Wednesday, 21 May 2014

She's Gone

My mom passed away suddenly on May 13, early in the morning, before Dad and I went to visit. Her vital signs were fine at shift change. An hour later, the nurse found she was gone. I was so shocked, I thought it had to be a joke, a terrible joke. Of course it wasn't. In the end, despite those conversations about "goals of care" Mom went on her own timeline, or rather God's. She couldn't be resuscitated because the hospital staff didn't know she was dying. They think she went quick. My God, I hope so.

The last week has been a blur. I felt like I was at work again as Dad and I were in meetings all day for days planning the funeral. Then there was the flurry of preparations, like baking, making a collage and receiving visitors. Mom was a wonderful baker. In her honour, friends and I baked cookies, biscuits, loaves and squares for the visitation Monday night. My cousin flew up from Delaware -- well, you can't fly out of Delaware, but that's another story -- and my godmother, who was Mom's best friend, and her daughter, who was Mom's goddaughter, came. Mom's family wasn't able to come, but sent flowers. 

There were a lot of flowers. Beautiful arrangements and sprays. Vivian of Vivian's Flowers on Merivale Road did a terrific job, even when her supplier sent the wrong colour snapdragons and the holiday weekend made replacements impossible to get. I found myself taking pictures of the arrangements. I was compelled to. Do you know why? I felt I had to take pictures of the flowers to show mom, since she wasn't there.

There were more photos, of the casket, of Mom. Dad wanted me to take them. So I did. I am trying to do all I can to help a Dad deal with Mom's death. Oh those words are so hard to say -- "mom's death." So final.

Without Mom's family, I wasn't sure what or who to expect at the visitation the night before the funeral. We did it for us and for tradition. My friends didn't let me down. Old friends, co-workers and neighbours came, people who have helped support me in my illness. New and old neighbours of Mom and Dad also came.

The funeral was yesterday. It was harder. A smaller crowd, but a good crowd nonetheless, came to support us. Sweetie, the Bean and I did readings at the funeral Mass. I could barely read the last few lines through the tears. I thought I could do it easily enough. I was wrong. I don't think I'll do it again.

Now, like finishing cancer treatment, I need to find a "new normal," one that doesn't involve getting to the hospital every day to visit Mom. I will call Dad every day. I will helping deal with mom's will and finances. We will have to go through her clothes and effects. Then there is the question of how long he keeps the house and the job it will be to downsize, particularly to a one-room retirement home suite. So, it isn't really over. In fact, the grieving has barely begun.




22 comments:

  1. God bless you and your family as you go through this difficult time.

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  2. Oh, Kate, I am so very sorry; please accept my deepest sympathy for the death of your Dear Mother. thank you for letting us know, so that we can enfold you and your family in love and compassion for all that you are going through. I was so touched by how your honored you Mom with all the baking you did to serve at the visitation - that was so, so special. please do all you are able to take good care of yourself in this very difficult time of grieving and loss.

    much love and many gentle, warm hugs,

    Karen xoxox

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    1. Thank you, Karen. I must give credit to my brother who baked too. I think we both inherited Mom's baking gene. I appreciate how you checked in regularly to see how Mom was doing. I will do my best to take your advice to take care of myself -- it's not my best thing. I think a few more naps are in order, but there is still so much to do. ~Kate

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  3. I found your blog a few days ago and have been reading your battle with cancer. Will share mine with you another time. For now I am so very sorry to hear of your louden loss. My heart goes out to you and your family. Sending you my deepest and sincere condolences in what is already a challenging time.
    Hugs,
    Elizabeth

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth, and welcome to the blog. I look forward to hearing from you about your experience. I wish you all the best. ~Kate

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  4. So sorry, my iPad takes over, it should say "sudden loss".

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  5. Oh Kate. I'm just reading this now. I am so very, very sorry for your loss. Sending love and hugs.

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    1. Thank you, Laurie. It has been a difficult five months since Mom's fall. I am still running the gamut of emotions. :( ~Kate

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  6. I'm so very sorry Kate... you have been through so much. Thinking of you so often, hoping you are finding some time to rest. xx

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    1. Thank you, Carolyn. The first week I was on autopilot, the second I was exhausted. Things are getting back to normal now, but I still keep thinking, "I've got to tell mom..."

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  7. I'm late in reading this! I am so sorry to hear this. Big hugs and happy baking to you and your family.

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    1. Thanks, Caroline. I'm still eating leftover cookies. I guess life really is bittersweet these days. ~ Kate

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  8. hello Kate,

    it's me, just checking in with you to let you know I am thinking of you and your family and sending many gentle and warm hugs as you grieve for the loss of your Mom. much love, Karen xoxo

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  9. Thank you, Karen. We are getting along fine. Some days are hard, others easier. There is still a great deal of work to do, but we accomplished a lot last week. ~Kate

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  10. Hi Kate,
    Reading this brought back so many memories... I am so sorry for your family's loss. When your mom dies, your life changes. It just does. It's like you cross a threshold of some kind into as you said, another kind of new normal. I think it's really special that you did some readings at the service. And that you took those photos for your dear dad. I hope he'd doing okay. Please know I continue to think about you very often. Big hugs to you. Again, I'm very sorry. Nancy

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    1. Thank you so much, Nancy. I am sorry you are missing your mom too. ~Kate

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  11. my dear Kate,

    just me, Karen, checking in with you to let you know I am thinking of you, your Dad and your family and still sending lots of warm, gentle hugs to comfort you all in these difficult days that sometimes must feel so surreal. much love, Karen xoxo

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Things are going well. We had a nice day with dad yesterday, first dealing with bank stuff, then celebrating the end of the school term.

      I hope you are well too. ~Kate

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  12. Kate, I'm sorry about your mom. May she rest in peace and may God give comfort to you and your family. I too blog about my cancer so if you have a chance please visit my blog at: http://aurorascancerblog.blogspot.com/ Thank you in advance. I signed to your blog after you posted it in The New Closed Metastatic Breast Cancer support Group.

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    1. Thank you for coming by. I appreciate your kind words and look forward to reading your blog. ~Kate

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