Archive for the ‘Mom’ Category


Remembrance Day

November 11th is a tough day for me – as I’m sure it is for so many. Of course, my memories are not linked to any of the traditional wars. Nope, November 11, 2004 was the day that I finally took my mother to the Emergency Room in Toronto and waited 8 hours to finally discover that she had a tumour in her brain the size of a plum.

Today though, is beautiful. The sun is shining, the sky is brilliant blue and, after a hard frost and a temperature a few degrees below zero Celsius, the maple trees on my little court appear to be, quite literally, throwing off their leaves. I can sit and watch them fall in a shower that would normally only be caused by a squirrel or bird rummaging amidst the branches.

It is a thrill for me to sit here and watch them, early on this Sunday morning, comfortable and safe in my little house. A house that I have recently sold because I plan to move down to the city. Which, today, reminds me of how fortunate I am to have the freedom to live where I want in this country, and even, if I ever wanted to – to move beyond the borders to one of a multitude of other countries.

Of course, I’m moving so that I can be closer to my school. I confess the reason that I am up so early is not to watch the leaves or enjoy the brilliant fall weather but to work on my essay that is due in a couple of days. I actually feel a little guilty, I am loving my schoolwork perhaps a wee bit too much. So I am grateful for this as well, there are many parts of the world – the majority of the world, in fact, where I would certainly not be allowed to attend a school of higher education and be learning about International Studies. As a woman, there are many parts of the world where I wouldn’t be able to leave my house alone at all.

So, on this Remembrance Day, I feel gratitude. Deep, deep thanks for all the men and women who have worked so hard, who gave their toil, blood, and lives when called upon to do so to provide me with these amazing freedoms that I often take for granted. To those who continue to do their best for me today, no matter how often I disagree with them, I admire their passion and will to go on working.

Thank you.

Posted by Vanessa on November 11th, 2007

Filed under Canada, caregiving, Higher Self, Mom, Remembrance Day | 1 Comment »

Jethro the Life Coach

‘ “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you.” ‘

Jethro was Moses’ father-in-law and obviously a wise and compassionate man. He came out to the desert to return Moses’ wife and children to him. While there he celebrated Moses’ successes and observed his current actions. He noticed, as only an outside observer can, that Moses was working himself to death. His burden was too great. As only a great coach can, Jethro showed Moses another way and encouraged him to act on this new knowledge. He lit a new path for Moses to follow and helped Moses become more effective in his chosen work. After Jethro had rendered that invaluable service, Moses sent him on his way.

Jethro had done a fantastic job as a coach.

When I was taking care of my mother, I knew that I was burning out but I did not see another way to manage things. I believed that I had to do everything myself, that no one else could help me or do the job as well as I could.

‘ “That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” ‘

Eventually I learned to let go, even just a little bit, and allow others to help. One of those who helped was Jane, she hardly knew my mom but took her grocery shopping every week – a task that I loathed.

When we delegate to those we trust, we are better able to focus on the most effective use of our time and resources.

I owe great thanks to Jane and to all those who helped me care for my mom – I wouldn’t have made it without you.

Exodus 18:13-27

Posted by Vanessa on August 30th, 2007

Filed under cancer, coaching, Higher Self, Mom, sacred writings | 1 Comment »

Happy Birthday Mom!

That’s pretty much it. Today would have been my Mom’s birthday.

I’ll be so glad when this week is over.

Posted by Vanessa on August 30th, 2007

Filed under cancer, caregiving, Mom | 1 Comment »

Strange Anniversary

Today is a weird day – it’s my anniversary, but not one that I want to celebrate. One year ago today my mother succumbed to a very nasty metastatic cancer after an almost-two-year struggle.

She was surrounded by family for her last hours and it was very peaceful. She went out under heavy morphine sedation, her brain destroyed by a lung cancer.

It was, for me, the most profound experience of my life. To be able to sit with her, hold her hand and ask to see what she saw. As she passed I closed my eyes and saw blinding whiteness. It was so gentle that it brought a huge smile to my face. After being her primary caregiver for two years I felt as if two elephants that I hadn’t even known were there dissolved from my shoulders. I felt tonnes lighter.

If you are currently a caregiver my heart goes out to you – I understand the burden you carry. Hopefully this blog will help to ease the burden. One year later I am still exploring life after caregiving. I can only promise that it does get better. I still cry at seemingly small things and I can’t yet talk about it without tearing up but it *is* better. The world has much more light in it now.

To my mother: You were a total pain in the butt and I love you so much. I miss you dearly and not a day goes by that I don’t think of you.


Posted by Vanessa on August 27th, 2007

Filed under cancer, caregiving, coaching, Mom, tears | Comments Off

Tears for Boston Legal

I never used to cry. Now, it seems that certain topics grab my heart and squeeze. Three of those topics are cancer, dementia, and terminal illness. A case in point was Tuesday.

To celebrate our respective summer holidays, my cousin Dylan and I are watching Season 2 of Boston Legal as quickly as we possibly can. We started Monday and are now on Episode 22 of 28. I love this show and after a shaky start, Season 2 has been just as good as Season 1.

However, Tuesday night it made me cry. Specifically, it was the episode with Michael J. Fox as a Stage 4 Lung Cancer patient. Of course, it had to be stage 4 lung cancer, that’s what killed my mom. What made it worse was that I could see the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease in Michael. After it was over, I made it down the hall but as soon as I reached my bedroom the tears started.

That’s it, just a minute where I was paralyzed by sobs. There is altogether too much cancer, dementia and death in Season 2 of Boston Legal. Altogether too much. Still love the show.

Four days until the 1 year anniversary of my Mom’s death. Stupid cancer.

Posted by Vanessa on August 23rd, 2007

Filed under Boston Legal, cancer, Mom, tears | Comments Off