Sunday, July 16, 2017

Giving and Receiving

Today was a full day, especially because I didn't think I was going to be doing much at the start of it. All I wanted to do was head to Walmart and pick up some supplies / groceries for the rest of my 2-week stay in Calgary (I head back this coming Friday and today is the Saturday prior to that.)

It didn't start too well in a sense. The cab driver was wearing heavy scent, so I went to the store (an 8-minute drive) wearing my face mask. I tipped him for choosing the most direct route there... and then spent the next hour wandering the aisles of the store in my mask (lots of scent clouds, it was Saturday) looking for various items (the last one, pepper, took me ten minutes and even then I finally had to ask someone. It was in the meat aisle by the way...). I paid for my stuff, called a cab in a different company, and submitted to another drive back with my mask on, with another pee-yew cabbie who (again) took the most direct route and even helped me with my huge / heavy shopping bag. (I'm done shopping alone without buying a sturdy bag... last year was enough.)

After I got back though, had some food and took an Advil for the killer headache the scents gave me, and talked for a while on the phone with my brother, and then with my husband, I saw an email message from a classmate asking me if I would like to spend some time together. I agreed and she picked me up for a drive out to see the Rockies!

"The Three Sisters" - near Canmore, AB, July 15, 2017

Yes ... I took that picture only 2 hours ago. The peaks here are called "The Three Sisters" and I took the photo from inside the vehicle as we were driving!

Seeing the mountains up close like that was ... well, the best word I can think of is ... spiritual. 

I felt very connected to my youngest daughter, who saw these mountains in late September 2013, only 3 weeks or so before she died. It was like she and I got to share the experience of the majesty of that place. The tears started to fall as I could almost hear her say, "It's okay Mom. I'm okay. Everything is going to be fine."  And it was fine. 

My classmate gave me a wonderful gift, a gift that meant so much to me. And all it costed her was time. Time she took away from other things in her life so that I could have a good experience in Alberta. She had no ulterior motive. She honestly cared about how I felt. And all I needed to give her the joy of giving was to receive. Fortunately, I received so very much when Arielle first passed away - so much love and so many outpourings of giving, that I had learned to receive... and so I gave her the gift of my grateful acceptance of her gift.

The world is a funny place - and as much as it is filled with horrible, unspeakable things, it also has people in it like this lady, and my dorm-mates who invited me to come with them to the grocery store my first day here, who helped me take my stuff into the apartment and cleared a space for my food. And so many others here - the friends of my other daughter who met me at the airport and drove me to the residence (saving me $50 in cab fare) invited me to their place last Thursday night for the most tender sirloin steak I have EVER tasted, done via a "sous vide" method. WOW. And when they learned that tomorrow would have been Arielle's 25th birthday, they offered to take me to breakfast at one of the many Denny's Restaurants here (something we don't have where I live) to start the day off right, even though one of them has to work tomorrow at the other end of town (a 30 to 45 minute drive depending on traffic).  They are also planning to take me back to the airport on Friday. Could it get any better than this?

I feel so blessed.  It's a way better experience than I ever dreamed it would be, being in Calgary this time. And as I head to bed, I feel as though this has been the kind of day that restores the soul. Even though it might not have started off well, a simple gift - the gift of time - given and received, made all the difference.

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