The past few weeks have been a blessing and a heartache.
After a brief battle with cancer, my mom died on 27 Feb shortly after her 72nd birthday, about six weeks after her diagnosis.
I was able to spend the last two weeks with her, first at home with the help of her older sister and close friends, and than at Agape Hospice in Calgary.
Mom had an aggressive cancer, primarily in her spine, that progressed at a frightening pace. Heavy painkillers and steroids gave her a good four days to celebrate our birthdays at home and provide her with a unique gift - one-on-one time with her children, grandchildren, siblings and close friends.
Even in her dying, she was caring for us and nurturing us, helping old wounds to heal and teaching her grandchildren how to die with grace and dignity. There were laughter and tears, family bonds made and renewed.
She died quietly and peacefully on Sunday night, knowing exactly where she was going and meeting it great faith and longing in her heart.
Dad, my brothers and I had time this last week to get our heads around it all, and organize a simple but meaningful celebration of life for mom. Over 400 people attended her funeral - pushing the church past its legal capacity, and I'm sure others came to the lunch afterwards who were unable to get to the service.
It was a quiet and mostly restful (for me) trip home through the mountains with Bryan and the dogs. Today has been a quiet day at home, to gather myself back together and move forward into a new life without my mother.
Bryan's health issues have reared their ugly head again with new and 'interesting' aspects. From one challenge straight into another. And nothing to do but take it head-on.
Thank you to everyone who emailed or telephoned over the past three weeks, to those who provided opportunities for me to occasionally step back from the intensity of it all and to those who attended mom's service and gathering. It means so much to know I have a strong and faithful group watching my back!