Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Letter From The Heart

Today is Chemo day... I'm hoping today it won't heart as much when they stick that big niddel into Gag's port-a-cath in his chest, I'm hoping that he won't spend the entire time hugging the bucket and vomiting all throughout his chemo infusion, and I'm hoping the day will go smoothly.
While I'm hoping all this as we spend most of the day at City of Hope, I leave you with this letter that was sent to me. Katherine is an acquaintance of my brother, she has never met me, and yet this letter touched me in my heart, it gave me strength to keep going, it gave me a small hope that I too can do my best through this difficult time and cherish every moment as she did.
Please, make the time to read her letter as it may touch your hearts and perhaps, give you that sense of understanding of life and death through someone else's experience.

Thank you Katherine, for sharing your story, guiding us in this tough situation. And yes life is a gift to be enjoyed fully, and the unavoidable death, when it arrives, whenever that may be in our lives, needs to be accepted and in the end we must all let go.

Dear Mari -

My name is Katherine and I am a friend of Aram’s. I know that you are all going through a very difficult time right now and I can completely empathize having had to travel the same path myself with my Mother.

When my Mother was diagnosed it felt as if the bottom had dropped out of our entire world. Suddenly, my Mother was a statistic. I was angry. We were scared. It was a nightmare we couldn’t wake up from. The only way we could deal with it was to grit our teeth, dig in our heels and move forward. And then the long journey of chemo, surgeries and radiation began. It was almost surreal.

We dealt with all of this the only way we knew how – and that was to make our lives as normal as we possibly could. Through the five year journey we laughed as much as we could and did normal things as much as we could. We took each day as it came. And, consequently, we had a lot of very good days.

In April of 2002, my Mother got her Wings and evolved into the most protective and loving Guardian Angel I could possibly have.

Whilst I do not know if any of the experiences or emotions I went through will help you, I am jotting a few down, just in case.

Towards the end of my Mother’s battle, I made her promise me that she would keep fighting and not leave me - and my Mother gave me her word. In my entire life, my Mother never made a promise to me that she didn’t keep. When I was little, my Mother always told me “Never make a promise that you can’t or don’t intend to keep”.

Well, there came the day when I was lying beside Mum on the sofa bed in the living room and she was semi-conscious and I could see in a lot pain. However, she was arguing with “someone” like crazy. She was in such a fitful state and nothing would calm her. Then, I realized that she was fighting to keep her promise to me. I, suddenly, felt so devastated that I was the cause of her present distress. So, I did one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I took my Mother in my arms, knowing that her subconscious and Spirit could hear me, and I told her that I was sorry and that I should never have asked her to make that promise to me and that she did not have to keep it. I then asked her if, for once in her life, she would do something for herself. Something she wanted. No sooner had the words left my lips than my Mother became so calm and serene and drifted off into a restful sleep.

The next day, at 11:45am, it was time for her to fly away and try out her Angel Wings. It was a lovely, sunny day. The sky was the most beautiful blue and the birds were singing and our living room was full of Light. My Mother was in my arms when, suddenly, the most beautiful smile formed on her face. She gave a gentle sigh and, in that moment, became my Guardian Angel.

Releasing my Mother from her promise and telling her it was alright was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Later, I came to realize that it was also the greatest act of Love.
In the past, when friends of mine have had loved ones get their Wings and it has been so painful for them, there is something I always tell them:

The depth of the pain is a measure of the depth of the Love.

Then, there is a question I always ask them:

If you were given the choice, right now, of feeling no pain whatsoever, but the price of feeling no pain is never to have had that person or friend in your life. What would you choose?

The answer is always the same. Rather to have the pain and have known the Love.

My Mother and I have extremely strong Spiritual beliefs…..not attached to any specific religion, more a knowledge of a Greater Power, a Greater Good and a Greater Love that exists both within us and around us. A Power, Good and Love that is a never ending force and source in our eternal existence.

One of the greatest Truths – which is sometimes a hard one to accept in this existence – is that there is no separation.

Despite my strong Spiritual foundations, I ran a whole gamut of emotions. The biggest was Guilt. I entered the “What if?” and “What more could I have done?” syndrome. However, at the end of many long and heart searching meditations and self examinations, I came to realize that – during this journey – I really did do the very best I could do.

When you are on a journey like this, every minute of every day you address the situation in the very best way you can under such enormous pressure. There are times when you feel guilty for being so exhausted. Then there are days when you just want everything to stop. And then you feel guilty about that.

If these emotions do come up, you have to realize that in a situation like this everything you have done, everything you do, stems from Love. If you are exhausted, it is because you have been pouring every ounce of Love you have into that moment. If you want to stop, it is only so that you can renew yourself so that you can continue giving more support, more Love. Guilt has no place in the equation.

Initially, when you deal with something like this, your inner safeguard mechanism automatically shuts down. It is like being in a Twilight Zone. You drift through days feeling numb, feeling nothing – and you wonder how you could be numb, how you could feel nothing because you think you should feel everything.

Then, as your system begins to start up again, so many emotions will surface – some so powerful that their intensity may surprise you. If it helps, allow yourself to feel them. Once you feel them, you can deal with them and let them go. We all have to be strong for other people, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be strong for ourselves. We need to be on our Tender Loving Care list as well.

In all honestly, I would LOVE for my Mother to still be here with me in body, but I feel her Spiritual presence, guidance and Love every single second of every single day. We have always been so close that people refer to us as “Twin Souls”. Well, now we are Twin Souls in one body……mine.

My Mother’s Love got me through this journey. Her Love continues to see me through each day. She is nurturing me and guiding me and caring for me as much now as she always did.

It is important to remember that Love is Eternal and that time is merely a man made measuring device. Some people live more and love more in a few years than many do in a lifetime. Love that we share with others stays with us always and remains with the ones we Love always. Love is the unbreakable bond.

So, this little note comes to you with much Love and Light.



  1. Wow. Mari, what a gift to you. Katherine's words are profound, honest, and so very true. We all learn many things from the various journeys we are on. Some journeys are more difficult than others. But, if you can travel with grace and integrity and love...if you can reach out in love and receive in gratitude...if you can appreciate the moments that predict your memories...well, then you have walked and loved and lived fully and with a joyful heart. Katherine would never have been able to give you this gift had she not walked that precarious path with her mother. And had she not been open to the many lessons that walk could give her, she would not have had these words to share with you.

    You are blessed in so many ways, Mari. God is close, and He cares so much.

  2. Thank you, Mari, for posting this and thank you Katherine for sharing this gift.

    Now I can't stop crying.

  3. Wow, thank you Katherine for sharing this with us you are very strong person like Mari.I guess we all have to learn a lesson from all this. We need to know that life is to short and live the way like it is our lost day.
    Mari jan, i hope that this day was easy for you like you were hoping.

    Worm hugs and kisses.

    Love Ani S.

  4. Thanks for a lesson taught in the most beautiful way. :) What I took from this was, no matter what happens in life, we need to remember that each person/event that happens in our lives, they happen for a reason. they are children of God sent to teach us a lesson we would not have learnt any other way.

  5. Thank you all for sharing these thoughts with me.