Goodbye Grandpa

StanCuthand
Stanley (Stan) Cuthand
Dec 22, 1918 – May 23, 2016

Rev. Canon Stan Cuthand died peacefully after a lengthy hospital stay on May 23, 2016. Stan was born in 1918 on Little Pine First Nation, son of Harriet and Josie Cuthand. He was a survivor of the Spanish Flu epidemic at four months of age. He attended day school on Little Pine, followed by boarding house to complete high school in Prince Albert. He convocated in 1944 with a Bachelors of Theology. He worked as a priest for the Anglican Church. He met and married Christina Lennan in 1944 and they had four children, Doug, Beth, John, and Ruth. His life’s work was translating the bible into Plains Cree Roman Orthographics and Syllabics. His secular work included a stint with Indian Affairs in 1969 until 1975 when he became an assistant professor of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba. He retired to Saskatchewan and worked at the First Nations University of Canada (S.I.F.C.) and Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre. He taught until he was 80 years old, he enjoyed his students immensely. His greatest reward in teaching was getting the students to think for themselves. He was computer literate, his file names were all in Cree and he enjoyed his Facebook page to keep up with his many relations. He lead an active and healthy life and was a loving, funny, devoted husband, father, and grandfather.
Stan was predeceased by his parents, Harriet and Josie Cuthand, brothers Aaron, Adam, and Issac, sisters Beatrice, and Jean, childhood friend and cousin Smith Atimoyoo, grandson Christopher, and beloved wife Christina.
He is survived by his four children Doug (Pauline), Beth (Gerry William), John (Eileen), and Ruth. Grandchildren Lorne (Marcella), Steven Paul, Lisa George, Sky, Luke Morrisseau, Thirza, Shawn, Deanna, Sharlene, Shannon, and Jenny. Great Grandchildren Danielle, Jordan, Taylor, and Kristjan Paul. As well as numerous nephews and nieces.
The family would like to thank the staff at Stonebridge Crossing, and St. Pauls Hospital, for caring for our loved one so well.
The Memorial will be at Acadia McKague’s Funeral Centre in Saskatoon on Wednesday May 25th at 2pm. Wake will be held Thursday evening at Little Pine First Nations Elders Hall, and Funeral on Friday May 27th 2pm at the Elder Hall. Feast to follow.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Stan Cuthand Scholarship.

Venting until a phone call

Waiting at home for a phone call which MIGHT not even come tonight. We were told today that death would happen soon, but no one can give exact estimates and “soon” is a very vague term. I spent six hours in Grandpa’s hospital room with my family this afternoon and finally we got so tired some of us left and are trying to get back into having shifts of people staying with him. I’ve been up 12 hours, which isn’t so long but I have been sleep deprived because people do their laundry in the morning which is right next to my room and my dogs go apeshit and wake me up so really I’ve probably been sleeping about seven hours a night for three weeks. It’s very exhausting because I need way more sleep, like ten hours a night, just because that’s the way I have been my whole life.

I think I am moving into the Angry phase of whatever this grieving process is. I’m easily fed up with people online, especially the way they say nice words but it doesn’t really mean anything cause they aren’t coming by with food or something more useful, I’m wondering why our family seems to be doing this alone except for the people at the hospital, I’m super mad at the hospital for ignoring our wishes so long and working like they were trying to save him when we clearly wanted palliative care and said so over and over and he didn’t get assessed for palliative care for a week after he was admitted. I feel the clear need to have a living will for myself because he didn’t have one like Grandma did and we’ve had to talk about things the doctors have suggested like feeding tubes and iv fluids and other unnecessary things that would prolong death. I am irritated that I feel like I can’t openly talk about this whole process because it would annoy some family members and OVERALL I am angry at society for making dying so taboo that it isn’t talked about in our education system or society so people have to go seeking out information when it finally presents itself. And I’ve been trying to apply for a job back in Toronto that I would be really good at but the organization in charge of funding it isn’t being compassionate at all about the fact I am out of province for my Grandfather’s death and can’t sign a paper in the office in front of someone. So there are a lot of things pissing me off and I feel like I’m going to be stuck in Saskatoon forever and never get off welfare and never be able to grieve properly. And there are some issues with persons with addictions in my family who are of course not handling this in a healthy way. But none of us are really handling it well cause it’s oncoming death and we aren’t given resources to support ourselves through this and it just seems to be us not wanting him to ever be alone even at night which is really wearing us out.

That’s a long list of things to be angry about.

My only time alone is late at night like right now. Aside from that people are with me ALL THE TIME and for an introvert like me it is really hard to not be able to recharge by listening to my tunes and dinking around on the internet. And the worst part is as a bipolar person I have been taught all about how important self care is and being an advocate for my own mental health, but when someone is dying it becomes all about THEM and I feel like a shitbag for being stressed to my limits and needing to take up my own space and time for myself. I really really want to go home and I can’t until after the funeral and we cleaned out his apartment so at least I don’t have to deal with that cause I know if we had waited I would have to stay longer after the funeral to help out. My Mom’s house is PACKED with people right now, there are five of us staying here and that isn’t including the downstairs tenant. And four dogs, and two of the people here are smokers so they go in and out all the time and Little Mister is ever vigilant and barks every time and I get so fed up with all of them I wanna be like “Shut up Mister, and YOU stop freakin’ smoking or stay outside!” OMG! I think of all kinds of things I want to yell at people but I don’t but I want to and honestly I have so many cutting remarks going through my mind that I’m not saying.

And I miss walking my dogs, cause we have no energy to do anything outside of all this hospitaling we are doing. We don’t even have energy to cook, so we are eating out a lot, and I am fucking sick of FUCKING TIM HORTONS!

And I feel pressured to be so fucking grateful for anything, for the fact I am still alive, for having time with my family, to be this perfect family member for a dying person and do everything properly so we don’t bring shame onto the family.

OMG THE PHONE JUST RANG!

Oooookay and the person who answered it didn’t tell us what it was about. So I have gone to bed. If I find out from Facebook that my Grandpa died I’m gonna be SO PUT OUT!

Smiles from Grandpa

I’ve been here a while now. We see Grandpa every day. Right now he is being treated for an infection but he finally got palliative care so that’s good. When I first got here and saw him he was more understandable and said he was glad. Not glad to see me (though I assume that’s what the full sentence was gonna be), just glad. He was starting sentences and then not quite finishing them.

It’s been over a week I have been here. He talks in Cree now, and I only know a few words. But this afternoon when I was visiting him he was looking at me and smiling and it made me cry and I was trying NOT to cry because I don’t want to make him feel like he has to stay just to keep our spirits up.

There is family here from out of town. People are all coping in their own ways I guess.

I will try to stick to my own feelings about the whole thing though.

I have a really low tolerance for self absorbed bullshit right now. I normally can indulge friends in trivial conversations on Facebook, but right now my patience for it is REALLY thin. I’m generally not engaging very much in those kinds of interactions. People ask how Grandpa is and I’m just like, dying. Because he is and there is not much more to say about it than that. Dying is messy and makes people uncomfortable and some people really just can’t handle being around it. Sometimes being with him is brutal and hard and really painful even for me and I’m not even the one doing the dying. And he’s in the hospital right now which is harder for me than when Grandma died at home. I think because we could all focus on her at her care home in her private suite and be with her, but he’s got all that hospital stuff going on and is in a room with at least three other people.

And the thing about dying, at least with both my grandparents, is that there’s not a lot of quality conversations that happen in the last days. It’s just not possible. So I feel protective of him and don’t really want people gawking at him. If someone is dying I think you need to have been pretty close to them to be able to witness their last days. I mean, that might just be me.

Anyway, sometimes friends send me innocuous texts or messages that seem to be missing the mark and I get really irritated. Not always. Some friends have been making me feel better. I like the snapchats I have been getting.

Sometimes I want to go away and visit someone and get away from all this dying stuff, but then I feel like no one will want to just hang out and shoot the shit at the last minute, and I have no ability to make plans in advance right now. And people seem to like advance notice that we will be visiting, when really I’m like “Wanna hang out RIGHT NOW because no one has died yet and I don’t know if it’s gonna happen tomorrow and I will be at the reserve the next day?” So that’s frustrating.

I’m low energy. My dogs have been making me get up at 10am because they hear people upstairs, and they will NOT let me sleep in when they could play with the other two dogs here. Mom and I had a fight this morning about something totally ridiculous and of no importance and neither of us said sorry because I think we were both ticked off. She guilts me when I go out with Deanna because she doesn’t like me leaving the house without my dogs and that irritates me too because I need some time out and because my dogs are fine on their own for two hours they don’t trash the place or try to set the house on fire. Actually a lot of people are kind of bickering with each other, which makes sense because there is a lot of bipolar in our family so mood disorders + major emotional life event = mess.

I miss my apartment back home. I miss my morning routine and walking the dogs and visiting my friends and seeing cuties. Logically I could do this here too, but no, it’s different. I’m in my Mom’s house, not my house, so I don’t have the same freedom even tho I am an adult. And I kinda got used to my routine.

And I guess I am pre-grieving, which is a weird thing. Like it’s gonna happen we all know it’s gonna happen but it hasn’t happened YET and I was holding out for so long trying not to be all teary. But now I have cried in front of him twice.

Also I am mourning the fact that Grandpa, who was so important in my life, is not ever gonna meet my future wife or my future kids. That this whole major part of my life is going to be disconnected from this other major part of my life that HASN’T EVEN HAPPENED YET!

And also all those stories he had, about our ancestors, and stories that were handed down to him from long ago before even our great great grandfather was born, will be gone. He told us a lot of things, and for the most part we remember them. But I’m sure there are other things he will take with him. And that makes me sad too.

Grandpa was really good at making our family’s history sound so exciting, being involved in the Northwest Rebellion, and running away to join American Wild West shows, and all kinds of interesting things that my ancestors did. And I guess I just hope that I can inspire that kind of admiration in the next generation. And he was a minister, and I really don’t want people to act like because he was a minister he wasn’t a good enough Native or he was colonized. I think some Native people are really self hating when they put down Christian Natives. Let people believe what they want to believe, what is it to you if someone brown prays to Jesus? Jesus wasn’t white either.

So that’s the scoop. There is more, but I am leaving out health details. Besides the obvious.

I think I need to figure out some self care stuff. Also I got a rash from this soap Mom has, and it’s super painful when I itch it and super itchy when I ignore it. Bummed out!

I’m staying up late after people go to bed to be with my thoughts. That seems to help. Like right now. Like writing this.

Boundaries, Even With Ghost Cinnamon Buns

I’d like to believe the universe has a plan for me. Like that I haven’t gotten a real job yet because I have to go to Saskatoon for who knows how long until . . . until until. It would be nice to come back to a job. I’m still gonna look while I am out there. Grandpa is seeing things and saying “Kiyas.” Kiyas is a Cree word and people say it when they haven’t seen someone in a long time. I hope we can have a little chat when I see him. Poor old man. After this trip I won’t be going back there until the fall when I have a show/screening thing in Prince Albert. I plan to make the most of it. As much as I love living in Toronto, there are still a lot of people I care for in Saskatoon and I know all the good restaurants there and I have access to a vehicle and my Mom and Sister and Grandpa are there.

In the future it will eventually just be my Mom and Sister I come back to visit, which is strange. And Sky has a profound intellectual disability which usually comes with a shorter lifespan. So I also have to make the most of my time with her. She’s 41 this year, which is unusual for a trisomy 13 person.

Mortality is weird. After being with my Grandma when she was getting ready to pass I believe in an afterlife just based on the things that happened during that time. Like her talking to all of her departed relatives and lights flying around the room. But it still sucks that after someone dies, for me anyway, the only time I see them again is in my dreams. I guess it’s good, like if I was just having a bath and Grandma walked in and sat on the bed just outside the door I would probably get freaked out, even if she was carrying like, ghost cinnamon buns. And a couple of friends who killed themselves, if I saw them, as much as I love them, it would probably wig me out. Especially if they looked the way they did when they died. Like maybe for me there are boundaries between the living and the dead for a reason and I should just be grateful I only hear voices and see things move around. Little Mister sees spirits, and I think Posey does too cause she barks at one spot in the cemetery where we go walking.

So yes, we think Grandpa may be getting ready to depart this mortal coil. BUT it’s really so unknown. He could also be just fighting an infection. He’s seeing things that we don’t see but besides saying “Kiyas” to the ceiling, he’s not being as vocal as Grandma was when she was having full on conversations with spirits. Also let’s be honest, spirits have been attracted to Grandpa whenever he has profound health issues. Once during his recovery for his quadruple bypass he said old men in the hospital room were trying to tell him to come with them. I don’t know what he told them, but he didn’t go. And also Grandma died in the room he is in now, so she could just be hanging around.

BUT he is 97. Maybe we should just round it right up to an even 100 so he can finally be satisfied he made his goal. 97 is a good age I guess. I say that about any age, but for being old and having a thriving family with three more generations of Cuthands and a long marriage that only ended because his spouse died, I mean I think he has done well for himself. I don’t think he would have many regrets.

I only say his marriage ended because Jesus said there would be no husbands and wives in Heaven. But maybe Jesus was wrong. Or that was some funny part of the Bible no one believes. There are lots of parts of the Bible believers don’t believe. Like the part about not mixing two kinds of clothes. Or not eating shellfish. I think there was an amendment to that part of the Bible later on or something.

Ha ha I haven’t read the Bible since 2003 so I don’t really remember it well.

Grandpa bought me my first video camera. It was a Sony Hi8 Handycam. I made lots of short experimental videos with it. “Untouchable” was shot on it. He was always very encouraging for his children and grandchildren to go into the arts. I always credited him in my videos, even tho a lot of them I didn’t show him because they were just too whatever. Explicit or things. Not Grandpa safe. He didn’t see many of my videos. But he was encouraging.

So I have a ticket tomorrow to go home and see him. And I hope he recognizes me, because I know he misses me a lot since I moved away. And I miss him.

And I hope I get to see my cousin Deanna when I am out there, cause I miss her too even tho we talk on facebook and the phone all the time. Maybe especially because of that.

My newish video also working on learning and cleaning

The little birds are having a big fight outside. Like a turf war or something.

I went to my video game thing last night, it was very interesting! We worked out a smaller version of my game that is still interesting and I figured out what the goal is in it so that’s good. Now it’s a collecting game. Still about bipolar disorder! Anyways, I am going to be learned this program called Unity to make it. So that’s cool! I downloaded it already, I’m not sure if I downloaded right cause it had all these options for different options. Anyways, we’ll see!

*********Later**********

I finally figured out how to start a project in Unity. I had to start an account and press the alt key when I opened it and anyway, I have it working now. BUT THEN I decided to watch a video about programming before I do the tutorial to learn 2D design. Soooo I watched about half the video then got interested in other things going on in internet land.

I have un-password protected my video 2 Spirit Introductory Special $19.99, because I didn’t get into some festivals that demand videos be password protected so I was like “Fuckit!” and anyway, as of this writing I have had 253 plays in like, 7 hours or whatever. You can find the link on my videos page here! Also I may as well embed it in this post. Here ya go!

2 Spirit Introductory Special $19.99 from Thirza Cuthand on Vimeo.

Also I found out I got into a festival! Details to follow.

I have a dirty apartment. OMG it’s so dirty. I need to pick up in here. It’s driving me mad!

Anyway I am gonna go clean!

Video Games! Academic Shizzle!

So I don’t know if I mentioned this, I didn’t find out until last weekend, but I got into Indigicade which is a video game making program being put on by Dames Making Games and Indigenous Routes Collective. It started Thursday night, but I was talking in another class so I wasn’t able to go. BUT I did go this afternoon and finally met everyone and was introduced to some games and programs. And then I sat down with Kate, a mentor, and talked about my idea and we planned out the plot line and things that could happen. And it’s pretty exciting! I’m going to be making a game about living with bipolar disorder, first there’s a depression you have to get out of, then your antidepressants push you into mania, then you go to the hospital, then there’s a group home level, then you get your own apartment and free will again and go to the park and have a hot dog! I think it could be super interesting! And I want the character to look like a little sketchy cartoon from a zine. So next Thursday we make paper prototypes. SUPER FUN!

They recommended I learn Construct 2, but it doesn’t seem to be available on Mac platforms. Construct 3 WILL be available for Mac platforms, but the site is really vague about when it will be released. So I might have to borrow a computer.

ALSO I got asked to put something together for this academic job I applied for. So I am working on that, it’s exciting and we’ll see what happens. It would be nice to get a teaching gig so I can start my illustrious sessional career. Like everyone else in my family. My mom’s been a sessional for a really long time. We were raised on sessional wages!

Aside from those productive things, I’ve been living on welfare trying to hustle up some work. It’s only been the second month on it and already I am super tired of it. It’s not much money, I’d rather be working, and if I make extra cash my welfare goes down. In June I’ll be able to make 200 on top of it. But not yet. BUT I did get GST and transportation money this month, which was a bonus and I won’t be penalized for it. And I LOVE having a metropass again. It makes everything easier.

Statscan hasn’t gotten back to me yet. I found out from another place that a position I applied for was filled. BUT I mostly don’t hear the outcome of sending out all these resumes and cover letters. Like if you are not picked for something, they just won’t contact you. So I don’t know if there is still a chance on some of them or if I should forget it. AND to make hunting for a job even worse, someone told me it is an average of three months for some places to get back to you. Which seems ludicrous to me.

My Adobe After Effects workshop was AWESOME! I’m gonna try and find a way to practice and then go to the advanced workshop. Learn how to blow up a car through After Effects. Will I ever need to? Well you never know!

So I am kind of working, working on learning new skills anyway, and also working on trying to get paid work. It’s making me feel better than when I first got on welfare and felt like a bum. I hate feeling like a bum. LOL. My mom used to call me that when she was irritated, but she means it like, an actual butt, not a homeless person. Maybe subconsciously I still think of that meaning when I use it.

Aside from all that, just crushing out and drinking the Clearly Canadian I ordered from an Indiegogo campaign. It arrived this morning! FINALLY! And just as delicious as it ever was!

And crushing out has been greatly entertaining me and my friends.

Baking Buns, Conference, Learning!

Today I caught up on Easter baking and baked up about 15 hot cross buns! 😀 I ate three of them today. At this rate I have four days of buns left!

It was my first time cooking with yeast, so that was exciting. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but there were A LOT of steps involved. So I just followed the recipe to the letter, except I had to add three cups of flour. But it turned out awesome!

Yesterday I went to the Trans Temporality conference at UofT with my friend Riki and met up with Marty and Mikiki while I was there. I didn’t go until the afternoon, but we sat in on three panels and a couple papers were super interesting. It gave me a lot to think about, and kind of stretched out that academic putty part of my brain, so that was good.

Tomorrow I’m learning all day! 😀 I’m going to a workshop about Adobe After Effects! It’s a program I need to learn so that I can get editing gigs, so I saw an introductory workshop coming up at Charles Street Video and signed up for it! My membership there runs out at the end of April, so I asked my mom for a new membership for my birthday so I can do more workshops for cheap and continue renting equipment.

I was going to say I had a lazy day today, but I didn’t because I baked all day!

The only unfortunate thing is I really need to clean by Monday at 9am for inspections, and I haven’t done ANY cleaning, in fact I made more of a mess. But I think I can do it tomorrow.

I had better head to bed. I gotta get across town early tomorrow!

Sleepy

Why am I writing a post this late? I actually have nothing of note to report. I did a talk in a Queer and Trans Studies class at U of T and it went pretty awesome. The class was pretty engaged, compared to other classes I have been in, which is good considering it’s the end of term and everyone is beat. I have another class to talk to next week, so that brings it up to three class talks for this year so far. Not bad!

I applied for a sessional job, and I’m not sure I’ll get it but I think I would be awesome at it if I do get it. So we’ll see.

People are terrible people on the internet. I’ve been loosely following the Jian Ghomeshi trial and its terrible outcome and there are not that many people on my fiends list who have celebrated the outcome. But the ones who did I am terribly disappointed in. Justice was not served. I don’t really believe in the legal system as an actual justice system. It’s a system of power meant to protect the kyriarchy. And no surprise the people who are now convinced those women are liars just happen to be men.

But people really aren’t terrible people on the internet, they are terrible everywhere, it’s just online you can find out what they are thinking.

BUT inversely, I know a lot of really good, positive people in my life who I interact with in my little queer/neechie bubble online and I’ve really liked having that safety zone. I’ve mostly kicked out people I have had the most aggravating interactions with off my facebook so it’s pretty nice now.

Some people say having a bubble of like minded people in your social network is a bad idea and making us think the world is a different place than it really is. But I think having a place free from toxic people is kind of refreshing. I wish I could do that everywhere.

Nerd Bird

Today I had Easter dinner with some friends from Saskatoon! I made and brought Saskatoon pie and we had a spiral cut ham and scalloped potatoes and carrots and a jello salad!

Making the pie was the most trying thing I have done in a while! First I was measuring out the flour and I got really dozy for some reason and counted out four and a half cups instead of five and a half cups and spent the rest of the time mixing that dough adding more flour yet still not the full cup. What ended up happening is when it was time to roll it out it kept coming to pieces in my hand. Finally I just pieced it all together over the pan and over the berries and hoped for the best.

It looked shitty, BUT it tasted good and the filling wasn’t runny so that’s all that matters.

My friends and I have been bonding over Neko Atsume, so we talked about the different cats we got in our yards. It’s such a ridiculously silly game but it makes me smile so I think it’s worth it.

Today I was having a conversation with my cousin over chat and said I felt like a nerd bird about a certain situation. Which I do.

Then I posted a gif of a drinking bird, you know, those little plastic dipping birds that go up and down in a drink. That’s how I feel. But nerdier!

My academic CV is a bit more polished, maybe not PERFECTO yet, but a lot better. Then tomorrow I am working on my cover letter all day. I only really have until 3:30 on Monday to finish it because then I am on my way to meet friends for dinner and then do a talk at University of Toronto. As my Mum calls it, Blab about Arty Things. It’s a long talk so I might even make notes for it. Usually I just wing it. But it would be nice to know if there are certain points I want to be sure to cover.

Ahhh hell, I don’t have much else to report in this blog. Just that it’s Easter, so happy Easter! It reminds me of my late Grandma, who would always make us Hot Cross Buns. But she made them with icing, so they were SUPER AWESOME and curranty! I’m going to try and make some tomorrow. I am a little bit daunted by the yeast having to rise twice, I’ve never personally worked with yeasty breads. But I am up for a challenge! And maybe it will help to have some of Grandma’s hot cross buns to eat while I work on my application for a job.

404’d!

Ha ha, awww a friend is helping me with my website, so if you got a 404 notice when you were visiting last night that’s why! They have been adding some super useful tools for me, like letting me moderate comments before they go live, and adjusting settings to avoid things like those awful TERF’s the other day. So I thank them! With any luck nothing will go sideways on this page!

In fact, I haven’t even been paying attention to site visitors until the 21st when I finally installed the visitor map/meter thing. There seem to be a lot of you, which is encouraging.

It’s Good Friday! I am doing nothing today except washing the dishes, baking a pie, and redoing my academic cv so that I am more appealing as a potential instructor. There’s a job I want to apply to and the deadline is Monday, so I figure if I do my CV today and the cover letter all weekend, I will have something decent!

Also today my film Sight is screening in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles International Women’s Film Festival. 2 Pm! Regal Cinema!

Ha ha by the time I finally hit publish on this page the screening will be over.

Things are good. The dogs are having a good time right now. It’s a crappy day weather wise tho. I’ve been playing Neko Atsume a lot. I just remodelled to sugarland or something like that but now I regret it!

I’m glad Little Mister and Posey turned out to be friends. I was worried when she was a puppy, he was kind of crabby old man get off my lawn mean to her! And he bit her ear!