May 8, 2003
I'm taking a cue
from Katrina and using a prepared webset. I love
how she changes her journal set every time she writes.
I get so easily bored and it's fun to see what she comes
up with every day.
I've put off
writing this column for a few weeks now. I've had
several people write to me asking about what's going on
in my life and how Mom is doing and such and I really
didn't know what to say.
It's been quite a
learning time in my life, both about life in general,
about relationships and about myself. Katrina
always says that our lowest points are our holiest
moments because it's when everything between ourselves
and our God is stripped away and we are our most unique
and genuine selves. I have to agree that it's
true. So many things that I took for granted over
the years doesn't seem to exist any more and I'm in the
process of creating a new life for myself and a new
understanding and acceptances of changes and simply,
the way things are.
I was reading
back over my columns from when I first started writing
for Eye on Soaps. It has been such a joy over the
past two years to meet ABC soap fans and the writers for
EOS and other sites. I never dreamed that agreeing
to do the gossip column for Katrina would change my life
in such a profound way. Back then, I was the most
carefree person in the world. I was still cutting
hair and hanging out with my girls every day, usually
5-6 of them in the shop, watching soaps with me while I
did their do's, laughing and joking and having a blast.
It was incredible to watch the shows with different
people every day and each day, I looked forward to
springing out of bed and getting the day started,
sitting in the garden having a cup of herb tea, reading
the paper and watching the sun come up. Mom would
be up around 6-6:30 and we'd have breakfast together and
compare the night's dreamwork or plan out some future
trip or event. Mom had just gotten over her first
stroke then and we were still shaken from the idea of
nearly losing her.
Dr Phil says that
who we are today can be traced back to 10 defining
moments in our history and one of mine came when I had
gone away with my friend, Kurt, (YES, I still have that
goddamned head and NO I haven't thought yet of a good
way to get it back to him, but I will!!! Right
now, it's holding my headphones) to a Pearl Jam concert
in Seattle. It was great. Everyone's current
favorite American, Michael Moore was there and spoke.
We were gone for a couple of days and had a fantastic
time. When we got back to town, I knew as soon as
I got into the house that something was wrong.
Sure enough, Mom had collapsed on the floor of the
kitchen and had evidently been there for quite some
time. We rushed her to the hospital and after a
couple of days of testing, they determined she'd had a
minor stroke and had hit her head when she fell, which
caused some intracranial bleeding and unconsciousness.
We didn't know what her condition would be when she woke
up or what degree of damage had been sustained. It
was a long 3 days before she finally came out of it.
I was by her bed when she woke up and she looked at me
long and hard and told me to get the milk off the porch
before it spoiled. I smiled and told her I'd
already done it (the doctors had told us that if she
woke up, we were to humor her and agree with anything
she said so as not to upset her). She looked at me
really sternly and said, "Don't you bullshit me, Frank
Bourland, I can see the milk right there." My
blood froze when she called me by my father's name.
Recently, my mother's best friend, Aunt Claire, who is
having some dementia problems, called me Frank as well,
which is odd because I really don't look like any of the
pictures of my father. He died just before I was
born, so the pictures are all I have to go on, but
evidently, if you're looking at me through a filter of
loony, I am he and he is me and we all come together.
She didn't lose
any motor skills from the stroke or the fall, but she
had trouble putting the right words together for a few
months afterwards. Slowly, it began to work itself
out and soon, she was right as rain again. I,
however, was not. I was left with an acute case of
agoraphobia. I would have major panic attacks
whenever I had to leave Mom behind at the house and so I
pretty much stopped going out altogether unless I could
get someone to stay with her.
better in 2001, by the time Katrina asked me to do the
gossip column. Mom was a year into doing great
after the stroke and we were very happy overall. I
was full of swish and fun and silliness and it came
through in my column. Mom was a funny old duck and
always had something to say to her "girls" who were the
fans on the net who would write to her and wish her
Mom had a tough
time over the next two years with heart problems and
falling a couple of times. Slowly, her personality
has been changing and a few months ago, I figured out
she was not using her oxygen or taking her pills as she
was supposed to. Mom has long been extremely
antagonistic toward Western medicine, blaming it for the
misdiagnosis of my dad's cancer until it was too late
and for somehow (no one will talk about it) causing him
to die earlier than he should have from it. As
long as I've lived, Mom has had an herb garden and has
been the local Medicine Woman, healing the sick who
can't afford health insurance. Everything that
went wrong, she could treat from the garden... until her
illnesses and age caught up with her. Now, she
still has the antagonism against the doctors and
hospitals, but doesn't have the resources to take care
We moved her bed
downstairs about a year ago and she has been happier in
the new room that looks out onto the garden. I set
up a TV for her in her room and a telephone. At
Christmas, when I got a new computer, I set up the old
computer, hoping surfing the net would keep her occupied
and maybe even make some friends for her. About a
month ago, I had to pull the video card (Aww, Mom, it
doesn't work! What happened??) because she would
NOT stop haunting the message boards that were talking
trash about me, logging all of the message board
entries, the dates, the posters, the site it came from,
claiming it would be used in the police investigation
after someone murdered me for something I wrote on the
My mom is a very
psychic person, but she is convinced a crazed GH fan is
going to off me one day. She's very frightened by
the anger, hysteria and madness some of the fan bases
demonstrate and is sure it's going to get me. This
paranoia of hers has been growing since I first got a
computer. When I was first writing for EOS, she at
least kept it in check, but for months now, it's been
endless haranguing as soon as I sit down to write and it
doesn't stop until a few hours after I get up again.
Kye (my sister who lives locally) has been sweet enough
to take Mom for a day of shopping and visiting with the
children once a week so I can stretch my mind, collect
my sanity and crank out a quick column. I get my
notes together and then write it like now, in the
deepest, darkest night after Mom is sleeping. That
sucks in particular because I have to be up at 5 to give
Mom her meds. Any more, I've been going back to
sleep after that. She has to eat food right after her
meds, so I'll usually bring her egg, tea and toast, then
get her something else when I wake up again around 8 or
When I found out
that Mom was palming her meds, I took her to see Aunt
Claire and to remind her without saying it that she was
pretty lucky to be able to stay home and have someone
who loved her to take care of her. I don't feel
badly about that because she took care of me for 18
years and then some more after that as she encouraged me
to travel the world, go to college and then take up
another career after I got my masters for no good
reason other than I wanted to do it. She always
supported me, financially and otherwise, 100% no matter
what I wanted to do. I was very, very blessed and
I still am. I did work to help support myself, but as a
full time student, I very much depended on her help and
she was always there for me. My own special
Mom and I spent a
lot of contented years in this old house that Dad built.
It got quiet after the last of the girls left to go
claim their own lives. Sometimes they moved back
when things got tough, but soon they were off and
running again. We've been through a lot of
emotional changes in our family and we all love one
another fiercely. We've always respected each
other's space and peacefully cohabitated without any of
that weird Norman Bates stuff you might be thinking.
We have a lot of the same likes and dislikes and as I
said, it's a big house, so that helps a great deal.
After I started
monitoring Mom's medicine and oxygen, she got really
angry with me for being onto her about it all of the
time (meaning she couldn't slip them past me any more)
and would barely talk to me. I took a trip to see
my sister, Marji, who worked out a lot of the kinks by
enlisting Kye's help. The sisters asked me to
continue to care for Mom and not to put her into the
care of strangers unless it was completely unavoidable.
I agreed and I am sticking to that promise. After
I got back, even with the meds and oxygen and home
health care coming in a couple of times a week to check
her oxygen saturation and such, Mom wasn't doing so
good. She continued to be hostile and angry most
of the time, which is completely unlike her. Mom
is a lovely person, the most gentle, kind, spiritual and
wise woman on the planet and it hurts to see her like
this, embodying the very spirit she so firmly denounced
earlier in life. Mom would never tolerate
fighting, mean-spiritedness or even teasing in our home.
There was a line of basic respect that all of us kids
had to toe, for her, for other people and for one
another. Mom didn't put up with any shenanigans.
Silliness was encouraged, but spats were not long lived
and there was a great deal of love around. We were
ordered to "use our words" and speak to one another
graciously, even if we had a conflict. Rosie
(youngest daughter of the Bourland kids) always felt
that stunted her freedom of expression, but Mom told her
to put her freedom of expression on the front porch and
pick it up when she left home... which she did.
Now, the venom Mom tosses around is a bitter irony.
Mom had a
doctor's appointment last week, which sadly, ended up
being postponed from Wednesday to Friday. I was
able to confide to the doctor about the continued
problems (he was aware of what was going on) and he
ended up changing one medicine and putting her on
another one. He said it would take a couple of
weeks to reach therapeutic level, but that there should
be improvement in a week. which is tomorrow. She
seems a bit calmer, but I'm withholding judgment for
So things on the
Mom front are not really good. I miss my mom, my
real mom. I hope this works to bring her back into
form again. Selfish, I know, but I miss my life as
James, from the
ill-fated trip to my sister, Ginger's old resort, was in
San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. I was going to go
up and meet him, but Kye was out of town that weekend
and I didn't have anyone to stay with Mom. That is
just as well because I have decided that right now, I
just don't have time for a relationship. It was a
nice thought, but if it's meant to be, it will come
back around the middle of March, one of my dearest
internet friends just disappeared off the face of the
planet. No one has heard a word from her (she was
a wonderful presence on our message boards) and there is
no record of her or her husband in any of the hospitals
in her area. Neither are listed in obituaries.
One of my online friends got in touch with a relative of
hers who simply said, "Eh, she does that." I was
totally crushed and I miss her deeply. Days are
ticking away, hours are lost and she's just ... gone.
I'm a virgin at this. I've never had someone just
disappear before. Of course, even though I'm
basically a pretty confident person, I'm haunted by
questions of what I could have done or not done to send
her away. She was like a big sister to me and I
feel the loss so deeply. No phone calls or e-mails
or snail mails are acknowledged. She's just gone.
It really goes to show that online relationships are
just so fragile and it's like you never really know
anyone. If I just could have gotten a line or two
that said, "I need some time. No worries.
I'll be back soon" I could have dealt with it better.
I know she has to do what she has to do to live in her
own skin, but I sure do miss my friend.
The changes in my
life have taught me even more so to value every minute
and every small wonderful thing in a day. I'm not
one to mope, so I don't fuss over it or make a big deal.
It is what it is and the only real constant in life is
change. I'm taking each of these holy moments one
at a time and smiling as much as I can in between.
I still feel very close to Mom and pray that this will
all work its way out. I appreciate all of the
notes my readers have sent sharing their experiences and
thoughts. I am sorry that I haven't been able to
answer them all, but my computer time is so limited
these days. I'm lucky (we all are) that Katrina is
in a position to shoulder more of the EOS work because
lord knows I can't do it. She's had it full boat
for months now and I had to go up on Sunday and make
sure she was (really) OK with it. We had a great
visit and it was wonderful to see her (Thank you, Ves!!
Sage LOVES presents!). She gave me some really
good advice and filled me up with warm fuzzies to get me
ready for this week.
I wish I had more
fun, interesting stuff to report, but each day is pretty
much like the last one and there's not much to write
about. I just wanted to bring all of you current
since so many had asked.
DON'T worry about
Sage! I'll be fine. It's just... adjusting.
To answer a few
letters, no, sadly, I won't be attending the GH Fan
Weekend in Studio City in August. Katrina will be
there in force with several of the EOS staff members.
Please find her and tell her hello. She'll be the
one whose hands are superglued to John J York's ass.
Thanks to all who
have donated to Eye on Soaps this month.
Still Feelin That