Posted in A Mother's Grief, Angels, Bereavement, Death of a child, Grief, Grief Poetry, Vicky Bruce

In memory of Vicky by Dennis McHale


Tonight I visited the blog of a brilliant blogger Dennis McHale who writes hauntingly beautiful poetry.  I read through a number of his poems, very aware of the man own personal pain, when I came across this tribute to Vic that Dennis posted on the 2nd of May 2013.  Reading it, I was as touched as I was then…  Thank you Dennis.

I hope that one day I will read happiness in your words.

MAY 2, 2013

In Memory of Vicky

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This poem is dedicated to my dear friend “tersiaburger”
In memory of her beloved daughter, Vicky.

——————————————————————-

You and I
are touched by one star.

Wherever you are
we stand together in one light
which no depth or height or distance
can ever dim.

Wherever you are
your light shines;
past time and space
past flesh to thought,
I feel your power.

Wherever you go
the day will dawn
and the star will appear;
for you are a child of this light
and it fosters your heavenly dreams.

In this light, I have found ways
to heal, to bind up,
to tear down the feeble structures
of fear of your absence has
carelessly constructed within me.

You and I
are touched by one star.

In its glowing embrace
we find our true selves;
we find our peace.

Today I may stand alone,

missing you with all my heart
be I stand strong.
Through the corridors of our courage
you have helped me to
discover those eternal lines
of love within myself;
my birthright discovered because

Vicky and I are
touched by one star.

http://dlmchale.com/2013/05/02/in-memory-of-vicky/

 

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

For you MOM…because I love you


Mothers Day 2011, I received a wonderful book from Vic.  The title of the book “For you MOM…because I love you”

Precious baby Vic
Precious baby Vic

I will post a quote from this book, every day, until the 18th of January 2014, when it is Vic’s one-year anniversary.

Vic and her boys.
Vic and her boys.

“The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God, is the heart of a mother.” Saint Theresa of Lisieiux

Two mothers with their child(ren)
Two mothers with their child(ren)
Posted in A Mother's Grief, Death of a child, Family, Family Life, Grief, Vicky Bruce

I just can’t do it…


Today is a bad day. This past week has been a horrific week. I have missed Vic and her unconditional love so much this week.  Not only her unconditional love of and for me and her boys  but also the love that she radiated into the world…

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I have looked through photos of Vic and going through her Facebook page, and I know I cannot do what she did.

I cannot bring the joy in her boys’ lives that she did. Vic was a fun person, and if she had one spare breath of oxygen in her little body she would organize a party. I looked at Vic’s photos, and I saw the fun she had with her boys.

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Vic would space bank energy and willpower to watch Jon-Daniel play tennis or cricket…  That took serious commitment!

I know I am their safe haven.  I can just never be what Vic was in their lives.

I miss laughing.  I miss being happy.

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

Your children are not your children…


Of course I have read the words of Khalil Gibran many times. Yet this morning I read these words with and through different eyes. I read the blog post of one of my favourite bloggers –

http://deodatusblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/your-children-are-not-your-children-they-are-sons-and-daughters-of-lifes-longing-for-itself-says-khalil-gibran/ and was overwhelmed with the exquisite words of guidance contained in this beautiful poem.

Read this with me.

Your children are not your children.

“Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.  
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness.
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.”                        
– Khalil Gibran

As a mother who carried a precious baby in her womb for almost 9 months my eyes lingered on the words “They come through you but not from you.” Vic came from me? An umbilical cord that was never severed, bound us together from the first second she were conceived. Even though death took my child from me the umbilical cord of love that bounds us cannot be severed. My love for Vic supersedes the bonds of death.

So no, I don’t agree with Gibran although I understand what he is saying. In this case I prefer literally translating his words…

                                      And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.                                                                    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,                                                                 For they have their own thoughts..

 How poignantly true these words are. As a parent it was horrible watching Vic make mistakes…knowing that her actions and decisions would lead to heartache and tears. How I wished that she would see things my way! My way would have been the safe way. Vic would have been spared rivers of tears and mountains of heartache. My way would have deprived her of great joy and happiness. As a mother I picked up pieces, held her and loved her. I could not protect her. Vic had her own thoughts!

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You may house their bodies but not their souls,     For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

 I housed Vic’s little body. The moment of greatest sadness in my life was when Vic’s soul left her body. I was grateful that her suffering was over but devastated that our journey as mother and daughter was over. I knew that she instantly became an elevated being removed from the hardship and indignity that she suffered on earth. I knew that she would never be prod, cut, hurt or be humiliated again. As her mother, I bathed her and dressed her one last time, as I did when she was born. No other prying, clinical hands would touch her again. I was beyond grief knowing that I would never be able to talk to her again. I would never hold her again. I would never hear her say “Love you Mommy” again. My soul mate, my life was gone. My child’s soul now dwells in the house of tomorrow that I cannot visit or even comprehend.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.  For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.  For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

 I never wanted Vic to be like me. Vic was strong, brave, loved, cherished, admired, gentle, loving, forgiving and vulnerable. I am tough, logical and emotionally distant. I allow very few people close to me and, if they betray my love and trust, I cut them out of my life. As a little girl, Vic said to me “I don’t want to be like you Mommy. I just want to be a normal mummy.” Vic was the one who taught me patience, unconditional love, forgiveness and to take a chance on life and love. Vic lived every second of her life. She did not fear emotion. She did not fear love and trust. I pray that her sons will remember these qualities their mother possessed. I pray that they will be more like her than me. I did however love Vic first and everyone else second… Jon-Daniel(1)

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.  The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.  Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness.  For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.”

 I was the bow that send my precious girl-child forth. 

The boys do archery as an extracariculum activity. To be a good archer you need consistent anchor points: An anchor point is the place on your face where you pull the string back to consistently. This anchor point should be exactly the same all the time for a consistent grouping of shots. My parents taught me, by example, the importance consistency in values, discipline and love.

An archers grip on the bow handle should be lax and comfortable. My first instinct as a parent was “to grip the bow hard to stabilize it”. My parents taught me to be a comfortable parent. I did my best. I could not do more. No amount of tightening the grip on Vic, her discipline or my love and caring for her would have made me a better parent. My grip was lax and comfortable. My child was an amazing example to the world.

 Whether you’re doing target archery, 3D archery, or bow hunting, it is vital to concentrate and focus on one precise spot that you want to hit. As a parent is was difficult to stay focused all the time. Lots of things “get in the way” of parenting. A new love, work, own dreams and ambitions…Yet I gave birth to my incredible baby girl and I knew I had to remain focused. Vic had to come first. She did not chose to be born. I chose to give birth to her.

 Archers are told that to be relaxed whilst aiming, is one of the great secrets to success… As a parent it was almost impossible to relax. I spent my child’s life trying to keep her alive. If I relaxed I know it could have led to her death. When your child is sickly, you are overprotective… Today I wish I had relaxed more. I wish I had spent more time discussing things that, mattered to Vic than the number and colour of her bowel movements and vomiting sessions. I wish I had relaxed about her smoking. Smoking did not kill her. Doctors did.

 “At the heart of it, mastery is practice. Mastery is staying on the path.” With parenting we practice as we go. We don’t ever stop or give up. I wish that we had more gladness in our lives and less sorrow and pain.

 What I am certain of is that I was a stable bow. I was unwavering in my love and commitment to Vic and now her boys. The Great Archer held us in His great Hands.

 I found this beautiful poem on http://warrenlgdemills.com/2013/05/11/umbilical-cords-a-mothers-day-poem/. Warren is an amazing poet and I have found much solace in his words.

Umbilical Cords – A Mother’s Day Poem
Posted: May 11, 2013 in Affections
Tags: love, mother’s day, poems, Poetry 1

Umbilical cords
Are but metaphors
To represent the eternal
Connection between mother
And child.

Though that cord may be severed
That love supersedes the bonds of death.
For they are the cords of life!

When a child is born
so is a mother.
It is the graduation of a girl
To a woman.
The transition from
Woman to mother.
The ascension of adult
To goddess, creator of life.

Oh great goddess,
Would you understand
The power within you?
Would you fathom
the role you play
On the stage of life?

By your love
Is a great man groomed.
By your neglect
is his future family doomed.
By your touch
Is intimacy first understood.
By your hand
Does he separate bad from good.

Oh great goddess,
For every good child
Reared from your breast
There is a star in the cosmos
To be named after you.

Though that cord was cut
You replaced it with one unseen
Your care, patience for years,
To provide the world with one more
Decent young man to make this world
A better place.

-WLGDM

All Rights Reserved. Property of Warren L.G De Mills. Copyright @ 2013.

Jared♡ĶįƦƧƳ.Ș♡(1)

Posted in A Mother's Grief, Angels, Death, Death of a child, Grief, Vicky Bruce

The final finish line


Things don’t always work out the way we want them to.

For 9 months we carry a precious little human being in our wombs. We give birth to the love of our lives… Then we spend our lives loving and cherishing this little bundle. Nurturing it from cradle to grave…

I was in our new Hospice building today and I was overwhelmed by sadness and anger. I was unbelievable sad when I stood in the door of a Dignity Room and I realised that I was stroking a door! Gentle feelings whelmed up in me – “This is Vic’s legacy” I thought! Then bitterness and tears simultaneously pushed through to my eyes and throat.

How can my child be reduced to a frigging room??? I want to hold my child, love her, and cherish her. I want her to sit next to MY death bed and tell me it is okay to go….. I want to spend birthdays with her – not burn flippen candles. I want to buy her flowers and see the pleasure in her eyes instead of planting flippen flowers in a memory garden. I want to hug her not run my hand over a wooden casket containing her crushed ashes. I WANT MY CHILD BACK!!!!!

What brought this about? I don’t know. Maybe it is a YouTube video that I watched about another champion.

Like Vic, this young man started off in the starting block as a favourite to medal in the 400 meter Olympic race (1992). Derek Redmond tore a hamstring halfway through the race.

 Olympians could fill a pool with their tears, on a quadrennial basis. The nature of the competition ensures that however many dream of glory, most will only experience disappointment. At that moment, the bitter taste not just of a single defeat but of four years of wasted effort can simply be too much for some to handle. More than that, quite a few athletes can’t even win without tears. But no Olympic emotional outburst is ever likely to dislodge Derek Redmond’s in the minds not just of Britons but of anyone old enough to remember the 1992 Games. What made this moment special was that it brought into focus not just the near-heroic desperation of a single professional athlete but a much more universal theme: the nature of parenthood.

“I still get people coming up to me in the street because of what happened,” said Redmond in February 1993, six months after the 1992 Olympics. “But as nice as it is to know that they care, I would like to put it all behind me and not be remembered just for that.”

Redmond travelled to two Olympics and both ended with injury-induced heartache, once in the most public circumstances. For all his ability as an athlete – and he was considered likely to win a medal in Barcelona – he will forever be remembered for tearfully completing his 400m semi-final using his father as a crutch. His body never gave him the opportunity to redefine the way the world perceived him: two years after the Barcelona Games, following an 11th operation on his achilles tendon, his athletics career was over. This was his last race of any significance.

Redmond had missed the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh with a hamstring injury, and withdrew from the 1988 Seoul Olympics minutes before his first heat having failed to recover from tendinitis, having had two painkilling injections that morning in an effort to make it on to the track. The following summer, still plagued by injuries, he came close to giving up sport altogether. What the world witnessed in 1992 was a man who had been continually brought low by injury simply refusing to submit yet again.

His body had given him some hope: in the first round Redmond had run his quickest 400m for four years. “I was feeling absolutely 100% before the race,” he told me in 2006. “I’d had two really good rounds without even trying and the night before the semi-final I’d talked with my father and my coach and we’d decided I was going to push a bit harder and try to get a good lane for the final.

“On the day everything went smooth. I got a really good start, which was unusual for me. I think I was the first to react to the pistol. My normal tactics were to get round the first bend and then put the burners on for 30m, accelerate hard. But by the time I’d got upright I was almost round the bend, much further than usual, and I decided not to bother, to save my energy in case I had to fight for the line. About three strides later I felt a pop.”

It was his hamstring. Redmond collapsed to the floor, clutching his leg. Most athletes would have been quietly carried off the track and towards medical attention, but as the Red Cross workers approached Redmond instead pushed himself back to his feet. “I got up quicker than I got out of my blocks,” he said. “I said to myself: ‘There’s no way I’m going to be stretchered out of these Olympics.’ I didn’t know where I was. I really, really believed I could still qualify.”

Bizarrely, the reason Redmond first started limping around the track was a belief that if he limped fast enough he might still overtake four people and qualify for the final. “Believe me, at the time I thought I was running,” he said later. “It’s only when I see the playback I realise I wasn’t actually running very quick at all.”

Meanwhile, Redmond’s father Jim was fighting his way on to the track. “When I saw Derek hit the deck, I thought it was my mind playing tricks on me,” he told the Guardian. “I’m very involved in his training so I knew just how fit he was. All I can remember after that is telling the coach, Tony Hadley [not the lead singer in Spandau Ballet], to look after my camera. The next thing I knew, I was on the track.”

Jim told his son to stop, in case the injury might heal in time for him to compete in the relay. Derek refused. “Well then,” Jim said, “we’re going to finish this together.” And finish it they did, slowly, and with the younger man’s anguish becoming visibly greater with every pace.

Back in Northampton Redmond’s mother, Jennie, was watching events unfold on television, weeping. She later told the press that the last time she had seen her son so unhappy was when he didn’t get the bike he wanted for his sixth birthday. Redmond’s 28-year-old sister Karen was nine months pregnant; as she watched her brother’s world collapse she started to feel contractions.

Back in Barcelona, father and son batted away a succession of officials who tried and failed to convince them to clear the track. Jim, it turned out, was as much bouncer as buttress. “I’d never heard my dad using four-letter words,” Derek said the following day. “I learned a few new ones.”

“Even now, it’s hard to say how or why I did it,” said Jim. “It was a spontaneous reaction, as if I had seen him hit by a car. I certainly didn’t run down to help him finish – if anything it was to stop him. I could accept the fact that my son was injured, but not that he was going to carry on in pain, causing himself even greater damage.”

“After I crossed the line I was taken to the doctors and I was crying like a baby the whole time,” Redmond told me. “I had no idea how the crowd had reacted until I saw the video – they were the last thing on my mind. It could have gone one of two ways: they’d either think ‘what a complete prat’ or ‘good on him’. Luckily they chose the second one.”

Not everyone. Though the Redmonds were pictured on the front page of the following day’s newspaper, the Guardian’s athletics correspondent at the time, John Rodda, who was covering his ninth and last Olympic Games for the paper, decided that the incident merited only a mention in the 18th and penultimate paragraph of his main report, calling it “a display of histrionics which the crowd saw as courage but must have bewildered many”.

Most observers, though, were genuinely moved by what they witnessed. On his way from the stadium Redmond met Linford Christie, Britain’s team captain. The pair were far from friendly, and their enmity had become public after Christie criticised the 4x400m relay team that won gold at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo. “These guys are not my sort of guys,” he said. “I don’t like their attitude.” Christie added that the four – of whom Redmond was one – should have toned down their celebrations because they had “mucked up” their individual events. Redmond replied: “There’s a saying going around among the athletes that Linford is the most balanced runner in Britain because he’s got a chip on both shoulders. For once in his life he was upstaged in Tokyo and he didn’t like it.”

But that day, in the bowels of Barcelona’s Estadi Olympic, Christie approached his team-mate and the pair wordlessly embraced. “Tears started and we both broke down,” said Redmond. “I know it sounds soppy but it was Mills and Boon sort of stuff. I’ve changed my views of him completely. It shows that this sport isn’t just about coming here and making money.”

Perhaps not, but as it happens Redmond’s courage that day allowed him to enjoy a second career as a motivational speaker. That wasn’t the only lasting effect of those injury-plagued years, however: in Barcelona the swimmer Sharron Davies, another British athlete who had endured a disappointing Games, sought out Redmond to express her sympathy. The pair married two years later (but divorced in 2000). More long-lasting, it transpired, are the chronic stomach ulcers induced by Redmond’s use of painkilling medication. “I would never encourage anyone to do what I did,” he said, “but I didn’t need encouragement. I went out and did it myself.”

At the 1992 Olympics the athletes had access to a rudimentary computerised messaging system. This allowed them to log on to one of the Olympic computers, which were distributed around the athletes’ village, and send someone else a message that they would be able to pick up when they next logged on – a kind of electronic mail, if you will. It’s never really caught on. Anyway, in the days after the race Redmond received scores of messages from his fellow competitors, including this from a Canadian competitor he had never met:

“Long after the names of the medallists have faded from our minds, you will be remembered for having finished, for having tried so hard, for having a father to demonstrate the strength of his love for his son. I thank you, and I will always remember your race and I will always remember you – the purest, most courageous example of grit and determination I have seen.”

It is as true today as it was 19 years ago.


So, I suppose I related this to Vic – her life ended but her death bed wish will live on to change the community. She may be remembered for being the inspiration behind Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services.

I remember her for being a perfect little new-born with my nose and her father’s toes. I remember the doctor saying “She is so perfect. She is destined to be a Miss World”….

Vic’s finish line was death….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCAwXb9n7EY

Posted in A Mother's Grief, Angels, Bereavement, Death, Death of a child, Grief, Terminal Illness, Vicky Bruce

Extra tablets for your birthday…


A year ago I posted this…

Tomorrow, on the 31st of August, we will once again celebrate Vic’s life!  Every year, for the past 10 years, we expected it to be Vic’s last birthday.  Today I know that Vic will live forever.  She will continue to fight for another day, week, month, year…. Tomorrow we celebrate life!!

Tonight I sat doing Vic’s medication for the next 24 hours, and I popped an extra Jurnista into tomorrow morning’s tablets.    Janis Ian sings “and in the winter extra blankets for the cold…” and I sing ” and on your birthday extra tablets for the pain…..  My gift to Vic an extra tablet so she can a better day.

So, on the eve of my child’s birthday I am sitting thinking of what my prayer for Vic would be if I still knew how to pray.

I would pray for adequate pain relief.  I would pray for some quality of life time for Vic with her boys.  I would pray for Vic to have financial independence.   I would pray for Vic to have peace of mind.  I would pray that Vic would have enough faith in her dad and I to know it is okay to let go…the boys will be safe with us.

I do thank God that Vic is still alive.  I thank God for Dr Jabber Hussain and Jurnista.  I thank God for Vic’s incredible boys.  I thank God for the brave decision that Vic made not to have further surgery.  Above all, I thank God that Vic is home.

Tomorrow Vic will have a busy day.  She has a 08:00 breakfast appointment with Lee, a 10:00 manicure booked by Estherafternoon tea (at home) with Robbie Cramp and then dinner at a restaurant of her choice with the boys and us.   I know it will take a superhuman effort but I have “rests” scheduled for the birthday girl in between events.

What is a relatively quiet day for us is a marathon for anyone as ill as Vic.  I know that she will try so hard to survive the  birthday and the party day.  Somehow I don’t think she will manage it all.  I just hope that she has a good day so she can spend some constructive time with her boys.  They will need to remember this as a good birthday in years to come…..

On Saturday we will celebrate all the August/September birthdays.  Vic on the 31st of August, Henk on the 2nd of September and Tom on the 4th of September….  I hope Vic will be able to handle two busy days in a row.  Maybe the birthday high will carry her through it!

We have a family tradition of doing “birthday eulogies”.  Everyone present gets to say something nice about the birthday person.  Over the years I have told Vic how brave she is, what a fighter she is, how beautiful she is.  This year I will I will merely thank her for being here!

Everything else has been said.

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Posted in A Mother's Grief, Angels, Death of a child, Grief, Vicky Bruce

38 forever…


I was reading a comment from Lucinda @ http://sophieandemile.wordpress.com/ Elliot  – “Still cheering you on, Tersia, though I often don’t know what to say; others must know much better. In that photo, Vic, though desperately ill at the time, still looks lovely. She will always be lovely and young in your memory, though you would have loved to see her turn grey in late middle age. You are right to hold on to the ashes if it feels right to have them as part of the house.” when I started giggling.

I realised, that Vic is sitting in Heaven giggling because she fooled Father Time… Vic is 38 forever!

Forever my beautiful baby girl
Forever my beautiful baby girl

Thank you Lucinda!

 

 

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

In three day’s time…


In three day’s time we will celebrate Vic’s birthday.

On Monday, at Heathrow airport, I unthinkingly picked up a bottle of “Beautiful” perfume. I looked at the bottle of perfume and put it down as if it was a snake that was ready to strike… Vic is dead. This year she will not wake up to the sound of us singing “Happy Birthday”. There will be no shrieks of “Oh, thank you! This is EXACTLY what I wanted!” There will be no birthday party this year.

Vic opening her birthday gift from her Dad last year. The boys were so excited and everyone wanted to set up the “iPad”…

This year we will light candles for a precious mother, child, friend… We will send prayers to Heaven.

Posted in A Mother's Grief, Angels, Bereavement, Death, Death of a child, Grief

We whisper your name…


Some days I sense Vic’s closeness. I sometimes smell her. But I cannot touch her. I cannot hear her voice.

The boys and I light candles for you my precious baby…

We whisper your name

The boys write your name in the sand…

You send us feathers from Heaven….

How we miss your brave smile…

How I miss reaching out and being able to touch you

Holding you my precious child…

Yesterday, today, forever……

I love you Angel Child!

Posted in A Mother's Grief, Bereavement, Death of a child, Grief

“Time takes us farther away…”


I have battled to blog. I feel that my words are rehashed from one post to the next. My emotions are the same.

My DiL and the three girls have spent 3 weeks in South Africa. It has been amazing hearing the patter of little feet down the passages, shrieks of laughter and anger… I will always cherish the little arms around my neck, the warm little bodies in my bed. I cherish the time I got to spend with my DiL; the chats into the early hours of the morning and the countless cups of tea. It reminded me of when Vic was still alive. I dread leaving England on Monday to return to my solitude and grief.

I feel guilty about posting my same tearful stories of grief and I feel guilty that I have become embarrassed by exposing my soul to the world – friend and foe alike.

The past four weeks life has been easier. I have laughed and smiled. I have had fun.

In 8 days’ time it is Vic’s birthday. I am filled with trepidation as to how I will cope. The second I think of Vic, tears well up in my eyes and there is this stabbing pain in my heart. I have decided that I will not move Vic’s ashes into the garden. Vic will remain on the sideboard where I can see her and run my hand over her little casket. Vic will not be exiled into the garden. She is part of our lives and she will remain exactly where she is.

I am wondering whether I should bake Vic favourite chocolate cake… The boys want to send up Chinese Lanterns we actually wrote messages on, on New Year’s Eve 2010. Vic was desperately ill in hospital and moved into ICU on the 1st of January 2010. She was devastated. The staff allowed us to spend the evening with her.

Vic being moved to ICU on New Years Day 1

At 12 O Clock we went outside to send up the Chinese lanterns. It rained and we undertook to do it when Vic was home again. Somehow we never did. When we returned to the ward, the staff had assembled in the visitors lounge. Someone had conducted a Mid-Night service. The staff sang beautifully and prayed for the patients. Many of them laid hands on Vic. Vic cried. Jon-Daniel was inconsolable. We all cried.

One of my blogger friend’s sent me this email “Oh, Tersia. You are held tight in the grip of horrific grief. Simply knowing that someday you will wrench free from such a suffocating grasp brings no relief at this moment. You already know you cannot fight it. Flow with the “ocean of tears.” A great deal of the horror is behind you, but you are reliving it. I distinctly remember that the WORST time in my grief came at six months and followed me until the end of the first year. Like an amputation without anaesthesia – you are deeply suffering and so many people feel your pain. Keep writing, crying and feeling. The ocean of tears will take you to a new shore. Time takes us farther away from our loved one. That is the agony and the anaesthesia. Such conflict that creates! Feel my hug because I’m with you.” http://judyunger.wordpress.com/

Another one of my blogger friends, Julie, is taking a sabbatical from blogging. She wrote “Just until my heart catches up with my voice. So much is happening, and so much is not happening – argh!”

I wonder whether my heart will ever catch up with my voice…

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, Angels, Death, Death of a child, Grief, Hospice, Terminal Illness, Vicky Bruce

200 days


Today we lit candles in remembrance of Vic dying 200 days ago. My mind keeps crying “No! It is not true!” The void in my heart and life shrieks “Yes, it is!”

I met with a new Hospice patient today. She is in her early 60’s, petite, bright, friendly, positive and so unbelievably brave! She is also in denial and dying.

“I believe I will wake up one morning and I will be healed!” she said

Her skin has discoloured from the chemo, her eyes are turmeric yellow and her belly is very extended. Her feet and legs are dreadfully swollen. I believe that she is close to death. Yet this incredible woman is determined to go to the office from the 12th of August until the 27th of August as her replacement is on leave then…. I doubt that she will live that long!

I sat there and it was déjà vu… It was as if I was listening to Vic planning next week, next month and next year…. I heard her husband encouraging her to write letters, finalising her will. I shared with them how Vic had labeled every piece of her jewellery, given strict instructions on what had to happen to her possessions, planned her own funeral…

“Am I correct when I say that I hear you saying your child died?” the patient asked.

“Yes” I said. “200 days ago today”

“I cannot believe that you can talk about your child’s death! You are smiling and look so normal” she said. “When our son died we could not talk about it. We cried all the time…”

“Death is not the enemy. I prayed for my child to die…” I said.

“It is okay to cry” they said

“I cry every day” I said

Posted in A Mother's Grief, Angels, Death, Death of a child, Family, Grief, Terminal Illness, Vicky Bruce

I am alive


Vic and my eldest UK grandchild in 2010

I am having a wonderful visit in England with my UK grandchildren and kids.  The house is filled with the patter of little feet and shrieks of laughter and despair.  Toys lie scattered on the floor and little arms and legs curl around their Oumie.  It is a happy home, and I am fresh meat…

“Oumie, please can we jump on the trampoline?”

I have spent two days jumping on a trampoline…Thank God it rained today!!!

I have been consumed with the feeling of “life” in the household.  Life, joy, movement…easy laughter and sibling rivalry. Everything that poor Vic never really experienced.

How desperately she wanted to live. How desperately she craved a normal life. How desperately she craved to LIVE! How desperately we wanted her to live.

We never have enough time. We always want more. Vic wanted more time. On the 24th of September, last year, when the Hospice doctor came in for Vic’s evaluation, Vic said “I thought I had more time…”  https://tersiaburger.com/2012/09/24/mommy-i-thought-i-had-more-time/

Six days before her death she cried and said she wanted to live. “If only I could live for another year…”

How little we know of what there is to know. I wish that I were going to live a long time instead of going to die today because I have learned much about life in these four days; more, I think than in all other time. I’d like to be an old man to really know. I wonder if you keep on learning or if there is only a certain amount each man can understand. I thought I knew so many things that I know nothing of. I wish there was more time.” –Ernest Hemingway.

I am wordless.

I know that I am still numb.

I am sad.

I am happy.

I am alive.

I wish I wasn’t…

I don’t want to ever leave my loved ones – as my child did not want to…..

Vic and the Girls
Vic and the Girls

Life is so unfair!!!!

Posted in A Mother's Grief, Angels, Death, Death of a child, Grief, Terminal Illness, Vicky Bruce

From the diary of my precious child…


I found these words in Vic’s diary. It was an entry towards the end of her life. I believe it is a message from my precious angel child – not only to me but to her friends and family.

I found a web source when I did the plagiarism check. The poem was written by Karen Vervaet. Vic changed some words by never finished writing what she started.

These are the words my beautiful child wanted to share with her friends and family…

Goodbye
I turn my head and look towards death now.
Feeling my way through the tunnel with the space of
emptiness and quiet.
The shimmering silence that awaits me.
This is my direction now; inward to the green pastures…
The cares of the world concern me no longer.
I have completed this life. My work is done, my 
children grown.

My loved ones are well on their hero’s journey. (original text – My husband is well on his…)
I have loved much and well…
Those I leave behind, I love.
I hope I will remain in their hearts as they will
in mine…
Thank you for taking such good care of me…
And all of you who have been my friends, thank you
for teaching me about love.

Karen Vervaet

Posted in A Mother's Grief, Angels, Death, Death of a child, Grief, Vicky Bruce

My funeral


http://www.toms-travels.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/3candles.jpg
http://www.toms-travels.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/3candles.jpg

I am writing this through my tears. A dear cyber friend of mine is dying from congenital heart failure. She is a wise and terribly brave person. She posted this today…

“so here it is and then i am off to sleep.  when my sister was here we started talking about cremation.  of course she is the only person in my family that i would have this discussion with.  may i add we laughed although not all would find this humorous.  when cremated how do they separate the human remains from the ashes of the container used?  if no container is used why do they charge for it?  i have looked online for the answer and didn’t find it.”

This post jerked me back to Vic’s death bed. The memory of Vic sitting in her bed with an open file on her lap was burnt into my mind…. The folder – “My Funeral”

“Mommy, these are the hymns I want for my funeral…”

“Amazing Grace” and “How great thou art” were Vic’s hymns of choice…

“Mommy, do you think I can have candles? Lots of candles?” Vic asked.

In May 2012 Vic asked whether I would deliver her eulogy… She asked me to thank Jared for taking care of her and Jon-Daniel for making her laugh.

“Remember to make a list of everyone that we need to thank Mommy. I would hate for us to leave out anyone… “

On the 2nd of January, 16 days before she died, Vic double checked with me whether I remembered which hymns had to be sung at her memorial service.  She cried when she (again) named her pallbearers; she requested that her minister be called to administer communion.

“Please don’t let me lie in a refrigerator for a long time Mommy…Let them cremate me as quickly as possible”

I still feel the despair I felt then knowing that death was on the forefront of my child’s mind. I felt her fear of death; her terror of the unknown. I felt her desperate sadness and her reluctance to say goodbye… On the one hand her pain filled, little body was so diseased and weak. On the other hand,her will to live was so strong!

I was helpless. I was praying that Vic would die – that her suffering would end. I was bargaining with God to spare her. I tried negotiating with Him – my life for hers.

I still feel the madness that I felt then.

My dear friend is going through the same fears and emotions that my precious child did. She is making the same decisions. I wish I could reach out and hug her. I wish I could grab her from the claws of death.

I am thinking of you tonight my dear friend. In my thoughts you are well and safe. I wish I could spare you this journey. Lots of love and hugs.

https://tersiaburger.com/2013/02/13/the-process-of-preparing-for-death/

https://tersiaburger.com/2013/04/28/seasons-and-reasons/

https://tersiaburger.com/2013/04/25/it-is-okay-to-let-go-my-angel-child/

https://tersiaburger.com/2013/01/02/sisters-by-heart/

https://tersiaburger.com/2012/12/20/i-dont-want-to-die/

http://thedrsays.org/2013/07/16/quick-question/