Opening night for the Jays is April 2. My grandmom's birthday is April 3. So, after considerable effort* to track down accessible opening-night tix, we have booked a room at the hotel overlooking the stadium, with a window that opens onto the stadium, from which she can watch the April 3 game in complete comfort and surrounded by family. 

Turns out she wanted the opener in part because she had misread the season schedule and didn't think there was a game at all on her actual for-real birthday. 

Also turns out that as my mom was making these arrangements, [personal profile] neeuqdrazil  was working some magic: the CEO of her company offered two spots at the restaurant at the Rogers Centre for opening night.  I gratefully turned them down, but I'm astonished and blown away by the offhand generosity of a stranger. 

So now all we have to do is get her name on the Jumbo-Tron. Easy. 

*E-mails to the Guest Experience Supervisor at the Toronto Blue Jays, my city councillor, and Richard Griffith at the Toronto Star, tweets and Facebook requests and updates, and refreshing the Blue Jays website every 10 minutes. 
Okay hivemind, this is a big one: 

My grandmom is turning 93 on April 3. She has asked, for her birthday, for opening-game tickets to the Blue Jays game, April 2. These are entirely sold out. 

My family is looking for any leads on the following, in order of preference:

1) a hotel room overlooking the diamond at the Rogers Centre (Grandmom is frail, and we're not sure the rigours of seats at the Rogers Centre would be good for her (currently booked); or

2) a reservation at the restaurant in the Rogers Centre (formerly Sky Dome) (currently rented out for a corporate thingy to which nobody has had the good sense to invite my grandmom); or

3) a pair of tickets (or more than a pair, but she needs to go with at least one other person) to the game and we'll figure out how to get her there and make her comfortable.

Does anyone know anyone (some captain of industry, for example) who might have some opening-game tickets with which they'd be willing to part? If we can, we'd really like to make my grandmom's birthday wish come true. She's been a Blue Jays fan for as long as I can remember. 20 years ago, after she had a double-bypass, the first thing she wanted to do when she was well enough was to go to a game. We got her tickets. I watched the Jays play the Yankees on TV with her. And not to be melodramatic, but she's 93. She doesn't have a lot of Jays games left in her. So we'd really like to make this one happen.
I don't know what it is with my relations and peculiar purple accessories. I mean, yes, I like purple. I wear a fair bit of purple. I wear some accessories (mostly shrugs. Yet, for some reason, I do not yet own a purple shrug). But people on both sides of my family seem to enjoy giving me bizarre purple accessories that I don't know how to wear.

First, there was the muppet-tails scarf. That came from someone on my mom's side, possibly my mom.

Now, courtesy of my step mother, I bring you ...A very, very rare and perhaps wonderful thing. )
So every few months, I get what I think is a bog-standard grief dream. My dad is alive. The death was a mistake. The funeral? An error.

Cut for discussions of death and grieving. Because you might have something more cheerful, or at least less morbid, to do today. I won't be hurt if you do! )
What I want is a nice, footnoted social-scientific book about grief and dreams.
Something that says, essentially, "Yep, these dreams are normal. They indicate [[something]] about the grieving process. People who experience these dreams frequently express [[something]]. They tend to progress in these specific ways. Here are some techniques that people use to deal with feeling emotionally gutpunched the morning after."

I suspect the best I'm going to find is On Grief and Grieving. The book isn't specifically on dreams, but it won't hurt me to read about grief-not-dreams, and David Kessler and Elizabeth Kübler-Ross are rather the western authorities on the subject of grief. The association with Oprah is unfortunate, but I think I can overlook it. Just because someone appears with Oprah doesn't necessarily mean they're more slick than substantive, right? Also, on his website, David Kessler tells readers who feel they need his books, but can't afford them, to write to him—he'll do what he can to get those people a copy. That doesn't necessarily mean the books are awesome, but it does tell me that this is someone who cares about helping people. (I can afford a book. Or I can borrow it from the library.)

I'm okay, really. I just wish I had a better idea of what the program is, and some strategies for dealing with the sucktastic parts. Then again, I'm just as glad to lack much in the way of direct practice, you know?

* If you subscribe to the theories that I see as woowoo, I'm sorry to offend you. We can discuss our comparative ontologies another time (Or, we can agree to disagree, and not discuss them. I'm fine with that.). Right now, please respect the fact that I do not find religion comforting because I don't have any. I don't find appeals to new age principles appealing, and I'm not going to get exorcised, or channel my inner something-or-other without some sort of evidence-based reason to do so.
My dad showed up for lunch. Just like that. He walked in and said "Come on, Jen, we're going for lunch."

I got up. "Aren't you dead?" I asked. "We had a funeral."

"No, no. That was an administrative error. I tell you, those civil servants ..." And as I ate my grilled cheese, he ranted about overpaid civil servants like the death bureau and the income tax people and how they just don't even bother to check. They'll cheat you and never even care, because
they'll never have to deal with the consequences.

"But have you told [[stepmom]]? She's been wrecked!"

"Oh, she should have known better than to listen to them! I'll tell her this afternoon." His glee at pulling one over on someone was characteristic.

And when I woke up, as of course I did, not for even one breath of a moment did I believe there had been an administrative error. This is one tax collector my dad didn't evade.

zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Jun. 3rd, 2009 09:33 am)
There's not much else can be said. We celebrated my dad's life yesterday, and cried a lot about his death. I'm still crying, of course.

I am overwhelmingly grateful for my family, my Tribe, and all of the friends who have surrounded me with their love and concern, and held me up this week. This is all very, very hard, but it would be immeasurably harder without you.

My stepmother would like a copy of the eulogy I delivered. Unfortunately, the written version doesn't actually correspond very closely to what I said. I'll have to reconstruct from what I can remember.
The eulogy I think I might have delivered )
Writing a eulogy for my dad is possibly the most difficult thing I have ever done. At the very least, it's the hardest writing job I ever hope to have.
And these are the things I did not say )

It's been a dreadful, nightmarish blur, the past few days. A few things stand out. I continue to think that funeral homes are the weirdest places on Earth, with their tasteful furniture arranged around the outside of big empty rooms. Ours had a Tasteful Bookshelf, stocked with the Catholic Book of Worship, a copy of the Bible, one of Loyal She Remains, and a collection of demure-looking cloth-bound murder mysteries, tastefully arranged.

At the reception at my dad's Club, yesterday, some old guy came up to me, and to my brother separately, and informed each of us that he had known my dad longer than we had—40 years or more—and that he would therefore miss my dad more than we did. He didn't actually tell us who he was. Speculation runs rampant.

I remain convinced that open-casket visitations are just a Bad Idea. The body never looks like the person did, living, for the very good reason that the person is dead. So you have to look at the body and try to reconcile this construction with the memories of the living person. The cognitive dissonance does not help with the grieving process.

It's always macabre when you hear a knocking on the walls of your visitation suite.

I have more thoughts on blogging, community, and death, and I'll get those down later. For now, I'm going back to work tomorrow, and I'll continue with my slog through this liminal phase in which I (and my family) get to readjust our understanding of the world. The shape of my emotional landscape has changed, and I get to figure out how to readjust the furniture.
I'm back from the loving dysfunctional embrace of my family. Does anyone want to come over to Dictionopolis and hang with me, and remind me what my life is like when I'm not consumed by funeral arrangements?
zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( May. 30th, 2009 12:34 pm)
To everyone who commented or e-mailed, texted, IMd, or phoned, or otherwise sent condolences and support: thank you. I know I don't have to thank you, or respond at all, but it means a lot to me to know that my communities, local and remote, are there and are thinking of me and my family.

To those of you who have asked if there's anything you can do: I really appreciate the offers, and will absolutely let you know if I need anything.

Today I am at my mother's, escaping my step-family and being doted on. I'll likely head back to my dad's once I've raised the step-family on the phone, but really, they don't need me or my brother for much, and are politely trying to find things for us to do. I can be more use at home, doing the memorial cards with Sabo., or phoning those family friends who
The funeral details are:


Monday, June 1, 2:00–4:00; 7:00–9:00

So-called Celebration of Life (apparently, that's what atheists have, instead of funeral services)
Tuesday, June 2, 3:00

R.S. Kane Funeral Home, 6150 Yonge St.

We received the Coroner's report yesterday: he had a massive heart attack, and was dead before he hit the water in the bottom of the pool (no water in his lungs at all). So at least he probably didn't have time to feel too much (though, of course, we'll never know). This is a small comfort.

Things I Need to Do Today:
  • Write something to say on Tuesday
  • Do up memorial cards, and find printer
  • Get hair trimmed
  • Ask stepmother about whether she has phoned various family friends
  • Ask stepmother about flowers
  • Eat, sleep, get out in sunshine, etc.
  • See some friends ... my family is oppressing my spirit, despite everyone's best intentions
zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( May. 28th, 2009 11:14 am)
I woke up this morning to the kind of phone call you never want to wake up to.

My brother had been calling my cellphone, which was, of course, dead and downstairs. There'd been an accident. My father is dead.

My father is dead.

It's true, but it really doesn't seem like it should be. Of course it doesn't.

I woke up this morning, and found myself in the middle of a police procedural. My brother came to get me. We went to my dad and stepmom's house, in their nice suburban neighbourhood. Where there were police cars. And police officers. And a body in the swimming pool


There had been a chipmunk in the pool. My dad was worried that with all the rain, it would drown. So he went out to make a ramp for the chipmunk. My stepmom was in the kitchen, and wondered what was taking him so long. She phoned his cellphone and he didn't answer, so she figured he'd gone for a walk, or shared a glass of wine with the neighbour, or something. So she went to bed.

When she woke up in the small hours, he still wasn't there, so she got worried, and went out to look for him.

She found him in the 18 inches of water in the bottom of the swimming pool. Dialed 9-1-1.

We waited, while police photographers photographed the pool and the body, while forensics officers looked around, and recorded, and measured, and did their thing. Then a sergeant came to tell us that it was very slippery in the pool, that there was no evidence of anything amiss (except for the dead person), that the funeral home would transfer the body to the morgue, that we'll hear from the coroner or maybe the police when they know anything for sure. And please if we can stay out of the back yard until they tell us we can go into it, they'd appreciate that.

Then some people took the body away, and we were left staring at each other, and at the business cards left behind on the ktichen table by coroner and police officers.

She never heard him fall. Never heard him call out. We don't know what happened. I mean, yes, my father died in a freak chipmunk-related accident, but we don't yet know how or why.

There are a zillion things to do, and we did some of them today: visit funeral home, decide on cremation, rent a casket, write the obituary. Other things, we will do tomorrow and the next day and the next. There will be a funeral service (called a "Celebration of life" for our atheistic family). We need to plan that. There will be visitation. There will be a reception at the Club where he golfed. There is a plan to deal with the ashes (it involves sneaking out to do something mildly illegal on a golf course.) There will be life insurance and the will and helping my stepmother to deal with his stuff. Once the autopsy is done and the coroner's report made, we switch from the police procedural to the boring family drama, for which we make up the script as we go along.

There's the monotony of grief and the discombobulation that comes of confronting the reality that I really should have phoned him last week and that a whole bunch of things will never happen now, and I was not ready for this at all. Nobody was. He wasn't. I mean, who dies rescuing chipmunks?

I'm okay ... inasmuch as anyone can be at a time like this. I'm tired: waking up at 06h00 in that particular way is not conducive to an overall feeling of restedness. I'm sad, of course, and bewildered, and shocky, and I don't quite know what to do, because this is the part where there's nothing anyone really can do (yes I have eaten. Yes, I will sleep). I'm fighting the kind of guilt that comes when you meant to call someone and they up and died (with, or without, chipmunks) before you did. So, I guess I'm not really okay, but I know where okay is, and I know I have to get through all this in order to be okay again.

Who dies rescuing chipmunks, I ask you?


zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)


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