There are places where I have felt at the time this is sacred space ~ at home on the riverbanks of the Thames, on the front porch of that home in Dodge, and around the century old oak dining room table that sits in that house; I have shared sacred space. Here now at this Cottage, actually the whole lake, is sacred space to myself and many who live and play here. All of those, and more, are special in a home spun way. Yet there are certain places that have a Divinity outside of what you have given it. Places where you go for solace. For Renewal.
Guest House on the Mount in London, Ontario is such a place.
September 13th, 2011
The journey continues…off to London for Tim’s first appt. with Dr. McAlister on Wednesday. Hopefully he’ll be able to give us some answers. I fear though he may promise as many more questions as he will answer.
I woke up early this Morn. 4AM UGH!. However its given me time to wake-up and work into the day. What this day will hold – God alone knows.
When Tim last year spent 3 weeks in University Hospital before and after his surgery, The Mount across the road was a blessing. We had initially gone down for only an appointment. The Whipple Operation that was going to remove his tumour was being preformed by Dr. McAlister (from Limerick, Ireland BTW) on September 21st. He got one look at him lying there withering thin, and admitted him. Tim had to gain at least, oh, I don’t know, maybe 10 pounds before the surgery. So with nothing more than the cloths on our back, and what cloths I had (fortuitously) shoved into a backpack, we lumbered upon the first leg of the 11 month journey with Tim’s Pancreatic Cancer.
We had really nothing at the time. No money to speak of, I had nowhere to stay, at least not anywhere close. Tim couldn’t work in construction anymore because of his pain, so we had to apply for assistance. He was now on special medical benefits through Ontario Works, but you can’t pay for hotels with that pittance. So far ODSP had rejected his application because he wasn’t sick enough. Rock, meet hard place.
I had been staying at my sisters in Dodge since we’d arrived in London, but that had become difficult as I was a 25 minute drive from the Hospital with no access to a car. Well, plus I can’t drive one anyways, never learned how. So after 2 sleepless nights at the hospital, we begged, borrowed and pleaded and scrounge up enough for me to stay 2 nights in a row at The Mount. It is a “Boutique Hotel” – which means it has a mix of B&B cozy style, with shared kitchen/dining space at Youth Hostel prices. The place received a mix of guests from families with loved ones at the Hospital, to University Students from all over the world taking courses at the University of Western Ontario…all it seemed Skyping home.
It has walls thick as a castle. It has this “institutional”-esque style that is at once both unnerving and comforting. The rooms consisted of 1 or 2 beds, some had attached 2 piece baths, some did not. Showers were in a separate area; they were private and clean. Ahhhh, and the bed. The bed was like a cocoon. The beds where narrow, but the linens were soft and fresh and the Duvet lush and cozy.
The Mount had once been a Nunnery. Somehow you could almost feel the sense of calm grace it must have once experienced. Outside, oh the grounds of the Mount are breath-taking. The Grotto in the photo has rocks from all the other Grottoes around the world. It is a lovely place to sit and feel small, but blessed. The giant oak to the left I think might be over 300, perhaps 400 years old. The tree is HUGE. The area that surrounds The Mount is lush with some rare Carolinian Zone trees as well as foreign. They promote London as “The Forest City”, all around this area of north London you can see why. Beautiful dirt paths wind along the banks of the Thames River that runs through the University grounds, past the Hospital. I had a spot on the banks where I had lunch, by myself, once in a while. I would sit on this huge rock lodged on the banks, as the river rippled past 8 inches away. I would wash the tears from my face with those waters on many an afternoon in the sunshine. That same river runs past my home in Dodge. It was a difficult time. I hardly ate, I slept in a big chair in Tim’s room when I couldn’t afford the Mount. Towards the last week one of the Nurses took one look at me and asked when was the last time I’d had a shower? LOL….I almost started weeping right in front of her. I wanted to kneel and hug her legs like a child.
I will never forget The Mount. I will never forgot the people. It was Temenos.