Acceptance and healing

I have been questioning myself.

How can God be good when he took away my beloved dog of 10 years so suddenly?

Isn’t he cruel that two months later, my beloved daughter suddenly died from a brain tumour only diagnosed three weeks ago and died without even knowing she was going to die???  Neurosurgeons assured me that her life was not at risk though of course with that deadly tumour, her life was terminal.  Everyone was in shock.

Questions, questions, questions. ???

Today, 21 January 2020, I am feeling more alone than ever.  My family had been around me to comfort me while we went through the deep grief and pain of Bom’s passing.  Bom’s Dad left for Kuching today.

A little voice told me, again and again, that I will never heal.  I can never accept that Bom is gone.  I am angry with God, angry with the hospitals for the way they handled Bom’s treatment which cut her life even shorter.

As I have my quiet time today, my mind is telling me that I can never heal unless I first accept her death.  I must learn to appreciate the saying that those who passed away are like the wind.  They are still with us, they are present, we cannot see them but we can feel them.

I had been a Christian though never devout.  When my daughter was sick, I prayed desperately for a miracle.  God did not give us a miracle but he took Bom without her having to go through the agony of radiotherapy and chemotherapy plus the torture of counting down the days of when she will die.  Glomastoma is the deadliest of brain tumour.  We are grateful yet it is still hard to accept that my young beautiful daughter had been taken away from us.  So innocent, so young.

My whole bedroom is full of her photos and also photos of Toby (my pet dog).  The two angels I loved to bits.  Displaying all their pictures in my room is my crying to show they live on in my heart forever.  People may say it isn’t healthy to live in the past, some may say put their photos elsewhere.  To me, their photos soften the grief, the pain, re-live the memories seeing their beautiful faces every day.

This blog is just to pour out my feelings, having taken the first step to want to heal and to try and accept that Bom and Toby are now in heaven.

I want to take away my grief but in spite of thinking that God is ‘cruel’, I still believe that only through prayers for strength and talking to God, can I heal.

Sherri Burgess, the author of Bronner: A Journey to Understand wrote :

God doesn’t do these things to hurt us. Scripture tells us we are refined in the furnace of affliction and that sorrow is better than laughter because it scours the heart. It specifically tells us it’s better to go to a funeral than to a party because you might learn something at a funeral. You’re not likely to at a party. Suffering melts away the dross of worldliness, pride and self-reliance and makes us reach for something greater than ourselves. It teaches us the only hope any of us really has is God.

During Bom’s funeral, our Paster’s message was on ‘Grief with Hope’.

I hope I can come back to God and start to pray for healing.

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A life so beautiful but far too short

Words cannot describe the grief when a mother has to bury her child.  My daughter was an adult kid but because she was still a single woman, to me, she was still my ‘baby’.

From the agony of losing a ten-year-old pet dog who died from an aggressive heart tumor to losing a child to a brain tumor. Pain after pain ……… indeed, grief is the deepest pain I know.

It was only on 22 August 2019 that my pet dog and loyal companion left me just two days after his tenth birthday.  A deadly heart tumor, hemangiosarcoma took away my companion, a four-legged friend, so much a part of me.  He was diagnosed on 8 August 2019 and died fourteen days later. Toby was my everything.  I cried for him every night so much so that I thought I might die from a broken heart.

Toby was the reason this blog was created.  This blog has expanded in the most painful way to include my daughter Bom who passed away on 29 October 2019.  From hemangiosarcoma to glioblastoma.

In mid-September, my precious daughter was diagnosed with severe depression.  I rose from someone about to give up on life to someone so strong putting in all my love and energy caring for my beloved daughter.  It wasn’t that I no longer cried or grieved for Toby but I had to be strong for the living especially for a sick child.

In the last two (probably three) years, my daughter grew very distant from me.  When she moved out in March last year, I saw less and less of her.  I was so hurt that she was never there for me.  I had no idea that my daughter was sick and lost her personality and emotions.

I became my daughter’s carer from 20 September 2019.  It seemed that Bom was giving me those precious times to make up our lost time when we were disconnected.

On 4 October 2019, Bom was admitted to Tiaho Mai Mental Hospital in Middlemore.  We walked into the hospital with hope of her recovery.  On the second day, a nurse mistakenly gave her 25gm of Aripiprazole when the prescribed dosage was 2.5gm.  Instead of getting better, Bom became a zombie and on the fourth day, we were called into the hospital.  The news was heart-wrenching, so devastating that even the psychiatrist fought back tears to disclose.

My sweet Bom, so young, so innocent was wrongly diagnosed with severe depression.  Instead, they found a huge deadly tumor at her right frontal lobe.  It affected behavior and emotional changes; impaired judgment, motivation; reduced mental abilities, memory loss amongst others.  She was transferred to Auckland City Hospital and the tumor was later found to be an aggressive Grade IV Glioblastoma and was not able to be operated on.  Sadly, Auckland City Hospital transferred her back to Middlemore Hospital with no neurosurgeons to monitor her sickness.  She passed away while waiting for radiology.  On her death bed, doctors and nurses were still questioning each other, looking up her file and medical record.  It was an extremely sad setting where someone is dying and no one knew what to do.

The doctors reassured her dad and me that we were probably the most important people in that room right there and then.  Thinking back some thirty-one years ago also in a hospital though in a totally different mood, with a medical team that knew what they were doing vs a confused medical team, the room setting was about the same.  She came into the world seeing her Mum and Dad.  She left the world peacefully seeing her Mum and Dad too.

All these happened in six weeks.  Immediate family and friends continue to live in disbelief.  Her passing was and still is so unreal.  It hurts really bad and I cannot disagree with my son (her brother) that God is cruel.

I encountered three deaths in such a short time.  First, my beloved father left us on 29 December 2018.  I was sad I was not at his bedside when Dad breathed his last.  Sad that this kind man who gave me life was gone forever.  Every now and then, memories of his warmth engulfed me.

Then on 22 August 2019, my Toby died.  People said you can get another dog.  They told me time heals but that isn’t true as of now or maybe ever. Losing Toby who was my everything was like my left arm had been cut off.

When Bom got sick, I was like a human being without a left arm, with a slit throat but full of energy doing what I could to make her comfortable.  When she passed away so quickly though peacefully, I felt like my head had been chopped off.

My heart is broken into pieces. My pain is like living with a body without a left arm and without a head.  I continue to live on because a broken heart still beats ………………

To those who have read till here, I am sorry for such violent descriptions and for making you sad. It is hard but let us continue to be strong and constantly remind ourselves that …..

I thought long a hard about publishing this sad story. My aunt (foster mum) and my mum are old and we are keeping the sad news of Bom’s passing from them till I am strong enough to share with them in person and comfort them.

On the other hand, I want to publish this story as I honor and weep for my losses and I want to be able to grieve openly.

Thank you all for reading and being there for me wherever you may be.

 

Updated 19/12/2019 :  We are now able to celebrate Judith’s life openly now as all my elders are informed that we have a new young angel in heaven. 

My heart chills as December Chills on the other side of the world, thank you, Terri, for allowing my sad story to be honored and flow amongst your beautiful photographs on Sunday Stills.

 

 

Goodbye, Tob

Dear Tob

Mummy had and still is to a less painful extent been grieving for you since you departed on 22/8/2019.

Bom (Mummy’s younger daughter) is suffering from severe depression. At this moment, she needs lots of care and love from people around her. This had taken all Mummy’s time and made your passing more bearable. It is now time to let go, live in the present and give my love and attention to Bom and support the family. Mummy had to pull herself out of the deep grief for you, Tob, stopped all the tears each night since you left.

Today, Mummy put away your belongings packed in a ham bag and placed it with your little indoor doggy bed in the garage. Mummy made a book all about you, my beloved Tob boy. Two beautiful pictures of you, one with ‘departed’ Bluey (bear) and another poster of you from a young puppy to a 10-year-old handsome Toby hanging in Mummy’s room. Cute puppy and dog coasters are here and there around the house. Our home has your presence, beautiful memories that will last forever.

There will be tears every now and then as Mummy is and forever will miss and remember you with love.

Love from Mummy

P.S. Hopefully Mummy will be strong enough to pen the last thirteen and a half days of your life since diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma which was the other part of this blog. We had posted celebrating your life with beautiful pictures and memories that warmed Mummy’s heart with each word she typed and posted here.

Always loved, forever missed and fondly remembered.

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Missing you heaps

To my beloved Toby

Mummy had been living in denial since you left us. Talking to a ‘Ham bag’ filled with your old toys, collar, cushion and seat cover. Your resting place in our backyard will soon be a beautiful garden. Mummy visits you several times a day to feed you breakfast, dinner and treats every now and then. Those blackbirds and tui must love you, Tob. They ate your food happily.

Mummy spent the whole night compiling your photographs into a book to celebrate your life, a life with so much love only to be taken away so suddenly.

Tob, Mummy had been recording each day, taking photographs of you every precious day since you were diagnosed with the deadly cancer that took your life. We prayed every day and night, asked God to take away your pain and grant you another day on earth. Our consolation was that you did not suffer and we still managed 13.5 quality days spent together, including walks and lots of kisses, cuddles and massages.

Those photographs and dates made Mummy realised that I got the date of the day you left us wrong. At your final moment, you walked to Mummy’s room with all the remaining energy and will power only to collapse as hemangiosarcoma won. You were a fighter, a loyal pet and companion and you departed and breathe your last, lying in your little bed in my room, looked deep into mummy’s eyes but there was nothing mummy could do but only to stroke you and comfort you, held your little paws and gave you the warmth, calling your name so you were not alone. You left us at 8.15pm on 22 (not 21) Aug 2019. Half of Mummy died with you. You were not just a pet, you were my everything, my pet, my companion, my baby, someone so dependent on me. In a way, Mummy was also dependent on you. All these 10 years, you had became a part of me, someone who comforted me by just being there for me, the joy I entered the house to see you with a toy in your mouth greeting me at the door, the kisses (licks) you happily gave me showed that we loved and cared for each other even though we are two different species, some people call it a dog and a master. To me, I am your Mummy and you were and will always stay as my Tob boy (baby).

Mummy will correct the date on your memory pebble tomorrow.

Rest in peace, my precious Tob.

Always loved, forever missed and remembered.

Things Toby disliked

  • Loud knocks at our front door
  • People arguing or talking loudly
  • Strangers coming into our house
  • Thunder (more scared than dislike)
  • Being left alone
  • swimming
  • cats

Toby liked quite a lot of things but there were only a few things he disliked, some were things he was scared of.

Courier men often knocked loudly at our front door early in the morning. That made Toby frantic and from then on, he went bizarre to the sound of knocks.

Dogs can read our emotions. Tob did not like his human family or anyone around him to be talking loudly as though they were arguing. It frightened him and he would try to jump up in between, sort of trying to stop the argument.

I often said Tob had a ‘chicken heart’ (what an irony that he died of a massive tumor that covered almost the whole of one of his heart chambers). Tob looked like an aggressive dog but all he did was barked and went into hiding whenever we had guests round for drinks and dinners.

Tob’s greatest fear was the sound of thunder. He hid in corners and shivered. On any stormy days or nights, he would follow me to the toilet.

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Tob did not like to be left alone in the house. The only time he was fine to be alone was when I said ‘Mummy is going to work”. He would then went to the mat in the lounge, seated waiting to shake hands (paws) and that his way of telling me “Give me a treat if I were to be left alone at home.”

During weekends, he seemed to know that when I went out, it wasn’t for work and there were a few times he got so upset as I was about to exit the front door and he jumped/lunged at me. He got his treats every time I went out. We did not usually leave Toby alone at home for more than a couple of hours because there are three people here who loved him to bits and at least one would be home at any time.

We used to live in a house with a swimming pool. On the first day we moved in, the neighbor’s golden retriever ran into our new house and jumped merrily into the pool. Tob, however, hated swimming. We got him into the pool by force a couple of times and took him swimming at Omana/Maraetai Beach by force too. He could swim but did not enjoy swimming like most dogs do. He was a bit apprehensive on taking showers but he loved the warm water and the massage.

Cats! When Tob was a puppy, he chased cats but often they were too quick for him. As he grew older, he simply ignored those cats and proudly walked past not paying any heed to those cats at all.

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Once upon a time, I had my precious Tob.  He just kissed (licked) me.

Toby sadly passed away five days ago.  Toby was my life.  I still feel as painful and sad hence I blogged about his happy life with us and try to re-live those happy memories.

This blog is about ‘Celebrating Toby’s life’ as well as recording each day we spent with him from the day he was diagnosed with the deadly Hemangiosarcoma Cancer.

 

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