A Mother Like No Other…

Motherhood is by far the toughest job I have ever encountered, but has been equally rewarding. I have so much respect for the mothers, grandmothers, teachers out there. Their patience is a quality that is admirable, I definitely do not have the natural gift of patience. My own mother on the other hand is the most patient women I have ever met, she is honestly a godsend with my children and she is a genuine kind soul. Her smile and laughter can light up an entire room and she brings so much joy to those around.

Looking back, I do not ever remember my mother being in a bad mood, she is always happy. Even throughout all her personal battles and hardships she has encountered and there has been a multitude. She has told me a few stories and they have honestly shocked and left me in awe by her sheer strength and determination. Her near death experience is by far the best story she has ever told me. It still brings me chills just thinking about it.

Back in the late 70’s my mother met my father in her early twenties working at the local taxi company. He drove taxi and she worked as the dispatch, match made in heaven! Well one day he picked up a client and brought him around sturgeon falls, he had asked my father to make several stops along the way and patiently waited for him to come back, but eventually at the last stop the client never came back and left a hefty cab fare. My father was then stuck to pay the fare out of his own pocket. Several days had then past, and eventually my mother had asked my father if he would like to meet her mother. He said yes of course, well on their way over my mother had mentioned her brother had been staying with her mother and that he would be at diner that night. Well, as they walked into the house, turns out that the client that left the hefty cab fare was my mothers brother and he was sitting right thereon he sofa. But, like a true gentlemen my father did not say a word in front of my grandmother but then eventually mentioned it to my mother and her reply was oh well that’s just ponpon, always getting in trouble.

My parents then moved in together and got married March 2, 1981 and they eventually wanted to have children, but due to her weight she had difficulties in conceiving and opted to get a gastric bypass surgery in order to help her have children. The surgery had taken place in North Bay by Doctor Dougall, everything had been fine during the procedure until he stapled organs together. He had stapled several organs together at the end of the surgery during the final process of closing up the stomach. This would eventually cause her to endure 2.5 years in the hospital and 8 other operations in order to attempt in correcting the initial mistake that had caused her to eventually loose all her hair, her teeth and she was down to 85-90 pounds. Other surgens failed during the course of several years and could not resolve the issue and then eventually discharged my mother. My grandmother then came to North Bay in their home to help care for her, but she continued to loose weight and not eat, the surgery had left her unable to keep any food or fluid down. her only source of nutrients had been given through a feeding tube installed in her stomach. But, eventually she began fading away and my grandmother noticed and contacted a local priest because she feared that she would not make the night and wanted the priest to give her daughter her last rights. My mother described to me her near death experience during those moments, she told me that it was like she was floating above her body and she could feel and hear her mothers heart ache and the pain she felt thinking this was it for my child. She could sense my fathers despair and agony he felt. After her last rights had been given, my grandmother, father and aunts then contacted Doctor Desgroseilliers in Sturgeon Falls and asked if he could see her and try anything to save her, he said bring her immediately. He then offered to do a final surgery and mentioned to my mother that she had less then 50% chance of survival, but she said to go ahead. Because she had suffered so much that she did not care anymore. During the surgery she flat lined and she describes what seems to be heaven,it was like she had never felt no pain, she felt pure bliss and weightlessness, she was also seeing family members that have passed away and she also encountered Jesus. He then tells her “child you are not ready to leave this earth, there is so much more in store for you”. She then descends to her body and begins to feel pain again, but the coming months she starts to heal and is able to eat and drink again.

A year or so has past and the doctors were amazed that she has pulled through given her condition and outcome. But, they all have concurred that my mother would never have any children due to the extensive invasive surgeries she has endured. But, a few months passed and she began feeling pain again, at that moment she thought something terrible had went wrong and that she would then suffer again like she had in the past. She then visited her doctor and they began testing right away, he had come back into the room an announced he had some news. My mother right away thought it was going to be bad, but turns out the reason she has been sick was due to her being pregnant with me! She was in shock, she still had feeding tubes in her how can this happen? Simply put, it was another miracle. The first was my mother having a second chance at life. Am I ever thankful that she continued to push through all of those unimaginable obstacles. Life has a way in provided us the life lessons we need when we need them, it may not always be easy lessons or situations, but it does help you grow and become grateful for the life you have in the moment.

Another mother figure that I look up to is Gisele, she is like a second mother to me and has overcome so many tragic obstacles. No mother should ever loose a child, but she has had to overcome such tragedies. Death is not the end, but for those who are left on this earth have to continue on living with a piece missing from their hearts until they are once again reunited. I cannot begin to imagine the heartache she is feeling… Tania was like a sister to me and I still find it difficult going on without her.

I have had difficulties with my depression, I thought I had control over it, but it eventually all came crashing down in a whirlwind. I started contemplating taking my own life, I would think about it casually on my drive to work, I would think about it constantly. I felt absolutely nothing, I was numb to any sort of emotion. All I could think about was how the world would be a better place if I was not in it. It all came out during a work meeting, my co-workers had been discussing some disagreements with management and they turned to me for my opinion and all I said was they only reason I get up in he morning is to come to my job and for my kids, but everyday I feel like taking my car and driving it into a rock cut. It had been the first time I had said it aloud and I honestly felt so alone, I had felt like the only person I could have shared this with was gone, and the second person I could share this with was in his own mental health crisis and I did not want to put him further in any turmoil. I did not want to burden my husband with my thoughts, and I felt ashamed for feeling this way because after everything we had been though in the last 2 years and we were finally financial stable again, and everything was settling down. Why would I feel the way I feel with everything and everyone around me…The very next day I contacted the mental health ressources through work and they booked me in with a therapist right away. My first session was extremely exhausting, I had never really unpacked or grieved a lot of issues I had been through. The therapist looked at me after I had spilled my soul and said “Tracy, you are a people pleaser, your bestfriend passed away, you took care of her mother, helped her fiance, took care of your father who nearly passed away due to kidney failure and lithium overdose. Took on role of mother and father to your children while your husband worked non stop in order to keep your home. But, you never took any time for you to grieve or allow yourself time to let it all in. Everyone has moved on and grieved but you have not allowed yourself that time. It is perfectly normal that it is now hitting you when there is no longer any fires for you to put out.” In that moment I knew that I had made the right choice in taking the time for me and my healing, I had been that shoulder for everyone else to cry on but now it was time to do that for myself.

Feeling guilty is one of the many burdens I do cary as a mother, feeling inadequate, unfit at times. But, I find the moment you start feeling that way, the kids have a way with words and making me smile. Just the other day Trent looked at me and asked me if they were the best kids in the word, and of course I said yes! They are honestly the best kids, throughout my angry outbursts, my inpatient request and my constant apologies for my bad behaviour they constantly tell me how much they love me. He then asked me if I thought I was the best mother, and I said to be honest no, I have a lot of things to work on as a parent. He did not miss a beat, he simply said; well, to us you are the best mom in the world and you should never think otherwise.

What a kid, wise and so kind. Just like his beautiful grandmother.