Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Treleavens (and baby Betty) visit Arta

The Treleavens loaned me their hospital bed.

I put it into use right away.

I learned how to lift my leg onto it, slide in a 45 degree position across the sheets and find a comfortable position.

I was s so happy when the Treleavens showed up for a  surprise visit yesterday and sweet baby Betty happened to be visiting from next door at thte same time.

We took some pictures to mark the occasion.  A time to remember.

Today I learned the time of my arthoplasty operation.

So I am on my way to South Campus tomorrow for three days in the hospital and then, hopefully off to rehabilitation for a yet to be determined amount of time.

No more blogging from me for a few months, thoughI will continue to write posts in my heart.


I will be coming home with a brand new artificial hip,and with the power to hold that little baby Betty for longer periods of time than I can hold her now.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Saying Goodbye to my Uncle Bev

I was sitting under Glen’s porch at the lake, throwing pots, when a call came from my dad.  He was calling to say that my Uncle Bev had passed away.  

Uncle Bev had been living with multiple myeloma for several years.  The same thing my grandfather Doral passed away from.  He had struggled with the disease for many years, but his family seemed to know the end was approaching.  

My dad had gone down to Barnwell a few days earlier, with the rest of his siblings, to say goodbye.  Bev passed away shortly after.  I was so glad to know that his children, and siblings had time to hold his hand, and share words of love with him and with each other.

The view from Glen's porch, looking towards Aline Hill

My dad told me we would hear later about the timing of the funeral.  

I knew it was not likely that I would be able to make the trip to Barnwell.  I had been so lucky last summer, that things worked out to make it possible for me to travel there for Nadine’s funeral.

I thought back to that trip from the lake to Barnwell, with my mom, my dad, my sister Bonnie, and my own two kids.  A roadtrip full of stories about all of the Johnson relatives, memories of laughter and tears, work and play, struggles and celebrations, hardships and achievements.

I smiled thinking about running into my Johnson cousins at the 7-11 in Claresholm (seriously!? What are the odds of parking beside ones relatives at a bathroom break on a roadtrip?!).  I loved moving around at funeral (both at the church and the cemetery) holding the hands of those I have long loved, and reconnecting with aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandchildren.

The view towards Bastion mountain
And so, I sat under Glen’s porch, thinking about Bev, and looking at the lake around me.  I pulled out my camera to take a few shots of the view.  I remembered the many hours my Uncle Bev worked on other people’s projects.  

I remember him working on both my parents, and my uncle Glen’s house at the lake.  Sitting there under the deck, I wondered about the times that Bev too, while he worked on Glen and Janet’s house, must have turned his eyes towards the lake, the times he too would have watched the wind blow the waves inwards, the clouds move across the skies, and the sun set behind the mountains.  

Each day spent in Arta and Kelvin’s house at the Shuswap is also a day reminding of my Uncle Bev there, working alongside my dad.

The funeral is now come and gone.  I could not go, but did grill my dad and brother Doral. I have listened to my brother and father tell me about the music, the tears, the words of love.  I imagined myself there in the company of my relatives, celebrating the times spent with each other, celebrating a live well lived. 

Evening falls over Bastion Mountain


I thought about my earliest memories of uncle Bev and Barnwell.  Barnwell was different from Calgary.  The air was different, the water tasted different, and there was a sense of adventure and openness.   The wind seemed to blow all the time.  You could see it rippling across the grass, almost like a living creature.  The trees seemed to stand sentinel against the wind.  The trees also invited you to climb them…and imagining my dad swinging from them and breaking his arm was enough of a reminder to keep my own feet rooted on the ground, despite the invitation.  My cousins seemed braver.  The irrigation ditches were both terrifying and exciting to scramble around in, and I somehow remember thinking that they belonged to my Uncle Bev.   He seemed to know everything about science, and about the stars.  I remember being astonished to know that he could fly a plane.  What kind of magic was that?!  I loved visiting his house, which seemed so huge, the size of a mansion!  I loved playing there with Meriliee, and Val, who had a closet big enough for us to hide in.  I remember the piano, with the Reader’s Digest of Favourite Songs propped up, and seemingly any number of people able to play from it.  I remember his voice, that sounded so much like my own dad’s.  I remembered how my own dad’s voice would change anytime he got a call from Bev.  That sound, the sound of his voice, is inscribed on my heart.  

I only know one hundredth of a part of the grieving that Virginia will be feeling at the loss of his companionship. I am so grateful to have had him be a part of my life.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Thirteen more lucky days

Yesterday was Pre-Op Teaching Class at the South Campus Hospital, 9 am to noon.  The nurse who taught the last 1/4 of the class saw me in the hall when the class was over.  "Glad to see you made it."

"I am so fully of happiness and gratitutde.  Overwhelmed."

"Yes.  Dr. MacKenzie took one day from his holiday to come back in and do five patients who really needed hip replacements."

That must be why I am so full of happiness.  Today is the 5th.  At this time in two weeks, I will be out of the hospital bed and practising.  Practising walking on my new hip.



Today's adventure was people watching at Montmartre. The adventure began with a walking tour starting from Abbesses metro station (the deepest metro station in Paris--a long hard climb out of it) and ending at the Funicular in front of Sacre Couer.

Some memorable moments included:

1. Seeing the oldest Moulin on the mountain.
It wasn't Moulin Rouge, but it was still entertaining.
2. Sacre Coeur.
Catie reminded me that her school was founded from this very site.
3. Climbing the windy and steep streets on Montmartre.
Taking a group selfie at the top of the mountain
4. Hebe's request to take a photo of her shadow. "Look at me!"
5. Hebe getting ready for the Funicular to descend from Sacre Coeur to the metro below.


"Look at me!"

"I'm next on the funicular."

Celebrating Arta's Third Quarter Quell