Category Archives: Kathy Briant

Book: No endings, Life: Who’s training who? Grief: something small

BOOK: see for some more writing samples

Endings are hard when the characters won’t tell you where they are going. They can wander only so far when you realize they are headed for some sort of destination, but they won’t indicate where exactly where. So frustrating. I have to keep on writing to see where they will go. The waiting is annoying – so where are you folks going anyway? Want to let me in on the secret. What’s that you say? Not yet? Sheesh

LIFE:  Who is training who?

I have a small dog, Sophie who loves to beg for treats. I know you are not supposed to give your dog human food, but hey, she lives with two boring, older people who are not exactly exciting to live with, and she won’t learn to chase a ball, so small little things to brighten her day are good, I think.

However, she now barks at us to feed her so then we have to ignore her. I know she is trying to train us, but I thought we were supposed to train her. She also has a habit of leaning her head in the crook of my arm as I eat in front of the TV on the couch. With mom, she leans her head on the foot of her crossed leg, looking imploringly at her, hoping for some manna to drop from the heavens. She may be getting out of control…

Sophie on Moms footSophie on mom’s foot.

GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief,

The idea behind the statement…

24. Wear or keep near you something small they owned.

It’s nice to have some comfort somewhere, something you can rub or stroke that reminds you of them. I had Shannon’s small diamond pendant, which I put on and wore for about two weeks at first, day and night. It was just a small thing, a little necklace. I am not really one to wear necklaces for anything except for going out, but this little thing I had on from sunrise to sunset and I remember waking in the night and putting my hand on it. It was very comforting and it felt like a little piece of her around me.

If you have something small you can keep it in your pocket. If a necklace or a ring are not something you have, then a small rock from a place you visited, a coin, a cuff link a little decoration they had or even a shoelace or string from their clothing can do.

I found it very nice, like a soft warm blanket wrapped around you – something from my Shannon.


Bison, Fussy Kids – Full Moon, Where we go when we die

BOOK: see for some more writing samples

Resubmission off to publisher, fingers crossed.

I am working on a boy who likes bad/knock knock, etc. jokes. Here’s one I am considering (in its original form).


LIFE: Wacky Tuesday

I went shopping Tuesday to Stupidstore. I noticed some poor dad trying to shop while holding his fussing little son and felt sorry for him. Up a few aisles and there was a mom holding a tiny newborn who was fussing. A few aisles more and another mom holding a crying baby. And another one a few aisles from that. Every parent in the store with an under-two-year-old I saw had a fussy child on their hands. What was with all the disgruntled children? Full moon or something – very strange.

GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief

The idea behind the statement…

23. Know the person is in a better place where there is no pain and suffering and where there is lots of joy and love. There is no hell. Hell is here and just in people’s minds.

Grief is bad enough, much less having the worry of where the person went. I believe we just go Home, to the place we came from before we decided to come here. This is our classroom where we learn lessons and go home with what we have learned for the development of the soul. You may have another belief, but God or whomever is loving. Punishment doesn’t happen, atonement maybe, but no one is burning in hell unless they feel undeserving and put themselves there because they can’t forgive themselves perhaps for what they did when alive. I believe someone always comes to talk to them until they are done with punishing themselves and are ready to move on and then they are taken to the place of unconditional love and acceptance. Everyone is loved. They do a few things concerning their lessons and resolve issues, learn from that, reacquaint themselves with their natural home and move on. Love and joy are there for them, plus people who have gone before come to see them. It’s a wonderful place, I believe, no matter if you are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or any other religion, or of no particular religion. It’s all good.

Another chance; privatizing, counsellors are good

BOOK: see for some more writing samples

I heard the publisher who is interested in my book misplaced my first three chapters, so hurrah, I get to resubmit and the chapters are so much better now… blessing in disguise.

LIFE: Privatizing is BAD in Alberta

I have a few caregivers come in for a few hours weekly to allow me to go for groceries, etc. a service which is provided by the Province but they have privatized it all. Revera – a multi-national company from the States has the contract. Boy what a change.  They pay poorly and bully their mostly immigrant employees.  Also they have some bad caregivers – sleeping, talking on the phone, not showing up or showing up late and leaving early, one wouldn’t speak to my mom, until finally a few years in we have good caregivers.

However, they were pulled, etc. and we never knew who was coming. I kicked up a fuss as I am wont to do when it comes to my mom’s care especially when they seem to have only a passing acquaintance with the truth and Tara from Revera wished me a good day and hung up. So I continued and now she is my contact if any other problems occur. Oh joy. Home Care who awards the contracts says they are not aware of any problems so I queried about how much they awareness they might have in general. Anyway, problem solved for now, but next time Calgary Herald newspaper, here I come! It‘s quite a load, but nothing like this person below from Buffalo – I am guilty of this as well, but never quite that much snow… I foresee when the brakes are applied, it will be difficult.


GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief,

The idea behind the statement…

22.  Go for help/counselling if you think it will be of assistance.

Grief counsellors are few and far between, so your average counsellor just will not do. They don’t know how to counsel for grief. If you are feeling bad and especially if others tell you that they don’t recognize you any more, (like my brother told me) head out for help. All they are is paid “friends” and they have heard it all. It’s a long, arduous process and exhausting so call in the troops if you can.


Dragons, Old Farts and Grief


BOOK: see for some more of my writing

I was trying to figure out the chemical composition of dragon’s breath (yeah I know it doesn’t come instantly to mind, does it). I think maybe sulphur?

LIFE: Old Fart, c’est moi

I am usually home with my 91 year old mom most days. I went to get bloodwork done on Wednesday. Sitting in the waiting room I noticed a little black girl with a wonderful hairdo that her mother obviously spent some time doing. I wanted to compliment the mom on her beautiful child, and then I thought, – what are you doing? Are you becoming like those old people you see who are so charming and talkative, likely because they haven’t been out of the house for some time and are thrilled to see people? They engage in conversation and talk to everyone. Kinda pathetic and I am way too young to do that. So I didn’t say anything. Held myself back.

Then I went in to give blood and there were some adorable bunnies on the Tech’s calendar and before you know it, I commented on the bunnies, asked too many questions about how they find a vein on an addict and mentioned the weather. I was kinda glad to get out of the house and was thrilled to see people…

Too late, I am one of those old Farts and that mom would have been happy to receive the compliment I’m sure. Maybe next time.

Link for oldie behavior much worse than I am

GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief,

The idea behind the statement…

21. It is what it is.

Grief is very hard to go through and one real truth is that it is what it is. You can’t decide to feel differently, you feel what you feel and for as long as you feel it. You can’t do much but accept that you are going through an awful time and try to look after yourself and be patient.

Grief is not necessarily the same for others, so you have to be patient and non-judgmental with others. If you or someone else grieving do something weird, likely that is normal as well.


Bad guys, Tree Reveal and Tsunami grief


Looking for the bad guys can be fun. There seem to be more good guys than bad and some of the bad are not so bad, so I search until I find something very dark. Fun.

LIFE: Spring: The Tree Reveal

I was raised in Winnipeg where huge snow dumps are normal. I have been watching all the poor cities in Canada and in the U.S. where huge snow dumps have occurred this winter. It brought me back to Winnipeg. Spring: I remember the snow melting and the drifts disappearing and my surprise at seeing trees that had disappeared. I didn’t remember there was a tree there – or there – or there.. .so Spring was not tulips or daffodils for me, it was the tree reveal.

Drift 2014 in WinnipegDrift, 2014 – Wpg

GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief,

The idea behind the statement…

20. Allow for the Tsunami days as well as days of smaller breaking waves of grief. Up and down is what happens.

Grief is very hard to go through and one of the most upsetting features is that a person can’t predict how they will be. At first it was shocking how much I felt out of control. It was so up and down initially, so unpredictable that I felt overwhelmed. I would burst out in tears and feel unbearable pain, the grief ripping me up and down and there seemed to be nothing I could do about it. Then it would settle, then come again, like waves, some very strong, some milder.

Later, I would have a few bad days, then a few good ones, then after the first year, more good than bad and then wham, a terrible day or two when I thought I couldn’t stand it. It felt like the first day, like something had hit me hard and spun me around. I am in year 6 now and I get moments like this, not days any more, but moments and then I had just better settle down and let it pass over me. It’s like a Tsunami and how much can those be predicted and how can a person control that? You can’t. Just wait for it to pass because it will. You will feel terrible, then better, then terrible, then less terrible, then better, then terrible again, just like waves, up and down. Hang on and wait for the seas to settle again.

Book: waiting, waiting, Life: Cheese with that Whine, Grief: Reason to Live

BOOK: Just how long can a publisher hang on to your book without letting you know if they want to publish it? I guess a long wait is not promising, eh?

LIFE: Cheese with that Whine?

Mom and I have hurts and aches and were complaining. One of us noticed that we were doing that all the time, which made it endless whining.

My thought was that we were allowed to complain on the hour. I would take even numbers and she would take odd. Since it was just after 12 noon I was to go first. “You mean I have to wait an hour?” she whined. So much for that plan.

Cow Horse

Remember, no matter how bad your day is going, at least you’re not stuck in a fence being laughed at by a cow.

GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief,

The idea behind the statement…

19. Find someone/something to give you are reason to – live.

For me this was my grandchildren. I would be all depressed and gloomy and suffering and then I went to visit them for the day. I played like small children, enjoyed their joy of life and the funny way they do things, read books, played board games or just played Lego. By the end of the day, I had a good recharge of happy and it helped me through the dark days.

For some time, they were the only brightness in my life and thank goodness for them.

You may have a hobby, do good works, run, garden, etc. Anything that takes you out of yourself and is enjoyable is well worth doing. It’s like breathing fresh, clean air when you come out of a dark cave.

Book: Spelling, Life: Holes and humps, Grief: flowers


Remembering the names of characters in a fantasy is quite something. With all those imaginary names, spelling consistently can be a challenge, was that one e or two, y or i?

LIFE: Holes and Humps

Driving today was a challenge – dodging holes the size of babies and going up and down like a rollercoaster from all the frost heaves. We had a melt so all the deep potholes were deceiving. It pays to drive away from the edges, but sometimes hard to do.

My car is white with salt. Who thought salt on the roads was a good idea?

Driving in Calgary is exciting this time of year!

GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief,

The idea behind the statement…

18. Plant bulbs from the flowers you were given.

I got a lot of tulips and daffodils from my daughter Shannon’s funeral in January and took all the flowers home. They filled the house. I love flowers. After they were finished, I saved the bulbs and planted them in the spring.

Now each year when spring comes, I see them blooming. It reminds me that even though winter is the small death, spring brings life again with it and reminds me of Shannon. Nothing nicer than those early spring blooms that promise summer is to come.

Daffodil that bloomed in December one year
Daffodil that bloomed in December one year  

Another Shannon Anniversary

Today is the 6th anniversary of my daughter Shannon’s death. I remember the good things now, not so much the events around her suicide. Monday, was curiously, Blue Monday according to Canadian Mental Health Assoc. one of the worst days for people with depression and oddly Martin Luther King Jr’s day in the U.S. A. Strange company she has. I burned a candle in front of her picture as I usually do, talked to her a little and felt her around me, always a peaceful, loving presence. Take care, my Shannon.

Shannon MorganShannon, 1975-2009

Where’s Waldo? Darn editing and Grief, pls cry

BOOK: Constant editing is constantly annoying. I like the creative part, the finding and understanding characters.

LIFE: Where’s Waldo?

Mom loves movies so now and again, we go. Not as often as we used to, but during the Holidays we managed two.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, was good, not as good as the first two, but ok. Mom goes ahead since she doesn’t want to expend her limited energy waiting in line and they know her so she can go straight to the theatre. I got tickets, went in and no mom in the theatre. Drat, she went to the wrong theatre, but she was just next door, so not too bad.

The next movie: The Hobbit, too much fighting, but it was the battle of the five armies, so what can you say? I said to mom, having learned from The Hunger Games, “Check which theatre the 12:15 is in.” She said ok, but often says that when she doesn’t hear, just because. I bought tickets and said to the kid at the entrance, “So did you see an older woman with a walker?” Yes. “And did you tell her which theatre to go to?” Long pause, yes. I didn’t believe him. I came in, no mom. So I started looking. I checked and checked and was almost going to get that lying kid in the front. Five theatres later, I found her. Mom, I said a little irritated, “You’re in the wrong theatre.” She said, “Well tell the world why don’t you”. I said, “There’s no one here yet but you and me.” She indicated behind the wall where I couldn’t see. Oops.

In the correct theatre finally, I had to boot two reluctant people out of handicapped seating because we were a little delayed. I asked her if she checked for the correct theatre as I suggested. She said, “I suppose it’s way in the back?” And the kid indicated it was right in the back, so no one did their job. Should have gone to get the lying kid.

Vi – …There she is!

GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief,

The idea behind the statement…

  1. Don’t try to keep up appearances.

I worked contract in different places, so no one knew. I could pretend everything was normal and did not have to endure that constant pity some have to go through at their workplaces. It can be exhausting, having people treat you differently. However, once I was in the parking lot, it was tear city and I often cried all the way home, like the little piggy in the story. But I was getting my grief out and expressing how I felt. Some days were hard, others were easier.

During the day, I could often feel a buildup, like a damn wanting to burst. I can’t imagine holding back all that feeling every day for any period of time. Weeks, months, years.

If you don’t let it out, you will find yourself overreacting at something small and then bursting out too much and perhaps inappropriately at the wrong time. You trip on the curb and suddenly you burst and wail and wail, startling everyone around you, including yourself.. Or your cat dies and you go to bed for a month – misplaced grief. Or you cut your finger and sob and sob. Or someone cuts you off and you explode with a rage that frightens you. Grief needs to be expressed or it will be like a damn bursting, too much, at the wrong time or in a setting that is inappropriate.

Unexpressed, you will feel the pressure in your chest get worse and stay there until you get an ulcer or develop a heart condition or other physical manifestation of unexpressed grief. Or 10 years later, it still feels like day one. Do yourself a favor and grieve. Don’t worry about keeping up appearances. No one really is concerned if you have to excuse yourself from time to time. Tears are your new friend.

Christmas craziness

BOOK: Waiting for a response from Edge Publishing about my book. Can’t accuse them of being quick.

LIFE: Christmas Craziness

Sophie at Christmas 2014

How did you deal with Christmas? Ok for you? Christmas crazzies?  I had a little craziness as well as a bad cold/flu. Running around entirely too much. I left my wallet at a store and had to go back for it, then a few days later, left the entire thing, my purse, on the ground in the parking lot  at Costco but miraculously it was still there when I returned. The mind, the mind.

However, after that I was putting mom’s laxative powder in her tea and doing my sinus wash with salt powder at the same time, and well, you guessed it, I snorted laxative. Thankfully, (or not) it burns, so I quickly stopped and just as quickly flushed with the salt solution. My, my… My sister asked if it gave me verbal diarrhea, very funny.

GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief,

The idea behind the statement…

16.Let people cook for you. Also 80% of the dirt is on 20% of the surfaces.

When I look back, those casseroles in the freezer and that stuff that was brought around and left over were a boon. I could just snack or reheat and not think about meals, which is a blessing at any time, but especially when grief has you in its shackles. I didn’t want to do anything, much less cook or clean. I was so exhausted, breathing was hard.

I am not much of a housekeeper at the best of times, so keeping the place up was a real burden. Then I remembered the 80/20 principle, if you do the most important things, the rest is not that important and if you apply it to housekeeping, then most of the dirt and clutter are on 20% of the surfaces, so if you do that, you have most of it done. That was very helpful to me.

I am a giver, not a receiver, so letting people help is sometimes hard. I had to remember, let people help you and for heaven’s sake, don’t worry about the dirt.