Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Or is it Fies-hies, in our case? (One of Mom's favorite dinnertime sayings was "Pass the cheese, please, Fies.")

Fishies - for those of you unfamiliar with the stories of my nineteen-year-old cat passing last spring, Calliope taught me the afterlife exists by sending me a half-dozen undeniable signs.

Mom sent three undeniable signs to us yesterday. I may have to explain the significance first.

Mom's last new goal was to go on a roadtrip with me in the spring. She always needed a goal and a metaphor. Two of her most wonderful memories were getting to know Brian and Brenda on separate road trips, so she decided it was my turn. And because she was 66 years old, she somehow got fixated on driving Route 66 with me from Chicago to LA. In a Thelma and Louise convertible. Oh, and that I should bring my expensive video camera and make a documentary out of it. (She was always looking for ways to get a little famous and make a buck...it was one of her charming ways, and a great irony that all she had to do was live her life to become immortalized.) And just in case I wasn't convinced yet, she would finally tell me all those family stories she'd been holding out on. (Mom was the family historian to the end, and had an amazing memory, which I unfortunately did not inherit. Much of our family folklore has died with her.)

So when her three children went to make memorial arrangements, you can imagine our relief when our destination was located above a classic car display room with a huge neon "Route 66" sign. Clearly, we were in the right place.

Then when we picked out urns, we found the blue one with seagulls, which we all instantly agreed was Mom. And ten minutes later I looked at the name of it and saw it was "Coming Home." Her focus the last two days of her life, which eventually shifted in her mind from her Hollywood home with Hero to the afterlife with her Grandpa.

The last sign? Before she lost consciousness, Mom began writing a list of all the people on Earth she loved. Barbara was a fierce list-maker, busy busy busy up to the end. It was very touching. And when she was done, Brenda and I helped her make a list of all the wonderful people waiting to greet her in the afterlife. She got really excited about this, and it helped shift her focus in a beautiful way. Her emotion over getting to see her beloved Grandpa again, and finding out who her father is were new goals that she couldn't wait to accomplish.

After she was done with the lists, she started visualizing a safe place to go to now. She asked me, "What was that icy palace Superman took Lois to, that was beautiful but not cold?" An amazing memory. Dead on. I told her "The Fortress of Solitude, Mom." She smiled and closed her eyes and said, "Oh yeah. Mmmnnn. That's where I am." I had forgotten how much she loved the movie, and Christopher Reeve was a hero of hers during her cancer battle.

So last night I was really tired, but for some reason I knew I had to turn the TV on (Brenda reported the same feeling but actually went to sleep instead...which she desperately needed). I switched channels for twenty minutes, unsure what the hell I was doing. Then I hit A & E. Superman II. At the exact moment when Lois discovers Clark is Superman, and he then flies her to the Fortress of Solitude.

We love you Mom, and we miss you...but it's wonderful to have such a powerful, loving Guardian Angel. Looking forward to a lifetime of fishies.

I'm actually doing really well. I would request that readers send some messages and love to Brenda and Brian. They need some candles lit.

And if you want to smile and think of Mom, A&E is replaying Superman II:
Tuesday, October 04 @ 2:30pm ET
Tuesday, October 11 @ 8:30am ET & 2:30pm ET
Saturday, October 15 @ 1pm ET


Lynne said...

I'm so happy you have received fishes so soon. What a blessing to have them.

Tears are running down my cheeks.

Lynne said...


can't wait to read/see/have the fruits of your labors (goals at top of blog)

oh, by the way, I emailed the Oprah Show and told them to check you out and consider helping My Hero become a reality. Who the heck knows if anything will come of it, and no matter what, Hero will get into the arms of kids, I am certain of it.

Kid Sis said...

Thank you!!!!!!

I took down the last two goals because I know what they are, but I think it's a little overwhelming for readers. I want people to be able to remember the goals, and five is more than my brain could handle as a reader. As I accomplish the first two, I'll add back to the list.

Lynne, thank you so much for your support to my family. Your messages on all the blogs have been beautiful. I hope that you are doing well, and that this in no way effects your positivity in your own fight (which you've already won).

Blessings and hugs,

Anonymous said...

Lis --

Hey there, kiddo. Of all the places for your mom to pick out as a refuge...

I don't know if you caught last week's Smallville, but a sizable chunk of it took place in the re-imagined Fortress. Nothing wild, but a nice refinement of the concept.

As you know, the famous Inside the Actors Studio questionnaire by Bernard Pivot asks the question, "If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you enter the pearly gates?"

I've always said I'd like to hear God say two things:

(1) "Everyone you have ever loved
is here."

(2) "Welcome home."

Nice to know I share that outlook with her.

You and your mom and everyone else are in my prayers. IF you need anything, say the word, and I'll come a-runnin'.

Love ya, Force-sis.


Lynne said...

I continue to do very well. I try hard not to compare myself of my situation with anyone elses. We are all individuals and our individual life patterns will play out. I'm not always cheerful, and Mom's passing, as well as a few other support group members and news of a friend's pancreatic cancer .... it all makes me so sad, but I know that life is just what it is, and we play the role we've been given.

I love the love and energy of your family, I'm also blessed with wonderful loving family, and Mom and I have been so lucky to have such wonderful children to be our greatest legacy.

I enjoy reading your blog, I know I'd love knowing you in person. I'll be continuing to read and post.

take care Kid

MoDigli said...

That was beautiful, Kid Sis! Thanks for sharing it all. I'm happy to hear you're holding up and doing well. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry to hear of your loss and am glad you are doing okay. I know that your mother was an amazing woman who impacted thousands of lives. I look forward to reading about her legacy and getting my very own Hero.

I've said a daily prayer to/for my father who passed 16 years ago of cancer and to all others who have gone before me. I will now pray for your mother as well. I know they are all looking out for us.

Thoughts, prayers, and blessings to you and your family --


Meg said...

My mom's uncle - who was more like her dad - passed away a few years back from cancer. She still feels his presence every day through little "fishes" that swim past when they're needed most.

I'm so glad that you are well. Please send my love to your bro and sis.

Joan & Jackie said...

Wonderful post. We were heartbroken to hear about your mom. Sorry, we haven't been around recently, but our thoughts are with you.

Chris Clarke said...

So sorry for your loss, Kid Sis. Sending thoughts your way from the other side of San Pablo Bay.

Patrick said...

To the Fies Family,

Each of my attempts to post something here these last few days has failed due to my tearfulness. I never imagined something such as this would happen when I clicked on to the links Newsarama provided following an article about Brian's work on the Mom's Cancer strip. Barbara was an engaging writer who matter of factly detailed her decline without whining about it. She did her utter damndest to overcome her various traumas with the unerring support of her family. While I will miss hearing what Barbara had to say on a daily basis, I do realize that her legacy will live on in the form of both her autobiography and the creativity of her children. Brenda, Brian and Elizabeth, I wish all of you well. As much of a cliche as it is to say so, I am very sorry for your loss. Please keep us appraised of how you are bearing up only to the extent that you feel comfortable.

mernitman said...

Lis, any mother would be awed to have had a devoted daughter like you, and your mom surely knew (knows?) how well and deeply she was loved by you, and your family.

You're already demonstrating how wonderfully brave you are, but anyway I'm thinking good thoughts for you in this tough time.

Cookie said...

I hadn't checked Mom's Recovery in a week or so because I just got so busy here --- and I was stunned to go there today and read about your mom.

All of you all are so special, and it has been so generous of you to share your mom and her story with the rest of us. She really was (and is) a very, very, very amazing person.

Please know you're in my thoughts.

Dee said...

The way you ALL express yourselves is a gift to all of us! One of the first things I noticed about your Mom's blog was her brilliant writing and I only hope that my children will someday be able to understand who I am as you all have been able to describe your Mother. I'm writing this through the tears. What a loss for our world, but what a gain for the heavens!

Shan'Chelle said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to you Brenda and Brian. I haven't had a chance to read the site lately and was very sad to hear the news. After reading your insights I am in awe of how well you seem to be handling it, and am inspired by your's and brenda's selflessness in helping prepare her for the transition. I am a firm believer in signs, and it sounds like mom realized that you needed them to help you get past this devastating loss.