Wednesday, 31 December 2014


Anisa's Mom, Marianne, died last night. Anisa is one of my close group of friends here in Calgary. These folks are the main reason I decided to stay in Calgary once I was diagnosed with ALS, instead of heading back to BC. I met her parents when they came to visit her here last year. I've kept touch with them, directly and through Anisa, since then. When Marianne's cancer returned earlier this year, we hoped she would beat it again. She didn't.

The last month for Marianne, along with Anisa and her family, has been a tough one. The inevitable was on its way and she had to deal with it. Having seen my own father go through this process, I had a pretty good idea of how it would go. There is no "normal" with cancer. There's only a process with rough expectations. Marianne fought hard to keep going. In the end, she couldn't go any longer.

Death is a difficult thing to face, whether sudden or slow. It shakes everything within you, whether you are the person facing it or whether you love the person facing it. To lose someone is hard, especially a parent, and even more especially, a child. I am facing a long, slow process, slower than that which Marianne faced. My process is almost invisible; it's insidious. I don't seem "sick"; I am just dying slowly.

It's so sad for Anisa; her Mom was only 57 years old. Her Dad is at a complete loss as to how he will live his life from here. I know he will go on; I've seen this with others in the same situation. It's hard to imagine in the moment, had to believe that there will be life after such a tragedy. But it will happen. As much as Anisa, her Dad, Nain, and her brother Mike, may hate the dark of night tonight, tomorrow will come with the dawn of day. They will start their new life without Marianne, without the wife and mother they loved and have lost.

This will be important for my Mom and my kids, for my brothers, and most of all for me. I must remember, as they will be forced to remember, that life will go on after I leave it. As with Marianne, I will go quietly, at home. I may be alone or I may be with those I love and who love me. It matters not. Once I leave, as Marianne has left, they must start a new life, one without the person they love and will miss.

The first step is to keep breathing, then to go to sleep and wake up the next day. Then, one day, the pain gets a little bit less, the hurt goes away just a little. One day you find you will smile again, laugh again, be joyful again. As time goes by, you will never forget the love and laughter, but you will forget the pain of the loss. You will always sense the missing piece of your life, but you will continue to live. The pain leaves; the love stays with you.

1 comment:

  1. that last paragraph is beautiful and so true