Mom, Trudeau & the Biggest Octoberfest on the Hill She Threw

This 007 Fem Bond was just about to crack the case of why I survived  5 car Accidents and 1 Shotgun Hostage and then something awful happened. My mom was diagnosed with Cancer. Let me go back to the beginning to tell you about who my mom,  Jude Flood was.

{ Mom and Trudeau, Octoberfest Party, House of Commons, Ottawa,ON }

{ Mom and Trudeau, Octoberfest Party, House of Commons, Ottawa,ON }

My mother used to work on the “Hill”, Ottawa’s place of Parliament. She was an Executive Assistant to one of the MP’s who’s office happened to be right near our former Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Elliot Trudeau.  Pierre enjoyed my mother’s company and would stop by her office to say hello. Eventually my mother organized the biggest Octoberfest Gala on the hill. She even got the Mayor of Munich to attend. Right after this photograph was taken by the hill official photographer, Pierre leaned leaned into my mother’s ear and said, “Judy – ‘One heck of a party. Well done! Now how can you get me the hell of out here?” Pierre liked his parties…for a short time.

I was just getting close to figuring out why there seemed to be something working against me in this life. Why I had been in five car accidents and 1 shotgun hostage. I was getting so close and then this cancer business happened in the middle of it all. I was still just in the beginning of my insurance battle. I was right in the thick of it all.

Before I share the day I found out my mom had cancer, I am going to go back and time to the beginning.

My mom was born in Ottawa on August 1st, 1962. A true Leo –  her most defining characteristic – too of a Leo – she loved to be the life of the party. She loved to party. Not all the time of course. She could throw a damn good party. I grew up with lively family reunions and a band in my living room for her 40th. I’ll never forget that one. She was one of four siblings ( two sisters and one brother) to an Irish decent school teacher, my grandmother Maudella McColgan. My grandmother died when I was five years old. My only memory of her was of her bringing me chocolates. I was told she was a remarkable woman and rightly so for being a french and art teacher at the time. My mother’s father was in the war and I know very little about him except I know he had large hands and was very handsome. He died when my mother was only fifteen years old. They lived in downtown Ottawa.

Mom_Dad_Ball copy

My mother was described as a free spirit (apple doesn’t fall far from the tree) and in an attempt to settle her down, she was sent to private school at Iona Academy in Alexandria, Ontario. I remember her always saying how upset and hard it was to be pulled out of school to go and care for her dying father at 15 years old so that her mom could continue to work and earn a pay check to pay the bills and feed the family including her younger sister at home.
She has albums of her at school and I used to love going through them and seeing the outfits and fun times. A classier Grease Lightening reality.

There is a whole lifetime of memories I don’t know about for my mom. These are snippets of stories I remember. I know that she was beautiful and uplifting and fun. I know that she cared about all of us and cared about how we did in school, how we dressed presentable and had fun with our friends. We grew up in the country and she was concerned about our experiences and made sure to enroll is in countless sports, activities and clubs so we were socialized around other children. My favorite photograph of her is this one above in the green satin gown. I always thought she looked so elegant, breathtaking, honestly regal in this photograph. I always wanted to see her like that again. 25 years later and a bit heavier this was a little girl’s “princess” wish that couldn’t realistically be. I also wanted her to be happy like she was in the photograph. She didn’t always seem this way to me.

Who was Jude? Jude was a beautiful woman who knew how to dress well. She was incredibly artistic and painted many oil paintings. Mostly of nature, the outdoors, sunsets, mill’s and cowboys for my father. This reflected her love of nature in the real world as well. She loved thunderstorms and I remember would call us out into the sun porch to count the strikes after the thunder would roll. She had such a flare with decorating a home and would often to mini-makovers on her friends and relative’s place. She was comfortable wearing hats and had many. Scarves too like in the photo above. Her nickname to some of her second nieces and nephews was “Gypsy Lady.” She loved children and encouraging them to be strong and have fun.

She loved to talk. She counselled many friends on the phone for countless hours. People loved to be around her. She loved to entertain and did everything up right. We had a one reunion and a large summer party in the 100’s on our family property by the pool. She loved games and was clever at scrabble, trivia pursuit and tons of card games. She used to play euchre and rummy for hours. She had killer dancer legs and could dance like nobody’s business.  She loved music, and our I grew up listening to her favorites. Elvis at the top of the list, Anne Murray, Abba and Neil Diamond. Hell, she met Elvis once. I’ll tell that story here another time. My mother was intelligent, swift, quick thinking and fun. That second set of eyes never left the back of her head. She loved to have a good time. She loved christmas and was incredible at bringing that spirit alive every year in our home. She had a flare for everything artistic really. My father and her designed and built our family home and 3-4 others. She loved the holidays, any excuse to celebrate. She decorated our house for St.Patrick’s day! St.Patrick’s day was like a second christmas in our home. She used to make a gigantic green shamrock cake out of 3 hearts cake tins every year. She loved family and encouraged  family interactions in our immediate family and our relatives.

After she worked on the hill, she had my brother and I. She was sick for a little while because of this and became a full time mom. Later on she became the President of the Manotick Fringe Festival for a couple years before it even moved to Ottawa. I moved away for University at 19 and returned only for 3 years to complete by college diploma and moved to Vancouver when I was 22. My relationship with my mother was a constant tug of war. I think at some point I forgot why I was mad at her, and kept on being mad at her. I still loved her, but I was mad at her.

I loved my mom. I hated my mom.I know hate is a strong word, but I did. Parts of me really hated her. That teen angst scream many hear, “Oh yah? I hate you!” never really left. I had good reason and maybe not so good reason and reasons I didn’t even know. Actually those were the most important of all. If only I had known those reasons before she died. I guess, I guess this was the way it was supposed to be. It did not make it any easier at the time. It doesn’t make it any easier today.

My mom cared about me, don’t get me wrong and I for her. We just had a hell of way of showing it. And there were many poignant, deep and tragically beautiful reasons for this. As far as I remember, I didn’t really want to be around my mom. At the same time, there was a part of me that very much wanted to be around her. This was quite deep and quite invisible to me actually. She annoyed me. I thought she was silly. Sometimes I thought she was scary. Sometimes she seemed so big to me and strong. I also was confused by her. She didn’t always seem happy to me. Sometimes she seemed incredibly happy, dancing up a storm in my kitchen with my Dad or her brother.

As long as I can remember, my mom and I were at each other’s throats. We didn’t really “get along” whatever, however that looks for mom and daughter. I know everyone’s relationship with their mother is different, full of so many complex defining reasons – generational, economical, cultural, day to say situational. Then there is karma. Oh that blasted karma. It is also the single most important external relationship every single person has. The one they have or don’t have with their mother. Why is this?

I’ll tell you why I was so mad at her next time.

She also made the best lasagna in the world.

By a mother’s daughter,

On Deck: Dancing Queen by ABBA
Locale: Hardwood Banquette, Starbucks, Toronto
Mood: Wired and tired. Moving and another surgery in 3 weeks.


NaNoWriMo Day 1: Fem 007 Bond Digs Deeper: Mono & Syncronicities

Last excerpt where I left off:

And then I looked on the date I was to be discharged:

October 22, 1974

Holy Shit. I stared at the date. My hands began to shake. The world around me became incredibly still, the sounds around me disappeared and became background noise.

October 22, 1974. You have got to be kidding me.
That’s the same date as the car accident. At Queens. In the Porsche. Will Alex. The exact same date. Of all the days of the year, you mean to tell me the day I was going to go home to be in my mothers arms who I had been crying for 3 weeks for, and the nurse finds a hear murmur and I”m being transferred to another hospital is the SAME day as a my first major car accident where I almost died?

This is not a coincidence. It isn’t anymore. It can’t be. I flumped into my crossed legs on the living room floor with the papers spread all around me. Then I jumped up sending the papers flying.

“FINE! I believe it! I Believe it! I believe it’s all connected! I yelled out loud into the living room to no one but myself.

“Now what?”…

{ continued…. }

I plugged this new found exact date into the chart I had made that was outlining all the major events of trauma in my life – the surgeries and illnesses. For example, I had already had mononucleosis 3 times and Epstein Bar syndrome.  Called the kissing disease, this was not how I first contracted it! I was only twelve years old the first time I got it in Gr.7. Hadn’t so much as hugged a boy yet! It was the beginning of my junior year. Hell, sure may have wanted to, but it hadn’t happened yet. Let me retract that statement. I had been going to school with the same boys and girls since kindergarten, so actually no there wasn’t a boy I wanted to kiss yet, but maybe, maybe he was around the grade 7 hall. I’m not sure, I maybe I wasn’t kissing material. I still remember playing spin the bottle and a girlfriend’s 10 bathroom mansion in the basement and being called into the closet with one of the long blond banged boys. I hadn’t kissed a boy yet and certainly this really wasn’t how I envisioned it going down! I still remember him saying to me, “Hey Kate, do you mind if we don’t actually kiss, but just stay in here long enough to make it seem like we had?”

Heart-drop now.

Talk about crush’n a pre-teen’s heart raging with self-esteem fitting-in peer issues! ‘Just the same, i didn’t want it, but that kinda stung too. Little confusing too.

I got mono from just being around my mom who had picked it up in the air at an arts course she was talking at a community college. Good Morning Grade seven! I missed the first three months of school. ‘Watched a lot of spiderman and the Flintstones at Noon, Y & R at 4pm and slept. Don’t worry the school passed me regardless. ‘Said, I would have “gotten all” that  I missed anyways and was an A-student. Gotta like that.

I plugged in the date the heart murmur was found on my just 6 month premature, alive 3 weeks body into the chart. I sat there staring. What does this all mean? What does this tell me? Why has all this stuff happened to me? It cannot be a coincidence. It can’t.

What am I missing?

I waited for something to come to me.

I remembered another car accident I had been in. Shit. That’s five car accidents I have been in. Geezuz.

Is someone trying to kill me?

I keep surviving. ‘Not mean’t to die. But why? This has got to stop. What am I not getting?

I made or added other columns. I put in what had happened to me in the accident or illness or surgery. There was consistency to those too.

It was getting clearer, but not completely crystal clear. The accidents – I almost die. My life flashes before my eyes. I’m going to die, but I make it.
Spinning – out of control – turning – twisting – my neck – impact – bridges – plummet to death – fear – soft landings…..

I would look at the end of the chart where the accident was and trace back. What happened before that? And before that? And before that? What’s the first thing that happened where there was trauma?

My birth. My miraculous premature birth.


I survived. What. Hmm, Are they’re any other similarities with what happened to me over these 30 years?

Car Accidents. A bunch of them. Why? Maybe there is something about what happens in them….

What’s the same about the car accidents? People always say, “Shit, you must be a bad driver.”

Nope. I’m never the driver. Never have been. Always a passenger.

Hmm….There is something in that…

I revisited all the accidents.

5 years old – Hit by a Nun – In a Van – Mom’s driving. My twin and I are in the van.

16 – “Head for the Clear” Van flip into the snowbank – Dad’s driving. My twin and I are in the van.

16 – Garbage Dump Road Van Flip at camp – A fellow staff friend is driving – 2 other staff friends and I.

21 – Porsche 911 Accident  – My first puppylove is Driving – We dropped off my roommate at home – Only I am in the car with him.

29 – Christmas Accident – My Dad is driving. My twin and I our in the van.

Weird. I’m close right.

3/5 of those accidents I’m with my parents.  Once with my mom driving. It was the Nun’s fault. My mother taught me how to drive in Fitzroy Provincial park across from the Quyon ferry that her family owned and operated and she spent her cherished summers. She was a good driver as much as I knew. The other two my father was driving. All of them were in vans.

My twin was in 3/5 of them. That seems significant. He’s also reasonably ok. So is everyone. Most of them, only I seem to bear the brunt of the accident and have injuries and have physical consequences.

There were two other interesting things my Bond mind pieced together. Funny, you don;t really see James Bond piecing things together, he just does it. Goes there. Dawns an Armani suit, skis down the mountain side onto a boat, kills the bad guy where he knew he was and gets the girl. Here I am trying to piece the pieces of my life together to make sense of the puzzle.

There was another accident that I’m not sure whether to include in this count.  Something did happen, it was a close call. What was interesting, was it was in van, my father was driving and my twin had a little mishap. We were visiting my relatives in London, Ontario. I think we were about 8-10 years old, somewhere in there and my father was driving. Out of know where a cyclist tried to duck out on the road in front of my Dad. My father slammed on the brakes and my twin went flying forward. His tiny chest was bare with only his swim trunks on and SMACK he hit the front of the big console on the van. Poor little guy. I remember how red his chest was. I also remember how angry he was as he leaned out the window and screamed every exploitive an 8 year-old knows at the cyclist.

“You stupid – poohead – dumb-dumb turkey!” { Turkey derived from my father’s normal choice of expletives at bad driving. Well, at least while the kids were in the car.

My father understablly let him have it! Adding after the trail was finished and his 8 yearold voice started cracking….

“Yah! Turkey!”

The other accident? The other accident? There was synchronicity in that one too…and it didn’t involve my parents. Directly that is.

{ to be continued… }

I’m getting closer…

007 Fem Bond,


fingerprintLocale: Chocolate Leather Club Chair { ‘could use some distressing }, Starbucks, Toronto
On Deck: Mirrors by Emma Louise
Mood: Mercury in retrograde is kicking my literary web butt.