Flying Home

One of the most challenging things about being a cartoonist is making jokes when you don’t feel like it. But even when times are tough, I keep making comics, because that’s what I do… and I do find that humour helps me get through the tough times. And this summer, there have been some of the toughest of times.

You got to know my mother a bit through my recent Savage Family Moments comics – and those comics exist because I was making more regular visits to see her. Now that my family is getting together for a “Celebration of Life” party for Mom, I feel ready to make some comics about her life and our times together. I hope you like them. And I’ll still make a few jokes along the way, of course. 🙂

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45 Responses to Flying Home

  1. Mike Coultas says:

    Thanks for sharing such a difficult moment in life. My thoughts are with you.

  2. C says:

    My dad passed away a few years ago, from heart attack. It was quick and sudden, and had have always been so unreal for me. Until like half a year later, I was talking to someone about smoking (my Dad was an old, stubborn smoker), it suddenly hit me so hard that he was no more. I cried for half an hour.

  3. Ronald Snijder says:

    I’m truly sorry to hear this. My condolences.

  4. Chris Thoma says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. I wish you all the best.

  5. Alex says:

    I know that feeling. You know it happened, the brain knows it’s happened, but part of you can’t comprehend it and it won’t, at least not for the first few years. It’s been over 3 years for me and I’m still having trouble understanding that she left. It’s awful. I’m so sorry for your loss 🙁

  6. Hal says:

    Our thoughts are with you, Doug.

    Lost my Mom last summer.

  7. Robin says:

    I can definitely relate. When my Mom died of cancer, I was working in a different state. She donated her body to a medical program, so I didn’t get to see her before she was whisked away. It is tough to live without that closure, and tough to be in spaces that you only knew with someone’s presence. Hugs and strength from a reader, this will all be easier with time.

  8. Alane says:

    Dear Doug,
    I am very sorry to hear about your loss. I have some familiarity with the feeling – my grandmother passed away a few years ago. I wasn’t able to fly home to see her and there was no Funeral or Celebration of Life since she chose to donate her body to the local medical school. There is also no grave as they do not return the ashes. I simply never saw her again.

    And then now, I have a friend who also just lost his mother – while he is thousands of miles away too.

    I say all of that to say: when I read the first frame of this comic, I recognized the emotion instantly. I know so many out there can relate. We are in this with you. I, for one, send you and your family my prayers for peace. Hugs.

  9. Matthew says:

    I’m sorry for your loss! My mother also passed away from cancer during the pandemic (September 2020) and I wasn’t able to visit her during her illness either. In fact, I still haven’t been able to go back (I live in a different country) and her ashes have not yet been buried.

  10. Jared says:

    Make the cartoons you have to make and process everything your way. It doesn’t have to be funny. And thank you for the subtle reminder to share the time we do have. Lots of love from your readers to your family. Celebrate what you have and seize the day!

  11. Sam says:

    Sorry for your loss, especially during Covid. Hugs from Little Miss Maine Coon and me.

  12. Janice in GA says:

    Love and sympathy. My sis passed from cancer almost a year ago. I was fortunate only in that I live near her and was able to be there through much of her illness. But that meant when died, a very huge hole opened up in my life and my heart.

    Good thoughts and best wishes. I hear you. It’s a hard thing to go through. May her memory be a blessing.

  13. Janna says:


    Thank you for sharing this poignant glimpse of your life. Coping through loss has many phases, and emotions and grief can be complex.

    If your Chickens help during this time of loss, keep drawing/writing (to be publicized or not).

    Take care!

  14. Ann S. says:

    My condolences and thoughts are with you Doug. My dad passed away in July (heart attack, but complicated by cancer), and I couldn’t go immediately either – yeah, it totally became real the first moment I stepped into the house. Take heart in the fact that she is no longer in pain.

  15. Anita Miettunen says:

    Hi Doug, I’m sorry for you loss. Sending you my deepest condolences, and wishes for comfort and strength in the days ahead.

  16. Chris says:

    Oh Doug! Losing your mom is one of the worst things that will ever happen to you. I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am. It’s 13 years since Mom left, and I still miss her every day. The pain never leaves, but it does lessen over time. My heart is with you!

  17. Howard says:

    I’ll be praying for your mom and you.

  18. Ken Krauss says:

    The extra tragedy of dying without our loved ones near at this time of pandemic is so brutal. My thoughts are with you.

    I appreciate your honesty in sharing this. I wasn’t near enough to be with either of my parents when they died, and I can totally relate.

  19. So sorry for your loss Doug, and for the separation. My Mom passed away in June 2020, but at least I was able to be with her. I hope the Celebration of Life brings you some peace and some joy amongst the grief.

  20. chemgal says:

    My condolences to you and your family. Losing a parent is tough, and emotions will hit you at all kinds of moments.

  21. Rusty says:

    I’m just here to offer a chuckle at the chicken sleeping with its mouth slightly open. 😀

    Well, that’s not 100% true. I’m also here to offer my sincere condolences and sympathies to you Doug, and to your family. I hope the celebration of her life provides solace, comfort, a little laughter and a lot of love and warmth.

  22. Kristin says:

    Longtime reader unlurking to send you a hug. As hard as it is to lose a mom, the pandemic certainly made it even worse. Hoping you always think of her and smile

  23. Karina says:

    Oh Doug! Love and light as you process this major life change. When a loved one passes I like to remind myself that time spent and love given last forever. They are never gone, just not here. Hugs!

  24. Mike says:

    Thank you Doug for all the passion you’re putting into your comics. I can’t believe I’m visiting your site for years and you always have something new to cheer me up. This is amazing.

    I’ve lost my parents several years ago but they will always be with me. All the jokes, fun and memorable things — I’m recalling something almost every day.

    My condolenses and all the warm feelings go to you in this hard time.

  25. Lara says:

    I’m so sorry. Yes, it’s so surreal. I lost my mom to cancer in ’00 and my father in law to Parkinson’s in ’05 and it was hard watching them go from super vibrant people to shells of themselves. I still miss them both. My father died this past November (not covid) suddenly. He just collapsed. It was his time. I sometimes pretend he’s still alive. And I did get counseling. It helped a lot with my grief. I didn’t for my mom and now wish I had. Everyone’s different. Anyway, bottom line, I’m so sorry. Please give yourself the time and space you need to grieve. There is no “proper time” allotted to it. Some days are easier than others.

  26. Karen M says:

    Doug: I am so sorry for your loss and for the unfortunate circumstances that kept you apart. You bring joy to so many people’s lives every day–a great way to honor her legacy. Hugs.

  27. Melewen says:

    This comic hits home. My father died of cancer at the end of June. I live in a different country and won’t be able to visit until the end of September. You have my condolences.

  28. Michael Birtwistle says:

    I am sure her memory will be a blessing to everyone who knew her

  29. Lanning Lee says:

    Doug, aloha, I am very sorry to hear about your mom’s passing. Sending you great aloha and good energy to help you through. Aloha, Lanning

  30. May says:

    I’m so sorry.

  31. fluffy says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. May her memory forever be a blessing.

  32. José FM says:

    My condolonces.

  33. Janouk says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss Doug. I noticed a different mood in your comics lately, which had me a bit worried, and made me appreciate the effort it must have taken even more. ‘Cause chickens (and their artists) can’t alway be savage, sometimes they are struggling too.

    The Dutch province of Zeeland has the motto ‘luctor et emergo’, “I struggle and emerge”. At first it will be a struggle, and you may feel lost at sea, but hopefully in time, you’ll feel yourself resurfacing to a life that’s perhaps not quite the same, but still exciting, enriched and joyful.

    If it’s too difficult to post a joke, don’t worry. We love your chickens, and cats, and talking trees 🙂 But even an empty post-it of Doug’s I could frame on my fridge. The most important thing now is that you’ll be ok, and that you take good care of yourself. -X-

  34. Composer99 says:

    My condolences for your loss.

  35. Amanda says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, Doug. My mom also passed away from cancer this summer. I was with her those last few days but even still, her absence doesn’t feel real. Or permanent. I hope you and your family find peace and comfort as you celebrate her memory. <3

  36. Leelee says:

    I’m really sorry about your mum. My heart hurts for you. Don’t read the comments that the me-monsters posted about their parents/ their experience or being with their folks when their folks passed because barf, how dare they, you don’t need that rn. You were real with us, your readers, and you have our love. You’ve brought me mirth in a daily email for 13 years and I imagine that your mum played a pretty great part in that. I hope you still hear the music.

  37. Michelle Baudais says:

    Leelee….interesting. I interpret the comments of others about their similar experiences as a way of saying “you are not alone” and “Doug, your story touched me”.

  38. TB says:

    So sorry to hear about your mom, but glad you got to spend more time with her before she passed.

  39. Andre Tremblay says:

    Loosing someone in the pandemic is strange and sad. I lost two peoples and couldn’t get there because of restrictions at the funerals. I almost got the same story with my step father but he fight it off and survived. My sympathies. I am reading you every weeks. I am in that silent majority. Just want to send a good vibe to you.

  40. Granny Annie says:

    I have been behind in reading your posts and it is with sorrow I learn of your mom’s passing. Bless your heart as you go through this difficult time.

  41. ant says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Doug. I had no idea you were dealing with something like this while still sharing joy here with us. My condolences, and thank you for sharing your fun, joy, and humour with others. And don’t forget to take care of yourself 🙂

  42. Susan says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. You add such joy to my inbox every day, I am so sorry for the pain you are going through.

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