Margaret Stawicki
Visual Artist

Blog

(posted on 24 Jan 2021)

When I think about my life, I see myself running a lot. Not when we were in Poland, not when we were in West Germany, but I started to run when we came to Canada in 1982. Running from parking lot to the Go train, from the Union Station to the office. Good that it wasn’t too far, just to 56 The Esplanade Street. And then the same the other way, from an office to the station, from the station to my car. Then, driving children to activities; swimming, tennis, jazz, you name it. Driving for groceries, and then again running from my car to the store. If shopping bags weren’t too heavy, running back from the store to my car. I wonder how many thousands of kilometers I ren during the years between 1982  and2020. Probably a lot.

Later when kids were older, we had our small publishing business, the story was the same. Never enough time to walk slowly. The only time I relax was about 2 am, when I finished my work, I set on the doorstep and smoke one cigarette. Everything around was so peaceful, no cars, no people, just me, empty street and my smelly cigarette. But somehow it relaxed me. Everyone who has its own business knows the problem. 

Then, we had to place my beloved father, who got Alzheimer’s, in the nursing home. Since my father haven’t spoken English, we choose Polish home, Copernicus, in Toronto  on Roncesvalles Ave. After each visit, I was heaving another cigarette, jus to knock me down. It was so difficult for me to accept that he was in the nursing home, not at home with us. Although I was waiting with the decision of placement him there, until he taught that he was on some kid of vacation, in the hotel, it was still difficult to accept him being there.

Then, years later, my mom, with advanced dementia and after breaking her hip, had to be place in the nursing home as well. This time she was in Mississauga, 15-20 min away.
Again, running, cooking her favorite breakfast, be there to help her dress, eat, take her for a short walk. We want her to feel as she was still with us, not in different place, place I call "the place with no return". In her last years, when her health deteriorated, she needed more help from personal, professional workers than from me.

 

In January of 2020, we celebrated my mom’s 101 birthdays. Her body was tired, she was tired. My
mom passed away on February 9th. And this was the day I stopped running. I didn’t have to cook breakfast for my mom, could sit at home slowly drinking my morning tea, read a newspaper and do my favorite sudoku still having my house coat on. 

And ofcouse we all be remembering Year 2020 as a year that  slowed everything down. Year of  isolation, living inside our own bubble  avoiding contact with children, family and other people. Everything changed. Life stopped, giving us time to reflex, to look into our own being, our insights and time to really appreciate small things we used to take for granted.

 

Do I miss running? I don’t think so. If I would be much younger, then maybe. But in my age, I appreciate a bit of laziness, just doing nothing. Sometimes watching movies on Netflix, news on TV,  all Raptors games.

Now I can practice Yoga in the morning,  have a lazy breakfast, drive to the studio as often as I feel like,  have my morning tea there and start to paint.  I think being lazy in matured years it is not such a bad thing.

These are my lovely parents. Without their tremendous help, we would be where we are now.