This past Saturday I decided it would be fun to go hiking in the Scarborough Bluffs and invited my ex-girlfriend Lorraine to come along. I thought it would be a lovely  Dr. Zhivago – esque idea to walk in the bluffs in the midst of a very cold Toronto winter . I do not own a horse, so I brought along my trusty circus puppy Lucille, who though not a horse, would more than suffice.  I put on my warmest jacket and my faux fur hat,  gathered everyone into my battered Mazda and proceeded to drive to our destination.

At first it was lovely, in a freezing fresh air kind of way,  but after the first few moments of  bliss the minus twenty temperature started to turn my warm titties into tit-cicles.

Really? What was I thinking?  I am not a Russian princess but a neurotic, over fifty Jewish American Princess! Oy Vey!  However; intrepid is my middle name, so even though it did not seem to be the most brilliant idea I have ever had, we three soldiered on. Again, at this almost frozen moment in time , a  healthier person would have turned back and called it a day, but not me!! Oh no! We drove all the way there dammit; and we are going to have fun!

Twenty minutes into our hike, we came upon a steep incline. Lorraine climbed down first,  Lucille went next, then it was my turn. Yikes ! This mountain is too steep for me to climb without dyke assistance!  I focused all my energy on Lorraine’s back , silently willing her to turn around and say “Hey, Katharine need some help?” For of course, I needed help. I have bad knees and bad balance and a broken motherless heart, so I silently screamed –


Lorraine did not turn around.

This wasn’t my first time on this particular merry go round, and more than likely, it wouldn’t be my last. Memories flashed through my mind –  five year old me, on a rare outing with my mother to Eaton’s department store,  begging Mother to hold my hand, Mother refusing, telling me that I’m a big girl now, big girls don’t need to hold their mother’s hand. Ten year old me, asking my father the engineer  to help me put together my bicycle, and Dad refusing, telling me he couldn’t figure out the diagram. Really Daddy? You are an engineer! You can do it!  Instead of looking at the building instructions together, he chose to walk away, leaving me with an unassembled bike and a broken heart.

So when Lorraine did not turn around, it was a familial sensation. The shock and the pain  brought me to a very young and wounded place, and out of that place, I did something extremely foolish. Instead of asking for her assistance,  I proceeded down the very steep incline by myself ,somehow tripping on an unseen branch, injuring my already bruised left knee.

And if it would have ended there, it would just have been another in the series of shame blame Saturdays; but on this particular Saturday,  as I lay in a tangled heap on the very cold sand, a miracle happened.


I forgave myself for not being able to ask Lorraine to turn around and help me. I forgave myself for not being able to hike down the steep incline without falling. I forgave Lorraine for not having a mother who encouraged connection and reaching out to others, literally and figuratively . I put into practice what my amazing therapist, the wonderful Jodee has been encouraging me to do,  engage the wounded little five year old  that still lives inside of me.

 I took my little five year old’s hand, and said to her “It’s okay baby, everyone here is doing the best they can. You are safe, I am here for you, and you are not alone anymore”.  I then felt a surge of love and forgiveness fill my body, and silently thanked Lorraine, who had given me this opportunity to practice the practice of forgiving myself.



“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that crushed it.”

Mark Twain