Saturday, 25 December 2010
Thursday, 23 December 2010
Friday, 19 November 2010
The last few months have been spent trying to reconnect with myself and those I love and to try and just live simply while savouring all the time I can while I am at home with my kids. I remember a time, months ago, when my kids were goofing around in the crib together and I walked in the room feeling quite good and goofy myself. I started dancing and singing with them and when I turned to look at them, they seemed to be staring at me in awe. Almost like, wow, who is this? Our mom can be fun?
At that moment I remember feeling like crying because it was like I had lost myself for quite some time and my kids obviously hadn't seen it in quite some time either. Who knew the last time I was jumping around feeling silly. I vowed to make my way back to myself that day from all the tragedy, for my sake and my family's.
While I have been continuing to work on this, I also struggle with having to say goodbye to my Auntie Jaquie. Another wonderful person in my life who will be taking a part of me with her. It is so terrible to have to lose such a support and comfort in our world and it also brings back all the emotions and images of saying goodbye and watching my Mom die. It often feels like I am at a breaking point, where those around me are also feeling like bruised souls, hoping we can again feel that lust for life and the vitality. I shouldn't speak for anyone else, but it is how I feel. We will never go back to what once was but the question is, how do we move forward with filled hearts when some days, our hearts are broken and may never be mended?
Last month we celebrated my Dad's and my sister's birthdays and it was like there was a hole in the room where all the energy had been sucked out. What a difference one person makes? My Mom truly lit the room and kept it energised. This is definitely a hard time of year, a time I have been dreading more than any birthday (although I am dreading my birthday) or holiday without my Mom. If you knew her or read her blog, you would know she was a Christmas nut and it has been feeling quite bittersweet when I try and do fun Chrismas type things with my kids or hang ornaments (which have probably all been bought by my Mom over the years) and not to feel quite pissed that now my AJ has been told she has little time with us either. I wish I could make some deal that I may forgo seeing my Mom again, but that my kids could have a special private relationship with her throughout their lives. How amazing that would be for them to know her? How devastating to me that they won't. And now they also won't get to really know their AJ?
Just to give you an example of her lively spirit, in the the past couple of weeks, she had organised a two day marathon of manicures and pedicures at her house for her sisters, sister in law, nieces and granddaughters. She insisted on Christmas shopping all the time. She held a high tea on a burst of energy last night at 2 in the morning and had her sisters and children come over to sit with her while they probably sat around and admired her and her wit. She is loved by all who meet her. Her health care aides who help take care of her are also quite fond of her and and there is no doubt that she has a Christmas present under the tree for each and everyone of them. Why do we have to go on without such another gem in our lives?
All this is possible of course through the amazing strength and love of her children, sisters, brother, sister in law and niece. They have been by her side for the last few months taking care of her and they now alternate two a shift on days and evenings. My Auntie Camille, who lives out of town has not left my Aunt's side in months. She has her health problems herself but she wouldn't consider not being there for her sister. It really is truly remarkable to see such strength and complete love from everyone. It definitely fills the room just like my Auntie Jacquie has filled us with all the love her heart could hold.
Anyway, I told my Aunt that I would post this a month ago, and I did start, but I never finished as I have never felt more spent in my entire life. I think of writing almost every night but either my heart isn't in it or I am completely exhausted. But my aunt is nearing the end and I would feel terrible if I didn't put this question out there, and that is if anyone out there has had any near death experiences? My aunt was quite afraid and anxious of dying and leaving all those she so dearly loves here. We thought that perhaps some stories of encouters with death may provide some comfort from anyone who has felt for a moment in time, some connection to the other side. So, I ask again, has anyone seen the light?
Thursday, 9 September 2010
Thursday, 26 August 2010
Monday, 12 July 2010
Today is Little Lover's (otherwise known as Mr. Mischief or Domenicky) birthday. He turned one years old today. Woohoo! He is amazing and he is more like his Grandma than I thought he would be. She would be nibbling on his toes and kissing him all over if she could and I bet she would be telling us how much he looks like her.
It is also my Auntie Jacquie's birthday today. I hope it was as good as it could be without her son, mother and sister there to give her lots of hugs and kisses. She is also truly amazing. I don't know if I will ever again see such strength, love and determination from one individual. You are unbelievable A. J. and we love you to the moon and back.
Monday, 5 July 2010
Here is a picture of my parents at their wedding social. Today would have marked their 35th wedding anniversary. I have been slightly dreading this day and I wasn't really sure how hard it would be on my Dad. I asked him a few days ago what he was going to do and he said he was going to go to his 'Dearest's' graveside.
After all the lead up of anticipation, I completely forgot about it. I blame it on the fact that I haven't looked at a calendar in a while but I feel terrible that I didn't call my Dad sooner. I called around 9:30 pm. and Nathan said he was sleeping on the couch. He had made his special fried chicken (my Mom's favourite) and Nathan had bought a cake for the two of them (without even knowing it was their anniversary...I assume my Dad didn't want to make it a big deal). But it is, and I hope his day was ok. I still feel terrible and I can't help but think that if my Mom was alive and he was sleeping on the couch on their anniversary it wouldn't have been such a big deal. Now, it's different.
I have attached a link of the post that my Mom had written about her wedding day. I hope you are all doing wonderful.
Much love and thanks,
Tuesday, 1 June 2010
I don't want to dwell on the fact that my Mom is not here for Josephine's birthday but I am still at that point where life has been passing me like that of the lone traveller. I am doing the best to enjoy myself and my family but there is nothing that compared to sharing it with my Mom. She was the life of the party and her energy was so great. I could just imagine her enthusiasm tonight. She had already ordered Josephine's birthday present months ago and had bought some fairy games to play at her party. I am trying to bring myself to taking them out when she has her little cousins over to celebrate in a couple of weeks.
Happy Birthday Josephine. What an honour it is to be your Mom.
*Artwork titled 'Forget Me Not' by my Mom's dear friend Bella Sinclair. Everytime I look at this picture I am overjoyed because it is just a perfect representation of my Mom with my kids but is also bittersweet that they won't grow with her and her with them.
Monday, 31 May 2010
Monday, 17 May 2010
I am not sure if my Mom ever talked about her funeral book. I don't think it took her long to do (I am only saying this because I never saw her doing it) but it was real treasure to have when she died. She had shown it to us months before she died. She was really quite excited about it. I read it through and was happy that I had such a creative Mom. We all agreed it would come in handy when she died 40 years later at 90 something (writing that last line makes me jealous that some people could have their mother around for so long, even though I am trying to be grateful that I had her for as long as I did).
The funeral book was like a little scrapbook that she put together. The right sided pages were for all her business matters and requests (like the silly cardboard box she wanted for her cremation and readings she wanted at her funeral). The left sided pages were for all her pictures, quotations about living and dying, scraps of things she has collected over the years...even something I had written at the age of 12 about how wonderful life was. This little book of hers helped us through the first part of losing her, I know my Dad was especially grateful. We could hear her voice and we appreciated that she thought of this and for one last time, she was able to take care of things for us.
One of the readings we decided to add to the funeral was called 'Mayfly Day' by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross. My Mom found this book and fell in love. She bought as many as she could and I took her to several bookstores for her to find some more (we were out of luck). I am lucky to have one of the copies and on the inside cover she quoted, "She makes one last wish...." from the book. I am trying to make myself read this little book and live by it. I am trying to be present in this moment in my life. I am finding it dreadfully hard to make my Mom a memory of mine and move on with my life. It just isn't enough for someone so grand to be simply a memory. But I also know that I will not do her justice or proud if I don't take life by the horns and ride it.
Mayfly Day (by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross)
Here is Mayfly,
It is her first day on earth.
It is also her last.
Mayflies only live for one day.
But is she sad?
Not at all.
She is happy to be alive!
This isn't any old day.
This is the best of days.
She lives for each moment.
She sees the world begin,
She hears the crack of dawn.
And bathes in its golden glow.
A billion buds burst open.
All for her!
She tastes her honey.
Mayfly sees eggs hatch.
Lambs learning to stand.
The business of ants.
The dizziness of children...
The loveliness of things.
She feels the sun's warm hug.
The kiss of summer rain.
The magic of the rainbow.
It is her wedding day.
Trees throw confetti.
There are games on the lawn.
Breezes blow, bells chime.
She dancesto the music of the universe.
Mayfly lays her eggs.
It is a peaceful night.
The best of nights.
She makes one last wish:
'Little ones, may all your tomorrows be as perfect as my yesterday!'
Mayfly watches the moon come up and the stars go out.
And is thankful for her wonderful life.
*This is a picture my uncle just found of my beautiful Mom (on the right) and my beautiful Auntie Jaquie.
Sunday, 9 May 2010
Happy Mother's Day to those of you who are blessed to have children of your own to love, cherish and admire.
Happy Mother's Day to those of you who were blessed to have children of your own to love, cherish and admire. May you take comfort in your memories.
Happy Mother's Day to those of you were blessed to still have your mother with you to love.
Happy Mother's Day to those of you who were blessed with a mother in your life who has loved you and shown you love. May you take comfort in your memories.
* Artwork titled 'Home' by Katie M. Berggren
Thursday, 29 April 2010
Today was Nathan's birthday. His first without his Mom and it was hard for all of us in our own way. Dad and Nadalene went and picked up a cake for Nathan tonight and the three of them came to my house. Josephine was still up so she was quite glad to help her Uncle Nate blow out the four candles we could find and Domenic woke up for the events.
It was harder than I thought it might be. It was hard to not think of our missing link and life of the party. We sat around and had tea and did manage to have a few laughs but I guess it was just hard to not miss our Mom tonight and I know it was another hard night for my Dad. I hope she was there with us. I think I felt her presence. I know I felt it through our love for her transcending to our love for one another.
We are looking forward to tomorrow night. Nathan will be hosting a party for himself. In anticipating the change and loss of his Mom, he will be making changes in being the one throwing the party this time. As such, we move on.
Happy Birthday Nathan! We love you.
Monday, 12 April 2010
The days without my Mom seem to get harder and harder. For a while, it was easier not to think of her as gone, or even not to think of her. She was becoming a figment of my imagination and that was easier to live with. Now, reality continues to sink deeply in my chest, and at times, it steals my breath. At times, I feel like choking. At other times, I feel the bats in my stomach dance. After they are done, the loneliness settles in. It is the loneliness you feel when you are surrounded by people, even those close to you. This must be one of the hardest things, to lose your Mom. To lose one so full of love and hope for us. To lose someone who shares in our life and keeps us together. To lose someone so full of life and magic. We are all so heartbroken. Someone had written to me that the loss of a mother is one of life's greatest sorrows. One of the first we will not be able to share with her.
As I watched my Mom take her last breath, I could feel my spirit jump to my chest to try and get out, to try and stop her from leaving. Then, I felt a coolness rush passed me. I am happy I was there with her but it haunts me still and I am sure it always will. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to bear witness. She was gone and she still looked so beautiful. We were listening to music at the time from my uncle's computer. I remember he had it set to a random order. The song 'I Believe in Angels' by ABBA played three times in the half hour after her death. I tried to take comfort in that perhaps my Mom or my Grandma were trying to reassure us. It was typical of their style.
I thought I would feel my Mom's presence all around me and that I would talk to her and I would be ok. I was simply disillusioned. I felt nothing but the heaviness of her leaving and our loss. The thought of never being able to see her again, talk to her, hold her hand or kiss her cheek is too much for me to wrap my head around and process. We were close and spent much time together. For this, I am so fortunate but I am still greedy and want more. How does one ever get over the loss of a mother? What I wouldn't do to have her back here with us.
My poor Dad is at such a loss without her. He tells us that even though they have been together for 35 years, it was not enough. He tells us that they were just beginning. He would give away all his earthly possesions to have her back. He needs to know that he will be with her again.
Someone asked me if there were any signs that she was around. There are times when it seems Domenic is looking at something that we can not see, times when he is looking at the ceiling with wonder. I always hope that she is there calling to her grandson and making him smile.
We did have one magical moment that I keep re-living and that I would like to share with you. We were finishing supper and Josephine was outside the kitchen window dancing on the deck. She was increasingly becoming excited and laughing in a way that she always reserved for my Mom. She started to yell and laugh at the 'air' with her back to us. Then she looked at us, turned around and slapped her knees and continued to talk to the 'air' with her back to us. She laughed and squealed with delight. She turned to us again, put her face up to the glass real tight (something she's never done or seen us do) and then turned around again and talked and laughed to the 'air' as she would do with her Grandma. This went on for at least another 5 minutes and it was great to see her that way again. It was definitely the Josephine only her Grandma could bring out. A week later, I asked her if she ever sees Grandma. She said, 'I dream to her." Then she said, 'bestest star in the sky' (something I have never said to her...although I wish I did. It sounded like something my Mom would have said). I sure hope she sees her. I can take some comfort in that.
Now that things are settled, we are hoping to go back and enjoy the comments from so many of you that have helped us through this painful experience. Your love and kind words leave us speechless and less alone. We had wanted to ask anyone who had written something about our Mom (Wife, Sister and Friend) on their blogs to send us a link so we may go back and read the posts. Also, some of her blog friends have so kindly set up another blog titled reneesbookoflove.blogspot.com. This blog will be a site for people to leave comments and then the posts will be put into a book. Thank you Laurel and KJ for doing this, it's just incredible. I know this takes time so if you get a chance, it would be so appreciated.
Love to all of you,
*Art work by Faith Evans-Sills
Thursday, 8 April 2010
One of my aunt's suggested I share with you my Mom's eulogy. It is written by her dear friend Heidi, who has written so eloquently about her.
I stand before you today, heartbroken. I am humbled by the great honor bestowed on me by Renee to stand here and talk about the life of my amazing friend, your wife, your mother, your sister, your aunt and your friend.
Renee grew up in a loving home where she was taught how to love unconditionally, and this was how she lived her life.
When Renee was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer, over four years ago, her doctors told her that her life expectancy was not long. Her battle began. And she fought, with courage, with dignity, with strength beyond comprehension. Her battle became our battle. Those first couple of years were devastating, as would be expected. And then in February of 2008, Renee’s blog “Circling My Head” was born. In her first entry, she said, “I have grieved for the life I thought I would have and I have lived in the shadow land. BUT NOW! I have returned and have chosen to be happy, to care and to love. My reasons:
· I have a brilliant husband whom I respect;
· I have two beautiful and amazingly supportive daughters who have become exactly what I wished for;
· I have a wonderful son whose compassion and joyful spirit brings such everyday pleasure into my daily life; and I am so proud of him.
· And then as time passed, she was blessed with two beautiful grandchildren.
“Circling my Head” became a place for Renee to express her thoughts, fears, hopes and feelings, meant to be a legacy for her family. But it flourished and became so much more. Her beautiful writings became a masterpiece - She was an amazing artist.
I will quote Renee many times, because I could never find the words to say things in such an eloquent and profound way.
You and Renee shared a love story that spanned over 35 years. Renee loved and admired you and said you were better than anyone she could have ever hoped for in her dreams. She believed that your kindness, patience, and genuine understanding made her kinder, more patient, and more understanding.
Renee’s love for you grew with each year that passed. Many people go through life and never find that kind of love. You and Renee had it for over 35 years, and although it wasn’t long enough, you were blessed to have had her as your partner. It wasn’t long enough for her either.
Nothing in the world would ever match the love Renee had for her children.
Of Angelique, Renee said
· You are my heart walking outside of my body.
· You are my first experience of endless love
· You taught me more than I could ever have taught you.
· You and Don gave me two of the most incredible human beings ever, sweet Josephine and darling Domenic.
Angelique thank you for the privilege.
Of Nadalene, Renee said:
· Nadelene, you are my awakening.
· I am so proud of your accomplishments and of the woman you have become.
· You are an incredible individual.
· You are married to a wonderful man, Charlton, and I love him so much.
Nadalene, thank you for the privilege.
Of Nathan, she said:
· Nathan, you are my closing act on motherhood.
· I am so proud of you. I love the sound of you being referred to as “Mr. Khan”.
· In her words: “As sure as sunbeams dance in dust filled corners, I know that any child Nathan teaches will be a very lucky child indeed”
· As a man, you are an amazing individual.
Nathan, thank you for the privilege.
Renee was overjoyed with her two grandchildren. She took nothing for granted; she knew how lucky she was to have Josephine and Domenic in her life.
When Josephine, was born, she became Renee’s new lease on life. She was the best medicine. Although she didn’t take the cancer away, she reminded Renee that she was still alive. Renee adored that sweet child and cherished every moment she got to spend with her.
When Domenic was born, Renee said that he was a “gift” to her and she said that she loved him unconditionally and beyond eternity. She said that he gave her more pleasure in one day than she had in years of living.
What a privilege for Renee to have had Josephine and Domenic in her life.
And if Renee didn’t already have so much love in her life, there were all of you, her family.
Renee was the 8th child born on March 28th, 1956 in The Pas, Manitoba to a family which would eventually become 13.
Adorable, with enormous blue eyes, she was nicknamed “Lover” by her dad at a very young age, because he thought her to be a peace maker.
If you asked Renee she would tell you that she was her dad’s favorite, her mom’s favorite and of course she was the favorite of all of her siblings. She often ended that statement by saying “Well, really, who else is there”
The last words Renee’s Dad spoke to her before he passed away: “Lover, I’m glad that I’m dying before you. I will make a place for you and your Mom in Heaven.” And indeed that is exactly what he did. We all know that he had prepared a place for Sheldon when he arrived and so he, along with Sheldon and then Daisy, were there with open arms to welcome Renee into eternal life. We can find some comfort in that.
Renee had an unbelievable relationship with her siblings. And each of you know how much she loved you and how important you were in her life; each in your own unique way.
As I began to write this eulogy, I asked each of Renee’s siblings to provide me with one word that they felt best described Renee. This turned out to be an almost impossible task, because how do you pick one word to describe someone so real, wise, devoted, intellectual, assured, kind hearted, charismatic, passionate, spiritual, determined, unforgettable, magical, hilariously funny, an all around beautiful person.
Renee shared a particularly strong bond with her sister Jacquie. Of Jacquie, she said “we have lived and loved and grown attached to each other for over 53 years. We are such an intimate part of each other. Sheldon will be very pleased to have his Auntie Renee parked on that bench beside him and his grandparents in heaven. Jacquie, you and Renee are still and will be forever “Together Strong”.
And then there were her friendships. Renee was one of the most loyal people I have ever met. Since we became friends in elementary school, our friendship has been unwavering. Renee always made me feel like I was part of her family as did the entire Ste. Marie clan. She was a wonderful listener and was always so interested in what was going on in my life. She was my biggest cheerleader. We shared so many experiences together throughout our childhood, adolescence, and adult life. We survived those wild and crazy teen years, were young mothers at the same time, we became neighbors, our kids played together. And here it is, 43 years later.
One of the things I enjoyed most about Renee was her sense of humor. When Nadalene was getting married, Renee planned to wear a wig for the occasion. I believe it was the first time she ever wore a wig since losing her hair. As part of the wedding ceremony, Renee and Charlton’s mom were to light candles at the alter. Renee and I had many discussions about this. She confided in me that she was terrified her head would catch on fire when lighting her candle. So she assigned me a very import role in the ceremony. When her head caught on fire, it was my job to run up to the alter, rip the wig of her head and extinguish the fire. We had many good laughs while we plotted our strategy. Thankfully, my services weren’t required.
Renee, thank you for the privilege.
One of Renee’s favorite pastimes was reading, of course always accompanied by a good cup of tea. Over the years, she read thousands of books. And through that, her wisdom grew to amazing heights.
Her blog became a passion for her and her world grew enormously. Renee created a beautiful piece of art, having found the perfect venue to share her innermost self. One comment that I found to be such a beautiful description of Renee’s writing abilities came from someone who said, “Sweet Renee - how you takes pieces of your soul and arrange them all together to pierce through directly to our hearts, is beyond me.”
During the two year span that Renee blogged, she posted over 600 times. And she had followers. And the followers. Grew and grew. Her site was viewed over 21,000 times and the feedback she received grew, initially a few a day to the entry on March 9th, when Angelique wrote about her Mom’s passing. More than 200 replies were received. Replies from around the world, from people who had never met her, yet knew her intimately and loved her.
Renee helped many other cancer patients to understand the disease. She made it real while at the same time making it more bearable. for them. She lost many “new friends” over the last four years to cancer, and each one devastated her.
Isn’t it amazing how that little blue eyed girl born in The Pas, changed this world in such a remarkable way. The beauty that was Renee will transcend forever.
The birds have stopped circling renee’s head
They have been replaced by white doves of peace
Blue skies ahead
And not a bat in sight
Renee believed in life everafter
World without end
Rest in Peace Renee
It has truly been our privilege.
Sunday, 28 March 2010
In February, 2010, Renee asked me to write her a birthday blog. I feel very honoured to have the privilege.
Sunday, 14 March 2010
Renée Khan (née Ste. Marie)
(March 28, 1956-March 9, 2010)
It is with deep sadness that we who loved her most announce the passing of my wife and our mother.
Renée is survived by her dearest husband and companion of 35 years Nizam Khan; her much loved and adored children Angélique St-Hilaire (Don); Nadalene Cooper (Charlton); Nathan Khan and her joy-filled grandchildren Joséphine and Domenic St-Hilaire. She also leaves to mourn her siblings, nieces and nephews.
Renée’s life work was her children. She often said she loved no one more than them. Renée raised her children in a loving and happy home. Renée encouraged her children to share their lives with her and she listened with devotion.
Renée loved her dearest husband, her children and grandchildren, family and friends, Christmas, reading books, drinking tea, watching blizzards, smelling flowers, writing her blog, listening to music, catching fairies, and admiring the sky.
Renée’s strong faith gave her strength. She gave all she could and more.
We would like to thank all of the angels who have helped my wife and our mother. A special thanks to Dr. Grenier and to the group of women who have travelled this difficult path with her. We would also like to thank her dear siblings and sister in-law for their love, support and care for her and us throughout her journey and her last days. Finally, we would like to thank the staff at St. Boniface Hospital (6E) for their care.
Farewell Dear Hearts
Wahid, Angélique, Nadalene, Nathan
I love you my family and even though I have passed I am taking a piece of you all with me because I can’t bear to be without you, even at the last. Love one another for my sake and even in the tough times be there for each other. And you will see me in each other’s faces and hear me in each other’s words. You have made all of this worth it for me.
Love Mom xoxo
“There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go.”
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Our 'Dearest', our 'Pudd', our beautiful Mom, 'Gaga', Grandma, Sister, Auntie and Friend will be so deeply missed.
We are terribly heartbroken Mom.
We will continue to look for you and find you in the beauty all around us and within.
May your journey be safe and may you find peace.
Till we meet again on the day beyond days.
Goodnight, God bless you Mom.
Thursday, 4 March 2010
Friday, 19 February 2010
It has been two weeks and one day since Josephine has last seen her Grandma and it feels like an eternity. She, who has been so lucky to have spent so much of her two and a half years with Grandma, may not see her again and that just makes me feel so heartbroken. Josephine is addicted to her Grandma and her Grandma is addicted to her. Even in her drug induced states, my Mom has been speaking about her Josephine, who I am proud to say, has a spirit as strong as her Grandma’s.
It feels like it’s been forever since I sent the update but it has just been one long roller coaster of a week. Considering all the love and prayers that you have all been sending, I am surprised that my Mom isn’t cancer free right now. I have to thank you all for your support and comments. They have been truly uplifting for our family in such a horrible time. Unfortunately, things are not going so well for my lovely Mom. It is now the beginning of the end for her.
It turns out that the cancer has spread to the stomach, the lining, and the bone marrow. All of which have been causing much pain. I only just saw my Mom with relief on Wednesday. It was wonderful to have my Mom back, even if for only 20 minutes. The doctors have not given us much for prognosis and no amount of time will ever be enough. All of a sudden, things seem to be happening so fast.
We are lucky to have such a wonderful family to help us get through this. Despite all that has been happening over the past 6 months, we couldn’t ask for more support and love. My Auntie Mickey and Colette have been around to spend days and evenings with my Mom. My Auntie Jacquie and Auntie Camille are doing everything they can to come down at every opportunity, as well as my Auntie Shelly. I have had my cousins Taylor, Chrissy, and Natalie, as well as my Auntie Jeannine come to watch the kids for me so I can also spend time with my Mom during the day. We are so grateful for their love and support, as well as others that I have not mentioned.
Even though I knew Josephine and Domenic wouldn’t have this amazing person in their lives for very long, I couldn’t help but feel that just maybe, she might make it for another 20 years. She wasn't a Grandma long but you couldn’t imagine a better Grandma. As my Mom would say, she learnt from the best.
She is such an amazing mother. We are so heartbroken as we watch someone we love suffer so much yet persevere. I understand that this is how life goes but it still feels unfair. I know how lucky I have been to have had such a beautiful person so close to me in my life but I still demand a recount. I still need my Mom for another 54 years. She is my first home, my biggest cheerleader and my first and greatest true love.
Friday, 12 February 2010
She had a biopsy (the beginning of December) to find out what was going on and she did not receive her final results till Feb. 4….that being that the cancer cells in her stomach cannot be identified. The results are inconclusive because the cells resemble stem cells rather than tissue cells. The doctors have told her that they would treat it as a breast cancer (even though it is extremely rare for breast cancer to spread to the stomach) as they believe they are 90% sure that is what it is. At her appointment, they told her that she would start combination chemotherapy today. She heard these results on the day my Grandma died. I had no way of telling her that her mother had died as she spent the day at the doctor’s. Unfortunately, she was there so long and in so much pain; she was unable to visit her Mom one last time.
My Mom continued to suffer in her pain as she had for the last couple of months (believing that this is what it is like when you have cancer in your stomach) but it was becoming unbearable. She went to the hospital on Sunday and she is there still. She has still to find a balance between no pain and no nausea. She is still unable to really eat (I don’t think she could finish a whole yogurt cup in a day) or drink and we are thankful and that she is being taken care of and finally getting fluids in the hospital. The goal is to get her comfortable before they can think of any sort of treatment at this point. Hopefully, this will happen soon.
As for my Mom, I think her spirits are ok. I know that she is quite tired and frustrated. She throws up so many times a day and she is in quite a bit of pain in her legs and back. I imagine she was also quite upset that she hasn’t really been able to grieve for her Mom since she has been in so much pain and she was unable to attend the funeral. How shitty.
I feel like I am rambling but I need to get some of this out. I would normally tell my Mom what is bothering me but I am obviously not able to right now. I also feel that you should know what has been happening as I know her blogger friends are very dear to her. We often hear names and stories of her friends and I know that she takes so much comfort and pride in her relations. I thank you all for your support, prayers and well wishes. They have always meant so much to my Mom and to us, her family. Hopefully, my Mom will recover and be home real soon. I can’t imagine anything but.
Monday, 8 February 2010
Daisy Ste. Marie
December 07, 1926 – February 03, 2010
A much treasured Mother, Grand, Great & Great Great-Grandmother. With deep sadness we who loved her most announce that mom passed away peacefully in her home.
Born in Aberdeen, Scotland she came to Canada as a war bride, Daisy is predeceased by her husband Henri, children Peter and Pauline, grandson Sheldon, and sister Elsie McDonald.
She leaves to mourn her children: Harry (Jeannine); Kathy (Ernie); Dwain (Erika); Suzie (Peter); Mickey (Gord); Camille (Jim); Jacquie (Gil); Renee (Nizam); Colette (Rick); Lori (Mike); Gerry (Lisa); Shelly (Peter); Joey (Monique); 65 grand, great-grand, and great-great grandchildren.
Daisy devoted her life to her family. There was always room for one more in her house, if you walked in a stranger, you left as a friend. A quote from Daisy, “I may not leave you riches and gold, but I leave you, with all the love a mother’s heart can hold”. Good Night Mom. God Bless You. You are deeply missed already mom, until we see you once again, in the days beyond the days.
Funeral service will be held on Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 2:00 p.m., Holy Family Parish, 778 Archibald. Please join the family for tea at the Glen Lawn Funeral Home 455 Lagimodiere following the mass. A private family interment will take place.
The family would like to thank all who cared for our mother.
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
Monday, 1 February 2010
It is 2:22 a.m. and I just got out of bed yelling ‘Fuck off. Oh my God my side. Fuck.’ I was up an hour ago and took some pills for my knees and had some popsicles. Now I am up and had some pills for my side. ‘Fuck.’
Spent the day at Mom’s and just basically watched her sleep and then went in one of Shelly’s rooms and slept myself.
Today the priest came and gave Mom the Last Rites. It actually was really beautiful. There was Joey, Gord, Doug, Liz, Peter, Suzie, Camille, Father Aubin, Mom (sleeping), Shelly, me, Nadalene, Taylor, Colette, Mickey, and I don’t even know who else was behind us.
Love is physical and you can feel it. Everyone is concerned for the other.
I’m watching the three youngest Joey rubbing Mom’s back, Shelly rubbing Mom’s feet, and Gerry rubbing Mom’s hands. They are going at it all at the same time but could be doing it one at a time as they are so focused and really are just them and our Mom.
Then Nathan and Angelique came. Nathan had bought red roses for Grandma which were beautiful and roses he had dropped off the day before for Jacquie and some he had also placed on Sheldon’s grave after cleaning it and so Jacquie was happy.
I went and had a sleep because I am exhausted.
Nadalene woke me up because Ben had built a ramp for his Mom and Jacquie was coming over and would be there in a few minutes. So Jacquie got to see Mom and even though Mom did not really wake to know Jacquie was there, the rest of us were thrilled. And funny thing is she did know because later in the night when Jacquie was gone she asked where Jacquie was gone.
My side right now is killing me. Christ already, I’ve done my bit and taken the pills – do yours already.
Funny tonight to see everybody order Chinese Food from the place that my parents have ordered from for over 40 years.
Gerry and Quin came in from Lethbridge on Friday.
We listen to Englebert Humperdink and Sidney Divine and all the Scottish music and other music that we all grew up on and that made me feel like crying the most. Seeing Mom who was so full of life and loved her music just kind of lying there and the music became like little stories to me. I saw thousands of life experiences with each little story.
Mom getting her head lovingly rubbed by Angelique, it was so puffy and I loved seeing my daughter rub my mother’s head.
On Saturday Jacquie and I were both so sick and I heard Mom had a horrible day too. I who should have been able to go see my Mom could not even keep awake. I threw up or I slept and I wished I was dead.
Jacquie is on her week of chemo and said that she was so tired and her stomach was so bad and she just couldn’t keep her eyes open.
Mom had a horrible day too.
Of the three of us I am the weakest because I want to quit the fastest. I’m tired of it all.
‘Oh my God, I am sick of this, my left side is killing me. I’m thirsty and I’m tired.’
Our family does not hold each other at a distance and view our problems as individual problems. Families do not walk away from each other. Your problems become our problems. This is simply the way our family works. Blood is thicker than water.
One of the grim realities ahead for us is that my Mom will die and she won’t be there anymore for any of us. We will live and she will die and we won’t have her in the present but only in the past.
But we will have each other. Families are there to stop us from having to be alone.
‘Where is the let up? Christ already.’
I remember reading Vonnegut where he stated that the reason everyone was so lonely and unhappy was that we had forgotten about extended families. That our families were shrinking and becoming more and more separated and independent and all of a sudden when part of the family goes then there is nothing left to fill the gap and that everyone would be happier if we just had bigger families. I think they may not need to be bigger but at least connected.
My parents were people that sparkled and whose eyes were full of hope. They transferred that hope to us. They were always willing to celebrate the ordinary and make us all feel worthwhile, no matter what it was we did.
It is 3:05 a.m. and I feel like shoving myself into the hospital. But I won’t, I think I can bear this and hopefully the pain will go away.
How are you doing over there Mom? How are you doing over there Jacquie?
Friday, 29 January 2010
It is the real beginning of the real end.
My first home and an especial love of my life is leaving this world. It may take a few weeks or it may take a few days but how I am going to miss her; my Mom, the person who probably still cares the most for me in this world.
Angelique and Josephine and Domenic spent the day with Mom on Wednesday along with Mickey and Dwain and Taylor and they had a lovely time.
Angelique, Nadalene, and I spent the evening and we had a wonderful time and Mom was in good spirits. Mom kept saying how she would talk to Domenic and he would laugh and how happy that made her. And that little Josephine; of course full of life and love for great-grandma and how when Mom fell asleep; Josephine said ‘wake-up.’
But then Mom had to swallow some pills and that took a lot out of her. Fentanyl came in to play but it just didn’t help ease her breath or panic fast enough. It is hard to watch your mother struggle.
It was a very hard day for Jacquie yesterday as when I left her house with Colette and Wahid we went on to visit Mom and she had to stay home. Yes she phoned a few times and Mom rallied herself to say ‘Is that Jacquie, tell Jacquie not to worry.’ And Jacquie said she wouldn’t but of course she did.
Our family has always been a survival unit with our parents agreeing in all actions to care for us kids and for us kids agreeing (not in all actions) to take care of our parents. When I went to Shelly’s last night it was to a hard scene as Mom was disoriented. And at the same time it was beautiful to see her children all around her focused on her completely.
Harry was gone to get new medicine. Jeanine had been there all day and was talking to the nurses and getting all the information we needed. Suzie was upset and crying of course it is all so much. Mickey who has been there every day taking care of Mom while Shelly is at work was taking care of Mom and trying to help her. Colette and Joey were holding Mom’s hand and rubbing her back. Shelly was taking care of all Moms’ needs too and just putting herself out there. I sat back in a chair and watched.
When Mom settled I sat beside her and held her hand. She said ‘Who is that?’ I said “It is your Renee, Mom.” And Mom said ‘Oh my Renee.’
And how hard for us all that our mother whom we love and cherish above all others must face anguish and despair. She will endure pain and fear and suffering and she will fade before our eyes.
And yet we will hold her gaze in our hearts and in our prayers knowing that it would be disrespectful to avert our eyes even for a second. Our gift to her now is our undivided attention.
My mother’s wealth is her family. Mom is very proud of the bonds that her children have. And believe me, we have them. Mom would be the first to say that the wealth of her children could not be given a price and that she was proud of each and every one of us.
Shelly and Peter have set up a lovely room for Mom where she is so happy and comfortable. Where she says she eats like a queen. I will never forget that you have done this for Mom Shelly. Thank you.
We gather everyday now, we her adult children. We gather to her bedside which has become Holy Ground. You are our first home, our greatest champion.
I love you Mom. xoxoxo
Thursday, 28 January 2010
but sometimes when i’m standing
at the kitchen counter after dinner
and i look out the window at the dark
thinking of nothing,
something swims up.
your laughing into my mouth
as you were trying
to kiss me.
~~ Deborah Garrison ~~
*artwork by Jane Ray
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Pattee and I talked last year about joining a gypsy caravan. You see Pattee is a vagabond and loves to travel. I love to jump on and off things so I decided to join her.
Sonia had joined and made us a trio and now kj has also joined and made us a foursome. Pattee knows that I am never cooking but I will read the tarot cards to make us some money.
Pattee will make me lobster and garlic butter and all kinds of specialty dishes so I won’t have to eat hard cheesies all day.
Sonia has made me a screaming banshee doll and I think she should be in charge of making voodoo dolls and love potions as they go hand in hand quite often as the couple ‘love and hate’.
kj will make a perfect pickpocket as I don’t think people will see that coming. She can be really nice and say ‘hey what’s happening and then just slip her hand in their pocket.’ We should be able to keep a good supply of lobster just off of her takings.
I thought you might like a little peek at us over the next week.
Pattee will do all the cooking and will help us outrun the authorities.
I will read the tarot and the palm and charge people a small fortune.
Sonia will make voodoo dolls and love potions.
kj will do all the pick-pocketing as if there were no tomorrow.
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
March 13, 1998
Gwen died today, I couldn’t believe it. She died of cancer and her funeral is Wednesday. Mom called and she was so upset, I went over right away. Dad was crying too. Jacquie and Suzie and Peter came over and Mom and Dad felt a lot better after that.
January 26, 2010
What I can’t believe now is how naïve I was. Like I can’t believe she died? She had cancer for Christ’ sake!
March 18, 1998
Gwen’s funeral was today. Mom took a nerve pill before going to the funeral so she could stand it. Gwen was her best friend, as well as being her only friend she had left who was still alive.
Nadalene made Mom supper and bought her a hyacinth plant and a beautiful card. Mom was crying. Nadalene was showing Mom her pictures from Europe and it was a nice visit. But my heart felt like it was breaking for Mom. Nadalene drove home and was telling me how important friends are for seniors. I started crying in the car (just like I’m crying in bed) when she told me that in her University classes on the elderly they say that if a parent tells their children they are depressed; magnify that by a thousand, because they just won’t tell their children until they are at the end of their rope.
God please give Mom and Dad a restful night as I know they are both very upset.
January 26, 2010
I see that it is so true how we want to spare our children no matter what. We want them to be spared what we cannot spare ourselves. But of course that can’t work. I think by trying to spare them they would worry more. I believe it is much better to be honest and state how we feel and then we can move past it and so can they. They don’t have to wonder if we are hiding things from them.
January 2, 2001 (two thousand and one)
I am grateful that I like my children and I like my husband. It is 7:31 p.m. and I am in bed, I started my periods today, and I both look and feel like death warmed over. (Is that right? Mom always says that and now that I’ve written it out, I don’t know what it means.) Anyways, I’m exhausted. I always feel like I do nothing for me, but I just realized I said ‘I’ thirteen times in this short block of sentences.
January 26, 2010
I definitely know what death warmed over is now. And I am still about ‘I’.
June 16, 2001
Major beliefs that have shaped my life and been drilled into my head by my Mom and Dad: love one another; treat others as you want to be treated; do not judge; if you have something nice to say to someone then say it; and no one is better than you and you are no better than them; and finally, there but for the grace of God go I.
January 26, 2010
These happen to be the same beliefs that I have drilled into my own children’s heads. I think they are good ones.
Monday, 25 January 2010
Michael is the great archangel whose name means ‘Who is as God.’
Michael is the chief angel who is the deliverer of the faithful. Michael grants miracles, fosters mercy, repentance, truth, sanctification, blessing, immortality, patience and love to mankind. Michael is protective of those who are just and good.
Michael is also known as the angel that strengthens our spirits in difficult times. Michael is a protector and helps us with our courage and our worthiness and self esteem. He helps us in our commitment and dedication to our beliefs.
It is commonly believed that Michael was the angel that Moses communicated with in the burning bush and that Michael also saved Daniel from the lion’s den. Michael is also one of the five great angels along with Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael, and Metatron who assisted in the burial of Moses.
Michael inspires truth, patience and love in the human heart. In the Roman Catholic tradition Michael is considered to be the patron angel of policemen and makes sure to guide and protect them while they guide and protect us.
Michael is known to gently lead our souls to heaven. He is chief in the order of virtues, chief of the archangels, prince of the presence, angel of repentance, righteousness, mercy, and sanctification.
In Muslim lore Michael is described as being covered with saffron hairs of which each of them contain a million faces and mouths and as many tongues which, in a millioin dialects, implore the pardon of Allah. Christians invoke Michael as St. Michael the benevolent angel of death, in the sense of deliverance and immortality and for leading the souls of the faithful into the eternal light. To the Jews, he is the viceroy of heaven.
Michael is most famous for leading God’s army of angels against Satan. Among the Dead Sea Scrolls there is a one piece of the book entitled ‘War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness.’ Here Michael is called the Prince of Light and he leads the angels of light in battle against the legions of the angels of darkness. Michael wins this battle with God on his side.
Medusa did not always turn everyone to stone.
Medusa is the original serpent Goddess of Female Wisdom and she is of the Libyan Amazons. She was also known as Metis in those days. Her blood was said to have the power to create life or bring on death.
Medusa was symbolized by two black swans that faced in opposite directions. Medusa was known as a full moon goddess who brought rain for the crops. In later myths she was a beautiful Gorgon Queen who guarded the Garden of the Hesperides containing the tree of golden apples in the land of the setting sun.
When Medusa was caught making love with Poseidon in Athena’s temple; Athena put a curse on her and turned her hair to snakes which caused any who glimpsed her face to turn to stone; another case of a woman cursing the other woman instead of the God.
Myth also tells of Medusa’s demise at the hands of Perseus who gave Athena Medusa’s head to wear on her shield.
*artwork Medusa by Arnold Bocklin
Saturday, 23 January 2010
Friday, 22 January 2010
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Do you touch wood for reassurance, just to be on the safe side? I did for a long time. I would say knock on wood or touch wood and then proceed to do it. At one point Robbie’s wife Eva even made me a wooden ring. It broke from wear. I don’t know how that has fallen to the wayside, maybe I realized wood wasn’t going to save me.
Do you make sure not to place your newly bought shoes on a table? Absolutely, new shoes, old shoes, baby shoes, slippers, anything worn on your feet. That is the one superstition I was raised on ‘Never put shoes on the table it is bad luck.’ If I even see shoes on a table that someone else has put on there I will take them off.
Do you cover mirrors in a thunderstorm? Now this one I don’t do and actually have never heard of it.
Do you let the other person come down the stairs first before you go up, so that you don’t cross on the stairs? No, and I never knew this was a superstition either. Funny how this one seems weird and yet shoes on a table are almost criminal.
Do you open the front and back doors on December 31st to let the New Year in and the old one out? No but I somehow remember my Mom talking about this. Also that it was good luck to bring a lump of coal to someone’s home on New Year’s Eve so they would be warm. We also heard that it was lucky to have someone with black hair or dark skin come to your house (I guess they were to symbolize coal and that you would stay warm.)
Do you say if this happens than that will happen? Yes, before Christmas when feeling like a total bag of shit I was rolling around in bed. I kept moving the covers and said if I happen to break the angel that Jacquie gave me on my side table then I will be dead in six months. I flip the blanket and move my walrus body and sure enough I hear the angel fall. I decide not to look and just assume it broke and that I will be dead soon. Get up in the morning and the angel has lost her head and half of a wing. Josephine is over and sees the angel and tells me ‘Grandma don’t worry, Grandpa will fix it.’ So she brought it to Grandpa who fixed it as good as new. If only I could be fixed as easily.
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
When they say ‘Don’t I know you?’ say no.
When they invite you to the party remember what parties are like before answering. Someone telling you in a loud voice they once wrote a poem. Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate. Then reply.
If they say ‘We should get together.’ say why? It’s not that you don’t love them anymore. You’re trying to remember something too important to forget. Trees. The monastery bell at twilight. Tell them you have a new project. It will never be finished.
When someone recognizes you in a grocery store nod briefly and become a cabbage. When someone you haven’t seen in ten years appears at the door, don’t start singing him all your new songs. You will never catch up.
Walk around feeling like a leaf. Know you could tumble any second. Then decide what to do with your time.
~~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~~
*artwork by Renee Nault
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
January 5, 1998
It snowed all day. Mom called at 9 p.m. for Angelique to pick up Pepsi for Dad. I think it was pretty ridiculous that she had to get Pepsi at night in a snowstorm, with a car that has no winter tires. But did I say that, No! Would it have been disrespectful? ‘He preferred to be, rather than to seem good. ~~ Sallust 86-35 BC ~~’
January 19, 2010
I would like Mom or Dad to call for anything and it would not be ridiculous; even in the shape I’m in now I would walk to get the Pepsi in a snowstorm.
January 13, 1998
I was just talking to Mom and told her of a dream I had last night. In the dream I dreamt that Jacquie didn’t want Mom to see me anymore, so Mom asked me not to come around. I was so surprised that I struck my hand out and pushed her in the chest. So I told this to Mom and Mom says ‘Fuck that.’ I started laughing. Then Mom and I were both laughing and she said she won’t be around forever, and that she’ll die sometime. You can’t imagine how those words hit me. I couldn’t even believe my reaction. I started sobbing, almost as though my Mom had just died.
I told Mom that she is the person who gave me my wings, and that besides my children, she is the one person I love more than anyone in this world. I admire her so much. It seems that the older I get, and realize who she is as a woman; I admire and love her more.
I would say that my Mom is fair, loves children and they love her, truly believes that there is always room for one more and practices that. Kind, beautiful, in style, modern, gave me a love of music, open-minded, does not gossip, can keep a secret, tolerant, fun, strict, caring, strong, and much much more.
My Mom is not tolerant of liars, thieves, or fools. And if Mom has something to say, believe me, she will say it. She is also the best grandma in the world.
You can’t die Mom, because I couldn’t handle that. I love you!
January 19, 2010
You are going to die Mom and I realize that because of you and how you have raised me; I will in fact be able to handle that.
January 19, 1998
Angelique drove me to Mom and Dads. I went to clean out the storage room. Mom is getting a dresser and Good Will is coming tomorrow to get all the junk. It didn’t take too long and I was able to bring home a few pictures Mom and Dad gave me.
January 19, 2010
Funny brought home a few more pictures just the other day when we were all cleaning out Mom’s apartment. And just as it was a breeze to do then, it was a breeze to do now.
January 27, 1998
Mom is really upset. Gwen her best friend has cancer. Since Mary and Auntie Gloria have died, Gwen is her only good friend left. Jacquie and I went to Mom and Dad’s house so she could talk about Gwen. We played cards and when we left Mom said she would not be able to sleep that night.
January 19, 2010
Mom is still here and I am still thankful. She has outlived her friends; I wish I could say the same about myself.
January 30, 1998
Dad’s birthday today, so I bought him a t-shirt.
January 19, 2010
My Dad would have been 84 on his birthday and I can tell you people if you don’t think smoking kills you would be wrong. It is the main contributing factor in my father’s death and it will be in my mothers.