Completely off topic today, but heartbreak and pain is such a universal experience, it doesn’t discriminate nor does it choose a timely manner of appearance.
How do I tell my 11 year old daughter that someone she admires and respect is dying? I have had several family members pass away but she was either too young to know or understand, or didn’t know them due to us immigrating. She however has NEVER lost anyone she has become familiar with.
How do I keep my composure when all I want to do is cry? This situation brings a flood of memories from when one of my dear university friends lost her mother to cancer. I remember that day she send me a text. Her words were short and to the point. She asked that I pray for her mother as an aggressive cancerous growth was found. It came as a great shock as I had just recently visited with them and her mom showed no signs of being ill. I prayed: I prayed for healing, I prayed for her mother’s care, but mostly I prayed for my friend. I truly believed her mom will get better because that is how faith works, isn’t it?
A few weeks later I contacted my friend to ask if we can meet up for a coffee. I wanted to know that she is okay and also to find out the progress of her mother. She replied by asking if I would go with her that afternoon to visit her mom then we can have a lunch together at the little café inside the hospital. I said yes, because that is what friends do, support each other even if it means you hold the other persons hand while they watch their mother’s demise. I asked my friend a lot of questions regarding her mom so that I could mentally prepare for what I was about to witness. But nothing could prepare me.
Walking into the oncology ward was somewhat eerie. I have been to the ER before which is a rush and impersonal, the maternity ward which is filled with nervous excitement and the children’s ward where the walls are covered with bright and playful characters. The oncology ward however is silent, the nurses are friendly but they seem to walk around with a false sense of hope. We approached her mother’s room and just before entering she took my hand, squeezed it and said it will be okay. Her mom was unrecognisable. We sat next to her bed and she told her mom that I came to visit. Her mom was barely conscious due to the pain relief, but she looked in my direction, gave a faint smile and nodded. We extended a few words and stayed for a cup of tea (which was provided by the nurses). My friend held her mother’s hand during the entire visit. The love on her face towards her mother was breathtakingly beautiful and I knew that a prayer was answered when I noticed this exchange, she is being cared for. We ended our visit with a lengthy good bye as I knew it will be the last time I get to see her. A few days later I received a text from my friend saying the doctors contacted her family asking them to prepare for the worse and say their final good byes. I knew the content of her next text send that same day…”my mother just passed away”. There are no words, and even if you manage to scrape a few words together what do you say?
Tonight I will hold my daughter a little bit tighter in my arms, wipe any tears away, give her hand a slight squeeze and whisper that all will be okay.