BY JAMES GOLEMIEC
My sister Kathy loved movies and she hated not knowing how a story ends, so I’ll do it for her.
Kathy died on July 31. She had been in the Aberdeen Hospital’s palliative care unit for more than a month and she spent a week at the QE II Hospital for radiation treatment of her brain tumor.
I live in the Halifax area, so during her radiation therapy week I was able to visit with her every day for that week. We listened to the Cape Breton comedy duo Huey and Allen, on YouTube. Kathy would sometimes entertain her friends with a good imitation of the pair.
For a few days at the Halifax hospital she had enough energy to walk a bit, with some help, and she was even eating hamburgers. Kathy was concerned that the radiation would affect her personality. It never did. She was joking with her friends right up to a few days before she passed.
Kathy had walked out of palliative care twice in the past, so we had hoped she would do it again. Within a couple of days of her return to the Aberdeen Hospital from Halifax, it was clear the radiation didn’t work. After a week, Kathy slept for the last couple of days and then she was gone.
Kathy liked to give you lots of details in her articles, so I will as well.
We all had tasks to do, in a hurry, to prepare for her service, since this was a Tuesday, leading up to the August long weekend. I contacted the funeral director and prepared a eulogy; Dad and Janet phoned the pastor, Reverend Boehm, and contacted his church, Belmont United Baptist Church, who put aside their holiday plans for a bit, to prepare.
Kathy’s friend Vicky would read a poem; George and Mary would arrange for Kathy’s final boat ride (she wanted to be scattered with our Mom, one kilometre off Lismore wharf) and Kathy’s girls, Mandy and Kerry, spread the word on Facebook for the Saturday service and organized the photos and flowers.
Kerry’s husband Dave, babysat and ran a three-day yard sale to dispose of Kathy’s assets. Dave had to be back to work in Ontario on Tuesday, so the sale couldn’t be delayed.
I picked up Kathy’s ashes on Friday, from Craig, the funeral director. We met outside a local upscale coffee shop. It wasn’t sad at all; Kathy would appreciate that part. Craig commutes an hour each day from his home on the south shore, to his work in the valley. He said there’s a lot of travel in his work; he reminded me to bring the right screwdriver on the boat, for the urn. The little details are important.
Saturday afternoon was hot. The service was nice; the small church was full of Kathy’s friends, family and her editor, Sueann, and even some of her readers were there to see her off. Many of the church members remembered Kathy from an inspiring talk she gave there in the past.
Later, a small convoy of vehicles drove to Lismore wharf where the boat was waiting with engine running. I stayed on the shore and watched them as they went out to sea. A few locals were fishing off the wharf. The water had a slight ripple. I spoke to one fisherman and asked him if the bass were biting.
The rain started as the boat returned to its berth. It was a perfect day.
In case you are wondering about what became of Kathy’s little dog, Thunder; he is now sharing a big backyard in Southern Ontario, with Kerry’s other two tiny dogs.