From Grief, Depression, or Illness to Positivity & Healing

June 9, 2010

Three years ago……

Three years ago to date, I arrived in Scotland around 8am their time (3am EST) to travel from Glasgow to Kirkcaldy. I got off the flight not knowing yet if my mum had passed away since my flight took off from Toronto the night before. Once I got through Customs and saw my sister and brother-in-law I found out that my mum was somehow still alive and hanging on.

She had slipped into a coma the previous Wednesday night after losing her battle with para influenza secondary to leukemia. The doctors couldn’t figure out how she was still hanging on on Saturday, but I like to believe it’s because my sister had told her I was on my way back to say goodbye.

I still remember, like it was yesterday, leaving the previous Sunday after a quick visit to see them, and her ending up in the hospital that she reassured me she’d be seeing me in October and to go back home. Needless to say, it’s one of the things I regret in my life. I wish I’d stayed.

But I didn’t, so I learned to deal with it these last 3 years.

I arrived at the hospital around noon time and I couldn’t believe the change in my mum in just a week, she was jaundice, puffed up and making “the breathing sound” that you knew her last breath could be at any minute….if anybody has lost anyone, you’ll know what I mean by this.

I’m fighting back tears as I’m writing this, but if you know me, you know I do better getting my feelings written down, and if you’ve been through it, then know you’re not alone.

My mum somehow managed to hang on until 1:47am Sunday June 10th (8:47pm June 9th in Canada). She was surrounded by myself, my dad, my brother, sister, brother-in-law, her sister and her sister-in-law. I was lucky enough to be holding her hand as she passed away.

The one thing I will remember about that afternoon is the fact that my dad had said she’d been in the coma and hadn’t opened her eyes since Wednesday, no matter what stimulus was given to her, yet when the nurse came in with a stick to wet her mouth, I was holding her hand, and for about 20 seconds she opened them. She didn’t focus, she didn’t speak, but to me, it was her way of saying goodbye to me, that she knew I was there.

My dad lost his best friend that day, they did everything together. It took him a long time to get past her death and move on. I’m so grateful that he met Joyce, his fiance now, at Maggie’s Centre, which is a Centre in Kirkcaldy for people who are going through cancer or family members that are dealing with a loved one with cancer. Joyce lost her husband the previous year, so knew what he was going through.

I remember my mum fondly, I still “speak” to her in my mind, but it’s days like today that’s extremely hard. I still expect the phone to ring some nights and it be her calling up for a chat. Sometimes when I’m going through old boxes or books she’s given me, I’ll see a little note with a quirp that she wrote, and it brings it all back.

I remember June 9/10, 2007 as if it were yesterday. I don’t know if it will ever get easier, but we get through it. My favorite grief quote has and always will be “Grief is something so big you can’t climb over, or get under, but somehow, you will get through it”.


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