Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Words of comfort ... received on my Mom's birthday

Today I feel sad. People surrounding me in the open plan office environment where I sit are unlikely to perceive it ... because it is a sadness that I have learned to incorporate into my life having lost my Mom some 15 years ago. But today is her birthday, and the "window" that normally runs silently and unseen in the background of my "operating environment" has now come through to the front. It is not silent to me today and it is highly visible (but only to me) ... I can see her clearly in my mind's eye. Anniversaries are always tough and I know they always shall be.

I'd like to write about her but I simply can't. I know I will start sobbing and the tears are already clouding my vision, but one day I shall because she is the most perfect mother you could have wished for.

So, carrying this sadness alone ... and wishing my sister was not in India today so I could sit with her (not to mention that the fact that I no longer have Cliff to soothe away the pain ... which in itself brings more loss ... loss that seems so enormous that it frightens me ... and all my fears become more real - turning into demons that I want to hide from). These beautiful and warm words of comfort on Roads' blog could not have been sent at a better time, because right here, right now is when I needed to hear them ( - this blog can also be accessed via my Blogs that I Follow List) .

His words were the balm, as well as the band-aid, that I so needed. (I have pasted the words below, for ease.)

I can't stress how much I'd recommend this blog to anyone affected by grief, cancer, whether they be a victim, bereaved spouse, or simply want to understand how they can help support a person whom they love or care about ... going through the fear and horror of loss (or someone sadly losing their own valiant battle against cancer, but especially anyone who has to face their greatest fear, that almost unspeakable reality ... that they will lose their love, their world, their soulmate to this cruel disease) ... it is one of THE best blogs I have ever read.

"Thank you, Boo. Of all the things I would want to save from the ravages of flood or fire, family photos are at the top. Increasingly, I feel that possessions are simply unimportant, since finally it is memories that make us who we are.

I love the way you write about Cliff. He really sounds to be quite a card. Looking at his photo, there’s a twinkle in his eye and a wry smile in defiance of life and time — and no doubt of death itself.

You must be enormously proud of him, and I’m so sorry for your loss. Years have passed for me, and despite the inadequacy and marvellously ironic inappropriateness of that endlessly heard cliche, it’s clear that does make it easier.

Much later as you go through this experience, and no matter how you cling to the past, or the past hangs on to you, eventually you find that life moves on in its own mysterious ways.

One day you find, quite unexpectedly, that in the midst of a new life there’s much less scope and merit, most of the time, in moping about the old.

But for you, this is still fresh and new, and I’m full of admiration for the way that you forge ahead whilst looking reflectively and lovingly behind you. That’s no small achievement, I know — even if finally, sadly, there’s just no other way.

Many thanks indeed for taking the time to write and share your thoughts and insights, and with all best wishes to you today from the early morning London train."

Thanks Roads - you summed up my beautiful husband very accurately ... it's amazing what you can learn of someone's character by looking at a photo, but your insight is startling! xx


  1. my own mother was diagnosed the week before Christmas. her surgery was token at best. on my 20th birthday, i quit college and moved into the hospice where she and i stayed in various rooms in and around her stays in ICU. she died 6 months later. she got to go home only once, for one week. her death wasn't sudden but it was. i had no money to return to college. i went to work. i never told anyone why i was reticent. no one noticed. they thought it was my nature.

    i didn't tell anyone what it was like to watch her die, or disappearing from life for that half that year, or my feeling that i would never be young again. not until the Dragon.

    i understand your tears. it's been 31 years and i still cannot speak in any great detail of her though every detail is vivid in my mind as if it were yesterday. back then the doctors always gave her the positives while pulling me aside for the truth. i remember the nights on the oncology ward, our long talks with my offering her hope i wasn't allowed to believe in. i always wondered if she knew i was lying.

    i am so sorry your beloved mom isn't here to help you with your most recent loss. you are in my thoughts as a "sister" for being a widow. and now i find we share this sorrow. i miss my mother. you miss yours. in spirit we will miss them together while we realize that we are kindred spirits in this and maybe tonight we won't feel so completely like orphans.

    i'm sending you the strength i've asked for to get through the day. you need it more as you're in public. i am alone and can cry as it comes. please be gentle with yourself.

  2. can't speak or type - at work and can't risk the silent tears turning into something really big ... but I love you for what you have said, it helps and I hope that our mothers have connected the way that I am SURE our husbands have xxxx

  3. Oh Boo,
    My heart is breaking for you and I'm sending you hugs from Saskatchewan! I am also at work and don't have the opportunity to make a big comment but know that I am thinking of you and send you lots of love to make it through today. I'd love to read more about your Mom when you're ready to write about her. I'm feeling ok today so I'm sending you and womanNshadows my strength. Sharing these burdens is the only way to lighten them and make it through and my shoulders are big today. Lean away my sisters!

  4. Many thanks, Boo. I'm happy if my words were helpful. Anniversaries come round, and we have to deal with them, because the calendar turns so unforgivingly.

    Time passing. It helps, or so they say. Spirits up, as best you can.

  5. Oh Boo, I'm so sorry.
    I don't know how I would have got through the last year without my Mum's shoulder to cry on. One day I will give her the write-up she deserves - there has been so much pain in her life, yet she still has so much love to give to others.
    I hope you got through the day OK.

  6. thx all, am better now ... as midnight chimed, the pain started subsiding - it really is surreal!