Posted in A Mother's Grief, Bereavement, Death, Death of a child, Family, Grief, Jared, Vicky Bruce

Mother and Child


In the 206 days since Vic died I have never missed her as much as now.

My UK daughter-in-law and her three girls are visiting. The poor little poppets have all had a gastric bug. The girls are amazing and I love them with every fibre in my body and they love me too. What struck me once again this week is that incredible bond between a mother and daughter. When a child is ill they want their Mommy. There is no substitute for a Mommy.

Dr Christiane Northrup, author of the book Mother-Daughter Wisdom (Hay House), says: “The mother-daughter relationship is the most powerful bond in the world, for better or for worse. It sets the stage for all other relationships.”

No other childhood experience is as compelling as a young girl’s relationship with her mother. Mothers impart on their daughters how she feels about being female, what she believes about her body, how she takes care of her health, and what she believes is possible in life.

Jennie Hannan, executive general manager of services at counselling provider Anglicare WA, agrees. “How a woman sees herself, how she is in her adult relationships with partners, and how she mothers her own children, is profoundly influenced by her relationship with her own mother,” she says.

When Vic was ill she wanted her Mommy. Last year, when she had her arm operation, she was so distraught in ICU that the staff asked me to stay with her around the clock. With each and every major surgery she ever had (excluding one knee operation), my face was the first she saw. Vic knew that I stayed outside the ICU until she was released into the ward. More often than not, I was not allowed to sit with her all the time but she knew I was there.

I am not exactly gifted in sewing or knitting… (It was the only subject I ever failed at school) yet I knitted Vic a massive blanket in 2007 sitting outside ICU and next to her hospital bed. I only ever knitted at hospital and I am a very slow knitter. If we had buried Vic I would have buried her wrapped in her blankie… My life ground to an absolute halt when Vic was in ICU or hospital.

Witnessing this incredible bond the past 2.5 weeks has brought back incredible memories of Vic sitting on my lap, her little arms curled around me and her head nestled into my neck. That incredible trust and reliance between us.

My daughter-in-law and I sit and chat into the early hours of the morning. She has a happy disposition. Her life revolves around her family. She has an easy laugh and great sense of humour. If ever I went into a Quiz Show and there was show business section I would want her next to my side. When she goes to bed she gives me a hug. I love this woman for her kindness and compassion.

I realised how much I have missed that companionship, our chats into the early hours of the morning. Somehow it truly made me realise that my child is dead and I am alone.

Jared, Vic’s eldest has come down with the girls’ gastric bug. His dad brought him home early because he wanted to be home…. He got straight into bed. I sat down next to him and asked him how he was feeling. I could hear the tears in his voice when he said “really ill…” I could hear the forlornness in his voice; his longing for his mother to be sitting on his bed.

Dear Mommy…                                                             Words could never explain what you mean to me…It always meant so much to me that no matter how bad you felt or how sick you were, you always went out of your way to do anything and everything you could for us… Always going out of your way to make everyone’s life easier especially mine…

You were always my hero… No matter how sick you were every morning you woke up and got dressed. Even if you didn’t do anything you always looked your best…

I love you so much mommy… You made such an impact on everyone’s life that you will never be forgotten…you will forever live in our memories as the bravest woman and best Mommy of all time…

No one will ever be able to replace you…

Jared

Jared is alone today. Jon-Daniel lit candles for Vic when he arrived home. Jon-Daniel is alone today.  How can such a tiny, sickly person leave such a horrific void in our lives? A mother and a child cannot be substituted or replaced. It is as simple as this.

Precious Vic, we miss you so much!!  We are all feeling miserable without you.  We miss that incredible bond we had with you.  We want you back at home.

Posted in A Mother's Grief, Death, Death of a child, Family, Family Life, Terminal Illness

A Mother’s Love for her Sons


A year ago I posted this.  As I said in my previous post – Chaka’s 2012 is a separate story.  I am reposting the separate story…

I have been researching the effect of a mother’s illness on her children.  The boys are two beautiful, well-adjusted, honest and compassionate young men.  Vic’s illness has certainly deprived them of a childhood in the true sense of the word and prematurely matured them into compassionate, caring, young men far too early in life.  At the tender age of thirteen Jared was cooking for the family…  This must certainly have an effect on how the boys perceive relationships with people.

Now according to my research the boys have become what is called ‘parentified’ children. These children solve the problem of sick and inadequate parenting by taking care of their

parents. They in effect become     parents to their parents, giving to the sick parent what they need from the parent. Now the roles are reversed. This seemingly creative solution is unfortunately too self-sacrificing to be healthy in the long run.

“‘Parentified’ sons who take care of their sick mothers in order to cope with their inability to parent, struggle to suppress obvious needs for love and feelings of loss. They learn to work hard taking care of the needs of others and living off of the scraps that come in the form of reinforcements for their competence and reliability. Their needs for love are overlooked and overshadowed by everyone else’s needs.”  The boys, especially Jared, falls into this category 100%.  When his little girlfriend was hit in the eye by a hockey ball, he immediately went into caregiving mode,  At the time I thought it to be extremely unhealthy that he already has this caregiving character trait.  He used to always make the tea and offer to do so much around the house and for his Mom.

I have put a stop to this.  I pray it is not too late for the boys to adjust to a “normal” household…

It is however important for them to realize that death is a part of the circle of life and that it is not something dark and something to be feared but rather, if happening in a timely fashion, something that one can embrace. The boys appreciate and respect Vic as their mother.   Vic has raised her sons to be respectful.

“The power of a mother’s strength comes from her heart, from her unabashed, unconditional, and unwavering love for her child. There is, as J.K. Rowling wrote in her Harry Potter books, a magic in that love. No matter what happens, a mother is always there for her child. A mother’s love is never to be questioned, and – though she may not know it at first – neither is her strength.”

Vic literally rose from her deathbed to be there for Jared with his operation on Wednesday.  When my Mom died I related her final moments to someone jumping from a diving board into a deep pool, reaching the bottom and kicking to rise to the surface of the water for one more breath… only to sink again.  This is what Vic does.

Before Jared was wheeled into theatre he whispered into his mom’s ear.  She took his hand and said “I promise”.

Vic, drip in hand, walking with Jared to theater!

The surgeon said the operation would last two hours.  Vic dutifully went back to bed and rested.  One hour and forty-five minutes later she was, IV drip in hand, standing outside the theatre door, waiting for her son.  I begged her to at least sit on the chair, but she refused.  “Mommy, I promised Jared my face would be the first thing he sees when he comes out of theatre!”

It took a superhuman effort, but Vic’s love for her son drove her to keep her word.  It is true that no mother wants her child to suffer in any way, but life is unfair like that. So, we as mother’s do what we can to provide support, comfort, and protection. And we grow strong enough to bear their hurt as well as our own.  As Vic did.  As I do. Motherhood cuts deeply, brings you to your knees most days; but it also brings a strength that may surprise you.

The vicious cycle of anger truly rose to the occasions on Wednesday.  I got angry with Vic because she was not putting her health first!  I KNOW I would have done the same but it was terrible seeing my child do herself harm to be a Mother.  I want to wrap her in cotton so she would be spared that extra day…

Yesterday Vic said she doubted whether she would see the end of the year.  She is however adamant to be at Jared’s confirmation…one more goal…

Go Girl!!!

Well, Vic is home.  I am so grateful.  She is conceding that she is too sore and ill to go to hospital…Saturday Jared comes home!!

Share this:

 

Posted in A Mother's Grief, Angels, Family, Family Life, Grief, Religion in my world

Hamba Kahle Little One…


Friday evening we duly said goodbye to young Izak.  My heart is at peace.  His forever-parents are a wonderful couple.  The Dad refers to Izak as his “first-born” son and the Mommy glows with pride when he does something cute (which is all the time).

I am so grateful that he will be going to a loving home.  The parents are intelligent, sociable and gentle.  The Mommy seemed a little uncomfortable changing and feeding him, but I think she may have been a little intimidated by our presence.  The Dad was born to be united with Izak.  They even look-alike!

The precious little angel was at his best behaviour.  It is as if he knows something is brewing….

Lani is such a kind, gentle soul.  She arranged a “Stork Tea” for the Mommy.  Some of her friends made up little gift parcels, and Lani packed one of each of his cereals, Purity, finger biscuits, medicines etc for the Mommy with detailed instructions.  She also made a beautiful “First Bible” with Izak’s photos in it!  The Mommy cried!

IMG_9642

His Oumie (that’s me) bought him a jean, baseball jacket and in African Tradition – a blanket.  I hope that when he is wrapped in his blanket at night he will feel loved and cared for, even when we are gone from his life.

I did cry when I kissed him for the last time.  I felt good knowing that he has forever-parents that love him and who will cherish him.  I can see he will be their pride and joy!

Tuesday at 1 pm Lani has to kiss baby Izak goodbye.  I know she will be heartbroken.  She has such a special bond with him!  He looks at her with absolute adoration in his bright brown eyes.  I know the girls will be heartbroken for losing their little “brother”.  Tom cried on Friday night when he prayed for Izak and his Forever Family.  I know in his heart he had some dreams of being Izak’s “wingman” on his first night out on the town.

 Take my hand and hold it as if it is my heart....

Forever Daddy – take my hand and hold it as if it is my heart….

I pray that Lani will cope with saying goodbye.  I know how hard it is!

I salute Lani and Tom for making a difference in an incredible baby’s life!  I believe that his abandonment is the best thing that could ever have happened to him.  His birth mom made an incredible sacrifice to ensure a better life for him.  In Lani and Tom’s home he had the best possible start to a good life.  Izak was showered with love by everyone he came in touch with…He won over hearts of stone!

My wish for this adorable little boy is a life filled with blessings, love, care, good health and joy.  Izak has the potential to become president of this country.  I pray that his forever parents will cherish and nurture this potential and guide him wisely.

So my precious cherub who laughs a lot, know that you started life surrounded by love.   Hamba Kahle.  I will miss you little one.  You will always remain in my heart!  (Hamba Kahle means to “go well” or “stay well”, not really goodbye)

Tom, Lani and Girls – I salute you for selflessly loving this precious child.  You have given this little boy a chance in life.  I love and admire you for it.

IMG_7013

Posted in Angels, Death, Death of a child, Grief, Terminal Illness, Vicky Bruce

My Angel Child
My Angel Child
So many of my cyber friends have lost their children…these women and men have supported and guided me on my journey with Vic and held my hand in the early days of my grieving and heartache… They KNOW my pain.  I found this poem on a bereavement site and would like to share (and dedicate) it to all the angel moms and dads out there.  Thank you for your support, advice, encouragement and love.
 
My other cyber friends have done their best to understand and love – thank you all.  I appreciate your compassion and continued support.  I pray that you will never experience this pain.  I pray that you will never become Angel Parents…

Angel Moms

We have shared our tears and our sorrow,
We have given encouragement to each other,
Given hope for a brighter tomorrow,
We share the title of grieving mother.

Some of us lost older daughters or sons,
Who we watched grow over the years,
Some have lost their babies before their lives begun,
But no matter the age, we cry the same tears.

We understand each others pain,
The bond we share is very strong,
With each other there is no need to explain,
The path we walk is hard and long.

Our children brought us together,
They didn’t want us on this journey alone,
They knew we needed each other,
To survive the pain of them being gone.

So take my hand my friend,
We may stumble and fall along the way,
But we’ll get up and try again,
Because together we can make it day by day.

We can give each other hope,
We’ll create a place where we belong,
Together we will find ways to cope,
Because we are Angel Moms and together we are strong!

Judi Walker

http://www.muchloved.com/gateway/bereavement-poems-and-funeral-readings.htm

Posted in Angels, Chronic Pain, Death, Death of a child, Family, Family Life, Grief, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Terminal Illness, Vicky Bruce

Mothers and daughters


Vic proudly pregnant with Jon-Daniel
Vic proudly pregnant with Jon-Daniel

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…

Vic writing the boys final letters six days before her death.
Vic writing the boys final letters six days before her death.

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.

Posted in Death, Death of a child, Grief, Terminal Illness, Vicky Bruce

Tony’s poem


This poem was written by Tony Doiron.  I assume from the words that Tony lost a child too…  This poem really got to me.  My child was just older and could walk, talk and count…  Thank you for your beautiful words Tony.

You were lying in my arms,
As I tried to say goodbye,
“It is for the best”, they said,
And I knew that was true.

I gazed at your little hands,
Given to us that day,
You wouldn’t feel pain again,
But I wanted you to stay.

You fought for every breath you took,
Never letting go,
Until one day God made you His,
Leaving all of us below.

Although you couldn’t walk or talk,
Or even count to ten,
Your short life had more impact,
Than a hundred million men.

-Daddy
(written by Tony Doiron)

When A Daughter Cries


http://halfmanhalfgreek.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/sad-woman.jpg

when a mother cries
her tears stab at her daughter’s heart
as they plummet to the floor

when a mother cries
he daughter cries too
because her heroine is wounded and she doesn’t know how or why
she cries because she cannot rid her mother of the pain
she cries most of all because she loves her mother

when a daughter cries because her mother cries,
her mother cries more
because her weakness has hurt her child
she cries because it hurts to know she’s the cause of her daughter’s tears.
she cries most of all because she loves her daughter

once the tears have ceased however
love remains
the love forever shared between a mother and her daughter

Portia Lane http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-daughter-cries/


	
Posted in Chronic Pain, Family Life, Grief, Palliative Care, Terminal Illness, Uncategorized, Vicky Bruce

“I am sorry Mommy!”


Vicky constantly says “sorry Mommy.”   She says “sorry Mommy” when she vomits, when she is in pain, when she is ill…

Then there is a flood of “thank you’s”….. Vic says “thank you” all the time!  It drives me mad! I don’t want her to apologize for being ill and I don’t want her to continuously thank me.

Vic’s situation, our situation as a family, is unfair, arbitrary, frustrating and so sad.  Vic is blameless, helpless, a victim of poor sick genes and doctor error.

I know that Vic is sad about her situation.  I know that Vic is sad for what the family is going through.  She is sad because she cannot be the mother she wants to be.  She is sad that she has a lonely, sad life devoid of partner love, physical love and friendships not based on pity.  She sad because she does not have a social life and neither do we as a family.   Vic is sad that she is dying in the prime of her life.  Vic is sad that she has achieved so little in her life (by her standards only).

We no longer have lunches with friends, outings or holidays.  Life has ground to a slow, agonizing halt… Vic floats from one pain filled day in bed to the next.  When she has a good and busy day, like yesterday, she pays the price for weeks.  Vic has not been out of bed today.  She is deadly pale and drawn.

It is hard for her not having privacy.  Vic is embarrassed that I hold her hair or wipe her face when she is vomiting.  Yet she needs me with her….

We are however in this together as a family. It is a rough journey for everyone.

“I am so sorry Mommy…” …it echoes through my heart.

“I love you my angel” I whisper….

Posted in Palliative Care, Terminal Illness, Uncategorized, Vicky Bruce

Today was a bad day


Vic and her boys Christmas 2011
Christmas 2011

When you have a frozen abdomen from having 80+ abdominal surgeries, have a septic abdomen and septic prosthesis in your spine, suffer from Addison’s Disease and spend 24/7 in pain your world becomes very small. You also become well travelled as you have been to hell and back! Life gravitates around pain medication, more pain medication and hopefully some blissful sleep. Friends come and go. Spouses come and go. In an uncertain life it is a certainty that everybody eventually leaves.

So for the few of us that choose to stay around it is important to be sensitive to the emotions of the terminally ill person. Allow me to personalize this… It is important for us as a family to be sensitive to Vic’s feelings of abandonment.

Countless times a day Vic will say “Thank you Mommy for…….” “Thank you for looking after me”; “thank you for not leaving me”; “thank you for loving me” …… A child should never ever have to say that!

An adult child should rebel against the constraints of her parents rules and discipline and leave home. She leaves the safety of the home and comes back for Sunday lunches, to drop off laundry and bring a new love around to meet The Parents… Eventually the child will venture down the aisle, fall pregnant, christen her children, start running a car pool…. the list carries on and on. Eventually in large parts of the world the aged parents may move in with the now mature children and eventually die. I got married, left home, had Vic, got divorced, bought a new house, started my own business, remarried and eventually my Dad came to live with us for 18 months until he forgot how to breathe. Not once in my adult life did I ever consider moving back home to my parents. As an adult, wife and mother I often longed for the safety of my childhood home. I long for just ONE day in my life without responsibilities. I long to be a child again – carefree and cherished…. I miss my mom and wish I had her support and advice to get us through this difficult journey.

My sister and I discussed the way our lives had turned out. She has had an extremely challenging life and I seem to go from one crisis to another. We decided that we used up all our good luck and happiness as children…. I want to be a child again!

As usual I digress.

Vic is emotionally fragile. She fears that the remaining few people will also get tired of her ill health and pained life and abandon her.  She fears that the boys will abandon her and look to us, the grandparents, for parenting.  She fears losing the only “position” in life that she has left – the position  of “Mother”.  It has been very difficult to sacrifice her independence and move home. She has gone from being a wife to being a child. She has gone from being the mother to being mothered. I am a typical parent. I want to protect my little baby…. I want to do everything for her. I want to wrap her up in cotton wool and keep her resting in her bed. Maybe if she takes things easy it will buy us some extra time… If she is in bed her chances of injury is less.

Every day of her life countless indignities are heaped upon her. She is dependant for everything from medication, care, food and money. Poor poppet! Death is always in the foreground of her mind. Either fear of dying and at times fear of not dying.

I don’t really know what I set out to articulate in this blog but writing has once again reminded me what a pitiful life Vic has. My poor, poor little baby! No-one in the world deserves her life! But we will never abandon her – ever!

Today was a bad day – again.

Posted in Uncategorized, Vicky Bruce

A Mother’s Love for her Sons


I have been researching the effect of a mother’s illness on her children.  The boys are two beautiful, well-adjusted, honest and compassionate young men.  Vic’s illness has certainly deprived them of a childhood in the true sense of the word and prematurely matured them into compassionate, caring, young men far too early in life.  At the tender age of thirteen Jared was cooking for the family…  This must certainly have an effect on how the boys perceive relationships with people.

Now according to my research the boys have become what is called ‘parentified’ children. These children solve the problem of sick and inadequate parenting by taking care of their parents. They in effect become parents to their parents, giving to the sick parent what they need from the parent. Now the roles are reversed. This seemingly creative solution is unfortunately too self-sacrificing to be healthy in the long run.

“‘Parentified’ sons who take care of their sick mothers in order to cope with their inability to parent, struggle to suppress obvious needs for love and feelings of loss. They learn to work hard taking care of the needs of others and living off of the scraps that come in the form of reinforcements for their competence and reliability. Their needs for love are overlooked and overshadowed by everyone else’s needs.”  The boys, especially Jared, falls into this category 100%.  When his little girlfriend was hit in the eye by a hockey ball, he immediately went into caregiving mode,  At the time I thought it to be extremely unhealthy that he already has this caregiving character trait.  He used to always make the tea and offer to do so much around the house and for his Mom.

I have put a stop to this.  I pray it is not too late for the boys to adjust to a “normal” household…

It is however important for them to realize that death is a part of the circle of life and that it is not something dark and something to be feared but rather, if happening in a timely fashion, something that one can embrace. The boys appreciate and respect Vic as their mother.   Vic has raised her sons to be respectful.

“The power of a mother’s strength comes from her heart, from her unabashed, unconditional, and unwavering love for her child. There is, as J.K. Rowling wrote in her Harry Potter books, a magic in that love. No matter what happens, a mother is always there for her child. A mother’s love is never to be questioned, and – though she may not know it at first – neither is her strength.”

Vic literally rose from her deathbed to be there for Jared with his operation on Wednesday.  When my Mom died I related her final moments to someone jumping from a diving board into a deep pool, reaching the bottom and kicking to rise to the surface of the water for one more breath… only to sink again.  This is what Vic does.

Before Jared was wheeled into theatre he whispered into his mom’s ear.  She took his hand and said “I promise”.

Vic, drip in hand, walking with Jared to theater!

The surgeon said the operation would last two hours.  Vic dutifully went back to bed and rested.  One hour and forty-five minutes later she was, IV drip in hand, standing outside the theatre door, waiting for her son.  I begged her to at least sit on the chair but she refused.  “Mommy, I promised Jared my face would be the first thing he sees when he comes out of theatre!”

It took a superhuman effort but Vic’s love for her son drove her to keep her word.  It is true that no mother wants her child to suffer in any way, but life is unfair like that. So, we as mother’s do what we can to provide support, comfort, and protection. And we grow strong enough to bear their hurt as well as our own.  As Vic did.  As I do. Motherhood cuts deeply, brings you to your knees most days; but it also brings a strength that may surprise you.

The vicious cycle of anger truly rose to the occasions on Wednesday.  I got angry with Vic because she was not putting her health first!  I KNOW I would have done the same but it was terrible seeing my child do herself harm to be a Mother.  I want to wrap her in cotton so she would be spared that extra day…

Yesterday Vic said she doubted whether she would see the end of the year.  She is however adamant to be at Jared’s confirmation…one more goal…

Go Girl!!!

Well, Vic is home.  I am so grateful.  She is conceding that she is too sore and ill to go to hospital…Saturday Jared comes home!!