Monday, January 5, 2009

Goodbye and Hello

Mom left us on the morning of December 31st, 2008.

On December 19th Mom's doctor called me on my cell phone while I was at work. She told me that there was nothing that they could do for Mom due to the nature and location of the lesion in her brain.
The doctor felt that Mom would have around 1 or 2 months remaining.
I called Mom about 10 minutes later to give her the bad news. She really didn't want to talk about it.
Between my brother in law and step sisters and I we found the Hill House hospice in Richmond Hill for Mom.
As I had mentioned in my last blogs that is where I was as I wrote them.
Cheryl and I decided that we would drive to Ontario to be with Mom for her last Christmas so we packed up the van with the kids and whatever else we could fit and hit the road on December 23rd.
Long ago we learned that it is an easier drive if we do it at night. Our kids have the gift of being able to sleep soundly in a moving vehicle.
I wish I had been able to do that for all of our family trips from Ontario to New Brunswick as I was growing up. A Gravol would make me sleep for a while but not long enough.

We arrived in Toronto half an hour after Mom arrived at the hospice. We went to see her right away to make sure she was settled in properly and then headed to her house to have something to eat and freshen up.
When we returned to the hospice Mom seemed in pretty good spirits.
It is our family tradition that we read "The Night Before Christmas" with everyone taking turns reading different pages.
When it was her turn Mom read hers perfectly even though it was difficult for her to catch her breath.
Another tradition is that we add another year to the inner front cover and sign our names. Mom wrote "Nana" before the rest of us put our names.
This Christmas Eve was like all others except that my sister Hayley wasn't with us and that Cheryl, the kids and I left Mom at the hospice and spent the night at her house in Beeton Ontario without her.
On Christmas day we returned to Mom. I was very happy when she ate some turkey and stuffing.
That night I had decided to stay with Mom in the extra bed in her room while Cheryl took the kids to her father's house for the night.

I'm afraid that Christmas night was not very good for Mom. She was very unsettled and seemed to be realizing what was coming. If I left her side for a second Mom became frightened and called me to return and hold her hand.
I admit that it was a very long night but there was no where else that I would have been but there with her.
I don't recall exactly when or how it happened but on Boxing Day morning Mom went to sleep. She made very few sounds after that.
I asked the nurses if they could please wake Mom up but was told that the only medication being administered was for pain and to reduce the chance of seizures as a result of the brain lesion. She was asleep because her body told her to sleep.

Mom never woke up. For the next 5 days she slept. Her breathing became more and more faint until New Year's Eve morning when it finally stopped.

Cheryl had flown back to New Brunswick on December 27th with the kids. When Mom passed away Cheryl took an overnight bus ride to be with me.

The funeral was on Friday January 2nd, 2009.
Later that evening we met up with my oldest and dearest friends at Tim Horton's in Markham Ontario.
This was very therapeutic.
I did not want to be in Ontario any longer though so after dropping in to see Cheryl's mother in Ajax we hit the road again.

So here we are.
It's 2009. A brand new year.

It has to be better than 2008, doesn't it? Could it possibly be worse?

In 2003 my step-father passed away from cancer. I remember at the end of the year Mom made a comment that 2004 HAD to be better than 2003. It couldn't be any worse.
I believe it wasn't too much later that my sister Hayley started her fight against the disease.
Not too much later Mom discovered that she had it.

I will say this quietly and with caution.

Hello 2009, please be nice to me.


Canadian Rods said...

Hi Tim,

My sincerest condolences to you and your family on your mother's passing. At a time when words are never enough, know that our thoughts are with you.

Steve Clements

Tony said...


I certainly hope that '09 is good to you. It has been a rough year for you.

Stay strong!

Tony Scott

Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points said...

Now that 2010 is almost over, I hope that both the years between then and now have been good to you.

Love and good thoughts for Christmas for you and your family this year.