Thursday, August 28, 2008


Here I go again. Stuck up against the brick wall of trying to write a post that tears at my heart. And I can't. I have to wait until my heart will let me.

So I just wanted to let you know that there is (at the moment) a post a day coming out at Big Blue Barn Knits!

I have been working at posting the bears on my Etsy site and when I do that I have also done a post to match on Big Blue Barn Knits. I have used the wonderful post option feature that blogger now allows and so the bears come out on a daily basis.

Right at the moment I have 12 bears sitting beside my desk waiting to go up on my Etsy site - but they are going to have to wait.

For those of you who don't know - my brother and I are doing two - very large craft shows at the end of November and early December. One is the Festival of Crafts in Calgary and the other is called Butterdome - in Edmonton. They are both 4 days long and the cost of the booths is something I don't even want to think about. My brother does - or is - Otter Pottery and of course I do the knitting. At the moment I have 49 hand knit bears and I don't know if I have enough. I am also making a pair of thrummed slippers a day and filling orders I am getting on the side. I don't know when I'll get around to making the thrummed mittens (this is a pic of the kits but the mittens look the same - well sort of). These can all be seen over on Etsy if you are interested or wondering what they look like.

So at the moment - knitting is my life and I don't get a ton of time to blog.

However - I want to thank those people who have given me awards. They are flying by on my sidebar even as I write.

Then there are the wonderful blogging friends who have bestowed on me some incredible gifts. So let's have a look.

As you can see - Melanie - over at Jellybeanangel sent me some lavender! We thought we might be caught for smuggling - but we got away with it! She put it in those white and blue bags over on the upper left hand side of the picture. It sits in my knitting room at the moment, warding off wool moths. My room smells incredible! I love going up to the top floor of the barn and having that wonderful smell wash over me. Sigh! She also included the tea towel, the yarn, the beads for the I forgetting something here Melanie? Yikes! I have a great memory for the past - but for the present my mind is like a sieve!

Then Daryl over at Out and About in New York City sent me a lovely orange fridge magnet with the symbol of the flur de lis on it because she knows how much I adore New Orleans.

Crystal Jigsaw sent me Wife in the North's book after she had Judith sign it for me! I also want to thank Crystal for being my first ever customer on Etsy! She ordered 2 pairs of thrummed slippers and they are making their way over to the UK right now! Thanks Crystal! :0)

Joy over at A Spot of T gave me that wonderful Wood Wicks candle (and some other wonderful stuff) on the day we went out and had a picnic in the snow.

And Dawn over at Colours of Dawn - well - I asked her to order me an Empowerment Bracelet. For me it symbolizes the years of abuse I endured and how I have overcome that. She sent me 2! bracelets and included a number of Avon items in my package - all as a wonderful gift!

And lastly - it wasn't a gift because I ordered it online - but! from authorblog I got David McMahon's book Vegemite Vindaloo and it feels like a gift to me! Now if it had only been signed! Sigh....perhaps next time you're in Canada David?

Thanks to all of you for bringing these rays of sunshine into my life. You all are so special to me! If I missed something - please let me know - I'd feel so bad but you know my sieve brain!


I promise - after all of this - and when my heart allows - I will get back to the story and tell you about Cid's funeral. Believe me when I say that it is going to be very hard writng.

Now - back to knitting!

Monday, August 25, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Expectations

Enough years have gone by in my life, enough experiences – good and bad, that I should have learned that ‘expecting’ should be the last choice you make. And Cid should have known that as well. He knew his mother and his uncle. He should have known. Perhaps he had chosen ‘hope’ over ‘expect’ – but he had made the wrong choice. Let me explain.

As I gathered my belongings that had accumulated over the last six weeks, his uncle approached me and asked if Cid’s mother could have a few things. She wanted a couple of his suits to keep for herself and I couldn’t see why not. Cid had been very specific about what suit he wanted to be buried in and I explained that to them. His mother glared at me while I did so and shut her eyes to block me out. I was adamant that I go by Cid’s wishes and that he be buried in the suit he had selected. I left them to it.

When I came into the bedroom much later to collect the last of my belongings, I found Cid’s mother frantically searching all of his suits for his gold cuff links. She wanted those gold cuff links and I helped her search for them but we couldn’t find them. In the end I just shrugged my shoulders and finished packing my bag.

Before I left I gave them my phone number so they could inform me of the day and time of the funeral. They were leaving to make arrangements to transport Cid’s body to Lethbridge and then following it. I spoke with the neighbours as I exited the building and they informed me they were arranging for a memorial in Edmonton and would let me know of the time and date.

When I finally arrived home, I threw myself into D’s arms and we both sobbed until we were cried out. I just couldn’t imagine our lives without Cid in them and the pain was almost too much to bear. But there was D – waiting patiently for me and sharing my pain – easing the burden. When I told him about the horrors that occurred in the seconds following Cid’s last breath – he said “They must have been hurting so much”. I leaned my head on his huge chest and closed my eyes – only to have that scene replay itself over and over. It certainly hadn’t been what I expected.

I attended the memorial service in Edmonton by myself and it was lovely. The service was quiet and the priest spoke so wonderfully about Cid. Many strangers came up to me and hugged me once the service was over. Afterwards I returned to Cid’s condo and let myself in with the key I still had. I discovered that his mother had ‘helped’ herself to most of Cid’s best items – even though he had said (right in front of her) that I was to get all his belongings. He had even told her that she didn’t need anything of his – she had enough. My first reaction was fury which gave way to resignation. I wasn’t going to fight her for her son’s belongings. But I did question Cid’s expectations once more.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

'The Man' Tales - The Space Between

The space between those two heartbeats – where my heart tried to follow Cid’s – were broken – no shattered – by a sudden wailing that filled the room. I lifted my head off Cid’s hand to discover his mother’s mouth wide open and a keening noise blasting out of it.

My astonishment at this noise was interrupted by Cid’s uncle who pushed me aside with one hand as he grasped the intravenous lines with another and yanked them out of Cid’s arm and then his wrist. He then grabbed Cid under the armpits and began shaking him up and down – as if he could shake him back to life.

My hands flew to my mouth and I watched in horror as his uncle flung Cid about and his mother began to beat on herself. Recovering from the shove his uncle had given me, I backed against the wall to keep myself out of the uncle’s way in case his insanity swept him completely away and I got sucked in to the vortex. I also wanted to put as much distance between myself and the noise coming from his mother. It was loud enough to hurt my ears. I was torn between covering my mouth in shock or plugging my eardrums.

Fluid pumped from the intravenous lines and started forming puddles and I watched helplessly as his uncle slipped on the floor as he tried to bring Cid back to life. The IV machines rocked dangerously on their wheeled bases as he jostled them in his macabre dance with Cid. It truly was a comedy of horrors.

The noise from his mother eventually brought the nurse and she burst into the room and came to an abrupt halt while she tried to understand what was occurring. Rushing forward, she wrestled with the uncle in an attempt to free Cid from his grasp and she had to yell into his face to get him to stop. With one hand restraining the uncle, she turned to the mother and tried to calm her as well.

I still stood against the wall, my mind unwilling to take in what these two were doing in their grief. Every time the nurse let go of the uncle, he would grab at Cid again and begin to shake him once more. Once she got through to him, he turned his grief against himself and turning his back, he began pulling at his hair. His mother still wailed and the nurse spent the next couple of minutes trying to get her to take a breath and to quiet down so as not to disturb other patients.

It was some time before they were both composed enough to gather themselves so we could leave the hospital. His mother wept on her brother’s shoulder as we walked through the doors of the hospital and I was surprised to see that another day had dawned. Behind me I knew that Cid lay under a sheet somewhere in the bowels of the hospital. In front of me lay the upcoming funeral and I didn’t know what to expect.

Arriving back at Cid’s condo, I placed a call to my mother to tell her the news. Then I called D. His soft voice broke and I listened to his quiet sobs when I told him that our dearest friend was gone. Both Mom and D told me the same thing. Come home.

Monday, August 18, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Oh Cid

How well I remember that next day.

Cid’s mother left me alone and looked at me differently that next day. I felt differently inside – more powerful – more secure – and I know it was because Cid had made a stand for me and I had made my stand for him. But in the end I was too busy and worried to pay too much attention to her.

I spent the day worrying about Cid’s oxygen levels. I could see by the little monitor that I attached to his finger that his blood oxygen levels were very low. I tried everything I could to raise them but by the evening I was worried enough to call into the hospital help line. After explaining the situation and giving the nurse the reading I was getting on the monitor – she sent an ambulance.

Cid was almost embarrassed when the paramedics arrived and loaded him onto the gurney and he tried to make a joke about it all, but he could hardly breathe and talking was getting to be a major effort. His mother was off in the corner of the living room wailing into her brother’s shoulder as I smiled and stood beside Cid and tried to give him some of my strength. I kissed him hard before they wheeled him out the front door, then grabbed my keys and followed the ambulance.

They took Cid into emergency and I sat on a chair while the medical staff did their thing. I tried to stay out of the way so they wouldn’t trip over me, but I also wanted to be as close to Cid as I could. He lay on that gurney and I could see the resignation on his face and I wanted to scream – fight! fight! fight! I did inside – over and over.

As the evening wore on, the medical staff bustled about less hurriedly and the room almost became quiet. I pulled up my chair and laid my head against Cid and he stroked my hair and the back of my neck like he had always done. I told him I loved him and he told me the same thing. And we waited.

I waited for a miracle. I couldn’t give up hope that Cid would somehow beat this. I couldn’t.

As night came around I was afraid that if I didn’t take my medication that I might go into withdrawals and then I wouldn’t be any help at all. Once I had taken it though I became drowsy and I nodded off and on as I lay with my head on Cid’s chest. A doctor came in and asked me to move my chair so he could have a look at Cid and I was forced to move back against the wall. It was cold and lonely there and I was so sleepy. Through the fog in my head I heard the doctor talking to Cid.

“Mr. Marchesich? You know you’re dying don’t you? There is nothing we can do for you. I’m sorry.”

I can’t forget those words. They haunt me. Always.

After the doctor left they moved Cid to a private room and someone called his mother and uncle. I walked beside the gurney as they wheeled him off to that room and held his hand and smiled at him. I tried so hard not to cry, but I knew I was going to miss him for the rest of my life.

His mother and uncle arrived and I refused to give up my spot on Cid’s right side. His uncle stood beside me and his mother was on the other side of the gurney. Cid’s breathing was harsh and painful and it filled the room. I kept a watch on the oxygen monitor until a nurse came in and saw what I was doing. She unclipped it off his finger and wrapped the cord around the little machine and took it away. She avoided the panicked look in my eyes as I watched her, knowing I had to see how he was doing – trying to spare me that moment.

Cid had acknowledged his mother and uncle when they came into the room, but he had then focused on taking each laboured breath after that. I held his hand and thrilled at each little weak squeeze he gave me. I was so scared but I didn’t want him to know it and I would lean over and whisper in his ear and tell him I loved him. He would squeeze my hand – again.

I was watching his face when he took his last breath. He seemed to hold it. Then he let it go.

In the quiet that echoed around the room, I laid my head down on his hand and felt the warmth go out of it and out of my heart. Between one beat and the next, I heard my heart break and I could feel the shattered pieces flying off into the four corners of the universe in search of Cid's heart as it winged it's way to a place of peace with mine not wanting to be left behind. Left alone to face the future forever without him. Without his hand in mine, without the words of love on his lips, or shining from his soft brown eyes. With only the little gold hearts touching each other and pressing up against my breast. Forever.

Like now – I sobbed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

'The Man' Tales - A Mother's Need?

Cid’s mother never stopped with the constant – and I can’t even say ‘chattering’ here – in Italian. I guess it was more like ‘nagging’ – but I can’t say for sure because it was in another language. All I can say is that Cid seemed to succumb to whatever she was saying and I watched helplessly as he slumped further and further down and looked ‘beaten’. I bit my lip and kept an eye on his oxygen meters – trying to let his mother have her say and her time with her son. I could see Cid giving up under the barrage and it was nonstop on her part.

When Cid tried to lie down on the couch his oxygen meter dropped to a scary low and he started to gasp for breath. I made him sit up and pushed as many pillows as I could behind his back, but it was obvious he was uncomfortable and had a hard time sitting like that. There was no easy chair in the condo and I pointed out that this is what he needed – a chair that he could relax in yet still be able to sit up and allow him to breathe. I even asked Cid if any of his neighbours might lend him a chair for a bit. My speaking made his mother purse her lips and glare at me, but I was more concerned about Cid’s breathing and his comfort.

I was taken by surprise when Cid’s uncle grasped my upper arm and pulled me to the front door and shoved my coat in my hands.

“We’re going to go look for a chair,” he said and steered me out the door.

Both of us were unfamiliar with Edmonton and we just drove around until we came across a furniture store. His uncle humoured me as I searched earnestly for a suitable chair and I could feel my anxiety levels skyrocketing and bursting out of the top of my head. I just couldn’t understand why they weren’t trying to make Cid more comfortable – even if it was only for a couple of days. To me the cost would have been well worth it.

Sometime during that aimless driving I realized that his uncle was just getting me out of the condo so the mother could be alone with Cid. He had never intended to make Cid more comfortable – it was all for the mother. This realization hit me like a ton of bricks in the face and I could feel that weight settling on my shoulders and bringing me down. I turned my face to the window and quit talking. When we got to the next furniture store I told him to go in himself – and he realised the game was up. I could see he was suddenly feeling just like me – and I didn’t care. He drove as slowly as he could back to the condo and almost dragged his feet as we approached the elevator. When we entered, I caught him shrugging his shoulders when Cid’s mother glared at us. I didn’t give a damn and went and made up Cid’s nebulizer and gave it to him. The look in Cid’s eyes told me everything.

That night as we prepared for bed, Cid asked me to sleep up with him instead of curled on the foot of the bed. I had been so afraid of bothering him while he slept that I had never thought of climbing in beside him. The effort of getting into bed had exhausted him and he lay with his eyes closed. Not wanting to disturb him, I curled up on the far side of the bed and tried to breathe as quietly as possible.

"What are you doing way over there?" His voice was raspy in the dark - almost overpowered by the hiss of the oxygen. It was his next words that crashed through my barriers and tugged at my heart. "Please come over here."

When he put his arm around me and pulled me tight up against him, I sighed. However, in a minute I sat up again and yanked off my nightgown before getting under the covers again and snuggling as tightly to him as I could. When the alarm went off to signal his nebulizer treatment, I found that I had wrapped my arms around his neck and had my head tucked under his chin. When I drew away to prepare his treatment, he smiled and said,

“All these years I’ve wanted to do this Aims. Thank you.”

When his mother opened the bedroom door in the morning and saw our naked bodies, Cid said,

“Close the door Mother.” In English

Friday, August 8, 2008

'The Man' Tales - A little of Cid's History

When the sun rose the next morning I woke Cid for his nebulizer treatment. With the rosy hues of the rising sun against the morning mist shining on his face, it struck me how angelic he looked. I tried to turn my mind from that thought as much as I could, but it kept wandering back to it again and again. I smiled at him wearily and he smiled back as best as he could with the mask up against his mouth and nose.

As soon as Cid appeared out of the bedroom, his mother started up a constant stream of shrill chatter in Italian. Just before he entered the bathroom, he turned his head and looked at me – and rolled his eyes. I could barely hear him clanking around the oxygen tank in there as his mother stood right outside the door and didn’t let up. I could tell by the sound of the spoken words that it wasn’t that pleasant either. I closed the bedroom door and lay out on the bed and stared at the ceiling.

She kept up that chatter throughout breakfast and on into the morning. At one point Cid motioned me into the bedroom and we sat in there on the bed as I gave him another treatment. Afterwards he whispered to me that his mother was angry about all the noise that went on during the night. I couldn’t understand what she was referring to until I realized that I had to use the bathroom throughout the night to wash the mask and rinse out other pieces of equipment. I was just doing the nursing duties that were required – but it was waking her up. I thought that she should try being in my shoes. I hadn’t had more than a few minutes sleep here and there for at least three days and I could feel my chest hurting with the fatigue. Cid wrapped his arms around me and asked me to try to ignore her.

We had talked over the years many times about his parents. His father had died of a heart attack just before I met Cid and he had felt responsible for his mother’s happiness since then. What had been strange about it all was that his father had received a phone call in the early hours of the morning, and a voice had told him the person was calling from the airport and he was here to kill him. No one ever found out who made the call, but they think his father had the heart attack because of the stress of it all. He had been a bricklayer all his life and had brought his small family from Trieste, Italy to settle in the tiny town of Taber, Alberta. They had been a self-contained unit, the three of them – staying to themselves even when they moved to the large city of Lethbridge.

When Cid was applying for postsecondary education, he applied to a journalism school and law school. He didn’t care which one he got in to, he just made sure that both of them were far enough away from his parents that it wouldn’t be easy for them to make a daily visit. He had his fingers crossed for journalism school, but it was the law school he heard from first. He packed his bags and fled.

From what he told me, those years away from his parents had been the best of his life. When he graduated, he also decided to work a long distance from them as well and chose Edmonton – a seven-hour drive. Of course he had always been a good son, and they never knew that all he wanted to do was have his own life without them hanging over his head and telling him what to do every second of the day. And his father’s death had changed that. Cid went back to the daily phone calls and long-weekend visits. He spent every visit to his mother fixing the problems in the house or looking after hers. He did it all with that wonderful smile on his face and she never knew.

When he rolled his eyes at me before shutting the bathroom door – I thought of all of this.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

'The Man' Tales - We Get Another Night

The rest of that day was spent monitoring Cid’s oxygen levels and sharing the space beside him with his mother. Personally I was still having trouble with my life because of the mental breakdown, and dealing with antagonism was not something I could manage - so I tried to ignore the looks and comments that were coming from his mother.

When supper-time rolled around his mother again took over the kitchen and I changed the oxygen tanks while keeping an eye on his oxygen levels. His mother asked Cid where he got his new microwave oven and Cid told her that it had been a present from D and I. She stood looking at me while she wrapped potatoes in aluminum foil before she put them all in the microwave and turned them on. When they started arcing she screamed and ran out of the kitchen and Cid’s uncle raced in and flung open the door. Her claims that she didn’t know that would happen made me realize this woman really resented me. I knew she had owned a microwave for years. I bit my lip and busied myself in the bedroom for a bit.

Cid’s condo was really small. Too small for 4 people. The kitchen overlooked the living room which held a small table where we sat and ate. The one bedroom was taken up with a huge desk and queen-size bed. There was just room enough to edge around the bed if you wanted to get in. Everything could be heard in the whole condo when you used the bathroom. To escape I would go into the bedroom and sit on the edge of the bed and look out the window. It was the only place for me to go and I would try to shut out the sound of them talking amongst themselves in Italian as I searched the view for something to quiet my mind.

I was sitting in there staring out at the streetlights when I heard Cid starting to gasp and choke. Racing into the living room I found him lying on the couch, unable to breathe.

“You have to sit up Cid,” I said as calmly as I could and I got his uncle to hoist him into a sitting position. I had a look at the oxygen tanks we had been supplied with and I somehow managed to link two of them together and I got Cid more oxygen than he had been getting. Then I gave him a nebulizer to inhale – even though it wasn’t time for one. In a few minutes his breathing returned to as normal as it could and I could see how exhausted he was from the ordeal.

“Thanks Aims. I think you just saved my life.”

I wrapped my arms around him gently and kissed his sweet lips. I wanted to tell him how much I didn’t want his life to be in my hands - and I couldn’t. I wanted to tell him that I wanted his life to go on forever and ever – far past mine – and I couldn’t. I wanted to tell him how precious his life was to me and how it had always been that way – and I couldn’t. All I could do was let a tear drop from my cheek onto his and rub it in.

That night I made Cid sit up in bed against as many pillows as we could find. I didn’t want another episode like that to happen in the middle of the night. I perched again on the foot of the bed and watched him as he slept.

It was a long night.