While You Laughin’ We’re Passin’ Passin’ Away 

Stoic. Heartless. Cold blooded.  Emotionless. Indifferent. Uncaring. Reserved. Nonchalant. Apathetic. Matter of fact. Bitch. All names I’ve been called in the past that make complete sense to me now.

I received the call today. My grandma passed away a couple of hours ago. And I really, unfortunately don’t feel much towards the situation. And that in itself didn’t bother me, because I know myself. I knew I would have little to no reaction to her passing. Like I mentioned before, it’s life we’re living, and with that comes death. What bothered me though, was how little E responded to the news.

I explained it as sensitively as I could, while still not mincing the truth. Grandma was very sick, and in a lot of pain, and her body was no longer strong enough to fight anymore so she has now passed away and has died. That was enough to make little E tear up on the spot.

I guess I wasn’t expecting his reaction only because I wasn’t at all bothered by her death, but I’m learning that not everyone is like me. I’ve spent years learning how to control my emotional response to get it to where it is today, I can’t expect the same from a 6 year old. So it was a learning experience for me as a mom. How can I teach little E to deal with his emotions? And quite honestly… put on the spot like that was challenging.

I tried discussing it with him at first but I could just tell that he wasn’t listening, so I asked him if he wanted me to stop talking for a bit and just let him think it through a little, and he nodded yes. But as I let him sit for maybe 2 minutes, when I would look over I would see him tear up every so often and I knew this solution was not the right one, since he wasn’t getting any better.

I offered first off to give him a hug, which he didn’t want. So I asked him what did he want to do? Did he want to play basketball in his room with me? Thinking that could get some of the emotion/energy out. Nope he didn’t want to. Did he want to break something (willing to offer up a plate or something, since they’re all replaceable) Nope. Did he want to colour a picture and rip it up into a million pieces? Nope. Did he want to turn up the music really loud and dance super silly in the living room? Yep, we had a winner.

So the 3 of us walked to the living room where little E turned on the music and then just sat on the couch. Z and I started dancing and while I tried to encourage little E to join us twice, I knew he would only do it when he was ready. After a song or two he got up and grabbed a drawing board out of the toy bin and started just scribbling the whole thing black and wiping it off repeatedly. Then after about 10 minutes, he wrote out “mom can you guess if I’m happy / sad now” and handed me the board asking me to circle one.

I circled sad, and he nodded his head. I told him it’s completely ok to be sad because someone close to you has died. You shouldn’t be embarrassed because your sad. And it’s ok if these feelings last a little while. That’s ok. Just understand that you will not be sad forever. You are still alive. And even though everyone will die one day, you are still alive today. So be sad for now, because that’s ok. Cry for tonight because your great grandma died. But then remember one day it’s time to be happy again. Because you are still alive.

And he was good with that. It told him his feelings were valid. Because feeling pain is just as important as feeling joy. If you don’t feel your lows, your highs aren’t as impressive. So I felt I had an opportunity to teach him a valuable lesson about that tonight. But that conversation of course led way to everything else that the death conversation brings.

He learned about graveyards, funerals, cremation, ashes, Arizona, Phoenix Coyotes, cancer, chemotherapy, radiation, organ donation, organs in general, what the kidney does, who will take care of them if I have to go and take care of my mom when she’s dying…. it was a long and winding conversation (as they all are when a 3&6 year old are asking the questions). Part of which lead me to say that when we die our soul/spirit is no longer in the body, and we are just skin and bone remaining. To which little E said “so God can take grandma’s soul/spirit and put it into a new little baby!” which caught me off guard.

I recently been trying to tell my kids about as many different religions as possible so that when they have gathered as much information as they think is enough, they can make their informed decision about how they live their life regarding spirituality. I don’t want them to be ignorant, but I also don’t want them believing something, just because someone said it was the best for them. It’s a fine line. For myself, I’m not 100% sure what I believe about the afterlife. Mainly because I’ve never been dead before and so I can’t know for sure what happens when you die. I’d like to think at this point in time there’s a heaven because it sounds pretty enjoyable, better than a black nothingness or the hell option. But I don’t think I believe in reincarnation. Therefore, when little E made his comment, I had to check myself to make sure what I said didn’t influence his choices and growth. So I just nodded at him and said yeah maybe, and then maybe you might see a baby and it could be grandmas spirit. Or maybe in a bird or a flower. You might see grandma anywhere, then you don’t have to be sad about not seeing her until you die (something that had bothered him). Little E though through everything we had discussed and seemed to be much better about it all.

As for myself? I’m still surprised it affected him this much, but that’s just me. The cold-hearted bitch.


-Bone Thugs-N-Harmony/Tha Crossroads-

And If I Don’t Make It, Know That I Loved You All Along

My Grandma is dying. She was diagnosed less than two months ago with lung cancer that has spread like wild-fire into her spine and throughout her body. Chemo was a no go, because the cancer was too far gone, and Radiation has only been recommended to help shrink some of the larger tumours that are causing her so much pain she can’t even sit or stand, but not as a cure. She has deteriorated so quickly that as of this past Monday, she was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance while she had a heart attack, and is now being placed on palliative care.

In the simplest terms, she is waiting to die.

Death brings out the worst in everyone, and my mom has been trying her best to help, but things came to a head yesterday after she returned home from what could be her last time seeing her own mother. She spent the last week in BC, taking my grandma to and from the hospital and lawyers offices and cooking, and cleaning for her, all while watching the woman who raised her wilt away to nothing.

My grandma can’t do anything for more than 5-10 minutes before having to have a nap because she is drained from exerting any energy. So, my sisters, N & R and I figured we should plan a trip, sooner rather than later to go visit her one last time.

R asked me to look into flight costs and find the best price (since I’ve done the most travel and have the best experience with booking flights). BUT because of R’s busy life, she’s only available like 2 out of the next 16 days and she wants to go there and back on the same day. ALSO since she’s on a strict budget, she expects me to find return flights for under $200. Ummmm yeeeeah. Highly doubtful. So then she brings up the fact that she saw some deal for flights to “somewhere in BC for $49 so it should be fine!” Um, the flights you saw go to a city 4 hours from where we need to be?!? So she recommends that we fly there and rent a car and drive the rest of the way.

What? You wanna fly inbound, in the morning, drive 4 hours, visit for 10 minutes, drive back 4 hours, catch another flight and be home in time to put the kids to bed the same night? Like it would just be much simpler to just fly straight to the city we need to be in, even if it means spending a little more money, the PITA factor will more than make up for it.

I told her I would work on it, but in the end I found a flight for $269 that she thought was cool.  Either way, I’m good since my boss overheard the tail end of one of my calls with R and so I explained about my grandma and how I might need a day off next week and he was fine with that… SOOO cool in fact, that about 20 minutes later, he came by my desk and told me to let him know before I book my tickets because there might be some “arrangements” he can make. The co-owner of my company lives in the same place I have to go, and he said we can possibly write it off as a work trip saying I have to “meet” with the owner while I’m there for my 3 month review, and probably pay for it with points. So basically he’s willing to pay for my flight as a business expense, woo me!

But as it turns out, after all this arranging back and forth, looking for flights, rental cars, getting free trips from my boss, calls between sisters… turns out my grandma no longer wants to have any visitors.

She has asked that no body else comes to see her, since it’s becoming to overwhelming for her, and she’d rather people remember her as she was instead of how she is now, which I gather from my mom is pretty rough.

Ok, I totally get it. I don’t like people around when I’m sick, didn’t want people around when I gave birth. I don’t like indulging people to make them feel comfortable, I can only imagine how I would feel at that time in my life when I know I basically have nothing left time wise. Maybe I’d want to be surrounded by loved ones… but only if they were silent. I remember I screamed at the doctors to shut up when I gave birth, and then apologized profusely after lol. But sometimes just knowing people are there helps. You don’t need the nervous chitchat. You need peace, and you need people who can bring that peace into your life. And if they can be there with you at the end, then I would welcome them. If they want to try to settle they’re nerves and they’re uncomfortableness with death, then I don’t want them around me while I’m trying to die. Because I’m fine with death and dying. It’s part of life. Or more specifically it’s the end of life, but it’s something EVERYONE on this planet has in common. No matter how you lived, you will die. And I’m fine with that. I have no fear in death. When it’s done, it’s done. And when my grandma dies, I will obviously not be happy, but I will move on with my life, until I die. No, I’m not heartless, I’m just ridiculously practical and probably to logical for my own good.

My mom on the other hand, like most people, is not handling it well. When I called her yesterday to see how her trip went and how she was doing, it was definitely bad timing. When she answered the call I could hear some yelling in the background, and my mom walking into her room.

She’d just been going through a heated exchange with another family member that didn’t end pleasantly at the time.

I had to spend the next hour on the phone with my mom trying to talk to her about it all, explaining where she “might, possibly, slightly” have been wrong. Or actually she was right in her observations about the individual, but had not handled the situation well due to her emotional state.

Like I said, death brings out the worst in people.


-Our Lady Peace/4AM-