A farewell: Suffering ends

September 26.  The sun was breaking through the window of Gatineau hospital. My brother Tom was speaking through the phone to her ear. “We’re all talking and care about you, Mum.  The sun is coming up. Look at the sunrise.”

The phone call ended. Cancer loosened its months long grip and my Mum stopped breathing. Her suffering was over.

It was roughly 5:35am MT when I awoke with a start. Ten minutes later, my brother Tom called and said, “You know why I’m calling.”

It wasn’t a question. He knew that I knew. Our mother was gone. The one who gave to us to her very last breath.

The day before, even when she couldn’t talk anymore, the cancer spreading through her, she had her partner, Denis, hold the phone to her ear and call each of us. In that moment of silence, realizing she couldn’t speak anymore, I wanted her suffering to end. She didn’t deserve such a fate. All I wanted was for it to stop.

I remembered her voice from a previous conversation, “At least my kidney will still survive in you after I’m gone.”

I didn’t want to admit it then, but she knew her time was short. She was planning my birthday a month in advance and as that passed she was planning Christmas. I asked for something small, realizing it carried more importance to her than a mere gift. It was a way for her to give something without asking for help. She didn’t want to have to rely on Denis, to be a burden, even though he loved her as much as any family member.

As she saw the package arrive in Edmonton for me and knew it would be delivered Monday, she felt content. A final act of giving, even at her worst, was her legacy. That Monday, the sun rose through the window, and dispersed her kind soul to everyone who knew her. September 26. You’ll always be with me, Mum. I’ll take care of you now.


Take Care Of You

You gave life

Your life

For so many others

Sharing your care

Your patience

Your understanding

Your wisdom

With four simple words:

“Take care of you.”


I listen to silence

Hear your words

Feel your gift of life


Only wishing there was

Another day to

“Take care of you.”


I know you suffered

I know you wanted

To care for me

Even to your last breath

But my heart only wants to

“Take care of you.”


May the cessation of you suffering

Finally bring my heart’s wish to you

Take care of you, Mum

Take care of you.