Sunday, 2 June 2013

Beautiful Woman


     I have been avoiding this blog for a few reasons. The first being that six weeks ago my mother was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. The second, that I couldn't bring myself to write any updates without talking about that fact. How do I mention Abigail's baptism without talking about how my mother couldn't come? It's been hard to be silent. It's been hard not to seek the help of others in my confusion and sadness. I no longer need to be silent. I will need support and love and help. My heart is broken.
       The diagnosis of AML came to us all as a shock. My mother worked until noon that fateful day, walked into the hospital and was admitted. She underwent an aggressive chemotherapy regime because the medical staff wanted to attack the cancer cells quickly. Everything looked hopeful; she came in relatively healthy and very strong. Her chances were good for a healthy life in remission. We prepared the house for her homecoming and made plans for vacations.
       Just over a week ago, I held my mother's hand and begged her to wake up. Her heart stopped in her sleep and she slipped away from us. I begged her to stay so we could shop for a wedding dress together. I told her that I needed her to be there for my big day. I told her that she needed to watch Abigail grow up. She needed to be Abby's Grandma. She needed to be my mom.  The night before I watched medical staff try everything in their power to save my mother, she said goodnight to Abigail, told us she loved us and waved us out the door. I know she did not suffer. I know she wasn't scared in the end. She went peacefully. She woke only to say goodnight to us, and she smiled at Abby one last time. I know she was happy. I know she was okay.
       Knowing that doesn't bring much comfort now, but it will when my heart has healed a bit. I know it will mean more than someone else telling me that she didn't suffer in the end. I know she didn't, I saw it. There are small miracles like that which make this all a little bit easier. I hope that it will make it easier for my siblings as well, and for my father, for whom my heart breaks daily.  There is also love. The love and support the community, friends and family have shown us during this time has been incredible.Thank you to everyone who showed us love and support, thank you so very much. During my two weeks at home with my family we received more food than we could eat. More phone calls of support than we could answer, and more help than we could accept.  Knowing that my mother was so loved makes this easier. Knowing that my family is so loved makes this easier. Having someone else cut the lawn, prepare a meal, drive to a doctor's appointment or pick up toilet paper seems so ridiculous- but when you lose the matriarch of your family you lose the person who does or arranges all of those things.
       We don't know yet how much we will miss mom. The wounds are still too fresh to sting.  I do know that I will treasure what memories I have, the pictures, videos and recorded storybook. I will forever treasure the moments when she held my hand in the delivery room, spoon fed me cereal when Abigail was three days old, when she and I recorded a Nirvana song in a soundbooth at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, the way she yelled and cheered loudest during Canadian Olympic hockey games. I will remember those things, I will remember the way she hugged me when I told her Mark and I were engaged, the way she looked at Abigail on her first Christmas. I will remember my mom as the coach, trainer, friend, teacher mother and grandmother she was; she was irreplaceable and absolutely the best woman I have ever known. I will never miss a chance to teach Abigail about her Angel Grandma. She will know her heart, her face, her smile and her love. I will let my tears flow for now, but will remember that mom would have said, "suck it up, Princess." and let myself laugh. My mother is gone from her corporeal body, but she is still here. She is in every belly laugh and silly giggle, in every eye twinkle and warm Summer breeze. She is everywhere, and I love her.


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