This has been a morning of contrasts.
On the negative side, my aunt Mary Jo died around 6am. She had a cardiac arrest on Thursday (the same day Rough Draughts
was released) and never regained consciousness. Family had her taken off life-support yesterday afternoon and moved to hospice, where she was surrounded by family and loved ones, and was able to spend some time outside. It sounds like about as pleasant an ending as one could wish for, aside from not regaining consciousness.
She had turned her home into a place where people could go and watch hummingbirds
) and other wildlife. There was a roadrunner which used to make frequent appearances at the windows, when I stayed there with mine offspring Anna in August 2000 (pictures
I'll repost what I wrote on Facebook
a little earlier today, for those of you who sensibly stay away from it (lightly edited to make full use of Hubzilla's formatting support):
So, today marks the first time I have experienced the loss of one of my parents' generation -- my aunt Mary Jo Ballator died peacefully this morning, in what sounds like a lovely hospice, surrounded by loved ones.
Would it be self-pitying or just ironic to note that I'd already said goodbye to three of my own generation, my own friends (for completely different reasons), prior to this? Two of those even happened before social media was a thing.
I really didn't know her that well -- which makes it both easier and harder to write about her. It's easier because there's less of a sense of loss and ache -- I liked MJ and sensed a kindred spirit in many ways; I had just mentioned in an email a few days ago that Sandy and I should visit her... but it's harder because there's less to say.
Our one major interaction was in August of 2000, when Anna Nikola and I flew out to stay in her casita, where we got to see the zillions of hummingbirds that visited because of all the feeders she maintained. (I don't even remember what the instigation was for that trip, although I do remember we took a side-trip to visit my auld friend Hilary). I took a bunch of pictures with my first-ever digital camera, and just now I finally posted them on the HypertWiki.
I also will never forget that she was the first person to praise my song "If This Goes On" (which, in another irony, was part of my album release on May 23 -- the day she had the cardiac arrest which ultimately led to her demise).
I guess I'll end this post with a comment I left elsewhere about something that happened this morning, while I was doing yardwork:
I saw a hummingbird way up high in the huge dead poplar tree in the back yard. I don't know how I even spotted it, it was so tiny; it could have been a dead leaf... and then it flew off.
Goodbye, Aunt Mary Jo.
In much better news, my good friend @lottie 💜:autistic:
has arrived safely in England, where she will be staying with @juniper
for two weeks and then moving into a sublet nearby.
I met Lottie on Mastodon over a year ago, hired her to do some server work (back when I had a slight surplus; that didn't last long...), including toot.cat
maintenance, and not long after that we both landed a part-time coding gig working for PaperDemon
which ended this past February.
Unfortunately her living situation in Australia (where she had effectively been stranded as a minor about a decade ago) had been getting worse and worse, so a circle of friends (including @var, Juniper, and myself) hatched a plan to get her to a safe place in the US for a few months while we worked out a place for her to live in the UK (of which she is a citizen).
While she was in the US, she kind of fell in love with it and is now planning to come back for as long as possible, but getting a visa will take at least 6 months, possibly 12 -- so she needed a place to stay in the UK until then.
Juniper had never met Lottie in person and was nervous as to whether they'd get along, but the chemistry has in fact been excellent and I don't think I've ever seen either of them looking so happy (especially Juniper!) -- so this has totally been a positive counterpoint to the sad news in the first part of this post.
And yet it should be noted that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life -- the sunrise on a new world.
-- James T. Kirk, eulogy for Spock