Tuesday, August 29, 2023

One Last Death Blog. ( I Hope)

I sure do write about death a lot lately. I'm sorry. Apparently, I have a lot to say. 

I'm writing this one for two reasons. 

Number One: I really botched that obituary. I asked Nicole Strickland about one--Westlawn publishs them on their site without cost--but I still needed to write it before she could do that for us. Well, of course. She didn't know Mom's history, why would she? I felt the press of time, and I wrote it in about ten minutes before sending it by email. It wasn't until I saw one for a friend's father that I realized how badly I'd done it. Mine was sterile. 

Jody sent the last uninjured picture of Mom, and she searched until she found the sixties hottie picture of Mom in her single years. At least the photos looked good. For the record, the hand on her shoulder in the color photo is my father's. It was taken on an anniversary dinner outside of an Albert's Restaurant. It's the last good photo we got of her.  

Number Two: In my awkward defense, I wrote her a Eulogy where I felt that I would say what I needed to say to tell her story and honor her. We have stated that since we planned her Memorial for a Saturday, people may not be able to make it. Poor planning on my part, I'm sorry. It was a work related faux pas. I planned it for that day after making arrangements with my boss that I would not take on any weekend work. 

One cousin had a wedding, one had a night shift on Friday, combined with an intense project on the Sunday. More friends and family had work and predetermined plans that I would not ask them to cancel. Mom had little opportunity to make friends in Edmonton, and most of her friends lived out of the city and had health issues of their own. 

My Uncle Duane and Aunt Sandra made it, as did cousin Shawna. My cousin from Dad's side, Karen came too. Bestie Melaida was able to show up. Mom's friend Liz made a surprise visit. All were such a comfort. Thank you. 

We are so grateful for your love and condolences, EVERYONE.

There is a deer on her urn because mom loved deer. She used to drink her coffee on the deck at the acreage and just watch them graze from afar. Sometimes she could watch them right on her front lawn. I know she missed them when they moved to Barrhead. 

But I still wrote her the Eulogy she deserved, and I still want to share it with anyone who couldn't be there.  So here goes...

SIDE NOTE: In the interest of security, I deleted the picture of her urn, her full name and her dates. 

"Welcome everyone. This day finds us gathered together to say goodbye to Phyllis. She was a wife, mother, gardener and homemaker. She loved Gordon Lightfoot, The Rankin Family, and Keith Urban. She was also well known for her embroidery pieces.

She took her role as a housewife, and Dad’s partner very seriously, and later when our father started Lean Instrument Services, she took care of the all the paperwork and was involved other aspects such as the hiring of employees.

My mother also took a great deal of pride in making sure our home was clean and beautiful and that there was always a hot breakfast, hearty lunches and an appropriately timed supper. She once told me that since Dad worked hard to provide a roof over our heads and food on the table than it was her job to maintain the house and to feed us all. She always said that a man’s home is his castle and it should be a stress free place where he can be himself. She was Ukrainian, and therefore liked feeding those she loved.

Jody (Before she was vegan) and I really loved a breakfast of sausage strips and a grilled cheese sandwich, and anyone who ever worked with my father knew he only ever took toasted bacon and tomato sandwiches in his lunch. I always appreciated that she didn’t send wimpy sandwiches in our lunches either. I don’t like bread, and she tried to ensure that whatever the filling in the sandwich, it rivaled the bread ratio. I can still taste her ‘kabobs’. She would put cubes of spam and cheese, cherry tomatos and pickles on plastic stir sticks. Better than a sandwich any day.

She loved doing things for her family, the little details. In the winter, she timed our hot chocolate to when she knew Jody and I would arrive home. Speaking of little details... (Bring out the Barbie Blanket and talk about  it.) 

Does anyone know what this is? It's a homemade Barbie blanket. It's more than forty years old and she made one for Jody as well. I don't know why I kept it all these years, I just really loved and appreciated it.  (I passed it around and we discussed it a little. It had cross-stitched red roses and blue birds. The letter 'D' was embroidered in the center.) 

If you’ve ever been inside our house, you will remember embroidered pictures on the wall, perhaps even the famous peacock. How many versions of it are there in existence? No one knows for sure. She was a perfectionist and each edition was a little bit MORE perfect than the last—-But still not quite perfect enough for her liking.

Her hands are still now. No more arthritis. No more back pain, no more falls. No more illnesses. She’d been such a survivor, beating cancer, battling back from a stroke, a broken hip, and surviving Covid last Christmas, but it got to be too much to bounce back from. It was time to go.

As hard as it is to say goodbye, we can be glad her suffering is done. Mom was a spiritual person, and I know wherever she is, she’s no longer in pain. That’s the important thing. Today we say goodbye to Phyllis.  And now she is free."


Now that I have this off my chest, I intend to go back to editing Her True Name: Volume Three, and writing cat blogs. I don't know if I mentioned this but Her True name: Volume One was her absolute favorite book I'd written. To be honest, it hurts a bit to know she won't read Volume Three. She had a copy of Elaina's Fate, but never did get around to reading it. 

She didn't taste the tomato relish Jody made just for her. She didn't get to wear the brand new shirt I brought her the last day she fell. I'll never get to give her the wolf family on a bed of amethyst  that I bought her for Christmas. 

But that's what happens when you don't see death coming. We really did believe that she would come home from the hospital, and we'd discuss nursing homes. Maybe that's why she passed when she did. Her mother died in a nursing home. Maybe it was time for her to go before that happened to her. 

Sorry again for the death blog, but if you read my blog often enough, you know why I write them. And doesn't my mother deserve tributes too? 

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