Saturday, May 16, 2009

Without my mother now

It is May 16, 2009. I turned 60 yesterday - I always knew that nobody in my life would ever love me the way my mother did. I also knew that I would never truly be an adult until my mother died. On May 3, I became an adult.

My mother had always been the writer in the family. I dabbled. With her death, I am now a writer and the essays and columns I have had published are now somehow valid.

I began my writing when I began editing the columns my mother wrote during her years in East Sooke, the back of beyond, in the 70's. I took a sentence from one column, a paragraph from another, and put them together into a book.

We published the book quietly 10 2005 and sold 250 copies. I found I could write just like my mother - in fact, I wrote two of the columns from scratch about incidents that happened to her in the 1990's.

I went on to write humour pieces that were published as the "Last Word" in Monday Magazine and they paid me. I was hooked. I wrote articles for Senior Living and then branched out from my home town.

In 2007 I wrote an article about the experience of living with MS and MedHunters published the piece.

Later in 2007, Animal Wellness published "A Nose for the News" in Tail Ends. Also in 2007, "Go Grandma" was printed in Laughter Loaf.

The literary magazine, Kaleidoscope published "Cages", another piece about living with MS, in their Life Stories II edition. That edition was reviewed on

2008 was filled with caregiving. I was President of Family Caregivers' Network Society

I wrote about caregiving for the FCNS Newsletter and for Scrivener, a published quarterly by the Societies of Notaries Public of British Columbia.

In 2009, I again found my humour and Long Island Woman printed my column "The Manic Jogger" in April 2009.

This is a new journey and I'm excited!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mom's death

This is May 9 and I am trying to hold my thoughts and being together so I can speak at a memorial for my mother. Yes, she died on May 3 at 7:30 in the evening.

Oh, this is so sudden. Her small, easily dealt with infection became pneumonia which did not respond to antibiotics. One weeks she was at exercise class doing her own sort of aerobics, the next week she was in Emergency and four days later she died. For her last 36 hours, I watched every breath she took.

She knew she was dying, asked to be taken off any life saving measures such as antibiotics and, seeing as they were not working anyway, it made sense. She asked the doctor for a big white pill so she could just die. We tried removing the oxygen at that point but it was terrible - her blood oxygen saturation levels were in the 75% range and it was like watching her drown. She asked that the oxygen be put back on. The doctors gave her morphine to slow her breathing and she slipped into unconsciousness almost right away. She told me to go home and told the doctor she wanted to die just before the morphine took over.

I will write more but right now I need to get myself ready. This will be tough. So many friends who loved her so much will be there - right down to the waiters at the restaurant we went to every Wednesday after exercise class. I have many emails to read aloud - without crying. I can do it. But, as the music, 'Peace in the Valley' by Johnny Cash and "Amazing Grace" fills the room, I know I'll cry.

I keep saying that Mom is sewn into the fabric of my life but there are many friends around my with darning needles making sure I don't unravel. I will be fine.