Dying is a lonely journey. Not only for the sick person but also for the family. As hard as we may try to avoid death, the truth is that we do a lousy job of it. Science and medicine will certainly postpone it, even staying healthy might seem to delay it, but the harsh reality is that death does not wait for you, it does not ask you, and it does not listen to you. Death ignores your feelings and wants; you do not matter to death…Death is the only certainty in life! We need to remember that our existence here is fragile, and we never have as much time with people as we think we do. If there is someone or someones out there that you love, don’t neglect that and don’t put off engaging with them because waits for no-one… 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.
Tuesday morning arrived. It had been a very long weekend. I battled with the eulogy and my broken heart. Everybody kept looking at me to make sure I was okay… Patting my hand and saying: “It is going to be okay!”
It is never going to be okay. Nothing can erase my child’s suffering and death from my mind. In time I suppose I will learn to live with the pain and longing, but it is NOT GOING TO BE FLIPPEN OKAY!!!!! EVER!!!
I have slept in Vic’s bed since her death to “demystify” her room. I also feel close to her. I can smell her in her pillow; I spray her perfume before I go to sleep.
After Vic passed and before the undertakers arrived I lay next to her lifeless little body. I spoke to her non-stop.
“Sweetie, If your soul is hovering in this room I want a clear sign from you that you are still with me…”
I woke early and prepared for the lousiest day of my life. I started chewing “Rescue” tablets. It was the only way I was going to get through the memorial service without making an absolute fool of myself. The boys looked so handsome! Their mom would have been very proud of her boys!
At the church the hearse was parked at the front door. Vic was already inside the church. A huge photo was on an easel and at least a hundred candles were burning around the casket. The flowers were beautiful. Vic would have approved.
I sat in the pew with tears running down my face. I could not believe that my baby girl was lying in that casket! That I would never see her, never hold her again, never hear her voice again. Sitting in church I could not remember her pain and suffering only my own.
The service was beautiful! The minister spoke from his heart and shared his memories of a brave young woman with almost 200 people. He said that not many people are ever prepared for death but Vic was to such an extent that she had planned her entire memorial service. He wiped a tear from his eyes where he spoke of Vic’s journey.
As instructed by Vic we sang “Amazing Grace” and “How great Art Thou”. I managed to sing – not a pretty sound though! My voice was all over! Vic would have giggled and told me that I sound like my mom!
I did the eulogy with the two boys standing on either side of me. At times my voice wavered and at times even I could hear how strong I sounded.
And then it was time to carry the coffin to the hearse for the FINAL part of Vic’s journey. I could hear the boys quietly sobbing as we carried Vic on her final journey. I felt my face contort with grief and tears.
The coffin was so light! I remember thinking “I wonder if Vic is really in the coffin….”
We lay single roses on the coffin. The two boys’ red roses and the rest of us pink…. Kari and Simone (Vic’s nieces) came up and stroked the coffin. They sobbed uncontrollably. I could hear people crying.
The minister said a final prayer, and it was time for Vic to leave.
The undertaker solemnly hugged me and closed the rear door of the hearse. It opened…. He pushed the coffin into position and relocked the locking mechanism. He closed the door again. Once again the door closed and opened!
“Vic is here and she is telling us she is going no where!” I said
People laughed nervously….
The undertaker unlocked the lock and pushed the coffin into position again. The undertaker locked the locking mechanism for the 3rd time. He closed the door. This time it remained closed. Vic had gotten her message through to me…I received my sign.
Over the past 5.5 months I have received many messages of encouragement, prayer, support, empathy and an outpouring of love. Until now Vic’s final journey seemed so pointless and unfair ….
A million times I have asked myself WHY Vic? Why has she had to travel this horrifically painful journey? Why do her boys have to live and witness this pointless pain and suffering?
I realize now that Vic’s suffering has made us aware of the suffering of others. In my country we have a terrible poverty problem and only 5% of people dying have access to palliative care. Maybe Vic had to travel this terrible road so the world can become aware of the 95%’s plight.
Tonight I was reading through the comments I received on my latest blogs. I would like to share some of it with you. I randomly copied some of the comments for you to read:
Tersia, I am still with you, and so touched that you are so conscious of all that is going on around you. I hope that as Vic surrenders, as she is already doing,, so do you, so that this stage of both of your lives becomes an experience you couldn’t have imagined.
I hope as Vic begins to feel that gentle euphoria, you too get a share of it… the body and the mind are so complex and beautiful that not everything happens as we think it should, and I hope your grief is somehow eased and soothed. Thinking of you all, Valerie
PS I hope you don’t think this message is insensitive….
In the final stages dying is something we do alone. i have often thought i would like to enter that final sleep while my husband is out. maybe that is just me and my desire to spare him more pain. you and vic are so close and i don’t think there is anything that can be said to make this more bearable for you. my heart aches for you, your husband, vic’s boys, her siblings and extended family. just remember it is easier to be the one leaving. we know that our suffering is going to end. it is your suffering we despair. whatever is meant to be will happen and yet i can’t help but hope for you to have enough time to be ready to let go
November 14, 2012 at 07:29(Edit)My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. I pray that you will all have peace in your hearts and minds as you await Vic’s release from this terrible suffering.
Amazing that you are sharing this difficult journey with all of us. This takes a lot of courage, and Vic is so lucky to have you (and the others) around her at this time. And we are so lucky to benefit from your sharing, should (or when) we find ourselves in comparable situations. But right now, my thoughts are with you and your family.
Ray’s Mom says: November 15, 2012 at 00:53(Edit) Tersia I wish you didn’t have this to bear, that your daughter could magically recover. God is with you and your daughter is so fortunate to have you near. Thank you for sharing this life experience.
optiesays: November 13, 2012 at 07:46(Edit) I am so glad that Vic has been blessed with these “extra” years but I am sure she is aware that they come at a cost to her and the family. We are never ready to say goodbye to those we love dearly. Vic’s suffering is terrible and my prayer for her is that the pain control will be well managed till the end. My heart goes out to you as a mother and grandmother, I cannot imagine what it must be like for you to have witnessed all that Vic has been through.
I have to thank you for bringing a subject most feel they cannot talk about out in the open in such a loving way ~
I would wish too be able to move forward with your goal with a hospice there in your area know If you need a latter writing campaign, or anything i can do from here please never ever hesitate to ask me please. You are making a beautiful thing out of the tragedy of Vic;s life being cut far too short.
sbcallahan says: November 16, 2012 at 03:06(Edit) it is only normal to want to hold on to your beloved vic. i do hope with all my heart that you can let her go if that is what she wants now. at this stage you know that her suffering is going to go on and no one is served by her continued pain. this is the hardest thing you will ever do but you can find the strength to do it. wishing you peace of heart
Barefoot Baronesssays: November 17, 2012 at 17:38(Edit) My God Tersia. I was instantly taken back to my mom who had stage 4 lung cancer that we were aware of just 2.5 months after diagnosis. I know the fear of the low oy2 count. I do know the fear of the oy2 therapy. What I did not know is the long lasting journey that you & Vic know.
Every post you share and I read I am left with this love for you both that seems to wash away all those things in life that matter not one bit. I have stopped sweating ALL the small stuff. There is something so loving & giving in your sharing with us, but more importantly Vic’s children are always going to have this. your journal of their mom’s life. I cannot think of a more loving, tender and generous thing for a mother and grandmother to do. my prayers and wishes are that this cathartic in a good way for you.
Although I am still behind in reading posts I have devoted m, myself to missing one of yours. Just may put me behind in commenting and I am wondering and hoping this does not cause you more pain having to come back to a memory of a few days ago. You tell me if so because I will understand and honor your wishes.
My gentle hugs to you both, Please give my love too. ~ BB p.s. you will forgive me please..I cannot hit the like button on your posts.
Barefoot Baronesssays: November 17, 2012 at 19:41(Edit) My Dear friend, You have choked me up with tears. You, who is going through so much have the sight to see beyond. I am humbled by your kind and generous words. I’d like you to know that any time you need a cyber-shoulder to lean on I would be honoured if you chose me at times, or all the time. You can even email me, you have my permission.
I am grateful Tersia for your words. I mean what I said that the small stuff is not on my plate anymore. If it arises I am able to just kick it to the curb with no further attention. You & Vic are enforcing this belief in myself every day Vic should know that all she allows to be shared is the most loving gift any human can give to another at this time when real wisdom’s surface. It’s amazing to me that at a time when it would be allowed to let her withdraw she instead reaches out to her children, her mom, and via your blog even her words.
Thank you so much for this message~ My love & gentle hugs to you both.
My Blogsays: October 20, 2012 at 00:43(Edit) I too wish your child could be pain free. After I read your post I logged on to Facebook. My daughter posted about her migraine, and how her meds aren’t working. I too suffer from migraines and blame myself for passing them down to her. I wish I could help. All I can do is love her and be there when needed. Keep up your strength. We’re with you and your daughter in spirit
thedarkest13 says: October 19, 2012 at 20:51 It’s amazing that you have that openness with your daughter and the living fear and pain is going to be there. We are made to feel loss and sorrow. Especially when it’s our children. I am truly sorry for what is happening and watching is not easy. Just enjoy what time you do have and make the most loving memories you can. You both seem amazingly strong and I don’t even know you. The love you have transcends these moments.
those moments between you and your daughter those drops of peace and happiness and joy save them like drops of pearls save them like diamonds rare that is a form of unending love that gives and gives and never expects be there like a rock for your child and i am sure she would win and survive our world is one of miracles too our world is an oasis rarities and your child too shall her courage prove just be there with a smile always give her the courage to stand taller than before she shall overcome her struggles soon prove all wrong and herself right she must win and win this time make sure you are there to know witness her strength, her wars, her fight love can kill the worst of fears and happiness shall soon return changing the way she views her life…
Andrewsays: October 22, 2012 at 03:51 I always found the roller coaster metaphor powerful during my cancer treatment, recovery, relapse, treatment, and recovery again and I think you have captured it well with Vic. Good for you to get away for a week – caregivers sometime forget that they need care too. Best wishes.
Gillian says July 4, 2012 at 04:56(Edit) Dear Tertia, Do not be so hard on yourself. You have so much on your shoulders, you are allowed to have emotions, you are allowed to get irritated, What you need is a good, well deserved mental rest where you stop trying to work things out yourself …… A long much-needed look at the beautiful creations, topped off with some quality time with a friend. And trusting someone to assist with Vic for 2 days a month. She does not want to feel that she is the cause of you being house bound. Read Matthew 11:28-30. XXXXX
dlmchalesays: October 12, 2012 at 20:48(Edit)I only bookmark a handful of sites that I “need” to follow; sites that do more than convey information – sites that cause an necessary evolution of my own humanity. Your site is at the top of that short list. I have so much empathy for what your family endures on a day to day basis, so much so that there are times I can’t even read another paragraph because it physically hurts to watch you and your loved ones afflicted so.
I know there are times when you feel like giving up. That is more than understandable and you should not run from those feelings….these types of reactions actually keep you sane. But know this: in your darkest moments, when all else seems insurmountable, ….you are not alone, in spirit, in prayer, in thought. You need never edit your writing to mask this incredible pain. In sharing such a violent and honest summary of your families pain, you bring a sense of belonging to something bigger to all those people who are enduring similar challenges. I can’t tell you why the unfairness of it continues. But I can witness that you have been a champion of love and a gladiator of emotional support. You make a difference in this fight…a big difference. We….the people who experience this on vicariously through your written word…also have an obligation, one that I commit to and cherish…and that is to be here for you when you need us. You are an inspiration to me.
micey says: October 23, 2012 at 21:12 Hi Tersia. I finally made it to your blog. I’m so sorry for the suffering your family is living through. I pray the Lord gives you strength to carry on each minute of the day. I pray He fills you with peace. I pray for miraculous healing for your sweet girl. I pray for the end of suffering. I pray you have a safe and wonderful trip to visit your family. I pray you receive many hugs from those you love. I pray you find rest for your weary soul.
in the final stages dying is something we do alone. i have often thought i would like to enter that final sleep while my husband is out. maybe that is just me and my desire to spare him more pain. you and vic are so close and i don’t think there is anything that can be said to make this more bearable for you. my heart aches for you, your husband, vic’s boys, her siblings and extended family. just remember it is easier to be the one leaving. we know that our suffering is going to end. it is your suffering we despair. whatever is meant to be will happen and yet i can’t help but hope for you to have enough time to be ready to let go
I am so proud of my beautiful Vicky who has made a difference in so many people’s lives. I am proud that is her most pain filled moments she can think of others who are less fortunate than she is.
I thank Vic for the vision of a Hospice in our city. I want to thank everyone who has sent us messages of comfort, support, encouragement and prayers… Thank you for walking with us on this difficult journey. Thank you for the love you have shown. Thank you for your prayers.
If this post does not make enough sense please forgive me. Today has been a very difficult one for Vic. She is so tired. I am just trying to make sense out of everything…..
The comments I extracted were absolutely random and does not minimize the value and comfort I experienced from the hundreds of wonderful messages I have received. Most of my readers/followers have life-threatening diseases, lost a child, suffer debilitating pain of their own and yet they care! Thank you.