October 19, 2003

October 19, 2009

2003 was a milestone year. My grandmother, on my mom’s side, turned 100 years old and I went to Jamaica with my mom, step father, two of my brothers and sister to celebrate the occasion. We had a grand time. It was also the year my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was 67 years old and shifted from healthy to deceased in a matter of months. In 2003, two men died in my presence on separate occasions. One of them, a man my father shared a hospital room with at Concordia Hospital in Winnipeg, in mid June. The other was my father, who died on October 19th of the same year. I thought I’d never recover from that one. But, I did.

We have no idea what we are capable of until we’re doing it. If I had ever imagined a year like that (and I never, in my wildest dreams or nightmares, did) I would not have predicted my survival. I tied and untied so many knots in my gut (bigger knots than usual) I’m surprised I didn’t hang myself.

It’s times like these where living in the moment really pays off. We get so attached to things being a certain way that when they change so rapidly, or dramatically, or both, it’s a real challenge to keep our heads and hearts from exploding. When I look back on it, I think I did okay. Yeah, I wish I had done a few things differently – but I could say that about so many things in my life. Anyway, we can’t change the past – just, hopefully, learn from it, grow.

I will be forever grateful, though, that I was there. I held his hand pretty much all through the night and few hours of early morning. Except for some time just before 3:00, when I slipped out of the chair I had wedged beside his hosptial bed at Riverview, to stretch my legs and toss some water on my face. It was then he decided to let go, too. It was funny (but not in a funny way) when I found myself making the calls to tell them what had happened. How did I end up in that chair? The whole time when Dad was in palliative care one of my biggest fears (and there were quite a few) was that I’d have to relay some juicy piece of information to my family and somehow I was going to fuck it up. But what can you do? You make the calls, you hold the hands, you try to keep inhaling and exhaling and sharing the love the best you can. That’s just the way life goes.

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3 Responses to “October 19, 2003”

  1. Angela said

    And what a life it is…

    A beautiful entry.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Mommy X said

    I remember it. You were amazing that day as you are every day!

  3. marika said

    your’e strength was,and is,amazing.I remember when my own father was dying thinking that “Kim got through this,so can you”,it’s an experience we dread so much and think that we will never recover from it,..but we do.

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