There are some days when everything seems right in my world. Even with the Oh-My-God-I-Don’t-Have-A-Home always hanging over my head and the dental surgery looming ever closer to my mouth (and my bank account), I have a day — not even a day, just a morning — like this Sunday where everything is right. Everything is good. Everything is happy. Maybe it helps now that I have a heart — with the help of a Pacemaker named Hazel — that keeps me beating with an energy that I haven’t felt in many, many years.
I wasn’t sure about getting Hazel. I couldn’t understand why I would need her now. Wasn’t I taking good care of me? How did it happen that, one day I was ok, and the next day being told I needed to have a pacemaker? It was shocking to hear those words last December. But there she is now tucked in the tissue of my left shoulder. It was a long six weeks of healing for Hazel. I couldn’t lift anything more than 5 pounds which meant multiple trips to get food and wine and cat food and wine and library books and asking friends to take out the litter and change the sheets on my bed since I also couldn’t move the arm above my head or swing it to the back. But I did it, and finally on Wednesday, Hazel was declared securely in place and not to be disturbed for the next 13 years.
It also meant that, after these six weeks of Hazel-healing and being on dry, exercise-less land, that I was finally able to go back to the pool. It might not sound like such a big deal, especially since the aquafit class starts at 8:20 am on a Sunday morning when most people dream of sleeping in and staying in pyjamas for hours into the day, but I just felt a joy in my heart that I could go back. This is not just a splashing-around-in-the-water exercise class for me, it’s more. After years and years of going, I have formed a community of good folks there who, for the most part, I only see on that one day but feel such a strong connection to that I have missed over these weeks. It was lovely to have people smile at me and say, “Oh, Ann’s back.” It was truly a Hazel-warming way to start this day — and my body, finally, got some good exercise.
Then, when I left with sweet Sarah and Robyn to go to brunch, the sun was shining. For those of you who live in sunny places, this would not be such a big deal. But here, in February, it is something to be cherished and enjoyed and spoken about. We know it could be gone in a second — and, that’s what happened this morning — but for just that little bit of feeling sun-warmth on my skin, it was perfect. Combine that with a good breakfast and good friends in a noisy restaurant where they know our names and our orders, it was a perfect Act Two to this morning.
That would have been enough to make this glass of mine half full instead of the half empty place I’ve been sinking my life into these past few months. I was content with my day but, then, passing the Chai Shop owned by two very lovely sisters who are friends of mine, I saw one of their four cats in the window and had to stop and chat with her. We had a lovely back and forth until one of the sisters came out and invited me in for closer tete-a-tete with Tika.
But my good fairy of good mornings was not finished. As I walked out and towards home, I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in years. There she was. I thought if I had left brunch 15 minutes earlier and if had not stopped to talk to the cat and if she hadn’t been late for church and had to park far away, we would have missed each other. I love when these things happen and I love when I recognize the blessing that it was — for both of us.
I hadn’t seen Patricia in years but have always felt connected with her. I met her eleven years ago when I was visiting her mother, Beulah Pearl, at the care facility down the street. When I was turning 60, I said to Beulah, “I’m turning 60 this year!” Now that isn’t such a big deal to someone in her 90s. She answered in her clipped-PEI-farmwoman way, “So’s my daughter.” I upped the ante and said, “But I’m turning 60 on Christmas Eve.”
She answered, “So’s my daughter.” It was too coincidental not to get to know this person better. And there we were on Harbord Street reconnecting and remembering — not making plans to meet for lunch or exchanging emails or talking — just being happy for this moment.
I am sure that this contentment that I feel this morning is always within me, even with all the seemingly negative shit that’s been hitting my proverbial fan of late. I think I’ve been using the depressed, sad, poor-me default far too much these past months. Hopefully, I’ll remember how I feel right now the next time I start to slink down that hole of depression. From this place, this morning, I can believe that all will truly, absolutely, positively, be well and happy. Maybe I should print this out and add it to my bathroom mirror already full of “Yes You Can” messages. That way, perhaps, just maybe I’ll believe that joy is always within me, just like the green is always in the trees waiting for sun and warmth and a few good friends to bring it out.