Valerie and

In memory of "Meme"

My wife Valerie's mother, known for the last quarter century or more as "Meme," passed away peacefully on Saturday morning. Valerie an aunt and a cousin were with her at the time and say it was such a quiet going there is some debate as to when it actually occurred.

The funeral is today, in about two hours in fact. I'm late in posting this because the last few days have been full and fast as we prepared for the event. I'll be saying a few words, and thinking about those words reminded me I should acknowledge her here as well.

I've never posted much about Meme, but she has been the center of the extended family for decades. All major holidays were celebrated by family gatherings at her home. But Carrie Colty was "CeCe" before she was "Meme" and did many things before becoming the heart of the extended Colty clan of Joiners and Joneses and Heywards and Killianys. She led a full and interesting and meaningful life. Rather than recap it, I'll direct you to her obituary, here.

Of course my son posted one of his representative albums over on Facebook. And of course I've copied a few of those images to post here.

Beginning with my favorite, CeCe at about the age Valerie was when I met her:

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Celtic Cross

My father's passing

Because our youngest child was facing important exams at college, we chose not to broadcast the news of my father's death.
Thus the two previous posts about my father's last full day and his passing away -- were originally hidden.
She came home this evening, and we're preparing for the funeral tomorrow, so the posts are now public.
Go read them if you would.
I will post Dad's obituary as soon as it's published. I will write more about my father at a later date.
Celtic Cross

Donald Arthur Killiany

2 Samuel 12 : 16 - 23

[David's son] became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”

David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked.

“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”

Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions, and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.

His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”

He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
Celtic Cross

Winding down

My father has been winding down these last few days. I'll go into more detail when I have had time to process everything, but be it known this was a series of decisions on Dad's part. Not a giving up, but a reassessment of the possible as his medical condition changed. Five days ago he elected to do without the feeding tube. Shortly thereafter he changed his status from "Full Code" to "DNR/DNI" -- meaning no extraordinary measures to revive him or keep his body going by artificial means. He reaffirmed his faith, has had the anointing of the sick (aka last rights) and has spoken with the priest and church volunteers more than once.

Thursday evening he had a good two hours with his grandson Anson; though he could barely speak he was lucid and in good spirits. Anson recounted one exchange:
"How are we doing?"
"Not doing too well, grandpa."
"Still looking good, though."

Friday he was not lucid all day.

Yesterday morning at 6:45, a bit over twenty-four hours ago, I came by Dad's room at Cape Fear Hospital after dropping Valerie off for her shift at New Hanover Regional Hospital. I had intended to sit with Dad until my brother got down from DC, then go to my office and do 47 pounds of overdue paperwork. But when I arrived Dad wasn't doing good and I stuck around after my brother arrived. At about noon the doctor told us that instead of weeks or months, we were talking hours before Dad passed away.

Unlike yesterday, Dad was lucid in and out during the day and was able to spend time with my brother, his grandson, and his oldest grandchild. He could not speak, but he responded to jokes, managed an "amen" when he was prayed over, and squeezed people's hands to let them know he heard them. Our eldest went to get Valerie after work. Perhaps it was because there were so many of us crowding around for attention, but from 9 to midnight he was part of the conversation. Around 11:30 PM our son called his little sister, currently at William & Mary, on Skype. She's not aware her grandfather's as near the end as he is and we did not use the video feature. Instead she sang for her grandfather. He has always loved her singing. She sang Shalom Rav, a lovely melody from an anime series, Breath of Heaven and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B. Dad smiled broadly throughout.

Shortly after midnight, Dad went to sleep. He's been sleeping ever since -- though he scared us with long periods of apnea every half hour, regular as clockwork. The nurse stopped saying "it won't be long now" around 3AM and Dad has kept on breathing.

No idea whether he'll wake up again, but the way things are shutting down we're looking at another day at most. I'll let you know how things turn out.
Valerie and

Anson and the art of Anne Killiany

My mother inspired our son to be an artist. Oh, career-wise he's probably going to be a coach, definitely high school and hopefully college, but at his core, Anson's an artist.

Mom gave him art lessons and materials and bequeathed him her art supplies and her paintings. Most of these hang in Dad's house, though we have a half-dozen around our ours. Anson has always said he plans on having a gallery of her work in his own home someday.

Anson has made a public gallery of a few of his grandmother's paintings that he likes. There are a lot from her early art school days (Including her only self portrait, which shows her from behind; the one with her shirt on, don't know who the other woman is.), paintings inspired by the peoples she's known and the places she'd lived, and a few of her abstracts. No idea how Anson went about choosing the paintings in this collection.

Go take a look at Anson's first public showing of his grandmother's paintings.

(Edit to add: In his description of the collection, Anson says some of Mom's paintings were destroyed in an earthquake. Actually, it was a flood that destroyed my parents' home.)
psychiatric help

The "Cinese Professor" ad with rebuttal

Like most people, I was embarrassed by this racist tripe being promoted by the right.
The "Chinese Professor" ad not only reveals that the Chines are evil (and smug), but that the reason our non-white President is employing modern versions of the economic strategies that got us out of the Great Depression is not because history proves they work but because he's in cahoots with other non-whites around the world to bring our country down.

Folks across the Pacific have already crafted a pithy response.

Valerie and

The Tea Party and why Americans should be afraid.

First, Keith Olbermann gives us a quick rundown on the political agendas of the various Tea Party candidates poised to win tomorrow.

Impossible to believe these people have a chance?

Check out the Rachel Maddow Show on why the American people (not to mention our Constitution) might go down in defeat tomorrow:

Vote, people.
It's the only way to turn back the madness.