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.
This is one of the most heart wrenching posts I have read in a long time. I read a lot of blogs written by grieving mothers. Why did this post affect me to this extent? I don’t know. Maybe because this mother’s grief feels as real as my own grief. Maybe it is because I am doing the same. Writing and desperately trying to keep my Vic alive…hugs and tears Gatito.
What am I doing Kaitlyn? What am I trying to do by my endless blogs about you, the photo albums, the posts on Facebook, the printed out version of my blog, the printed out comments by your friends after you died on your Facebook, in my private messages and by email, the posts I made on Student Doctor Network warning them of what could so easily happen if they don’t heed the warning within them of depression, for posting about you In the off topic sections of forums I belong to that are about motorcycles, RVing, and cats. Posting on suicide survivor forums. Posting every video and song that remotely has to do with what you were and I am going through. Making DVD slides of you. Going through all you music CDs, going through all your recent things, old things, things I put up long ago, things that are…
Oh God, I am drowning again. I pray that I will go to bed tonight and never wake up. I know it I stupid because it would kill the boys and cause others that love me so much pain, but I cannot face life without my child.
I was looking at posts on “The Grieving Parent”, a Bereavement Facebook page for parents (https://www.facebook.com/TheGrievingParent ) and it just made me feel so inadequate and weak. Bereaved parents speak of the healing they have experienced….I don’t know whether I ever will heal. Tonight, like yesterday and the 82 days before tonight, I fear that my life is over.
All parents love their children. Some have a closer bond than others. The mother /child relationship is the closest relationship anyone will ever find. There is a bond between a mother and child that cannot be broken or destroyed.
Vic’s death cannot “remove” her from my life. My love for her is never-ending and all-enduring. For 9 months I nurtured her in my womb. For 38 years I nurtured her in life. My life revolved around Vic.
Did we have a perfect relationship of never arguing, fighting or being angry with one another? Hell no!! We went through the different stages as all mothers and daughters do.
As a toddler and pre-teen Vic loved me with unshakeable conviction. By the time she entered her teens we reached the stage where we disliked one another… We always loved one another, but we certainly disliked one another at certain stages of our lives. It was a tumultuous swing in our lives…
Vic was extremely headstrong! She wanted to go to boarding school and that she did…She married early in life, against our wishes…Not because we disliked Colin but because she was too young. Vic got married 6 months after her 21st birthday. Six weeks later she fell pregnant against ALL doctors advice. She had two children at the risk of losing her own life and passing on the Osteogenesis Imperfecta disease and/or gene.
Vic also refused to die. Vic refused to be “sick”. She got dressed into normal day-clothes every day of her life. She refused to hand over the responsibility of her children’s upbringing to anyone regardless of how ill she was.
Vic did what she did when she wanted to. If she believed in something she would defy anyone and everyone. She was driven by her need to grow up and live her life to the full. The relationship shift from child to adult was very difficult for me to accept.
Our relationship changed after Vic had the boys. Maybe because then there was a greater level of understanding, by Vic, of the enormity of the responsibility that a mother has to her child…..
Vic was not a saint. She was a difficult teenager and a fiercely independent young woman. Yet our mother-daughter relationship was ultimately fulfilling. I was certainly not the perfect mother. I failed Vic on many levels. We were so different that we found it difficult to understand one another’s choices and needs.
Despite conflicts and complicated emotions, Vic and I loved one another unconditionally. We complemented one another perfectly. Vic so often said “God knew what He was doing when He put us together….We are such a good team!”
I am grateful for the time we spent together. I wish I had spent less time working and more time playing…I wish I had been less concerned about Vic’s financial care. I wish I had been there when she took her first steps…I got the hospital time. Her healthy time I spent working – playing catch-up for her hospital time… I wish Vic had grown up in a home with a mommy and a daddy…
In her later life Vic became a child again. She was totally dependent upon me. I did not have to “compete” with a spouse to take care of her. In the final months of Vic’s life she had panic attacks when I was away from her. In a weird, sick way my life was perfect. My baby was home. I could love and nurture her…
I wish we had more time…
In the final days of her life Vic cried “I want to live. Mommy I don’t want to die… If only I could live for one more year…”
I would give everything I own; every second of my remaining life; everything I love and cherish for Vic to have lived just one more year.
I am at a stage where it feels as if it is impossible to recover from the pain of losing Vic. I am told that the grief will gradually get better and become less intense as time goes by.
The first few days after Vic died was so intense. Family and friends cried, and we comforted one another. The house was busy with people coming and going. The planning that goes into a funeral and the writing of the eulogy took a lot of time. My grief was raw and incredibly intense. My heart physically ached. I experienced feelings of anxiety, panic, sadness, and helplessness. Yet it is actually a surreal feeling… it felt as if we were removed from the world. It felt as if I looked in from the outside. I heard myself speaking and reacting mechanically…Old school friends phoned and I rushed to get through their words of condolences so I could ask them about their lives. I did not want to discuss Vic’s death. They must have thought I was crazy.
People said “you are so strong…”
When a loved one dies at home I think it is harder afterwards…There is a “mystique” to the room of death. The smell of death lingers and the room is littered with medication, blood pressure equipment, thermometers and syringe containers. Bedpans and vomit-dishes are still in the bathroom…
The planning of Vic’s memorial service actually helped me get through the first days after her death. Friends and family spend time with us talking and sharing memories about Vic.
Many times, people show their emotions during this time of ritual. Overwhelmed by Vic’s death we actually did not show emotion right away — even though the loss was very hard. We stood amongst our friends and family at the reception after the memorial service smiling and talking. To the world it must have appeared as if we were strong and accepting of Vic’s death. Being among other mourners was a comfort; it sort of reminded us that some things will stay the same.
But the time came when the far-away family left, friends went back to their lives and the steady flow of visitors stopped. In a way it was a relief. We were forced to stop and come to terms with the reality of the situation….the pain of the loss and the enormity of our grief.
Within a week we were back at work and school. People were and still are wary of us – they do not know how to handle our grief. We quickly learnt that other people are not interested in our grieving process…We stopped talking about Vic’s death…But although we no longer continuously talk about our loss, the grieving process not only continues but intensifies.
It’s natural to continue to have feelings and questions for a while after someone dies. It’s also natural to begin to feel somewhat better. A lot depends on how your loss affects your life. It’s OK to feel grief for days, weeks, or even longer, depending on how close you were to the person who died. I was told yesterday by someone who truly loved Vic that Vic’s death is only a reality when they are in our home. When they leave it almost becomes a distant memory….
The loss of a child is different to the loss of a parent. The boys’ grief is different to my grief… I will go further and say that the grief of a teen is different to the grief of an adult child who lost his aged parent.
Vic’s death has been a devastating, distressing experience in the life of the boys. Although the boys have spent the majority of their lives in our home their sense of security and stability in the world has been turned upside down. Vic’s death has become the defining event in the boys lives. The boys have begun to define their lives into two categories: “before Mom died” or “after Mom died.”
The boys and I have experienced a sense of relief, ambivalence; guilt and regret after Vic’s passing. The boys have categorically expressed their sense of relief that Vic’s intense suffering and pain is over. I prayed for Vic to die. This sense of relief has however brought on more guilt!
Jon-Daniel was the first of the boys who had to cope with the realization that Vic would not be around to celebrate rites of passage; Vic slipped into a coma the day Jon-Daniel received his school’s honours award for academic achievement…..
The boys are battling to cope with Vic’s death. Their grief is intensifying.
On the 8th of April they will meet the Hospice Psychologist. On the 25th we are flying down to Cape Town for 13 days. We need a change of scenery. We need to grieve without being told to “let Vic rest…”
I make a point of telling them that I miss their Mommy too. They light candles for Vic. I cry in my pillow.
I know that the boys will eventually move on. It is the way it is – children bury their parents. It is normal. But a parent should never have to bury their child…
For 38 years my beautiful child was the centre of my life. I lived for her. Now I merely exist.
I hear her say “Mommy I love you” and I whisper “I love you more than life angel child…”