Homegoing or saying Goodbye to a neighbour…

Recently, I wrote on my FB page about the passing of a neighbour :

“Another neighbour passed on…three deaths this month on the block, in ‘MY ‘HOOD’ . She arrived on this block in 1958 , way before it became ‘other people’s neighbourhood’. My familia arrived here in 1962. We are losing the old timers on my block, the TRUE neigbours who are replaced by neighbours I don’t care to know or have. Mi alma is overloaded right now. The passage of time is not always nice. Rest in blissful peace Mrs *******!”

My FB peeps offered condolences and encouragements to keep on being keeping on. One in particular, a dear friend and my priest, reminded me, I was not to forget at one time, we were, the newbies on the block and to give the new neighbours a chance.

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At first I was frustrated, reading his response for I know of conflicts my neighbours of colour endured from the Italians and Irish groups who were here before them. These neighbours would spit on the sidewalk as they walked past. This was the year of 1958. By the time I was born in 1964, those same neighbours who once spat, cooed at me as their teenaged daughter pushed my carriage up and down the block. Go figure. Integration is integration, first met with fear then dissolved into acceptance, once we see the other as not being as bad as we thought. The daughter and her family are still on this block and I adore them dearly.

“The neighbours I don’t care to know”, are the young couples, the hip singles, the expats from Manhattan, looking to score a bigger apartment with amenities and a doorman. Who cares if the rent is twice what you paid for the tiny studio apartment in your former four flight walkup? These invaders are on the scene, invading my ‘hood’.

And that’s it.

They arrive and spread, dissimilating the makeup of the neighbourhood, forgoing ‘Good Mornings’, blocking the sidewalks while conversing with other arrivals about pilates, the new restaurant, drinks, backstabbing and eloquent gossiping (talking trash in my language).

I’m ranting.

And…

I meant to write about my neighbour.

The one whose Home Going was attended by most of the neighbours on the block who laughed, cried and rejoiced in the stories of her life, her giving and feeding of everyone. It was a beautiful service which lingered on after the night was over and brought smiles to us neighbours, as we reminisced about it the days after. I will miss seeing her outside, sweeping and cleaning up or stopping by her place to talk awhile after finishing my piano lessons with her brother who lives upstairs.

I guess it’s going to take a while to get to that place where I “see the other as not as bad as we thought”.

I’m not there yet.images.jpg

And, may move before it comes.

Mrs ******* may not have been thrilled about the changes of the guard (people) in the ‘hood’. We joked and talked about it.

But…

She always said “Good Morning” to everyone regardless if she received a response or not.

I guess that is a place to start.

Just say ‘Good Morning’.

 

***images from the World Wide Web***

 

 

 

 

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There but for the grace of God…

On a Wednesday in March, mi perro, my mini schnauzer, my mulberry doggy ware model, my Pi Patel, my fur baby underwent an ultra sound due to blood work which revealed  high liver enzymes and cholesterol levels.

He was diagnosed with possible liver cancer. 

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On a Thursday, the following week, mi gato negra, my domestic short hair, my sassy than thou, my Fate, my fur baby had cloudy eyes and visited an ophthalmologist.

Based on the status of her eyes, she more than likely has FIP. Fate (2)

Can I please dig a hole in the ground, preferably in the backyard, crawl down and hibernate for the next 7 years? Is it okay to randomly scream as loud as possible, opening my mouth and having no sound escape-a silent scream like the figure in the “The Scream“.

I’ve emotionally held up owners or held their fur babies paws during a euthanasia for the past three years. I wonder who the hell will offer the same support to me?

 No one.

Because I Will Not Let It Happen.

Grieving is personal and I protect myself intensely.

I grieved for my father alone.

Silently crying at night, reeling from the pain of losing a parent to trying to feel the pain my father endured throughout his life.  Accepting the pain of knowing my father has permanently left this earth and won’t be returning is an ongoing process.

I grieved for my cousin alone.

I cried silently at work. I was numb at home. I cried walking through Target after seeing the Dove body wash he raved about using. I’m still in a state where I know he’s gone but can’t fathom his presence gone from this earth.

My memories of those two souls are always in my present. I live in the house where memories were created as we once dwelled there together. The backyard and third floor is my cousin. The house itself, the   basement and the stoop is my father.

Grief and memories are intertwined.

One persons’ grief process is not another’s.

The loss is real. I’ve lost a parent. I’ve lost a cousin.

I’ve also lost two neighbours within a month. I want to say three for my ex-brother in law lived for a time  in the ‘hood when it was the ‘hood’ and not the ‘neighourhood’.

2016 is a year of sadness and reckoning.

There but for the grace of God go i.

Muchness

More words…

Soon to come.

For a bit of a spell,

 I lost my muchness.

But… 

IT’S BACK!!!!

 

Mi primo is no longer hurting…

My cousin Zarak Mohandas Delattibodier has kidney disease and received dialysis two to three times a week.

He needs a kidney.

A donor was identified and during the beginning stages of gathering donor information, he developed an infection in the mitral valve of his heart.

The infection was resistant to antibiotics.

Zarak also had severe periodontal disease.

The hospital released my cousin after a four-day stay and sent him home with antibiotics for the heart and dental appointments to begin work on the perio. One week later, Zarak had difficulty breathing and went back to the hospital where he lost consciousness and was placed on a ventilator and an iv catheter with major antibiotics.

The infection of the heart was  fungal.

Mi pimo’s body was too weak to fight. He coded numerous times and stabilized with resuscitation but brain damage may have occurred and he could not breathe on his own.

The ‘No Resuscitation’ directive was put in place. Then rescinded by his wife who is separated from him.

Mi primo is no longer hurting…
No anxiety about the kidney donor’s health condition or going through dialysis

Mi primo is no longer hurting…
He may pass on in California, where he wanted to live and will receive a military burial

Mi primo is no longer hurting…
He’ll join his mom, mi Tía, whom he loved and whose hand he held as she drew her last breath

Mi primo is no longer hurting…
He can play his sax and jam with the angels

Mi primo is no longer hurting…
He can eat all the beef jerky, fried chicken and fries he desires with Excelsior Cabernet

Mi primo is no longer hurting…
He doesn’t have to carry the weight of his family’s dysfunction on his back anymore

I wish the decision could be made to turn off the switch that would enable his alma to be free…

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I will not eat what I examine…

The owner and DVM of the practice where I work eloquently stated those words prior to a surgical procedure and of course, it got me thinking…later…at home after a glass of wine.

The clinic is a small animal practice, and in my five months of working there I have assisted in the treatment and examination of dogs, cats, hamsters, and a rat. So yes, I would have to agree with him in not eating those animals.

But…

Pigs, cows, sheep, veal, chicken, fish, pork chops, spare ribs, hamburger, meatloaf, fried chicken, baked chicken, salmon, catfish, trout-Oh My.

I tried to be a vegetarian- it fell through less than a week.

A vegan once used the scare tactics of describing the butchering process of cows and the toxins and hormones released once the animal knows death is approaching.

Mind you, he decided to have this conversation with me as I chomped on a well-done burger with tomatoes and lettuce.

I listened, nodded my head and continued to consume my burger.

An interim pastor at our church stated she would not consume animals or fish with eyes.

Okay.

Off with the head!!!

As much as I adore animals of every kind, except mosquitos, becoming a vegetarian is not in my future.

I will cut down drastically on my consumption of meat and try to purchase only organic. If there was a way to know how animals are butchered, I would research and locate the facility with the least traumatic and inhuman method and purchase products from that company.

Until then, even though I know, Meat is Murder I will continue to eat it.

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At this moment…

January 30, 2013

At this moment, I find myself in the midst of transitions of the most unexpected and most gentle kind.

At this moment, I overheard mom talking to her half-sister over the phone. Another McCalla, Victor McCalla, my mother’s brother died. Death is usually the only reason a McCalla would contact another McCalla. The drama of he said, she said and there will be no burial, cremation, and the ashes will sit on the living room shelf until someone goes to Honduras mantra starts after the death announcement.

If I remained a Walsh, my reaction to this news, the mantra not the death, would be comic relief but since I became a McCalla my reaction to the mantra remains, trying not to react. I always cry at the news of death.

Mom’s side of the family is dysfunctional and I believe Webster honoured them with the definition. Mom’s family is also large. Out of ten children, only four are presently alive and only two communicate maybe once a year. Two are on the east coast, two on the west and east does not speak to west.

All the McCalla’s (except me…sigh) were born in Honduras, when Belize was British Honduras. Some were born in Tela, others in Roatan while La Ceiba claimed another. Some were born with Indian hair soft as silk, while others had coarse wavy hair that refused taming with VO5, while yet others had the kinky cotton kind of hair which only  a lye relaxer could control. The relaxer ruined the hair passed down from their ancestors. The hair from Africa by way of Akan, Bantu, Igbo, Fon or possibly Yoruba, way before Scotland via Jamaica than onto Honduras and mixed with a bit of India saturated the blood.

Mi Tío could not stand his African hair. He could not stand his last name either and changed it to Mangroo. It sounded more Indian, which he longed to look like but did not. Mom's brother045

His kidneys could not stand his body for they failed. His weekly battle with the dialysis machine was just that, man against machine and of course, the machine was in control. As the machine cleansed his blood of waste, it also cleansed his alma (soul) leaving it bitter and in disarray.

Was I close to my uncle?

No.

I did not like him. He favoured my light-skinned sisters with Spanish lessons and his version of Indian history. He was mean to me and spoke harshly to me and about me. He once accused my mom of jealousy towards her sister’s kids, for they were born with the wavy hair that refused taming with VO5. I was born with the kinky cotton kind of hair which mom coated with lye relaxer to control.

I hope my uncle, mi tío, is in a better place now. A place where there are no dialysis machines, where he does not have to endure living in his house with an ex-wife and her boyfriend because he refuses to sell and pay off the ex, where skin colour has no meaning and speaking Spanish is irrelevant. I hope the angels are soothing his soul or that karma will take pity on him when he returns.

Once, I could not stand my African hair and yearned to look Indian like my mother with her Indian features and Indian hair, soft as silk. But, God gave me what I was born with for a reason and I am grateful for his gentle everyday reminder of who I am and where I come from.

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