Monday, December 11, 2006


Yesterday morning I woke up with a horrible feeling in my stomach. The drive home loomed ahead of me - four and a half hours alone in the car.
I've driven those same kilometres a hundred times between when I started university in 1992 and now. I've driven that distance and more with only the CBC as my companion. I've driven that highway with fellow students and bags of laundry packing my car to capacity. I've even had a freshly bathed cat snoozing in a pet carrier beside his owner in the back seat.
I've driven that route in good weather and bad - even in a few blizzards when I'm sure I shouldn't have been driving. I've done that trip late at night, staring at the sides of the road, praying that a moose or a deer didn't step out in front of me. I've driven when I was sure that I would fall asleep at the wheel if I didn't pull over and get out for some fresh air.
I am not afraid of driving. I've been driving one type of motorized vehicle or another since I was barely old enough to steer (snow-mobiles, 3 and then 4-wheelers, sea doos, trucks, boats, very fast cars and clunkers too).
Yesterday morning, though, it didn't feel right. I've been stressed about going home for stuff before, but it has never felt "not right" like that before.
My father and I had discussed the possibility that I might not get home for the service if the weather was bad. I made the call as soon as I got out of bed and told him I wasn't coming, then I went and looked at the Nova Scotia highway webcams. The Wentworth Valley is notorious for having unpredictable weather. The Westchester camera showed snow on the sides of the road, but the view was obscured by slushy rain on the lens. It may have been perfectly fine by the time I got that far; there may have been no problems at all with the roads, but I just didn't feel right about travelling.
I feel horrible about not being home with my family today, but something just told me that I wasn't meant to be on the roads yesterday.
So, while I should have been driving, instead I sat on my couch and I knit. I thought about Jen and I knit. I knit while I watched "Little Women" (the version with Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, etc), and I had a good cry when Beth died. And I kept on knitting.
Today, my body is at work.
But my heart is with my family with my aunt who has suffered what no mother should, with my cousin's husband who has lost the woman with whom he wanted only to grow old, with my grandmother who has been through so much and yet still amazes me with her grace, with my dad and his two youngest sisters as they support their sister, and with my cousins... My cousins who used to be eight in number, but are now seven.
My mind will be with Jen, thankful that she is no longer hurting, sad that she is gone too soon, and happy for the times we were able to spend together when she was with us.


  1. Hi Steph,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your cousin. It is so hard to accept the death of someone so young, with so much living still to do. I know I can't say anything to make you feel better, but you and your family are in my thoughts. If you need anything- let me know. And don't feel bad about deciding to stay home. Usually when you have 'not right' feeling that you can't shake, there is a reason for it.

  2. Hi Steph,
    Always trust your intuition. Do you know that many times that a plane has gone down that as many as half of the people who were booked on that flight cancelled due to "illness"? I've heard too many stories about people trusting that "don't go" feeling and then finding out that there was a disaster where they would have been.
    Meanwhile, I know it meant a lot for you to be there for your family and gain support from your family in this trying time. The death of a loved one is always hard to deal with. My grandfather passed away shortly after Christmas almost 7 years ago, and I still miss him most this time of year. So many times I wished he could have met my husband, danced with me at my wedding, gotten to meet his great-grandchildren. Then I remind myself that he is with me, he was at my wedding, he knows my children.
    Jen will always be with you.

  3. I'm so sorry for your loss Steph. While I'm sure your family misses you today, at least they know you are safe and that in your heart you are with them.

  4. Steph,
    I think an Angel was whispering in your ear. There was an accident on the 102 yesterday that blocked the highway for several hours. Your family knows you are with them in your thoughts and memories. My thoughts are with you today.

  5. Anonymous5:54 p.m.

    I agree - intuition is a powerful thing and should always be listened to.

    Feeling sad for you and your family, and thinking about you...

  6. I'm glad you followed your intuition. Maybe it was Jen, looking out for you.

    And maybe you were meant to remember Jen as the person you described in your last post, not associated with the overwhelming pain of attending her funeral.