Castlegar Is my Old Age Home:
by Shemmaho Goodenough
I have been in the Kootenays for 52 years. Since I was a child I had a recurring dream during sleep. In the dream, I was moving through a valley, either walking, swimming, or flying. This dream presaged my coming to the Kootenays, as I never had it again after I arrived in Argenta, in 1970. My life has been shaped by the supernatural world and the guidance I have received over the decades. It is one big learning curve, a spiral circumscribed by the medicine wheel. I have had very distinct phases in my life and most of them are primarily connected by my presence in them. Each period has had distinct learning opportunities and I believe living in Castlegar is the last stage or season, my old age and death. I imagine the very last thing I will learn is how to die.
I did not know a soul when I moved here and it is difficult to make friends when your working life and parenting life are over. My beloved son and his family live in Montreal and he is at the height of his career and has no intention to move back to the Kootenays where he was raised. So I rely on my little dog and my friendly nature to create pleasant and meaningful encounters with other people. Castlegar is my forever- home. It has everything I need to have a rich and fulfilling life as I age peacefully here. A senior’s residence like Castlewood is basically assisted living with a social life and meaningful activities provided by the staff. This is how I experience Castlegar. I basically stay within the city limits and rarely go beyond them. I used to travel a lot for my work, and now I have no interest or energy for going anywhere overnight.
I tell people Castlegar is my Old Age Home and I do not want it to get any smaller. Within a few minutes from home, I have a mechanic for my car, three volunteer opportunities, my doctor, my pharmacist, the health center, the credit union and the supermarket. A little further away but still within city limits are the public library, Millennium Park and Zuckerberg Park which feature woods with trails for walking, the Pool and Rec Center, Seniors activities with IRIS, my massage therapist and chiropractor, dentist, dental hygienist, United Church, downtown stores and the waterline walking trail. All of these amenities are necessary for a free and independent life in an aging body.
I am determined to not be put in a facility. I like my own company, my own cooking, and my own schedule. I am used to choosing what I watch, or don’t watch on TV, or listen to on the radio. In order to ensure my independence I must stay sane with all my mental faculties. Then, I must create a home where I can live even with reduced physical capacity. And finally, I need enough money to pay for help. There may be more conditions I am not yet aware of, this being my first attempt at getting this on paper.
I have a membership in the Dumont Creek Burial Society, which owns and operates the Dumont Creek Cemetery in Winlaw. This Society has a board of directors from the community, and its purpose is to provide support in making simple, inexpensive private funeral arrangements. People do not purchase plots in the cemetery but are buried in the next available site when they die. I am particularly committed to this cemetery because I can have the closest thing to a green burial there. One can be put in a plain pine box, which is put in a hole in the ground in the forest where it can feed the trees as it goes back to the earth. This is my idea of romance.
In order to have a burial in Dumont Creek Cemetery, I must die at home. To be buried in a shroud or a plain pine box one must die at home so the burial society can take care of preparing the body. Legally, you must be buried or cremated within 72 hours of death if you are not to be embalmed. This means people have to be ready for the next stage of one’s dying journey. I believe my best chance for this is to take care of my heart physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually and the best place for me to do this is Castlegar.
Would you like to write your life story? Did you need a coach and a community that will encourage and love you through every step of the process? My online 4-week session begins April 16-May 9th. Sunday Mornings. 10-12:15 pm. It’s a memoir class ( good for stories for the stage or page) based on telling stories about those stories that deal with the “Crossroads” in your life. It’s safe, and fun and you will learn and laugh a lot. If you are interested you can email me with questions. Or E-transfer $209 (plus appropriate provincial tax.). email@example.com.
The Belleville show is selling fast, and Stratford is the week after.
Tamworth Sold out
Stratford The Revival House: 7:30 pm
Want to take your mom or daughter to a great Mother’s Day show? Comedy Bar, Toronto May 13/14
Deborah Kimmett( The Debaters) and Barbara Johnston( The Wannabee and Jingle Babz) headline this afternoon of stories and songs about mothers. So bring the woman that raised you. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll need some waterproof mascara, as we take on the good, the bad and the ‘fugly’ of the story of Mother.
Special guests like Bob Johnston. Carolyn Hart. Bella Grundy!
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