cemetery day

It’s not the funeral yet, but we’re going for a drive out to the cemetery to see where it’s all at. I’ve never been particularly enamoured with cemeteries, or particularly disenchanted.

The people aren’t there. Their molecules are spreading out and mixing with ours, imbuing us with little pieces of their essence – whatever wasn’t already there through our time with them and the memories we have.

Death is a shame, but a necessary one. Unchecked growth can choke even the heartiest and most resilient of landscapes.

Ask every company grown too far, too fast. Ask every empire. Ask anyone who thought they had it all and it still wasn’t enough.

A little entropy and the acceptance of some personal limitations can go a long way.

Target: 800 words
Written: 675 words, novella: The Mungk

the day after

A bit hungover, but well. Friends and family came out of the woodwork to visit and call. All in all, it was a good reminder that no matter what fucked up shit is going on, or how people can be sometimes, there are good people in the world. There is community.

It was very much appreciated.

Target: 800 words
Written: 118 words, novella: The Mungk

goodbye, judy

My mother-in-law passed away at 6:45 this morning. No one made it on time to see her, she went so quickly, finally.

I am glad her suffering is over. Now, we can move on to fond remembrances, instead of mourning the terrible manner in which she went. I will remember her telling me about how good my meat was after Easter, and being forever teased about that fact by the rest of the family. I will remember her taking care of my step-daughter, of providing me with my wonderful wife and of being her second favourite son-in-law, most days.

Some days, I made it to number one, like when we brought her with us for Italian on Valentine’s.

Goodbye, Judy. Your suffering is at an end. I hope you are at peace.

We loved you.

Target: 800 words
Written: 447 words, novella: The Mungk

the act of suffering

“You wouldn’t treat a dog this way,” my wife’s cousin said about her father’s end, a peaceful euthanasia after years of cancer. He was a wonderful man, and the suffering that came before the end was horrendous.

Alzheimer’s latched on to my mother-in-law and after years of downward spiral, landed her in the hospital. We thought she was going to die. Once in the hospital, she rallied, and we were looking at another six months or a year in a long-term care home, which though sad, would at least keep her semi-comfortable toward the end.

We hoped.

But then, there was an outbreak of COVID in her ward at the hospital, while waiting to be placed in long-term care, and now, we are well and truly near the end. Part of me curses this damned plague and the motherfuckers who couldn’t be bothered to show enough compassion for others to bring this thing to heel before it ever got so bad; the other half is relieved that she won’t have to continue the way she has indefinitely.

My grandmother with the same deteriorating condition lasted way beyond expectations. We went through multiple scares before she finally succumbed. Alzheimer’s is one of the most heartbreaking diseases I could even imagine. It’s soul-crushing to watch what it does to a person you love, and the pain can last for years. COVID’s (relatively) quicker release would seem almost humane if it wasn’t so barbarous in its application.

(For the record, my grandmother died pre-COVID, of Alzheimer’s. It was beyond disturbing to see how this kind and jolly woman who, for my whole life, baked us cookies and chuckled at all my grandfather’s silly jokes, degraded into this barely functional vessel, unable to keep her head up or communicate with any clarity or duration.)

Because of restrictions, I haven’t been to the hospital since the night my mother-in-law first went in, when we all thought that was the last night. That was almost a month ago. Seeing pictures of her the last couple of days, I’m reminded of footage taken from horror movies or concentration camps. It’s devastating and I’m again reminded that the rules of euthanasia are still far too strict.

Never let me go that way, I made my wife promise. Take me out back and shoot me.

If one of our animals were suffering like this, we’d have taken them in and said our goodbyes. We never would have willingly let it get to that level of suffering. It’s horrifying. That anyone in good conscience could think that allowing such suffering to continue…

Kindness sometimes means making incredibly difficult choices. It’s one I would willingly make for her if I could. No one deserves to die this hard, with this much suffering. Not if we can stop it.

Target: 800 words
Written: 141 words, novella: The Mungk


Doing my best today, but my head is pounding. I see the United Church moved to an even more progressive and liberal stance regarding substance abuse, which justifies my use of them as a baseline for kind Christianity, as opposed to more toxic sects of Christianity like those that support Republicans (and likely the Inquisition, if it still existed).

Of course, I still don’t believe that kindness and religion are required bedfellows. To me, kindness chosen instead of suggested or enforced is more natural kindness. Internally generated kindness is better than kindness pushed from outside by an institution.

We shouldn’t have to be told to be kind; it shouldn’t be an externally touted mandate.

The kindness that comes from within, kindness we choose ourselves, is always of a greater quality than kindness dictated to us as actions by others. Not that there’s no value in “forced” kindness, only a less pure intent, which becomes easier to forget or twist.

Choose kindness for yourself. You don’t need a man in the sky to tell you that.

Target: 800 words
Written: 199 words, novella: The Mungk


Heading out to local favourite Park’s today to have some breakfast. Unfortunately, it’s past picking season and it’s raining, so we would be able to take our little munchkin out to pick blueberries, but still.

Any time spent is well spent.

Try to remember that, he says to himself. Any time is better than no time.

Target: 700 words
Written: 140 words, novella: The Mungk

grandbaby day

That adorable little granddaughter is on the way. I’m beyond excited. Seeing her happy little face will be a blessing after all this tension and darkness.

My wife’s mother has taken a turn for the worse, contracting COVID and developing pneumonia while in the hospital. According to what we’ve seen, the consistency of application of the hospital’s policies to prevent infectious spread is sorely lacking and depends on who is working and how they feel that day. One person needs nothing but a cloth mask; thirty minutes later someone else is in full HAZMAT.

They go room to room without sanitization; they went from a person with a known infection straight to my mother-in-law’s room, where they treated her and her roommate with no sanitization in between. I’m not a doctor, but even in non-COVID times, I thought there were policies in place against things like that, to prevent the spread of dangerous infections.

Welcome to the Alabama of Ontario.

Target: 700 words
Written: 462 words, novella: The Mungk