Mom, I’ve been thinking over and over about what I can say about you today, and there just aren’t words to express how much I loved you and how heartbroken I am that you died. The overwhelming support we’ve received as a family have been comforting; comforting because it’s clear how important you were to so many people and how loved you were by everyone who had the chance to know you.
Some of you may already know this, but when I was a child I was sick. So many of my earliest memories of my Mom and I are of her taking to me to my appointments. We spent hours in the car together from Ardrossan to Edmonton going to these, and she’d spend this time giving me math and logic problems to solve, and talking about life. Through all of these many years, my Mom was always so patient and loving; she held my hand through countless needles and tests, and cajoled me through the physio exercises I had to do every night. When I cried she would pull me onto her lap and stroke my hair- this always made me feel so safe, like I could overcome anything. I remember crying for her to come and sit with me when I had a migraine because somehow just her hand on my forehead made me feel better.
Mom, in the last 24 years together, we made it through my teenager phase, and into adults who became friends as much as mother and daughter. Through the stresses of University, relationships, travel, and work you were always there. Steadfast. I always knew I could call you whenever I needed to vent, cry, or had a funny story to share. It is still impossible to believe that I won’t be able to do that anymore. I have spent the last week wanting to pick up the phone and call you to ask for advice about a recipe I wanted to cook, something at my condo, or life in general; and when I can’t it breaks my heart all over again. Mom, this last year and a half with you has been particularly special and hard. The tragedy of Martin’s death definitely brought us closer together, and our love grew in grief. We had conversations that I never thought we would be able to have, about life and death and what is important and meaningful.
It is clear that family was the most important thing to you. I also know that it feels like in the last two years we have watched our family shrink and there are empty seats in our hearts and at our dinner table. And it’s been hard, harder than I ever thought we could handle. But our family has also grown. We have gained two new brothers in Jeremy and Ryan, and a wonderful niece, Sarah Antonia.. Mom I know you would want us to focus on these good things in life, and the love we have for each other.
Mom once told me that she had written letters to us in her head of the things she wanted to say to us after she died. But because her health declined so quickly at the end, she didn’t have the time to write them down.
In the last few hours Mom had with us, she woke up enough to tell us all that she loved us, and not to cry or worry for her. I came across a passage by Edward Hays that I think my Mom would have agreed with, although the language might have been little more flowery than what she would have written us herself.
“Relatives and friends, I am about to leave. My last breath does no say ‘goodbye’, for my love for you is truly timeless. I leave my thoughts, my laughter, and my dreams to you whom I have treasured beyond gold and precious gems. I give you what no thief can steal- the memories of our times together; the tender, love-filled moments, the successes we have shared, the hard times that brought us closer together, and the roads we have walked side by side.”
Mom you are so desperately missed, and I will treasure the memories I have of you forever. I love you.