Mom called me at work in tears. Her voice trembled, and I imagined her hands did too. She was scared out of her mind about the people coming to Calgary to raid the streets and kill us all.

What people?

“It’s on the news, can you come right now?”

“I’m at work.”

“Can you come later? If we’re still alive then.”

Okey doke…. Like I could stop a pillaging horde.

Around five, I walked the two house lengths to Mom’s with a touch of dread. Her hallucinations continue to get worse and you never know what she thinks is happening. So I took the kids for witnesses. I had a feeling this was going to be a huge helping of crazy.

Mom is usually so happy to see the children, but that night she gave them an odd look and said, “Oh, you all came. I don’t think I can talk in front of them.”

But she could. She made me watch the news. The same old-same old news that is on a continuous repeating 15 minute loop. Every time it started again I’d say we’ve seen that.

“No. This is new.”

It was a mash-up of three Toronto cops charged with raping another cop (they were coming here next to do that to all of us, Mom said), a parade of ex-prime ministers talking about CSIS and home-grown terrorism, and some news about a celebration in the Ukraine.

She had a legal-sized piece of foolscap filled with notes.

Maybe Joe Clark can help? Should I all the police? And a bunch of other stuff that made no sense.

Bottom line? The Ukranians were coming to Canada, to Calgary specifically, in hordes. They were going to fill our streets and murder us all in our sleep.

I tried reason. Mom, if that were true, the police and the military would be out fending them off and protecting us.

“Do you think so?”

Yup. And the local news would be filled with nothing but the murderous Ukranians. They wouldn’t be telling us hockey scores.

“Are you sure?”

By the time we left two hours later, she remained unconvinced. She hugged me hard and told me how much she loved us all and to be safe. But that we wouldn’t be here tomorrow.

Maybe I should have stayed. Or pretended to call Joe Clark. But sometimes I just need to get away.

Bad daughter.

Later that week she lamented about not hearing from an old friend (we call her Auntie Anne). She said it’s because Anne’s son is evil and made her go back to where she was born.


“No, that place where they’re killing everyone. She’s probably deeeaaadd. They killed her.”

Oh. The Ukraine.

How this all gets so twisted in her head is frightening. That evil son is in fact one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. And I’m pretty sure Auntie Anne is where she always is. In an assisted-living facility in Edmonton. Or maybe her son moved her to be closer to him, in the evil city of Red Deer.

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Quote by Blake

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.

William Blake

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