Flying Solo – Goodbye – Announcement

For those of you who haven’t heard, my beloved husband, Puppy, has left his suffering and me behind. He passed with me by his side on Wednesday, April 7th, and I buried him Friday, April 9th.

I’d managed to leave him Monday for a short time to run out and purchase our plots – and fulfilled his wish of being buried together one day. Then dashed home quickly, as I knew he was on days – possibly hours. I’ve been living in a fog ever since, just going through the motions, orchestrating the miniscule funeral service of only 15 allowed, thanks to the never-ending Covid that permanently resides in our city. Gratefully, we were allowed up to 50 at the burial service, but that didn’t make it any more comforting.

My husband was a great man, not just because I thought so, but because of every single person who knew him will tell you the same. He spent over half a century in the automotive business, and so many knew and respected him. I wish some of the many could have been at the service to speak more about this gentle giant of a man who really only stood 5′ 6″ tall. Again, Covid has taken so much away from his final parting, as it has for so very many people globally.

I can’t say a lot more right now, as my heart is scattered in just too many pieces. But I wanted to let you all know, as so many of you have been so loving and supportive through this horrendous journey of loss with me through messages, calls, cards and more. Your support has meant the world to me, so please know that.

As with what comes along with my loss, are the many legal issues to be taken care of in this upcoming week – banks, investments, government, insurance, and more. Not to mention,  I must complete income taxes. Not a pretty week ahead, then once I get all the paperwork done, I’ll begin cleaning out ‘our life’ accumulations and allow myself to grieve properly because I must continue to be stoic and keep my head in the game, and once I let myself fall apart, who knows when I will begin to rise again.

I do hope to be getting back to blogland in another week or so, once the must do’s are done. In the meantime, I’m going to share here what I posted on FB when he passed:

 

My heart is crushed for the passing of my Puppy. Covid restrictions have made this horrendous event even worse with only allowing 15 people at the funeral service that I know would have brought hundreds as he was loved by all who knew him. He was in the car business for over 50 years and respected and known by many in the industry. I will mourn in Shiva til Monday night at home with visitors coming by appointment, instead of the usual open door to any and all who wish to visit.

I have requested that any donations please be made to North York General Hospital palliative care unit, the doctors and nurses have been so wonderful to my husband for the past several years. Special mention to Dr. David Baron and his assistant Lisa, who went to bat for us many times over to get my husband into the hospital during Covid regulations, and to enable me to visit my husband every day he was in hospital for a few hours, despite the Covid rules of only 2 hours a week! Thank you to the LHIN health care and VHA provided by wonderful compassionate people with their staff and services. And thank you all for your most heartfelt condolences through messages and emails. And I promise when I catch my breath, I will return calls and reply.

My Puppy

 

Slippers

 

I keep them by your beside – for now.

I’m not ready to remove them, just as I was not ready for your removal from my life.

 

©DGKaye2021

angels

 

 

#BookReview – Tales from the Family Crypt – Deborah Carroll

book reviews

My Sunday book review introduces author Deborah Carroll and her memoir, Tales from the Family Crypt.

 

The Blurb:

 

What if your true story is more bizarre than fiction? This intriguing narrative nonfiction memoir reads like a compelling novel. Deborah Carroll and her husband Ned want to do what it takes to care for their aging parents and help them face death peacefully. Their difficult, dysfunctional, and despicable siblings want something else. They want to grab money and power. They are controlling people in situations beyond their control.

These siblings will stop at nothing to accomplish their missions. They will lie and cheat, they will take advantage of the dying; they will even break the law.

Ultimately it’s a love story that twists and turns with humor and insight about what makes or breaks the bonds of family. Deborah and her husband are compassionate people. They thought they had happy childhoods in normal families. They could not have predicted how low their adult siblings would go to get what they wanted. The death of aging parents can challenge even good families. In troubled families with any type of family rift, disputes over eldercare and inheritances can be astronomically distressing.

Thanks to a deep and abiding love and a resolute determination to do the right thing, Ned and Deborah are able to transcend the challenges and go on to live a wonderful life. A great read for anyone with a family.

 

Tales From The Family Crypt: When Aging Parents Die, Sibling Rivalry Lives by [Carroll, Deborah]

 

Get this book on Amazon

 

My Review – 5 Stars – Aging, Dying, Dysfunction and Overcoming

 

Many families have their own type of dysfunction. In this book, Carroll shares her stories of just some of the things many of us can relate to with dysfunction. Carroll takes us in by demonstrating the traits in her family members that contributed to their chaotic personalities by the actions they took.

The book encompasses aging and dying parents and what some families endure throughout the process. From the broken relationship the author has with her sister, to putting up with her husband’s sibling’s distorted versions of love and compassion when dealing with the inevitable death of their mother, dysfunct abounds from many angles.

The element of toxic relationships is brought to the forefront in this story, and although sad in many ways, the author manages to keep her sanity and marriage intact throughout all of it. I commend Carroll for her stamina, and I especially liked the ending when she explained her feelings and perceptions about the people she wrote about. A must read for anyone dealing with these issues.

 

Check out Debby’s other books HERE

Anne R. Allen’s Blog: What Happens to Your Blog when You Die? Why You Need to Appoint a Social Media Executor NOW

reblogging I love following the blog of Anne R. Allen. Anne is an author, and a well-known blogger for sharing up-to-date tips and helpful articles for writers on what’s current in the publishing world.

 

I thought it was important to share this post because it raises a question about what happens to a writer’s works and social media platforms if they were to die? This is a subject nobody ever really wants to think or talk about, but if left without consideration, we’d be leaving a little unfinished business behind and quite possibly a whole heap of royalties, if we are published authors.

 

Click on Anne’s link below, and get a wealth of information to protect yourselves and your loved ones in the event our inevitable end should arise.

 

Source: Anne R. Allen’s Blog: What Happens to Your Blog when You Die? Why You Need to Appoint a Social Media Executor NOW

Waiting — Stolen Hours

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I have been around death more times than I’d like to remember. My Aunty Lee was given her death sentence in early January of this year—two to three weeks to live – suddenly, out of the blue, after a random visit to the doctor, complaining about occasional stomach aches.

It’s now mid-April, and up until the last week, that iron woman was still laughing and talking with us, albeit with fading energy, and yet never with a mention of her impending fate. Her favourite things she had left to look forward to were visits from her loved ones, and eating, yes eating. She craved delicious meals, her only want in her palliative state.

My sister and I visit her regularly, as well as her two pillars that are always by her side; her daughter and granddaughter. With each visit we all like to bring her something tasty, something for her to look forward to. In these past few days, she’s lost her passion for food and the desire to speak.

I’ve witnessed all the stages, too many times, from living, to the preparation for the journey into the next world. The appetite diminishes, words become less frequent, but most of all, the light begins to subside from their eyes. These are some of the signs that tell me the journey to the other side is in commencement.

 

Many people, including myself, get antsy—that uncomfortable feeling within of helplessness, when we no longer feel that there is anything satisfactory enough we can do to make our ill loved ones comfortable. We have only to go by what we know of them; their habits, facial expressions, the type of smile they may give us, or the moments of their spawned tears, to decipher what they are feeling. We remind them how much we love them, and we are gifted in those precious moments when they utter a word to us; especially when they say your name and tell you once again, that they love you, in the midst of their long silences.

 

I can sense my aunt’s humility of her situation, although she never once complained. Her conversations with us now begin to fade mid-sentence, with limited strength to speak, leaving us pondering what it is she wants to say. It is so very sad to watch, and often when I’m there, I feel like fleeing while my heart aches for her demise. I don’t want to be part of it. It hurts to watch my aunt become a former shell of herself. But each time I feel that urge, I think about how much more my aunt doesn’t want to be enduring it herself. And so I stay.

 

I sit and watch her and replay all the good times with her. I speak with her in hopes that she may engage me back with conversation, or that I can at least offer her conversation. Yet, at the same time, I struggle with my curiosity, wondering if I’m infringing on her quiet moments as I natter on about insignificant things.

Sometimes my aunt will take herself out of her silent trance and mention the name of a dead loved one; a sister or brother, or her lost child. She then asks when one of them are coming to visit her. I believe this is the stage where the journey begins to the other world. It feels to me as though my aunt has one foot here on earth and the other in heaven. Perhaps her loved ones are calling for her as they await her arrival.

These are some of the things I’ve witnessed quite a few times, and though I have no confirmation that it is so, I truly believe. I am honoured that my cousin had asked me to write a eulogy. It was a painful thing to do, and something I had never undertaken. But I am grateful that I get to share all of my aunt’s wonderful qualities, and strengths from the hurdles she overcame in her life – the important things for her to be remembered by.

 

 

I don’t know all that is rolling around my aunt’s head as she lay in silence most of the day now, even with eyes wide open. In my sixth sense sort of way, and with my empathy, I feel her gratitude for us loving her, her sadness to leave her family, her fear of the unknown, and her desire now to be let go.

 

I’ve written a poem here depicting what I sometimes feel she is thinking.

 

Tick tock goes my soul,

Halfway there, no longer whole.

I see a world full of love here, yet I’m lost in the past,

The time to leave – the now, is approaching fast.

My vibrant eyes once expressed delight,

Are tired now, no longer shine my inner light.

Embodied in a physical shell,

A mere existence from a life I once felt.

My heart so filled with love does keep me here,

I have nothing left to offer, but the occasional tear.

I feel the tug of heaven’s call,

I must go soon, I love you all.

 

D.G. Kaye ©April 2015

#Fear Series— #Aging and Sickness

 

life, death and fear

I felt it when I was a child; and that feeling still won’t escape me.

My great anxiety comes over me when I’m around very sick or old people. I cringe inside with fear. When I was young, I didn’t want to be near these people; I didn’t understand why, but as I grew up, I realized that I felt melancholy when around the aged or sick. I felt sad for them because they were no longer young and agile, or felt well enough to be free from their afflictions of old age and/or sickness because they were being held back from the things they once loved to do.

I got too familiar with death and saying good-bye to loved ones by the age of sixteen. Since I was sixteen, for the next fourteen years, sporadically, the hits just kept on coming. I looked after my maternal grandfather when he came to live with us after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, and a subsequent leg amputation. I’d make him tea, and some evenings we played gin-rummy together. All the while, my heart hurt for the pain he was suffering, stoic, and without complaint. Not long after his death, I lost an uncle, a grandmother, my dear aunt who was like a mother to me, and then my own father. In between these deaths, I’d watched them all deteriorate through suffering illness. I sat at many bedsides, visited too many hospitals and been to way too many funerals for my young age.

Throughout my life, I questioned myself as to why I felt so unsettled around the sick and the old, and once again, those feelings have come back to visit.

Five months ago, I buried my mother, and just over two months ago, my mother’s last remaining sibling, my Aunty Lee, who seemed remarkably spry and healthy at the age of seventy-six, went for a routine colonoscopy. The doctor discovered what was supposed to be some sort of minor obstruction and booked her into the hospital a few weeks later to have a simple laparoscopy to repair the blockage. Once they probed inside of her, they found numerous stomach tumors and closed her up. She awoke after the surgery with her natural optimism, thinking that she had been repaired, only to be greeted by her doctor who informed her that she had three weeks to live. I can’t even try to imagine what went through her head when she was handed down a death edict after waking from what she thought was minor surgery from a symptomless diagnosis. But stoic as always, she swallowed her lumps and began to get her affairs in order.

Within days, the ongoing pain that developed had landed her into palliative care. That once brazen, self-sufficient woman, who had conquered so many hurdles in her life and never once complained through any of them, had resolved herself to her demise without a tear in her eye, or a “Woe is me” attitude. That rock is my Aunty Lee. And two and a half months have now passed, and she is still with us. With all her medication and woe, she still smiles and tells us how much she loves us at every visit. She still takes in joy every day with her loved ones. I will never know of all of what goes on in her head, but I know that I still can’t wrap my head around her demise.

Every time I visit her, as I walk the halls of the Baycrest Center for the aged and palliative, that old, unsettled feeling of age and death still looms deep within me. I know that part of my discomfort is because of my empathetic feelings I get for these people. I feel sad for them when I think about how their lives are coming to an end. Sometimes I can almost imagine their pain.

I think I’ve come to understand the unsettledness within me. I believe that it’s my own fears that get heightened when I’m surrounded by inevitable aging and death. I begin to question my own mortality. And I find myself praying harder and faster to God that I will never have to wind up ending my days in sickness, away from my own home.

 

I think that being all too familiar with sickness and death has the propensity to engrave these fears into our minds. I know the secret is to find a way to overcome these fears. Admittedly, I have yet to master this.

 

D.G. Kaye ©April 2015

Guilt

 

angel sleep

“Words may lay heavy; but guilt is the heavier burden” – D.G. Kaye

 

I have just learned that my mother is on her way to the next world. I pray it’s a better place for her. I always knew my day of reckoning would come, but never anticipated the roller coaster of emotions that would come with it.

I thought by writing my book Conflicted Hearts, that it would help me digest my life with my mother, yet I am now confronting emotions that I was sure I had put into a perspective where I knew how to handle the situation when finality was approaching. I don’t.

In these moments I’m juggling and am somehow petrified. There is a lot to this process of unsettled death. A daunting process of putting my emotions in a place where they can live comfortably.

 

 

I Wish

I wish we could have been friends.

I wish you could have been my mother.

I wish you weren’t so bitter and could have found your way out of your sorrow and depression, instead of hiding in a damaged ego, surrounding yourself from yourself and everyone else.

I wish you would have allowed yourself to be loved.

I wish I could have known what drove you to your sadness.

I wish all my years of trying to make you see happiness would have succeeded.

I wish you didn’t have to suffer.

I wish you peace.

Addendum: I wrote this post yesterday October 28th. Today is October 29th. My mother has passed. Please excuse my absence for the next few days while I will be out of my home, sitting “Shiva” at my brother’s house until next Monday as is the custom in my religion.

mother's obituaryMay you find peace in your soul mother. God rest your soul.

Live Your Dreams

 

live dreams

I’ll tell you, it’s getting frightening already, hearing about so many people dying, left, right and young! I don’t know what this damn phenomena is about, so many people dying at precarious young ages from horrible illness. Just the other day I told my husband that it is almost like a lottery for those of us who are spared from fatal diseases and whose name is chosen for these fates. This is just not even normal or fair.

As a person who has lived through her own share of near fatal illnesses, I never take my life for granted. And I say it all the time . . . LIFE IS SHORT so why not live it to its fullest potential? So many of us put our dreams and hopes off for tomorrows—tomorrows that sometimes never come. I used to be a lot like some of those people. No matter how much I seemed to spread my positivity around, I too got caught in that realm of “maybe someday I will do . . . ” But I’ve since decided I am not going to wait around for the chips to fall, I am making my own path to my desires and I’m going after them!

It’s so easy for us to become complacent and lost in keeping up with the every day tasks in life and brushing our desires to the wayside until we find we have the time or money to squeeze those pleasures into our life. Things don’t usually fall into our laps, we have to go after them and make them happen. And so that is just what I am doing, working on my dreams.

 

 

We must set goals to attain what we want and where we want to be in order for them to come to fruition. It’s no different than being a writer at home writing books. If we don’t apply ourselves and give ourselves deadlines, the time passes much too quickly. Sure it would be easy to say I’ll write when I have the time and one day I’ll finish another book but that isn’t motivating enough for me so I give myself deadlines to adhere to and then I have a goal that I have to meet which keeps the spark of interest. I said I will have three books out within a year and by golly I fully intend to have my third book finished (I’m halfway through rough draft) and published before this year ends. The same applies to the things I want out of life. I decided I have to reach a little higher to obtain what I want and if that means extending a ladder as high as it can reach, I’m climbing it!

It becomes a matter of rearranging priorities. And I’ve finally decided it’s time to move the furniture around. Yes, I’m comfortable in my cozy home and lucky to be able to write as much as I can without interruption. But what I really want is to live somewhere else for the winter, Arizona in particular. canyon 033 I have always had an inner feeling that is where I belong, I’m a desert girl at heart. I truly believe I lived there in another life as when my foot steps on Arizona/Nevada soil, only then do I feel in my heart that I am home, a feeling I never have any time I return to Toronto after being away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to give up my citizenship but I certainly wouldn’t miss the brutal winters. As my husband grows older he has been longing to make this change as well. It’s something that we’ve both been figuring out to find a way to make it happen and we figure in about another year we can. So as a start to our commitment to plan for our dream to happen, we having booked a lovely vacation this fall in Arizona for a little R and R and we have plans to visit some properties with an agent. canyon 023 We are considering selling our home and investing the equity and renting a condo to free us up to be able to travel somewhere else for an extended period of time. We may buy or may rent a place in the desert for the winter months. So that’s my plan. Talk is cheap. We kept saying, one day, one day, well we are going to make one day happen soon!

 

 

It’s nice to dream but nicer to live it!

DGKaye©2014

DENIAL – HOPE AND ACCEPTANCE – LOSS #Death

angel sleep

I love to come here to my space and share my thoughts with all of you and athough I am always sincere and sometimes opinionated, I don’t often share my deepest feelings of inner conflict here. As time progresses though, I have noticed that many bloggers sometimes do share their woes and bear their souls out loud with no regard for judgement or embarrassment  when exposing their raw feelings. Bloggers are like having an extended circle of family-like friends. We speak freely and receive feedback with encouragement and support for one another. So it is with this realization I have decided to share a bit of what is going on in my life.

 

I suppose that only now I feel comfortable talking about a tender topic of terminal illness. Perhaps after having read many articles and books on grieving and loss, particularly the writings of two writer friends works that I respect: The blog of Elaine Mansfield who writes on bereavement and author Carol Balawyder – Mourning has Broken, it has helped to open up and share.

If any of you have read my book – Conflicted Hearts, you will have read how I encountered great losses in my life when I lost my aunt who was like a mother to me and  also the loss my dear father. I don’t pretend to know anyone’s pain in loss because only those who walk in the shoes of grief can truly know how it feels. Nonetheless, I am a very empathetic person and I get very sad when I hear of or am around others who are suffering.

Although I don’t have any biological children of my own, my husband of fifteen years  has four daughters and although they still have their mother and we are all within four years apart in age, I am friends with them all and refer to them all as my step-daughters.

I couldn’t even pretend to know the pain of the possibility of losing a child; certainly I would consider that the worst death to grieve of all. No matter how old a child grows to be, it is still always somebody’s child.

We found out that my step-daughter Sue had the dreaded cancer, last July, just after her birthday. My husband is the type of man who doesn’t like to talk about bad things and if you didn’t know him, you would wonder how he couldn’t talk about his sad feelings and worries and still appear as though nothing is wrong. But I know him well. HIs mind is always going, always worrying about something, he is very driven. If there is any way to make something work, he will find it. If he can’t, he will carry his frustration within.

I have managed through the years to learn how to break into his thoughts and I know how to handle him with kid gloves in delicate situations. But I have had to make some tough decisions these past few weeks about how much I knew about his daughter’s situation and how much I wanted him to know. His faith in Sue’s healing has never unfaltered. He never believed anything other than she could beat the disease. I speak often with another daughter and we both saw the signs of unhappy things to come with her sister’s prognosis. I worry about my husband’s health and didn’t want to break his faith. I agonized over wanting to tell him the reality and burst his balloon of hope to ease the fall or to let him feel optimistic in his belief and then have to watch him crash.

His daughters and I agreed that he didn’t need the details so he wouldn’t have to worry more than he already was. As Sue remained stoic and didn’t care to talk about the inevitable, things have been drastically sliding. There are no treatments left for her and she has gotten to ill to take on a grueling round of experimental medicine. Her fragile body could not take the pummeling that she would have had to endure when the doctors hoped she may have been up to when the procedure was first introduced. Although Sue has an amazing hopeful attitude and never gives up hope, her body retaliates. She has been in and out of the hospital for several weeks now and relies on morphine to combat her pain. Even though her lymphoma had spread through her body she still had many days when she is still just simply – Sue. She never complains or laments “Why me?” and continued to push herself to go out with her friends and live.

My husband would beam with light when he’d see her and he’d say with such certainty how strong she is and his belief wouldn’t let him feel anything but that she would beat it. I questioned myself many times whether or not this was his hope or if it was denial; but I dared not ask. He never hid the fact that his daughter had cancer from anyone and he’d always add that she looks good and is fighting back.

A few days ago when he returned from visiting Sue in the hospital, my husband came home wearing a defeated new look on his face. I already knew Sue was getting much worse but I asked him how she was doing and he looked at me with a calmness and replied, “My daughter is dying.”

While I fought my tears back, I asked him to update me on what I had already known. My heart ached for him hearing him admit those words of surrender. Knowing he was trying desperately not to cry, and feeling my own grief for Sue, in that moment I couldn’t even begin to feel his pain.

In these past few days, the situation has become grave. My step-daughter is living on borrowed days. Now I just pray for strength for Sue and my husband to get through and for me to have strength to help keep him together through this very sad journey. I pray for God to give me the right words to say when the moment comes, to keep my husband here with the living as a part of his soul dies with his daughter.

As I go through this journey and go through all the cascading emotions it really makes me wonder how fine that line between life and death is and how life becomes an oxymoron. At first we pray and hope for wellness and cures and suddenly the switch flips and we find that everything we have prayed so hard for is no longer valid because when we watch that person suffer so badly and realize there is no hope, our prayers for life suddenly become prayers for God to take them safely out of their suffering.

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There was a scene from the movie ‘Steel Magnolias’ that always tugged at my heart no matter how many countless times I had seen the movie. When M’Lynn’s daughter Shelby passed on and M’Lynn lost her composure at the gravesite she said:

“I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine.

I’m fine! I can jog all the way to Texas and back, but my daughter can’t! She never could! Oh God! I am so mad I don’t know what to do! I wanna know why! I wanna know *why* Shelby’s life is over! I wanna know how that baby will *ever* know how wonderful his mother was! Will he *ever* know what she went through for him! Oh *God* I wanna know *why*? *Why*? Lord, I wish I could understand!

No! No! No! It’s not supposed to happen this way! I’m supposed to go first. I’ve always been ready to go first! I-I don’t think I can take this! I-I don’t think I can take this! I-I just wanna *hit* somebody ’til they feel as bad as I do! I just wanna hit something! I wanna hit it hard!”

 

D.G. Kaye 2014