Dealing with death-A work in progress

My daddy and me

My daddy and me

Since losing my father at the age of 14, the fear of losing my mother has challenged me in many different ways. I was extremely close with my dad and his sudden death at the end of my grade eight year left me with a tremendous sense of loss and fear. I struggled with separation anxiety as a young child (from 4 until the age of 11) and this tragedy only resurfaced all of those fears.

I began to wonder what would I do if my mom died.

I played various scenarios in my head about who would take care of me. I found myself imaging the worst case scenarios. I knew it wasn’t healthy and certainly was in no ones best interest, especially my own.

I recently dealt with a situation where my fear of losing my mom was tested. I took my mom to the hospital for a scheduled MRI. She is claustrophobic and she did not know how she would react in the machine and knew that it was probably a good idea that I or someone be there with her.

McGill convocation with my momma bear.

McGill convocation with my momma bear.

Well, I wasn’t really there for her. I sat in the waiting room for over 3 hours with no word about the procedure, how she was doing or when she might emerge from what seemed to be a forbidden room just beyond the automatic doors. I watched countless people arrive and depart to and from their appointments, all having arrived after my mother was whisked away. The nurse mentioned she would be gone for about 45 minutes.

Two and half hours later I asked the receptionist where she was.

My fear came knocking and filled my head with worst case scenarios; she had an asthma attack while in the MRI. She went into cardiac arrest because of a panic attack.

My beloved mother, the woman who has raised me through the hardest years of my life, the woman I cannot imagine how I would get on with life without her is lying dead on a table in a forbidden room behind those automatic doors and I have no clue because no one has come to tell me.

The receptionist told me it’s normal that it takes a while. “She might not have been seen right away, there might be several people ahead of her and there is only one machine,” she said.

Sometimes we feel like all this mushed into one being but we say we are FINE

Sometimes we feel like all this mushed into one being but we say we are FINE


As women, we know FINE never means anything good, there is nothing fine about it.

My fear is real because if it happened once, who is to say it can’t and won’t happen again.

Yes, I know my mother will die, we are all going to die. I don’t struggle with that concept, I struggle with her dying sooner than later.

I try and step back, take a breath and realize I cannot control when and how she will die. I need to just embrace the time I have with her and remember that every day is a gift.

It’s a work in progress.

1 Comment
  • Corrie
    Posted at 22:34h, 03 April Reply

    Robyn, it most certainly is a work in progress. What is often overlooked is the fact that when someone you love dies, you don’t only lose the person, there are a series of “secondary losses” – loss of innocence, loss of control, loss of the other parent (for short or long term as they struggle with their own grief), loss of role in a family, the list goes on and on…and as you work through your grief creating “new normals” your perspective changes as you become acutely aware that bad things do happen to good people – so enjoy every day to it’s fullest by loving people as if there is no tomorrow, laughing until your belly hurts and dancing like nobody is watching!

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