“This is to have succeeded”

Vic often said “I must be such a disappointment to you.  I have done nothing with my life!”

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This morning I read these beautiful words and so wished I could have shared it with Vic.

“This is to have succeeded” posted on June 4, 2013 by Dr Bill http://drbillwooten.com/2013/06/04/this-is-to-have-succeeded

“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.” ~ Bessie Anderson Stanley

To laugh often and love much – That Vic did.  She always had a smile on her precious face.  Even when she was in dreadful pain she would try to smile.  When she was in a lot of pain her laugh was shrill.  Pain seldom stopped her from laughing… In 2007 I said to Vic that my life was sad.

“That is terrible Mommy.  Why?”

I felt like hitting my head against a wall!  What did the child think?  In 2007 Vic must have had 18 operations; developed every hospital superbug in the book; developed septicaemia, had a high output fistula; developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome; spend months in ICU and survived having the ventilator turned off… Vic was op TPN (Total Parental Nutrition) for months…she had a massive open wound that we could not keep covered with a colostomy bag.  It was too big and positioned very low down.

“I worry about you every second of the day baby.  I worry whether you have vomited and how much you vomited; I worry whether you have been able to eat anything…  I worry about your wound.  I worry about your pain control….”

“Mommy, that is so sad.  At least once a week the boys and I laugh so much that my tummy hurts from it…”

Vic in 2007
Vic in 2007

Vic loved unconditionally and with every fibre of her body.  She gave everything!  She was a wonderful daughter, mother, friend…She loved her family, her siblings, her friends and her boys.  She LIVED love.

Her last words ever were “I love you Mommy”

… to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children;  Worldwide, intelligent people, respect and admire Vic for her courage, tenacity…  We called Vic the “baby whisperer”.  Children loved her.  She loved children.  Her only ambition as a toddler and teenager was to be a Mommy.  She loved her sons beyond comprehension…

The Baby Whisperer
The Baby Whisperer

…… to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; Vic suffered a lot of betrayal in her little life.  People got tired of waiting for her to die.  “Friends” spoke about her “addiction” to pain medication behind her back… They used her illness as a weapon against her when she was at her most vulnerable.  False friends (and loved ones) spoke their “minds” and condemned and judged Vic for choices she made… Because she was ill people thought they could say what they wanted, when they wanted.

….. to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others;  My precious child was so naïve.  She refused to see the bad in people!  The only time she got irritated and miserable was in hospital.  She always found the good in people.  She did not speak badly of people.  When I was angry with someone she would placate me…point out their good points… She knew that if she voiced her own anger it would have driven me over the edge.  Vic taught me unconditional love, forgiveness and tolerance.  Vic brought out the best in me and the most other people.

…..to give of one’s self; Vic was a people pleaser.  She would turn down MY bed!!!!  She made sacrifices for each and every person in her life.  Even in death she worried about other dying people who were less privileged than she was.  I promised her 2 am one morning that I would start Stepping Stone Hospice!  She kept talking to me about Stepping Stone until she lapsed into a coma.


…..to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; Vic left the world a better place.  Her sons are monuments of the person she was; her dream of a Hospice has been realized.

The boys taking Vic for a walk at the Donald Gordo

……to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation;  With the 2010 Soccer World Cup Vic went crazy with enthusiasm; she bought every gimmick that hit the shops; she went of the “soccer train” in her wheelchair, she watched every single soccer game.

Vic loving World Cup 2010
Vic loving World Cup 2010


……to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived     Vic’s legacy will live on through her sons and Stepping Stone Hospice.  Long after I have died, people will continue to benefit from Vic’s dreams and goodness.

—this is to have succeeded.”  My angel child – you succeeded!  You succeeded in life and with living.  You made the world a beautiful place filled with goodness and hope.  I am so proud of you.  You lived life to the full.  You made a difference!  You lived a greater and more successful life than most people.  You have put the world to shame.  You are my hero!

Vic and her monuments
Vic and her monuments



Tapestries of Hope

What a wonderful caring community I have entered.  I occasionally get a personal email from someone, who read my blog, and has a special word of encouragement for us as a family.  I truly appreciate it.

I find that I am constantly coming back to my blog and emails so see if there is any new advice or message.  I may be developing an emotional dependence upon the support I am getting from the blogging community….

I am re-posting an email that I received today from Alison of Tapestries of Hope.  “Tapestries of Hope is a central New Jersey non-profit dedicated to honoring each woman in the community who is grieving the death of her mom or mother figure. Tapestries was created to provide a peer supportive environment for women to express their grief through workshops, support groups, expressive arts, and programs for continued healing.”  I was reduced to tears by her loving, compassionate email.  I want to share the compassion that we have been shown.  I was so concerned about baring my tattered soul to the world that I was hesitant to start the blog…It is the greatest thing I have ever done.

Alison, thank you for your kind words.  You how no idea how “bruised” and isolated I felt today,  Thank you for showing me that you care and that there is a caring world out there – even if only in cyberspace!  Thank you for taking the time to write me a personal email.  You are a special lady!

Hi Tersia,

Forgive me for not emailing you right away. I’ve been reading the blog you’re keeping as Vic goes through her illness, and I’ve been touched beyond measure as I read of her struggle, yours, the joy, the roller coaster of emotions. And it took my breath away to listen to the song you dedicated to her “Never Alone”. One of the events we sponsor here at Tapestries of Hope is our yearly pre-Mother’s day gathering, called “Our Moms, Our Memories” and that is the song that one of the daughters sang two years ago.

I worked in hospice for many years, and our current president, Alisa, works at one now, as bereavement coordinator. I don’t know how hospice is in your part of the world, but I’m a strong proponent of it. It makes an impossible time just a little bit more manageable, and I hope your Vic, and you, will make use of it when you decide the time is right. My sister and I called in hospice for my 36 year old brother, Kysa, when he was ill with cancer, and again 6 months later when my mom, Betty Catharine, died of breast cancer. It was my experience with them that led me, ultimately, to work for hospice and then found Tapestries of Hope along with Alisa.

There are no words that I can give you that will make any of this better, but I want you to know that I understand your wishing so desperately for your mom to be here with you now, to listen, to help, to be there for you. My husband Chuck went through a very aggressive cancer last year (thankfully he has a clean bill of health now) but through it I wished for nothing more than to be able to call my mom and know that, even if nothing changed, I would feel better after speaking with her.

If you would like to connect with other daughters who have grieved their moms, I can put you in touch with so many. We have well over 200 daughters who make up Tapestries, both locally in NJ and around the country. We have a facebook page also, and you can find so much support there. Just type “Tapestries of Hope” into your search engine, and you will find us.

Whatever I can do to offer support to you as you find your way through this, please reach out. I’m very approachable and spend so much of my time chatting with daughters and emailing back and forth with them.

Please stay in touch when you can~

daughter of Betty Catharine
Founder TOH,Support/Outreach