Monday, November 6, 2023

A Much Needed Mental Break...Kind Of

As you all know, we have been through it the past few months.  We had to cancel retreat this year for the first time since 2018 even though technically we still could've gone.  We cancelled the last day we were able to get all of our money back but that was when we had hope.  If we had gone when it was scheduled, it would've been two weeks after Mom passed and less than two weeks before her interment ceremony so there was no way we could've truly been able to take that intended break and focus on our marriage.  We decided to go to a place we love in Canada called Niagara on the Lake not so much as a retreat but a desperately needed change of scenery.  I thought maybe by the time we went I would be in a better mental place but had no way to foresee my paternal grandmother dying less than two weeks before we left and the utter emotional crap storm it would stir up in me on top of the one I was already going through.  I was assured by the Mr that even if I cried the whole time it would be fine and we needed to be anywhere but home.  Making new memories is excruciatingly hard because Mom loved seeing pictures of our travels so right now everything feels tarnished and pointless.  Even looking at old memories that pop up are incredibly painful and I don't even want to look at pictures because they're in the "before" but I knew if nothing else, I wanted to try to give this time to the Mr.

For the first time, we rented a house there and by the time we booked it at the beginning of the month, we already would have lost 50% if we cancelled.  I say that because when we booked, I thought it was on the park side of town and not directly sharing a parking lot with the hotel where we usually stay and, you know, right across from the pub open latest in town.  🙄  

We were pleasantly surprised to see so much color still left.

The biggest advantage was not needing the car and being able to walk all over town and that was essentially the and walk.

Mississauga Park was about a 20 minute walk and it had a great view of Toronto across the lake.

There was also a lake path we walked along side the golf course which had me a little nervous given how Aunt Vivian died on Six Feet Under but we made it through without any head injuries from rogue balls.

One of those strolls resulted in seeing this beauty.

It was trolling for some vittles and caught a snack and doing that cute fox leap.  It had zero interest in the humans taking pics and video of it.

When we were in town once, we had afternoon tea at our hotel and while the experience was nice, we weren't impressed with the quality of the food.  The Mr did check and they will wrap up any size afternoon tea package to go.  You know, for $75 per person.  So I told him let's see if we could scavenge the town to see if we could set up something equally nice but with stuff that would hopefully be much better taste wise.  So we got some maple tea at Victoria Tea and Coffee, a prepackaged charcuterie plate from Cheese Secrets, sweet treats from Nina Gelateria and Patisserie, strawberry jam from Greaves and tea sandwiches from Bobba Tea (not misspelled).  I found some platters in the house and arranged everything and we had our own curated, bespoke afternoon tea with a classical playlist going.

It's always nice to get what you actually like and douchebag free afternoon tea is where it's at.

We did have a nice balcony off one of the bedrooms that we enjoyed a few times just taking in the color and idiot watching.

We were so thankful when the cold and rain, our spirit weather, moved in to keep motorcycles and bigger crowds at bay.  We did venture out one day and did a little geocaching and antiquing.  

Mom's Royal Albert Country Roses dishes I gave her for her 50th was right there to let me know she was with me.

We went on a walk and stumbled upon St. Mark's cemetery which was beautiful and fitting on All Hallows Eve.

Looks like a great time, doesn't it and it was for the most part but I'm not going to sit here and lie to you guys that this was some magic wand to knock me on the path out of grief.  It wasn' a long shot.  I silently cried no less than 15x on the way up hoping to God my tears dried before the Mr would look over.  Niagara Falls NY was particularly brutal as that was part of her honeymoon and all I could see were flashes of pictures as well as pictures of us when we went as a family 3 years later and again when I was six.  Her and I in the rose garden at the Sheraton, going on Maid of the Mist, a Polaroid she took of me singing by a fountain.  There is something about memories, new or old, that are paralyzing to me.  I don't even mean memories with her, I mean when Google pops up that I have memories to look back on, I want to throw up.  I can't look at pictures from our trips, DIY projects, nothing.  They bring up panic, replaying all of the worst memories either of her death, the days leading up to it, opportunities missed, assumptions made that play in a constant loop.  It was horrible the first day and I managed to keep all of that hidden from the Mr and my daily spirals because he deserved some damn peace.  This trip was to give him a break from what our life has become, I was not going to ruin this for him.  It's the only thing I could do for him that I haven't been able to over the past weeks.  

Don't get tempted to suggest solutions right now, I don't need that.  I am telling the truth because someone out there has processed their grief the same unfathomable way for some reason and I'm telling you for as shitty as that is, you're not alone.  I don't know why memories period are a hyperventilating trigger for me and I'm sure there are theories but obviously I can't go through the rest of my life not making them.  Putting the next location sticker bought for the suitcase was always a fun way to end our trips but all I saw this time was the "finished" side of the suitcase I'll take a picture of someday and never get to show her and hear her say "cool!". She always said it so cute.  

It wasn't just that kind of stuff either, it was the typical stuff that only we seem to have to deal with.  We were just off the main drag and basically shared the backyard with a hotel and public parking which meant a bazillion people slamming their car doors from 7:30am until midnight sounded like the failed soundproofing neighbor slamming his cabinets.  Or the dildos on motorcycles who had to close out the bar every night across the street because it's the only place open after 8pm in this tourist town and finally the people at the coffee shop who let their dogs bark incessantly which sounded like the sea hag on the other side of us so we couldn't even get out of the country and get some friggin peace and quiet and paid out the butt for the privilege. Not to mention that in the middle of the night our second to last night, a skunk sprayed and made the house practically uninhabitable and we had to open windows to air it out the next day in 40 degree weather.  When we thought it was gone, one quick step outside then back in proved it was lingering and smelled like we invited Jay and silent Bob over for a rager.  So I had to notify the office since the first rule is literally no pot smoking in the house.  There were parts that were lovely though and I will enjoy those brief moments I was able to breathe wearing Mom around my neck, hearing blue jays follow us as we walked and starting each day with a suggestion or five from an account I know she followed that I haven't seen since August.  This is not how I wanted her to share in our travels and I'm not in the place to hear "she's with you now" because she should be here.  But "it is what it is" to quote that god awful saying and I am still wading heavily in the muck with an occasional glimmer of beauty that tries to sneak in from time to time.  The Mr said he had a great time and that was ultimately my goal even if I did finally cry in front of him while watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown the night before we left.  This would be the time of year I'd post I was watching and Mom would always make a comment about how of course her 'baby' was watching it.  I almost made it. 

Oh and to my Canadian friends... how the hell do you afford it!?!?  😆

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  1. I am glad we took the time off. It was a great little getaway. Love the pictures too, especially seeing the fall leaves there and that fox.

  2. There's definitely no escaping painful emotions, but I'm glad you guys went anyway and saw some beautiful sites and made the most of it. The pictures are gorgeous and encapsulate autumn perfectly.

  3. I haven't been to that side of Canada, only around BC, and closer to the yukon, oh and the mountains! I can't tell you how many times my ears popped, it was getting painful. The price of everything up there is eye opening but my daughter manages it somehow. I'm happy that you two got to see some beautiful sights. I'm babying my left arm, stretched it out yesterday and pulled the muscle so bad I can't sleep in my own bed, I'm a side sleeper and this really sucks! Icing away as I type this, hope you guys have a good week!

  4. Some beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing. Getting away may have helped just a smidgen. But grief isn't easy. I wish I had some words of comfort but I do not.

  5. Beauty pics! Grief is hard.

    As a Canadian (Newfoundlander actually) I hear ya on the prices. Hubs and I were in Ontario for a family wedding this past summer and were planning a quick getaway and looked at Niagara on the Lake. The prices scared me away lol. We stayed at the Waterfront Hotel in Burlington instead, right on the lake. There was a park next to it and we had a couple of lovely strolls there. It was nice for a short stay.


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