Friday, July 24, 2009

The Long Road

I looked at her face and I could tell that she was really trying hard not to let me see her fear. Even in her diminished mental state she was more concerned for me, her daughter, than she was for herself. She was trying to make the most of this temporary situation. I'm sure she was afraid I would never come back and get her ever again and that she would live the rest of her days in this God forsaken place. Actually, the place was Holyrood Manor and it was a lovely and bright place - much nicer than some I'd been in over the years. The staff were friendly and cheery and her room looked out over the front parking lot so that she could sit in her chair and see who was coming and going. She had her own TV and washroom. We had brought her pictures and her memory album so that she could look at it and remember, because new situations always made her more confused.

My mother, who will be 89 this November, came to live with me 11 years ago. She was reasonably healthy, having just gone through a bout of breast cancer. My biggest fear was that she would become ill and no one would be there to help her. But rather than having some big deal with more cancer or a heart attack, my mom has developed dementia. Four years ago a stroke made sure that her mind would never be her own again and little tiny strokes are stealing her memories and abilities one by one.

However, even though she calls me Norah sometimes (her sister's name) I know she knows I'm her daughter. In the morning she knows I'm her baby girl, her one and only girl. By evening she wants to know when she's going home and where is Dad. Then I have to tell her the news all over again that Dad is gone, he passed away 28 years ago now. You can tell by the look on her face that this is a painful revelation. It breaks my heart every time.

It's all I can do these days to remain strong for her. I'm beginning to break under the strain of looking after her while holding down a full time job and having two young boys at home. But she is so dependent on me and I'm her safety net. All she wants is to be with her family and it breaks my heart to think of placing her in a nursing home. Whatever happens, I know that God will look after us both and that He will give us wisdom and guidance.

When I went to pick her up she was sitting in the dining room with three other ladies. One of them was giving the LPN a really hard time and cursing at her. My mom and the other two ladies were just sitting there, trying not to acknowledge the outburst. I came up behind her and leaned around to give her a kiss on the cheek. She cried out in surprise! When she realized I was there to take her home her reaction was priceless. She got up and looked at all the ladies and said, "Well, good bye ladies. It was nice to meet you and I hope I never see you again!"

I love that woman!

grace... Kathie

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I’ve been thinking about fences lately. Why? Well, the camp built one behind our trailer and its caused me to ponder the purpose of good fences.

First, they give you privacy. No one can see through a fence, unless it is a lattice fence, like the one they put up behind our trailer. But to see through you’d have to go up to the fence and peer through the lattice work to actually see. That would be rude, wouldn’t it? Would anyone in their right mind, other than Gladys Kravitz, do something like that?

Second, fences keep people out, although someone could climb over. That would be awkward though and most people, aside from unruly 11 year old boys, respect them.

Third, they keep things in. If you have a dog a fence is a good idea because, unless the dog is a tireless digger, they’ll stay in a fenced yard.

I finished at three. I don’t want there to be too many more reasons than that to like fences. I like openness and vulnerability, it appeals to me as a quality. Except that after a while a life without fences can become difficult to manage. If anyone can see in, come in and anything can leave… well, let’s just say that kind of life quickly becomes one of constant activity and can spiral down into chaos.

And while fences have their uses – I like the lattice kind. You can see a bit through it, but not completely. It’s a fence that is kind of inviting.

It says, come and see if I’m home – but don’t bombard me with your presence.
It says, come and knock and let me invite you in.
It says, I’m open to visiting with you, but with limitations.

Sometimes, we need fences like this in our lives. Our work can crowd our lives and worm its way into our home life. Friends can barge in without an invitation and intrude into time that we need to reserve for recharging or feeding our souls. Even family can make demands on us that can seem reasonable but drain us of our energy.

They say fences make good neighbours.

I think they help people stay healthy as well.

And so I think I'll spend some time building some fences... lattice ones, I think.

grace... Kathie

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

As I write I'm sitting here watching the memorial service, listening to the tributes in word and song, I'm reminded that Michael Jackson was much more than what the tabloids and media fed to us. The irreverent names, the lawsuits, the criminal charges, the surgeries... his eccentricities... convinced many that he was crazy, weird... Wacko.

I grew up to the tunes of Michael and danced my heart out to the beat of his music. His poster adorned my walls as a young teen along with Donny Osmond and so many others cut out of Teen magazine. I remember Ed and I attending the Jackson concert at Maple Leaf Gardens - the Victory Tour - it was outstanding! I don't think I ever enjoyed a concert more than that one.

To those who did not grow up loving his music and following his career perhaps wouldn't understand the way that many feel about him. But he was important to our world, the world we grew up in.

Today, they are remembering the good things that he did. They're remembering the things that he accomplished. They're remembering the giving to charity - he gave more to charity than any other pop star. They're remembering the legacy of music that he left us. Through his music we heard him grow, then we heard him blossom, then we heard him change, then we heard him express his journey, then we heard his anguish and pain... he showed us that he was just a man.

Michael believed in God. He struggled to find the right way to express this belief and remained on his journey. The children of Martin Luther King spoke about how he called their mother when she was dying and told her how he had been praying for her. I think he spent his life seeking God. He was on a journey. No matter what we thought of him through the tabloid feeding frenzy, you cannot deny that he had a huge impact he had on our world, on the people that he touched .

I know he made my life much more full because of his musical contribution.

I will always remember him.

I will always dance to his music and when I can't dance anymore, I know my heart will remember .

I will pray for his children that they will find peace and that God will bless them.

May God bless his family and those that knew him personally and who are grieving a lost son, brother, good friend...

I hope in His journey that he found God, because I know that God loved Michael Jackson.
Heal The World
Make It A Better Place
For You And For Me
And The Entire Human Race
There Are People Dying
If You Care Enough
For The Living
Make A Better Place
For You And For Me
Lord, heal the world, and let me be a part of that work...

Farewell, Michael.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

A Growing Family

Life never ends up the way you thought it would. You have a picture in your mind as you go along - when your children are young, of course! Then as they grow and mature, they make up their own story - and it changes yours. I never thought I would be a grandmother at 41 never mind a grandmother of 8 at 50! I pictured my daughters going off to university, then establishing a career and then getting married and having children starting right about.... well, now.

However, in a healthy family, each child gets to determine how they'll follow God's plan for their life when they come of age. Parents never really know what to expect when it comes to their kids. So as I experience the reality of being a Nana so early while still having young boys at home, I sense the hand of God in all of this. God is leading us on a journey and it's going in a different direction than we thought it would. It affects our life in so many ways - the direction of our work and vocation, our retirement, how we spend our time... everything changes.

That's not always a bad thing.

Enjoy the pictures... Kathie

Papa's Girls Sydney & Alethea (& baby Lily)

Mailea & Nana

Mailea, Sydney & Bronwyn blowing raspberries!

Bronwyn Sheena Anne born March 19th, 2009

Naomi Kathryn June born June 27th, 2009

... And now a reprieve.... till the next one gets married and starts having children. How many will we end up with? Who knows....

Want to make a guess?