Friday, September 27, 2013

Speaking ill of the Dead

Been thinking about Death and how it is inevitable for everyone. How do we remember those that have died? Do we prop them out with stories of their greatness? Or do we remember them for what they were, a human being just living as best they could? 

Is it ever okay to speak ill of the dead? I mean not just the passive speaking ill of someone, (like he tried his best but come up short) but the mean and nasty stuff? Like saying that guy was a mean old dog, evil to the bone, may he rot in Hell? 

Sometimes I think it has nothing to do with the living and how they think of someone that is now dead, but what legacy that person has left. I mean if you are an arse all your life, what makes it not the way it is now? If someone is butt eating crazy, why paint them as respectable or sane?

There is the old adage, if you have nothing good to say about someone, best not to say anything. I guess that can work. But sometimes we all go butt eating crazy and let out some stuff don't we?

It was a number of years ago as I sat in the restaurant at our Reserve. There were quite a few people when an open conversation started. A friend of mine said to one of his cousins who was sitting across the room, "Hey, did you hear about Clem having a heart attack?". The cousin said "who gives a fuck, the guy is a piece of shit anyway."  That is the thing, one person can be a hero to some and a shit to others.

I know this one guy, who is now dead, and I think he was a monster. No, I know he was a monster. The thing is this monster was a Dad, a brother, a husband, a God father, and a host of other things to many people. To me he was and will always be thought of as a monster.On his marker it says he was a man of respect. I was so offended by that marker. None of my business I know. But it did offend me. I know him to be an evil person. A person with no consideration for others. A person who would threaten you. A person who used Spirituality to cloak his evil mindset. Harsh way to think of someone who has passed on, I know. But it is the legacy some of us have. If you live like a monster, people will remember you that way. If you are a piece of shit, that is how people will think of you. For example, 17 years ago I was leaving the funeral of my Uncle and our car was parked on the highway. So my wife and I were carrying our infant daughter who was a month old and had to walk on the side of the highway to our car. The man who is now dead was driving towards us in his white truck, he did a very quick turn towards us and then as quickly swerved away. It was disgusting moment. This man for what every reason believed I did him wrong. I know in my heart that is not true. He was looking for someone to blame for his actions. He worked in the same place I did. He was a sick man. He stalked one of the workers there, so she had to take leave of work. Numerous times he threatened to shoot me. Almost running me over as I was on the highway speaking with our then Chief. One time as I leaving my Mom's house, he made a shooting gesture at me again, I chased him to his home. I tried to talk to him about his behaviour on a number of occasions. He pulled out a weapon from under his seat. So I gave up trying to talk to him. He may be remembered as a good man to some and that is good for them. For me I have a different view. It is only my view but his legacy to me. I was not happy when he passed or sad. He was a rather unpleasant chapter in my life and it ended with his passing. No grief felt from me, but did feel bad for his family. Everyone wants their loved to be around for them. How do you feel when there is some madman (who once killed someone) actively trying to kill you?

So do I do him a disservice or a disservice to his family by speaking ill of him? Yeah, I am sure I do, but its my version of the truth. He may have been a good husband or dad, I don't know. But I do know he was a monster to me. And the more as I live I realize how much of an impact he had on me. His hatred to me and his acts caused me great pain.

 Pain, I didn't know how much until he went to "meet his maker".

"how many ways can you polish up a turd?"

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cancer has my Dad in its grip.

August 21, 2013 it was confirmed that my Dad has Cancer. He has it in his lungs, liver and a 15 centimeter growth in his bowel area, colon I believe.

Anyway, my Dad is 82 years old, born in 1930. Cancer is really an ugly animal. It has taken  people in the family: My Mom, my Aunt's Lucy, Gwezeence (Carolyn), Uncle Herman-to, My Brother in laws, Chris Courchene, Brian Spence and Gord Spence.

So now is the ugly part.

Watching Dad get weaker and weaker while the pain increases. Dad hasn't been told he has cancer. Dad is suffering from Alzheimer's. He is pretty good though. He has laps in his short term memory but other than that he was good. It is stranger that now that we have the diagnosis of cancer it seems to be hitting him fast. The Doctors estimated about six months was his time and that it will be likely that his colon will be blocked. They can operate to unblock and he can have a bag to his stomach, but the Doctor said if it was his relative, he wouldn't go for the operation.

Its really weird watching the cancer work its ugly unrelenting greed. It makes think of my Mom and her battle and how she left. Dad knows there is something wrong. He hurts and his back aches, sometimes to the point of his jaw shaking. Last week his blood pressure dropped to below 70 and he passed out. Unresponsive for some time, the ambulance had to come take him to the hospital. He is not eating and mostly has sips of tea. I love tea as well, drink it all day long. The hospital brought his fluids up and gave him new pain medication. He was okay and I was able to take him back to the George M. Guimond Care Home. I told my Dad that he was sick. My Dad said "but I'm going to be alright"?  I lied to him and said "yes that Dad you are going to be alright". So I could not tell him about cancer.

We are fortunate to have him this long. I encourage family and friends to visit well they can. I know Bert Fontaine was there yesterday and Dad remembered him. That's Dad's first Cousins those guys.
Perry is another one that is always going to see Dad. I think it is a shock for him to see Dad losing some much weight and so fast. It was not even three weeks ago that Perry had taken Dad to the Casino to pass the time.

Dad comes from a huge family, lots of cousins, kids, in-laws, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and friends. So it is good they get a chance to visit.

Okay folks, Will come by again.


Dad & Family

September - 17, Feeling overwhelmed today.

October 21, 2103

Well Cancer has taken my Dad and killed him.

We watched him shrink away.  I can tell you it is hard to watch your Dad die by the grip of cancer.

We had a nice service for Dad. His wishes (most of them) were followed. He was not one for big flash or have great things said about him. We did talk about him and how he was and not share his resume.
Its going to be weird not having Dad around.

Dad's Grandchildren

Uncle Bob at the Sacred Fire

Dad Bundled

Traveling song for Dad

Uncle Georgie Boy, Mary, Auntie Terraince, Uncle Bob.

Date of Passing: October 21, 2013


ANDREW (HENRY) HOWARD COURCHENE (HENREESE) Waabanong Inini On October 21, 2013, with his family at his side, Henry passed away at the age of 82 years, after a battle with cancer. Henry lived all of his life in the community of Sagkeeng First Nation, MB, which he loved very much. He was a resident of the George M. Guimond Care Home in Sagkeeng. Henry was predeceased by his wife and moral compass Mildred; by his parents Mishom (Miskus) Ambroise, Kookum Sophie; his children Luke, Jean, Russell (Pancho) and his grandchildren Evan and Donovan; his siblings: five infant brothers (Sam, Luke, Philip), Felix, Alex, Mary (Waabas), Dora (Peechanish), Caroline (Gwayzaince), Herman (Herman2), John (John-neese), and Allan; and by his in-laws George Guimond, Willie Twoheart, JB Guimond, Sarah Courchene, Edgar Swampy, Molly and Joe Guimond, Lucy and Frank Daniels, Alex (Oskie) Laforte, Eva Courchene, Gerry Anaquod, Louis (Red) and Ida Fontaine, and Henry (Mannish) Fontaine. Henry leaves to mourn his children Leonard (Isabel), Carol Bouboire, Donald, Howard (Val), Steve (Susan), Jean (Maurice Normand), Sally, Brenda (Alvin "Smiley" Morrisseau), daughter-in-law Jeanie, Lorraine Kipling and Delores Kent; his siblings Theresa (Terraince) Swampy, George (Georgie-boy), and Robert (Uncle Bob), his in-laws Harold and Brenda Fontaine, Mary Courchene, Francis Anaquod, Margaret Courchene, Evelyn Laforte, Catherine Courchene, and Madeline Courchene; as well as his grandchildren, great-grandchildren and his great-great-grandson - Andrew (AJ) Courchene; numerous cousins, nephews, nieces and friends. Kitchi-Miigwich to all of the people of the George M. Guimond Care Home and to Sagkeeng. Your kindness, caring and warmth is overwhelming. To all his nephews, nieces and friends that were kind to Henry, Miigwich. Gin sa ga Bepkins, Boyshum, Bugzy, Randy, Perry, Chipper, and Linda. A Traditional Wake will take place at St. Alexander Church, Sagkeeng First Nation, MB, Wednesday, October 23, with the funeral service to follow on Thursday, October 24, at 2:00 p.m. Feast will be held at the Band Hall. Pallbearers will be Ian Courchene, Michael Buboire, Connie Spence, Daniel Courchene, Michael Courchene, Jessica Courchene, Laurie Morrisseau, Dylan Courchene-Gaucher, Zach Courchene, and Luke Courchene. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Henry's name to the George M. Guimond Personal Care Centre, P.O. Box 308, Pine Falls, MB R0E 1M0. Condolences may be sent to the family in care of Spirit Road Funeral Services Inc., P.O. Box 200, Fort Alexander, MB R0E 0P0, (204) 340-6490 or friends may leave a message of sympathy at
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on October 23, 2013

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