January 26: akkalove
Hello dear friends of Akka,
Akka is in quite good spirits and is gracefully going about each day between a myriad of appointments, proddings, tests and sobering prognoses. The tumour is nasty and has chosen a very precarious place in the pancreas to grow making an operation impossible and chronic chemotherapy completely undesirable.
This email is in reply to so many of you who have been in touch. She is heartened by all the people thinking of her and that have reached out. I know that emails weigh heavy on her. They (and texts) seem to demand a response even when the much loved sender says “no need to write back”. A good old fashioned card on the other hand feels gentle and can be savoured longer, so just in case: 1550 Old Brooke Road. Maberly, Ontario. K0H 2B0
Akka will be staying in her home as long as possible. She loves it here and thrives in the quiet. It is challenging to maintain this peaceful space though. Naturally, friends and family want to visit and under normal circumstances this would delight her. Now it is exhausting and not how she can spend her energy. This is difficult to convey given how much she appreciates all the good intentions and affection.
Because you have been asking and offering, I am giving you some ideas about how to help. Please don’t feel anything is necessary. Perhaps organising a quick drop off of a meal*, tulips, a card, fresh greens, sprouts or beeswax candles is something that you may like to do. And, if you are driving between Perth and Toronto and are able to offer pick up / drop off a person or a package, please let me know.
Thank you already to those who have dropped off soups, and keep plowing her driveway and so forth. You are doing it so discreetly that it is truly a blessing each time.
All is changing constantly. Over the next week we will be checking in with the palliative care providers and CCAC in this area. If it becomes necessary, we may upload a “lotsahelpinghands” calendar to coordinate additional care.
I will keep you posted; just not at facebook speed.
With tremendous gratitude.
* her diet is changing a little: easy on the hot peppers, meat and fats please 🙂
February 13: akkalove2
The last few weeks have seen many ups and downs. I am happy to say that as I write this now it is an “up” moment and Akka is resting comfortably. She has been in and out of emerg and the hospital and through a couple more procedures. She is still in the good care of the Ottawa Hospital and should be headed back to her beloved home mid-week.
The house is being set up to accommodate her needs and it looks like she will be able to settle back in to it comfortably, albeit more tenderly.
I know this is difficult news for many of you and that it can be especially hard not to have contact. The many, many gestures of kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness are making all the difference for Akka and the whole family. The doctors and nurses continuously surprise us with their humility and care and Akka feels like she is in good hands. As her needs go up, so will the support and we are so grateful for this.
The candles and cards and lovely gifts that you have sent are being burned constantly, read and appreciated. All of them. They really are warming her heart and home. She has had a few sweet visits with the whole family and friends, including one with Luang Por Viradhammo and Anagarika Peter who filled the hospital room with their chanting.
Akka is enjoying being off text completely. She may check emails sporadically, but says it’s best not to expect a response. I’m not sure about the phone which she turned off a few days ago, but I don’t think that’s high on her priority list either. Her focus and energy is on meaningful moments, especially with her boys.
Thanks everyone. On behalf of my entire family.
I will do my best to keep you updated.
March 6: akkalove3
It may take a village to raise a child but it clearly also takes a village to allow the child to die at home. Thank you for being that village. In addition to Akka’s new constant companion, a pain medication pump that is on continuously, all of you are allowing her to live here surrounded by the beauty that nourishes her each day.
Akka has slowed down tremendously, eats less and sleeps more. Her spirit remains strong and she continues to meet the daily changes with courage and grace. She is, for the most part, pain-free and relatively comfortable. The medication, the nurses, all of you and your gestures, the treats, the sheepskins, foot rubs, shopping and running errands, the many meals and creative expressions of support are a true blessing. Please know that she is very aware and grateful for all of this and to each of you. Even if you do not see or hear from her directly she is thinking of and thanking you very specifically.
In the early mornings when Akka has the most energy, she moves gently around her home rearranging the flowers and tidying up, keeping everything fresh and pretty as she always has. It is a pleasant place to be.
If you want to be part of or just follow the village activity you can join here: https://my.lotsahelpinghands.com/community/akkalove.
With ongoing gratitude.
March 31: akkalove4
Hello good people,
A note to ask you to do a sun dance and get this spring happening!
Akka is yearning for some sunshine and warm weather to get her wee body outside and to uplift the spirits. She is vulnerable, yet strong and enjoying precious time with the likes of her beloved “guys”, Stephan and Alex, and her little grandson, Nikola.
The health care team and community of friends continue to provide and we give thanks every day for all of you.
April 25: akkalove love love love love love
Yesterday at 12:50 our beloved Akka died. After a difficult trip to Perth emergency in the middle of the night, we returned home for her to still feel the warm outdoor sunshine on her sweet face. She took her last faint breath within moments of arriving.
She rested beautifully in her bedroom with flowers and candles, love and family all around her until we drove to the crematorium at noon today. We felt blessed by her presence.
The nuns chanted at her bedside on the morning of the 25th
A memorial service at Tisarana Buddhist Monastery will be held next Monday, May 1st with a little gathering at Anne and Andrew’s following. I will send more details out soon.
Thank you for all your kindnesses. Please keep your thoughts with Akka.