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.