850 days

It is a mere 850 days since Vic died.  2 years and 4 months seems so short… 850 days seems far more representative of the longing.  It seems “longer”….

I woke up this morning with tears pouring down my cheeks.  I so longed to hold my child.  I know that the boys remembered too.  Jon-Daniel posted on his Facebook “Appreciate your Mom, tell her you love her, make her smile – because the only time she ever smiled while you were crying was when you were born!”  The first to “like” his post was his brother.

I imagined that the longing would get better.  It doesn’t!

At first it felt as if I was overseas – away from the trauma of Vic being ill.  I always felt guilty at the “reprieves” I had when I was travelling for work.  Now I would give anything and everything for just an extra minute with my child.

It was hard standing next to Vic’s bed hearing her cries of pain.  It was even harder seeing the despair in the eyes of her precious boys when they stood next to their mom’s bed helpless to ease her pain and fears.

So often over the years I wanted to run away.  In the end, when Vic cried from fear of dying, I felt the need to put an end to her suffering well up in me.   I put my hands over my ears and screamed in my head.

Vic and her Dad
“Don’t leave me Daddy!  I am scared!”

How do you answer your child when she cries “I am so scared”?

We have a patient at Hospice who vocalises her fear the way Vic did.  Today I just held her.  How do you still the fear of the unknown in a dying person?  And NO!!!!  It has nothing to do with religion.  Everybody is scared.

From that dreaded moment when a patient is told they are terminally ill an avalanche of shock and fear hits them.  It is called actually “named” – terminal fear.  Vic (and Elizabeth*) fear dying, pain, saying goodbye, loss of control and mostly all-encompassing the fear of the unknown.

Vic’s overwhelming fear was that people would forget her – that she would be replaced….  Vic questioned her life’s worth.  She did not work and in her mind that meant it that she had not achieved anything.  That she would leave no legacy.  No matter how many times we reassured her that she inspired hundreds of people worldwide, the fear never left.  I hope that she now knows how powerful her legacy is!  That hundreds of patients have benefitted from her death wish and, most importantly, that her sons are her true legacy.

I have witnessed that grieving starts the moment of handing down the sentence.  It is a long and hard journey for the dying person, their loved ones and friends.

And, today that Elizabeth’s* fear rests heavy on my heart, I know that we will provide her a safe haven where she can relax into death.  We will hold her hand and guide her family through this dreadful trauma of saying goodbye to a wife, mother, grandmother and friend.

I pray for wisdom and strength to handle the déjà vu of Elizabeth’s* final journey.



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I am a sixty plenty wife, mother, sister, grandmother and friend. I started blogging as a coping mechanism during my beautiful daughter's final journey. Vic was desperately ill for 10 years after a botched back operation. Vic's Journey ended on 18 January 2013 at 10:35. She was the most courageous person in the world and has inspired thousands of people all over the world. Vic's two boys are monuments of her existence. She was an amazing mother, daughter, sister and friend. I will miss you today, tomorrow and forever my Angle Child. https://tersiaburger.wordpress.com

8 thoughts on “850 days”

  1. I cannot imagine anyone more capable of wisdom, strenth and compassion than you – helping ease Elizabeth’s transition. Vic is there, too. I will never forget Vic. She had an impact on so many people. But as her mom, the hole is huge and Tersia – I think of you so often. I was just singing the song I dedicated to you and Vic last week. Here’s a link to hear it with my “new vocal in progress.” https://judyunger.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/never-gone-away-raw-mix-5.mp3


  2. Tersia,
    From so far away, my heart reaches out to you. I very much understand the difference in your own heart of the perception of time. The measurement of days more truly reflect the longing in your heart.

    I’ve considered returning to hospice as a volunteer, once I return to AZ and until I go back out on the road. It would be full-circle for me, as that was my career.

    Vic’s legacy was not only her boys but her mom, who is now reaching out to so many. Yes, there is so much grief for you and yes, there is so much love within you.

    May your day be blessed as you bless others~
    alison miller


  3. to click that like button was one of the most difficult things i have done in a very long time. i want to say i understand how you feel and in some ways i do. in the most important way i don’t know what you are going through. the most important person in my life (aside from my husband) was my grandmother and i think of her every day. she passed december 1988. nothing can compare to losing your child and though i can not know your pain i hold you and love you through all this pain you are reliving.

    her beautiful sons will carry her story and pass it on to their children. she is such an inspiration to so many who are waiting to follow. i have to believe that she knows now what an important role she has played in the future generations of your family.

    i hope you won’t mind that i repost this, it has moved me to tears, not of pain but of joy for the love you have and will always have.


  4. The day my 12 year old son died he woke up and called out from his bedroom, “Mom! I can’t move my arm!.” The leukemia inside his brain had caused a bleed. In a few minutes his right side was limp. Then, he screamed, “My head! My head! It hurts so bad! Mom! Dad! Am I dying?” I couldn’t answer him. In minutes his brain was one large hematoma and I never heard him speak again. We never told him he was dying. I had told him I wouldn’t lie if he asked me any hard questions, but he never asked. He spoke about what he would do when he “got better.” I’m grateful he didn’t have the horror of knowing he was going to die. So sorry Tersia.


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