brad and mom

Mom and Brad and a pony named Brownie or Paco (depending on which Grandchild you asked)

I’m in an odd place these days, not one where words flow in gentle streams from my head to the page. More disjointed than that – lots of thoughts, lots of sadness, lots of moments of wonder and realization, but nothing that works its way into a cohesive blog post. So, instead, I’ll give you a little of the bric-a-brac in my brain…

– My biggest and most consuming thought is “How can my big brother REALLY have cancer just seven months after it killed Mom? Is this just a bad dream? Will I wake up soon?”

– My next most-consuming thought is “I love my brother. He’s been such a constant in my life. Sure, he teased me mercilessly when we were growing up – it’s what big brothers do – but I don’t remember ever doubting that he loved me. And since then, in the adult years, there have been SO many times when, with characteristic understatement, he just showed up and did the right thing. Like the time he deposited money in my bank account when my sister and I were running low on our big European backpacking adventure. And the way he sat between my sister and I when we were weeping over Mom’s death, and simply put his hand on each of our knees, and then went to get us blankets.”

– And then, the next thought is “I need to be there. I need to see him.” And so I am making an unexpected road trip to Alberta this weekend. Just to show up. Because I need to.

– The trip to Alberta will end in Saskatchewan. One of the most delightful pieces of work that I’ve been offered this summer (and really – a dream come true) is the opportunity to facilitate the annual retreat of an artists’ guild. I’ll facilitate a few sessions, do some one-on-one coaching work with them, and then I get to just hang out and make art. Imagine!

– And… speaking of delightful work, I’ve been selected to deliver a Spark session at Patti Digh’s Design Your Life Camp! Woohoo! I’m very excited about the opportunity to talk about one of the things that matters most to me – The Courage to Lead Differently. At this point, with not a lot of work on the horizon, I haven’t quite figured out how I’ll be able to afford the trip, but I’m working on that. And praying, and dreaming.

This made me weep. And then weep some more. Scott Simon, from NPR, tweeted throughout his Mom’s dying days. So very close to my own experience last November.

– In all of this sadness and worry over my brother, this much I know… I am loved. I am surrounded by a flawed but beautiful, deeply authentic, courageously loving, sometimes infuriating but always forgiving, family of origin. How did I get to be so lucky?

– Oh… I almost forgot to tell you… Last week’s one-day workshop on the Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that Matter was pure delight. A beautiful hosting team to work with, a beautiful circle of people to be in conversation with, and the beautiful hope that this will grow in Manitoba.  Stay tuned for a longer version in October. And I am reminded once again, that conversations matter.

– And… speaking of circles of people… the other trip I hope to make this Fall is to Gather the Women – Annual Gathering. Last year, I co-hosted the gathering in Ontario, and it was there that I learned about my Mom’s cancer returning. This circle of women has extended to me a big virtual hug in the year since then, and I hope that the resources will come together so that I can be with them again.

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