May the Rat of 2020 be kind to us

I am thankful that I am alive making through to 2020 and entering the year of the Rat.  In my heart, however, I wish I was dead but that is the devil talking.  I do believe I have to be strong and carry on as the mother of our family.

2019 was cruel to us.  We were just ordinary happy people living in our warm comfortable homes with the people we love until 29 October 2019 happened.  We could never imagine that our family was torn apart so quickly in a short span of 6 weeks (mid-Sept to 29 Oct 2019).

On 22 Aug 2019, my pet dog Toby suddenly passed away from hemangiosarcoma.  It was heartbreaking for me.  He died two days after his 10th birthday.  I lost my buddy.  I grieved so much for Toby but when Bom got sick, my grief for Toby turned into my care for Bom.

No one knew that Bom was sick.  She was made to resign from her job.   How could someone so capable and productive suddenly became so lacking?  From then on, she deteriorated from someone so creative, intelligent and caring to become just a shell.  At that time, we did not know that my grief for my pet dog could turn into my grief for our beloved daughter in a space of two months.  2019 was indeed cruel to us.

On 29 Oct 2019, my precious daughter Judith aka Bom was taken away from us so quickly and suddenly by the deadly Grade IV Glioblastoma.

Everyone in our family grieved and grief indeed is the most painful feeling anyone can experience.  Although it is not physical pain, it is like your body inside out is cut and broken and bleeding everywhere and your heart is broken into pieces.  You live each day like that because a broken heart still beats.

It is so hard for me personally because her dad (I cannot speak on how he grieve) and myself were present when she just suddenly died on us!  Literally, it was unexpected and a whole group of doctors not knowing what to do as she was no longer in specialist care but in a standard ward ‘while waiting for treatment’.

This blog is not to look back at how she died and all the sadness around it.  It is just in fact a journal for me to pen my feelings and perhaps in the midst of doing that, I can slowly get over the pain and start living again.

So we are now in the year of the Rat but there was no celebration for me this year.  Without Bom, there was no Christmas, there was no new year 2020 and there was no celebration for the year of the Rat.  I lost my Dragon (Bom was a dragon 1988).

This post is from a grieving mother who lost her child.  My two other children are both grieving in their own ways.  Her father as a man does not speak out freely but I know his heart is as broken as mine.

I do not know what 2020 holds for us but I can only hope that it can be a year of healing for my family.  We may need many more years but as long as there are no new traumas we can cope and grief with hope.  At this time of grief, we are sort of alienating and withdrawn from each other but I know that blood is thicker than water and we care for each other, even though unspoken.

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.



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