Microblog Mondays – Sigh.


One week.  Pap test.  Yeast infection. Estrogen therapy. Sisters flying in. Got a cold. Funeral service. Final visit with mum at crematorium. Booked a gig. It’s been one motherfucking week.



Microblog Mondays – Searching for Budda nature

Microblog_MondaysDid I mention my eldest sister hung up on me again?  I called her to go over the order of service.  She wanted her husband to be a pallbearer.  I told her it would not be appropriate.  That’s all I said.  I’m surprised she had the nerve to bring it up.  The truth is my mother detested her husband and though they may have gotten along now and then over the last 30 years, I know she would hate the idea.  When I told her my husband and my other sister’s husband were going to be pallbearers, she lost it, started yelling about the 3 decent human being things he did in the past 20 years and demanded that both her son (grown man I might add) and husband would do it or none at all.  That’s pretty much the position she took on the cremated remains.  Which is kind of funny…and sad.  I didn’t sleep much that night.

But I went to two Buddhist meetings yesterday.  And I’m glad I did.  My life condition was raised, I felt hope in humanity (and let’s admit it, it’s pretty hard these days with what’s going on in Paris) and best of all, I felt encouraged to not be defeated or swayed by her negativity.  First, I have to chant to get over wanting to slap the spit out of her mouth. Then I will chant for her Buddha nature.

Microblog Mondays – Respite

Microblog_MondaysWith my sister on her way back home, Boo dropped off with his cousins for an overnight visit, and a downpour of rain, we prepared to celebrate our 14th anniversary quietly and simply.  We had talked about getting away overnight for weeks, but things happened, and my sister’s return flight kept changing, and so we just decided it was too sombre a mood to even attempt anything resembling romance.

We went out for dinner downtown at a favourite restaurant and then returned home.  Hubby ran me a bath with eucalyptus salts, candles (!) and a big fat glass of Apothic Red.  I turned on Spotify and liquidated myself in the tub.  Then when I got out, hubby handed me a pre-warmed towel and ushered me to a pre-warmed spot on the couch with a roaring fire.  We watched Kingsmen on Netflix which was a fun spy movie to get your mind off of things.

It was just what I needed.  Funny thing about my DH and I, but in times of turmoil we pull together.  Throughout all the turmoil, he has been right by my side and I knew I could count on him to have my back.  It was a great feeling and I appreciate him so much.

Family baggage

Our family doesn’t handle anger very well, so it basically turns into resentment and silent stewing, often over things that if they were clearly communicated right from the beginning, would be alleviated.  So, as I’ve said, I’m at peace with my mother’s death, but I’m not grieving in peace. Not yet.

Now that my mum is gone, my siblings want to “help” (all good intentions in wanting to honour mother) but while she was alive, it was all on me. Honestly, I was used to the load.  It was easier than trying to make decisions by committee. Now it’s all different and I haven’t spent this much time on speakerphone with my sisters.  I realize that this has absolutely nothing to do with me, and I’m working overtime on detachment but I’m digging into dwindling reserves of patience and understanding and I’m not sure the same courtesy is being extended to me.

When Mum had a massive stroke last week, I already knew that I would not put her on life support.  I had already decided what the next steps would be and I also made it clear to both of my sisters the last time she was critically ill what was going to happen or rather what would not happen.  But my sister wanted me to take her to the hospital.  I did not agree but we called the ambulance.  At the hospital, it was confirmed that it was a devastating stroke and that her head was full of blood.  The emergency room doctor told me gently that she would not last the afternoon.  I almost snorted cause we’d heard that before.  But I cried anyway.  I held the phone to my mother’s ear for my sisters and nieces to say goodbye.   I stayed with her  in a private area in the emergency room.  My husband arrived and when my best friend arrived, he left to take care of our son.  She went to get us sushi and I don’t know how she did it, but she brought back sake in a styrofoam miso bowl.  I will love her eternally for that.  Mum was admitted and spent the night in a private room and in the morning, was transferred back to the home and I sat by her side.  For 2 days I played music and talked to her.  The nurses told me she was receiving pain medication and something to ease her throat.   Sometimes her breathing was like gasping, choking and sometimes like a light snore of one soundly asleep (respiration often takes on an abnormal pattern called Cheyne-Stokes respiration, which ranges from very shallow breaths to alternating periods of apnea and deep, rapid breathing. A friend of mine told me about this but the care staff neglected to provide me with that information) so I turned up the music for a while.  I lit a scented candle because I could smell her breath.  And I pretended it was just a regular visit on a regular day.  I was about to leave that night without saying goodbye and before I could take 2 steps towards the door, I turned around. I kissed her and told her how much I loved her and I would see her in the morning.  You know the rest.  She did not regain consciousness.

My eldest sister has not called my mother or me 12 times in the last 12 years.  She has not sent flowers for any of those birthdays.  She does not know of my struggle to have a child, the nosebleeds, the insomnia.  She doesn’t know the days my mum called me 30 times in a day, the stress, the hundreds of phonecalls the staff made to me about her violent behaviour, her health, the care conferences, the good days in the park, hanging out at the patio Starbucks, the dinners we shared, the drinks we had, the concerts we went to, the Christmases we spent together and the ones we did not.  She never saw the play about the mothers.  She does not know because she never asked.

I know all of us have our heavy bag of karma but I will not bear their load.

Love liberates



My mum always let me know that I was loved and that I could always come home.  I wish that for her now.  You are loved mum and you are now home.

I’ll be chanting for equanimity tomorrow. The good thing about bad times is that it allows others to demonstrate how they will stand with you.


My mother passed away peacefully Friday morning about 5 minutes after I arrived to be with her.  I had just told her that my sister was coming late that night.  I had some time with her and crawled beside her and held her and thanked her for everything she had done for me.  I sobbed, tears soaking her pillow beside her bed.  At the moment, I feel somewhat untethered.  Like a cord had been cut inside of me.  But being with my husband and my son helps a lot.  I am at peace with her passing and she is no longer suffering a poor quality of life.  I am grateful for the great memories we’ve had during the 12 years I’ve had with her here.

My younger sister arrived late that night and booked a hotel downtown (!) to  “help me out” (but of course now that our mother is gone it’s completely inconvenient as I live 10 km away across a bridge and does not help me out at all……) but not before my eldest sister called (and she never calls me) to demand to know what I was doing with the “arrangements” and that by dividing my mother’s ashes her spirit would never rest.  Which would make sense if she or my mother were Catholic, but they are not.

I did not see that coming. She didn’t even ask me how I was doing.

I guess if she had stayed beyond the 2 days when my mother had sepsis 2 years ago to discuss the funeral arrangements that me and my younger sister made (when we were told by doctors that she was dying), I’d give a rat’s ass what she thought.

It’s been 24 hours. What’s been wonderful is that I have had a flood of emails and texts from my Buddhist friends pledging daimoku to support me and my family.  It’s like a blanket of protection that gives me such comfort and happiness.  And I thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers and I have sincere appreciation for your words of comfort during this time.


I guess I should be sleeping, but I’m not ready to yet.  I suppose I’ve broken the standard rules by talking about mum while she’s in the room, on the phone, with the staff, with my husband.  I think I did it on purpose. I think I’m angry. At her.  Angry that she didn’t just go suddenly, quickly.  That it’s not like it is on TV where the heartbeat monitor flatlines and that’s that. I’m angry that approaching death smells and it’s noisy and I want company so I can be distracted from my vigil. I want to go on vacation. I’m angry my husband can’t take a day off of work cause he’s self employed and I’ve got work coming up and a conference complete with boozy dinners  and this is going to fuck that all up.  I’m angry that I’ve had to deal with texts and phone calls and goodbyes over my cell phone and hospitals and doctors.  Again.  That my life is on hold.  Again.  That I’m left trying to figure out what I should tell my sisters, whether they should come right away, like I did last time. Ooops, sorry, but that’s what the doctor’s said.  Of course, then she rebounded.   Now, it’s obvious to me that that’s not happening.  That this dying business is for real this time.  There will be no surprise comeback this time around.  I’m angry having to be the one yet again to deal with all this “business”.  Why do I always get to be the strong one?!  Why do my sisters have to say they were in “shock”?!  What the fuck are they in shock of? They were here 2 years ago.  That was their rehearsal.   She’s old and sick!  Old people die every fucking day, never mind ones with late stage dementia.  She had a massive stroke, why are they asking me all the questions.  Should they come, omigod, it’s so expensive, what should I do?  Why are you even asking?  You either are or you aren’t.  My younger sister says she wants to be there for me.  To do what precisely? Ask me more stupid questions I don’t have the answer to but in person?  I’d have to take care of her, drive her back and forth, worry about her, if she’s eating, if she’s resting.  She won’t be cooking, cleaning, walking my dog, grocery shopping or tucking my kid into bed. That’s what I need someone to do without me asking you to do it. So, no, I’m not asking you to come for my sake cause it wouldn’t be for my sake. I’m angry that my husband is angry I’m in this without my sisters and have been for 12 years and pretending not to be cause I told him it bothers me but he can’t hide that shit from me so I see it and it pissed me off.

I’m angry that my mother hasn’t had water in 3 days and her tongue is swelling up in her mouth and I can smell her breath from 6 ft away and I did it to her because she has nothing to come back to.  No quality of life.  I’m angry that her mouth has to be wiped out and another drug has to be given to ease her throat and one minute she’s making sleeping sounds then choking and coughing and then sleeping again.  I’m angry that nobody bothered to give me the pamphlet about this and I had to look it up on my own to know this is how it goes.  I’m angry that I gotta sleep with the phone next to me.  I’m angry at myself for the very un-Buddhist thoughts that have flown through my head.

I’m angry that I didn’t just get a phonecall saying she had just quietly passed away while I slept.  That truly pisses me off and makes me angry at my own mother that her very strength that I’ve always admired is making this BRUTAL.  I  don’t get to use the word “shocked” cause really, for the last 2 years, I’ve truly wanted this daily dropping off in bits to be done and over with.  Even a massive stroke can’t take her out in one fell swoop, she’s gotta drag this out with every last bit of drama in her.

I would like to gnash my teeth and sob and take to my bed for a week but I cannot.  I do not have that option.  Cause apparently a woman my age is too busy taking care of business at the moment.