Tuesday 30 September 2008

Welcome Home

Rest in peace Dad. Heaven will be a better place with you in it.

Monday 29 September 2008

For You Are Ever With Me

God be with my Dad today as he travels through the shadow of death. Hold him up and bring him home and hold him close and kiss him and have prepared for him all of his sweetest dreams.

For you are ever with me Dad. For you held me up and brought me home and held me close and kissed me and gave me a life with all of its sweetest dreams.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.

And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

~~ By Thomas Merton (late Trappist monk, Catholic priest, poet, and social activist) ~~

Friday 26 September 2008

Hey Daddio

Shelly went to take Dad to his doctor yesterday morning and the doctor told her that he needed to go to St. Boniface right away as he was severely dehydrated. I’m not quite sure, but I also think he said he was malnourished.

They took some tests including a chest x-ray and discovered that his lungs are full of cancer. They asked why he wasn’t treated for it when it originally showed up in his bladder and he told them because the doctors said the chemo would probably kill him and that was told to him at lest five years ago. I was with him at the doctors at the time, but honestly, I don’t remember how long ago that would be.

I believe they are going to set Dad up with Palliative Care today and also arrange for homecare and for a hospital bed to be set up. I think he will be coming home today as well.

Lately Dad and I have been having a lot of good old talks about dying and what we think happens. I know that he still didn’t quite believe it was going to happen to him, but after being with him last night, I think he now knows that it will happen.

Shelly stayed with Dad all day yesterday and then Jacquie and I went up. When Shelly left they moved Dad into the hall. I couldn’t believe the hallways were the worst I have seen them. People were lined up in gurneys and they were head to toe. Hard place to be when you don’t feel good. Later Suzie and her partner came and they moved Dad again, thank God, to a room. Daisy also came up to see her grandpa. She is a loving girl.

Angelique went to spend the evening with her grandma, and then Jacquie and I got there and we all stayed to 10 p.m. Joey came then and slept the night to keep Mom company.

“Hey Daddio,” I said while rubbing his arm. He made me laugh because he said ‘oh yeah right, you are not going to start with that are you?’ (As in me being nice, ha ha.)

I laughed again, as Jacquie, Daisy and I are talking to Dad and then all of a sudden he throws back the covers and says, where is the bathroom, how far away is it? Jacquie says Dad, it is right over there. As she is talking to him, he says I have to take a piss (I hate that word) and tries to get out of the bed. He is basically saying I need to take a piss, get the bed down, etc. etc. Jacquie runs down the hall to tell the nurse, Daisy looks for a pee bucket, I frantically try to get the bed rail down. Fucking laughing my head off and yell to Jacquie, get the nurse, I can’t get the bed down. Ha ha ha. She interrupts a nurse who is seriously helping a lady that can’t breathe to come and help and then I tell Jacquie that lady needs serious help, if Dad pees himself that is okay. As I say this we see Dad’s legs over the bar (ha ha) and Daisy has saved the day by giving him a pail to pee in. Honestly maybe you just needed to be there.

We tucked Dad in and gave him kisses goodbye and told him to have a good sleep.

Nadalene makes me laugh because no matter what we are doing, whether dishes, talking about someone’s school, wedding, whatever, I bring it back to me. And though yesterday was about Dad and feeling hurt for him, I have to be honest and say that while I was there I couldn’t help but feel I was looking at my own future, which may not be so far in the future. And while I felt sorry and helpless for Dad, I also kinda felt sorry and helpless for myself.

This is a wee story about me and Dad and I’d like you to look at the picture at the top of my post in case you need visualization.

Everyday Dad would come home from work; I would run out the door to greet him. Usually I had no clothes on because I couldn’t stand to be hot. (I still can’t.) He still to this day will remind me of it and say ‘Lover (my nickname) you were such a little nudist.’

I love you Dad. You are the best. You are even better than you think you are. For me, you are the most wonderful Dad. See you later today Daddio.

Thursday 25 September 2008

Baby Rock Star

Josephine is our very own baby Rock Star. She gives us love and with her we find peace, and she brings into our lives her very own touch of baby rock n roll star status.

On Wednesdays now that Angelique is back at work, she makes sure to bring Josephine over to our house so that we get our midweek fix.

So being a Wednesday, I sat on the computer nice and early and got together my line up of baby rock n roll videos from Sesame Street. I practiced singing “one two three four chickens just back from the shore” by Feist because I know it is my baby rock stars’ favourite.

I practiced dancing just as if I had been on the Dick Clark show American Bandstand. While I was dancing and getting very excited to see her (basically hyperventilating), I thought “I’m happy.”

I kept watching out the window to see my rock star pull up in her chauffeur (Mommy) driven limo. My timing had to be perfect so I had the song Mony Mony on standby for when she would arrive at her destination. In this case grandma and grandpa’s house.

Her No. 1 fan (me) had my finger on the play button for when she came out of the limo so that I could blast the music out of the house and be ready to dance on the grass with my Rock N Roll Star.

“Oh my God, she’s here!” I press the button, run out of the house, leave the door open so that the music is loud, and start dancing. I notice that the chauffeur does not have her out of her car seat yet, so run back in the house, rehit the song to the beginning and run back out on the grass and start dancing all over again.

The chauffeur is carrying the baby rock star and she is quite excited to see her No. 1 fan dancing. Mommy the chauffeur puts her down and just as I am waiting to dance with her, she discovers water on the road so repeatedly walks through it and ignores me like yesterday’s news.

After a few minutes of splash, splash, baby rock star takes her Mommy’s hand and her grandma’s hand and decides that, after all, she is in the mood to dance. I choose not to take it personally as I know that rock stars can be very temperamental. So like the groupie I am, I go with the flow.

We dance, we go in the house, and she plays little people. We go outside, she splashes the water in the tray of her bike, I dump it out, her hands are wet and she holds them out for me. I wipe them on my jeans and think I will never wash these again (I wear them to book club secretly thinking about the baby rock star who made them feel magical). We pick up sticks and I show her how she can put them on her wee slide from A.J. She climbs up the slide and goes down backwards. We play with the balls, and I sing out Caillou in my wannabe French accent.

The baby rock star grabs my finger and pulls me in the direction she wants to go (she knows there will be no resistance). We go to the patio furniture and she climbs on the chair and we get ready to blow bubbles. She of course has to be in control and tries to get the lid off first; I quickly twist off the cap. She then proceeds to have the bubble wand and no bubbles come out, but it matters not because she is having fun. I quickly get the wand and blow a few bubbles. She looks at them and then pulls me back into the house.

Josephine walks in the house and says ‘Mama.’ Mama says hi and then my baby rock star and I go upstairs to the computer to listen to Sesame Street Rock N Roll. Did you guess that we listened to Feist, if so, you are right. Check it out.


We check the time and realize grandpa will be home soon, so we go outside and wait till we see him pull on the street and then we quickly hide behind the tree to surprise him. I can tell he has seen us a mile away, but he has become very good at being surprised. It is so funny that he is so much more surprised than when Angelique, Nadalene, or Nathan jumped out at him from behind the tree. But I guess that is what rock star status does. Our rock star baby lets me go and runs quickly to her grandpa so that he can have some of her glamour too.

Her Mommy says it is time to go, so I quickly say “do you want to go see Uncle Nathan?’ She runs to his door and I carry her down the stairs so she can again make someone’s day. She sees Uncle Nathan and he has a big smile when he sees her. She climbs up on him and looks at each of the fish tanks. Nathan is cuddling her and she is cuddling him right back. She gets down, she gets up, she gets down looks at the fish, gets up and I have to drag her out of there. In total baby rock star status she does not want to leave; instead she wants to chill looking at all the fish.

It was probably a good thing that Auntie Nadalene was still at work, as baby rock star adoration would once again be pushed over the limits. Instead of having her bum wiped with wet ones, her baby rock star bum would have been wiped with a wet one that was warmed up with hot water.

I can tell that she accepts that she is a baby rock star because no matter what we do she accepts our adoration. After all, she can rest on her laurels with us and she knows it already.

Wednesday 24 September 2008

Days Of September

In many ways September has been the start of the year for me, more so than January. It always felt fresh and like a new start. Wonder what my journals reflect.

Flashbacks From The Month Of September

September 21, 2002

*Heidi buried her second child yesterday. How will Heidi bear this. Words are hollow and inadequate. Goodnight sweet prince and may you find peace wherever you may be.

*Any messages I would have received from my parents if I was daydreaming or goofing off would have been encouraged. They would have been smiling and positive.

*When I am stressed, reading can give me instant relief. It costs nothing to read a book.

*My relaxation manifesto will be to have a cup of tea, make sure there is no noise, and light some candles, maybe leaf through a magazine and drink my tea from a china cup. I stay calm in a frustrating situation by distancing myself from the moment or activity I am feeling stressed about.

*My coping strategies are to stay calm, definitely to be in denial, minimize things, and to know I can only do what I can do. I really don’t know what works for other people.

September 15, 2003

*Happy to report I’m actually doing something for my body. I’ve joined Curves.

*Angelique started teaching her Grade 8 class and it sounds like she is doing a great job. Natalie and I saw her classroom and it looks awesome.

*I absolutely, with out a moment’s hesitation, can say I definitely do not live my most passionate life. As a matter of fact I have to try to force myself to have any passion in my life at all. On a scale of 1 to 10 in the passionate about life department I am probably a 2 (observer). I have to motivate myself to be interested in my own life. I need to see some good in myself and my life. I believe that at some point in my life I desired to be married and to have children. I do have the children I dreamed of, but I do not have the marriage I dreamed of. It has been so long since I have had dreams and desires that in all honesty I don’t know what I would desire or dream of for myself.

*My passion is my children and since they are all older and living their own lives, I need to find a passion that involves my life and doesn’t have me being a vampire sucking their lives vicariously. I am fatigued. I would rather not try than fail. Having just said that goes against everything I believe for other people, why can’t I feel that for myself?

*No one I know expects me to be perfect. I do avoid intense feelings. In my marriage we don’t have arguments we have disappointments. We also both shutdown. I suffer a disappointment, and then go quiet, because I don’t want to hurt Wahid’s feelings, so instead I hurt my own.

September 23, 2003

*Went for breakfast with Darlene, her chemo has stopped and now she is having radiation. God bless her and let all go well with her.

September 25, 2004

*Christmas shopping is really hard for me because I want to buy everything for the kids and I fear after 30 years of doing this, Christmas will be a huge disappointment (mostly for me) if I don’t keep it up. Christmas has been focused too much on things (all my doing).

*When Wahid and I were first married we bought a vacuum from a traveling salesman. I felt we had to buy it because he talked so long and displayed it that I didn’t want to send him away empty handed. I felt like I would have been ashamed if we didn’t get it. Big mistake. A young fool. Today, I couldn’t care less if he showed me it all day, standing on his head. I would never buy it. It was as though I wanted him to respect us thinking ‘Oh they have money – they must have some worth.’ I think part of me still suffers from some of that. I want never to say ‘I can’t, we don’t have.’ We have nothing to be ashamed of. We work very hard, especially Wahid. I respect him totally.

September 29, 2004

*When I think of the sexiest people I think of men. Wahid is very sexy. My number one sexy. For me, being in love with the person you are having sex with is a huge part of making the sex so fulfilling. The comfort level is impossible to beat.

September 5, 2005

*Thank you God. Angelique and Nadalene are back from New Orleans. There was Hurricane Katrina that just hit there, three weeks after they got back to Winnipeg. It has become the largest natural disaster in U.S. history. The U.S. government has not acted as it should. The people had no water for three days. It is a national disgrace.

*I yearn for self-acceptance. I trust that my yearning will happen.

September 6, 2005

*You can’t always get what you want (sing it like Mick Jagger). You don’t always get what you need (sing it like Bono). Want = Want. Need = Yearn = Soul.

*Wahid and I were talking and I asked him about gratitude. He made me cry because he said he is grateful that he met me. Wahid has all the character. Wahid has never done a dishonourable thing or said anything dishonourable. He is a man of honour.

*I do not believe my future lies in my past. My past has brought me to where I am; my future is wide open.

*What I really need is to get real.

*Darlene just called and said Tarla’s 23 year old daughter Jyoti died on Saturday. God please bless the family.

September 11, 2005

*Went and gave Mom and Dad their showers.

*My people are individuals who share my sensibilities about life.

Flash Forward

Yesterday I went for PICC at St. Boniface around noon and I was sitting by a bed, the nurse asked if I could move because there was a young girl probably between the ages of 16 to 20 who needed to get off the chair and get into a bed quick. The poor girl was green and had no hair. Her poor mom was walking behind her looking as though she was going to war. She in fact was.

I then left Cancer Care at Health Sciences at 3:00 p.m. with Pat and we saw a young Mom holding a two year old on her shoulder and bringing in her little boy who was about four years old and he too was bald, he looked happy though. Pat and I were both crushed.

So please don’t be like me with eyes in your head that don’t know how to see.

Tuesday 23 September 2008


The birthdates for Libra are between September 23rd and October 23rd. Don’s birthday is October 17th.

Libra’s stats are:

Colour = Green
Metal = Copper
Stone = Diamond, Quartz, Marble
Tree = Almond, Walnut
Plants = Violet and White Rose

Libra is the sign of the scales which are a symbol of justice. Libra’s symbol is the only one in the zodiac that is inanimate (it is not represented by an animal or a person). Born under the sign of the Scales, Libra spirits thrive on balance and harmony and are most at peace when the world around them is orderly and serene.

Ruled by Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, it will come as no surprise that Libra’s admire beauty in many forms, such as art and music, as well as having a knack for finding beautiful partners. Librans have a strong need for partnership and without someone to share their lives with, they would feel utterly incomplete. When a Libra finds their partner, they will usually be someone that will help to keep the Libran balanced.

A Libra’s idealistic outlook and constant striving for the best most harmonious lifestyle can lead to discontent. Since life presents all of us with an extraordinary amount of choices, if Libra does not learn to live in the moment at least some of the time, they will be in a constant state of unrest. Librans are intellectual and continuously seek out knowledge and new ideas. Librans also carry a sense of innocence around them that makes them very approachable.

Libra’s are especially loved by their Aries’ mother-in-law if they and their Capricorn wife have enhanced her life with a Gemini grand-daughter. Libra’s are some of the fairest diplomatic people you will meet. In Don’s case, his Aries mother-in-law wants everyone to know that this particular Libra is one of the coolest dudes you would ever want to know too.

Monday 22 September 2008

Y Is For

Yasmin (Angelique’s middle name; Wahid’s sister)
Yvette (heart-friend)
Yale (Carly)
Yellow jacket (stung Nathan by the eye in Trinidad)
Yo-yo (Dad is expert at walking the dog)

Yam (sweet potato)
Yak (strong plant eating animal)
Yoga (could not get up once on the ground)
Yin (submissive principles)
Yang (dominant principles)

Yahoo (used before google)
YouTube (Bill Maher)
Yearning (more family time)
Yuppie (money and things matter)
Yesterday (can’t do anything about it)

Yorkshire (pudding)
Yaba daba doo (after school)
Youth (don’t waste it)
Yo (slang to get someone’s attention)
Your sins will find you out (what goes around comes around)

Y (Ebonics for why)
Yellow (favourite colour)
You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar (Mom says)
Yummy (cheesecake and black cherries)
Young (don’t destroy their innocence)

Thursday 18 September 2008

From The Trenches

I’d give my right arm to be worrying about a common cold, the weather, or what time Winner’s closes. That’s what normal people do, and boy oh boy, I want to be normal so bad. I wonder if I focus on those types of things that it may be a way for me to pretend that life is normal. And then maybe I could kid myself into believing that I am not ill and never will be because I am one of the lucky, the fit, the chosen. I would belong to a group of people with a vocabulary for what we are.

Having Stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), and really I’m sure, any terminal illness is like watching a turtle head for the beach. It is slow and it is inevitable.

For those who don’t know me well, I am a voracious reader. Words have helped me through this illness almost more than people. I have discovered though that along with death being taboo, so is serious illness. You would think that there would be a lot of literature written about illness, and you would be wrong.

Virginia Woolf wrote an essay On Being Ill where she wonders why illness has been denied a place alongside ‘love and battle and jealousy’ as one of the themes of literature. Woolf declares that as a consequence of this denial, illness has never been given its own vocabulary, leaving people who are ill without a language to express our experiences.

In a quote from that essay ‘let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry.’

Woolf states that for the sick to be able to communicate their experiences they ‘would need the courage of a lion tamer,’ since finding words to describe what is going on in our bodies is a daunting task.

I have come to know many people who are terminally ill and it is with heartbreak that I listen to their stories of having to be without receptive and sympathetic friends or family or even the words to explain their dilemmas. How many times have I heard the statement ‘they don’t get it, we don’t speak the same language, I may as well be speaking Greek.’

It can be near impossible for the ill to engage society with our stories of suffering. Where we could find solace, there is none to be had. I am thankful and bow to the generosity of my family for letting me talk things through that are important to me.

In our society, illness is something that happens far away and to other people. It certainly shouldn’t happen in our own living rooms. But it does, every day. Maybe because it is an uncomfortable truth and an uncomfortable reality, we don’t want to talk about it. More importantly, maybe we don’t know how to talk about it.

If we don’t put words out there, we think we can make it all disappear. And better yet, we can make sure it doesn’t ever become our experience because we don’t have the words and we don’t have the language.

I agree with Stephen Jenkinson when he states that North Americans live in a grief illiterate society.

The ill know they are muffled. I also have seen the muzzle that some people try to make sure I wear. I think it is a real misfortune that while we are in the trenches, no one wants to hear about it. They only want to know if we have won the war. If the battle is faltering they quickly want to change the topic to Deal or No Deal.

There are no paths for those of us who are ill. There are no words to tell us what to do; there are few words to inspire us. There are few words for us to hear and there are few words for you to speak. Machado states that ‘Paths are made by walking.’ So walk we do.

But I have the heart of the lion tamer and I am going to speak. I am going to speak old words and new words and crazy words and loving words. I am going to create my own language of the ill.

Wednesday 17 September 2008

I Had

I had a guardian angel at one time, but my little devil got him drunk, tattooed, and left him penniless at a strip club. I have not had another angel assigned to me yet.

~~ Unknown ~~

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Fields of Gold

Angelique first turned me on to this song by Sting. I thought I would check it out and see if it could still make me close my eyes. I feel inspired after listening to it being sung by Eva Cassidy.

You’ll remember me, when the west wind moves
Among the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in its jealous sky
When we walked in fields of gold

So she took her love for to gaze a while
Among the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold

Will you stay with me, will you be my love
Among the fields of barley
And you can tell the sun in its jealous sky
When we walked in fields of gold

I never made promises lightly
There’ve been some that I’ve broken
But I swear in the days still left
We will walk in fields of gold

We’ll walk in fields of gold

Many years have past, since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
As you lie in fields of gold

You’ll remember me when the west wind moves
Among the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in its jealous sky
When we walked in fields of gold

~~ Lyrics by Sting ~~

Give yourself a treat and check it out; the music is divine and the pictures are inspiring. Just type in the following link in your address line.


Monday 15 September 2008

X Is For

Xanadu (Kublai Khan residence)
X-factor (terminally ill people experience it)
X-box (Nathan)
X (illiterate person’s signature)
Xi Wang-mu (Goddess of immortality)

Xigua (Chinese for watermelon)
X (last letter in fox)
Xylophone (played with a mallet)
X (one more than 9)
X-rated (for a reason - stop passing to 10 year olds)

X (24th letter in alphabet)
X (upper right corner = close screen)
Xi (two letter word for scrabble)
Xu (only other two letter word starting with x for scrabble)
X (my children mark my spot)

Xmas (Christmas)
XYZ (check the zipper on your pants; eXamine your zipper)
Xenocide (murder of a foreigner)
Xenophobia (fear of a foreigner)
X (at the beginning of a word is silent and takes on the z sound)

XXXX (kisses)
XOXO (always sign cards)
X-ray (no need to change just keep bra off)
X (a real challenge in my alphabet)
Xeloda (oral chemo did not work and got tumor on ovary)

Thursday 11 September 2008

Section L Bloc 8 No. 435

During the time I was getting chemo last Fall, I thought I should hop in the car and go check out the cemeteries around here. I knew the route I would take. Start with the one on Lagimodiere, then hit the one on Fermor and save the St. Boniface one on Archibald for last.

So if you’re willing to come to the lands of the dead with me please buckle up; I wouldn’t want you to get hit by the proverbial bus.

Evangelical Disney Land

You want it, they’ve got it. Bible; Jesus; sheep; praying hands; and even Filipino gardens. I mentioned that I didn’t quite understand the Filipino gardens; as in, was there earth there brought in from the Philippines? No there was not. It is just for Filipino people and their spouses. Honestly I don’t get it, unless we are buying segregation to the maximum.

Talked to the cemetery office and although the lady was very nice and even offered me a ride in her golf cart to see all the many garden sections of this land, I had to refuse because I had seen enough to know that this would not be the land of the dead for me.

Prices for plots were all over the map considering what choice piece of real-estate you were interested in. For example, to be by trees, water, or the road were considered prime.

Since I am only interested in an upright headstone plot I will quote on this. Plot was $1395 (discount of 200 if you preordered monument – yes they made the monuments there) and would fit either one coffin and two urns or three urns. If you were interested in two coffins in a double depth plot of course it was more (I am not interested so did not ask).

Opening and closing fees are $695 for coffin and $340 for urn.

I was also told that there is a 30% fee included in the price of $1395 for perpetual care of the site. I was surprised I wasn’t frisked for any change I may have had on me at the time.


Now what can be said about a wasteland? It is empty.

No character, basically a field.

The man I dealt with was very soft spoken; he barely spoke above a whisper. I think it was because he did not want to wake anyone up from their naps in the garden. It seemed to be a hush-hush business. He did ask if I had family or friends there when I asked the prices of the plot, I told him no, but did that make a difference in the price? He told me no it didn’t. He asked me no more questions after that.

Prices of plots vary from $1500 to $2000, but if you want a foundation for a monument it is $2500. The man I spoke to told me that the $1500 was for the new gardens and $2000 for the older gardens. The most expensive garden was $2500 because it had the foundation poured. The garden could only fit one coffin and one urn or two urns.

Opening and closing fees were $645 for a coffin and $245 for an urn. At this point in our conversation I was also told that there is a four part process to the coffin. Okay, I’ll bite. Step one – buying coffin. Step two -- opening and closing fee $645. Step three – liner or vault for coffin required in this cemetery and it is $845 and up. Step four – bronze marker on site would start at $1900 and if you want a monument it would also start at $1900 (surprise they make the markers and monuments there too).

Familiar Land

I have been familiar with this graveyard forever. My grandfather (Camille Ste. Marie) who died before I was born is buried here. I moved into Windsor Park when I was nine years old and the cemetery is basically located at the end of the street I grew up on. My Nana (Renee Ste. Marie) is also buried here.

Of course I wish my parents (who are not dead) would be buried there as well, but they will be buried at the Evangelical Disney Land.

This cemetery has old headstones since the beginning of times in St. Boniface. I remember one in particular from when I was a child and it is a tall headstone with a guardian angel on it and there are about four small children from one family who died and are buried there from 1811 or so. I would have to find the headstone again to be exactly certain.

When I first went there I thought that the cemetery was full. Much to my delight (yes, delight) there were some new sections that had been opened. Many of the sections are reserved for the nuns and priests, but there were more that had recently been opened. There was Bloc 5 which is located by the house on Archibald and there was Bloc 8 in Section L which is located by a big cross.

Wahid and I had gone to look at it while he was on holidays and we decided that it was as good a place as any to end up in. (If I was having a contest and you guessed that Wahid really did not want to be there, you would win.)

I then took Angelique and Josephine and Jacquie to see it and we all really liked it. Josephine was running around on the grass and foundation having a merry old time.

Nadalene (the brat) went and looked at it herself and she also liked it. Nathan does not want to see it at this point.

The real-estate that I purchased was right by a row of trees with a small road behind them. I bought Section L Bloc 8 No. 435. There will be no one buried behind me.

What was kind of fun was that when I told some of my family I had bought it, I laughed because when I said it was a new section and no one had bought there yet, Nadalene proceeded to buy the lot on one side of me and Jacquie bought the lot on the other side of me. Angelique wants some of her ashes placed on it and Camille does too.

The cemetery office is located at the St. Boniface Basilica and the man I dealt with was exactly like I wanted him to be. I really appreciated the fact that he was not made up of cheese or smoke. I also found it refreshing that he did not treat death as though it were a taboo subject. I was more than thrilled that he called a plot a plot and not a garden. After all, I was there to buy a plot not a garden. He was just like the Catholic Church; sit, stand, genuflect, make the sign of the cross, reverent, low-key, exit without having to make eye contact or talk to anyone else.

The price of the plot with a foundation for a headstone was $995. The plot could hold one coffin and two urns or four urns (in one case one more urn for my buck and in the other case two).

The opening and closing fees are $375 for a coffin and $225 for an urn.

I repeated this journey yesterday, first with Jacquie (who drives slower than molasses) and then with my Dad.

Jacquie and my visit were non-eventful and took less than 30 minutes. My visit with my Dad on the other hand was wonderful and took almost two hours.

I have to say that this time around I thought something a little different about each land of the dead.

Evangelical Disney Land – beautiful veteran’s wall with my Dad’s name engraved (Henri Ste. Marie LAC). Dad was really happy to see it because he had not seen it before. It is a big granite wall and there is a Canadian Flag and some flowers. I loved it and while Dad sat in the car, I pointed out his name, kissed it with my fingers, and gave it a salute. It was fun. Of course I was saluting a man that I love and not really his service, more than anything I was saluting him as my father. Also this land was very well kept (don’t forget 30% of your fee for your plot covers that).

Wasteland - really next to no monuments, but lots of markers. This land too was really well kept and like Marcie and Travis said, it was peaceful. They also had a beautiful mausoleum there as well.

Familiar Land - I kidnapped Dad and showed him my site and he really liked it too. He loves this cemetery too. We went and saw where his parents are buried and Dad got out of the car and prayed. It was really touching.

I told Dad that we were more lively and having fun in the cemeteries than we were when we just sat and talked. We both laughed.

By the way, I guess it is never too late to increase your vocabulary. Have you ever heard the word Inhumation? I never did. If someone had tried to use it in our scrabble games I would have protested. Well, inhumation means to bury a dead body.

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow.
Let reality be reality.
Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.

~~ Lao-Tse ~~

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Without Change

Without change there would be no butterflies.

~~ Unknown ~~

Tuesday 9 September 2008

Around Corners

My sweet sweet girl of my soul was peeking around corners for her grandma.

I was away last week for a few days with Nadalene and Jacquie. Angelique came over with Josephine to pick up her grandpa to go have pizza.

Angelique told me the story, which was really a cute story. As a matter of fact, it is a very sweet story too. But it was also a story that kinda made my heart crack.

Josephine came in the house calling ‘grandma’ and peeked around the stairs to see me (because I usually peek around the stairs to surprise her). I wasn’t there. She then looked all around the house for me and I wasn’t there.

The state I put myself in was the day she comes to peek around corners and I will never again be around those corners for her. I want to be around those corners so badly. I want to be around those corners for her forever.

Josephine never forget that if grandma could have her way, you will never have to be hurt or wondering where I went. You will never ever have to think I disappeared on you.

Monday 8 September 2008

W Is For

Wahid (husband)
Wednesday (Jill, Angie, Helen)
Way (Caroline is way too talented)
Witty (Charlton)
Who (first answers on alphabet post)

Watermelon (can barely look at the word – thanks chemo)
Warthog (Hakuna Matata)
Whisk (Josephine sitting on the floor stirring the pot)
Wonder (always try to keep some in my spirit)
What (second answers on alphabet post)

Waves (water lots of fun – life not so fun)
World (care about it)
War (anti-war does not mean anti-Canadian)
Wasp (everywhere at this time of year)
Where (third answers on alphabet post)

Winter (powder puff snow and crystal encased trees)
Weight (breast cancer meds increase by 20 to 40 pounds)
Weekly (PICC and group)
Waste (stop now)
When (fourth answers on alphabet post)

Weep (exhausting and healing)
Wand (Josephine is my magical one)
Worry (mostly about real issues)
Welcome (intimacy)
Why (fifth answers on alphabet post)

Wednesday 3 September 2008

I Want To Know

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love, for your dreams,
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow,
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain,
mine or your own, without moving to hide it
or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own.
If you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy
fill you to the tips of your fingers
and toes without cautioning us
to be careful, be realistic,
remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty every day,
and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine,
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the sliver of the full moon, “Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live,
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair,
weary and bruised to the bone,
and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,
and if you truly like the company
you keep in the empty moments.

~~ Oriah Mountain Dream from the book The Invitation ~~

Tuesday 2 September 2008

Sweet Heidi

My longest time friend Heidi was in town and it was such a pleasure to see her. There have only been 10 years of our lifes’ where we haven’t known each other.

Our other longest time friend Shirley was not in town and so we missed out on her company.

Those two always say they are best friends, which gets on my last nerve, ha ha. Good thing my ego won’t let me buy that for a minute.

I know you believe in me Heidi, and remember that I also believe in you.

Monday 1 September 2008

V Is For

Valentine (Josephine)
Violet (cousin)
Vannessa (friend)
Veteran (Dad – World War II)
Virginia (Jenny – old neighbour)

Vegetables (not enough)
Vulture (circling)
Viola (Angelique played)
Violets (wonderful smell)
Velour (lots of little dresses)

Vertebrate (cancer in nodule 9)
Vertigo (world spins)
Venus (hottest planet)
Village (Princes Town)
Vancouver (Angelique took Nathan on VIA)

Vote (U.S. Obama; Canada anyone but Harper)
Virginity (over-rated after 21)
Venial (okay Catholics remember our forgivable sins)
Vehicle (new car is a 1993)
Validation (everyone needs it)

Virtue (compassion)
Vice (gluttony)
Vent (we need to, right Sally)
Vocabulary (large)
VIA (Angelique and Nadalene and Zello)