Lain's Log

The dramatic history

I've always believed I was lucky. I had parents who loved me, lived in nice houses, enjoyed the schools I attended, made good friends, had lots of adorable boyfriends, somehow managed to secure several terrific jobs in the world of news, made money doing what I loved - interviewing thousands of TV and movie stars for radio, TV and print, travelled to Los Angeles and New York, stayed in fancy hotels, (courtesy of movie companies), met and married a fabulous man, was blessed with two unbelievable babies (now 18 and 16), had the most caring, loving and supportive family imaginable and was happy and healthy most of my life.

Guess I shouldn't have been surprised when things took a sudden change over the past five months. My beloved Mum, who raised my sister Carrie and me on her own, had been facing some very tough health issues in the last decade of her life. From 2000 to 2010, she came through several bouts with cancer, bravely took on chemo, radiation, (which was unsuccessful), a colostomy, early onset Alzheimer's, a hip replacement and two cataract surgeries.

As things became more complicated, I quit working in 2004 to spend more time helping to look after her growing needs. It was challenging for Carrie and me to guide Mum through this maze of appointments and hospital stays, while making sure there was always food and supplies in her home, clean laundry, medications at the ready and on and on.

On the flip side, I got to know this phenomenal woman even better than before. Miraculously, she always managed to maintain her offbeat sense of humour, even in the darkest of hours.  Despite crushing anxiety and overwhelming panic attacks, she took it upon herself to boldly go where no eccentric grandmother had been before!

Though I've never been a Trekkie, I know Star Trek has had an influence on me. Both Mum and I always loved William Shatner. I still do. His infamous Captain's Log has helped me to launch Lain's Log. I only hope I can live up to the daring antics of James T. Kirk as I boldly try to conquer what lies ahead.

On October 19th, 2010, Mum unexpectedly died at Sunnybrook Hospital of complications due to surgery for an abdominal blockage. We'd been told she could go home about five days after surgery, but she was unable to recover. It was a horrible death to witness and the saddest day of my life. This was followed by months of devastating grief.

Over the next few weeks, we carried out Mum's wishes to be cremated and to plan a Celebration of Life event at her home, scheduled for November 20th.  In the midst of these plans, my dear Mother-in-law suddenly had to be rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital by ambulance due to heart problems. I stayed with her in emergency that day. Later, she was admitted for tests and told she needed open heart surgery.

Since there was no surgical availability, she remained in hospital for 23 anxious days before the procedure could finally take place.  During that time, I often drove my Father-in-law to see Mum or drove him home afterwards. It was a long and scary wait time.

My own mother's Celebration of Life was held, as planned, but sadly, my Mother-in-law could not attend. The special tribute to Mum was complete with catered food, drinks, heartfelt speeches and music performed by friends and the many talented members of our family. Somehow, through my tears, I took on the duty of "M.C." It truly was an unforgettable day.

On December 2nd, (the day after my Mother-in-law's heart surgery), our beloved Uncle Ev (my lifelong "surrogate Dad"), was admitted to St. Mike's Hospital for bladder cancer surgery. At age 97, we were very worried about him and visited often. Two days later, I was able to bring his 91-year-old wife, (my Auntie Ray), to the hospital to see him on their 62nd wedding anniversary. They had a good visit.

Days later, on December 7th, my Mother-in-law was released from hospital, her surgery a success. I drove her home, along with my Father-in-law and their daughter, Jan. We were thrilled to see her home and doing so well.

Meanwhile, the family formed "Team Ev" and we took turns visiting him daily in the ICU. We were all devastated when he took a turn for the worse and passed away on December 14th. Ev's son, Kevan, (my cousin), was with him when he died. My kids and I got together that night with Kevan, his wife, Marilyn, their daughter, Sacha and Auntie Ray to share stories, tears and laughter about Uncle Ev.


More sadness hit us as we tried to come to grips with the loss of a second member of our very small family. Again, cremation was arranged and another Celebration of Life party planned in honour of Uncle Ev. It was held on January 16th at the Women's Art Association of Canada.  Once again, we heard emotional speeches, listened to beautiful music from family and friends, and I found myself back at the microphone as the "M.C".

My sister and I had started the process of clearing Mum's home, the little bungalow she loved so much. Sorting through her belongings, clothing, costume jewelry, trinkets, souveniers of trips, books, papers, thousands of greeting cards and newspaper clippings, sharing all kinds of memories, only wishing Mum could be there with us.

While still dealing with the losses, meeting with the lawyer for the house, preparing to get it on the market, I made the discovery of the lump in my breast, which brings me to my next journey.

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