I fell asleep with a splitting headache last night — slathered in lavender oil with an icepack on my neck.  I woke up free of pain this morning.  It was a transformation.  I was healed in the quiet of the night.  I hopped out of bed, threw on jeans and a sweatshirt, let the dogs outside, played with the kittens for a moment, stepped back in the house, fired up the studio, put the kettle on the stove and turned on Rose Cousins’s “Let the Light Come In” — a song I play when I want to be cracked open.

I stood in the kitchen, my bare feet pressed tight against cool hardwood, the grey light of morning streaming in the windows.  I reached my arms out, feeling the slow pull of my chest muscles reaching deep into my biceps, down to the bones of my wrists, into the buzzing tips of my fingers.  I raised my hands above my head, pushing at invisible things, sinews heaving and hauling.  I burst into tears right when Rose sang the word “forgiveness”.  I stayed there in the kitchen, swaying and moving to the music, folding and unfolding, paying attention while shifting and sifting through my body, from top to bottom, isolating and caring for specific muscles and joints, stretching them and rotating them until everything felt loosened and lubricated.

I thought a thousand different thoughts while I was moving to that song.

I heard the kettle heating up.

Penelope barked.

I saw water turn on in the side hayfield and I watched farm boy head down the driveway, his morning irrigation duties attended to.

I recalled my time with my grandmother in Saskatoon, how I took coffee over to her place and as I sat down in her living room I remember distinctly thinking, “I will sit on the loveseat because the sofa is Grandpa’s spot.”  Even though he is gone, I wanted to leave space for him in the room.  The whole time I talked with grandma, I was aware of his absence.  If he had been there with his twinkling blue eyes and his funny laugh I’d have asked for a couple of good stories about the olden days and draft horses and thunderstorms and heavy machinery accidents…like I always used to.

Where did he go, anyway?  Where does everything go?  What were these aching cells of mine before they became me?

The sun suddenly hit the canyon wall and the world turned gold and the palest blue, like faded robin eggshells.  Rose sang out, “Let the light come in…embrace it…” and I reached out wide once more, opening to the morning, to the new day, to a blank page, to possibility, to daydreams.

The kettle whistled.

I began again.


  1. such beauty indeed, this post.
    you fed my spirit much food for thought.

  2. J~flower…..he’s with you, ya just gotta look for where he is now, instead of where you remember him being. When my dad went on, I found him in all new places, found him with me everywhere; when I’d think “I can never feels his arms around me again” I felt empty and immeasurably sad. I learned to focus on presence instead of absence. I love my dad. He drank a lot, all my life. Where he is now allows us to share love unobstructed, the way I’d always wished it could be.** Girl, Woman, I love your bonfire bravery, I love the totality of your beingness. I adore you. Hoping I don’t come across as preachcy, just had to add my 2 cents to something that stirs me from the soul-out, every moment of every day. I love the way we are. XOOXOXOX Beauty unfolding.

    • I hear you, sister. The truth is, he is all around our farm. The farm girl in me is tied directly to him. And I’m thankful I see him here, every day.

      You are so beautiful to me.


  3. Amy Higgins STambaugh says:

    Good, good words. I love that you share them. xo

  4. I have just arrived home after a 13hr drive from Tucson, where I have spent the last two weeks, helping my father shed his earthly body for a heavenly one. He completed his task last Monday evening. Some of the last words I said as he made his way home were, I would look for him in the hawks flying in the sky, the deer in the wild open spaces, and when I see the snow topped mountains come fall and winter. He was an avid outdoorsman and grand champion shooter. Oh how I will miss him. On my way home today, until dusk made it impossible to see, I watched hawks fly above me all along the way home. I saw antelope and deer grazing amongst the cows in various places. It was bittersweet and wonderful.

    Jillian, your new ring design with the deer/elk is perfect timing. I hope to acquire one when you release some, as a memento and totem to my dad. Perfect timing.

  5. Eloquence embodied.

  6. Thank you for sharing so much beauty and depth. From the questions that stir deep within us to the curiosity and care we often forget to give to our physical selves, your words reach so many places with eloquence and grace.

  7. Pure love.

  8. Today I read this, but the day you posted it was my birthday. It reminds me of my grandparents, who were my biggest fan and I was theirs. I miss them everyday – but they are with me in the way I raise my kids, to the days on the beach when I remember simpler times. Thank you for sharing. Love to you.

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