Thursday, July 21, 2022


Sometime in the late hours of July 20, 1998, my mother, then aged 59, went to bed. Riddled with cancer, she had been given mere months to live. She had called her siblings and their father and me and confirmed her weekly chemotherapy appointment.

My mention of  recommended hospice care rendered her belligerent. She brooked no discussion of end of life arrangements, flatly claiming she wasn't dying. This ostrich-in-the-sand approach left me exhausted and was an indication of the depth of her fear, I knew. Our weekly phone calls had became exercises in dodge and dive. She dodged every question put to her, forcing me to simply dive into the small cadre of friends who accompanied her to appointments for information and to remind her yet again to give her doctors a letter giving me permission to speak with them.

The letter appeared a mere three days prior to her falling into a peaceful sleep and slipping away. She was found by the friend who was to drive with her to the chemo appointment. Living in another city, news of her death reached me on the evening of July 21, a rainy night as I returned home from work. The sheriff and coroner had counted medications, determining that there was no obvious evidence of overdose. With the doctor's signature and a finding of death by natural causes, I saw no reason to ask for an autopsy, focusing instead on her end-of-life desires which were part of her Will.

I was two weeks from my thirty-ninth birthday and left to sort our tangled, sometimes turbulent history amid  goodbye...

As I reflect on her life this night, I am reminded of both her much darker side and instances from my earliest childhood when I would sometimes catch her dancing to the popular songs of the time in our apartment or the small house we occupied prior to her second marriage or our singing together to the car radio on the way to school  for the three years I attended the school at which she taught.  I can't hear any sixties music without calling her to mind. My love of books and reading, my cats and other animals, the beach and a varied palate, all stem from her influence.

We, however, were otherwise so dissimilar that it rankled her. An introvert and bullied as a kid, I sought the quiet refuge of my room when not at school, and often found myself on the end of demands to make more friends, wear this not that, do this not that,  because don't you know you are a reflection of me? and myriad other things which only worsened with time.

Beyond this was a woman with expectations and a strong need for control who frequently lost patience and her temper, taking her anger out on me, often to the point that my stepfather, whom no-one would ever describe as a softy as a seasoned military officer, had to intervene...

Dying at home and gently in her bed was a mercy few with widespread cancer are granted. I hope she was finally at peace.

On this date every year a small candle burns, and I reflect on our

time together and the hard-won tranquility and gratitude that is now my own.

Monday, July 18, 2022


 Having just received my new voter registration card, I decided to see whether my standing request for a mail in ballot is still in effect and to my great relief, it is. One less thing to worry about!! 

I hope all of those who can will vote. August 23 is not far off and given the state of my State as well as the country, I'm looking forward to casting my vote and being able to track my ballot to see it counted.

Lukas is having a good day and got his fluids early. We await rain. Otherwise. a quiet Monday of correspondence and paying bills.


Saturday, July 16, 2022

UPs and DOWNs...

 Three weeks ago I was awakened by Lukas scrabbling madly in his litter box, As the morning fog cleared the brain, I realized he was having difficulty and called to alert his vet, forgetting that she was on vacation until the following week. What transpired over the next few hours led me to beg a friend to take a very grumpy feline to a veterinary emergency clinic nearby. She did so and was seen while I was contacted regarding cost and sedation for a de-ostipation procedure. He was so uncomfortable that sedation was the only way to handle Lukas. Risk was involved because of his vascular/cardiac issue so I spent a restless night not knowing whether he would come home. Fortune smiled on both of us as the majority of his bill was covered by insurance and he came back happily relieved of the giant poo ball clogging his rectum. He now gets 2ml of lactulose with his meals and subcu fluids at the vets three times per week. He is for the most part happy and affectionate but also  requires three daily meds which he takes in flavored pill pockets and considers treats.

The head tech at the cat hospital he normally goes to decided, on the day of the vets return to let her know that Lukas was down a pound in weight via text. This was followed by a request for blood and urine samples and a decision to give Lukas lactulose in the office because the small bottle from the emergency clinic was still in the bag. All of these decisions and actions were done without a word to me which left me furious. That only increased when Lukas left a small lake of red blood in his box later in the day. The bottle in the bag has been removed and I now leave verbal warnings not to medicate him in the office when he visits. I even called a recommended Mobile Vet but she is not set up to come here three times per week for his fluids. In the meantime I've had to hire a second pet transport person because the first is taking a month off in September...

The new person is experienced, licensed and bonded and has a cats-only pet sitting concern. She has been reliable and kind to my cat, a win for us both.