“Have I told you this one before?”

Dads asks,

“Yes, but I like it. Tell me again.”


Stories are an exercise to hold onto his mind. They are patchy and hard to follow but I know most by heart.

I tell stories too; also, for my mind.

John is dead.


“I like that they know this is their home.”

He says when I tell him another grandchild has moved back in.

There are four in total. They range in colours of the sun, but each is their own ray of glorious sunshine.


They are half the reason we are keeping the farm, the other half for my family with Lynn.

Our families form a hippie circle of love in the circle of life.


We’re getting married next year. When all the seasons have passed by once more and our hearts aren’t so sore.

John is dead.

How many times will I think it before I believe it?


“I’ve been hanging small bites of meat back there to attract cougars but so far there’s only been deer.”

Dad says looking at Kai, his youngest grandson who’s been sleeping in a tent hammock in our forest. Kai smiles.


As a little boy, Kai fought with his Grandpa. He was the only child Dad ever grabbed and walked by the ear.

With the smile of an angel, Kai had fangs. He was Vampire Lestat’s only son.

Then, he grew into a gentleman.

Tall, blonde and handsome, Kai has the Icelandic colour of my sister and the purple flair of my brother.

Labelled autistic and only 19, Kai has moved home to raise chickens in a poncho and plant seeds to watch them grow. Herbs, flowers, fruit trees and among other things, he plans to sell farm goods from a fruit stand at the bottom of the drive.


“Please Auntie Katie, don’t punish him. He didn’t mean to break my favourite toy.”

Said 7 year-old Taeja, Kai’s blonde matching card who is now 21 and just home from 3 months in India with her now bearded boyfriend, Ryan.


Bleached dreadlocks and a beauty I’ve already eternalized in song, she is our moral compass, with a kind eye for the underdog.

She was the first to move home.


“Bitch be making Dizzy go gray.”

Posts my eldest niece, Delean.

Children of a widower who was my sister’s husband, Delean, 27 and Seth, 25 are the best presents Kristin ever gave me.

No fool to the street, Delean is second mother to the herd. The centre of every party and an indie musician on sabbatical, Delean has resigned as the hardworking Queen Bee of an East Van artist colony and moved home to manage the family farm.


Seth parks his Westfalia camper van on the flattest part of the hill. He sleeps nestled in the trees overlooking the valley. Brown curly hair, strength and intellect, Seth can do anything, and he’ll do it better than you can.

As a child, our golden goose made handmade hemp and silver jewellery, carved First Nations art and kept his room properly tidy.


Graduating with an engineering degree and father to two year-old Alyssa, Seth stays over on weekends restoring our family home with the golden eggs of mad trade skills.


The family has returned to work together. Safety measures are now in place. Our dream is coming true.


“I hope an East Indian family buys it.”

Says Dad, talking about the property for sale next door.

He admires the tradition of extended families sharing a home.


In our field watching Dad’s friend, Linda’s horses eat green grass, I list the latest arrivals and revised sleeping arrangements.

“Sounds like a commune.”

Says Linda.

I laugh.

But John is still dead.



About Morbid Optimist

My name is Katryna Mary Brooke Ormiston. I am 35 years old and after living in Vancouver for a decade, I am returning home to my 81 year old father’s hobby farm on Vancouver Island to care for him in the final stages of his life. This blog is to document my journey, process my experiences along the way and hopefully share and feel connected to a community beyond the three and a half acres I find myself on. A message in a bottle in the cyber-sea.
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5 Responses to Circles

  1. Karen says:

    Heart-wrenching, Katie.
    you have high up writing skills.
    How lucky Amy and the other sweet students are to have you teaching them.
    and finally, I kinda want to live on that farm you speak of.

  2. Erin Houldsworth says:

    Beautiful entry, gorgeous speech. You’re the shit! Congratulations on your engagement! I couldn’t be happier for you two!
    Lots of love,

  3. jessie says:

    So many tears. So much love.
    Miss Katie you have the courage of a lioness and your family is so lucky that you are amongst their pride.

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