The Cherished Photograph

by Novi

I have a picture of my mother and I, taken on July 1st at the Canada Day celebrations. We both looked happy and healthy, full of energy and smiling from ear to ear as we watched the beautiful fireworks explode in the sky.
There is a good chance that this photo will be the last one taken. I really hope it is not.

By July 15th my mother, my angel, had become so sick she could hardly get out of bed. By July 25th, renal cell cancer was confirmed, prognosis not good. It was on August 8th that a death sentence was announced - stage 4 renal cell cancer that had metastasized to her lungs; 1 year to live, up to 5 years if the "pills" work. It is now August 17th and she still has not received these "pills". She struggles for every breath. It's destroying me inside watching her suffer but I want to be there for her for both moral and every day support.

Our family is small, just my mother, brother and I. My dad passed away years ago and my sister has moved away and quit talking to us. Last I heard she was expecting a baby girl for October 1st. A grand-daughter my mother will never have the pleasure of meeting.

What is really upsetting is how friends react. I experienced this 13 years ago when my father died by suicide - people recoiled and I was left to mourn very much alone. All this time I thought it was the manner of his death that pushed people away, but now with this new tragedy I realize that the best way to cope is alone. People (even those who have experienced loss) do not know how to react in these situations or perhaps they simply don't care. I've already quit talking to a few people, sadly.

I hope I would do better if a friend needed a shoulder to cry on.

In this past month my outlook of life has changed drastically. I don't think I am quite the same person anymore, I don't see things the same way. My sense of humour is gone. I used to work out, now I don't see the point. I treat each day as though it were the last, and I never used to do that. I've also become angry to the point where I am scaring myself.

I supposed I just really needed to get this out, and I've found that it is easier for me to talk about it in 'type', rather than 'verbal'. I tend to get less emotional this way.

I did not want to post this in the "lost mom's" section, because she has not become an Angel yet. But to me this could be considered a grievous loss; with only a year left to live she will probably never be able to have a great day like we did on July 1st. Her quality of life has been taken from her and this is a tremendous loss for her, and everyone close to her that love her very much.

I would also like to say thank-you for this site. In such trying times, it is a place to find comfort and support.


Comments for The Cherished Photograph

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Aug 22, 2011
by: Novi

I just wanted to thank you all for your kind responses. I can't even begin to explain how much it helps to know that someone is listening and understands what I am feeling!

I will certainly return here often to share more words and when I feel strong enough, I will help encourage others as you all have done for me.



Aug 18, 2011
I will listen and care
by: Glenda

Novi, It makes me sad that at the time when you need a shoulder the most, people are afraid or just too busy to stop, listen, and cry with you. I pray that you will find that one. Thank goodness for this site where you can bare your feelings and know that those who grieve understand.

I cared for two years for my mother til her death at age 96. I held her hand and kissed her cheek at her last breath. I will treasure that bond forever.

I believe you will be there for your mom at this important time. How wonderful that she has you to hold her hand, listen, and smile with her through the tears. It is a privilege that not everyone has.

Novi, my prayers are with you as you journey with your mom on this path.

Aug 18, 2011
by: Sara

Dear Novi, On June2,2011 I lost my only child, my son. He was 31 and left behind 2 daughters that we are now going to adopt.I don't know how old you are, but my mother was very ill and basically bed ridden. She became ill when I was eleven and passed right after my 18th birthday.You wrote that people change when this happens,you are so right. I think I know why, it's because people are afraid of your pain. I think that for a brief moment they feel the pain and it frightens them because at any moment it could be them that feels this very different type of pain.In my heart I forgive them, because, someday they will feel this torment and then they will know too, Maybe it sounds mean, but it's true. I'm like you. I feel angry and bitter also. It scares me because this is not my personality I used to be happy go lucky, always joking, but that person is gone Like you I express myself with written word, because when I write I know this is how I really feel.This site is a God send. You are in my thoughts, and I hope you write again. I will be looking for your words.

Aug 17, 2011
I'd gladly give you my shoulder
by: Geoffrey Campbell

Your letter makes my heart ache, I wish I could give you a shoulder to cry on, for I know how deep grief is. Our mothers are our very best friend, the loss of is like no other. We never recover in a sense, but their memory is forever cherished and still brings warmth to the heart. You are in my prayers.

Aug 17, 2011
the photo...
by: Anonymous


I wish that I had known about this sounding board when my father was ill. I felt very alone also, people would ask hows your father? out of politeness but if I expressed how he was doing... their minds would wander. I just told them "He's doing o.k" after a while. Maybe "Not well" but I did not explain, people are uncomfortable with both sickness and death. And we mourn the ones we love in sickness as well as death as you are finding out.

Please come and talk to us any time we will always be hear to listen. We do get it because a lot of us were or Loves caretakers for months or years. Stay strong for you mom and come here when you feel weak.

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