Had a lobster roll at the Station Cafe in Montague and I am sure it was delicious, but I honestly couldn’t tell you since I couldn’t tell the difference in taste of the lobster, the roll, the lettuce, the dressing, the potato salad, the coleslaw, or the strawberries. Oh well, it’s a good reason to go back another time when I can taste and smell again. Thanks, Blanche Moyaert , for making this weekend memorable and the most fun couple of days I have had in a very long time. I can’t think of a better way to start the second half of this particularly miserable year… So fortunate to have friends like you and Gail MacDonald looking out for me and cheering me up. Not sure what I would do without you or all my other dear friends who check in on me, drag me out, and keep me from drowning myself in misery or work. I would love to name everyone who’s dropped a line or two or more expressing concern, support, and lots of love. Even if I am unable to acknowledge every single message, please know that I truly appreciate you all for the comfort you have given me with your virtual hugs. It will still be a long time before I can truly embrace the truth that the two individuals who were nearest and dearest to me here are gone and I will never see them or hear them again. I am terrified that I might one day be unable to remember their voices, the times we shared together. I grasp at every recollection I have of those times, everything I have that reminds me of them, and waves of grief just wash all over me again… And then it’s like when so much grief and pain slammed me, first, when the one brother I was closest to died just two months shy of his 20th birthday… I never had the luxury of time to mourn his death and I could not speak of how I felt with anyone, then the deaths of two women in my life back in the Philippines who understood me maybe even better than I understood myself and who always stood behind me and beside me through some of the best and worst times in my life. Yet, these two recent losses have affected me so much more, probably because they were the ones who always had my back and were beside me through the best and worst times of my Canadian life. So losing them has left me feeling completely vulnerable and utterly alone. In a way , that became a good thing because life has opened up a new level of friendship that I have always been reluctant to cross. I am slowly learning to accept the fact that I need to learn to trust people more, that I deserve to have wonderful friends with whom I can be myself and know that I can trust them to accept me with no judgment, that not everyone is going to take advantage of my trust, and that it is possible to love despite the sorrow or the hurts or the scars in my heart. This is possibly one of the most difficult lessons I am learning, and there are many I have yet to learn better…to trust completely, to love without fear, to stop judging myself, to know that I am enough, to believe I am loved, to understand that there are people in my life who truly care for me (like my new-found family that found me and embraced me, and adopted me, Miguel James Mccristall and Jenny Luczka and the girls ), to accept help when it is offered, and to ask for help when I need it… And that last one in particular, I am learning better because of Martin who is another person who is not just a colleague, but has become a wonderful friend in our five-odd years of working together. I think COVID has turned my brain to mush, stripped my heart of its defenses, and made me unusually reflective. I wonder if this side-effect has been observed in other cases! I think I have said my piece for now and revealed more than enough to make up for my past reticence and reluctance to bare my soul. Could be an additional effect of watching fireworks up close, more sugar than I have had in the past year, and Cardigan mosquitoes.