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A Long Goodbye

Posted 2014.07.08 20.41 in Family/Friends

My dad wrote his own obituary, and it is as beautiful as it is long.

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been reading everyone else’s for years, and I’ve always liked those best that were written by the deceased themselves. So here’s mine.

Hugh_MaksylewichAfter being a burden on the health care system for almost five years, I finally packed it in on July 6th, 2014.

What a great life I have had. I’ve had so many successes, it is going to sound like bragging.

First of all, I was the luckiest guy ever when I met and married Joan Clark. What a fantastic wife, friend, and supporter she has been. And thanks to B.A. and Ron for arranging that Joan and I should meet.

We chose two wonderful babies who grew up to be great fiends; our daughters Stephanie and Leanne. And then there are the grands: Mackenzie, Jackson, and Riley, Leanne’s great kids.

It took a while, but I finally realized that the next most important thing in life after family is the wonderful friends you make over the years.

When I married Joan, I also acquired a place in her family. A lot of people make jokes about their in-laws. I don’t. They’ve always been great to Joan and I. Her sister Marilyn and brother-in-law Rod Shantz have always been better friends than relatives. And their extended family; Mark and Anne and their daughter Abbey, Tracey and her husband Eric and their four fantastic kids, Daniel, Robert, Matthew, and Emily.

I left my parents and sister Sonia back in B.C. when I came to Toronto in 1959. And while we lived apart, they were there for me when I needed help or support. One of my proudest moments was when I was able to  help arrange a surprise 65th wedding anniversary for my parents, Peter and Cay Maksylewich in Penticton, B.C. where they lived.

It truly amazes me the number of people I’ve gotten to know through Joan, my musical career, my various jobs, and of course those I met through my adventures as a small business owner in the now defunct business forms industry. What a rush!

Through the ups and downs of business start-up, loss, and re-start-up, active participation in our trade association, the wonderful and interesting people and places we enjoyed is a major highlight.

So many new friends, so many wonderful trips culminating in a unique award given to me in 1989: I am the only Canadian ever awarded the Member Of The Year trophy by my peers in our trade association. Am I bragging? A little perhaps, but I know you will cut me some slack.

Finally, I would like to recognize the last five years living in what for me was the greatest community ever.

Unless one has actually lived here, it is hard to believe that so many kind, giving, and wonderful people could live in such close proximity.

I will never forget my 75th birthday party in the community rec centre, when 85 people attended to wish me a happy birthday. Sending the thank-you cards, I was overwhelmed to realize that 55 of those were neighbourhood friends. What a community! There are too many to list in this verbose epistle, but you know who you are, and I thank you so much.

Wow, this is long! But you know that I was never one to be short on speaking, until recently!

So, good bye to you all, friends, family, and acquaintances.

Who knows what the future brings, but hopefully you and I will meet again.

Feel like quitting

Posted 2011.01.29 16.22 in Pointless Blather

The past two months I’ve been obsessing on this electronics stuff. Thermostat. Kits. Soldering. Embedded devices.

It’s been “theraputic” – the point was to keep me busy, to keep my mind off of the depression and keep the dark thoughts away. Lately it’s been working less and less.

And the thing that’s coming up now is, I’m not sure if it’s even been fun. There’s the challenge, it’s satisfying to figure something out or make something work. But down to the nitty gritty of it – I don’t know if it’s been fun. If it’s been worth it.

I started doing a bit of cleaning and tidying today, and ended up gathering up all the electronic bits and pieces and stuff, and just putting it all in a big box. I still have lots of half-formed thoughts on things that I could make, but I don’t have the urge to actually make any of them.

The thermostat is finished, fully working. All I have to do is hook it up. It’s in the big box with the rest of the stuff. I even built a wireless outdoor temperature sensor last night, to radio the outside temp in so it could be displayed on the thermostat. That’s in the big box too.

I look at it all, and there’s no emotions. Was it fun? There sure were a heck of a lot of frustrations. Things not working, things that broke. And I don’t even want to think about how much money I spent on components, kits, parts, et cetera.

Was it supposed to be fun? At times it felt like homework – stuff I was doing because I had to. It was the assignment. Do that, or sit quietly in the dark and let my head fill up with images of death.

I guess I won’t put the big box away just yet — I’ll leave it out, and see if the urge strikes to open it and do more electronics stuff. Maybe install the thermostat. Or not. Whatever.

Dinosaurs vs. End Of The World

Posted 2010.11.22 8.19 in Music/Movies/TV

So last night, there was this show on Discovery Channel, about the dinosaurs getting killed by the meteor or comet or whatever it was. They’ve been hyping it for a week or two, making such a big deal out of it.

Well, So I started to watch. I tried. But after only a few minutes I had to switch it off.

It’s not educational — we already have a pretty good idea of the cosmic collision theory. And it wasn’t entertaining.

Make-believe CGI beasties or not, I just can’t find anything entertaining about watching animals suffer for 90 minutes. It was just sad.

Sorry Discovery Channel – I’m sure you spent lots of money on the special effects, but special-effects-alone does not a good show make. So, booo.

Darkest Post

Posted 2010.06.30 9.00 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather

Over the past year or two, I’ve made comments, jokes, and entire posts about dealing with depression. Sometimes I deliberately try and make light of it, or look for a way to ‘find the funny’. Sometimes I make posts about it more for my own benefit, sort of theraputic writing, when I can’t keep stuff bottled up anymore. Mostly, my natural reaction is to keep my feelings hidden, not let anyone around me know just how desperate or lost I’m feeling. I don’t want to burden anyone else with my problems, and I don’t like attention.

As to which category this post will fall into… we’ll see how it develops. I might end up not even publishing it.

So… depression. I wonder sometimes if I’ve suffered from depression most of my life. I know I’ve been tired most of my life, and sometimes being really tired all the time seems like depression. Or, sometimes being depressed seems like being really tired all the time. At least, to me it does.

Then again, sometimes I can’t tell the difference between hunger and fear, so I may not be the best at discerning feelings.

I know my current ‘depressive episode’ started in 2007, and was going pretty strong in 2008. By the end of ’08 I was on anti-depressants, and am still on them now. Though for the past several months I’ve been suspicious that they aren’t quite working any more.

I remember being on drugs in the mid 90’s too, for a year or two. They never seemed to really do the trick then either, it felt more like an elaborate plan to get me to pay for the pharmacist to put his kids through college or something. Actually it sorta feels like that again now… Hmm.

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Snails…

Posted 2010.03.15 21.14 in Aquaria

It has been a tumultuous fortnight, for the snailies.

About 2 weeks ago, my girl Shelly died for reasons unknown. She just slowed down and died. She had laid a dozen egg clutches, and had about 200 offspring sliming around the place, and I don’t know why she died but it was sad.

Then a few days after she passed on, some of her daughters started laying clutches of their own. Within a week, there were five new little clutches laid.

Then over the weekend Munchkin started to slow down, the way Shelly had. Munchkin was the father of all the wee babies. Today I came home from work in the afternoon, to find Munchkin too had passed away. 🙁 Again, I don’t know why…

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Why I Usually Avoid the News

Posted 2009.11.18 18.21 in Pointless Blather

Listening to the news… I already posted some random inspirations it led me to this morning. Between some reports I heard yesterday and some more reports I heard today, put them together and this is what you get:

  • The H1N1 flu shot is now available for nearly everyone in the GTA today, and tomorrow will be fully available across the GTA.
  • This is because the testing is done and they have concluded the swine flu shot is safer than the normal flu shot.
  • So far over 2,500,000 people in Canada have received the H1N1 flu shot this year.
  • So far over 30 people have been hospitalized due to serious complications from / reactions to the H1N1 flu shot this year.
  • So far this year, only one person has dropped dead due to serious compications from / reactions to the H1N1 flu shot.

So the H1N1 flue shot has a 1 in 2.5 million chance of killing you within a few minutes of having it. And better than a 1 in 83,000 chance of making you seriously sick.

You have less chance of winning the lottery than you do of dropping dead from the H1N1 flu shot. In fact, you could die 5 times from the flu shot before winning the lottery just once. And people still buy lottery tickets. And are lining up to get flu shots.

And this is ‘safer than the regular flu shot’. I don’t know the figures but I wonder how many people per million die every year from the regular flu shot?

See, this is why I don’t like needles.

My strategy is, once everyone else has had their flu shot, I will be safe since nobody else will be able to infect me with it.

And incase you’re wondering – these aren’t madeup numbers, these were from some guy at the Ministry of Health giving a press release – he’s pleased with the performance of the vaccine. The same guy who is pleased with the performance is the one who said that only one guy was killed by it, that only some 30 or 35 people were hospitalized by it (I think the exact number was 36). He also mentioned that if you are  going to react to it, this usually happens in the first few minutes so it’s ok since you’ll be right where the medical people are already at.

Random Observations

Posted 2009.11.18 9.26 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather, Work

I was listening to the news this morning on the way in to the office. Mostly it was the usual stuff – blah blah blah traffic blah blah weather blah blah economy blah. But there were two stories that caught my attention and made me think a bit.

First up, it seems that the pressure is on to be green and eco-friendly even after we’ve expired. Planting dead people in the ground isn’t very good, for one thing it renders large expanses of land unusable (*) plus as they decay, all the toxins and poisons that they absorbed over their lives leaches back into the environment and can potentially enter the water-table and surrounding ecosystem.

Cremation is chosen by roughly 50% of all Canadians, but this doesn’t solve the problem, it merely takes all the toxins and poisons out at once and sends it up the chimney to enter the environment immediately – plus, the process uses a large amount of energy (both fossil fuels and electricity).

So there is now a company that has pioneered and is offering a ‘green’ and ‘eco-friendly’ alternative. They will liquify the dearly departed, and then pour them into the municipal water treatment system to be purified and re-enter the environment that way.

Still, the thing that hit me was there is an enormous difference between “Let us scatter our loved one’s ashes…” and “Lets all gather round the toilet and flush the dead guy.”

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