Book Cover Design

I’ve changed my book cover for Mourning Has Broken. I’ve kept the stained glass as the front cover because my sister made and gave me the stained glass window as a gift for a new house I had moved into.

You can see the new cover at my home page.

Here’s a re-blogged excerpt from The Stained Glass Window, one of the essays in Mourning Has Broken.

For awhile, I am intrigued with the teachings of Raja Yoga. “The main object of this form of yoga is to balance the energy throughout the brain and body so that the mind becomes very calm,” the very sexy and young Guru says.

We meditate on the kind of life we want to have in our next life.

I imagine living on a beach with him.

Later, I will think that this karma planning is no different that buying a lottery ticket.

You don’t have to win in order to enjoy the fantasy.

These days I want to believe that my particular life on Earth is but one of several journeys I will take. Earth but one stop among many; one of many experiences. And maybe I will get to choose to live another experience at another time in another space.

My niece Debbie asks me if I believe in God.

“I don’t believe but I hope there is something else,” I say.

The Aboriginals living in northern Quebec believe that the spirit of the dead linger on for a while; then they are absent as if they are busy doing something.Getting passports, maybe, or tattooed or having identity chips installed into brand new supersonic bodies or maybe painting dream billboards. Who knows? Then, the great tribal leaders say that the dead come back and we can feel their presence once more.

When she first died last September, I strongly felt my sister’s presence for two or three months.

Then she was gone as if the connection between us had jammed. 

I found her absence unsettling for it put into question my spiritual beliefs about the afterlife.

Maybe after all, there was nothing but a memory that becomes foggier and foggier as time goes on.

Two Free Downloads Sunday

This Sunday I’ve teamed up with blogger (   www.veggiesyarnsandtails.wordpress.com)  to offer two books which you can download for free. If you liked the books a review on Amazon, Goodreads or your site would be appreciated.

Happy Reading

GGK COVER WITH MY PHOTO-FRONT COVER ONLY

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=groovy%20green%20kitchen%20

 

Untitled-1

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=mourning+has+broken&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Amourning+has+broken

In Loving Memory

Four years ago today, my sister, Diana, died.

Diana,jpg Since then I wrote a collection of essays on mourning in great part to deal with my grief. Yet, here I am still feeling the grief. It is not that I want it to go away. It is difficult to separate grief from affection, from missing a person.

On some level, mourning comforts. It tells me how much I loved her. How much I cared for her.

Grief is also, to me, about all the things I didn’t tell her, all the things we won’t get to do together. About how she will always be in my heart.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nBAJZrVp1k

Mourning Has Broken

Wow. It’s been such  a long time since I’ve been on my blog.

I’m happy to say that my book Mourning Has Broken is available on Amazon and Kindle

http://www.amazon.com/Mourning-Has-Broken-C-Balawyder/dp/1461029279/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1320843244&sr=1-1-catcorr

For all who are interested I hope that you will enjoy it and if you are going through your own grief process may my book be of some comfort to you.

Namaste

Excerpt From Havana Blues

I hated Havana. I hated the heavy gasoline fumes and the hot July heat that would slap me in the face like a jealous lover.  I hated the stench of garbage that leaked through my skin and settled in my blood until I could taste it. “No water today, lady. Maybe tomorrow,” the corner street vendor would tell me.  It was a ten minute walk from my hotel to the university where I was taking Spanish courses.  A walk through the crumbling, decaying buildings with their rusted wrought-iron balconies and skin-and-bones-cats wandering about like voodoo zombies.  

But there was also much to love about Havana as well.  The lively squares where craftsmen sold their art and old books about Hemingway who had spent twenty years of his life in Havana. I loved the slow rhythm of the people as if they had all the time in the world. The sayings on their billboards: “The first duty of a man is to be true to himself.” I loved watching the dark Cuban children swimming in the Melacon , walking along the very charming Prado and going for cerveza in the cafe at the Capitolo.  Shirtless boys playing their guitars while drinking a can of Cristal beer, and old men drumming to salsa.  I loved the architecture which the Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier described as “music turned to stone.”  Carpentier should know. His own writing is integrated with music as his means of better understanding his Cuban identity.

One day, on our way back home from Habana Viejan we stepped into a state supermarket to see what the locals ate. It was disheartening to face shelf after empty shelf; disheartening to feel the gaze of the few customers on their ration tickets to buy food.

I thought about the super markets back home with their excessive selection of food. Where it was possible to choose from five or six different brands of toilet paper while here one roll was a luxury.

After our morning classes we would head back to our hotel in the Vedada neighborhood of Havana. I would do my days washing which I would hang out on our balcony.

We would have a glass of rum and coke to give us courage to face again the relentless heat for the two block walk to the Nacional, Havana’s top end hotel where for the price of lunch we could linger the afternoon away around the grand hotel pool listening to the waves crashing against the walls of the Melacon and flirt with the young, handsome Cuban waiters who’d bring us mojitos on silver trays and when we’d leave we’d say, ” hasta siempre”, and they’d smile proudly.

Listen to this video to touch the soul of Cuba.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxtwzU0-wPM&feature=related

Excerpt From Selecting Clothing

I go to the armoire first. It is a large pine one. There are three shelves inside, and each is filled with stacks of t-shirts, undergarments, scarves, sweaters. Mostly white. My sister was a woman who often wore white.

I remove a stack of t-shirts and go through them. Tears are miles away. I did my weeping earlier that morning.   As I look over her clothes I am emotionless. My mind is fixated on practicality: Do I like it. Does it fit? Do I need it?  I am reminded of something my father once told me when I was selling my first condo. “Don’t be greedy,” he said.  

The room has wide windows which let in the sunlight through sheer white curtains that are as delicate as dove wings. The bedspread is white.  There is a table with two books on it. I pick up one of the books. You Are Not Alone. It is a collection of wisdom by women dealing with cancer. I open the book and read a passage which my sister has highlighted in green: I believe that love motivates you, faith inspires you, and forgiveness keeps you a step ahead.   I place the book back on the dresser, my fingers fluttering its cover as if fluttering her soul.

I try on her clothes. Take them off. I might as well be in some exclusive boutique opened only for me.  I  keep asking myself if I really need it. If not, leave it for someone else.  It is all a matter of practicality for me. I am absent of sentiment.

By the time I return back downstairs a small drizzle has started.   We sit in the bright living room where I sit on the couch where Diana always sat. Jean-Louis talks about Mexico and a house exchange in France.

Before my sister died Jean-Louis was in the process of exchanging his house in the country and my city apartment for a house in Southern France. I am not so sure I want to do this anymore.  Part of the motivation for these trips was being with my sister. But this I do not tell Jean Louis. He is hurting enough.

When I reach home that evening I talk to Steven a man I recently met on one of the online dating sites.

There is a saying that people come into your life for a reason, a season or a life time. Steven has come into my life for a reason. I met him just before my sister died, when she was in the intense care unit. Stephen used to be a nurse in ICU and he tells me, “Nurses who work in ICU are the best trained nurses. You can be certain that your sister is getting the best of the best.”

I tell Steven that I sometimes feel like I have no emotions.

“I hate this coldness in me,” I say.

“I cried more for my cat than I did for my mother when she died,” he tells me.

The next day, I relate this to my therapist. “It is probably less painful to touch the loss of his cat than that of his mother,” she tells me.