The Anniversary of My Mom’s Death

I have spoken about my mom before in the video with my Dad and I but haven’t really written about her, her influence on me or her death in 2000. She struggled with disease, primarily her heart for most of her life.  And typically was on 20 meds at any given time.  She was the 7th person in Canada to have open heart surgery for her condition and in her late 40’s was put on the transplant list for a new heart.


About 6 weeks before her death. In a hospital in Toronto.

My Mom had been in a medically induced coma for the last ten days.  Against her wishes, the doctors’ had decided that the risk of bleeding to death outweighed the risk of a stroke.  Not long after she had a stroke and was brain dead.

My father was up in Ottawa and my mom’s brother flew up on the 19th. On December 20, 2000 my father turned off the machines that were keeping her body alive.

I received a call at home, I answered it from my mom’s phone; a classic GE digital clock radio/phone that she kept beside her bed on the days when her health kept her there.

My dad was crying, it was over.  My Mom was dead.  I hung up and I cried for an hour on her pillow, curled up in a ball.


One of my favourite photos. My mom was being really silly!

Her family came for the funeral on 23rd.  I sang Silent Night, her favourite Christmas song, very off-key by the way and made a speech that I really don’t remember the content of.

My dad and I had Christmas together alone on the 24th, by choice.  That was always the way our little family of three had done it when we lived 4000 km from my Mom’s family. We made the traditional foods: Meatballs with horseradish dipping sauce, Ikra, with heart of palm and Claussen’s pickles. It was a quiet evening with a few jokes between my dad and I.  My Mom was gone.

15 years later, this story still makes me cry when I think of it.  I had 21 years with my mom, and it wasn’t enough.


My Mom, Dad and I from 1980-2000.


2 thoughts on “The Anniversary of My Mom’s Death

  1. Yes Christmas can be a melancholy time, especially for those who have lost loved pones. I had my Mom for 50 years (she passed in 1999 in November) and my Dad for 65 years (he died November 2014). Christmas is hard. But I’ve made new friends and rituals to help – not fill, but re-wifefill – those empty spaces. It does not mean they are forgotten, it means I have opened up my heart to more people.
    Just as you have Paul with your wife and family.
    And this community on FB
    Wishing you and yours the very best of Christmases!

  2. This is a beautiful story Paul. I lost my parents years ago too and Christmas can be a melancholy time. Wishing you and your family a lovely Merry Christmas.

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