Today at times I felt as if I was suffocating. It felt as if the grief had grabbed me by the throat and was strangling life out of me. My heart physically ached.
In the infamous words of Queen Elizabeth 11 “Grief is the price we pay for love.”
Vic was an only child. I spent the first 16 years of her life dedicated to Vic and only Vic. Vic’s dad and I separated early in our marriage. Even in the years that we were married he studied part-time and only got home from University after 10 at night. Weekends – well that was busy…
When Vic was 16 I married Danie. He became her dad and she embraced the fact that she now had siblings. Danie loved Vic with the same pure unconditional love that she had for her boys. Vic admired, respected and loved Danie for the wonderful dad that he was to her.
Tonight I cannot help but think and remember all the love and nurturing that went into Vic’s life, caring for her, raising her, nursing her when she was sick and taking her to the doctors, teaching her all the things she needed to know to keep her safe in this crazy world, teaching her the art of shopping, watching her get married, fall pregnant – twice, survive 81 abdominal surgeries, fighting for her life every single day. I loved the mother that Vic was. Caring and nurturing.
Tonight I remember Vic’s trademark – getting dressed in clothes every day before the boys came home from school, waking up to see them off to school every morning, arranging a party if she had one ounce of strength left! Vic appreciated seeing the light of day, getting out of bed, seeing the faces of her children. Every day she breathed was a day that mattered to her. Every day she used to make memories with her sons, family and friends.
Every day was one more than she had the day before.
She loved driving her little car. (Vic was a terrible driver!). Vic was the take-out queen. She LOVED take-outs! The last meal she ate was a bit of a Steers hamburger….
Vic was a good, honest, compassionate, caring person who loved loyally and deeply! She was strong-willed and fought for what she wanted. She did not tolerate disloyalty in any form.
Vic toured Egypt in a wheelchair and with a cane! Her biggest wish was to attend Jon-Daniel’s honours evening (4 days before she died) and to travel to Italy.
Vic was brave! She NEVER complained. She accepted that pain was part of her life; that being ill was her life. She seldom questioned the cards she was dealt. She accepted her life stoically.
I KNOW how hard it was for Vic to get out of bed. I know how easy it would have been for her to curl up and die very early in her life. She held on to life until the bitter end because giving up was not an option!
I thought I was well prepared for this period in my life. I prayed so long that God would release her tortured little body from the hell she lived every day. I spent years waiting and wondering how it will be. I have been told that I, of all people, should have been prepared for her death. After all I lived with my child’s terminal diagnosis for 10 years.
The short and the tall of the matter is that there is no way to be prepared. Researching the stages of death, the grieving process and even preparing her memorial service’s PowerPoint Presentation, in anticipation, could not prepare me for the pain that struck the second that my child died..
When I heard Vic’s breathing change I knew she was going. I knew that within minutes my child would be dead… Yet in the end, her death was still a terrible shock to me. How did it happen so quickly?
How do I go on?
Just as there are only some people we can really talk to about our children while they are alive, it seems that there are only a few people we can talk to about them once they have died.
When you lose a child you lose so much more that you may have been prepared to lose. I have lost my identity as a mom. I am no longer a Mommy. I may be a back-up mom to four wonderful young people who love me dearly, unconditionally and deeply but I am no longer a “real Mommy”. Mother’s Day will come and go…The four kids will celebrate the women who gave birth to them. The boys will not have a mom to buy a gift for and I will not have a child to wish me. I do know everyone will try very hard to make it easier for me. But Vic will not be here to wish me a happy Mother’s Day.
I have a hole in my heart. My heart physically aches. I want to die.
Tonight, 21 days after my baby girl’s death I remember a love and bond that was beyond description. I will continue to breathe; I will honour my promises to my child; I will bring up her beautiful boys; I will cherish her memories; I will grieve for my child. She was worthy of my love – she is worthy of my tears.
Sweetie I love you now and forever.