Tuesday, 22 January 2013


I don't like to write very much about personal things on my blog, but I feel my mother deserves a special mention today. Eight years ago today she passed away.

My main feeling today, besides a degree of sorrow, is amazement at how quickly the time has passed. Two regrets are that my mum never got to see my daughters, her granddaughters; in fact neither of them was conceived until after her death, and I also never got the chance to say a proper farewell. Perhaps very few of us are fortunate to be able to do that with the passing of our loved ones. My mother did not die a sudden death, in the manner of an unforeseen accident for example, but the severity and advancement of her illness took us all by surprise.

My mum died from complications resulting from COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. For those of you who need to google it, it is essentially a lung disease, preventing airflow to the lungs, a gradual process. It is caused primarily from heavy smoking. Even though my mother gave up smoking a good 15 years before her death, the damage had already been done. The worst thing for her was the chronic shortness of breath and the gradual limitation in her lifestyle. If you've ever had a panic attack and experienced the fear that comes with that feeling of chest constriction and inability to breath, imagine my mother feeling a bit like that every day, except each day it got a little bit worse. Although we knew she had the disease and that her life was likely to be shortened, we didn't expect the speed at which it happened in the end, at the age of 65. By the time I flew over to be with my family at her bedside, she was in a coma, which lasted for a week, before she breathed her last. I spoke to her a lot in her comatose state, but I cannot be certain that she really heard or understood my words. I can only hope and believe that she did.

I dedicate today's post to my mother's life. She had her shortcomings, but one thing I never doubted was that she loved me and my family with all her heart.


  1. Michael, what a sweet post dedicated to your mother. COPD is cruel indeed and it can progress quickly, as you know. I'm sorry you didn't get to say goodbye in the way that you wanted.

    My mother will soon have been gone three years, and sometimes it seems like ten years, other times like a couple of months. Her impact on my life is profound and I see glimpses of her in me every day; both her strengths and her shortcomings.

    Whatever they were or were not, our mothers were our mothers, and they deserve our recognition. She would be touched to know you're thinking of her today.

  2. A beautiful post Michael. I am so sorry that you lost your mother, and that she never did get to meet your girls, and that your girls never got to meet your mother.

    My father will be gone 20 years next month. Fortunately, my son (who was five at the time his grandfather passed away) does have a few good memories of him. My father was 62 when he died; your mother 65. That is SOOO young that it breaks my heart.

    I too spoke to my father when he was in his coma before he died; I clearly remember walking around his hospital room, telling him of the day's events. Did they hear us? I think they did but more importantly I believe that they knew they weren't alone.

    Thank you for posting this as it brings tears to my eyes as I am thinking of happy memories of my Dad.

  3. Michael, I am very sorry for your loss. My father passed away little over a year ago due to lung cancer. I did not have the chance to say goodbye. He passed away while I was over the Pacific ocean - I missed it by 8 hours.

    It aches horribly still, and from what my mother told me, he didn't want me to know severity of his illness and therefore I was mentally unprepared. I talked to him right before I got on the flight (a lengthy 13 hours to Tokyo) not knowing that it was the last time I'd talk to him.

    Thank you for posting - it brought tears to my eyes - and I miss him terribly.

  4. Michael, I can offer little except strength, support, and healing thoughts from across the ocean. Be well.

  5. Josephine, Carol, Turbovivi and Carol - thank you all for your kind words and thoughts. It means a lot to me, really.



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