Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A last note

My mom wanted to write notes to my sister and I. To say goodbye, to give advice, to say just one last time that she loved us. She never had time. By the time she realized that hope was gone so was her energy. She was just too sick.

I received an email from her on Christmas day. Part of our Christmas gifts every year are a Gift of Hope from Plan Canada. Something that will help a family given in our name.
I wasn't expecting it because we weren't doing gifts this year. It was beautiful. It was heartbreaking. It was her last note to me. I have no idea when she might have organized this. Directly after Christmas last year? I imagine so, months before she got sick.

Dearest darling daughter

I know you will be happy to keep those crazy mosquitoes away & and give the kids a chance at a longer and happier life. So, we're donating some nets. Love you always.

Love forever, Mom and Dad
You've just received a Gift of Hope – the gift of 12 bed nets.

Oh boy... here come the tears...

I hope Mom and Bailey are playing together somewhere

So today is New Year's Eve. I'm torn, like I seem to be all the time. I want to put 2014 behind me and let go of all the fear and pain. But when that clock ticks over it will be 2015 and I'll be in an entirely different year than my mom will ever be. And that breaks my heart all over again. I think it will never stop breaking.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Christmas miss

It's hard to be peaceful and joyful in this season where you're supposed to feel that way.
This was not Christmas. This was a day to cry and cry and cry. A day to feel that all is lost and lonely. A day to miss my mom with such a violent longing.

On Christmas Eve night I dreamt that I was in a very familiar place but couldn't find my way. I was lost when I shouldn't have been. And every step I took, the ground was precarious and I was afraid to move forward or backward.

I'm stupidly almost offended by all the Christmas carols that are playing. Angry that people are happy and celebrating. Saddened by all the Christmas greetings that people are sending out. I hope Santa was good to you... How dare you be happy. How dare you act like everything is fine and wonderful and that there is something to be thankful for. This was not Christmas. No stockings. No presents. No singing. No lights. No tree. But people who love us? Who loved mom? Yes, we have those.

We are so lucky to have family and friends and neighbours who took care of us during this difficult season. Who made sure we weren't alone. Nothing looked like Christmas but it was very nice all the same. Except that she's not here. Except that she'll never be here...



Friday, December 12, 2014

One month

One month one month one month. 

I hear this screaming in my head building and building. One month. It feels like years. It feels like no time at all. It's a quarter of the time that mom had. 

My auntie asked what helped when I was feeling low in the past. Talking to my mom, of course. It's the only thing that ever was. 

There's a hole in my heart and it's empty and I am lost. 



Saturday, December 6, 2014

I won't let you down

My mom loved anything really neat.

But she especially loved kaleidoscopes.

I think she would have loved this video because it's just so cool.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Let's turn our fears into our strength.
Let's take care of each other.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

The greatest loss

My heart is broken. I thought that maybe the body would just run out of tears but it doesn't.

When people ask me how I am, I say "fine" but what I mean is "my insides are shaking, I feel like I've been sucker punched and my heart is broken".

On June 29 my mom was diagnosed with cancer, she had found a small lump two weeks prior. We were shocked because I guess we thought that we were invincible. She's young and fit and strong. She was riding her bike 35km a day. We did Zumba together, she went to boxing and swimming with my sister, she ate healthily, she had longevity in her genes.

On July 14, she had a football sized tumour removed. The doctor said that he didn't expect her to ever leave the hospital, didn't expect her to live out the week. The cancer was too aggressive, the prognosis not good.

God, she is so so beautiful

Mom was so strong and so determined. She surprised everyone. She did laps around the ward, she walked outside, she brought smiles to other peoples faces. We got her home. She started chemo. She did wall pushups to keep up her strength. She was so strong and she fought so hard. Finally, there were no options left. We are so grateful for the wonderful staff at Palliative Care and the hospice. Thank you for caring for our very best person.

We lost my beautiful mom on November 11. 135 days since diagnosis. Too quick...

I'm so glad that her suffering and struggle is over. I understand that the sick person is gone. I'm just having such a hard time understanding that the vibrant, fun, smart, creative, giving, caring, loving, goofy person that I spoke to every day is gone too. She was the only person that I wanted to talk to when anything good or bad happened. I want to keep all the emails and texts and notes that she ever sent. I want to hold on to every photo ever taken. I want to punch holes through the walls and scream that it's not fair that she's gone. It's not fair, it's not fair.  I love you, I love you, I love you.

Mom was such a giving person, always putting others first. I feel like she died on November 11 as a final gift to us. We never have to go to work that day as it's a holiday. Remembrance day is for remembering those who gave their lives and every year we'll be able to be together. Look at her still spreading kindness. She fought so hard to give us the extra time to come to terms that she was sick, that she would die, that we would be left behind. She gave us time to celebrate my sister's birthday, my birthday and most importantly, my parent's 40th wedding anniversary.  Oh, we love her so so so much. If you want to know how much my dad loves this woman just listen to their wedding song.


Mom asked to hear it a couple of days before she died. We played it at her funeral. Mom and dad have taught me so much about love; that it's work, that it's wonderful, that you take care of each other.

Cancer is so terrible. It just takes everything that you have and the treatment is horrible too. She struggled every day. Too many people I know and love struggle every day with this horrible disease.

I don't even know what to do next. I don't even understand how the world can just go on, how everyone can think that it's a normal day. Nothing will ever be the same again. The universe has shifted, the world is less bright. How do we carry on? How do I stop crying? How do I stop being so angry at cancer?
Our beloved Sheree Ann O’Byrne passed away on November 11, 2014 at the age of 59, after a brave, brief battle with cancer. Sheree touched everyone she met by making everyone feel important and well cared for. She created special events out of ordinary days and helped us all believe in the goodness of people and of God. We learned to celebrate small moments and the importance of family and love. To her friends and family she provided the right advice at the right time, always with care and kindness. When you were Sheree’s friend, you knew you had someone who would care for you for life. Sheree’s unrelenting support allowed her husband, Paul, to chase his dreams and her daughters to believe that anything is possible for them. Sheree is survived by her husband of 40 years, Paul; their daughters Danielle (TJ) and Gillian (Rob); her parents Lou and Helen Schmidt; her siblings Shelley Schmalenberg (Jim), Brent Schmidt (Maureen), and Greg Schmidt; her nieces and nephews Michael (Ashley), Chelsea, Katelyn, and Brayden. Thank you to the wonderful staff on 5E at the General Hospital, 3A (Palliative Care Unit) at the Pasqua Hospital, the teams in the ERs and Allan Blair Cancer Clinic, Dr. Aspe Lucero, and the caring team at Grace Hospice. Your compassionate care and attention to the person we love most made our difficult journey more bearable. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Regina Palliative Care, Wascana Grace Hospice, Allan Blair Cancer Centre, or, if you are able, please consider donating blood at the Canadian Blood Services. Each of these places truly help people every day. 


Monday, October 27, 2014

Window shopping

It seems that all of my friends are buying houses. This makes me want to make my little space even more cozy and wonderful.

I want a fabulous gallery wall that includes:



My kitchen needs more storage. And why shouldn't it be cute?

We have very comfortable couches that are very ugly. These would help. A lot.  Or this one.

And if I had this pillow?

The Gentleman Caller has been keeping an eye open at estate sales for a bowling set. This might work. 

If I bought this, I'd have to buy stuff to store. But I like its vibe.