Hey good people. For some of you this will be a bit sudden, and for that I apologize, but on October 12, 2005 my mother passed away at 6:30pm in the Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston. She was 65 years old and left behind two (dare I say wonderful) kids: me and my older sister, Belinda.

It's' getting a bit late, and I don't have time or energy to call everyone I'd like, but thanks to Al Gore and the fact the Google runsthe planet, you can read this email.

Since the last update I sent some of you a week ago, my mom's condition (stage 4 colon cancer spread to liver and lungs) took a pretty sudden downward turn. Last Friday she was complaining about getting confused, being in more pain and really being unable to sleep, so we checked her in to the ER.

Over the weekend, after various tests, the oncologists gave us (me, mom, sister) two choices: a) pursue a mild chemotherapy with minimal chance of improvement and guaranteed side effects or b) control the

My mom chose the morphine, and we supported that.

The hospital stay then turned into a real tragicomedy raising such important questions as:

  • Why did my mom nearly poo in my sister's face? While I had a great laugh, my sis wasn't so impressed.

  • How is it that ma forgot the names of her children but remembered her Apple Powerbook?

  • On the hospital lunch menu there is a "Cold Entrees" section. One of the items offered is simply "American Cheese." Why?

  • When the nurses were checking my mom's mental faculties, they asked her the date, year, location. She answered all these flawlessly. When they asked who the president was, she answered, "I'd rather not say." How can a woman on morphine, lactulose, lasics, potassium, with high amonia and low sodium and tumors flooding her liver and lungs see something half the country still doesn't?

I can't answer those questions, but on the more substantive question: did she pass into the light well? The answer is yes.

She spent the last weeks surrounded by her kids and the past few years spoiled by us. She got to see live concerts of heroes Bill Cosby, Gladys Night (in VEGAS!), Whoopi Goldberg, Ray Charles and Tina Turner
(at least four times). She got to move to the west coast (a lifelong dream) and drove across the country with her kids to get there. Alone, she helped both her babies survive DC in the 70s, 80s and 90s to
graduate from college, publish books, manage newspapers and bring home tai chi trophies. She even got to be in the audience on Oprah. I know many a desperate housewife that would sell her kids (something ma threatened us with a lot growing up) just to be in the same zipcode as Oprah.

She told a good tale and enjoyed hearing them even more with favorites like Frank Herbert's DUNE SERIES Orson Scott Card's ENDER SERIES, the Lord of the Rings and the DARK TOWER SERIES by Stephen King. But above all she loved hearing the tales of her children.

The last thing my sister and I did for our mother was visit a nursing home today that the hospital had recommended for her and turn it down. I think she saw us do that, figured we passed the final test, and her work here was truly finished.

She was an amazing woman and remains a brilliant spirit. May she enjoy her rest full of long days and pleasant nights in the clearing at the end of the path.

Note: We're not planning any sort of funeral. Ma wanted to be cremated and spread in the ocean or Africa. We will hold a small memorial service in Boston (details TBA) and will set up this website with photos, notes and a place for people to contribute their own words to her memory.

I'll also probably devote some blog entries and podcast radio shows to her memory as well.

peace to all and thanks for being the good people you are.

Now, if you can, go tell your mother you love her!

- Baratunde
son of Arnita