kshandra: Cover artwork from Trans Siberian Orchestra's "The Christmas Attic" (Christmas)
(crossposted, with minor edits and one addition, from a thread on my B'man village's board)

It's gonna be a really lean $WINTERHOLIDAY for us. Whiny, and bordering on passive-aggressive. Feel free to skip. )
kshandra: figurine of a teddybear seated at an office desk, looking at a computer (MatchItforPratchett)
The more fannish among my readers will remember the announcement last December that Terry Pratchett had been diagnosted with early-onset Alzheimer's. He followed that earlier this week with a $1M donation to the Alzheimer's Research Trust in the UK. It didn't take too long for the idea of matching the donation to hit the blogosphere.

The announcement that Pterry had made his contribution hit my f'list on the first anniversary of Aunt Mary's passing. As those of you who were reading me then may recall, she was three weeks shy of her 99th birthday, and was blessed with a fully-functional body and brain until the very end. Her sister, my great-grandmother, was not so lucky...she spent her last five years on this earth descending into senile dementia, trapped inside her own mind for those final 18 months.

After Nana's passing, her daughter (my Grammy) stated on more than one occasion that she didn't want to "end up like her;" sadly, this became a self-fulfilling prophecy, and she has been in a residential facility specializing in Alzheimer's and dementia care for several years now. So it's no real surprise that I read the announcement, heard about the challenge, and found that my wallet felt a little heavy....

The drive to match Pterry's contribution now has its own home online - http://www.matchitforpratchett.org/ - and an RSS feed, available here as [livejournal.com profile] pratchettmatch. The site links to a shop where you can buy shirts with the logo featured in my icon, with all proceeds going to the Alzheimer's Research Trust; the site maintainer is collecting links for Alzheimer's charities around the world, if you want your money to stay closer to home. I made my own contribution to the Alzheimer's Association here in the US; if you plan on doing the same, I humbly suggest you use the Tribute link, and note that your contribution is in honor of Match It For Pratchett. It's not perfect (there's only room to note one honor/memorial, so you can't mention that AND a family member or friend), but it would be nice to see how many contributions the other organizations outside the UK receive.
kshandra: long-haired woman silhouetted against a stormy sky (Bad)
Left LA around 11ish this morning; arrived at Offhand Manor about an hour ago. I drove the entire route, after [livejournal.com profile] murphymom and #1 Son split driving duties on the way down. (As I noted to both of them, I spent eight years driving 8-10 hours a day for a living - and always ended up back where I started. So this was an improvement.)

The funeral was..."lovely" seems an inappropriate word, but it's the best one I've got. It went much better on an emotional level than I had feared it might. The rest of the trip, OTOH.... I am so not ready to discuss what happened yet; suffice it to say it involved an Emergency Room visit and very little sleep last night. [livejournal.com profile] kor27 is a Hero of the Revolution for having been my sanity anchor after [livejournal.com profile] gridlore had to go to sleep; honorable mention goes to [livejournal.com profile] firestrike for fielding the first round of panicky text messages until he had to turn in as well.

Before I left work on Friday, I let my supervisor know that there was a possibility I wouldn't be in tomorrow; I'm emailing her to let her know that has now become definite, because I am certainly in no frame of mind to be dealing with people yet.
kshandra: figurine of a teddybear seated at an office desk, looking at a computer (Clefs)
But first, this important announcement:

I am leaving for Los Angeles Sunday, March 18. I return to San Jose Tuesday, March 20. If you are in the area, and I expect (or am hoping) to see you, I will be emailing you pertinent information after I finish posting this. I will not have access to a computer for the duration of the trip; I do not expect to have the energy or time to catch up with anything posted to LJ during that time. If my opinion on a given subject is of vital import to you, mail me a link and I'll do my best to answer it when I get back, but don't expect anything resembling a rapid response.

Now the meme, and then sleep. )
kshandra: Butterfly-shaped pewter paperweight, engraved with the Serenity Prayer (Serenity)
[livejournal.com profile] murphymom called me while I was in SF tonight at a Burning Man meeting; the funeral is Monday at 1pm. We're driving down Sunday and driving back Monday, possibly leaving directly from the cemetary (yes, my mother's crazy, but we knew this). I'll be taking Monday and Tuesday off from work, since I will clearly be in no condition to think the next day, no matter how quickly we make it back to the Bayarrhea; I'm giving serious thought to enhancing this by having Mom drop me at the bar (she has to return [livejournal.com profile] n_1_n and the minivan to San Mateo, anyway, so she'll be driving right past it). [livejournal.com profile] kor27 has already said he'd be happy to pour me into the Short Bus at the end of the night and take me home if I choose to do this. I will probably not take the opportunity to get obliterated, but being around friends and chosen-family that evening will be a good thing, methinks.

More later; my alarm goes off in five hours.
kshandra: Close-up of a single lit candle against a black background (Candle)
I had a feeling, as I was pulling into the garage on my way home from work. And when [livejournal.com profile] gridlore immediately stood up as I opened the door, I knew. [livejournal.com profile] murphymom had called earlier, but told him to wait till I was home to tell me. As I noted to her on the phone when I called back, it wasn't though she was going to be any less dead.

As you might guess from the last statement, I'm in a really bizarre headspace right now. She asked me not to cry for her; I'm actually doing pretty well so far on that score. We'll see how long that lasts.

We are now at the mercy of the booking department at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills; the service could be this weekend, or it could be Tuesday. [livejournal.com profile] charlottesmtms, email me your number so I can give you a holler once I'm in the area.
kshandra: Butterfly-shaped pewter paperweight, engraved with the Serenity Prayer (Serenity)
Just spent half an hour in chat with [livejournal.com profile] murphymom and the Sk8rgrrl, discussing contingencies. We were supposed to be driving her back to school as part of the trip at the end of the month; she's on break the week of the 26th. With everything currently going on, I made the suggestion that we come down to get her at the start of her break, rather than the end. It all depends, of course, on when the northern contingent actually needs to be in SoCal...which we won't know until there's a definitive change for better or worse in Aunt Mary's condition.

It sucked to be chatting under these particular circumstances, but I haven't actually talked to her at all since Mom and I got back from Parents Weekend back in October. I still want to be her when I grow up.
kshandra: long-haired woman silhouetted against a stormy sky (Bad)
I printed out my letter to Aunt Mary last night and put it in the mail today. The relatives with her POA are staying at her apartment during all of this, so I figured I would call and tell them to expect it, and to go ahead and read it to her if she wasn't able to do it herself.

It's worse than [livejournal.com profile] murphymom let on (or perhaps worse than she gathered from her phonecall); Aunt Mary hasn't opened her eyes since they admitted her on Thursday. The doctor doesn't expect her to wake again.

It was actually a pleasant call, despite the reason for it; it's probably been a couple of years since I last talked to Uncle Roland and Aunt Barbara, and it was good to hear their voices. They've got the arrangements well in hand; the family plot is at Forest Lawn (Nana, Grandpa, and Uncle Alfred are there already), and they'll be going over some time this week to confirm as many of the details as they can in advance of the event. I gave them my phone numbers, and Aunt Barbara joked that it was a good thing I have a different last name, because she wouldn't have been able to fit me in her phone book under her last initial. *watery grin*




I wrote the following on Tribe last night and wanted to share it here, too.

She's ready to go, too - has been for a while. "99 - isn't that terrible?" she'll say on the phone to me. And I can understand it up to a point; she's outlived her husband by a decade, outlived all her siblings...outlived several members of the generation that followed hers, as well. But when she asks me not to cry for her when she's gone.... I've told her that I'll be crying for everyone she leaves behind, and I think she's okay with that.

All I want is for her to see that next birthday in two weeks. And to share it with her. I deliberately blew off what turned out to be my great-grandmother's (her sister's) last birthday; she'd been suffering from dementia for several years prior to that, and my last visit with her was too painful for me to face again. But Aunt Mary has been in excellent health for her age up to this point, and has kept all her wits so far.

I just want to hear that laugh one more time....


My math was wrong; the 31st is three weeks away. It feels much, much longer.




I suppose I should start practicing; Mom spontaneously sang a verse of "Amazing Grace" at Nana's gravesite service, and Aunt Mary asked her to do the same for her. And I'll be there, this time (I couldn't afford the trip to LA for the internment, and the funeral up here had been hard enough on me), so I want to help.
kshandra: long-haired woman silhouetted against a stormy sky (Bad)
My Aunt Mary will turn 99 at the end of this month. I haven't spoken to her since Christmas or thereabouts; I wrote her a letter shortly after [livejournal.com profile] gridlore and I got the car, but I never actually managed to print it and mail it. While Doug was still in the hospital this week [livejournal.com profile] murphymom suggested I call and let her know, but I kept remembering far too late in the evening to actually do it.

And then while Mom and I were out shopping this afternoon, she got a phone call from the relatives who have Aunt Mary's power-of-attorney.

She had a stroke on Thursday. It's actually her second in six weeks, but she was only in the hospital overnight the first time. She's back in the hospital and can't speak.

We've been planning for some time now to drive down (Mom and all the kids) to spend her birthday weekend with her. Now I just have to pray she's there to enjoy it.

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