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Showing posts from July, 2016

Amanda's Bio Video: Call for submisisons

Just hours before Amanda died, we met with her palliative care doctor and her regular nurse and talked about the weeks to come. The doctor urged Amanda to get busy on memory-making, and leaving things behind for Gordon.

We didn't even get to begin. I had dozens of questions printed out, the camera charged, the microphone at hand, ready to put together an extensive video biography that would show Gordon what his mother looked and sounded like, so he'd never feel like he was losing the memory.

In the absence of her memories, let's use yours and ours. Let's make that video.

I've seen comments on Facebook in the past two weeks from people who've said wonderful things about Amanda. YOU are who I'm talking about here. Hey, even if you didn't like her, you probably have a story. The more material I have to work with, the better this will be.
How did you know Amanda?What did you first think of her?Major stories or memories that changed you?Her…

Amanda's Celebration of Life: Recap

Thank you to everyone who came out to Amanda's memorial service on Sunday. We set out 50 chairs but quickly needed more. It was muggy and emotions were high, but it was an altogether special day that Amanda would have been proud of. Proud, mortified, proud, sad, embarrassed, proud, giggly, proud, impressed and proud some more. I'm glad we were also able to put it live on Facebook for the benefit of folks from away.

Here's the formal part of the ceremony, now on YouTube:

And for the completists, even more detail:

The program (PDF format).

The music playlist (if I get bored, I'll make it into a YouTube playlist and update the link here):
Happy, Pharrell WilliamsAll Along (For Sophia), Ian Fletcher ThornleyRoar, Katy PerrySecrets, Ian Fletcher ThornleyBlackbird, Sarah McLachlanKickstart My Heart, Motley CrueSeasons Of Love, RentThe Power Of Love, Huey Lewis and The NewsAngel, Sarah McLachlanAll Apologies, NirvanaTimes Like These, Foo FightersLandslide, Dixie ChicksHome for …

Announcing the date for Amanda's memorial service

This Sunday, July 24, 2016, at the Civic Gardens complex in London, Ontario, we'll all get to say goodbye to Amanda. If you can't make be here in person, I will attempt to set up an Internet feed so those from away can join in.

Her obituary, which ran this past weekend in London and Halifax, and will run in Kirkland Lake as well:
Amanda Simpson (nee Yateman) died at home in London, Ontario on July 12, 2016 at the age of 37, after a long battle with ovarian cancer.
Amanda is survived by husband Scott and their son Gordon. Daughter of Barbara Derbyshire, step daughter of Wendall Clifford, sister to Amy and Ruth. She is preceded in death by father Gary Yateman.
Amanda was born on October 3, 1978 in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. She graduated from University of Toronto in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science, then from McMaster University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Social Work. She moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia where she worked for the provincial government as a child protection social worker.…

Amanda has died. Her body is gone, but her legacy remains

I'm sad to report the death of Amanda Simpson. She was 37.

We thought she had more time -- not much more, but more.

Amanda died at home Tuesday evening, just hours after a good meeting with her doctor and nurse to plan out the weeks to come.

She spent much of the day with an old friend. She has been visited by many friends and relatives in the past few weeks.

Thanks to their work, Amanda came close to one of her life's goals: seeing her garden finished. She had two grand legacy projects. Her garden, and her Gordon. I will take good care of both, as per her wishes.

Amanda's body is now with Woodland Cemetery with cremation scheduled for tomorrow. Details on a service have yet to be determined. I will update here and at

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been so supportive over the past 3+ years, from the day Gordon was born and the ovarian cancer was first discovered, through long months of treatment, relapses, setbacks and reprieves.

Difficult tim…

The doctors are out of ideas, so we work toward the end

We're planning for the end and beyond now.

With Amanda swollen up and seeming generally unwell, and new tumours having appeared in her spine and liver in addition to her skull, ribs and pelvis, she returned to the doctors for an update. The medical oncologist who's been leading the chemical fight against her ovarian cancer since we arrived in London two years ago was there, along with her newest doctor from the palliative care team.

There's really nothing safe and effective they can do to stop the advance of the cancer.

It has smartened up to the hormone blockers that she'd been on for a year and a half.

It wouldn't respond to chemotherapy -- they tried at the beginning, only to find out later that it was low-grade cancer, which moves slowly and is largely unaffected by chemo. Now it's going fast and has already been survived chemo before. Besides, with only one kidney, a broken one, the chemo would ruin her.

Surgery isn't an option.

Radiation is there to a…