Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Well Done!

by Anita Kando
September 17, 2017

We arrived a few days ago to celebrate Ata's 104th birthday, only to get the shocking news of her fall and likely demise. At first, my natural reaction was that lifesaving measures should begin immediately – after all, a person does not die from a broken leg, right? We wanted to make sure Ata was not in any pain, that she was hydrated, etc, Dr. Laarhoven gently explained that Ata's wishes were being honored, they had already begun pain relief, and that she would remain at home as she had wished. It took only a moment to realize that this was as it should be, as Ata wished, and it was indeed the best course of treatment.

The health care team of doctors and nurses began their daily visits of every few hours. They were supporting Ata's wishes with their gentle care, and they were also supporting her adult children's needs at the same time. Read more...

The Broken leg - Life is a Whore

Juliette Kando,  September 2017

Libère toi maman
de cette vie méchante, 
injuste, horrible et dégoutante 
qui nous séduit par sa beauté 
Comme une PUTAIN! 
Cette putain de vie 
que je déteste aujoud'hui 
Jusqu'au moment 
Ou, de nouveau, 
Elle me séduira par sa beauté 
Une fois libérée tu sera encore avec nous 
Tu brillera dans chaque diamant qui etincelle 
 au couché d'soleil à la plage 
Sous chaque pleine lune 
je te verrai sourire 
Et puis bientot, quand ca sera 
mon temps pour ma putain de vie 
de s'expirer, je te joindrai 
parmi l’eternité de nos ames. 

English Translation: ( Doesn't sound as nice as the French version but you'll get the gist.):

Liberate yourself Mother
of this wicked life, Read more...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

ATA



Thank you Madeleine, for your beautiful piece about Ata’s departure.

I will now add my own eulogy.

Just in case, here is a brief explanation: Our mother died in the Netherlands about four weeks ago. The weeks that followed were enormously hectic. There was a funeral to organize, obituaries, real estate transactions, dealings with banks, packing, dispatching, all of this in a land six thousand miles away from my home and my office. I have now finally returned home, exhausted. The flight to Los Angeles alone took over thirteen hours, before connecting to Sacramento. Writing and posting a brief eulogy for my mother for the blog was something I simply couldn’t get to until now.

This essay is basically a description of what happened, along with some musings about families and life.

But first, a brief comment about my “feelings:” Since Ata’s death on September 15, just two days shy of her 104th birthday, I have felt curiously numb rather than devastated. This is possibly due to how very busy I have been ever since. Read more...

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Ata is gone

by 

I usually skyped with Ata on Tuesday mornings. My 103 year old mother and I established this routine, since she lived in the Netherlands and I live on the other side of the ocean, in Boston, Massachusetts.

During what turned out to be the last skype conversation we had, we talked for quite a while about her upcoming 104th birthday and about more ‘philosophical’ subjects. She always had ‘big’ questions, whether the universe is infinite and how bees know how to find their way back to the hive. As she got older, Ata’s curiosity about the world had only increased. Her eyesight had deteriorated and she could only see blobs, but her photographer’s eye amply filled the blanks. A black blob in the sky turned into a beautiful phoenix, the clouds were angels floating by. A flock of birds were there to carry a message to her mother, who died at age 98.

The less she could see, the stronger her imagination became. She could no longer read about science or world events, but kept asking herself those big questions, marveling at the world as if she was just discovering it. She had turned her mind into a kind of perpetual mobile, which did not require outside sources for input, since she could no longer rely on them, other than talk to us and her numerous friends.

Both my brother Tom and my twin sister Juliette were going to fly over to celebrate her birthday. In fact, Tom was already sitting in an airplane. I had just returned from another trip a week before and felt I could wait till November to visit. We liked to ‘stagger’ our visits, so Ata would have more time with her three children. Read more...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Kauai

by

It’s not easy to be on vacation in Kauai, especially when you are used to a wintery life in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of those experiences that makes your dulled senses wake up with a jolt. The minute my husband and I step out of the airport in Lihue after a 14-hour journey, we are bombarded with the dizzying scent of tropical vegetation and the sounds and colors of a world that for us, only exists on postcards.

We pick up our rental car, a Jeep of course, so we can take off the roof and fry in the sun as we cruise over the island. It takes us another hour to get to the North Shore, where we will be staying in a rented condo in a resort-type area called Princeville. On the way there, we drive through a grove where the scent of rain, jungle and guava makes our head spin - we never knew anything could smell so good.

We fumble in the dark, as we key in the door code and after several tries manage to enter the apartment. We open the sliding doors to the balcony and step out onto what feels like the bow of a ship. Surrounded by the sound of the surf under a star studded sky, we try to absorb our new surroundings in a jetlagged stupor. A few geckos scurry away under the furniture as we turn on the light. Read more...

Friday, August 25, 2017

Game of Thrones:Metaphor for America Anno 2017



 By now, I am no longer the only one who sees a parallel between the Game of Thrones’ White Walkers and Donald Trump’s “base.” But the analogy occurred to me quite some time ago, so I still claim originality.

The epiphany hit me several weeks ago. The analogy fits. I suddenly realized that Game of Thrones is about the titanic struggle between the resurgent forces of neo-fascism in America, and the rest of us.

In this show, the greatest threat of all are the White Walkers. I suddenly realized that these represent the Trump base!

Think about it: On August 12, we saw the Trump base in action again. A group of white supremacist-KKK-David Duke-following-confederate-flag-waving neo-Nazis held a violent demonstration, murdering an innocent young woman and hurting many others. Read more...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Overseas Travel: Fun, with some Pain



 My wife Anita and I go to Italy a lot, usually by way of Holland and France. My mother (now 104 years old) lives in Holland, so each year we first spend a couple of weeks with her and then we travel South. We feel that pound for pound, Italy has more to offer tourists than any other country, closely followed by France.

Intercontinental travel gets harder with age. But we haven’t thrown in the towel yet by just going on cruises and organized tours. We still run around Europe independently by car, by train and by airplane. This usually leads to some unsettling experiences.

The last time we flew to Rome from Holland, we had our first “interesting” experience immediately upon landing at Fumicino airport late in the evening:

After deplaning, we both hit the first toilet we could find, a fairly common practice. Then, we proceeded towards baggage claim. Only AFTER we were outside the security area did we realize that Anita - who is diabetic - had inadvertently left her insulin pack in the bathroom which she had just visited. Read more...