be selfish

For Joey

Because he deserved so much more than what he got

Because I always felt like we could have been so great

If not for all the obstacles

My challenges that have disrupted our life together

But today

One year later

We are celebrating his birthday at Disney in Florida

Joey gets to be happy

I feel good

Maybe sometimes magic happens

Maybe the universe and planets align

Maybe I worked my ass off to get to this point

Whatever

It doesn’t even matter

Bukowski wrote: ‘What matters most is how well you walk through the fire’

And I did

I walked through the fire

And survived

Sure I have the scars to prove it

But who doesn’t?

I’ll be in Disney this afternoon

Indulging my inner kid

She deserves to have some fun

Even if it’s a moment

I’m going to close my eyes really tight and try my best to savour the moments

I deserve it

So does Joey

PS. Happy birthday Joey 🖤

‘What else should I be? All apologies’ Nirvana

I wanted one week

Where I could pretend to be like everyone else

Where I could pretend to be the wife you deserve

Where I could pretend to be the person I always wanted to be

Instead I got a day here or there

I was too greedy when I wanted a week

I should have known better

I should have asked for a moment

Maybe two

But a week of unadulterated happiness

Just wasn’t meant for me

And so you had to suffer too

Because once upon a time you were unlucky enough to fall in love with me

This is what your life will be like

What it has been like

Hospital visits

Stomach aches

Crisis centres

Tears

Panic

And so many sorry’s that just get stuck in my throat

Making me choke

On nothing but apologies and regret

Sorry’s that your ears will never hear

Because to utter them might make you wonder the same thing I always do

‘Why the hell is he still here’?

‘At Times, Our Own Light Goes Out And Is Rekindled By A Spark From Another Person.’ Albert Schweitzer

Dear David (from Gerstein Crisis Centre)

It’s taken me four days to finally be able to compose this letter.

Not because I didn’t care to but because I became too emotional whenever I thought about your kindness towards me during my short stay at Gerstein.

You were the first person during my ordeal who did not see someone who was ‘weak’ and ‘needy’ but instead you saw someone who was tired of fighting so hard.

Someone who just needed a safe place to land.

You gave me that.

From the very minute I stood in front of the office doors as a crying hot mess, until we had talked long enough for me to enter a sleep-like.

state.

You threw me a lifeline.

You listened.

You talked.

You joked.

You laughed.

You related.

You made me feel heard and understood, and there are not simply enough words in the English language to convey my complete gratitude towards you for that.

So from one panic attack sufferer to another…

In words I know you’ll understand best.

I’ll just say:

I’d lay down in the snow with you, until your panic attack passes. 😊

Forever grateful,

Angela

PS if anyone knows him or how to get in touch with him let me know

‘No Dress Rehearsal. This Is Our Life.’

11 years ago

October 27, 2007

We got married

Still a few years shy of 30 years old

We thought we had it all figured out

How little we knew

We had yet to learn a lot

To experience so so much

We thought we knew it all

Life, predictably knew better

And yet

Even though

It was never perfect

It was occasionally heartbreaking

It was often difficult

It was filled with laughter

It was sometimes chaotic

It was sprinkled with passion

It was usually me needing help

It was intermittently explosive

It was frequently unexpected

And it was always…

Always…with you

🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

Throw back 11 years ago

‘There is always some madness in love. But there is also always reason in madness.’ Nietzsche

I used to lament

How we would have had an epic love story

If it weren’t for my fucked up life getting in the way

It’s kinda messed up

How everyone loves the deeply flawed broken man in a romance novel

But nobody writes a story where the woman in the relationship is the one who is beautifully broken

Our story is nothing like a romance novel

I know I don’t need you to survive

This isn’t a story about a damsel in distress

Maybe I would even find a way to be happy without you in my life 🤷🏻‍♀️

The thing is

I don’t want to have to try

I want you in my life

In my darkest hours

In my darkest moments

I see you at the other end

Looking for me

Waiting for me

You read me affirmations when I’m too anxious to read them myself

You encourage me when my depression steals my ability to do that for myself

This isn’t a fairytale

It’s real and gritty and honest

And sometimes I’d rather be alone

I know it’s not easy

Sometimes, when I’m not consumed by own mind

I see how hard it is for you

That makes me far sadder than I could ever put into words

I still think how different your life could have turned out

If we hadn’t of met

I probably always will

I used to think that our love story was ruined

That it didn’t have a chance to flourish

Because of me

That my own story is filled with too many plot twists

To have a happy ending

But I was wrong

You are the plot twist

You’re the one I didn’t see coming

In a million years

I never would have guessed

That we’d be here

Together

After everything

All the hard times

All the sad times

Ive said before that I wouldn’t try to write something

That someone else had already written

And written so eloquently

This

Exactly

All of this:

And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.”-Kiersten White

If only they gave out awards for worst sick person…

I am the worlds worst sick person

Specifically when I’m nauseous or feel like I’m about to throw up

My anxiety spikes

I feel like I’m going to die or go crazy simultaneously

Before you rush to sympathize and reassure me that I’m not, read on

I demand Joey stay beside while I ward off the evil nauseous feelings

But not move the bed in any way

I want him to keep his hand on me in someway so I know I’m not alone

But not too firmly

Lest his touch spur the nausea

I want him to talk

But not about anything to do with food

Which for a chef is like asking a new parent to not talk about their baby

And not too loudly either

The sound waves might make me hurl

Last night, I took Gravol and Ativan

And put an ice pack on my head

The lights off

And I asked Joey to tell me a story of when he confessed his ‘like’ for me

It’s a funny story

And always makes me smile

This time didn’t disappoint either

As soon as he gets to the part where he recalls telling me all those years ago that he’s ‘been digging me as more than just a friend’

I crack up

I was still nauseous

But it was better

He reminded me of how I planted a kiss on him

And he sprinted around the neighbourhood on such a high

Than he told me how because I was vacillating between telling him I liked him and not wanting to change our friendship, he was a nervous wreck

I remember that too

I was worried that we were too different

My dark to his light

I didn’t know then how much it would matter that he was my opposite

It seems simple now

The biggest fear was that we would lose a great friendship

I didn’t know then what I could possibly be gaining

The dude that puts my socks on when I can’t

When I’m nauseous the dude who tells me it’ll pass

Gets me ice packs

Regales me with stories from the past

Tries his hardest to not move the bed (which if you know him, you know is nearly impossible)

So yeah I may just be the world worst sick person

But who fucking cares if the one person I want by my side, can withstand the bumpy (read: nauseous) ride with me?

Has anyone ever told you that you were lucky to have found me?

No I didn’t think so

I can’t even count how many times I’ve been told how lucky I am to have you

Through my mental health issues and through my MS

Does it make me feel bad?

Of course

I would love to hear people say how lucky you are to have me in your life

Because that signifies the very opposite of a ‘burden

Which is what I feel far too often

All this makes me wonder

About how our life together could have been different

Thats a lie

I actually spend much more time than I’d care to admit wondering about how your life could have turned out differently had you not fallen into this

With me

That’s another lie

I don’t ponder how different it could be

I actually wonder how much better your life would have been if not for me

I have day-mares where I can see you with someone else

They manifest as day dreams that feel like nightmares

Where I’m relieved to see you looking so happy

But I’m scared and angry to see that it’s with someone who’s not me

This figment of my imagination

She’s a happy-go-lucky kinda woman

She enjoys the simple things in life

You two laugh together

A lot

She doesn’t have the baggage that weighs me down

The baggage that then in turn has weighed you down

She’s free

And with her

So are you

You guys own a small condo downtown

You take the dogs out for long walks to the park

Maybe to the lake in the summer

Those same summers that I stay inside air conditioned prisons because I can’t handle the heat

In the evenings

You go to the movies

Like we used to before MS stole so much from me

You watch blockbusters, indie flicks, documentaries

Then you go to coffee shops

She orders coffee with sugar and milk

Something simple

Not like my high maintenance needs

You sit there for hours and you talk and dream of all the places you’ll travel to

And you know since she doesn’t have anxiety

She won’t be terrified of getting on that long plane ride to Amsterdam

She doesn’t have MS obviously

No treatment coming up

No fears of getting sick

No limitations really

And she doesn’t take sick leaves

So money isn’t a worry

The world is her oyster

So in turn, it is yours too

She’s not chained with anxiety and depression like I am

Broken in thought and in spirit

She doesn’t yell and scream at you when the anxiety is so bad

She doesn’t mope and cry when the depression hits hard

She’s a youth worker like me

Unlike me, she goes to work every day

The kids love her of course

Who wouldn’t?

Her employer raves about her dedication to her job

You are so proud of her

Because you’re the same

You’re dedicated to your job

You share this motivation with her

You check off goals as easily as I write blogs about being discriminated against at work

Your family adores her

Because they see how happy she makes you

You can’t help but exude this contagious happiness when she’s near you

Your family feels it too

They spend long weekends with you both

At the cottage

Playing with the nieces and nephews

Laughing and playing cards

You go back to your cozy little condo

With the dogs

And she is just content

To sit there with you on the balcony and watch the sky

You see, that’s enough for someone like her

Simple and carefree

And for someone like you

Wonderful and deserving of the very best in life

And the day-mare fades to black

And I’m sitting there quietly in my room

Alone

And you call my name from downstairs

And I close my eyes

And I take a deep breath

And I get up out of bed convinced that this time I can do it

And force a smile on my face, the same one I think she would wear

And I make my way downstairs

I’m scared that when I meet your eyes, the spark they held in my day-mare, will be gone

It’s my own smile that slips before my foot even hits the last step

And

I’m just me again

The one who is so lucky to have you

The one who’s never given you reason to feel lucky to have her

The one who knows that it was her breath that extinguished your spark

The one who will always be sorry

Happy birthday to my better half

You have a light within you

That’s brilliant and warm

Just enough to make it cozy

Your light makes people want to be near you

To bask and enjoy its warmth

It makes me wish for things that aren’t meant for people like me

I used to wish you could take my darkness away and change me

But now I understand so much better

You can’t carry my darkness

It’s mine for a reason

But somehow

I can still see your brilliant light through my darkness

And that is enough for me

And that means more to me than you can ever know

Happy birthday to the guy that makes my life brighter ❤️

Tens years and a lifeline 

Ten years that we’ve been married 

It’s been so much longer though hasn’t it?

Sixteen years together

It feels like both a lifetime and not enough time 

I didn’t know then the difference you’d make in my life

Though I should have 

Looking back I should have noticed the way the air felt different

Thicker and somehow more crisp

How did I miss the way time both stopped and started going by so fast 

I should have known my life wouldn’t be the same

I should have known then that only you could make an outsider like me feel unconditionally loved 

Only you

I didn’t know because I didn’t think unconditional love was real outside of maybe a parents love for their baby

Though I should have known better when I met you

Nothing was the same after that

Looking back over these years

We’ve been through so much

How did we survive it all?

So many ups and so many downs

The only constant has been you 

Exclusively you

You’ve seen me at my very worst too many times to count 

And yet you’re still here

Always just you

I must have done something so very right to deserve you

Whatever it was

I know it wasn’t enough

I’ll spend my whole life

Thanking the universe for giving me you

Only ever you 

‘And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.’

‘ I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.’