Saturday, May 22, 2010

Please cancel the weekend or Distance sucks

When you receive a phone call at 7am on a Friday morning you know that it is not going to be good news. Yesterday (Friday) I got that call and yes it was the worst news. My sister had died in the UK. It was unexpected, I hadn't known that she was ill. In fact she had been admitted to hospital with a chest infection but then they had found the cancer. The secondary in her liver and the primary in her oesophagus. They didn't give her a time limit so she persuaded the hospital to let her go home. Once home, her son Bryn gave her what she wanted which was a glass of sherry and a cigarette. He said she had a smile that filled her face.
Then on Sunday she started to fade and when she fell asleep on the Monday she never woke up again. She died, in peace, on Tuesday night with her family around. I think she decided that enough was enough and she certainly didn't want to go back to hospital. She has always been incredibly independent and strong-willed. But I wasn't there and I haven't seen her for over twenty years, only talking on the phone and letters. My sister was twenty years older than me and had migrated to Canada from the UK when I was only three. But when she returned home after her marriage break up I was seventeen and I got to know and love her for the three years before I left for Australia. Every holiday we would catch up and she became a best friend, who shared my history.
But now she's gone and I can't go there as it's so far and soooo expensive, and she's not there anyway. Distance sucks.
I carried on with my day as planned and took two friends to meet another and have lunch together, and it helped. When death occurs on the other side of the world there is nothing that you can do, except carry on. My friends were unaware of the phone call, I couldn't talk about it at that stage.
But then I had to call my daughters and tell them last night. That was hard, very hard.
Today the son of one of my daughters is now waiting to go into surgery to have his appendix removed. And I'm not there. It was also unexpected.
Distance sucks.


  1. I'm so sorry to read of your loss JOC. Terrible news. It's hard when your family live so far away.

    Hugs to you

  2. Thanks Michelle, each day gets a little bit easier and I have some very good friends who have offered to be my sisters! When I left the UK many years ago my family made me promise that I would not race home for funerals as the person you loved had already gone. So I never have - not for my mother, father or sister. That's another reason they don't tell me when there is serious illness, they take the choice away. But with all three of them, and this will sound very "spooky" I have felt their presence with me for brief moments, a few days after they've died, and that has comforted me.
    Once again, thank you for your kind thoughts.


  3. Bloody hell..... I am so sorry to read this..... it was my place you came to and I didn't even know!
    In life you just never know what is going to happen next. Take care, Jan.

  4. Like I said, I wasn't ready to talk about it and I didn't want to spoil the day by casting a shadow over it. But I did smoke more than usual as it gave me a chance for a "breather" outside when things got a bit tough. It was a good day and I'm glad we all carried on as usual. I could have stayed home and postponed but then there is nothing I could do at home to help my family and I can't be with them so it helped to be with friends.
    Thnks for your thoughts, and it is getting easier.
    But best of all my grandson Daniel is home from hospital.


  5. Hi Joc
    I am sincerely sorry to hear of your loss. Yet join in your wonderful news that Daniel is home and on the road to recovery. What a traumatic time for all your family.

  6. Thanks Aussie, it has been a bit tough but it has opened up the subject of death and what do people want at their memorial services etc. My daughters have always been aware of my wishes but my partner's son had never discussed or asked him what he wanted. So there has been a small positive affect from this sadness.