Tag Archives: Cancer

Saying Goodbye Is The Hardest Part

heartbrokenThe last viewing I went to was for my grandfather. He was in his early 80s. He passed away peacefully, the same way my grandmother did; heart attack, followed by brain-hemorrhage and then coma. I know it doesn’t sound peaceful, but it was. Both of them were gone the second their hearts had stopped. I didn’t cry in the ICU when the plug was pulled. Out of the hundreds of attendees, I was probably the only one that didn’t cry during their service.

Yesterday, I could not help but cry. As hard as I tried to laugh at some of the memories and stories my colleagues were telling me, I couldn’t push back the tears fast enough for none of them to notice. It was one of the most difficult days I’ve had in the past few years. I had never been to a viewing for someone so young. Matter-of-fact, this viewing was the third I had been to in my entire life. I know she wasn’t there anymore, but her body was. She looked peaceful and pain-free. She had battled a long, nasty fight with cancer and sadly the cancer had won.

It was not something any of us had expected, here in the office. It took many of us by shock. For me specifically, I didn’t believe it when my other colleague had text me on Monday to give me the bad news. I didn’t believe it when I saw the email go out to our department from her boss. I didn’t believe it when I got back in the office yesterday morning and a colleague that sits directly in front of me walked in, turned towards me and with the saddest eyes gave me a nod and half-smile verifying that I know exactly what her words were unable to tell me. I didn’t believe it when 11am came and the pack of us got up to leave to go to the service. I didn’t believe it when we drove down to the funeral home and walked in.  I didn’t believe it when the photo at the entrance of the hall had her in it.

My mind, my body, my being was in complete denial until the moment I saw her laying there.

Then it was realization. Acceptance. Then, an overwhelming feeling of grief took over every single inch of my body, my eyes teared up quickly.  But how could I cry? No one had seen me cry before. I was a tough-cookie, that was the perception everyone had of me. And there I was, center of the hall, surrounded by colleagues and her family and friends, letting the grief of her passing flowing out of me with no self-control left. I felt numb, my knees wobbled and my heart sank.

When I got home last night, I kept myself exceptionally busy. I cleaned, I cooked, I picked up Ni, showered her, fed her, played with her, focused so closely at the TV as she watched Caillou. But after she fell asleep, I was alone for what felt like the longest two hours of my life before D got home. Although, I texted a friend and tried to keep myself occupied, it was no use. I was tracking the page views and visitors on my blog; the numbers sky-rocketed. I knew people were reading my tribute to her. And every time I opened my blog page, there was her photo, shining, smiling at me, telling me it was okay, telling me to be strong and I will get through this. Even in her death, her smile was comforting me.

I didn’t sleep much last night. I kept remembering her. My mind was disturbed and my heart, sore. The tears had stopped. All my thoughts had disappeared. I felt numb, as I do this morning.

I said my goodbye to her yesterday, but here I am writing about her again. Maybe I haven’t fully said my goodbye. The hardest part is saying goodbye, when all you want to do is joke and laugh a bit more.

The saying goes, “everyone grieves differently”. That’s true. But what happens when you can’t let go? I wasn’t over Patricia’s death yet. Her photo, her name, her Facebook profile creeps up time and time again. And now, Jo’s death has opened the wound that hadn’t healed in the first place…

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A Final Goodbye

Jo WallworkYesterday I learned of another friend and colleague losing her battle to cancer. She had fought so hard, for so long and passed away in her sleep on Saturday, July 25th.

The hardest part is knowing that barely anyone knew at work that things had taken such a drastic turn for the worst. I had just messaged her on Facebook last Tuesday after reading she had been in the hospital. I wanted to make sure she was doing okay and it wasn’t anything serious. I wish she had responded. I wish she had told me that things were getting bad and let me come visit her.

Dearest Jo,

My heart aches terribly to hear of your passing. I know how hard you fought and how strong you’ve been over the past couple of years, stronger than anyone else I’ve known. You always had a smile on your face and never let this cancer thing get the best of you. Even though you were fighting the toughest battle of your life, you always made sure the ones around you were doing okay. It always amazed me at how confident and put-together you always were.

I remember working on the holiday guide with you. We were constantly at each others throats when it came to that specific project. We even yelled at each other on the day of the launch. But you didn’t let that come between our friendship. You were that type of person; you kept work and friendships separate, although they were interconnected. I envied that about you.

My dear friend and colleague, Jo I will truly miss you and thank you for being a friend. I thank you for all the support and love you gave me over the few years we had known each other. I thank you for letting me get to know you and appreciate what a wonderful person you were.

I wish your family, your son, your spouse and everyone else that had the privilege of getting to know you, strength during this difficult time. I wish them patience and time to accept and handle the pain they are feeling. But most of all, I wish them memories and love for you, for which I know they will forever keep in their hearts.

Rest in Peace, Jo Wallwork. You will never be forgotten.

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Heartbroken Today

It’s New Year’s Eve. We should be bidding farewell to the previous year and celebrating the beginning of a new one. But today I am bidding farewell to an amazing person. A person I didn’t know personally but only professionally. A person I would love to call my friend. A beautiful girl who touched everyone’s heart she met. I wrote about her back in August, but just got this update about her now…

I am completely devastated and heartbroken today. I was recently told her fight with leukaemia took a turn for the worst and she was going to be taken off life support today. I don’t understand why these things happen to such good people. I don’t understand why it had to be her. She was such a kind person with a smile forever on her face and a zest for life. And even though leukaemia had cursed her, she never lost hope and was always positive about it. She wrote about her battle. I’d like you to visit her blog and read her story.

She’s such a brave and amazing person. I’m going to miss her dearly. I wish her family lots of love and strength through this difficult time. I wish a miracle could happen and heal her of all her pains and illnesses and she would wake up after the life support came off and was fully recovered. I wish I could give her a big hug and tell her how amazing she was. I wish she would email like she used to and bug me for reservation dates at work and then be ever so thankful for me “working my magic” as she always said.

I’ll miss you Trish. And although we weren’t the closest of friends, I want you to know that you were one of the best people I have ever worked with. Lots of love and prayers your way. I lit a candle for you today and will keep it burning with the hope that you miraculously recover. God bless and lots of love.

Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

Today, I am in tears. My heart is heavy and my mind confused and frazzled. I don’t understand how something so terrible could happen to such a beautiful human-being. This is not someone I am terribly close with. But everything I know about her and have learnt over the past few years of knowing her confirms that she is one of those people that are perfect or appears to be. She’s got class, a warm heart, respect and kindness. She’s a good colleague, friend, worker and probably a good sister, daughter and wife. She has one of those killer smiles and personalities that make you want to smile just for interacting with her.

My not-so-close friend and colleague was recently diagnosed with Leukaemia. From her respond to my email earlier today, she mentioned she was feeling slightly better today after a long-few weeks. It’s probably due to completing her first round of chemo. I don’t know. I don’t know much about cancer or Leukaemia for that matter, except the few articles I read after hearing this horrifying news today. She’s supposed to begin another round of chemo in the near future. But I’ve been told, she may need a bone marrow transplant. Luckily, she has a sister, who we’re hoping will be a match. If not, a few of her really close friends, husband and even boss are going to be tested to try to see if they’re a match.

At this point, if her sister isn’t a match, even I would go and be tested. I mean, how could I not? She’s just that type of person, that you just want to do anything you can to help her get through this. I can’t help but cry. I mean, how? How could someone so nice end up with Leukaemia? It just doesn’t make sense! Never in my right mind would I have imagined something anything terrible happen to a person like her.

I wish I was closer to her; I’d be by her side and hold her hand and make her laugh and forget all of this is happening or ever happened. I’d tell her that this is a massive bump in the road but all of us people that care for her will guide her past this. I’d tell her that after all this is done we’d celebrate like crazy teenagers. I’d tell her…I don’t know. I don’t know what else I’d tell her, except that she is an amazing person, doesn’t deserve this and she’s always in my prayers.

I’ve never had someone close/not-so-close to me diagnosed with cancer. I have but I wasn’t aware of it until it was all over. But this is happening now; which may be why I’m so emotional.

Please pray for my friend. Please send her blessings and duas, as am I.

Dark Chocolate Benefits

I’m one of those people that get a very sweet tooth every once in a while and cannot control my craving without becoming extremely frustrated and cranky. But being on a diet doesn’t allow for sweets, hence my bad mood lately. So, I’ve been researching healthy sweet snacks and quite frankly, fruits just don’t cut it for me.

Upon my research I found that dark chocolate can be eaten to kick the craving for sweets and also has numerous healthy benefits.

High in antioxidants, dark chocolate has been used to lower blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. It’s also good for your heart when eaten in small quantities 2-3 times a week as it can lower blood pressure. If that wasn’t enough, it’s good for your brain too because it increases blood flow to the brain.

There are a few more benefits of eating dark chocolate according to a post on Fit Day. You can read all about the benefits HERE!

I think if eaten in minimal quantities once or twice a week, I’ll kick my craving in the butt and also benefit from all the healthy stuff in dark chocolate. But I think I’ll first have to find an organic brand. Maybe GNC might have a good type. I’ll check them out over the weekend and let you know what I find out.

Until then, stay healthy and off the sweets!

Support The Ride To Conquer Cancer

A friend/colleague of mine recently sent me an email asking for support for his Ride to Conquer Cancer. It’s the 2012 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer® benefiting The Campbell Family Institute at The Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.

I’m hoping this message will reach many people and help Geoff meet his goals for his cause. I’m doing my part….now please do yours! Even if you can’t donate, please share this story and raise awareness for this great cause. Click here to support Geoff!

A note from Geoff:

I’m doing this ride for my dad. We lost him in 2002 to Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer associated with exposure to asbestos that has a dismal survival rate. I know there isn’t anything I can do to help my dad now, but by making a contribution I hope I can help spare someone else the feeling of losing someone they love before their time.

Last year, 4610 riders came together to cycle 200 km over 2 days, raising over $17.2 million for cancer research in the process. This year, I will again be taking on the challenge of riding 200 MILES over 2 days. Nothing could compare to the challenge of fighting cancer, but if I’m going to ask people to donate then I believe I should be able to face whatever obstacle is placed in front of me.

My wife Karrie and I were married in 2008. In less than one calendar year after our wedding, two dear friends who attended that day have been lost to cancer: Doug Honsberger and Ingrid Caines. I can only hope that on Ride day Dad, Doug and Ingrid are out there somewhere on the course, sipping dry martinis and making fun of me barrelling around Southern Ontario in spandex shorts.

Please join our fight. Donate as much as you can here, and if you want to do more then sign up as a volunteer and support the Riders. I’ll see you at the Finish Line!

Thank you in advance for your help.